Under stress gross physical strength is elevated and fine motor coordination deteriorates. A revolver cocked to single action is easier to discharge both deliberately and unintentionally. Too many shooters dismiss this risk of an unintentional discharge because they know enough to never cock a self-defense revolver. Unfortunately even well educated shooters do odd things under stress and no one is immune from unconscious conditioning. All shooters are creatures of their conditioning and if a thirty second commercial can condition a million viewers to buy one candy bar over another candy bar then after ten, twenty or thirty years of watching poor gun handling on television, any shooter under stress can unconsciously fall victim to this subliminal training.
In the waning years of the revolver as the policeman’s primary sidearm, several major police departments converted their department’s revolvers to double action only. These included the LAPD, Miami, Montreal, and the NYPD to name only a few. These departments converted over concern for liability in the wake of a variety of regional shootings and court cases where the prosecutors’ accusation of a cocked revolver put the subsequent legal defense of the officer in jeopardy.