Do you carry with a round in the chamber?

There’s a debate that I see pop up in some gun owner circles all the time that concerns me. What concerns me is gun owners getting bad training advice or, even worse, safety advice. That debate is whether or not to keep a round in the chamber while carrying a pistol for self defense.

Israeli carry?

In discussions over carry doctrine, specifically whether it’s wise to keep a round in the pipe, one anecdote that’s unavoidable is something referred to as Israeli carry. Briefly, this refers to the belief that when Israeli Defense Forces carry a handgun, they do so without a round in the chamber.

While the Israelis certainly didn’t invent this concept (Jeff Cooper was writing about “Condition 3” or C3 in the earliest days of “autoloaders”), they have popularized it as an entire method of presentation, perhaps a decision based on safely equipping a large, untrained civilian army with a large variety of handguns. Far be it from me to question why the IDF trains this way. The best idea I can come up with is that, like any military, the IDF does not view handguns as a primary weapon system. Rifles hold that place.

 

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source: http://www.guns.com/review/do-you-carry-your-handgun-with-a-round-in-the-chamber/

  • Matthew Edmunds

    Always have one in the pipe. If you know your weapon and your safety and know how to use them, why not? Be consistent, don’t switch back and forth so you don’t have a blond moment.

    • abobinmn

      Good advice.

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    • Mike11C

      You said it! “Know your weapon” and “be consistent”. THAT is the best two pieces of advice here. I carry a Glock and, there is always a round in the chamber. Some may say, “oh no, a striker fired pistol with no manual safety”? Not exactly. If you carry a Glock, and you “know your weapon”, you’ll know that Glock is a “safe action” pistol. That means that the striker is not fully cocked. The striker is drawn further to the rear during trigger squeeze. So, not only is there a trigger safety but, there is also a striker block safety, actuated by a ramp on the trigger bar, AND the striker is not fully cocked even when there is a round in the chamber. The bottom line is, no trigger squeeze, no bang.

    • Cobra212

      Many concealed handguns don’t have any “safety” or a means to de-cock the hammer. Thus, to carry with a round in the chamber, means that during both the carry, draw, and re-holster process, any activation of the trigger, whether with an accidental finger, a snag on clothing or some other object, or potentially even an accidental dropping on a hard surface, could cause an unintentional discharge. For those of us who carry such guns, and believe the safety of innocent people around us is more important than the loss of our own personal safety due to the extra time it would take us to draw and COCK in order to chamber a round, generic advice that doesn’t apply to such guns is a waste of your breath!

      • L Cavendish

        a 1911 cocked and locked may go off if dropped…but even that should be super rare…
        unless poorly designed or malfunctioning…most modern pistols will NOT go off if dropped

        • Cobra212

          So only “super rarely” would you potentially kill and innocent bystander? I’m not willing to take that chance. Would you be willing to be the live tester in an analysis of which modern pistols would or wouldn’t go off if dropped? The point is… if there is any chance, no matter how slim, that a gun might accidentally go off, then carrying with a round in the chamber makes one culpable in the “accidental” death or injury of an innocent person… because you knew there was a chance of an accident but proceeded to carry that way anyway. Even safeties have been known to fail. That may not be their normal state, but accidents tend to happen when things are not normal.

          • L Cavendish

            and cars have known problems…things fall out of the sky and people die of strokes and heart attacks with no warning…
            you carry your way, I’ll carry mine…over 25 years and not a single negligent or accidental discharge.,..

          • Cobra212

            But if the lug nuts on your car’s wheels were loose and the wheels wobbling, you’d probably tighten them rather than driving and waiting for a wheel to fall off. If the wing of the airplane was cracked and drooping, you’d probable not get in that airplane and go flying. The point is there are things that simply happen and things that with a little forethought we can prevent from happening. This is America and we are all free to carry in our preferred method. We are also free to share our opinions and hope that others might hear them and use/apply if they think they are appropriate. We all think we are being safe, but when I read a story titled, “Cop shoots his Finger Off” and find, in the details, this happened while looking at a gun that had been on display in a gun store, I know that isn’t always the case.

          • ABBAsFernando

            Liberals think like children. Children should be trained in the safe handling and use of firearms. Children of all ages afraid of guns should not be near them. Responsible adults and trained children are safely using guns all day long. During my childhood children were instructed in the safe use and handling of guns often. Gun “accidents” rarely if ever happened.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c522d7d428890e8d2fb6a4ab390ba34a844d125b3be28227924975468cc3c68a.gif

      • Matthew Edmunds

        Mine is a Smith & Wesson 669 double action. Trigger doesn’t work when the safety is on, and the hammer stays down until after the first shot. When the safety is put on, the hammer comes down by itself to the un-
        cocked position.

  • Jenett Morgan

    ALWAYS.

  • Brian Bertha

    back in the day people carried revolvers with the trigger over an empty chamber for safety sake because if you hit th e trigger hard enough it could cause a fire. However revolvers transition to the next chamber when you pulled the trigger so you were only shorting yourself a round (5 vs 6) however much engineering has gone into safety for most pistols so its a personal decison cary safety vs the delay of racking the slide to engange an enemy. So pistols with triggers have decockers and are DA/SA and some that plus safeties. Practice what you own and make a choice

    • William McNamara

      My father, an old policeman of 34 years taught me when I was young to never put the hammer over a loaded chamber. That advice actually saved my life once as I was carrying my .357 in a shoulder holster and the restraining strap failed when I bent over to pick up something I had dropped. The weapon landed right on the hammer pointed at my face. I never carry with a round loaded unless I am in combat and using my weapon. Holstered, chamber empty. Always. Auto or revolver.

      • AFGus

        Firearms have come a long way in 34 years where safety is concerned. Carry condition is a personal decision based on experience, training and equipment, however, if or when the time comes to react to a sudden life or death situation, carrying with an empty chamber very possibly could and can lead to your demise.

        • Cobra212

          I fully concur with what you say, but knowing that, still carry without a round in the chamber (semi-auto no safety) because I would rather be a victim than be responsible for an “accident” where some other innocent person is the victim.

    • Bama Bill

      My H&R revolver hammer can’t be moved forward when not cocked, half cocked, or fully cocked. It is tight against the frame when not cocked. Guess they figured how to make it safer? Is shoots SA/DA, I usually cock it first, for more accurate shooting. I grind my front sight down to about .015 wide at the top. Like to shoot at longer range than most do. Figure if I can hit a target at 100 yards, sure can hit one closer.

  • Deplorable Robert

    I carry a Glock. Always one chambered. AND HOLSTERED! If it’s not HOLSTERED, then no cartridge in chamber as it’s not a pocket pistol without trigger guard covered.

  • AFGus

    Semper Peratus…..always ready….always a round in the chamber. Always!

  • Joshua Thomas

    I always carry in my pocket some times with a holster some times without. I always carry with a round in the camber. My gun of choice is the Rugger LC9 double action only. I was forced to draw and shoot a dog that jumped and bit me.
    The dog was only 10 feet away win it attacked me.

    • Bama Bill

      I dropped two rabid dogs that were approaching a nearby school bus stop. Shot the first one as he walked toward me, second one ran, I led him a little and hit him in the heart, he tumbled to a stop. Most neighbors thankful, some scared of a neighbor having a gun! Guess they would rather have their kid bitten?

  • GunGuy

    Always keep it fully loaded or you will get shot while loading it. Modern forearms are designed to be loaded. They are not like the revolvers of the 1930s

  • Bama Bill

    My revolver always has six in the cylinder. I carry 22WMR, 7 1/2″ barrel, Will go “Clean thru” unless a bone is hit. Or they are over 16″ thick. Bleed out quicker that way. I wouldn’t shoot unless I meant to kill. I always shoot “Below the belt” if I wasn’t trying to kill.
    When mine is out of the holster, it is meant to be shot. My front sight is as wide as a knife blade, shoots small groups at 100 feet.

  • gunnygil

    Only in Nam did I ever carry one in the chamber, auto or revolver. All my revolvers (preferred carry weapon) are DA and I do not carry as a civilian one under the hammer. 5, 6, or 8 shot. And none with “hair triggers”. Semi-autos are for backup and never have one in the chamber in case someone else gets hold of it. Very easy to charge if need be. As I was taught, and I taught my children and grandchildren, SAFETY FIRST.

  • Kirk Kahler

    all ways have one up the pipe !

  • Joe704

    I carry my AMT Backup “empty”; but it’s because I don’t have faith in the striker mechanism and I’m searching for an alternative.

    • Proudvietvet58

      Joe704, take a look at the Kimber and Sig Sauer pistols. I own a few of
      each. Both are a little pricey but, WELL WORTH the money paid when it
      comes time to shoot or be shot!

      • Joe704

        I think I have decided on the Sig 238; bought my daughter one for last Christmas, and she loves it.

  • generalJed

    I always carried three guns in Chicago, each with one in the chamber. You simply do not have the luxury of time to rack the slide when you see someone pull a knife or a gun. You must have concealable firearms that you can trust with one in the chamber, though. I always preferred a good quality .25 automatic because the Chicago Police could never determine that you were carrying, even when they “accidentally’ bumped into you on the bus or street. If someone grabs one of your arms, the other is free to go for one of the other two guns. This system worked well for me and one of the two people’s lives I saved.

  • Ethan

    Why take the time to chamber a round? It could cost your life. That’s the reason I favor a revolver, it’s always ready to fire with a pull of the trigger. No safeties to fool with and a revolver with a concealed hammer cannot be fired accidentally.

  • L Cavendish

    in modern guns…no problem carrying this way…just be careful not to get anything into the trigger guard at any time until ready to fire the weapon
    that extra second or more or less needed to load a round may be the difference between life and death

  • Alan404

    if I were to carry a single action pistol,1911 type,Browning HiPower or similar, I would carry the piece with a chambered round, safety engaged. Given that I lean toward the classic double action pistol,the piece is always carried hammer down,a round chambered. Do not overlook The KISS Principle.

  • Sarge

    Carrying an empty chamber in an emergency situation is very foolhardy. It does no good where seconds make a difference.

  • ABBAsFernando

    Much depends upon training and physical ability. Modern weapons have redundant safety systems that only allow placement of hand in precise way in order to fire.

    In today’s environment attacks can and do happen faster than one has time to react. Any delay could be deadly. It is your life after all. A personal decision. If you are not immediately able to defend yourself you could be dead. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f1f120c4176584f8f876d2735a9d8583649081b14d51b6ea3e1692fb3fba873a.png

  • Marco Ruysch

    Why take the time to chamber a round? It could cost your life. That’s the reason I favor a revolver, it’s always ready to fire with a pull of the trigger. No safeties to fool with and a revolver with a concealed hammer cannot be fired accidentally, the only way to fire it is pull the trigger.

  • Karl

    I carry my AMT Backup “empty”; but it’s because I don’t have faith in the striker mechanism and I’m searching for an alternative.

    • Proudvietvet58

      Karl, take a look at the Kimber and Sig Sauer pistols. I own a few of each. Both are a little pricey but, WELL WORTH the money paid when it comes time to shoot or be shot!

  • Raphael

    Mine is a Smith & Wesson 669 double action. Trigger doesn’t work when the safety is on, and the hammer stays down until after the first shot. When the safety is put on, the hammer comes down by itself to the un-cocked position.

  • flappr

    I dropped two rabid dogs that were approaching a nearby school bus stop. Shot the first one as he walked toward me, second one ran, I led him a little and hit him in the heart, he tumbled to a stop. Most neighbors thankful, some scared of a neighbor having a gun! Guess they would rather have their kid bitten?

  • isaiah

    Always have one in the pipe. If you know your weapon and your safety and know how to use them, why not? Be consistent, don’t switch back and forth so you don’t have a blond moment.

  • kayla

    Always keep it fully loaded or you will get shot while loading it. Modern forearms are designed to be loaded. They are not like the revolvers of the 1930s

  • caleb moore

    Firearms have come a long way in 34 years where safety is concerned. Carry condition is a personal decision based on experience, training and equipment, however, if or when the time comes to react to a sudden life or death situation, carrying with an empty chamber very possibly could and can lead to your demise.

  • Proudvietvet58

    99% of modern firearms are totally safe with a round in the pipe! That is the #1 reason I do NOT own a 1911!. Yes, I always keep one in the pipe. When really needed, time is critical!

    Also, I prefer a double action hand gun. Kimber, Sig Sauer, Bersa, etc. I own a few of each and love the speed at which they can be fired when it is time to fire quickly!