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How Safe Is It To Carry With A Round In The Chamber?

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The most common question that we receive from people who are new to concealed carry is this: Should I carry with a round in the chamber?

We know that this question is asked mainly due to the uncertainty people have with the safety aspects of this. We’re going to try and clear that up today.

Why carry with a round chambered?

Simple; preparedness. We’ll use this analogy: Carrying with an empty chamber is often given a response such as “you might as well carry a brick around” or “you might as well leave it at home”. While this can be true in certain circumstances, we feel that it’s a counterproductive response to the question. Remember, the question is usually asked by people who are new to concealed carry and may be new to firearms in general. Knocking them down with a response like that doesn’t help anyone and certainly doesn’t remove any uncertainties they may have.

We wrote this article, this article, and this article on carrying with a round in the chamber.

Under stress, your body reacts in a much different way than normal. A simple action such as racking the slide is made much more difficult than under normal circumstances. The chances of a failure increase dramatically. You may not pull the slide all the way back to allow it to strip the round from the magazine, or if you do manage to strip the round, you may find that it’s not seated fully in the chamber. Both of these are setting the firearm up for immediate failure. Having your round ready to go is the best case scenario for being prepared at a moments notice.

But how safe is it really?

The best test you can do is this: Let’s say you carry for a month straight. At the end of each day when you unholster your firearm, check to see how many times the trigger has been depressed. If you’re carrying in a proper holster and keep your finger away from the trigger, your answer should be zero. With any modern firearm, the trigger has to be pulled for the firearm to go bang. No trigger pull = no bang.

The keys to completely negating a negligent discharge are as follows:

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  • Always use a proper holster for your firearm. One that has a trigger guard and is molded for your firearm is your best option.
  • Know how your firearm operates.
  • Follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety at all times.
  • Always keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Practice drawing your firearm (unloaded) from your holster until you don’t have to look down at all while drawing, and then practice some more.
  • When you’re confident, practice drawing and firing at the range, and reholstering.

We can’t stress using a proper holster enough. We absolutely stand by using a molded holster that is made for your firearm. Using a generic flimsy holster can get into your trigger guard when holstering and cause your firearm to fire.

The images below show exactly that happening. This is a very dangerous situation that can be completely avoided when a proper holster is used.

leather-holster-ad-nd-2 leather-holster-ad-nd-3

The images above come from a story that cannot be viewed enough times over at itstactical.com

Give me the bottom line

The bottom line is this: if you are carrying a modern firearm, it is engineered to never discharge unless your finger pulls the trigger. Many have internal safeties as well as external safeties, and those safeties are in place for one reason; to ensure it doesn’t fire when it isn’t supposed to.

Current estimates claim that upwards of 10 Million Americans carry concealed every day. If negligent discharges were a common occurrence, we’d hear about them in the news every evening while we’re eating dinner. We don’t hear about this because it rarely happens. And when it does happen, it’s almost certainly related to operator error rather than firearm malfunction. The vast majority of firearm malfunctions happen because of bad reloads.

Rest assured (and walk around with your chambered firearm assured) that if you’re safe and know how your firearm operates, there is absolutely no reason that you should fear carrying with a round in the chamber. If after reading this article you are still unsure, you should consider holding off on carrying a firearm until you are confident in both that firearm and yourself as the owner.

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Categories: Beginners Guide, General
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About Brandon | View all posts by Brandon

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Keith Dowlen

    i just wanna get things clear first, i have fired a few different brand & size calibers before but this is my first purchase of a firearm & in the picture is my first one i ever bought & it’s a S&W SD9 VE “Value Enhance” model, the weird thing is on both sides of the pistol that doesn’t have a safety function mode to it, i have have “Blackhawk” holster that the only way you eject the pistol is pressing the button that also covers the trigger as well so that way you won’t accidently fire a round & if you get into a hand-to-combat fight, the person you’re fighting grabs the pistol & can’t be released unless you press the eject button, it’s a good saftey feature, the pistol also has a rail system so i can equip a flashlight or laser, it’s a beautiful pistol up close & got it for a good decent price of brand new for $319.99+ tax up with a background track to final price was $362.84, not a bad price for a 15+1 in the chamber, so i’m just concerned about it without a safety function to carry with a round chambered in the gun, thanks for responding back when possible

    • Budsygus

      I have that exact same pistol. I use it for concealed carry whenever I can. Despite the lack of an external safety, it should be completely safe to carry with a round in the pipe assuming that you exercise proper safe drawing and holster in procedures. That said, I don’t carry with a round in the chamber. I’ve read up on it and in my very specific circumstances the (very minimal) risks outweigh the benefits. It’s a great gun, but carrying with one in the chamber isn’t right FOR ME, RIGHT NOW. When I’m able to practice more and get more training, I’m sure I’ll get there. Do what’s right for you, but always work toward a better circumstance.

      Best of luck. Stay safe out there.

      • Keith Dowlen

        thanks for replying back my friend, so i just wanted to know if it was safe to do so but now from your perspective point of view, i’d not rather carry in the pipe unless it’s provided to do so but once i get some training with it, i’ll be able to carry it, thanks for great advice for a new timer of myself but right now it’s a home defense pistol until i get my conceal carry license, ik what you mean about our pistol’s are simply beautiful pistol’s & well worth the money for brand-new, lol, thanks for insightful information my friend, take care & be careful out there

        • chris

          I’ve had this exact same gun for over a year now, I carry it everyday with a round in the chamber. The trigger has a built in safety, it’s why the trigger draw is soon long. You’re both doing the right thing in not carrying with a round in the chamber if you aren’t confident about it. But try this, cock the gun with no round in, then insert the magazine. The gun will be loaded without a round chambered. At the end of the day, eject the mag, make sure th chamber is empty, and see if the gun is still cocked. If it is, you know that nothing you did that day would have set the gun off, after a couple weeks you’ll have the confidence to carry with one in the pipe.

          • freddie smith

            I have a sd9ve as well….I carry chambered. These are very safe guns. It will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. If you still feel unsafe…practice practice practice…no better way to build confidence in yourself and your weapon.

      • Keith Dowlen

        thanks for the response and haven’t gotten my license yet but right now it’s just a home defense pistol until i get my license to carry, would be great to have

        • monkeyboy822

          Love the 2 I own. Been carrying this weapon since it was a sigma.

    • Tom Lish

      SD9VE is striker fired so there is no “hammer” to fall, just the sticker to drop when the trigger re positions the striker block. So no trigger pull , no bang !

    • Dr Dave

      There is no issue with the gun not having manual safeties make sure you use a holster and be more careful of holstering then drawing since most misfires happen during re-holstering then drawing. With that said if the “switch” for your “safety holster” is on top of the trigger immediately lose it. By far the greatest number of drawing incidents happen with index finger gun releases that are on top of the trigger. Attempting to draw a gun with the index finger pushing down and slipping while pulling the gun causes the index finger to actually slide into the trigger and fire the gun. The only safe restraining holsters are the ones with THUMB safeties. Plus the paranoia of being in hand to hand combat with someone who is going to pull your gun and use it against you is purely Hollywood and LE.
      If in fact you are a civilian the likelihood you will very be in a hand to hand is nil and if you think you are going to be able to react you are wrong. Even if you can somehow react to some point you won’t be shooting a gun you will be lucky if you can get into a ball and save your life. Better to get an easy to draw holster and practice practice practice.
      Ignore the “military tactics” stuff unless you are in fact teaching it or are in the business. Citizens are not going to be in a war like most are taught and are much better off learning the basics under pressure then the remote nonsense on paper targets in controlled settings.
      The best thing you can do is train under pressure not at the range on paper. Pressure and real life will cut your entire ability to function to 17% so from 100% to 17% think about how much you lose by being in a situation and how you go from fright to frozen
      You will FREEZE not run 100% of the time.
      Dr D

  • frank rooker

    I’m 66 yo and my first pistol was a 38 police special; the first thing I was told and taught (besides a gun is to be treated as loaded at all times) was that you did not carry a round under the hammer. Now that I have gone to a s&w 40 auto I carry a round chambered but I still am not comfortable but trust the design and the reason for it.

    • Firearms have changed. I carried a Beretta 92 FS with one in the chamber for two years. It was in an inhospitable conditions. I carried in sub zero temps as well as in 100+ temps. I carried it in humid conditions, in prolonged periods of rain, and in droughts. It was with me through thick and thin for those two years. I even lost it once in two feet of snow when my holster gave up – it took me hours to find it. I’ve dropped it on rocks and in mud. Dust, sand, cat hair, dog hair, goat hair, chicken feathers, cat puke… I have owned this gun since the early 90s. It has never once gone off until I pulled the trigger with the safety off.

    • Daniel Puls

      The reason not to carry with one under the hammer in older revolvers was so a firm strike to the hammer spur wouldnt transfer enough energy so as to dent the primer of a round carried in that cylinder. As you know when the trigger is depressed on a revolver the next (loaded) chamber rotates in. Carrying with the hammer on an empty chamber but the next in sequence loaded is still identical to carrying an automatic with a round in the chamber due to that fact that you are still only a trigger pull away from the pistol firing.

      • TheLight

        Ummm…in a revolver, there’s always a round ready to fire. Who carries a revolver with one cylinder empty? Revolvers have a disadvantage in ammo capacity as it is, to carry one with an empty chamber is just stupid.

        • WateryWilly

          Guess you did not understand the post you replied to. In OLDER revolvers (like a Spanish one my father owned in the 1930s), there was nothing blocking the hammer, so if you were to drop the revolver (as he once did) and it fell on the hammer (as his did!), the gun FIRES. Only put a hole in the wall and scared the crap out of him (and got the hotel manager running in), so it was prudent to carry with an empty cylinder under the hammer. Did you understand that?

  • Patrick K Martin

    I carry with the chamber when I am running around my home as I am not overly concerned about crime and 2 legged predators and I am concerned about bullet setback in my .40 S&W (and I can no longer afford to shoot enough to rotate my ammo stocks). However, when I go to town (either of them, being as I have one city 100 miles to the west and the other 90 miles to the east) I lock and load. Likewise, if I have even the slightest twitch that something is not right I load up. I too have been a shooter for a long time and I heard the ’empty chamber’ stuff when I was younger and I learned better. Modern revolvers and automatics (i.e. the ones my age or even slightly older) all have safety systems that render as safe as any machine made by man can be even when there is a round in the chamber. I carried my 1911 pistol in condition 1 (chamber loaded, hammer cocked and safety on) for a long time. I am amazed by the people who still cling to the old tales that haven’t been true for longer than I have been sucking air. Any modern pistol worth your money (by which I DO NOT mean Hi-Points and other such junk or antiques) has multiple safeties to keep the weapon from firing unless the trigger is pulled, PERIOD!

    • Adam Knecht

      You wouldn’t have to worry about setback if you chambered a round and left it there… instead of chambering/ejecting when you leave for/return from town….

      • That is what I do. I chamber and cycle chambered rounds weekly. Every 6 months I dispose of carry ammo either at the range or soak it in gun oil if I am unsure of the condition once I rotate it out. Truth be told, I have only soaked 10 rounds in gun oil. I try to get out to the range before I have to do that.

      • Patrick K Martin

        I cannot carry at work and I won’t leave my weapon fully loaded in my car

        • fliegen

          Why? Will it start your car, then discharge itself?

          • Patrick K Martin

            No but it might go after idiots who engage in reductio ad absurdum.
            I do not leave my weapon in condition 1 when not in my physical possession.

          • fliegen

            But you apparently engage in ad hominem, as you’re apparently not very adept, conversationally.

            Careful, moron; it sounds like you’re threatening to make your (unloaded) gun “go after me”. That could be misconstrued.

          • qthush

            Why , just why do you have to assume he is a moron?

          • Dr Dave

            That is senseless
            If you have a gun anywhere near ammo a break in happens who cares if they have to put the two together if they can figure out how to enter your car they surely can figure out how to load a mag and rack a round and get a slide into battery
            Removing the rounds and reloading them only kills the rounds and makes you need to go thru way too many gyrations when you get back to your car and are being followed by a fellow worker who was pissed off at you and wanted 2 pounds of flesh
            Either you leave it at home or you take it loaded but trying to be “safe” while separating them is just your imagination taking over for the reality of facts
            Dr D
            Former Director Federal Drug Interdiction Task Force

      • Charlie Rainey

        Never, never, never, leave a firearm loaded and in red status, (round chambered, on safe). I always clear my Ruger when I get home. A loaded weapon out of your control is an accident waiting to happen.

        • fliegen

          Is it going to get up, walk around, and pull its own trigger?

          • Charlie Rainey

            I’ve actually carried a weapon every day, in combat, and used it. I’m pretty confident in my assessment.

        • Andrew Loyal

          I agree with this as a principal. I don’t follow it, but I get it. If another person could come into contact with your weapon, it’s best that it not be a trigger pull away from firing.

          I don’t worry about that at my own house, but I would if I had kids or regularly hosted company (aside from other firearm owners). I try to never leave my gun in my car if I can avoid it, but if not, I actually do put it in Condition 0 because I assume if someone other than me has it, it doesn’t matter what condition it’s in, and if I’m not in my car and for some reason need to arm myself, it’s best that it be ready to go.

        • Dr Dave

          So do you ask the guy who is breaking down your front door at 3AL to wait while you reload and chamber a round or do you just let him in to do his business?
          It is one thing to lock up gun away from kids but unloading a gun in your home is tantamount to no gun at all.

          • Charlie Rainey

            I’m pretty sure I can load the gun faster than he can get to me. Years of practice.

          • Dr Dave

            That is the misconception that I hear from every gun carrying victim who gets mugged raped robbed or the like. Everyone assumes they have plenty of time
            In reality most “incidents” happen within 7 meters and in less then 3.5 seconds of the victim realizing it is going to happen
            Even LEOs are taken by surprise and remember we are going into incidents EXPECTING things to happen
            Your over confidence I pray doesn’t get you killed some day
            I have been at this for 30 years and the majority of gun owners who are not successful in self defense are more then likely over confident
            Dr D

          • Charlie Rainey

            If someone gets into my home and my alarm does not wake me, nor the sound of their forced entry, how would a loaded gun at my bedside help me? So I’m shot dead reaching for my gun as they walk into my bedroom. Yay me! Some of you have seen too many movies. In reality the chance of a negligent discharge is much higher than your proposed scenario. The stats speak for themselves on that one.

          • Dr Dave

            I spent a LOT of years in law enforcement mostly drug interdiction and I can tell you that “negligent discharges” are a catch phrase for people screwing with loaded guns when they shouldn’t have been
            Actual accidental firings happen so infrequently they can’t be counted. Pretty RARE that a gun goes bang without someone fiddling with it and when they do it is usually during holstering. Far more discharges happen during holstering then any other time in the daily cycle. So the simple fact that daily removing the gun from the holster removing the ammo and then replacing it has more chance of an actual “discharge” then leaving it alone and placing the gun in a safe but accessible place
            A person has a far greater chance of being in need of a gun in their home then in almost any other place short of their car (car jacking is the #1 reason for gun use self defense in the USA today)
            As I mentioned before it used to be if one had an alarm they were pretty much safe now if one has an alarm the bad guys know there must be a reason for the protection and gravitate toward such homes.
            Dr D

          • Tony Gonzalez

            why do you think Police officers are not allowed a weapon with a safety. Not Saying you can’t Load, average person will fail.

        • Adamsesq

          I NEVER NEVER NEVER leave a firearm that could be used for self defense UNLOADED. Every firearm should be locked up or on your person. And when it’s locked up, it’s loaded and ready to grab because an unloaded gun is a hammer. If you have to leave it in a vehicle, make sure you have a safe for it – you can buy them for less than $50.

          The only time a firearm, IMNSHO, should be unloaded is when you just sent a full magazine down range and you are about to put in another one OR you are handing the firearm to someone.

          • Lee

            so im right in thinking that its ok to clean my loaded firearm…… yes ?

    • Craig

      Patrick, Your an assclown who apparently has never owned or shot a Hi Point piece. Yes they are inexpensive but I have had 3 over the years without any misfires or jams. My regular piece is a 45 and have probably shot close to 4000 rounds thru it without any problems. You should get off your hi-horse and quit being such a gun snob. Just Saying.

      • Patrick K Martin

        I have shot a couple of them and they are cheap pieces of junk, now go climb back into your Yugo and drive on back to Trollville. My favorite pistol is a $299 EZ40 which will still be spitting rounds when your next 3 Hi-points will have been shot to pieces, inexpensive does not mean junk, poorly designed clunky crap designed to shoot for a while and net the manufacturer a $50 profit on a $150 gun is. Now run along and don’t let the Po-Po catch you with that, or your Tec9.

        • Patrick K Martin

          It is You’re, by the way.

        • Dr Dave

          After 30+ years in surgery the number one most used weapon in an inner city gun shooting is ……. You guessed it the Hi Point. Sure they look horrendous but if you are a newbie in a gang and in need of a gat they are not going to offer you a Kimber day one. You get what goes bang and based on even guys like Bob Pincus and Assad Ayoob and Paul Markel the one thing that can be said for the inexpensive Hi Point is when the trigger is pulled the bullet goes bang and that is what it is supposed to do. Might be better off being less aggressive and more open to suggestions
          I don’t carry one, but like many (including you apparently), cost isn’t an issue but just to bad mouth a gun because it is ugly and inexpensive isn’t fair. Will it last 10K++ rounds like my 35 year old Walther PPK has on it? NO but actually most currently manufactured guns will not either. I have never had a part fail on the PPK and I have had several go on my Glock 19 with about 4K thru it so lets not talk price and quality

          • timdnml .

            How can you tell what model gun it was?

          • Dr Dave

            The Police

  • Rick Shuffler

    I carry an SD40 VE. It has no safety except for the one that counts, my trigger finger. As long as you obey rule one, “Don’t put your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to shoot.” This works for the range as well as anywhere else. Make a conscious effort for a few weeks to practice your holster draw with a practice gun, or an empty one, and it will become habit. Common sense goes a long way. If you are confronted by a criminal, you may not have time to remember to rack a round in, or you may pull the trigger and hear CLICK. Neither scenario is good. Be vigilant, and stay safe.

    • monkeyboy822

      Love mine.

  • TheLight

    If you carry with an empty chamber, you may not have time to rack the slide to load. That second or two that it takes can be fatal.

    • humpidumpi

      it takes a tiny fraction of a second. You can learn to draw an unchambered gun faster, because you don’t need to worry about safety at all.

      • Andrew Loyal

        It takes up to a full second under duress, increases the chances of not going into battery, and generally takes two hands.

        You don’t have to worry about the safety if you buy a gun without a safety and a heavy trigger pull. You’re right that I wouldn’t carry a hair trigger 1911 in Condition 0, but I wouldn’t want to have to re-chamber a 1911 causing me to loose not only precious seconds, but also one of my 7 precious rounds.

      • Joshua B Newcity

        “you don’t need to worry about safety at all” when drawing an unchambered gun? Treat all guns as chambered and ready to fire. Maybe go learn some fundamentals of firearm handling before giving advice.

      • Tony Gonzalez

        why do you think Police officers are not allowed a weapon with a safety.

      • TwoTon

        Please never EVER have children. Thank you.

  • SJvet

    In Vietnam, when transitting the rivers, we weren’t allowed to have a round in the chamber.

    • William S

      Luckily most American concealed carriers aren’t navigating rivers.

  • Ezra Ben-Hur

    I found having
    a round in the chamber very safe. MY 9 millimeter shield come with safety and I love it. eat your heart out all of you Gluck owners. Lol…

    • DrGerryG13

      I have a shield as well. I don’t get to the range anymore. Perhaps you can answer this…. My preference is to have one in the chamber with the safety ON. Am I correct in believing that, to shoot, I just need to take the safety off and pull the trigger…and thus avoid taking the time to put one in the chamber? Am I correct that the next round will automatically go into the chamber as long as the safety remains off? Thanks.

      • David

        You are correct about the Shield. If the safety is on, train as you draw to bring your thumb down on the safety. Pull the trigger and it will fire as long as one in in the chamber. Thumb off until clear and moving to “Hi” firing position.

        • DrGerryG13

          Thank you, David.

  • Patrick Gjorven

    I’m calling BS on this article for several things:
    1) Only 4 rules of gun safety? You’re absolutely sure, right?
    – How about never trust a safety on a tool/machine that can wear down over time. If you have actually ever have seen the teeny tiny pin, lever, switch that keeps the weapon from going-off. If you think my theory is wrong, take a knife for instance (or any tool for that matter), you use it on an animal you just killed and it most likely starts getting more difficult to cut the same meat (don’t deny it, I’ve killed/skinned a couple deer too). And, that is just flesh on steel. It wears down the steel little by little.
    2) Triggers, especially the trigger finger.
    – When a person does become stressed or scared, other parts of the human body can also do weird things they don’t intend to do. For instance sweaty hands, dry breathing, rapid blood circulation, getting that crazy eyed look, talking faster than normal, or losing bladder or possibly vomiting in extreme cases. Ever had “big buck fever”? Besides if you do draw under stress, chances are your finger will most likely be inching its way to that trigger before the gun is out of the holster possibly. And, why put a safety on the trigger anyway? Your finger usually covers the entire face anyways
    3) Watch for “other” wandering hands besides your own. Remember the unfortunate mother that took her kid in a shopping cart, and her concealed carry inside her purse with her to a Wal-Mart store last year?
    4) “If they pull out a knife, you pull out a gun. If they send one of your guys to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!”
    – Yeah, if I saw a gun pointed at me… I would stop what I was doing most likely (especially if I see the barrel and two hands on the weapon). If a person does shoot to kill after the assailant stops what he is doing and runs or walks away? That can possibly count as assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter and possibly murder under a court of law, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LEAVE THE SCENE! This is 201x after all, not the 1900’s any more.
    5) Have you ever actually tried timing yourself to get the weapon into battery, let alone drawing the weapon under stress? They may not seem or be very fast at first, but you will be surprised how slow time feels like it is going under stress. There actually have been several accounts and studies of people actually seeing numbers in sequence going less than hundreths of a second or running faster than normal with an animal chasing after them (ever tried grabbing an ostrich egg and getting away from a male ostrich, or running from a pissed off bull?)
    6) Anyone actually heard of Blackbeard? Anyone actually know that most of the ships he stole or captured ended without firing a shot but only raising his colors? -Uh yeah…. sometimes bigger is better, or in this case, showing that you are packing to a possible assailant can stop the whole thing before it even began.
    7) Thank you Sir Isaac Newton and Murphy!
    – I would almost say it can be a proven fact that whenever a person tests Murphy’s law, that the law of gravity is also sure to follow. Gravity not only is involved with pulling things to the earth, but also motion of an object and energy transfer. While Murphy’s law “anything that can ‘possibly’ happen, can still ‘possibly’ happen” tests the probability of something happening if a sequence of events occurs. Try dropping your cocked, safety on, loaded firearm a few hundred times. I dare you! Remember, the stress and sweaty hands earlier?

    • William S

      TL;DR go preach elsewhere

    • Patrick what? O.o

      There are 4 main gun safety rules, seems pretty simple until you bust a nut on rambling about crap.

    • Joshua B Newcity

      “getting that crazy eyed look” LOL. This is a troll post, I pray.

  • Randy Butts

    Might have been said before…..but how safe is it to NOT carry with 1 in the chamber!!!!!

  • wes

    I carry a chambered round 110% of the time in my glock .40. A gun not chambered is nothing more than an expensive piece of metal. Also a plus to glocks is they’re hammerless, they have a striker fire system which is double action and can only be initiated by full trigger pull

  • Craig Daugherty

    From tactical stand point, it’s better to have a round in the chamber and the hammer de-cocked. In a fire fight, your focus is on the bad guy. You have to break your focus to cycle your weapon, you take too long to engage, you will loose the fight.

    • fliegen

      “you will loose the fight”

      Then you’ll have to tighten it back up?

  • Randy Lannon

    You need the right weapon, I carry either my XDS .45 or my FNX .45 both are designed to lessen an accidental discharge, quality equates to safety. Carry a weapon you are confident with. Never leave a chambered or loaded weapon in your home, you will always have time to load and chamber in a home defense situation, and you don’t want to be killed with your own weapon.

    • fliegen

      ”you will always have time to load and chamber in a home defense situation”

      Says who? That’s no different than the (misguided) people who think they’ll have time to do the “Israeli Draw” nonsense while carrying.

    • Willie Calhoun

      Randy, if you are a victim of a home invasion, most times you do NOT have time to load and chamber. Your door is busted in and you are rushed. Unless you can get to a safe area you need that firearm ready to go.

      • Peter South

        Nah, doesn’t work like that. Most of the time you get warning, most people are just terrible at reading it or in denial. They waste precious seconds asking dumb questions like “what was that?”.

        The worst thing is not an uncocked gun, it’s not having a gun at all, like me. I was not armed and he had a knife, had to handle it with my fists but I did.

        Unless you are weak or can’t fight you’ll usually be fine, these guys are not elite or anything. Use your feet to maneuver your body while you get your gun into action, remember you have legs and a body aside from the gun. lol

        With women it’s mostly about situational awareness, not how fast you can draw. The problem with women is they don’t pay attention to indications of danger. Gun ain’t gonna fix it.

        If you are not aware, you may not even get the chance to draw.

    • Stan Robertson

      “you will always have time to load and chamber in a home defense situation”…..PLEASE tell me you are joking

  • Raptor Krav Maga

    how safe is to carry with an empty chamber?

  • Tom Destry Jr.

    I do keep a round chambered and use a N82 IWB holster designed specifically for my S&W Shield 9mm. I also keep the external safety on. While I know many would say this is not necessary and might delay my response time under stress I prefer the peace of mind from knowing there is little if any chance of an accidental discharge.

  • RunnerGunner 99

    I respectively disagree.A lot of modern pistols such as Glocks (and pistols of similar designs) are not FORGIVING! That is all I am trying to say. Oh but we are much too advanced to bother with an external safety! And it has become the modern norm to never think of carrying with an empty chamber! Oh no we are much too cool for that! Well here is some food for thought. This is my point: Statistically most of us will go through life and never use our handgun in a confrontation. Think about that. And if police officers are susceptible to so many negligent discharges (and they are) then so are we. This Josey Wales fast draw attitude could buy us enough negligent discharges for reasonable people to then see all of us as a danger. Then how cool are we? Now cool your jets Glock lovers. They are truly fine weapons. But this what I think. And that’s why they call it an opinion. And if you start calling me names I’ll go and get my feelings hurt! :-)

    • Andrew Loyal

      Those negligent discharges rarely happen during the draw or holstering process or while holstered. Most of them happen while the officer is pointing his firearm at a suspect and has his finger on the trigger- which has nothing to do with the condition he carried his firearm in because the weapon has been intentionally moved to condition 0.

      It’s also worth noting that we are may be susceptible to negligent discharges, but historically the police have much less firearm training than the average CCW and statistically DO have more negligent discharges… meaning that just because one group can’t get their act together doesn’t imply that we should restrict ourselves.

      I carry a Glock in condition 0 and I don’t worry about it going off when I sit down or randomly in line at McDonald’s. Guns don’t do that. If it’s going off, it’s because the trigger was pulled.

  • Willie Calhoun

    When I first started carrying I did not carry with 1 in the chamber. I started practicing drawing to build muscle memory. Now, without thinking, when the gun is drawn from the holster my trigger finger is in the proper, off trigger position. Since that time I have carried with one in the chamber. You have to practice drawing until you have the muscle memory built, then you continue to practice (just not as much) to keep the memory. I carry a G19, a XD, or a Walther.

  • Tm

    Common Sense and good equipment go along way in keeping you safe. A lot of new ccw carriers might have some concerns about trusting their guns or equip. with one in the chamber. With time and experience, you will learn to trust yourself and weapon!

  • B. W.

    Sorry, but I’ve got to disagree with most people here. If 1 is in the chamber, there is a chance the gun can go off. Very small chance, but still a chance. The hammer or pin is spring loaded, waiting to be released. Even on a gun with multiple safeties, you are relying on those to function properly to keep your firearm from firing. Chances are, they will function properly, but there still is a chance of a malfunction. Clothes catching on the gun, dropping, getting hit/bumped – there are many things that could happen. Again, chances are the gun will not fire, but it is possible. To say it’s impossible is just ignorant.

    I have carried for years, and am very comfortable with my gun. But I never carry with one in the chamber. Because without a round in the chamber, there is 0% chance my gun will fire. Yes, a round could go off in my magazine for some reason (highly unlikely), but if that were to happen, the only thing to get hurt would be my leg (I ankle carry).

    The chances I will ever need my gun are low, but I will be prepared if that time ever comes. I highly doubt the half second it takes to rack a round will be the difference between life and death. Honestly, it frightens me that so many people are packing loaded firearms saying things like “an unloaded gun is nothing but an expensive piece of metal…”

  • humpidumpi

    your conclusion is wrong. 80 people die each day from suicides and another 80 from car accidents. Every single day. Do you hear about that? No? then shut the fuck up! Whole police departments changed triggers to increase trigger pull because fucking morons were discharging one round after another.

    Only COMPLETE MORONS chamber a round.

    • Al Sanwick

      or don’t carry a real pistol like a 1911. Cocked and locked is the safest way to carry one

    • Andrew Loyal

      Police have notoriously low firearm safety training. Frankly, if you’re pointing the muzzle of your firearm at a person and have your finger resting on the trigger, you’re ready to kill that person. The fact that they sometimes fired two shots instead of one doesn’t change anything about the situation.

      Also, in all of those cases, the weapon had already been intentionally unholstered and the safety taken off. They were PUT into condition 0 and then aimed. What happens after that has absolutely nothing to do with what condition it was in while holstered.

  • Scott Evans

    “Knocking them down with a response like that doesn’t help anyone and certainly doesn’t remove any uncertainties they may have.”

    Psychology isn’t your strong suit. Stick to firearms.

  • Al Sanwick

    Carry a 1911. cocked and locked with real safety

  • Andrew Loyal

    For people who don’t believe the safety mechanism in their gun is sound, I recommend getting the simulator called World of Guns: Gun Disassembly and taking a look at how the safeties and mechanics actually work inside the gun through the x-ray w/ cutaway. It’s really interesting. There are some guns that I wouldn’t trust, but as the article says, any modern firearms sold in US retail will be solid.

  • Norman

    What if you have troubled teenager at home?

    • Jim C.

      Lock it up.

    • DannyDan

      Lock it up when not on body. I’d also lock it up for a couple months when someone in the house starts, changes, or stops a prescription that has rare side effects such as violene and suicide. There are portable pistol safes available that can be opened easily with push button sequences you can memorize. Should be able to mount close to bed for home defense.

  • Felix Hernandez

    This article continues to come up, and I’ll offer the same advise I did last time. Carry chambered, but insert your holster as one full unit(gun chambered, and in holster) into your waistband, when you get home remove it the same way. What this accomplishes is that the trigger is always covered and has no chance of being snagged by something while holstering. I’ve carried this way for years, and it has served me well. I also practice a proper draw at the range when safe to do so, to build both muscle memory and confidence. Reholstering under stress is a different ballgame, and I have had the unfortunate situation where I had to do so. Thankfully, training paid off and I’m here able to type about it today. Carry with confidence and safety in mind and you’ll be fine.

  • Das Blade

    I carry Glocks 19 and a 21 Gen 4 no safety except for my finger. I also use the Serpa shoot yourself holsters with them. Here is a fact that many forget about. I always carry with a round in the chamber while you smack and rack a round into play I have unloaded 6 rounds into my target while you still getting your weapon into position. In other words if it me against you your dead three times over and that is the bottom line. Being prepared and ready is the name of the game and when every second counts you don’t have time to smack and rack.

  • Bill Mahoney

    Get a “J” frame Smith & Wesson. Cary six rounds in the chamber!

    • mrsmup

      I was always intimidated about ccw with one in the chamber, so I bought a Ruger LCR +p. I feel very confident now and never go out with out it on me. My home defense is a SIG 1911. I just had to realize that I had to carry what I felt comfortable with, not what I thought I everyone else was doing. A newbie mistake I guess.

  • David Eberhardt

    There are pros and cons to carrying with or without one in the chamber. Let’s say you get attacked by surprise from very close range and while you’re trying to draw your pistol, the attacker is able to get a hold of it from you. The attacker will be totally confused while trying to shoot you and you have time to injure him with several quick strikes to his eyes, throat, and balls. That’s one scenario. On the other hand, many have mentioned how many things can go wrong if you have to rack the slide to chamber up. Best advice – train like heck with the method you chose.

  • m444ss

    My father-in-law used to carry with a full mag but chamber empty. He was in the mall once when a police officer said hello. She asked him if he was carrying concealed. He said yes. She asked him if he had a round in the chamber. He said no. She said, “Not much good if you need it in a hurry.” He’s always carried with a round chambered ever since. (So do I.)

  • paulm53

    If using a single rule for everybody in every situation were feasible, we’d only need one speed limit. I have to clear my weapon daily, sometimes even more often. I’d prefer to carry chambered, but have had to discard a few rounds due to visible setback. I also prefer to leave unloaded in my car. This works best (easiest and safest) for me in my situation.

  • BigBarry

    In the civilian world there just isn’t time to rack a round or remove a safety. Encounters happen very up close. I always carry ready to go.

  • Pat Lord

    Just my take on this matter, my wife has trouble with riding the slide when racking the gun. I have showed she the proper technique but sometimes she still rides it and the shell does not chamber. She now carries locked and loaded to keep from having to rack the slide. In the heat of the moment if she had to re-rack the slide, she would probably dead.

  • Mike M.

    The problem with the whole “sometimes I carry loaded and sometimes I don’t” is you’re changing your habits and that tends to be a bad thing in a high stress situation.

  • TwoTon

    Chamber loaded=max readiness.

  • Dave Donnora

    Not for everyone but I really like the grip safety on my XDsc.