Firearm Carry With Or Without A Round In The Chamber

MrColionNoir has some thoughts on the topic:

Get a good holster.. end of discussion.  If you have a shitty holster then I would actually recommend carrying without a round in the chamber… because you are attempting to save $40-60 on something you definitely shouldn’t be skimping on.

LOL at 1:04!  hahah that was great.

If you like his Run Guns t-shirt it can be bought over at ENDO Apparel.  I like his Keep Calm And Carry One reference at the end too… subtle.

Thoughts?  Are any of you guys into Israeli carry (keeping the chamber empty until you rack the slide like a ninja)? Or is everyone in agreement that an unloaded gun is a useless club?


38 responses to “Firearm Carry With Or Without A Round In The Chamber”

  1. The only pistol I could think of that I would Israeli carry is for an old gun with no safety like the original soviet TT-33…. even then, when the heck would that ever happen

  2. MrMaigo Avatar

    My question is, open carry. What if some asshat grabs for your gun?

    1. wry762 Avatar

      Good question. If you open carry (or carry concealed – more on this later) you might want to think about some kind of retention training. There are two parts to this:

      1. Someone tries to snatch your handgun out of its holster. This is undesirable, so you stop them by grabbing your handgun, or the attacker’s hand. There are different ways to do this – it depends on how quickly you catch on to the attempt.

      2. Someone tries to snatch your handgun out of its holster. Stopping them by grabbing the handgun first is nice, but the attacker will probably need more negative reinforcement. This can be applied with a second handgun or edged weapon – carried in a position which can be easily accessed with your weak hand.

      You don’t necessarily need to spend $$$ on training or gear. Get a buddy and a plastic spoon. and run some drills – your buddy tries to snatch your handgun, and you stab him in the neck with the spoon in your weak hand. After you’ve run through a few spoons, you’ll have had some learning experiences. You will be amazed at how quickly an inexpensive holster will disintegrate from rough handling. If you are using a properly designed holster and belt, you may find that an attacker has a much more difficult time snatching the handgun. And your buddy will have some cool bruises on his neck to show off.

      1. MrMaigo Avatar

        Yeah, having a weakside fixed blade was the second thing I thought of. The first being a level 2 or 3 holster. Still, open carrying gives me the sweats.

    2. 2Wheels Avatar

      A retention holster would be my first step. There’s a reason a lot of cops use them. It’s not foolproof, but it helps.

    3. Vhyrus Avatar

      This is actually a scary one. My buddy and I play a little game when were open carrying around the house: try to grab the others gun cleanly before they can react. Lets just say the grab is successful more times than it isn’t. Fortunately, this is not something I feel you will actually have to deal with in the real world due to the high risk involved on the grabbers part.

  3. Last words of the vid “keep calm and carry one”. I think the guy is in love with you ENDO-Mike, or this is a concealed order for a new t-shirt… HA HA HA!

    Seriously, I agree with it all, but you got to have a correct holster AND know your damn gun, be sure that the internals are not damaged/too old. I had an accident with an old blank gun because of pretty shitty internals. I took the old gun, and wanted to shoot it without checking inside, but one of the gears was damaged and it went off with not warning. No harm done, but lesson learned. You have to KNOW your gun…

  4. Garrett Avatar

    I agree with his points. I carried without a chambered round for the first few months too. I also soon decided that was worthless when SHTF. An unloaded chamber was my training wheels for concealed carry.

  5. wry762 Avatar

    I knew a guy who was like the person in the vid – more afraid of his handgun than of getting attacked. He carried with an empty chamber. I mentioned to him that I felt it was optimistic of him to think that he would have both hands free if he was attacked. A lot of attacks start with someone attacking an arm and/or taking you to the ground. In the first few seconds of a fight, you might be injured to the point that even using one hand would be difficult. The person I was talking to was quite alarmed – they had never thought about what a real-world fight might be like.

  6. I am really liking what he is saying, but the cuts and edits every 2 seconds in the videos are getting VERY annoying.

  7. 2Wheels Avatar

    IMHO “Israeli Carry” is for those who are either not confident in themselves or their equipment. There are a few exceptions (some older guns I would be hesitant to carry loaded), but none of those apply to someone who can afford a modern handgun+holster and some basic training on how to use them.

    The advantages of Israeli Carry are… No danger of an AD/ND.

    Disadvantages include… May need to use one arm to fight off attacker(s) at close range or your arm/hand could be injured in the fight, limiting your ability to chamber a round with your free hand (yes, I’m aware it can be done but it isn’t easy especially under pressure). May fail to properly rack the slide in the heat of the moment, causing a jam. May not have enough time to chamber a round.

  8. Jon Hutto Avatar
    Jon Hutto

    If you just keep a 380 in your pocket, get a pocket holster
    If you have a good holster, there is no reason not to have on in the chamber.

  9. P. Allen Avatar
    P. Allen

    Go take ECQC and then try to argue that Israeli carry is in any way a good idea.

  10. Carrying without loading is a terrible idea. If you want to carry an unloaded gun, go ahead. My first CCW was a S&W442, so there was no option of carrying it empty and I never had an ND with it. Now my summer gun is an SP101 and it also hasn’t ND’d or whatever the ninnies who carry empty guns tell you will inevitably happen. If you follow Cooper’s rules, you won’t have any problems.

    I should note that my winter guns are an M&P9C and Para LTC. Neither of them have ND’d either. Weird.

  11. Larry Avatar

    Well i will be the outlier here, i carry with no round chambered, mostly because my H&K P2000 has no external/manual safety’s, but i suppose im also a big guy so im less worried about someone grabbing my arm and overpowering me easily. And the whole Israeli carry, once trained to draw as such its NEARLY as fast as normal, only real issue is getting your sight picture as fast. Oh and feel free to flame me but (6 years active duty, 3 years forward deployed)

    1. 032125 Avatar

      Same here; big guy, ex military. not a target . I do have two small kids and a P226 with no safety. Now granted, my oldest daughter can barely pull back the trigger on a .22 rifle, so the DA on a Sig ought to be a deterrent, but that’s me being paranoid papa.

      I can (and do) rack the slide on my leg if my support hand goes down, and I have no problem employing a pocket knife if I’m already tangled. I train as I (will hopefully never) fight.

  12. Rob G Avatar

    I carry loaded and chambered simply because if I need to draw, I need to shoot immediately.

    I believe that discussions about losing tactical advantage to criminals due to open carry give criminals way too much credit.

    Most of the criminals I’ve run across are opportunists that look for soft targets to smash, grab and go. They spend no more than 30 seconds sizing up a victim and will almost always conclude that a visible gun strapped to a hip is not a soft target and move on. There are plenty of softer fish out in the sea waiting for them.

    There will always be exceptions, of course, but that rule of nature will always be there.

    “Keep calm and carry one.” Very well said!

  13. You may need to fire one-handed at a moment’s notice without the luxury of your off-hand being free. Thus, I prefer one-in-the-chamber.

  14. James M&P Avatar
    James M&P

    When i was in the Air Force we always had one in the chamber. Other services couldn’t wrap their minds around that.

  15. Simple solution if carrying with one in the chamber scares you: carry a revolver. You can leave one empty so it takes two trigger pulls. This gives you a margin of safety, take almost no extra time, and can be done one-handed. Then again now every round is in a loaded chamber which will be 5 or 6 times as scary.

    1. Curtis Avatar

      If you had to shoot someone in self defense, I can see their plaintiff’s attorney arguing that you did not intend to shoot, but that you tried to pull the trigger to prep the gun. This is because the insurance companies have deep pockets. A policy won’t typically pay out for an intentional act, but they will for negligence (i.e., firing when you did not intend to). For a better explanation, Mas Ayoob talks about this a lot. There is no affirmative defense called “justifiable neglicence”.

      1. That’s also why some people advocate DAO in defense revolvers. In theory an attorney can argue that you cocked the gun and the light “hair trigger” caused you to fire without meaning to. I’m all for carrying ready to shoot. But if I was concerned about a chambered round in a pistol I’d carry a double action revolver with a transfer bar firing system. The heavy trigger would give me a warm fuzzy feeling that it won’t go off unless I want it to.

  16. I have been carrying my 1911 for many years, and I always carry at condition 1, round in the chamber, hammer cocked and the thumb safety on. For all the years that I have carried it this way, I have never had an issue with AD or ND. I also have a Glock 19, but I prefer to carry a big boy caliber.

  17. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Why can’t you carry with one in the chamber sometimes, and carry with an empty chamber other times? For example, if I’m going to be carrying a large amount of cash in a part of town with gang activity or a high crime rate, I’ll carry with one in the chamber because threat of harm from AD/ND is low and because threat of danger to me is high. If I’m taking my six-year old son to his friend’s house for a birthday party I’ll carry with the chamber empty to eliminate all possibility of AD/ND because children are around and because threat of danger to me or my boy is low.

    Another consideration: if you’re a civilian and carry one in the chamber all the time, there will be hundreds of thousands of hours or instances in your life where an AD/ND could hurt an innocent person or somebody you love. All that risk for what? So you can get a shot off in 1-2 seconds instead of 3-4 seconds? If you have a dangerous occupation, the scales start tipping one direction, but if you have a safe occupation, the scales tip the other way.

    1. The risk of ND/AD is low if you obey the four rules and use your head. I’ve carried loaded guns for the majority of my adult life and because I have followed the rules and used my head, so far I’ve never had an ND/AD. I’ve never felt “at risk” of one either, since my gun is loaded I will not pull the trigger until it’s pointed at a target. Since I use a holster, nothing’s going to pull the trigger while it’s stowed.

      There’s so little chance that anyone will need to draw their gun and fire, we can’t point to hard evidence either way. But I’m going to err on the side of needing the extra two seconds because I’ve been in enough firefights and regular fights to know that the bad guys aren’t always 100 yards out and you can’t go through Condition Tactical Butterscotch in time to do any good. When I was a cop, most of the assaults were done by turds who ambushed their targets. The perfect example is a turd who put on brass knuckles and hid behind a trashcan outside a gas station and just punched the first guy who walked by (in the head). You gonna rack a slide while dazed, bleeding, being tackled to the ground, and punched with a dangerous weapon? Good luck. (and it was in a “safe” small town of under 2000 people) I guess my point is that you don’t know when trouble will arise. Bad things often happen in “safe” or “nice” parts of town. You’re free to carry an empty gun, but it might not be much help.

    2. P. Allen Avatar
      P. Allen

      I’m sorry but I think this is just asinine. The chances of having an AD/ND with a loaded gun in a quality holster (not some POS gunshow special) are essentially zero. Now, if you are taking it out of the holster all the time to finger fuck it, your chances go up substantially.

    3. IMO, toggling back and forth before would not only be a detriment to your draw and shoot muscle memory, but you’ve now also increased the chance of forgetting what condition you left it in when time calls where you may need to use it. The point is, we have no choice as to when something bad does happen, “Indian territory,” or not.

  18. ironchef Avatar

    Well said MRCN. I had to build up confidence the first 6 months or so I carried a glock 26. I got tired of carrying a paperweight and new i was unwise carrying unloaded so I spent a few weeks with a snapcap in the chamber and built confidence by checking it at the end of the day to see if the bomb went didn’t. Then the day came where I started going “hot” with my carry gun (g36 at the time). I’m happy to say that in 4 years, it still hasn’t gone off!

  19. I really like that he never bashes the other views on the subjects he talks about. Me, always one in the chamber, and I made my holster in the garage out of kydex, it’s custom fit for my body and I know it’s safe… I freaking made it.

  20. Glock 17, condition 1, every day. Lots of my CC practice scenarios involve one handed draw and fire while using the other hand to redirect an attack by a knife, or even to shoulder check forward and get inside a larger adversaries “box” and get rounds on board. By carrying without a round in the chamber you are handicapping yourself severely- you will start EVERY fight WAY BEHIND the curve as you load your weapon while your enemy is already attacking. Why put yourself, in a situation where your very life is at stake, at a major disadvantage right out of the gate? A CCW holder defending their life is already in reactive mode- don’t put yourself in any worse shape out of some ignorant fear. Accept that your gun is an inanimate object, a tool that has no free will of it’s own, and is not going to jump out and start shooting people all by itself.

    If you feel unsafe carrying your pistol with a round in a chamber GET A DIFFERENT GUN. If you are concerned about an ND while carrying with a round in the chamber GET A BETTER HOLSTER. Don’t make excuses for compromises that compromise your ability to react in a defensive situation.

    1. A loaded gun in a quality holster is not an inanimate object in the way that a block of metal is an inanimate object. A loaded gun in a quality holster is a charged battery. A mechanical and chemical battery. It stores mechanical potential energy in its springs and levers. It stores chemical potential energy in the primer and propellant in each cartridge. A loaded gun is therefore more like a tensed or compressed spring with failsafes designed to prevent that spring from accidentally unloading (firing). How confident are you in those failsafes? I have high confidence, but not total confidence.

      1. Confident enough that I am not going to carry without a round in the chamber and put myself behind the curve in a self defense situation.

        1. I can’t disagree with you because what you’re saying is correct. What I mean is that you’ve weighed the ups and downs and arrived at a conclusion you’re comfortable with. Maybe ultimately you’re right. I’ve personally never heard of a documented case of AD/ND where the user didn’t accidentally pull the trigger–I’m only thinking that hypothetically it seems like it could happen. I just hope that most people who carry also think hard about all the factors and their comfort with risk before deciding on what they are personally comfortable with–I think analyzing these things is an important part of being a responsible gun owner/user.

  21. His videos are great to not put someone in a corner.

    For the OC, and even CCW, crowd you may want to look at the KABAR TDI Law Enforcement Knives. I just recently purchased one and it feels so natural to carry off side and use it if needed in a short time (weeks).

  22. David Avatar

    I said it before but I think this guy is awesome.

  23. Support The 2nd Avatar
    Support The 2nd

    In the United States, we need to be VERY careful about carrying with an empty chamber. The DA can/will argue that your self defense shooting just became intentional homicide because IF you had time to rack the lside, then you had time to run.
    Keep in mind, that the left wing media will crucify you if you had time to rack the slide.

    No I also encourage you all to read “The Open Carry Argument” by mainsail. He/she points out home OC is a better deterent than CC. found here:

  24. Mike B Avatar

    Carrying without a round in the chamber would be like going to the bar without a condom in your pocket, would really suck to get caught with your pants down and no protection on hand.

    1. dave w Avatar

      than god bullets have a longer use before date than condoms :D