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Is an Empty Chamber Dangerous?

Peglegjoe

Professional
Founding Member
I agree 1000%.

When I first started carrying my XDs - and before I'd gotten mentally comfortable with the drop-safe safeties (and no manual safety) - I carried it with a snap-cap in the chamber every day for a week. Each night when I got home, I would drop the mag, point the gun in a safe direction outside, and pull the trigger.

Every day, it "fired" the snap cap. Click.

That told me that the gun had not "gone off" on its own during the course of the day, and it was all I needed to get my brain comfortable with Condition One carry. I've been carrying it Condition One ever since in my kydex IWB holster (shrouded trigger), with no problems.

Personally - and just like the author - I'll NEVER carry with an empty chamber. It's bad enough that I keep my 12ga pump "cruiser-ready" at the bedside (full tube but empty chamber), but my choice there is, in case someone gets to my bedside and to the shotgun before I wake, the sound of them racking it will absolutely wake me up. I also count on my dogs to wake me if anyone gets anywhere into my house, and I should have plenty of time to react before they're bedside with me, so I'll have time to rack one in as I raise the shotgun. But my handgun? Always Condition One.
 
A round in the chamber all the time, carrying or not, in fact all my handguns are loaded and chambered and easily accessible. “I’m lucky not to have young children in my apartment” the only weapon I don’t have a round chambered in is my AR Pistol although there is a magazine installed and ready to rock.
Great article Mike thanks for sharing.
 

Recusant

Custom
Is an Empty Chamber Dangerous? I'd say no. An empty chamber in your carry gun is fine, but only if your assailant will allow you the time it takes to shuck a round into your empty chamber! :rolleyes: When push comes to shove an empty chamber may cost you your life. Also remember many people have been shot with empty guns. Because of that I was taught that all guns should be considered loaded until you can personally verify that the chamber is empty. But hopefully I'm preaching to the choir.:)
 
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HansGruber

Hellcat
Ayoob doesn’t even touch on the (faulty) assumption that you'll actually have a free hand to rack the slide...people always think a gunfight will follow a scenario they have fixed in their minds—that they'll have perfect situational awareness, that their antagonist will be “X” yards away (usually a number from 3 to 7), and they'll see the fight coming.

They never stop to consider what happens if the antagonist is, literally, on top of them before they can get their gun out and charged.
 
I recently sold a very nice Walther Creed pistol over this issue. While the Creed is a VERY nice pistol, the trigger was just too light in my opinion to keep a round chambered. I bought it for the purpose of home defense. If you have a pistol that you may need to grab and shoot quickly, having it un-chambered is risky. There is always the possibility that the round won't chamber when you cock the slide - it's just too risky.
Now I have a DA/SA pistol that I can safely keep chambered.
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
If one chooses to carry with an empty chamber you better make yourself very proficient in Isreali Carry ....


Better yet, find a firearm that you can carry in a ready-to-fire mode.

I recommend a double-action revolver to those not comfortable carrying a chambered auto.
 

wmg1299

Professional
While I always carry with a round in the chamber, I don't hold it against people who choose to carry with an empty chamber. I see the decision to own and carry firearms as an individual right. Once you recognize something as a right, then you are severely limited in your ability to tell people how to exercise it. If an empty chamber is the only way someone feels safe carrying a weapon, then so be it. This also applies to my feelings about external safeties and open carry. Just because I would not do something, or feel that something is a poor tactical idea, doesn't mean that I won't support your right to do it.
 

somorris

Custom
Founding Member
I found it interesting that Ayoob mentioned that for competitions, most require the gun to be "cold," that is completely unloaded. If it is perfectly safe to carry a fully loaded firearm with a chambered round, I wonder why competitions require an empty gun. Not trying to start an argument, just food for thought..

As for me, I comply with Ayoob's suggestion with a DA/SA and agree the gun needs to be ready to go. While your situational awareness may allow you time to chamber a round, you may be surprised also. A person just needs to be extra careful all the time when toting around a deadly tool on his person. I personally think a DA/SA is the best way to go. Just get used to the longer trigger pull for that first shot.
 

KillerFord1977

Hellcat
Founding Member
Ayoob doesn’t even touch on the (faulty) assumption that you'll actually have a free hand to rack the slide...people always think a gunfight will follow a scenario they have fixed in their minds—that they'll have perfect situational awareness, that their antagonist will be “X” yards away (usually a number from 3 to 7), and they'll see the fight coming.

They never stop to consider what happens if the antagonist is, literally, on top of them before they can get their gun out and charged.
Perfect example I have posted before of why your hip gun has a round chambered: watch this video from S Africa
Robber pulls up and point gun at homeowner and friend. Homeowner is ready to rock

 
A friend who was a hunter was very nervous about carrying with a round chambered. We talked a while but what did it was while talking I took out my knife and walked toward him. He instinctively put out his hand. I then said, " Show me how you are going to rack your slide with a hand fending off an attacker."
 
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