As long as I have carried a handgun I’ve run across people with different opinions regarding carrying their firearm with a round in the chamber. Most want to carry with a round chamber in order to facilitate a quick draw and shoot, but some want to carry with the chamber empty to ensure against an accidental discharge.
In my humble opinion, planning to draw and chamber a round after the SHTF is like planning to fasten your seatbelt after you see the other guy run a stop sign.
Below are some blogs and videos that discuss whether or not you should carry your semi-automatic pistol with a round in the chamber. It is recommended that you carry your firearm chambered so that you can quickly engage a threat. You may find that you can’t draw and chamber a round with one hand if you are having to fight or hold back an attacker with the other. One arm may be injured making it more problematic to chamber a round. Law enforcement always carries with a round in the chamber for this very reason, and you should too.
Won’t I Accidentally Shoot Myself?:
If you are carrying with a round in the chamber of a modern, well maintained, quality pistol in a rigid Kydex or quality leather holster that covers the trigger and trigger guard, then there isn’t a way for your pistol to accidentally discharge. The linked blogs and attached videos will discuss safety issues and procedures related to carrying a chambered firearm, but some quick pointers include:
Follow the four golden rules of firearms safety:
- Treat all guns as though they are always loaded and always perform a clearance check every time you pick one up.
- Never point a gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are on target and have made the decision to shoot.
- Always be sure of your target and beyond.
Seek out professional training for concealed carry.
Practice. Practice. Practice: After triple-checking that there is no live ammunition inside and in the vicinity of the firearm, load the magazines with dummy ammunition. Practice drawing and presenting the pistol on target, being careful not to touch the trigger until on the sights are on target and you are ready to shoot. Practice dry-firing at a spot on a far wall. Be careful that the pistol does not move when the firing mechanism clicks. When the gun clicks, practice clearing a malfunction, and then carefully holster.
Use extreme care when holstering your pistol. Holstering may be the most dangerous part of carrying a round in the chamber. This is a task that is not to be taken lightly. Be very careful that your finger is not touching the trigger. Be EXTREMELY careful that your jacket, shirt, gear, drawstring, etc. do not get into the trigger area as you insert the pistol into the holster. People have accidentally been shot this way. Don’t be fearful, but do be respectful, and this won’t happen to you. As a practice, when first putting on your gun for the day, first insert the pistol into the holster, and then put on the holster with the gun already in it.
Use a modern, quality holster that completely covers the handgun’s trigger and trigger guard. Kydex plastic is best material, especially with IWB holsters (inside the waistband), but if you choose real or synthetic leather, make sure that it has inserts to keep it from getting worn and droopy, especially around the trigger area (as seen in the photo to the right). Throw away old and worn out holsters. There isn’t any reason to keep them.
Don’t carry a chambered semi-automatic pistol in a soft pocket holster. Most pocket-size semi-autos have long or stiff trigger pulls for added safety value when pocket carrying, however some don’t and require any more trigger effort to fire than their bigger brothers. Regardless of the make and model, I find it disconcerting to carry a chambered semi-auto that is pointing at my reproductive gear while in a soft pocket holster. Ironically I have carried a S&W 642 hammerless revolver (stiff trigger) in a pocket holster for over 20 years without any fear or problems (as seen in the photo to the right), but when I carried a Glock 26 in a similar holster I chose not to carry with a round in the chamber as the Glock has a much lighter trigger pull than the revolver. The choice is going to be a personal call for you.
Please feel free to comment at the bottom of the page with your questions, concerns, and experiences.
- Concealed Nation’s How Safe Is It To Carry With A Round In The Chamber?
- Concealed Nation’s Why We Always Recommend Carrying With A Round In The Chamber (warning: graphic)
- Concealed Nation’s The Time Difference Between Carrying A Round In The Chamber… and not
- USA Carry’s Should You Carry With A Round In The Chamber?
- Some IWB Holster Options For S&W J-Frames and Small Frame Glocks
- Savannah Arsenal’s Concealed Carry page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Open Carry page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Female Shooters page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Handgun Essentials page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Handgun Accessory Page