Always carry with an empty chamber?

Always carry with an empty chamber?

This is a discussion on Always carry with an empty chamber? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Well, I guess I'll sacrifice myself and play devils advocate....lol. Originally I was posting this as a reply in the "How many carry with a ...

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Thread: Always carry with an empty chamber?

  1. #1
    Member Array distortion9's Avatar
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    Always carry with an empty chamber?

    Well, I guess I'll sacrifice myself and play devils advocate....lol.

    Originally I was posting this as a reply in the "How many carry with a round in the chamber" thread. As I started to type, I realized that I had a lot to say, so I decided to start a new thread so we can discuss possible reasons why someone might carry with an empty chamber.

    ***PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY***

    I'm not trying to be a wise guy. I've heard excellent reasons on why you should ALWAYS carry with one in the pipe but, I'd like to mention the flip side of the coin. I offer this not to convince anyone to change their methods of carry but, merely as a topic of discussion.

    I think we all can agree that "stuff happens" and it's very important to be prepared for the worst. Personally speaking, I know that I may never be in a situation where a gun is needed to defend myself or a loved one but, "IF" that situation should occur, I would like to be prepared.

    I also think we all could agree that there is no way possible to know how it will all go down should the situation actually take place. Home invasion, carjacking, armed robbery, atm withdrawal, night, day, crowds, no crowds, 1 bg, 2bg's, 10 bg's, etc, etc, etc ????

    NO WAY to know.

    I've seen people make statements like, "There may not be time to rack the slide" or "The sound may give away your location". I'm not trying to single anyone out or say that anyone is wrong, in fact, I completely agree with those comments.

    BUT

    Assuming that we all agree that "there is no way to know" how a situation may play out, there MAY be time to rack a slide and the sound MAY NOT give away your location....who knows? Assuming that we all agree that it is necessary to be prepared for a "worst case scenerio" situation, allow me to (finally) offer why it might not be a bad idea to carry with an empty chamber and/or why some may feel the need for an external safety.

    Worst case scenerio (in a nutshell)...

    In a scuffle, the bad guy gets your gun, points it at you and pulls the trigger.

    ***REMEMBER***

    1. STUFF HAPPENS
    2. WORST CASE SCENERIO

    No, it should not have gotten to the point of a scuffle. Should have taken the high road and bailed before this point but....

    1. STUFF HAPPENS
    2. WORST CASE SCENERIO

    You're wife/girlfriend is in a store and you're waiting for her out front. As she exits, some guy is following her and flirting with her. She is politely turning down his offers, he grabs her arm and you tell him to take his hand off her, he gets in your face and starts swinging at you. You are now on the ground in a wrestling match. The gun gets loose and falls out where he grabs it.....

    Now we all like to think that we can "throw down" and hold our own in a fist fight but, I have no problem admitting that there ARE people out there that will mop the floor with me. Maybe I have 5 or 10 years of Martial Arts training...maybe he has 10 or 20 years and teaches.

    1. STUFF HAPPENS
    2. WORST CASE SCENERIO

    Many years ago, I was personally involved in a situation where a gun was pulled on me and a friend. The gun was pointed at us and the trigger was pulled but the gun had an empty chamber. This was done not on accident but, in anger and with the intent to kill us. I guess you could use that as an example of why he should have had one in the pipe....he failed. But, from where I stand....I'm glad he didn't.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Well everyone has an opinion and as long as its a free country you have a right to yours , even if imho its misguided . All I will say is best of luck to you and I hope you never have need to test the theory you just posted .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    I always carry with one in the chamber. However I am taking my family on vacation and we will be staying in a hotel room. I have a very curious 2 1/2 year old son. If there isn't anywhere to store the pistol out of his reach then I will have to keep the chamber empty and the mag out. When we leave the room and the Sig is on me it will be loaded.
    Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    All of the scenarios you brought up are easily prevented by a proper holster and a proper mindset.

    The only scenarios my carry piece is unloaded in, are cleaning and dryfiring.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Rugerman's Avatar
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    Doc as I have stated before the Center of Mass safe is a great way to go.
    George Washington: "A free people ought to be armed."

  6. #6
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by distortion9
    You're wife/girlfriend is in a store and you're waiting for her out front. As she exits, some guy is following her and flirting with her. She is politely turning down his offers, he grabs her arm and you tell him to take his hand off her, he gets in your face and starts swinging at you. You are now on the ground in a wrestling match. The gun gets loose and falls out where he grabs it.....
    ...and tries to pull the trigger with the result being "CLICK." He then slaps the magazine to ensure it is fully seated, pulls the slide back and releases it (chambering a round), points the gun at you and pulls the trigger. How does he know how to to this?

    1. STUFF HAPPENS
    2. WORST CASE SCENERIO

    Of course, we could carry the gun with the chamber empty and no magazine in it. But what if he happens to have a magazine for my model of handgun in his back pocket..?

    Bottom line: Anyone can build the theoretical box you can not get out of except by using technique "X."

    Is the bad guy gaining control of your weapon a valid concern. Sure, as are all of the reasons that support carrying your weapon with a round chambered. The questions that need to be asked are:

    1. Is the bad guy gaining control of my weapon and using it against me my primary concern?

    2. If it is, is keeping the chamber empty on my carry weapon the only way to mitigate this risk?

    I would submit that the answer to question #1 for most people is "No." However, it may be for you.

    The answer to question number is also "No." Other methods that could preclude thebad guy from gaining control of your weapon and using it against you include:

    1. Use a more secure holster.
    2. Training and practice in weapon retention techniques
    3. Use of a firearm equipped with a manual safety
    4. Use of a firearm with an uncommon manual of arms (H&K-P7 series)

    Your previous expereince in this regard has obviously influenced you. I doubt anyone would argue that you were not fortunate that the chamber was empty. However, do not fall into the trap of confusing good luck with good tactics.

    In all probability, more law enforcement officers are probably subject to attempts by bad guys to gain control of their weapons/shootings with their own weapons after the losing their weapon than are civilians carrying concealed. The fact that law enforcement has not adopted "chamber-empty" carry should provide you some indication of the technique's validity.

    You, of course, are free to draw your own conclusions and make your own choices.
    Last edited by Blackhawk6; June 26th, 2006 at 02:20 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    "do not fall into the trap of confusing good luck with good tactics."

    Amen to that!

  8. #8
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    Indeed - you have your opinion and if it suits your approach then fine - no prob's here

    The total need for situational awareness removes some of your concerns/constraints plus - in my case anyways - carrying DA/SA I have what is to me the ideal combination.

    I like anyone here I hope and assume - am more than wishing I never have to use my sidearm in anger - but sure as heck the odds are heavily in favor of fast, sudden - a need to react to an immediate threat if all else has failed you regarding awareness.

    It could be argued that awareness itself could give that extra time for racking to chamber a round but it is the awareness that should in most all cases have got your butt outa danger. That one time you have been ''caught out'' somehow and are out of options - that is when time may not be your friend.

    Remember too - stress and loss of fine motor skills - just might also screw up what is otherwise an easy manouver.
    Chris - P95
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    I fall in with the "cocked & locked" crowd also, but in his highly regarded book "Shooting to Live" (1942) W.E. Fairbairn equipped his Shanghai Municipal police force with 1911's that had the thumb safety lever permanently pinned in the off position

    Quoting from page 14: "We believe them (safety devices) to be the cause of more accidents than anything else. There are too many instances on record of men being shot by accident either because the safety-catch was in the firing position when it ought not to have been, or because it was in the safe position when that was the last thing to be desired. It is better, we think, to make the pistol permanently "unsafe" and then to devise such methods of handling it that there will be no accidents."

    His men carried with an empty chamber on some of the roughest streets in the world...
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Fragman's Avatar
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    Excellent motto

    "do not fall into the trap of confusing good luck with good tactics. "

    An excellent motto.

    Nothing is perfect, but the idea of carrying Condition 3 is the same as not wearing a seatbelt because you may get trapped in the car.

    If Condition 3 was tactically superior, then thats how cops all over the country would carry, and they get involved in a lot more scuffles than we do. And yes, some do get shot with their own gun.

    But far too few to warrant carrying chamber empty. The reason? Good holster and retention training. Not to mention being better trained to avoid the scuffle in the first place.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    one hand busy??

    Have you practiced racking the slide with one hand? Using belt, boot top, shoe sole, etc??

    If you have, what % of the time were you sucessful? How many FTFs resulted?

    Too each his/her own--but if I carry a semi auto, it will be loaded.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

  12. #12
    Member Array smorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by distortion9
    Assuming that we all agree that "there is no way to know" how a situation may play out, there MAY be time to rack a slide and the sound MAY NOT give away your location....who knows?
    IF you are close enough to a perp THAT you are able to engage using a handgun, the perp WILL hear the slide rack, and you are now a target. I can hear my BHP slide racking all the way through my house (wife tested, unless all of the appliances are on and the toilets are flushing). You can't quietly rack a slide...there is a chance the action may not completely cycle, causing a misfire, causing you to rack again, making a whole lot o' noise and grunting. Correct me if I'm wrong regarding the 'quiet' slide rack.
    I believe the right to bear arms is not only a 2nd Amendment right. I believe it is a basic human right. All people should be able to protect themselves and property.

  13. #13
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    I'm not aware of any law enforcement agency that supports and empty chamber policy.

    On the contrary, they teach situational awareness and gun retention techniques starting with a good holster.

    To me, there are more "what if's" to support a fully loaded, ready to fire weapon that there is an essentially empty gun!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    A friend of mine who has years of experience with a 1911 says to only carry it with an empty chamber. He draws and racks the slide.
    Maybe so -- for him. I'm not that good and don't choose to practice that way. His thinking is that if someone gets the gun away, they have to get a round into it to shoot you. Just seems odd.
    Anyway, for me it's cocked and locked. My tactical plan is to not let someone else get my gun.

  15. #15
    Member Array distortion9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smorgan
    IF you are close enough to a perp THAT you are able to engage using a handgun, the perp WILL hear the slide rack, and you are now a target. I can hear my BHP slide racking all the way through my house (wife tested, unless all of the appliances are on and the toilets are flushing). You can't quietly rack a slide...there is a chance the action may not completely cycle, causing a misfire, causing you to rack again, making a whole lot o' noise and grunting. Correct me if I'm wrong regarding the 'quiet' slide rack.
    Say for example that you are at the back of a 7-11 during a robbery. Screaming bad guy, screaming customers a slide being racked could go un-noticed.

    Please understand....

    I'm not looking to argue, I'm simply playing "devils advocate" here. Never have I said that this is the right way to carry or that anyone SHOULD carry this way. The title of the thread is a question and not a statement.

    If anyone is confused as to my stance on this, I ask that you please go re-read my initial post. You'll see that I'm actually in favor of a chambered round. When posts about chambered vs. unchambered are brought up, you usually see a lot of talk about "ND'S". I'm just putting another rub on it.

    ***Edited to add***

    I didn't want to turn this into "Who caries with a chambered round" part II.
    Last edited by distortion9; June 26th, 2006 at 03:14 PM.

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