Should you carry with one in the chamber?

Simple solution , carry a Smith Wesson 642, only 5 rounds (hollow points). Yes, it is a revolver.


@Patrick_A Yes, that solves it :wink: but then I’d have to carry 3 times as many guns to get my round count :laughing:
Welcome to the community, Glad you’re here!



You say that like you would not enjoy it (if you could do it comfortably)


@DBrogue… ha! Ok, fully busted on that one. :joy::joy::rofl:

I admit I love the scenes in movies where they are disarming… and disarming… and disarming…
Wait… still disarming…
There, done.
Oh, wait… one … no, two… more.
Right. And my boot knife.
And my hair stilletto.
:grin: :rofl:


Mad Max beyond Thunderdome


Must-See Gun Movies - #10 by Zee


If you’re going to carry you definitely should carry with one in the chamber.

The only exception I’d make here is with a novice shooter that hasn’t yet gained the competence and familiarity with their weapon to be completely safe with it under all circumstances.

The time needed to rack and the associated very distinctive sound it makes could easily get you killed or disarmed in an emergency before you could react.

An unloaded/unchambered gun is just a very expensive hammer.


If you’re going to carry at all you should seriously consider at least having a loaded magazine in the gun.

Our two greatest responsibiliies as carriers is to never unlawfully or negligently use a firearm and secondly to never let our firearms fall into the hands of the bad guys.


A very good series of videos on the subject.

How frequently in common defensive shooting scenarios do you have both hands free and the time to rack a round into the chamber?

As long as your carrying a well made handgun in a proper holster that protects the trigger from getting snagged to me the additional risk that you might not be able to get your gun into the fight stealthily or quickly enough by not carrying with one in the pipe is not worth it.

Even if you think you’re pretty stealthy those who have trained to do so will almost always be able to tell you are carrying and while “stripping” is rare it does occur.

If you end up with someone trying to take your gun and it isn’t loaded your options for stopping them narrow dramatically and their odds of succeeding go up astronomically.

The gun also become useless should you find yourself in a situation where you will need to defend yourself or others.

You wouldn’t believe just how difficult it can become to do something like put a magazine in your weapon and chamber a round without anyone noticing, how difficult it is in a high stress situation to do properly and quickly or the life and death difference taking those 2-5 seconds to slam in a mag and rack it can make.

Rarely will you ever have more than two seconds to get your gun into play once you make the decision to do so.


The professional rip off crews and other experienced robbers certainly do.

The average criminal isn’t very smart but remember there are lots of them who do it for a living that study, practice, and perfect their craft.

Remember too that prisons are training ground for criminals. The first time offender going to prison for the first time after committing a crime of desperation and stupidity will have years of being trained by hardened professionals by the time he/she comes out.


There is no other way to effectively carry. The reason there is such emphasis on being able to draw and present to target in under 2 seconds is because, as we often see, seconds is all we have. Unless you are Jerry Musilek, having to rack the slide in an already high stress, self defensive situation is not reasonable, not to mention the possibility of your weak side hand being injured or incapacitated.


Or even worse, your strong side hand being injured or incapacitated!


I will never carry with one in the chamber your scared your frightened you may pull one round off and yeah its stupid but i want that time i pull back to know I am shooting an A hole


In a self-defense incident, you very well may not have the time to rack a round into the chamber before you have to defend yourself.

By carrying a round in the chamber and always training to keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.


I get tha and agree but how many have that trainingt


It’s actually one of the first things people should be learning when they pick up a firearm. I know every range I’ve ever been to has some variation of the 4 basic gun rules posted and in the range rules:



The “Israeli Method” of carrying with an empty chamber may have served a purpose… decades ago. In the 40’s while the Haganah was still fighting a guerrilla war against the British Mandate in Palestine carrying a Browning HP cocked and locked in the waistband of your baggy civilian pants wasn’t such a good idea. Thus, the Israeli Method of an empty chamber. Now and days with modern pistols and holsters it really isn’t necessary. Don’t tell that to an Israeli though! :wink:


The Israeli military train to rack the slide on the draw, unless you’re doing the same it will serve you no purpose to carry on an empty chamber.

Carrying on an empty chamber is like thinking you have the time to put on your seatbelt before you get in a crash.


I recommend carrying with one in the chamber. If someone isn’t comfortable doing that, they have not trained enough with their carry weapon, or they shouldn’t be carrying in the first place.


I had my mind changed and became a confirmed “cocked and locked” carrier after seeing a video (on YouTube maybe?) put together by a former police chief. It consisted of surveillance video of 12 officer involved incidents in which the officers did not have a round in the chamber when they found themselves in a deadly force situation. In every case, for a variety of reasons, the officer did not have use of his off hand to rack the slide on his weapon.

End result was that 11 of the officers died from their injuries. The 12th survived but was permanently crippled.

I haven’t carried without a round chambered since.


I carry with one in the chamber. My best advice is to practice your draw without any ammo until you have it down pat before ever doing it with live ammo. I practiced my draw in three steps probably 500 or so times before I ever tried to do it with live ammo. First step was to pull the gun out of my holster making sure my finger is on the slide and not on the trigger or inside the trigger guard. In fact I have trained myself so that the tip of my trigger finger is actually in the ejection port when I draw. Second step is to rotate the gun level while adding my second hand until the gun is level and close to my chest. Third step is to drive the gun forward to aim. From there I am ready to shoot. I started off slow and sped things up as I developed muscle memory. I still to this day practice my draw without ammo before I move on to shooting with live rounds. If I change guns or holsters I repeat the whole process simply because this is an action you can’t afford to get wrong.