Should you carry with one in the chamber?

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.


I’m not a fan of external safety firearms for self defense, but if someone really can’t bring themselves to carrying with one in the chamber any other way, an external safety may be the right choice for them. Double action only might be another choice, or go to a revolver.

But I’ve seen how fast things happen in enough videos to know that you aren’t really armed unless your firearm is in ready-to-fire condition.


Racking can also give your position and intent away when you were otherwise in a stealthy position. It’s virtually impossible to rack a round quietly enough not to be noticed unless you are in a very loud environment and when you attempt to do it “softly” the odds of a failure due to improper seating/engagement go up astronomically.

In the case of the latter you’ve not only given up your advantage, you’re probably going to have a failure to fire requiring then either a slap to slam the action close or a full re rack.

That can all add up to giving away your position and intent and 3-5 seconds before you can get the first round off.

If your assailant knows your intent you probably have no more than 1.5-2 seconds to draw and fire your first effective shot on target or you’re going to end up full of holes.


Personally, I feel a little safer carrying with a round loaded in the chamber because, to me, it eliminates a step that I have to think about should I ever be faced with a deadly encounter scenario. I have a manual safety on my carry weapon for my personal added safety measure, but I consciously make it a part of my training to take the safety off as part of my weapon drawstroke out of my holster so that it becomes a second nature mental action for me. That’s the advice I would give to a new carrier, get the weapon that works for you with the safety features that make you personally comfortable and then train to get proficient in running that weapon so that you can feel comfortable carrying with a round chambered because if the “excrement hits the oscillating device”, you probably won’t have time to think about whether or not you have a round ready to shoot.


The safest place for a firearm with a chambered round is in the holster providing it covers the trigger guard. The benefit of being efficient during a dynamic critical incident outweighs the risk.


Always put one in the chamber, Why, because you may not have time to rack one in the chamber. and by the time you do, it maybe to late. So yes always have one in the chamber. I do 24/7.


It took a few months after getting my concealed carry permit but I finally got comfortable with the idea. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, we’re all at different places in our journey. :v:t5:

1 Like

If the weapon is on your body, inside or outside the home or vehicle -or in an off-body bag (i.e., purse, sling bag or backpack) - carry with one in the chamber. There’s no asking your attacker to delay that attack so yo can load your firearm.
It’s not gonna happen.
If the weapon is not on your body, let’s say on the night stand, in a night stand drawer or in a bedside holster; for a semi-auto, remove the mag, eject the chambered round, put it back in the mag and re-insert the mag into the gun. Don’t make the mistake of racking the slide because you only have to go through unloading the weapon, again. Some prefer to leave the mag out of the gun and lay it next to the firearm. For a revolver, and hopefully, you’re using a speed loader, speed strip or moon clip, remove the rounds, place them in whatever loading device you use and set it beside the weapon.
Here’s why. You’re asleep, and - for example - awaken by a noise, voices or both, around 3 a.m. You rise up, still half asleep, pick up the gun (with one the chamber) and pull the trigger…negligent discharge. Not only have you put an unwanted hole in a wall or piece of furniture, you just alerted whoever’s in the house, that you have a gun, or even worse, you may have shot a family member who’d come into your room…bad scene all the way around.

1 Like

Long thread! Before it gets archived I just want to say “Yes”.

1 Like

While I have taken my CCW with my Shield 9, this very question and it’s concerns, has pushed me in the direction of getting an SA XDS 9 for the grip safety addition. I don’t feel ill at ease with my Shield 9, but keeping one in the chamber I feel less, constantly focused on the gun on my body. I don’t want to, forget it is there, but it shouldn’t be distracting me as much as it does, and as someone who deals with hypervigilance, because of things past, to say that something is distracting from that, feels significant.


Hailey I’m a huge fan of the whole XD,XDM, XDS line but let me caution you.

If you buy an older early model XDS be aware that there was a recall on them and made sure the one you buy has had the necessary parts repair/upgrades.

As far as I know the problem only persisted for about six months of production but some of those guns sat around dealerships and warehouses for a very long time before being sol.

Personally I’m much more at ease carrying the X’s than I ever was my Glocks because of that backstrap/grip safety.


I would never carry my Browning Buckmark .22 target pistol with one in the chamber. It has a very short trigger pull, very crisp. However, my carry pistol, a Taurus G2C has a very l-o-n-g trigger pull.

They were made for different tasks.

That trigger pull is enough, but it also has a manual safety. I train everyday, every time I removing it from the holster, to release the safety, get my grip, and find my target in one fluid motion.
I likely don’t NEED to use the safety, but personally prefer to use everything I can to be safe.

Took me a while to be comfortable doing it, but I got there after building confidence by practicing many dry fire draws. No finger on the trigger until on target - every time. Also, be extremely careful when reholstering to assure there is nothing in the holster, like a draw string or part of your shirt, that could get into the trigger guard and cause the gun to fire.

1 Like

Check out the photos in this link to see the recall upgrades @wildrose mentioned. The XDs is a great choice for CC.

1 Like

Thank you very much for making sure I knew and for affirming my own feelings. I was aware of the older issues, and was going to try to check via serial if it is newer or older when I go to purchase it this month. Again, thank you so much for bringing up the warning. It is dearly appreciated.

1 Like

Thank you as well for the info to verify the recall info!

1 Like