Nov 04

CCW With Empty Chamber?

This topic has been discussed at length all over the web and at various ranges but I’ve yet to address it here. ┬áMy personal stance is to always carry with one in the pipe, to each his own I suppose.

I found a great video online which also goes into another aspect of why carrying with an empty chamber could be a bad idea.  Check it out here:


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    • The Maj on November 6, 2013 at 9:13 AM
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    Gotta love the “King Ding Dong” shirt. Some people need to master a butter knife before they move on to more advanced weaponry.

      • PJ on November 6, 2013 at 9:42 AM
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      Ha! totally agree. Even though he took 5 minutes to do it, I like how he mentions the possibility of a malfunction occurring while attempting to chamber a round (under stress).

    • The Maj on November 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM
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    Oh, I agreed with the message, just had difficulty with the delivery. If you are not comfortable carrying with a round in the chamber, then I would suggest carrying a revolver. Same principal though but you can sacrifice one round and carry hammer down on an empty cylinder for peace of mind.

    • Random Person on November 11, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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    If you’re not comfortable carrying with a round chambered, then it’s pretty clear that you are lacking in adequate training and familiarity with your weapon. And unless you fix that problem you shouldn’t be carrying a gun, period.

    “Empty chamber” carry just means the guy who stabs you or beats you to death will get a pistol with a full magazine as well as your wallet.

      • PJ on November 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM
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      Have to agree on the familiarity part. Thanks for the comment

  1. I went back and forth about this when I first started to carry and I concluded two things; 1) There is no right or wrong here 2) It’s about what translates best into muscle memory for the individual.

    Having said that, I don’t chamber a round (unless I am going into a situation where drawing my weapon is higher than normal probability).

    Here’s my defense of not chambering a round.

    First off I do feel less likely to discharge accidentally. I can handle my weapon and although I clear it every time, I don’t have a bullet ejected when I do. Secondly, I drilled and drilled because the whole point of having a weapon is having one ready. Under normal conditions it doesn’t feel like I’ve even added a second to my draw. For the non-normal conditions, I included in my drill steps to make up time. For example if someone is charging me or I need to change my line of sight, I move differently as I draw to either give myself distance or to re-position myself. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be, but that could just be because all my previous practice was standing in front of a stationary target. Today, I can draw and chamber pretty much in the same number of movements as if I had a round in the pipe already – or at least it feels and times out that way.

    Lastly – The Israeli Mossad and Israeli military now train to carry not chambered. Their draw includes pulling the slide, which negates the need to have one in the chamber. Unfortunately, because my .380 is narrow, I can’t use this draw very well, but I sort of created an adapted version (before I’d ever seen theirs) and it works really well. The one additional advantage is also that my .380 goes into single action when I pull the slide. I didn’t expect this, but that has improved the accuracy of my first shot since I am not squeezing the trigger as much. Anyway, that’s all me – just giving 2 cents from the other side.

    I think the smartest thing you guys said about this is that if you’re really worried about it, just carry a revolver. That’s the advice my wife followed. She carries a Ruger LCR and it works very well.

    Anyway, love the site and the discussion!

      • PJ on November 18, 2013 at 9:54 PM
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      I guess it really all boils down to what makes you feel comfortable. Thanks for adding the comment and I’m glad you like the site.

    • Steve on November 22, 2013 at 12:24 AM
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    I’m a 1911 user and don’t carry one in the chamber. If you practice drawing and racking the slide you can do way faster than you think. Last summer I shot at a class and I was the only one with a 1911. Also the only one to start the exercises with an empty chamber. I shot faster and more accurately than the rest. It is all about using the same firearm, the same way all the time. If you don’t have time to load one in the chamber you’re probably screwed anyway!

      • PJ on November 22, 2013 at 10:27 PM
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      Definitely believe it’s a personal preference thing. That said I know that most men could cover 20 feet in a sprint before you could draw your gun, rack the slide and fire. Whatever floats your boat though and good shooting at your last class!

    • The Maj on November 22, 2013 at 10:52 PM
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    It is definitely all about personal preference and comfort level, Steve. I am a huge fan of the 1911 platform myself and I have carried that platform in combat, with a round in the chamber. IMHO, it is one of the, if not THE safest semi-auto platform to carry with a round chambered.

    Most accidental discharges occur when the firearm is being unloaded or handled improperly or a combination of both, not when it is being carried. On the same note, I have a firearm in my possession that belonged to a friend many years ago. He was a master shooter with that firearm, a licensed gunsmith, and just had the natural gift when it came to shooting. Unfortunately, he was killed when he apparently dropped the revolver and a .44 magnum went through his chest. The speculation was he was cleaning the revolver (cleaning supplies were still out when he was found) but that make of revolver had a history of discharging when dropped on the hammer with the hammer down on a charged cylinder. So, it can happen and it is definitely something that any responsible gun owner must consider and keep in mind at all times.

    • Mike Clifford on December 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM
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    I believe you should need to prove you can handle a handgun prior to receiving a CCW. My class in MI, I had to provide my own centerfire handgun and we had to load, unload, and shoot hundreds of rounds at different scenarios. Close, far, in the dark, from the hip, etc.

    After moving to NYS, I had to retake the course. The police officer loaded his Glock himself, then handed it to us to shoot. We shot a TOTAL of 10 rounds. Many in the class had never touched a handgun, passed the course, then went out and bought a pink 9mm for their purse, probably to be used on them or accidentally discharged.

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