Dear USA Carry,
Recently, I decided to start carrying a concealed handgun. I took a course, occasionally shoot at the range, and carry concealed every day. I tried a bunch of different carry techniques but found that carrying appendix was the most comfortable for moving around and driving in my car.
My wife thought I didn’t carry concealed with a round in the chamber. When we went to the range last week, I drew my everyday carry gun from my AIWB (appendix inside-the-waistband) holster and shot on target. She asked if I always carry with a round in the chamber and I told her I do. She said she wasn’t comfortable with that. She says she’s worried about the gun snagging on my clothes or belt and going off. I don’t want to get a gunshot there either, but I still feel it’s the best way for me to carry concealed.
Outside of telling her that it is my call, is there anything I can say to her to make her feel better about it?
Tenor Not Soprano
Dear Tenor Not Soprano,
First off, congratulations on your decision to carry a concealed pistol. The fact that you decided to carry concealed every day shows commitment and discipline. It’s also good that both you and your wife shoot together and discuss personal safety issues. It’s essential, no matter what you decide, that significant others have good, honest discussions about the role of firearms in their lives.
The decision to carry a concealed handgun with a round in the chamber is based upon, I believe, the immediacy in which a person will need to act if he feels his life is in danger. While it’s just fine for actors in movies or television shows to dramatically rack a round in the chamber, it’s just not practical to do this in real life when facing down a threat.
Furthermore, based upon my limited research, it appears incidences with accidental discharges in the holster appear commonly linked with either someone getting something snagged between his holster and his gun or the holster not correctly maintaining retention on the gun. This research indicates that safety concerns rest not so much with the gun but with the way you store the gun.
So long as you use a holster that maintains tight retention over the gun and is appropriately molded to the gun’s shape, you’re not likely to run into any issues carrying with a round in the chamber. Most modern pistols are designed to be drop-safe, but any loaded gun presents a risk — especially if anything gets into the trigger well.
My suggestion to you is to use a high retention appendix IWB holster. I carry a double-action/single-action pistol with a decocker, but there’s no reason why you can’t carry a striker-fired, DAO, or SAO pistol if you so choose.
If all of that fails to win her over, you could always try carrying in an alternate position.
Best of luck and keep on carrying!