Stop Carrying Concealed with an Empty Chamber!

Stop Carrying Concealed with an Empty Chamber!

It still amazes me that there are still people that concealed carry without a round in the chamber. While you can find a plethora of discussions online debating whether you should or should not carry concealed with a round in the chamber, I still come across people in real-life from time to time that carry with an empty chamber.

Just the other day, I was talking with a good friend that carries, and he mentioned that he carries his Glock 43 with an empty chamber. I was pretty surprised when he said this. He mentioned that he has kids in his house and didn’t want them getting a hold of a loaded pistol. My reply to that was to lock the gun up or put it out of the children’s reach. When I am home, the pistol I am carrying that day is usually on me. If I need to take it off for some reason and still want quick access, I’ll put it in my GunVault next to my nightstand.

I don’t recommend putting in places like “on top of the fridge.” Kids do what kids do and can get into everything. My three-year-old is getting into everything and climbing on everything. While the “top of the fridge” may seem like it is out of the way, there’s still a chance a kid can get to it. Without going into it more since we’ve covered the kids and guns topic already, I want to say one last thing. You need to make sure you teach your children about what to do when they find a gun. For more information, check out the NRA’s Eddie the Eagle Program.

But my friend didn’t just carry with an empty chamber at home. He also carries with an empty chamber when carrying concealed in public! The reasoning for this didn’t have anything to do with kids. He just figured he would have enough time to chamber a round if were to draw his pistol in a self-defense situation.

He didn’t want to hear any of my reasoning for why this is an utterly bad idea. So when I got home, I started looking for videos I could send him to help back up my points.

  1. There’s a very good chance you won’t have time to chamber a round.
  2. You may not have another hand to rack the slide. You might be using one hand to fend off an attacker, carry a child, etc.
  3. There’s always a chance of short stroking the chamber. Then you press the trigger, and nothing happens.

I found some excellent videos to send him, but instead, I decided to write this article to possibly help convince other’s out there to start carrying with a round in the chamber.

The first two are from Active Self Protection which is a YouTube channel ran by John Correia that does after-action reports on real-life self-defense situations caught on tape. It can be disturbing as many times the good guys don’t win, but we can learn a lot from them.

First up, is a compilation that shows a few different scenarios that back up the points I made before.

This second video shows a store owner waiting for his window of opportunity to draw his weapon while being rubbed but the criminal gets his shot off first.

Here is video from Caleb Giddings from Gun Nuts Media that compares drawing from a holster and putting shots on target to drawing from a holster, racking the chamber and then putting shots on target. He concludes that you could be giving away a 1/2 second when having to chamber a round. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Well, he also shows that you can get off three shots in about 1/2 second. Why would you give away three aimed rounds?

You can find many more videos of people talking about why you should carry with a round in the chamber, but I think these three really get the point across. I’m curious to see how my friend responds after watching these. Hopefully, I can change his mind and help him understand why you should ALWAYS carry with a round in the chamber.

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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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John Hart

Luke McCoy, it’s one thing to give advice or present a point of view, but your tone in this article is VERY preachy and judgmental. I carry with an empty chamber, and I have good reason.

I spend a lot of time riding bicycles, sometimes alone, sometimes in a group with my racing team. There is always a possibility of a crash, and I simply cannot and will not risk that one-in-a-million chance that a bump might cause my pistol to discharge and shoot me, one of my teammates, or some innocent bystander. I have carefully considered the likelihood that I might need to draw and defend myself or the group against some crazed redneck, and I believe that the element of surprise (“Huh? A cyclist with a gun?”) will offset the half-second that it takes me to chamber a round before firing the first shot… if, God forbid, it should ever be necessary.

norval thompson

Some people in the firearms community have their hearts in the right place and want to pass on their knowledge to help and improve other firearm owners which I find very admirable. But with that said some need to understand that people will do what they believe is better for them. If I was in a war torn country then I’d follow everything Clint Smith would have to tell me because he has the experience surviving in that type of scenario, but if I’m walking down Main St. USA on a sunny Saturday afternoon and I want to carry my G2C empty chamber with no extra magazines then I’m going to do that. Would I be ready to take on a pack or Neo Nazis or Proud Boys? Not really. But the true question is what are the probability of that happening? Slim none.


It is interesting to me that TSA reports regarding handguns found in carry-on bags, by travelers considers the gun in the carry on luggage, as well as is the gun loaded, and is there a round chambered? I find it interesting, and have often wondered about the carrier’s decisions-making, that these numbers do not match. See here for sample report:

norval thompson

What happened to the old post that were made about this article? Oh well. My advice to most people especially newer gun owners is to carry what works for them and practice. I can carry with one in the chamber but due to circumstances I prefer to go empty chamber and I practice dry fire drills at home. To me theirs more of a chance of someone else getting a hold of it and either stealing it(family/friends) or pulling the trigger(child/baboon). Is there an advantage to one in the chamber? Yes. Is one in the chamber leagues away better? No. Like I said do what’s best for you and don’t let those who disagree get under your skin because they can say or type YOU MUST or YOU NEED.