Concealed Carry with a Round Chambered

Concealed Carry with a Round Chambered
Concealed Carry with a Round Chambered

I teach concealed carry classes almost every Saturday. And it seems like every class contains a “know it all.” You know what I’m talking about. He’s the guy who wants to argue with you about everything. He claims that he knows it all and no matter what you say to explain your point he just won’t listen to you.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know it all. One of the beauties of teaching concealed carry classes is that I’m constantly learning from other people. They’ll tell me about a new gun I haven’t heard of or a new type of flashlight or any number of new accessories.

Anyway, recently I had a guy argue with me about carrying a 1911 “cocked and locked” and how he said he would never do it because it’s dangerous. (If you’re not familiar with what that means it means you have a round in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the safety is on.)

If by chance…

You happen to agree with this guy let me show you why you’re nuts and if you don’t agree with this guy let me show you why it will save your life one day. First off, if you carry a firearm concealed you’re carrying it because you want to be able to protect yourself, right?

Well… when it comes to a deadly force situation it usually happens instantly. You’ll have nanoseconds to draw your gun to take care of the threat. That’s one of the main reasons I wear an inside the waistband holster. In my opinion, that’ll give you the quickest draw. (Yes, I know that open carry is quicker, but I’m not a fan of open carry, to say the least.)

I don’t recommend shoulder holsters and I certainly don’t recommend an ankle holster for your primary gun (backup only) because they take way too long to draw. Again, if the stuff ever hits the fan you want to draw quickly.

Maintaining our “quickly” theme…

When you draw you want to simply be able to pull the trigger and have it go “boom.” The last thing in the world you want to do is have to rack the slide and chamber a round. Yes, there are professionals out there who can do this lighting fast, but for 99% of gun owners having to rack a round will likely be a death sentence in a deadly force situation.

I tried to explain all of this to the guy, but of course, he wouldn’t listen. Then I went on and told him to get another gun besides a 1911 such as a Glock. He told me that he thought Glock’s were even worse because they don’t have any safeties at all and he would never, ever carry a round in the chamber.

I guess the good thing is if you or I ever come against this guy (or others who think like him) we’ll have a much quicker draw while he’s trying to rack a round in the chamber. Heck, it would be nice if criminals thought like these guys, but I have a feeling criminals aren’t worried too much about safety.

The bottom line is if you’re carrying a gun for personal protection carry it wisely. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by not having a round in the chamber or by wearing an ankle holster that you have to bend all the way over to draw from. In other words, don’t be foolish when your life depends on it.

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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Cbrittingham88

locked and loaded always   if not its just a paper weight

Cbrittingham88

locked and loaded always   if not its just a paper weight

Cbrittingham88

locked and loaded always   if not its just a paper weight

Colby Ruffing

I completely agree. I carry a Glock always chambered. What was he talking about a Glock not having a safety?? They have trigger safeties. When/if I ever have to draw my gun, I don’t want to waste time racking the slide. Period.

owl

Well said.

CFairfield

Agree with cbrittingham88.

Gkeil961

Well said…… One in the tube, at all times, of you do not feel comfortable with this, get some training…… If you are not going to carry condition 1, then you mise well just leave it at home, because it is not doing much for you anyways….just my .02

LaymansPC

two cents that’s worth a million bucks AND a life

Gkeil961

Well said…… One in the tube, at all times, of you do not feel comfortable with this, get some training…… If you are not going to carry condition 1, then you mise well just leave it at home, because it is not doing much for you anyways….just my .02

usnret30

Perhaps you should have asked him why he was in the class and what he expected to learn; particularly since he thought everything was dangerous.

Anonymous

Why was he there if he already knew everything? Maybe he thought he was the instructor:)

Tim

I tell my students that you may as well carry a rock if your gun’s not “ready to use”. I did have a student that was attacked this past December who did not carry one in the chamber. Luckily for him, he was able to chamber one in the scuffle with the assailant and protect himself. To this day, he doesn’t know how he did it, but had it been chambered, he most likely would not have taken a knife to the thigh.
If you’re not chambered, you’re not ready.

Dsommer

Agree 100%!!!  Why carry if you aren’t ready?

covertjohn

Carrying a 1911 without being cocked & locked is much the same as attempting sex with all your clothes on

Yvette F

Doesn’t sound like much fun 😉

James

It’s not I tried it once!

TimOzzyCzernik

Yeah…and MESSY too… lol

The Gun Man

🙂

JR1221

Ok but just a WHAT IF – the safety is “bumped” off.. whats wrong with keeping the hammer in the de-cocked position at least with a round in the chamber? let’s be real here.. none of us are SEALS as much as “some of us” wish we were.. Lets just err on the side of caution people… you wont be laughing on a negligent discharge and a year or longer in prison..

Jp

Keep it holstered and don’t pull the trigger if you don’t want accidental discharge. It’s a simple concept. No trigger pull no boom.

Mick

Precisely Jesse!

Stephen Casto

I can tell from your post, that you know nothing of the 1911’s safeties. To have a round go off, by accident from the condition 1 (Loaded and Cocked) position, there would have to be more than the “bumped” off. The firing pin lock would have to fail at the same time the palm safety failed at the same time the trigger is pulled (by accident) and at the same time the hammer safety fails. What are the chances of the other FOUR safeties failing at the same time?

NOW, it you have a round in the chamber and the hammer down, you have a chance that the hammer catches on something and pulls it back far enough back and slams into the firing pin (IF the firing pin safety fails at the same time). So it would be MORE dangerous to keep the hammer down in your holster.

The safety way to carry any 1911, is condition 1 (Loaded and Cocked) in your holster. Glocks and others are safe as well. As long as you keep your finger off the trigger, a “bumped” safety will not matter.

Bob Wright

You can’t engage the safety unless it’s cocked. You’re choices are cocked and locked or Israeli carry(empty chamber, full mag, hammer down & safety off). I detail stripped my SR1911 when it was new. It’s almost impossible to have an accidental discharge unless you make several mistakes. John Browning was a genius.

Chuckie Donn

do revolvers have safety whats the differences between a revolver and a glock when it comes down to firing people own revolvers for a long time and the safe guys never had a problem

Bob Wright

Most revolvers have a transfer bar that moves up when you pull the trigger, so the hammer will not make contact with the firing pin if dropped. Glocks have three safeties (Drop, Trigger & Firing Pin Block).

MMDeveloper

Any 1911 I’ve owned is single action and trying to re-cock the hammer will take longer than manually racking the slide since it’s a much smaller target.

Inamianbedmin

Isn’t a Glock, by design, a “safe gun”?

Hacker15

Tell that to all the guys with “Glock Leg”…….

Eljugador

Why not keep it unloads and in the car? That’s even safer. If you get attacked, simply ask the bad guy for a time out while you go prepare for the encounter.

Drew_ebert88

i had to explain that to my girlfriend. she had been carrying her browning hi power with a half full magazine, no spare, and no round in the chamber. when i asked her why she said having a round in the chamber is dangerous and if she ever needed more than 6 rounds of 9mm FMJ that she was dead anyway. needless to say i changed her mind quick.

Anonymous

If she needed more than 6 rounds, she shouldn’t have been in that fight in the first place!  That is why a revolver doesn’t provide as much protection as a semi-auto – 5/6 rounds versus 8-19 – I will take locked and loaded semi auto anytime!  

anonymous122

A revolver has its own advantages.  They are simple and less likely to malfunction.  That’s why some say that it’s “six for sure instead of 15 maybes.”  Now, that doesn’t mean that semi autos are bad choices, but just stating a reason why someone would prefer a revolver.  Both have their unique attributes and tradeoffs and it’s up to each user to decide which he/she can comfortably deal with.

Ndreiner

I’ll carry my .any of my 357 Mag revolvers into any situation.  I usually carry fully loaded with 12 extra rounds in speed loaders.  The way I figure it if you’re proficient that’s enough for 18 perps.  Nothing wrong with a semi auto.  It’s a whole different situation when you’re looking down the wrong end of a barrel.  I’ve been shot at before.  It was dark and the other guy ran like a scared chicken when he saw that I didn’t wet myself.  If you keep your wits about you and don’t allow yourself to panic it doesn’t matter what you carry as long as you are proficient.

Anonymous

good statement

Anonymous

That guy was an idiot. I always carry my Ruger cocked & locked cause I know I wont have time to rack a round when I need it. I lke inside the waist band carry also as it offers better concealment less profiling.

topnos

Why carry with one in the chamber…… because I am not going to as the criminal if they can hold on while I load my gun properly….

Mark

What ??????

Jason Seiler

Instead of “as,” he meant “ask.” He is “not going to ask the criminal” etc., etc., etc.

Pat D.

The “chamber empty carry” method has been used and promoted by the Israelis, as I recall. With training and practice, one can draw and chamber a round and fire quickly, but not as quickly as with a chambered round of course. I don’t want any additional delays, and there’s another problem: if you need to draw your weapon stealthily (e.g., you are in the rear of the Stop and Rob store when the BG enters, and you draw your pistol before he sees you) and then have to chamber a round, you can’t do this quietly. You’ve just revealed yourself.

As anyone who’s a fan of the 1911 knows, John Browning designed it to be carried with the thumb safety OFF, relying on the grip safety. Carrying cocked and locked on  chambered round is totally safe. Negligent discharges aren’t the gun’s fault…keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.Even with Glocks, which have no real mechanical safety. The only time I might carry with chamber empty is with a pocket gun like my Ruger LCP, if I don’t have my pocket holster (which I do use). IMHO. Whatever you do, do it the same way all the time. Otherwise, you might find yourself thinking you have a round chambered and then find out at the worst possible moment that you don’t. Fail.

Andyisageek

Fiddling with a safety can even cost you a split second. Glock! Keep your finger off the “boom” lever and you’re safe! On the uneducated think Glocks are unsafe.

Brigade101

I really feel for someone with that level of ignorance, I really do.

Badco6354

Coked and Locked is the only way.  I want my weapon to be “Dangerous” so I can defend my self and others from the perpertrators.  As far as the Glock, they don’t call it a “Safe Action Pistol” for nothing.  The guy in your article is obviously not comfortable handeling a weapon.  The guns usually won’t shoot unless you pull the trigger, which makes your finger the best safety in the world.

Bdickson

Whoops!  Spelled Cocked wrong!  Been a long day!

Roy

I carry a SR9c, loaded with a round in the chamber.  I leave the safety on, and also has a trigger safety.  If i need to draw, just flip the safety off and pull the trigger.  Pretty simple.  Just person preference, but carrying a 1911 cocked and loaded just seems like an accident waiting to happen.   

Nomad1959

Maybe he could paint a smiley face on it. He would then have a smiling rock for the garden

Firearmpop

I carry 5 in the chamber at the same time. I have a revolver of course. DA, safe and ready. And yes inside the waist band is the only way. But above all, with whatever weapon you chose it’s PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Redscho

On my 82nd orbit around the sun. Racking a slide is very difficult for me now.  That’s why I carry a S&W 638-3.  5 +P JHPs always ready.

Justin

I carry a 1911 cocked and locked, if you don’t you will have a better chance just throwing the gun at the assailant (it would be faster), I have also carried a Glock 19 with one in the pipe at all times, it has a tactical trigger, if your finger is not on it, it won’t fire. The true safety device on any gun is using your head, mechanical safeties are only secondary, end of story. What if your are injured and can’t rack the slide, what do you do then? My only true recommendation is that if you carry the 1911 in this condition is that you practice your draw while simutaneously disengaging the safety, until comfortable with this, do it unloaded.

Anonymous

 “What if you are injured and can’t rack the slide, what do you do then?”.

That is an excellent point. I am pretty fast at racking the slide on my Glock 19, but from now on I’ll carry with a chambered round. The most basic reasons are often the best ones. Thanks.

gunny 89

Guy a flippin idiot might as well carry a rock. Locked and loaded always.

Had221

why carry a weapon if you are not ready to use it?

1911guy

I must admit. When I started carrying, I was nervous about carrying a round in the chamber. For about a week, I carried with a magazine in, but no round chambered. After the week, I felt fine with a round in the chamber. Same thing with 1911s; it took me a while to get used to condition 1.

Anonymous

Ive carried my glock 22 at condition 1 for years in a in waist holster never had a problem… The trigger is fully covered with a quality holster… Ive fallen on it (In holster), rolled around on the ground, seat belt has caught my holster a couple of times. It never comes out of the holster other then to clean or fire it. It stays in the holster to put in the bedside quick access safe. As my instructor said “Keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you want to make boom.” As a side note when a cop asks why i carry i tell him i can never get you to fit in my holster quite right….

Pat D.

“Keep your booger hook off the bang switch…” that’s a variation I haven’t heard! 🙂

Pat D.

“Keep your booger hook off the bang switch…” that’s a variation I haven’t heard! 🙂

Pat D.

“Keep your booger hook off the bang switch…” that’s a variation I haven’t heard! 🙂

Stile

The M1911 0r M1911A service model cannot be carried safely with a round chambered.  “The impact of a fall can cause the firing pin to move forward and set off a primer under certain conditions.”  Quoted directly from a NRA firearms information service FACT sheet.  I do carry my pistol with a round chambered: just be careful! 

Barnesville

always one in the pipe

Robert Young

Jason, that was a very nice article and your reasoning and mine agree. A concealed  or open carry weapon must be ready to fire when you present it to the target. Having to rack the slide to chamber a round will probably get you hurt or killed. Thank you for your input.

Hoboho

Thanks for the article, I’m one of those empty chamber kind of guys but I think since my LCP is always double action I should rethink that.

Rcvbowhunter2

This guy is not comfortable with weapons. What would he do with a revolver, no safety there!! Ihope he doesnt have to learn a lesson the hard way.

Rcvbowhunter2

This guy is not comfortable with weapons. What would he do with a revolver, no safety there!! Ihope he doesnt have to learn a lesson the hard way.

uspshooter

If you don’t have a round in the chamber ready to go all you are doing is concealing a real expensive club. And not a very good one at that.

In my concealed carry classes I take a little “time out” (best to do it now than in the heat of the battle!) and engage the class to discuss the issue.  The class recognizes a knucklehead the same way you or I do and will gain an opportunity to quickly reason for themselves what is right. I always save a little time just for this.

uspshooter

If you don’t have a round in the chamber ready to go all you are doing is concealing a real expensive club. And not a very good one at that.

In my concealed carry classes I take a little “time out” (best to do it now than in the heat of the battle!) and engage the class to discuss the issue.  The class recognizes a knucklehead the same way you or I do and will gain an opportunity to quickly reason for themselves what is right. I always save a little time just for this.

Vincent Barbour

You need to have a couple of airsoft guns and appropriate protection gear on hand.  Ask anyone who maintains that opinion for a bit of a Force-on-Force exercise. You carry your gun ready to fire and he carries his needing to be cocked.  He gets to say go, an advantage he will not have in a real SD situation, and perhaps he will learn something.

An old guy

I carry on a regular basis a .45 1911, a striker fired 9mm and the Ruger LCP. I alternate between one and two of the above. I have dissembled and examined all of the above and have the 1911 safety checked on a semi-annual basis (because it gets a lot of range use). I have never felt uncomfortable carrying any of them round cambered. The striker fired 9mm has three chunks of steel blocking the firing pin from falling unless the trigger is pulled. I don’t think I have ever seen a safer design and can not envision a failure even under catastrophic circumstances e.g having the gun run over by heavy truck, dropped over a hundred feet etc.  If carrying a gun with the round chambered was dangerous or unsafe IPSC and other competitions would have us start with an empty chamber, safety is always paramount with all competitions. 

Shoulder holsters may not be for everyone and may not be the fastest. I do remember my wife asking me if I was carrying when we had to go to a bad part of town one evening and I said of course
she said where, and I said shoulder holster and she said oh great and you are wearing a sweater like that is going to help if we get in trouble. Then she blinked and I had the .45 in my hand when she opened her eyes. All she said was wow, how? I said a lot of practice. I do not dissagree with Mr. Hanson, having your gun in a place where you can get at it fast is the best and ready to go.

An old guy

I carry on a regular basis a .45 1911, a striker fired 9mm and the Ruger LCP. I alternate between one and two of the above. I have dissembled and examined all of the above and have the 1911 safety checked on a semi-annual basis (because it gets a lot of range use). I have never felt uncomfortable carrying any of them round cambered. The striker fired 9mm has three chunks of steel blocking the firing pin from falling unless the trigger is pulled. I don’t think I have ever seen a safer design and can not envision a failure even under catastrophic circumstances e.g having the gun run over by heavy truck, dropped over a hundred feet etc.  If carrying a gun with the round chambered was dangerous or unsafe IPSC and other competitions would have us start with an empty chamber, safety is always paramount with all competitions. 

Shoulder holsters may not be for everyone and may not be the fastest. I do remember my wife asking me if I was carrying when we had to go to a bad part of town one evening and I said of course
she said where, and I said shoulder holster and she said oh great and you are wearing a sweater like that is going to help if we get in trouble. Then she blinked and I had the .45 in my hand when she opened her eyes. All she said was wow, how? I said a lot of practice. I do not dissagree with Mr. Hanson, having your gun in a place where you can get at it fast is the best and ready to go.

Ocpd44

There are only two ways to carry a 1911cop style: c&l or in a safe. However, I prefer to carry my subcompact 1911 in what looks like a camera case strapped to my side. I ride a motorcycle usually and it does not look out of place. On the rare occasions I carry my full size 1911, it is usually a yaqi slide concealed. Always, always, c&l’d.

Manny1879

I couldn’t possible agree with you more!

Smileycj305

   Yes, cocked and locked… Why, because if you have ever read a Colt manual, on the
1911 or any of the like set up Clones, it clearly describes Cocked and Locked as the
preferred method of carry for said weapon…. IN THE BOOK..
   I have a Colt Commander, in .45, and my users manual clearly states, etc…
And yes, under the circumstances, I suspect we might read about that fellow, at
a later date…..   🙁

Fortycal_sig

My own opinion is that if you’re uncomfortable with a 1911 cocked ‘n’ locked, then definitely don’t carry a 1911.  I don’t know enough about 1911s to say with any certainty whether a given one is safe to carry in that config or now.  Thus I personally would carry something else, and my own advice would be that unless you’re an expert on your 1911, and take great care of it, carry a double action.  Round chambered, naturally.

Rick Jackson8

Yep, keep it locked and cocked.  I will confess, though: I carry the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 (inside the waist) but I keep the safety ON.  I do, though, practice drawing and thumbing the safety off so that it’s ready to fire by the time that I’m pointing it at someone.

Paul

I’ve never been a fan of “cocked and locked” for the opposite reason of your student.  You have to perform one extra step, turning off the safety,. before you can fire in a panic situation.  I carry a Taurus 845 which has a safety that can  either allow for cocked and locked or it can drop the safety giving you a double action trigger pull on round one, the rest being single action.  It does allow using the safety as well after dropping the hammer, but this seems inprudent as well.  I have owned 1911’s in the past but prefer lighter polymer frame guns for full time carry.  I’m a big, bulky dude and the full sized 845 in my inside the pants holster seems just about perfect for me.

Anonymous

well i hate to say this but 20ft or less the bad guy will be on u before u even draw your gun. A guy can run 15ft in less than a sec. Its a fact though. And i agree one in a chamber is the best way of going!

Seafoxfla

there is only one way to carry a 1911 and that condition 1. if you don’t then carry something else.

AriKona

I carry my firearm in Condition 1 (sorry, I don’t have a 1911 so I can’t cock it and lock it).  If it is in the holster, it is chambered and ready to go upon withdrawal.  My other gun at my bedside has only one added feature and that is a Saf-T-Bloc so that a pen or other item in the drawer will not accidentally get caught in the trigger when I am awakened in the wee hours of the morning and am thinking with all my wits about me. 😉  Since the added protection does not add any time to firing, which racking agreeably would, I figure it is worth it.  Since the Serpa holsters do not allow for anything to be inside the trigger guard, I am safe with a chambered round and no bloc.

David William Loeffler

Cocked and Locked is Condition One.  You are carrying in Condition Zero, same as a fully loaded DA revolver.  FYI the British SAS, their equivalent of DELTA and there first, carried the Browning High Power Cocked and Unlocked, Condition Zero, for 35 years before changing to the SIG Sauer.  SAS had no negligent discharges in that time.