Condition 3 Carry: Theory and Practice
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Thread: Condition 3 Carry: Theory and Practice

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Condition 3 Carry: Theory and Practice

    Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down. The theory:



    PS: Since I can't post two videos in one post, the next post will have the practice part.

    PPS: Yes, this person is muzzling himself. Yes, this person has his finger on the trigger and there is no click (empty gun). Yes, he is racking the slide before holstering. Yes, his pose at 1:34 would win him some style points in a gymnastics competition. About all of these aspects, see my follow-up post as well.

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  3. #2
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    Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down. In practice:



    PS: The advice in the video in the OP came from the "world’s worst" firearms instructor who was stripped of his NRA instructor credentials and of his North Carolina Concealed Carry Instructor credentials.

  4. #3
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    Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down. In practice, one-handed:


  5. #4
    Stupid people rely on a very short club in a fight for their life.

    If anyone can't safely carry a gun with a round in the chamber, they should leave it at home until they get more training.
    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.
    But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” ― Steven Weinberg

  6. #5
    In a self defense situation your firearm MUST be ready to fire upon presentation. As demonstrated, you most often WON"T HAVE TIME to chamber a round, or while under extreme duress will fail to chamber a round properly creating a malfunction rendering your firearm useless. Also, for firearms with an external safety, you must TRAIN to automatically thumb that safety off once clear of the holster and AFTER the muzzle has been rotated forward "downrange" towards your target. If you can't do that by muscle-memory properly and reliably, while under pressure, EVERY TIME you draw, you need to train some more or forgo a pistol with an external safety. For those people who just can't get their minds past the idea of carrying with a round in the chamber (due to incorrectly perceived safety issues), I recommend that you carry a double-action revolver over an empty chamber. While unnecessarily limiting your round capacity, at least when you present the firearm and press the trigger it will go bang for you, which obviously is crucial in a live or die self defense scenario.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCliff View Post
    In a self defense situation your firearm MUST be ready to fire upon presentation. As demonstrated, you most often WON"T HAVE TIME to chamber a round, or while under extreme duress will fail to chamber a round properly creating a malfunction rendering your firearm useless. Also, for firearms with an external safety, you must TRAIN to automatically thumb that safety off once clear of the holster and AFTER the muzzle has been rotated forward "downrange" towards your target. If you can't do that by muscle-memory properly and reliably, while under pressure, EVERY TIME you draw, you need to train some more or forgo a pistol with an external safety. For those people who just can't get their minds past the idea of carrying with a round in the chamber (due to incorrectly perceived safety issues), I recommend that you carry a double-action revolver over an empty chamber. While unnecessarily limiting your round capacity, at least when you present the firearm and press the trigger it will go bang for you, which obviously is crucial in a live or die self defense scenario.
    I disagree with the "double-action revolver over an empty chamber" statement. When you present the firearm and press the trigger it will go click, if empty chamber carry is done correctly to avoid a negligent discharge, i.e, the empty chamber is rotated in. The empty chamber under the hammer is a different and today completely unnecessary remedy for an accidental discharge of an unsafe revolver that shouldn't be carried anyway.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by bofh View Post
    I disagree with the "double-action revolver over an empty chamber" statement. When you present the firearm and press the trigger it will go click, if empty chamber carry is done correctly to avoid a negligent discharge, i.e, the empty chamber is rotated in. The empty chamber under the hammer is a different and today completely unnecessary remedy for an accidental discharge of an unsafe revolver that shouldn't be carried anyway.
    Hammer down on an empty chamber is a common way to carry a revolver if the person in question is concerned with negligent discharges due something like to a dropped gun. Personally, the only guns I own that are commonly carried in this manner are Colt Single Action Armys or clones of the same. Even then, my Single Action revolvers are range only guns. For more serious situations, I prefer more modern equipment.

    My Ruger single actions use a transfer bar system (all Ruger single actions except for the '3 Screw' early model Blackhawk- and even in their case, ruger will convert them for free- use the transfer bar system), so they can be carried with 6 loaded and the hammer down over a live round and none of the actions on any of my DA revolvers make it necessary to have the hammer down on an empty chamber except an antique Smith and Wesson Model 1881 that was built in 1896. Again, that is a range only gun, so carrying it that way would not be an issue- if I'd ever bothered to have leather made for it.

    In the case of a revolver, the live round in the chamber adjacent to the empty one does not align with the barrel and hammer until the hammer is cocked or the trigger is pulled. Using this carry method never has made any sense to me unless you are dealing with particular firearm built in the 19th or very early 20th Century that has an action that dictates doing so. I've never bothered with it when carrying either my Smith and Wesson 1917 or my pre-WWII Colt Detective Special. Their actions don't dictate the practice, so I don't do it.

    Honestly, I think this practice being so commonly suggested is a case of Hollywood fiction seeping into real life. Cowboys in the movies always carried 5 with the hammer down on an empty chamber and those that don't know any better think that means that's the right way to do it. It is definitely a good idea and the safest way to carry something like a Single Action Army or a 19th Century Smith and Wesson like a Russian or Schofield but doing it with something like a Smith and Wesson Model 10 or even a Hand Ejector is a waste.

    EDIT

    And I agree completely with you on Condition 3 carry. That's one of the worst ideas I've seen for concealed carry- ranking just below Condition 2 carry of a single action semi auto- but that's a whole different soap box to climb onto.

    Condition 3 carry is, in my personal, not so humble opinion, being a gun bearer for a mugger. You've got a gun that won't shoot when you need it. All he's got to do- and he's already got the initiative- is take it from you with your wallet, watch and jewelry. It's not like you can shoot him, the thing's unloaded*.

    (*- 'Unloaded' being defined as not in a condition where the gun will fire if all safeties that may be present are disengaged and the trigger is pulled)

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtg452 View Post
    Hammer down on an empty chamber is a common way to carry a revolver if the person in question is concerned with negligent discharges due something like to a dropped gun. Personally, the only guns I own that are commonly carried in this manner are Colt Single Action Armys or clones of the same. Even then, my Single Action revolvers are range only guns. For more serious situations, I prefer more modern equipment.

    My Ruger single actions use a transfer bar system (all Ruger single actions except for the '3 Screw' early model Blackhawk- and even in their case, ruger will convert them for free- use the transfer bar system), so they can be carried with 6 loaded and the hammer down over a live round and none of the actions on any of my DA revolvers make it necessary to have the hammer down on an empty chamber except an antique Smith and Wesson Model 1881 that was built in 1896. Again, that is a range only gun, so carrying it that way would not be an issue- if I'd ever bothered to have leather made for it.

    In the case of a revolver, the live round in the chamber adjacent to the empty one does not align with the barrel and hammer until the hammer is cocked or the trigger is pulled. Using this carry method never has made any sense to me unless you are dealing with particular firearm built in the 19th or very early 20th Century that has an action that dictates doing so. I've never bothered with it when carrying either my Smith and Wesson 1917 or my pre-WWII Colt Detective Special. Their actions don't dictate the practice, so I don't do it.

    Honestly, I think this practice being so commonly suggested is a case of Hollywood fiction seeping into real life. Cowboys in the movies always carried 5 with the hammer down on an empty chamber and those that don't know any better think that means that's the right way to do it. It is definitely a good idea and the safest way to carry something like a Single Action Army or a 19th Century Smith and Wesson like a Russian or Schofield but doing it with something like a Smith and Wesson Model 10 or even a Hand Ejector is a waste.

    EDIT

    And I agree completely with you on Condition 3 carry. That's one of the worst ideas I've seen for concealed carry- ranking just below Condition 2 carry of a single action semi auto- but that's a whole different soap box to climb onto.

    Condition 3 carry is, in my personal, not so humble opinion, being a gun bearer for a mugger. You've got a gun that won't shoot when you need it. All he's got to do- and he's already got the initiative- is take it from you with your wallet, watch and jewelry. It's not like you can shoot him, the thing's unloaded*.

    (*- 'Unloaded' being defined as not in a condition where the gun will fire if all safeties that may be present are disengaged and the trigger is pulled)
    I basically gave the short version, as I was unwilling to write up this much about the empty chamber carry thing. The only critique I have is terminology. I personally consider a gun unintentionally firing due to a malfunction accidental and a gun unintentionally firing due to operator error negligence, hence my distinction between both in my post. One could argue that the act of carrying an unsafe firearm, such as a revolver without a transfer bar, is negligence in it of itself.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bofh View Post
    I disagree with the "double-action revolver over an empty chamber" statement. When you present the firearm and press the trigger it will go click, if empty chamber carry is done correctly to avoid a negligent discharge, i.e, the empty chamber is rotated in. The empty chamber under the hammer is a different and today completely unnecessary remedy for an accidental discharge of an unsafe revolver that shouldn't be carried anyway.
    I had one student who just absolutely refused to ever carry a firearm with a round in the chamber, despite my (and others) best attempts at educating and reasoning with him about why that was a bad idea, and how this could be done safely. He was the only one that I then made the suggestion for revolver carry over an empty chamber, since he just couldn't get his brain past the idea that having a round in the chamber or a round "under the hammer" was somehow inherently unsafe. I did not recommend nor say that the revolver be carried over a live round with an empty chamber up next. That would not have satisfied his phobia anyway. I also fully understand that carrying a modern revolver over an empty chamber is also entirely unnecessary for safety as well, and, as I stated, needlessly limits the capacity of your firearm. But if you load a modern DA revolver and carry it with the hammer down over an empty chamber, it will go bang, not click, when you pull the trigger. The individual I'm referring to sold his Glock and got a nice S&W .357 revolver, I believe a model 66. I am sure he is carrying it over an empty chamber. But as long as he is careful about closing the cylinder so that the empty chamber is in fact under the hammer, it will go bang, not click, when he presents his firearm and pulls the trigger.

  11. #10
    Bottom line, I am in "violent agreement" that your firearm must be ready to fire upon presentation in a self-defense situation. If it's not, your chances of prevailing in what is, by definition, a life-or-death conflict are dramatically reduced.

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