CCW – Is it Better To Carry With a Round Chambered or Not?

As we move closer to regaining our right to self defense in San Diego County, the question of whether to carry with a round chambered or not is likely to be under consideration by more than a few people. Lets take a few moments to consider that question.

While there are strong opinions and good arguments on both sides of this issue, choosing whether to carry with a round in the chamber or not is a personal choice. People need to decide what is right for their individual situation and proceed accordingly. For most people the question has two components, safety and preparedness. Lets start with safety.

Is it safe to carry with a round in the chamber? The general answer is most certainly yes however there are a few considerations. Kathy Jackson suggests that doing this safely comes down to two things, equipment and habits. Modern handguns are designed to be carried with a loaded chamber. Revolvers with their heavy double action trigger pulls are perfectly safe to carry with a round in the chamber. Semiautomatic handguns either striker fired with internal safeties or hammer fired with external safeties are also appropriate.

The gun represents the first part of the “equipment” consideration, the second part concerns the holster. A high quality holster that secures the gun and completely covers the trigger is safe. A cheaply made holster that allows the gun to move around or that moves around on you or allows the trigger to be exposed is not safe. Most people who carry accumulate a drawer full of holsters before they settle on the ones with which they are happy.

The second part of safety concerns habits. Do you always follow the four safety rules? Do you always (always, always) practice good trigger discipline? Developing these habits to the point where they happen without you thinking about it will keep you safe.

While safety was our first component, our second component is preparedness. Criminals are predators and they consider us potential prey. There is a process criminals go through in selecting a victim, moving into position, and initiating the attack. Responsible armed citizens need to maintain a reasonable level of situational awareness such that they fail the criminal’s selection process or are able to move out of position before the attack occurs.

When an attack does occur it is likely to happen very quickly. Most people will have a degree of hesitation or momentary disbelief (“am I really being attacked?”). Once you decide to react, there will be very little time to draw, aim, and shoot. Several video clips of actual crimes can be seen here showing the speed with which attacks occur. Additional information can be found here.

Many of you are familiar with the Tueller Drill or the 21-foot rule demonstrated here. Twenty-one feet is the distance an adult can cover in the time it takes most people to draw and fire the first round. Response time is going to be very limited and having to chamber a round will just reduce that time. Will you be able to respond in time without a round in the chamber?

If you’re still undecided, a good experiment to try is to carry every day for about a month with the trigger set (slide racked) but without a round in the chamber. At the end of your day verify that the trigger is in the same condition it was when you left the house in the morning. This may provide some useful information to help with your decision.

Whatever you decide remember it won’t matter if you don’t have your second amendment rights in the first place. Defend your rights by joining San Diego County Gun Owners, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and the National Rifle Association. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.

©2018 Joseph T Drammissi

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