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Why Carry With a Round in the Chamber: Part 1



The amount of people who don't carry a weapon with a round in the chamber is simply astounding. In this first part of a two part series, I'm going to cover why you should carry a gun that is locked, cocked and ready to rock. Next time, I'm going to explain why I believe some people don't carry with a round in the pipe.

But first, let me explain the reason for my willingness to cover such a topic. This came about because I wrote an article for, that went over how to re-holster your weapon so that you don't accidentally shoot yourself. Yes, this sort of information should be common knowledge. But, for some reason, people still shoot themselves in the leg. There was a lot of debate about whether or not carrying with a round in the chamber is a good idea in the comments on their Facebook page, so I figured I'd dive into the topic,here.

I want to say right now, that if you don't carry with a round in the chamber, my goal is not to offend you. My goal is to help you realize something, so please read on.

As a rule of thumb, police officers are taught that an attacker (AKA a bad guy) can successfully make up enough distance to over power someone in under 21 feet. Why? Because the “average” attacker can usually make up 21 feet in less than 2 seconds. Some guys are even faster than that.
What this means, is that by the time you realize your life is in danger, your assailant is already upon you with a knife or other means of deadly force. Unfortunately for you and I, it also takes anywhere from .7-1.5 seconds for your body to react once it realizes that it is in danger. So, if you pull your gun from its holster and there isn't a round in the chamber what are you going to do?

Oh I know. You could say: “um, excuse me, sir? Could you wait a moment while I draw my weapon, send a round home and then proceed to defend myself against you?”

Come on, man! If he is on you and you still need to chamber a round, you're as good as dead. Or, let's pretend I'm Joey Biden, about to give some fantastic gun advice: If your handgun is heavy enough, just throw it at your attacker in an attempt to ward him off! (that was a joke, people)

In all actuality, what will likely happen is you'll draw your weapon and your attacker will either turn around and run like a dog with his tail tucked, or he'll continue on in his pursuit regardless of the outcome. Why? Because that's how criminals think.

Trust me when I say that the last thing any criminal wants is to get caught being a criminal. If one is bold enough to attack you, he is also bold enough to end you just to prevent you from turning him in. How do I know this? Because I spent some time as a state correctional officer. I had plenty of time to talk to the inmates and get a feeling for how some of them think.

It gets worse. You see, a majority of attacks don't take place with an assailant starting at the 21 foot mark. More often than not, this knucklehead will be just a few feet from you, taking even less time for you to react appropriately.

Therefore, the only real way to mitigate the possibility of someone being successful in an attack, is to carry a handgun with a round in the chamber. That way, all you have to do is pull the gun from its holster, flip off the safety (if so equipped and you decide to use it, which, I don't use mine) assume your proper shooting stance (if you have time) and put that sucker down.

In a few days, I'll post part two in this short series. Until then, Sound Off Gun Carriers! Do you carry with a round in the chamber? If so, why? Then, head on over to our Facebook page and give it a like.

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  1. real genericuser

    September 4, 2017 at 8:47 PM

    This is an old post, but the comment literally calls people stupid of they don’t think his corrections officer experience trumps any argument for not carrying with a loaded chamber. I felt it needs a rebuttal for people who come across this article.

    There are many good reasons to carry without a round in the chamber. Furthermore, unlike many posters, I HAVE had to use my weapon to shoot a human being. I do not carry with a round in the chamber. I do practice drawing and racking the slide. It was not am issue when I needed to use the gun.

    My way may not be yours, but calling unchambered carry “stupid” is itself, well, stupid. 20 years of carry, 4 times i have drawn a firearm. 1 unfortunate but lawful shoot. I am not a “rookie.”

  2. Kevin Hill

    March 29, 2017 at 2:48 PM

    Always carry, with one in chamber. Been corrections officer for 25 years and still going. Stupid not to if you value your life or your loved ones. To many people out there that have no respect for human life, and will do anything to get what they want, no matter the out come. Only rookie gun carriers would carry with empty chamber.

  3. stan

    July 1, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    I too always carry a round in the chamber of my XDS 45 ACP..and always with me where ever I go..But you have to be very careful..What would your reaction time be with out a round in the chamber..Not very good..Have a great 4th everyone..Be safe……….

  4. Mark Muellner

    June 30, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    Probably going to be covered in part 2. but yes for a semi-auto and no for a revolver whether it be a SA or DA. Even the Duke (John Wayne) preached that a wheel gun /hog leg be carried on an empty chamber!

    • T. A.

      July 4, 2015 at 3:07 AM

      Revolvers also need to carried fully loaded. This is not the 1800’s or a movie. Modern revolvers are perfectly safe with a full cylinder.

    • Rob Pierce

      August 25, 2015 at 2:16 PM

      I thinking that, a revolver I don’t think I would carry with hammer on a round.

      • guncarrier

        August 25, 2015 at 4:36 PM

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  5. Joseph M. Butler

    June 30, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    I always carry with a round in the chamber which gives me 13 plus 1 in my .40 caliber Glock. As a former state Probation and Parole Officer, we were taught the same 21 foot rule too. It only takes a couple of seconds to get stabbed, shot or otherwise attacked.


    June 30, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    I can’t believe some one would carry a gun that is not loaded, they just need to leave it at home then because it will do no good to carry a empty gun. Sounds like barney on mayberry.

  7. Ezra Ben-Hur

    June 30, 2015 at 9:16 AM

    I always carry a round in the chamber of my 9 mm m&p Shield with safety on. Better be ready then sorry.

    • Rob Pierce

      August 25, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      Why with the safety on?

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