Concealed Carry Is Great But: Should I Carry Chambered?

You can survive 3 weeks without food. You can survive 3 days without water. You can even survive for 3 minutes without air. But if you’re about to be attacked with a lethal weapon, you may not even have 3 seconds to survive. Milliseconds can count when you need to draw your concealed firearm and protect the life of yourself or another. This is not the time to ask yourself, “Should I carry chambered?”

This always brings up the debate of whether carrying a gun with a round chambered is safe or sensible. Granted, there is no doubt that a firearm is “safer” when a round isn’t in the chamber, but if you aren’t able to use it when you need it, you may not get the chance when it matters most. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of carrying chambered:

Pros – Immediate Access

Having a round chambered means if you carry an automatic, all you have to do is flick off the safety and you’re ready to go. Most revolvers have no safety, owing to the need to either cock the hammer or for the user to cope with a “double throw” trigger system which means when you pull through the trigger mechanism, it will cock and release the hammer for you.

Cons – Accidental Discharge

Chambered rounds can accidentally discharge due to unforeseen impacts. This can result from a drop, the gun being knocked out of your hand or from improper handling due to panic or physical altercations. When a gun fires, the hammer pin strikes through a faceplate, striking somewhere on the bullet shell, forcing the primer to ignite the gunpowder in the shell. This could be a “center fire” primer or one where the hammer “pinches” the rim of the shell to create an ignition point with the primer in the shell. For revolvers, the hammer rests on these points as a matter of course unless the hammer is cocked. This means a drop could easily discharge the gun, resulting in random and horrific results.

With that said, the safety in an automatic stops the trigger mechanism from responding to a pull. Many automatics even have the firing pin “loose” instead of resting against the shell as they are in many revolvers. This means you have two layers of “protection” against an accidental discharge due to a drop. Also, the need to either cock the hammer or to deal with a heavy “double throw” pull is often more than enough to prevent an accidental pull for a revolver.

Don’t toss a gun in your glove box or under your seat and expect it to be effective. If you’re going to carry, chambered or not, keep it on you.

This is especially true if there are children around. If you conceal/carry, keep it close. Don’t toss a gun in your glove box or under your seat and expect it to be effective. Too many seconds will elapse before you can get to it and too many people have the ability to get to those areas without permission. If you’re going to carry, chambered or not, keep it on you. Belt clip, ankle holster, shoulder rig or even in a pocket, if your gun is on you, not only do you have primary control of it but keeping it out of the control of others is a lot easier.

Carrying concealed can be a liability if your attacker disables you or searches you before you have an opportunity to access your weapon. If that occurs, it won’t matter if you carry chambered or not. This means you have to take advantage of those milliseconds, whether you block your attacker with one hand while you draw and fire with the other, or back away to give yourself time to prevent a physical confrontation.

Police and military personnel are trained to use firearms as a part of their jobs and wouldn’t dream of carrying without a round chambered and if you carry concealed, you should have training as well. However, you have to balance your life and carrying concealed with a round chambered is a choice you have to make. There are hazards to keeping a round ready under the hammer, especially if children are around. However, there are hazards to consider if you don’t. If you’ve made the choice to carry concealed, you have to make the choice of what you carry and whether it has a round ready when you pull it out or not. Choose wisely. That choice can make a difference and second chances rarely happen.

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8 thoughts on “Concealed Carry Is Great But: Should I Carry Chambered?”

  1. I carry chambered. Have to disagree that military never carries unchambered though – it depends on the mission. For example, when I patrolled the Korean DMZ in 1990 only the DM & ADM were allowed to carry chambered. Political implications dictated extra caution to avoid accidental discharge.

  2. I’ve been carrying for the past 36 years and I always carry chambered when I carry my Glock. If I’m wearing my revolver all chambers are loaded. As for the firing pin resting on the round in the chamber of a revolver that is hogwash. The only revolvers that do that are old revolvers or western style revolvers made for Cowboy Action shooting. Revolvers made in the U.S. for the past 30 or more years have various kinds of safety features such as a metal shield between the firing pin and the hammer that stays in place until the hammer is cocked and even then the shield stays in place until the trigger is pulled. Accidental discharges on modern revolvers by dropping or even beating the hammer with a rock will not cause the gun to fire. As for semi-auto’s the safety features vary by manufacturer but suffice it to say they are very, very safe and also will not just “go off” if dropped. Take the Glock’s for instance, the trigger must be pulled completely through to allow the internal hammer to hit the firing pin. In my experience the only discharges that happen unexpectedly are due to negligence which is almost always caused by complacency and/or lack of training and knowledge on the firearm carried by the person who had the discharge. When people don’t want to carry their handgun with a round in the chamber or all chambers loaded in a revolver it is, in my opinion, due to lack of confidence in that person’s ability to handle the firearm effectively and safely. Practice, practice, practice and get to know your firearm inside and out.

  3. I agree with the round in the chamber for reasons that need not be repeated, the only statement made that I disagree with is, “Only Glock!” You’ve got to know that would ring a response. Glocks are great and dependable but NOT the only hand gun that is a good carry! I know back to the Ford or Chevy debate. Anyway the main point is, if your not competent enough to carry a round in the chamber you probably don’t need to be carrying at all.

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