You are at the range and the group you are with is discussing carry methods. One of the instructors in the group chimes in and tells everyone that it is best to carry with an empty chamber because it is safer. The group seems to be intrigued by his rationale as he mentions the Israelis and many other organizations in Europe. What do you do?
Empty Chamber Carry
This discussion seems to be as long-lasting as the debate over 9mm vs .45 ACP. However, this one in my mind is much more black and white. The premise of carrying a gun with a full magazine but no round in the chamber is often referred to as “Israeli Carry.” This is because it is the method that a majority of Israeli military and law enforcement use. The reason they carry this way is up for debate, but in short, they believe it is safer. Because of this SOP, many other agencies, especially around Europe, carry in this same fashion.
With that said, I will just be blunt and say stop it. When we look at our scenario, I would inject the same idea. I would politely inject that I don’t agree. Carrying on an empty chamber has always been a procedure used by entities or individuals that lack serious training. Carrying with an empty is a band-aid fix to poor training. As responsible gun owners, we have a duty to filter out the BS that flows at times.
Carrying on an empty chamber is dangerous because it slows your response and ultimate ability to defend yourself. The arguments will fly about how fast someone can rack a round. My reply to that is congratulations – imagine how fast you would be if you actually carried the gun in the condition it is designed for. This is a similar argument I hear from people with shotguns. “Racking your shotgun will scare the attacker away.” No, it won’t. All you did was tell the assailant that your gun was unloaded, and you are now panicking to get it ready.
Carry Empty to Acclimate – At Home!
Modern firearms are completely safe to carry with a loaded chamber. Even firearms without a mechanical external safety like the Glock are safe. “Is there a time when you would ever support carrying with an empty chamber?” Yes, there is. A friend shared their own experience with this, and it is brilliant. If you are a brand-new gun owner and are trying to get comfortable with your gun, this may be an option. Carrying empty around the house to simply acclimate to carrying a gun can be a good exercise. The minute you leave the house, however, the gun must be hot.
Many times, we try to adopt ideas and techniques from people that we admire. While the Israelis are indeed warriors, they are wrong to carry without a round in the chamber. Anyone trying to emulate that is simply following a poorly informed and dangerous practice. Keep your guns hot.
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Don’t Carry Concealed on an Empty Chamber – Ballistic Magazine is written by Fred Mastison for www.ballisticmag.com