Concealed-Carry Myths

Many new concealed-carry permit holders subscribe to a variety of myths that could have potentially deadly consequences. Here are five of the most common.

By Paul Markel (RSS)
December 15, 2011

It’s been said all the best stories begin with either “Once upon a time” or “There I was.” There are other tales that begin with “I was talking to my buddy and he said…” Over the years, I’ve developed a reflexive cringe from all the times I’ve heard someone begin a conversation with such verbiage.

If we are talking about venison recipes or the best way to get red wine stains out of your dress shirt, opinions vary and it’s not that big a deal if the advice doesn’t quite pan out. However, when we are talking about the most important activity you can undertake—protecting your life and the lives of your family members—bad advice can have dire consequences.


In the United States today, there is little doubt concealed carry is one of the hottest topics, at least for gun owners. Sales figures for compact, concealable handguns bear out this argument. Furthermore, at last count, there was a grand total of one state that had absolutely no provision to allow their citizens to carry a concealed handgun. In the other states, the majority have shall-issue laws on the books.

Obtaining a lawful permit or permission to carry a concealed handgun is only one part of the equation. I’ve encountered dozens of citizens who obtained a permit but don’t carry because they do not feel comfortable or capable of actually using a gun for personal protection. The reasons vary, but they generally boil down to a lack of training and/or misunderstanding what it means to be an armed citizen.

Carry Only When Needed

I am certain my face shows distress when I hear someone say they have a CCW permit but they “…only carry it when I think I might need it.” My patent answer to that statement is, “If you think you are going to need a gun, don’t go there.” Or more aptly, “If you know you need a gun you should take a rifle or a shotgun, not a concealed handgun.”

The Smith & Wesson J-frame is easy to carry and extremely reliable, but requires dedicated effort to master.

If I knew I was going to a fight I’d prefer to take the USS Missouri, but battleships are tough to conceal.

Carrying only once in a while, when you think you might need it, is akin to purchasing car insurance that only covers you on Friday nights from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and every other Saturday. Certainly, you wouldn’t buy an insurance policy that only covered you on random dates or occasions.

When you obtain a carry permit, you are essentially purchasing life assurance—life insurance only kicks in once you are at room temperature. When you’ve decided to arm yourself against unknown, unanticipated threats, you need to do it as often as humanly possible.

Empty Chambers are Happy Chambers

In an effort to seem reasonable or extra safe, some permit holders will carry their semi-automatic pistols with a loaded magazine in place and the chamber empty. Not on the nightstand mind you, but in their holsters. I’ve also encountered double-action revolver owners who will deliberately prestage an empty chamber so the first hammer strike falls on nothing.

Good training is key before you carry. Regular practice afterward not only sharpens your skills, but provides the kind of confidence it will take Good training is key before you carry. Regular practice afterward not only sharpens your skills, but provides the kind of confidence it will take to defend your life.

The reason for this thinking is typically little or no training and a bit of insecurity. In an effort to be “extra safe” by keeping the chamber empty, the gun owner is assuming they will always have the time and ability to draw their pistol and charge a round before they need to fire.

In both the semi-automatic and revolver scenarios, the shooter is purposely reducing his round count and increasing the amount of time it will take to get the gun in the fight. Should you be attacked with deadly force, time is likely not something you will have on your side and you may need every round you have.

One of the most dangerous aspects of this practice is you wind up playing the “Is my gun loaded or not?” game. It also leads to “It’s alright, the chamber is empty,” type of thinking. Loaded guns are safe guns because people treat them with respect. I once had a pistol fired into the ground 2 feet from me because the shooter thought the chamber was empty, so it would be safe to dry-fire.

Women Should Only Shoot .22s

While .22 LR handguns are fantastic training tools and excellent ways to learn the basics of marksmanship, they are not the best fight stoppers in the world. It is true, as my friend Walt Rauch once advised, “No one wants to leak, not even bad guys.” However, there is no reason a healthy adult woman cannot carry and employ a centerfire handgun.

Ruger’s LCP in .380 ACP and LCR in .38 Spl. are both wildly popular for concealed carry, but it is vital to train with these compact handguns despite the inherent difficulty in shooting a small pistol.

Not long ago, a woman told me when the subject of a defensive handgun came up, one of her male co-workers told her to buy a .22 and load it with dum-dum rounds. Yes, that was the exact term he used. Dum-dum rounds aside, the purpose of defensive shooting is to force the attacker to stop, not to bleed to death 20 minutes later.

A centerfire pistol or revolver with a bore diameter of .35 inch and up is a good place to start. Concealable handguns from .380 ACP up to .45 ACP abound and are readily available. The recoil impulse from the .45 ACP is generally less severe than that of a .40 S&W from the same-size handgun. I’ve encountered numerous women who could run a 1911 like no one’s business. The question was not the sex of the shooter or their size, but rather their level of training and their experience.

Practice Gun Zen

Another common trend I’ve come across is the carry gun versus the range gun. Folks will go out and purchase the latest, greatest compact or subcompact pistol. They’ll boast to their buddies about how easy it is to carry and conceal. They can carry it all day and forget it’s in their pocket. That covers step one—be armed.

When it comes time to hit the range, these very same guys pull out a pistol with a 5- or 6-inch barrel, target sights and meticulously tuned trigger. From 10 yards, they set about punching neat little holes in paper targets and call it training.

Don’t get me wrong, shooting should be enjoyable recreation. It can be a great way to spend an afternoon. However, if you bought a compact .380 ACP pistol for personal protection and still haven’t gotten through your first box of 50 rounds, you are kidding yourself if you think you’re ready for combat.

By their very design, compact, lightweight pistols and revolvers are easy to carry and difficult to shoot well. These guns demand you train and practice with them. You might be able to plink a soda can a 20 yards with a Ruger Mark III pistol, but that’s not likely to be the gun you’ll have on you when a bad guy shows up. Can you hit a soda can at 10 feet with your pocket pistol?

A compact Glock, such as a G19 or G23, can be carried concealed all day long with proper holster. Carrying a spare magazine is always a good idea.

This is an easy trap to fall into. Your shot groups don’t look as good with the pocket gun as they do with your larger target pistol. Park your ego at the door and practice with the pocket pistol. One day, you might be glad you did.

Hand Me Down That Gun

Many who decide to carry a gun are not gun people. They don’t subscribe to any gun magazines and don’t know or care about the history or nomenclature of firearms. All they know is they need a gun for personal protection. I’ve run into this many times during concealed-carry training courses and I’ve spoken to several trainers across the nation who agree this seems to be a trend.

Students, many of whom are women, will arrive at the class with gun handed down to them by great uncle Joe or grandpa Jim. Some have never put a single shot through the gun, but they load them up with the ammo uncle Joe gave them and keep them on the nightstand, the car or in their purses.

Far too many of these family heirlooms are in such poor condition, they can’t be relied upon to fire two rounds in succession. During one course, I had a lady show up with a double-action revolver given to her by her grandfather. The timing was so out of whack, it took her three to four trigger pulls to get a cartridge to fire.

At another course, a shooter arrived with a compact .22 LR semi-automatic pistol passed down by a relative. This person had it for two years and had never fired a round through the gun. When it came time for the live-fire portion, we discovered it was essentially a single-shot pistol. The gun this citizen had been keeping loaded, “just in case,” malfunctioned after the first shot and would not cycle or feed from the magazine.

The Winning Formula

The good news is when these folks show up for a training class, it becomes immediately, if not painfully, obvious they have been getting by on luck for a long time. Unfortunately, too many people feel owning a gun takes care of the personal-protection issue. To paraphrase Col. Jeff Cooper, owning a gun doesn’t make you any more an armed citizen than owning a guitar makes you a musician.

It really is not possible to train yourself. You can practice on your own, but unless you’ve had professional instruction you are likely just ingraining bad habits. A good training course will teach you what to practice and the best ways to do so.

Shooters will often leave a course amazed at how much they didn’t know when they arrived, and that is a positive thing. They are now on their way—they’ve become a student of the gun.

If you are truly serious about defending yourself with a firearm and carrying one on a regular basis, there are several steps you should take. Apply for your CCW permit, purchase a quality firearm, get some training and then practice often.

It’s really not all that complex of a formula, but I’m dismayed by how many folks stop after the first step. When all is said and done, it’s your life on the line—the choice is up to you.

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144 Responses to Concealed-Carry Myths

  1. Pingback: This Shooting Illustrated CCW piece is right on target... - XDTalk Forums - Your XD/XD(m) Information Source!

  2. James M. Donovan says:

    Great Article, good advice

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  4. John Garrod says:

    Excellent article, right on the money! Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared!

    • Mysticwin says:

      Yes, always be ready. However don’t unconsciously
      look for a fight by fantasizing about shooting bad guys. Bad guys shoot back.
      Be careful what you wish for. You just may get it, a self fulfilling prophecy.

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  7. Kevin McKinley says:

    Guns also need to be cleaned. Get to know how your gun comes apart as well as goes together. Some people keep a gun for so long in their night stand that it needs to be cleaned even if they haven’t shot it for some time.

  8. Chris says:

    On carrying with an empty chamber: It isn’t only a TIME issue, but more an issue of having two hands available to prepare your sidearm for the fight. I almost always have something or someone in one of my hands; it would be difficult at best to rack the slide and chamber a round.

    • rathernotsay says:

      I can’t make myself carry w/ chambered. My big hangup is when I get home and have to (at least think I have to) tear it down. I don’t like leaving the gun out of site chambered, and I don’t like popping the bullet out – and then dry-fire.

      • Marshallv says:

        you can just leave the weapon cocked and remove the round. if you hav a 1911 with out an auto de cocker just ride the hammer foward with your thumb. the way I think of it is what good is a car with out gasoline? it is useless just like your weapon is with out a round in the chamber. I once a week unload my weapon and switch the position of all the rounds in the mag.

        • gregg says:

          Or just leave the mag alone. Loading and unloading weakens the spring. Not much, but some. Any quality magazine will not “take a set.” Just leave the mag loaded, take her out, and clear the gun. Or just leave the dang thing loaded unless you’re going to the range. And why neuter yourself in the house? Put the weapon in the lockbox while you sleep, in it’s holster. Every gun is always loaded, so they might as well be.

    • carlos says:

      So get a revolver, there’s one always in the chamber & they never jam. But if you have a semi auto you’d better run or put down whats in your hands cause it might be you that gets shot…

      • Aul says:

        All guns can jam including single shot. Get them clean, keep them clean. I have personally been brought several revolvers that would not fire. Cause was anything from pocket lint to what looked like a plastic bb in the hammer slot or trigger assembly.

    • Gary says:

      I was hesitant to carry with a chambered round when I first got my CHL, but after giving it a lot of thought I realized that it is ridiculous to carry with empty chamber.

      The chances are great that I may barely have enough time to pull my gun out, much less chamber a round. I use good concealment holsters and use safe handling practices.

      If you are going to carry with an empty chamber, you probably really have no business carrying concealed.

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  10. ThomasD says:

    I don’t carry with an empty chamber, but it is a good idea to practice working the slide one handed. In a pinch you can use most any hard surface, or even your thigh (dummy rounds are probably in order then.)

    You never know when your off hand might be unavailable.

  11. Keith says:

    Great article and advice! I especially like the .22′s are the best carry for women, what a crock!

    Another would be ‘military experience doesn’t necessarily translate to civilian experience.’ The engagement, preparation, and environment are different for the two. I can’ t tell you how many times I’ve heard an Solider giving advice to a civilian that was only relevant on the battlefield.

    • Adam says:

      Yeah but that soldier could outshoot you in a target match blind folded with an unfamiliar weapon. Don’t talk that bs

      • Country Boy says:

        A country boy that grew up shooting quail and squirrels could probably out shoot both of ya, and may have many more years experience than the military guy.

        • raymillsus says:

          That may be true but the military guy will be able to control his breathing and his nerves when it counts. Shooting a squirrel with a 22 is not the same as Shooting for your life. That is what we are really talking about. “Shooting for your life” it is you or them. Breathing is going to be your friend or enemy. You will not know until you have been there. And unless in the military most will never “Been there” and that my friends is actually a good thing.

          • Gary says:

            Most game animals don’t shoot back. And your right we vets have been trained to control breathing rate of fire target aquision and have fired an abundance of rounds in practice and actual combat.

          • gregg says:

            So you’re trying to tell me that a Sailor that’s never touched a gun is an expert, and that a Marine that qual’d on an m9 is an expert with a Glock. BS. Period. I’m out of here, this is sad.

    • David says:

      I am a former soldier and while yes I can shoot a rifle of just about any caliber very well. We were never trained on handguns. I did take what the military taught me and put it to use practice practice practice. Always with my carry gun might get pricey but at least I know what to expect.

      • Mick says:

        Just to jump into this stupid argument I have a true story. My neighbor is a ex Marine. He was a Marine in 1983-87. He never saw any combat. In 1977 at 11 years old I qualified as a NRA Marksman. By 14 I was an Expert and by 16 I was a Distinguished Expert. My father used to take me to sanctioned competitions every weekend. About 5 years ago my neighbor started talking a bunch of garbage and I called him on it. I went shooting every week and had of enough of his I was in the Marines talk. I said lets go to an outdoor range by us, I will bring weapons you were familiar with and the loser pays for gas, ammo and just for fun let’s put $100 on it. He bit and I brought a 1911, 92FS and an AR-15. He hasn’t talked any smack since and he did pay the $100 and another $100 because he had so much fun. No range fee because I pay that once a year.
        No disrespect to anybody who fought for our country, especially the people who have seen actual combat but your basic soldier is taught just that. The basics, which he was a bit rusty on. He went from “I went to boot camp not basic training” to hey do want to go shooting? We get along very well and I do take him once a month. I mean my NRA badges are very old, I have since done the same with my nephew that my dad with me. I’m sorry but you cannot compare a ranked shooter against a soldier or even a LEO. I have been shooting once a week for almost 40 years. Does that make me a Navy Seal? No. Does it make me an extremely accurate shooter? Yes. I agree with David – practice practice practice and then practice some more.

    • Dave H says:

      The same time I can’t tell you how many civilians see something in videogames or on t.v. that think may save them. The whole ‘shoot to wound B.S.’ is the biggest one. I train people center mass and try to get them to think your noy going to have both hands etc in a real life fight. Your going to be running for cover etc. Personally I think Military thinking at least from the Marines is light years ahead of most so called training. Room clearing etc. You never know what scenario you will face and though action shooting like ispc or sass may help they rarley can address real world threats. Just my thoughts. USMC 2007-2012 rifle coach/ pistol coach. Primary mos rarely did was 6112. Delivering ammunition or teaching people how much o hit there targets out to 500 meters

  12. Sarge says:

    Very Good article from the voice of experience!

    I can teach anyone to shoot if the person is motivated to learn. I can’t teach someone WHEN to shoot! As Robin Williams once said, “Reality… what a Concept”! The reality of that split second decision to shoot or not to shoot will affect you for the rest of your life (even if it is only a few seconds)!

    Also, don’t take a knife to a Gun Fight!

  13. Alexandre J. Arnau says:

    Finally, an article on concealed carry that makes sense. The part directed at women was especially important; I’ve been in plenty of gunshops where the person behind the counter tried to pressure women into buying a small .22 derringer or similar item, as a primary weapon. As a man, the thought of someone in a gunshop being condescending to my wife, daughter, or mother really pisses me off.

    Besides, everyone knows that women love 1911s.


    • SDN says:

      Yeah, they do. They won”t if that’s the gun they fire for the first time. I don’t even want to think about how many times I’ve seen Manly Men haul their wife, gf, sister, etc. out to the range, hand them the BFG, and say “Just squeeze the trigger.” BLAMMM!

      Followed by the sound of the range door closing as the New Shooter leaves with the firm resolve to Never Do That Again.

      Start them off with a .22. Let them see that they can do this. My Ruger 22/45 is always in my range bag just so I can tactfully say, “Excuse me, why not try this one.” All the reward I need is for the smile to break out when they realize this is something they can do, especially after a BFG experience.

      This isn’t limited to women, but they seem to have that issue more.

      • Katherine says:

        Wonderful advice. I am very fortunate to have a husband who thinks rationally and realistically, like you. He did some research, made some suggestions, and let ME choose my first gun. It was a Ruger SP101– simple to understand, easy to clean, not difficult to carry. I TRUSTED that gun, and my ability to handle it. It took practice to achieve “central body mass” accuracy with a snub-nose – but that meant he got lots of range time with his 1911. A few months later, I wanted a .22 just to “plink” with — and he gave me a Beretta Neos. What a sweet little gun! Certainly NOT a CCW, but loads of fun to shoot. By then I had my CC permit, and was looking for something with more than five shots. I was comfortable with a semi-auto, thanks to the Beretta. We went shopping, and I chose the Kahr CW9, with a rubber sleeve on the grip, an extra mag, and the simplest “pocket holster” I could find. With a full mag and one in the chamber, I have 8 rounds in the gun, with seven in the extra mag. The Kahr is a double-action, so I am not the least bit uncomfortable carrying with a round in the chamber. That’s still my carry-gun — and I routinely practice drawing it from a CC handbag, or from the holster clipped to slacks/jeans in center front or back, as well as running a couple of hundred rounds through it at the range on a regular basis.
        My husband pointed out that since his 1911 was our “nightstand gun” I needed to be comfortable using it. I was intimidated by the sheer “presence” of that gun…. elegant but lethal. But I was also fascinated by the accuracy he achieved with it. The first time I shot it, I know I closed my eyes and flinched — but I still managed to hit the target. It soon became obvious that if he wanted to shoot his 1911, he was going to have to get me one of my own. So I now have four guns in my bag and love shooting all of them — because my husband was smart enough to let me chose guns I was comfortable with and could trust, find my confidence, and build my skills. If he had simply handed me a BFG and said “This is it…..” ? — I would have been outta there in three seconds flat and never willingly picked up a handgun again.
        My suggestions for beginning shooters — Get decent ear protection. If possible, rent or borrow noise-cancelling earphones. At the least, use plugs AND ear covers. Don’t laugh when she flinches at the noise.
        Find a really, really good range with a good selection of guns for rental, safe and adequate shooting bays, good lighting and good ventilation.
        If it’s outdoors, go on a pretty day — not one that will challenge her weather tolerance. It’s hard to concentrate on what you’re doing, or enjoy it, if you’re physically misrable.
        Set her up for success. Take time to explain safety and the basics of accuracy (stance, grip, aim, breathing) and walk her thru the process with an unloaded gun until she’s comfortable. Give her easy targets, set close, and gradually move them out as her confidence and accuracy improves.
        All beginners have grip/firing issues that can have a seriously negative effect on accuracy. Find a Pistol Shooters Problem Solver chart online that explains what causes carefully aimed shots to miss. It’s like tuning up your golf swing with a pro.
        Be safe!….. Have fun!

        • Jim Mele says:

          Your post was right on except for the carrying of your gun in your purse. It can be way too easy for someone to snatch your purse and then the have your gun also. Please carry your weapon on your person only

          • Elizabeth says:

            I would generally agree with that. However, I carry with a cross-body security bag, which has steel cable in the strap and steel mesh in the body of the bag- it is slash-proof and no one can grab a cross-body bag from you.

      • Austin says:

        I bought my m&p in .45 and that was the very first handgun my wife ever shot. She LOVES to shoot now and I have to buy her her own gun. She went from ‘I really don’t like guns’ to ‘everybody should learn to shoot’ in the length of time it took her to empty that first magazine!

  14. Jack says:

    If you have any questions regarding the CWP law or training contact http://www.e2c.us or 1-866-371-6111 and the Instructors at Equip 2 Conceal will be happy to help you.

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  17. Larry says:

    Good information, only one quibble: the “spare magazine” meme is overkill for most people. Statistics show that most non-LEOs end an encounter well within five rounds. If you carry a gun with a 10-17 round mag, having an extra on hand can be too easily painted by prosecutors as “going out looking for trouble.” Yes, mags can fail, but a mag carried in a gun is more protected from damage than one carried in a pouch.

    • Excellent article.
      Every CCW instructor I have had has recommended carrying one or more spare magazines for an auto-pistol since almost all auto-pistol stoppages are magazine-related… assuming the pistol is reliable in the first place.
      And you don’t need a featherweight gun to carry it comfortably. This pocket pistol fad is just that.

      • B. Miller says:

        Statistics huh? LOL. I agree with you about not carrying ‘a’ spare mag. You should carry two at least IMO. Never heard anyone say they had too much ammo. What if there is more than one attacker? Statistics also show that most engagements are at around 7 yards. Do you only pratice at that range? If so you might be better off just leaving your gun at home. Telling people not to carry a spare mag is terrible advice. Its not going to make any difference in court. Besides get past the first hurdle first…winning the gunfight. The last cartridge in that spare mag might be the one that saves your life.

        • RainmanE350 says:

          The FBI keeps statistics on all shootings. They report that 80% are within 11 FEET. They are over in about three seconds with 3 rounds fired. The BG fires first.

          • Charles in TX says:

            Would you fly in a plane if 20% of the planes crashed? I don’t want to be in a gunfight 20% of the time unprepared for any eventuality that might present itself whether it is multiple assailants or a faulty magazine.

    • Steve says:

      I carry a PF9 (7+1) is far to close to the “5 round” encounter. I wouldn’t even think of stepping out without a second magazine.

    • Jim Sanfilippo says:

      I carry a Ruger LCR all day, everyday. No empty chamber, so I have five rounds. By your logic, I shouldn’t NEED anymore ammo “Statistics show that most non-LEOs end an encounter well within five rounds.”
      I also carry two speed loaders and have two ammo wallets in my truck. I’ve carried for over 31 years and have ALWAYS had extra ammo. I have NEVER looked for trouble and I have only drawn my weapon a couple of time (off-duty).

    • Steve says:

      Those with experience know that carrying a spare mag is not about the extra rounds but the fact that the magazine is the weakest link in the chain. Try some competive shooting for a while and you will find that some types of jams require that you drop your mag. Try doing clearing a jam when you need to retain your original mag not even knowing if the magazine is the cause of the jam and will do it again. I carried and used a handgun for real and I have NEVER carried any gun without at least one spare magazine. Those of us who put our guns to hard use rather than gently handle them shooting at paper targets have a box or two of bad magazins and know that even Sigs and Glocks can jam when used in defensive situations. It is essentially the same as driving without a spare tire. Sure the car is mechanically perfect and you can drive for 50,000 miles with the tires that came with the car and yet, we all end up getting flat tires from nails in the road or whatever.

    • Dustin says:

      It really depends on the situation. With someone else armed as well and some cover, or maybe even 2 guys with weapons, 5 shots won’t cut it. That 5 shot statistic depends on a LOT of variables and there’s been plenty of incidents where someone shot 5 times kept fighting. Look at all the mass shootings that’ve happened. 5 shots will get you nowhere. I assume that’s an older statistic? The question is, what’s the difference in the encounters between LEO’s and non=LEO’s?

  18. Robert says:

    larry said “having an extra on hand can be too easily painted by prosecutors as “going out looking for trouble.”
    You can play that game all you want. I have read that any thing you do can be painted against you.
    The purpose of CC is to stay safe and keep your family safe. Let your lawyer worry about the paint.

  19. Rachael Merritt says:

    One thing I wish he would have addressed is that more women ought to carry ON THEIR person as opposed to in the purse which may end up anywhere. Great article, awesome points.

    • Craig Gierach says:

      I agree completely! Thugs are gonna go for your purse or handbag (where your valuables are) first, and then there goes your gun…AND any chance of defending yourself!

  20. Danny Nix says:

    I am so glad I read this! I have had a gun for a couple of years now and have never fired it. Time I learn how to use it, and be trained on it properly.


  21. Tony S says:

    Fantastic article.

    In response to Larry “having an extra on hand can be too easily painted by prosecutors as “going out looking for trouble.” I respectfully disagree with that. The prosecutor could as just as easily use the fact you had defensive rounds loaded as looking for trouble. Let your lawyer worry about that. In fact, if you ever unfortunately find yourself in that situation your lawyer will have a firearms instructor on the stand as an expert to refute such a claim. I’d rather escape a robbery attempt by using two magazines than being a statistic because I only had one.

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  23. Crutch says:

    I work on an Air Force Base, and therefore, cannot carry any weapon onto the base property, at any time. This condition forces me to be a part-time CCW…

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  25. Steve Hommes says:

    I plan on getting the CCW permits for myself and wife this year…our resolution. She doesn’t yet understand the importance of this freedom….but she will someday and will feel empowered to be able to go anywhere safely. God Bless the USA and our freedom…that includes against crime!

  26. Robert Herzberg says:

    Excellent article. Training with a professional is essential. Before buying a gun to carry, think carefully about the issue of defending your life and the lives of those that may be with you. Are you seriously & totally committed to saving your your life even if means taking the life of another human being? If you can answer in the affirmative, without reservation, you are ready to learn to save your life. This article is a great place to start.

  27. Adam says:

    When the gentalman was speaking about “dum dum rounds” he was refering to a hollow point round. That is how the Brits refer to them. Just thought you should know.

  28. Susan says:

    Excellent article. Sent it to myself and some friends.

  29. cmblake6 says:

    This article was very well reasoned. The point behind a handgun is to be able to fight your way back to the shotgun in the trunk. The purpose behind a CCW is to have SOMETHING on the off chance that something happens you weren’t planning on. As was said, if you think life will suddenly get interesting, don’t go there.

  30. Richard Klitenick says:

    Just like packing (no pun intended) for a trip–”I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

  31. theBuckWheat says:

    Great article. However, please allow that those of us who carry in Condition 3 (full magazine, but chamber empty). Yes, it requires that I cycle the slide before the firearm is fully ready and yes that takes both hands, and yes that takes time. However, I want discharging the firearm to be a deliberate act, a very deliberate act. And I want to have to take more than one deliberate motion to make that happen.

    It is not that I feel safer about the firearm itself. It is that I want to do these steps for my own mental commitment to the will and necessity about having to pull the trigger because because when that I do so I will not be able to undo what happens next to both myself and the person I must use deadly force against.

    • Frenchy LeBlanc says:

      I agree with “theBuckWheat”. I carry an empty chamber because I am well trained and educated on the use and tactics of firearms and emergency situations. Nothing is ever 100%, so the “cocked and locked” carry is about the only point I do find myself at odds with in the article (secondary, but minor is the spare mag… I always have at least one spare mag and a BUG as well).

      For the average joe, cocked and locked carry may be fine, but the one time I had to draw my weapon, I racked one in the chamber and it gave me time to make sure of MY actions, as well as giving the assailant and his friend time to think about THEIR actions. How bad did they really want to continue their action? Another thing I employed at that very same time is my words. I informed him that I am armed, well trained, and that I have more than enough stopping power for him and his buddy should they wish to continue. The situation was almost immediately de-escalated with me racking a round in the chamber and completely diffused when I suggested that he call the cops immediately. I called them myself and once the situation was laid out in complete detail with every bit of minutia that 3rd party scrutiny deserves, I was cleared to proceed on my way.

  32. Kelly McGraw says:

    I took an introductory class at local range to make sure I was ready. Will apply for permit soon. Will return to same instructor for training and practice. Great advice.

  33. Chris says:

    Ouch, ouch. Guilty of #1 and #2. However, training is scheduled and I’m looking forward to fixing those mistakes. Great article.

  34. denton says:

    Great article. Good advice.

    Best stats I can find indicate that an attacker will flee 93% of the time if the victim produces a firearm. They want an easy victim, not a fair fight. OTOH, 60% of victims who offer no resistance end up injured.

    Possible additional thought: Make up your mind well in advance that you will kill if necessary to protect yourself and your family. If you are attacked, things are going to be a little too busy to calmly reflect on the question.

  35. WPZ says:

    My (female) partner and I run a lot of women’s intro to handgun courses and have had hundreds of ladies go through.
    During the part where we ask about the intentions of the attendee, something like three-quarters of them say personal protection is the top motivation, Since we’re the non-carry state, it’s usually said to be for home protection.
    The number of them that arrive with tiny guns sold to them by well-intentioned gun store clerks is appalling. Rarely have they shot the snubs when they arrive, which is merciful. Those that have don’t understand why they’re such lousy shots.
    Now, my partner is a lightly-built but athletic woman who’s a sponsored and fairly well-known USPSA shooter. Yes, she shoots .40 cal 1911s like a house afire or better. She can actually win club matches outright. So she stresses the fundamentals she’s learned from the masters who taught her (think Manny Bragg) and it works.
    Our ladies leave both shooting really well, and smiling.
    Here’s what she says about little guns: women who are apprehensive about handguns find the little guns appealing at first because they ARE small… and unintimidating for that reason.
    Like they tend to handle the guns: softly, as if being gentle with them will make them less scary and barky.
    Interestingly, on the range, she’s the hardass beating the ladies up and I’m the softie.
    It really works.
    We send them home telling them that for a house gun, a full-size service handgun in 9mm is their best choice (The M&PL and G34 produce by far the best actual results).
    But… when I leave this benighted state and it’s warmer weather, it’s a Detective Special for ballast for me. I tell the ladies a hundred rounds a month of full-power practice is the minimum and that’s what I do. At the very least.
    So, who knows.

  36. BH says:

    I’m starting to think a 22LR with a laser might be a really good carry piece. I have not shot a 22 in 20 years, and I note the other day someone mentioned the reliability of rim-fire ammo is much less than center-fire.

    Any comments?

    • Jim says:

      the fire arm you have with you.. is far better than any firearm you left in the night stand when you need it.

      producing any firearm in a self defense situation will more times than not cause the attacker to stop his aggressive behavior ..he is not going to take the time to figure out what caliber you are aiming at him. if you do have to fire 22lr hitting the right spot has the potential to drop an attacker, but the wound channel is not very large.. so you have to be lucky or good to hit the right spots. as for reliability of ammo? i would have to agree that I have had more non-fired .22 than 9mm, or 45 cal combined… but I have also fired MANY more .22 rounds than 9mm and 45mm due to cost. i prefer the options that i have for defensive rounds in my 9mm and 45 cal.. but again.. the best guy to stop an attack..is the one you have on your person.

  37. Maxwell Jump says:

    @theBuckWheat You said, “And I want to have to take more than one deliberate motion to make that happen.”

    Well, then, to be really safe, go to the gun store and pick out a gun, but don’t buy it yet. Wait until you’re sure you need it, then go to the store, pay for it, wait through the back ground check/waiting period, go pick it up from the store, use it. What could be more safe than that??

  38. unclebryan says:

    Regarding the revolver with the empty chamber under the hammer: One need not cycle the firearm before use when this is the case. Whether the weapon is fired in single or double-action mode the cylinder rotates to the next (loaded) location in the cylinder before it fires, so no — there is no extra step necessary before firing the weapon. That being said, you still lose that last fifth or sixth shot in your supply of rounds. So I wouldn’t do it.

    • Travis says:

      I thought the same thing as you, BUT, I think the article was referring to people who carry with a round under the fallen hammer, but nothing in the next chamber, so if the trigger is pulled, it would be a dry fire, and so instead of rack/fire, it would be dryfire/fire. I may have read it wrong though

  39. ken in sc says:

    All you people who play with your guns admit what you are doing. A good gun does not need to be cleaned, or played with or anything else. Load it up and it is ready to shoot when you want it to. I’ve got 60 year old guns that shoot every time I pull the trigger.

  40. Frank Natoli says:

    “there was a grand total of one state that had absolutely no provision to allow their citizens to carry a concealed handgun.”

    While NJ has a concealed carry license process, the applicant has to prove “need”, and for all intents and purposes, no judge accepts the “need” argument unless you’re an armored car guard or equivalent. NJ is effectively a total prohibition state, something which should be challenged in court as a Heller violation.

  41. Montjoie says:

    I have to respectfully disagree about the empty chamber in a semi-auto. Two reasons. First, racking the first round takes almost no time. Second, 99 percent of people carrying will never have to use their weapon in a shoot out, and having an empty chamber eliminates accidental discharges in every case. As for treating a gun as loaded, that’s the first thing you should have learned. Every gun must be treated as load, always, no exceptions.

    • anona says:

      Drop the safety and shoot takes even less time. Cycling a slide takes time, time you will not have if attacked. You don’t drive around with your seatbelt off, figureing you’ll have time to attach it before you crash; why do it with your gun?Violent criminals are very adept at hiding their true intentions; right up to when they initiate an attack. Carry ready to shoot or leave it home.

      • Mike M says:

        You decide what’s best every time and for everyone? Not everyone fits your mold and some could get hurt or killed BECAUSE of your advice. The more novice concealed carry might be better off unchambered until they can learn to have confidence in the safety of a chambered handgun.

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  43. Doc Jim says:

    This guys opinion on carrying without a bullet in the chamber of semi-automatics is pure Horse&^%^.
    The likelihood of someone being shot or killed by accident with their own gun is statistically higher than you being attacked and killed by someone else. This alone makes it much more sensible to carry a gun without a bullet in the chamber. I guarantee I can get that gun out of its holster and loaded by the time I am ready to point and pull the trigger. If this method is good enough for the Israelis then it is good enough for me.. One child getting a hold of a loaded gun and pulling the trigger makes it foolish to ever carry with a bullet in the chamber unless you are a member of the police force or someone who needs their gun in their line of work. The nice thing about a semiautomatic over a revolver is that many young children not only do not have the know how on loading a bullet into a chamber but also do not have the strength. Dont even use the argument that accidents only happen to foolish people. Accidents happen to everyone every single day. The Key is to minimize risk.If you doubt any of this just go to any gun show anywhere in America and begin asking the guys there if they have ever had an accident or a near miss. You will find at least 50% have had or seen an accidental discharge of a gun sometime in their life. Dont get me wrong I am not some antigun liberal nitwit. I am a gun toting everywhere I go second amendment advocate who believes strongly in my right to carry and own any and all types of firearms.

    • RIck says:

      As a CHL instructor, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and instructing for many years. I tell my students it is up to them on how they carry their weapon. As instructors we can only recommend. I personaly carry one chambered at all times and recommend that type of carry. Now let me address gun size. It does not matter what caliber you load so long as you can hit what your aiming for. I would much rather see a student be able to hit something with a 22 than miss with a 45. Please everybody remember shot placement is EVERYTHING….. PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE…

      • Martha says:

        Thank you, I’m a 66 yr young lady who cannot slide anything other than th 22 I just bought. At least I know that I’m armed if anyone wants to mess with me. By the way, I just passed my CHL .

    • duke says:

      Recently a woman was killed at a bar when she went up and hugged and off duty police officer, who was carrying locked and loaded and his gun accidently went off. I think it is these type of incidents that make CCWs err on the side of caution.

      • Jonathan Edwards says:

        If his gun went off when she hugged him, there was something wrong with that gun. I taught firearms and firearms safety for many years, and demonstrated in the classroom the difference between broken guns and properly functioning guns. On the gun size issue – had a young lady come to work for me at one time. She was a lousy shot with the little M15 revolver. First time she shot a .45, it was obvious she had some good shooting skills. Just needed the right gun. Some folks can shoot almost anything they pick up, others are lousy shots except for one or two. I practice almost exclusively with airguns, but can put a fast 15 rounds into a target with my G22 chambered in .40 S&W. I also know that most gun nuts are serious braggarts. A few are genuinely good shots. It isn’t just what you do on the range – can you get it out of your holster and on target quickly? Most folks can’t. They get in a real hurry, and will never figure out where that first shot went, unless they shot themselves in the act of drawing the weapon. I carried on the range, I carried on duty when I was a cop before I was an instructor. I’ve never fired a shot in the line of duty as a cop, but I’ve backed people down when I presented my firearm a lot faster than they expected. Be able to draw, be able to shoot if necessary. If you carry a round chambered, and remember the first rule, you will never have an accident.

    • joe says:

      Not talking to new shooters here. They need tons of practice before they are even allowed an opinion, so fellow shooters, those of us who can rack a round in a blink, what about those terrible, awful times when the kid or his friend get hold of a piece? I know, I know, sometimes I think I’ve got ADD because I keep checking the gun is secure. We can’t do anything about a wheel guns safety besides keeping a “snakeshot” round 1st, but that kid will have a harder time racking an auto than just pulling the trigger.

  44. Mike Mahoney says:

    I am not a trainer nor have I been through training. But I do shoot. I see a gap in most training for personal defense. Unfortunately to fill it will require trainees to forgo a safety step. Live fire, defense most commonly occurs in close and confined quarters. Handguns are loud little beasts but training always occurrs with hearing protection. The question arises whether a trainee can take the starlte from the noise of the report of the shot w/ hearing protection?

  45. jr says:

    Doc jim,”I guarantee I can get that gun out of its holster and loaded by the time I am ready to point and pull the trigger.” I admire your resolve, I fear for your life. Ask a good friend to stand 10 feet from you, holster a clearly unloaded weapon and have him lunge at you as fast as he can. If you can unholster, rack the slide and pull the trigger on the clearly unloaded firearm before he’s on you you’re the fastest gun in the West. If you carry, carry prepared for THEIR worst not your idea of the worst.

  46. Jim Macklin says:

    New shooters, new to CCW go to a store and ask a clerk who may know nothing aside from what is in stock and how much it costs.
    Male or female, a new shooter is far better served by a .22 rimfire they can afford to shoot a lot. They need a lot of training and practice before they start to shoot their new 38, 9 mm or other 50 cent to a dollar a shot blaster.
    There are conversion units or handguns, such as the new Riger SR22 or LCR .22 that shoud be bought and kept as a training understudy in safe gun handling skills.
    Trying to learn with too much gun will cost you the $800 for the gun and $2,000 in ammo while you learn how to flunch.
    Oncew you get the gun, get a good holster, that is designed for concealed carry and use it. Always keep it in the same place, always keep it loaded and ready for emergency use.
    Don’t play with it. Unload it [[]double check] then practice your draw and presentation. Always take the opportunity to check it is unloaded before you re-holster.
    Learn to read people, look for what the cops call ‘hinckey’ and leave the area if you can. If you’re at a political rally, watch the crowd for odd behavior and report it to security if there is some.
    If there is no obvious security consider whether you will try to engage an odd person in a conversation to interrupt their stalking.
    If you see trouble about to start, call 911 and report it, best to have the cavalry on the way before the ball drops.
    Carry as close to 24/7 as you can, Learn to quietly watch people, you’re not a cop, profiling is perfectly legal for a private citizen to do, it might keep you alive.

    • RIck says:

      Very Good Advice…

      • Charles in TX says:

        Lousy advice. Especially the part where he says “If there is no obvious security consider whether you will try to engage an odd person in a conversation to interrupt their stalking.” You need a gun with stopping power, so don’t try to sell anyone on the idea of carrying a 22 just because the gun and ammo is cheaper. That’s one of the worst reasons for a choice of guns. There are plenty of 9mm, 40 or 45 caliber guns that don’t cost much more that a 22 to purchase. Yes the ammo is more, but that’s part of the cost of protecting your life or the lives of others.

  47. Joe says:

    Right on the money. Don’t carry without training or a CCW. Consider if you really need a gun were you go and do you really need to be there.

  48. Bink187 says:

    To all you ladies that think a .22 is going to stop that Methed Up freak from getting your purse with $3.00 in its not! Anyone who tells you so is not looking out for your best interest or safety. My wife has her ccw permit, and carries either a .380 or her 9mm, these are no manual safety firearms and there better be a round in the chamber, she is 5′ 95lbs.
    For those of you that think you have all the time in the world, most gun fights last less than 5 seconds at a range of less than 10 feet, so you are going to need every last second you have to pull, point and fire! You need to practice this everytime at the range.
    Sure most of your shooting can be done with cheap bulk Ball or FMJs, But you need to run a mag or 2 of your defense ammo as well, just to be sure you know how it feels and your gun choice will feed and fire it.
    Lastly, if you can not get 2 to the body and one to the head in 3 seconds from the holster, then you need to seek professional training, we are talking about the lives of you and yours here.

  49. RIck says:

    That is also good advice. Just remember a good shot with the 22 and enough of them will stop anyone or at least give you time to get away. Besides if you are aware of you surroundings it is helpful. Stay aware of the people around you and don’t allow yourself to be trapped, cornered or suprised. If you carry a gun and have had training that should have been covered. If not PLEASE get the additional training necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones.

  50. PMD says:

    doc jim, ive been to gunshows, i hang out often at the range and gunshops, and no one i have talked to has had a near miss, nor even been shot [outside military service in a warzone], now there are some less expensive semiautos out there that should be carried with an empty chamber for safety, but the majority are safe to carry with one in the chamber so long as the person is using safety common sense. if the gun is on your person, or unloaded in a lockbox, then kids most likely wont be playing with it. and many kids are strong enough to work the slide, and are smart enough to figure out how the gun works. so next time remember that it is better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and prove that you are.

  51. Excellent article! So many good points. You’ve inspired me to check out some local firearms training programs. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken one and def need to make sure I haven’t developed any bad habits since then. Thanks!

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  53. Niya says:

    Great article. Anybody know the name of the magazine pouch in the pic above?

  54. paul markel says:

    Mag Pouch from Blackhawk

  55. Niya says:

    Thanks for the info, appreciate it

  56. Juanita says:

    Thank – Great advice!

  57. Always nice to see one’s ideas are shared by others. For me, carry=carry; my weapon is always fully loaded (unless in use) and always with me: clearing leaves from the gutter, at the hardware store buying lighting fixtures, in my library reading late at night or in the kitchen with the morning paper. I admit this is easier since I live with only my wife, who is gun savvy.

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  59. Billy M. Rhodes says:

    The article is great, just don’t become so comfortable carrying your weapon that you forget you have it when you plan to enter restricted areas such as airports. This happens to thousands of CWP holders every year. While they seldom suffer a long prison term, they almost always lose their firearm and spend some time in jail.

  60. John Sokol says:

    I disagree with it not being ‘ok’ to carry a semi auto w/out a round in the chamber. First of all, if your attacked and its unexpected, your going to get hit, stabbed, shot whatever. Even ‘locked, cocked, ready to rock’ its going to happen. You will only have time to respond. And the 1/4 of a second more time it takes to rack the slide is not going to make a difference. If ‘somethings going on’ and you MAY be attacked, you have time to prepare and rack the slide. Racking the slide can be very intimidating, and can end a situation without anyone getting hurt. It shows intent and resolve, and that may be all that ends up needed. These pocket pistols they make now days with no safety other than length of trigger pull are not safe unless they are in a holster, and a lot of people simply put it in they’re pocket. I carry a Ruger .380 LCP that way, and while I’m working it only takes a second for something to catch that trigger to set it off. Accidents like that are what turns ppl against CCW’s. If I want to carry cocked and ready, I carry a .45 1911 with the strap between the hammer and slide. In a real life situation, if you don’t have time to rack the slide, you’ve already been shot. Think about it, if a gun is unexpectedly pulled on you and already aimed at you, can you pull your gun and shoot him before he pulls the trigger? Only if you don’t have a life and practice everyday doing that, or your John Wayne. The rest of us couldn’t do it, so its better to be safe always than sorry for that accidental discharge.

  61. Jocelyn Olson says:

    Really liked this article….need CC, but not if going to taken from me…I need to protect myself and others…

  62. Cheryl Johnson says:

    Very good article and great advice. I observed in my concealed carry class that most of the women had been around guns but did not have much experience shooting one. I know I need to get out and shoot more myself and will try to find some training before I get my permit.

  63. Raquel Rothe says:

    Well written and very sensible article, thank you for sharing it!

  64. Linda Steele says:

    I have had a lot of training with weapons on my job as a correctional officer. There we were trained with 38sp.handguns and Mini 14 rifles. Now I recently got my CC permit and I have one problem. Currently I have a 38 sp snub nose that I have practiced with quite a lot. I would rather have something with a longer barrel because I do not get the good groping I would like to with the 38. But my hands are small and trying to hold and fire a heavier gun is not easy for me. I have shot a 1911 but it is really to hard for me to pull back the slide. What would be some pistols for me to consider if I want to move up from the 38? And yes I plan to keep a round chambered as I feel that I would not have enough time to do that much prep work if I was in a deadly situation.

  65. Jacqueline B says:

    My husband has never been foolish enough to “tell” me what gun I should have. I consider a .22 just fine for target shooting out in the country, but would never carry one for protection.

    I have a number of guns, all of them .38s, all revolvers. You can have all the automatics, as I do not care for them. I am a better shot than all the men in my family, and I am not going to hesitate to defend myself, or second guess myself whether or not to pull that trigger. Anyone who who is unable to make that call should NOT have a gun, period.

    My guns are fully loaded. ALWAYS. An empty chamber in a gun is useless. A smart person always considers any gun loaded. The ones who don’t are usually called dead.

  66. kevin says:

    Lots of poor advice in the article and responses.. worse is carry on empty chamber.. if you feel the need to do that you should not carry at all.. the example of the lady hugging a cop and his gun went of because it was locked and loaded… Thought he had a glock which isn’t ‘locked’ at all… Sounds like he may have had poor equipment for that to happen..22lr for women, if that’s all they are comfortable with shooting then its a better choice then nothing at all.. I will never discourage someone from buying 22 for home defense bit will tell them they should try higher caliber firearms on the range.. time at the range is big if you are to carry.. but many ranges do not allow drawing from holsters. In that case buy some snap caps and practice drawing from concealed at home..

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  68. motown says:

    Very good stuff !!!! Train,train,train !!!!!!

  69. George says:

    Excellent article. I plan to take a safety course and do it right. I have applied and now I need to purchase the correct hand gun

  70. Tim says:

    I really liked the article. You can never stress enough how important training is. I was once taught to never carry a gun until you have out at least 200 rounds down range. That is the minimum to really feel comfortable with what you might need to use some day. I have also never met anyone who has had to use a gun in the civilian world. Not saying it doesn’t happen, just have never met anyone.

    As far as caliber, if you are comfortable with a gun and can consistently hit center mass with it, the caliber is less important than accuracy. A .22 will knock a man down if hit center mass, even with a vest on. In a world where seconds matter, that second for them to recover might be all you need.

    By the way, I earned my CIB in 1993 so some might know my combat time was spent against idiots that used drugs. They are harder to bring down but center mass ammo placement buys a lot of time. I would just like to make sure a person is comfortable with what they are shooting and can hit where they aim.

  71. careful carry says:

    Agree with the ‘Rule of Three’s’ …. most confrontations occur within 3 meters [(]9 feet[)]; with 3 shots fired total; and the encounter is over in 3 seconds.
    Agree with carrying semi-auto with loaded mag but empty chamber; unless you live/work in high crime area you are more likely to negligently discharge and wound yourself than be in a gunfight. Some politicians’ cars have killed more people than my gun ….. A certain degree of neurosis about negligent discharge is healthy.
    Finally, agree that a .22LR is better than bare hands. Smaller caliber [=] less recoil/muzzle lift [=] more 2nd and3rd shots on target. The left ventricle or upper thorax/throat or oral cavity reacts similarly whether it’s one .380 or three .22LRs. A lasered Ruger SR22 gives you 10 shots at those three areas [(]2 shots at a time x 5[)]; no BG can survive cardiac or airway perforation. Don’t sell lasered .22′s short for defensive carry …. It’s all about shot placement and with a .22LR you can practice more often and longer – both physically and economically.
    Just my 2 cents.

  72. Hans snapper says:

    Great article, I am in my 60′s, while I carried 20 years ago, without much training.. I am actively getting professional training now. I carry a sig 938p and also enjoy shooting my Glock. Thanks for the article

  73. Phil Fountain says:

    I’m a retired corporate pilot and been through a number of situations in jets over a 30 year period. The reason I bring it up is because there is a relationship between flying an airplane in a difficult situation and using a gun under in a pressure situation. Pilots train in simulators every six to twelve months. I’ve had engine failures after takeoff and it is amazing how memory recall and muscle memory work together to do the right thing. The difference between practice and the real thing cannot be simulated but practice goes a long ways in preparing for an unexpected event. If an event should happen, adrenaline will kick-in, time will slow to a crawl and it’s amazing what goes through your mine. With the engine failure I had the first thing I thought of was that I trained for this my whole career so take your time and do it right. I would think in a difficult situation with a gun I would have the same kind of thoughts. When I keep my books I always prepare for an IRS audit. In a confrontation with a gun I would be thinking about using actions that I could justify to a jury.

  74. John Wright says:

    A very good article, one of the best I’ve read describing the key points of CCW choices and decisions. Allow me to share a few of my own thoughts related to this:

    Chambered versus Unchambered:

    I’d consider myself quite well-trained. I practice weekly with a combination of range time and exercises during which I typically go through 200-500 rounds; about 50-50 between pistols and rifles. I also use a SIRT laser pistol for “non destructive” training.

    Regarding pistol carry; I’d always been an advocate of the “Israeli draw” method, which is a loaded magazine but no round in the chamber. Every week I practiced racking the slide as I brought the pistol from the holster to the ready position and was confident I’d be able to execute this procedure if, heaven forbid, I’d ever have to engage a hostile threat.

    It wasn’t until I went through an intense training course with adrenaline-pumping routines that, despite my relentless practicing, I failed three times to get a round off before I was “hit” by the threat: Once I forgot to rack the slide (really, after all my practicing?!), once my hand slipped off the back of the slide without fully engaging the round (wet, cold, slippery conditions), and once I had a failure-to-feed (FTF) I had to deal with in order to get my weapons system back into play.

    I was lucky, this was just a training exercise. In a real-life scenario there would be no pause, no replays, no rewinds, and no “wait a minute while I fix my weapons” opportunities. In a real-life scenario this would have been a very bad day for me. I experienced three of several classic scenarios of the downside of deploying the Israeli draw method. That event changed my whole way of thinking. I now carry loaded, meaning a full mag and one in the chamber.

    So, if you’re going to carry unloaded (no chambered round) you’d better be 100% confident you can execute this procedure flawlessly if your life–or someone else’s–were to depend on it. I’d suggest to sign up for an adrenaline-pumping training course like I did to see if you can really execute it and not just think you can like I did.

    2000 Rounds To Really Know Your Weapon:

    Early in my training I was taught from the time you shoot your first pistol or rifle it takes a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 rounds to really get to know your weapon and, more importantly, yourself: How will you react to the recoil from the weapon? Will you subconsciously anticipate the recoil and unknowingly move your weapon when the trigger breaches and miss your point of aim? How fast and accurate can you recover after each shot to get back on target? Will you close your eyes every time the gun goes off? How soon will you develop muscle-memory so your actions become second nature? And the list goes on.

    When I heard the 2-3K rounds rule I must admit I though it was a bunch of BS. I thought I’d be able to master my weapons after only a few hundred rounds.

    Now I have well over 10,000 rounds through my primary weapon (M&P 40 full-size), and probably the same again through my secondary weapons, I can better appreciate this and the reasons why. I still have a yearning to learn and so learn something new just about every time I practice, either about the weapons themselves or about me. I figure the more I can learn the more second nature things will become if ever I need to rely on instincts, muscle memory, and my training.

    I say this to hopefully encourage others to practice as often as practical. Rather than just lobbing rounds down the range trying for tight groupings, focus on things like technic; trigger control; target acquisition; holstering; repetitive, repeatable motion; increasing speed and efficiency, etc. If you have the opportunity take indoor and outdoor training classes even better so you can experience more real-world scenarios so as to broaden your training.

    The more you practice and the more variety you can work into training regime the more second nature things will become.

    This all plays into what “Phil Fountain” mentions in thread #74, “The difference between practice and the real thing cannot be simulated but practice goes a long way in preparing for the unexpected event”. Great words of wisdom.

    .22LR As A Self-Defense Weapon:

    I’d say if a .22LR is what you’re most comfortable with carrying and/or using as a self-defense weapon because you’re not comfortable with larger caliber weapons then as long as you practice with it like you would any other weapon then go for it! In my mind, if you’re in a situation where you have to neutralize a threat and you’re most comfortable and accurate with a .22, it’s better to get in 3 well-placed, effective rounds in from the .22LR than having three misses with a gun you’re not comfortable with.

    As I always tell folks, “No one should make decisions for us when it comes to guns and gun carry. If we do things we’re not comfortable with because someone told us it’s ‘right’ it becomes a distraction in an event where clarity and simplicity is needed.” These may be words to live by.

    • careful carry says:

      Well said. My safeties are easily flipped to ‘fire’ and that’s one reason I leave the chamber empty but I’m big on situational awareness and will sometimes grip a weapon to gain a half second to rack the slide if the environment looks uncomfortable but I see your point. I’ll carry a .40 when hiking trails but other times a lasered Ruger SR22 is smaller, lighter, more concealable so what I carry depends on where I am. Heavier, bulkier larger caliber can be inconvenient depending on dress code so I practice rapid follow up shots with .22LR on airway and efficient cardiac placement, not just center mass on a B-25. You had a thoughtful, interesting reply. Thanks.

  75. Scc says:

    Chamber carry is a must and if you play with your gun enough [(]unloaded[)] you will gain a familiarity of your weapon that is second nature. Also teach your children and your spouse proper safety and at home no worries, on your person not an issue. In a pinch you won’t have time or the safety to rack one in the chamber. Maybe lucky to get the safety off without drawing fire.

  76. B. Curtiuos says:

    I spent nearly eleven years in Asia in various military instalations. Different base commanders in differesnt countries had different ideas on ‘one in the chamber’. My rule: Off base snd alone, 1 in the chamber. On base, empty. In case an unfriendly pulled a his own weapon, already chambered, or grabbed one of ours [(]and would have to rack the slide to use it[)], in either case everyone who heard or saw, would draw and rack…..and could fire.
    Not one accidental discharge did I hear of, and no unfriendly shot anyone on the installation.
    At home we use revolvers, we can see the rounds in the cylinders, and no safety to remember, or forget how to use. We keep the 1st coming cylinder empty when not alone, for same reasons above and a one in a million chance a kid or silly grown up somehow gets to one, we have the extra moment, to see and hear, and retrieve it. Intruders will have trouble preventing ALL of us from getting to at least one weapon.
    One last thing shouting and swearing are our messages to each other that there is danger. Kids run to neighbors, grown ups: reach, rack, respond. [(]keep arguments about whether kids dhould escape or not to yourselves. It’s not the kids’ burden to save the grown ups, and the best way they can help anyway is to escape and go GET help[)].
    And this, Carry and use what you, yourself think is best. If all you want is to carry a .22, no shame, no worries, everybody else can you know what.
    Stay safe, stay free.

  77. Sean Tinsley says:

    Very good advice. Thank you

  78. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

  79. Lou says:

    How come I don’t hear of the mythical accidental discharges that everyone talks about?

  80. Benjamin Clark says:

    I feel ccw is a necessary evil for the times. Its a shame that guns are thought of as toys and glorified. You got to have it though because I’m literally not going to bring a knife to a gun fight. I just hate that guns exist but you gotta keep your family safe.

  81. Jerald K says:

    Can you beleive someone qouted Robin Williams #12 RIP Robin Williams Great read Thank you , a lot of truth. Jerald

  82. E.C.D says:

    Great article – very good reminders. Love to see a follow-up of concealed carry systems.

  83. Tom says:

    Please make the next blog about how to choose a qualified ‘Trainer’. I promise not to bring my 9 year old to shoot an Uzi on full auto!

  84. Tim king says:

    Good article, and very true!

  85. Gabe says:

    I’ve always wondered which is the best way to carry…unchambered or chambered. Like one other commenter said, even though he practiced like crazy, he still failed to chamber when in stress. I think I’ll carry chambered.

  86. Tom Yarbrough says:

    I see no difference between carrying a loaded revolver and a double action pistol with a round chambered. I would want to have to think about as few details as possible in an emergency. Right now I carry a Beretta 92fs. Thinking about getting something smaller. As to an extra magazine, though you would hope to never need it, would you not have fire insurance on your house. I think of a spare mag like that.

  87. unbais says:

    I Just read through all the comments and it irritated me and made me luagh all at the same time.
    Just being in the military is no reason to begin offering people advice. 99% of the US Military does not carry concealed, and those who do carry condition 1.(round in the chamber) It was stated above to have person try to attack yuou from 10 feet with an unloaded weapon. Fact of that matter is that a person with a knife, or whatever that is with 10 yards is 50% more lethat than someone with a modern pistol/rifle at 100 yards. all in all preference of round chambered or not is up to the person carrying the weapon.

  88. O.T. says:

    I carry a KelTec P-11 9mm with 10rds. h.p..and one in the pipe, not particurlarly quick, but can draw and hit a target in just under a second. I’ve been told the average bad guy can cover over 20 feet in two seconds, is this true?

  89. Andrew Ray says:

    A few years ago I was crossing the border back into Slovakia from Ukraine. It was early morning and the young Ukrainian border guard was making the inspection of my car take extra long because I didn’t have any cash on me, so I couldn’t give him the customary $1 bribe.
    I noticed that his pistol didn’t have a magazine in it, so I asked him, and he told me that they carry the magazine in a seperate pouch on their belts.
    Later I heard from Slovaks at my shooting club that this was done in Slovakia in the military to prevent accidental shootings from the young soldiers (there was in the past compulsary military service) shooting themselves when handling the guns recklessly.

  90. Jim says:

    A fine article Paul, but I have concern with some of your terminology.

    Your reference to the concealed carry document issued by states as a “concealed carry permit”. These are not permits but are licenses. The reason I bring this up is because there is a huge difference between a permit and a license. You see a permit is something that is issued to allow a person or persons to indulge in an activity that is not otherwise allowed or guaranteed by law or other means, such as a parade permit, or a oil drilling permit, etc. A license, however is issued to a person, or persons, stating that the required training and/or qualifications have been met for an individual to indulge in an activity that is a guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution or other state/federal law, such as a drivers license, fishing license, hunting license, concealed carry license, etc.

    This might seem like knit-picking but it is important that the correct terminology be used regarding concealed carry licenses just as much as it does for using the correct terminology for weapons, i.e. semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic weapons; if both are referred to as automatics it could cause some real problems. Big difference there wouldn’t you say.

    Thanks for the great article Paul.

  91. William says:

    I agree with your ideology on correct terminology. Unfortunately, some states don’t follow accordingly. In Tennessee, they issue an HCP (Handgun Carry Permit), instead of CCW, HCL, etc. It would be so nice if we could get back to the true intent of the 2nd Amendment and have Constitutional Carry throughout the land.

  92. John says:

    Great article!

    A firearm should ‘fit’ the physiology of the person. EX: I have large hands which make it difficult for me to manipulate a small gripped handgun. My advice is try out a firearm to see if you can manipulate it [(]load, cock, aim, fire, reload, etc.[)] it. What good is any tool if you can’t use/implement it?

    PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! IMHO, it should be mandatory to be trained in the use and implementation of your firearm.

    The caliber if a firearm means NOTHING if you can’t hit it! Again, practice makes perfect!

    Clean and properly LUBRICATE your firearm!!!! A gun that won’t run is WORTHLESS as a bird dog that won’t hunt!

  93. Marv Spragg says:

    All the above is great, but why is it that no one says anything about what happens if you do end up pulling the trigger. If you carry you really need to consider what your preparing to do and what , hopefully, you are going to have to live with afterwards. AND THIS US BEFORE YOU EVEN START. I spent 7 years as a combat Marine and over 20 years as police officer and after retiring I work as an armed security officer.

  94. farmrdave says:

    I do not disagree with anything I read. However, an empty chamber will not fire when dropped.

  95. Joe says:

    Most of my anti conceal carry friends use the myth of not going places that you would need it. I come back with parking lots, convenient stores, gas stations and ask if I need to list any more that were recently reported in the news for car jackings, rapes and armed robberies with casual law abing citizens in the vicinity. They change the topic quickly!

  96. jedagi says:

    Ive never heard anyone say women should carry a 22. There are a lot of pistol calibers out there that will do a fine job of stopping an attacker.
    My daughter can hit someone in the eye at 25 yards with any of my 22 pistols. But she loves to shoot my 10mm.

  97. Jonathan Edwards says:

    if someone lunges at you from 10 feet or so away, you aren’t going to get your gun out in time to defend yourself. You are going to get stabbed or hit, so you have to be able to strike back. I’d lay odds that if you carry with an empty chamber, you will forget to rack it. I got shot at once, the guy was three feet away. My first and only reaction was to reach out and grab the gun out of his hand. At that point, I was armed, he wasn’t, and it was over. I don’t recommend that. I also don’t know why that was my reaction. Fact is, you absolutely do not know how you are going to react, and if you have not trained and practiced reaction, you’ve got no room to talk. I’ve been a military policeman, a military weapons instructor, an NRA shooting coach, and a federal officer. I’ve received and taught firearms and tactics, as well as defensive tactics, and my reaction was to reach out and take the gun away. Every single one of us needs more training, and not a single one of us can say for sure what he or she will do. AS for the gun – I used to carry a .22lr, and would do it again. I carry a G22 in 40 S&W currently, a full size pistol is my concealed carry gun. My philosophy is carry fully loaded, and IF you need to pull the trigger, don’t stop until the threat has been neutralized. 15 shots from a .22lr can be just as effective as any other caliber.

  98. Nolan says:

    Fantastic article. Sent it to 3 friends after reading it. Thank you.

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