Instructional Video: Why You Should Always Have a Round in the Chamber When Carrying a Firearm


If you suddenly are confronted with danger and your gun has an empty chamber, there are five inherent risks you must consider.

First, chambering a round takes both hands. If your support hand in engaged trying to ward off a bad guy, or if you are carrying a child or you are otherwise engaged, you’re simply out of luck. While gun instructors teach that chambering with both hands is the fastest way to do it, you can be caught in situations where it’s simply impractical.

A second consideration is that chambering a round takes valuable time.

In the life-or-death struggle of a gunfight, you’ve got the rest of your life to get your gun on target and rounds in the bad guy. In most gunfights, you might well have the time to chamber a round. But as these examples show, you can’t guarantee that, and under the duress of deadly threat you might not have the time.”

Third, there is risk involved in chambering the round. The video shows two examples of people trying to chamber the round under great stress and both times fumbling what should be a simple procedure. The risk is “short stroking” your gun and getting overwhelmed by the bad guy.

A fourth thing to think about is that chambering a round is unnecessary with today’s firearms. Modern striker-fired semi-automatic pistols are designed to carry with a round in the chamber, as are all modern revolvers (those with a transfer bar).

The fifth risk of having to chamber a round is that you reduce your gun’s capacity.

The only time you have too much ammo on you is if you’re on fire or drowning, so in my VP9 I would rather have 16 than 15 in the gun. I have never heard of someone finishing a gunfight and lamenting having too many rounds, but we’ve seen several where people perished for having too few.”

Ultimately, it comes down to a personal decision for the gun owner. The Active Self Protection team would rather have someone carry with the chamber empty than not carry at all.



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