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Old February 27, 2013, 11:48 AM   #26
OldMarksman
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Quote:
Posted by db4570: Although it seems everyone insists it is perfectly safe to carry a gun chambered with no safety, it's just something I've never been 100% comfortable with, even in my revolver days.
I do not agree regarding revolvers, but I do not like semi-autos without a safety.

Quote:
Please stop right now if you're going to say "the only safety you need is between your ears" or "the trigger pull on a DAO is so long and hard there is no chance it will go off accidentally". Yes, I know. We've all heard those things countless times. I'm trying to get past that. As I said, maybe I'm being obsessive, but I'm just not 100% comfortable with it.
We're on the same wavelength.

Quote:
So what I'm thinking about doing with the LCP is carrying it... prepare yourselves... unchambered! Here's my justification. First, I figure that carrying ANY type of gun is a drastic improvement in preparedness over nothing.
But the question is, is it enough?

Quote:
Second, I am rarely in a place where I feel I need fast-draw instant-access, like being jumped. Instead, I have been places where it looked like something weird might be going down, and it was nice to have a gun as a last-ditch backup plan.
Think for a moment.

You may lawfully draw and present your firearm only when the threat is imminent. If you draw and rack the slide because you somehow "think that it looks like something weird may be going down", you will not be carrying it any more.

Quote:
The difference getting a shot off in two seconds instead of one second hasn't seemed to enter into the equation.
I was going to suggest that you try some realistic Tueller Drill training and get back with us on that, but it seems that you have reconsidered your position.

Quote:
I may be coming around to carrying chambered, without a safety.
That is what the vast majority of people do. However, I like the idea of a safety.

Quote:
One thing I am striving for is consistency, so if I carry it a particular way I want it to be in that condition all the time so I know what to expect without thinking. And I want all my guns to handle essentially the same.
I think that is good thinking. All of my carry opieces have safeties that work the same way.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:53 AM   #27
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Assuming any intelligence on the part of a predator, it will attack from ambush. Predators that get injured in the course of the hunt can't successfully predate, and so predators tend to employ relatively cautious tactics.

This is true of coyotes, cougars, and criminals.

Personally, I'd take a revolver over an empty-chambered auto, if I were worried about "safety." I tend to agree with those who assume a surprise attack, with possible injuries sustained prior to reaction.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:59 AM   #28
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Over the years I've seen a lot of videos, from store, apartment lobby, business/office lobby, and parking lot cameras. Bad guy comes into view, at 5 feet or so, pulls a gun and shoots. Lots of homicides.

However, I recall one incident where the perp walked up and at about 5 feet, pulled a gun out. The store clerk did not hesitate... pulled a Glock real fast and shot the perp multiple times. The perp did not get a single shot off. Can't speculate what would have happened if the good guy would have had to rack the slide first.

The bad guy has a clear advantage, he knows what he is going to do... you the honest citizen, must transition quickly from blithe conviviality to excersising lethal force in a nano-second.

Find a handgun that works for you and carry it hot chamber.

Good luck to you, and

Check your 6.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:59 AM   #29
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When I was six, my dad took me hunting for the first time after an hour or more of how to use the shotgun, and gun safety. That was the only time I had to carry a firearm with an empty chamber, that was 50 years ago.

Personally, having a firearm, other than a revolver, without a manual safety would never be a consideration for me, just too ingrained in my weapon craft that it is a must have.

The safety is being flipped off the moment the pistol clears the holster with trigger finger still straight across the guard (another safety).

Never had to draw in a crisis, but have practiced it hundreds of times empty, and live fire.

Please find a mental and physical method that allows you to carry in the utmost ready capability. Having to operate the slide and hope that everything goes well in what will seem like an eternity just doesn't seem logical?
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:11 PM   #30
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David,

If you want to carry on an empty chamber, I say go for it. However, do so in a holster that you would consider using when carrying on a loaded chamber as well.

What I recommend for people who have the same concerns as you is this: carry the gun without a round in the chamber, but keep the striker cocked. When the day is over and you go to remove the gun from the holster and put it wherever you do at night remove the magazine and check to see if the striker has fallen. This will show you that the gun would not have discharged while you were out and about during the day. I tell them to continue to do this as it builds their trust in the safety features of the gun and the holster. This also works for those who want to carry a 1911, but are hesitant to carry cocked and locked.


I say give this method a shot (no pun intended) with your LCP, it will probably build some confidence in your carry system, and before you know it you will be carrying with a round chambered.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:37 PM   #31
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What I recommend for people who have the same concerns as you is this: carry the gun without a round in the chamber, but keep the striker cocked. When the day is over and you go to remove the gun from the holster and put it wherever you do at night remove the magazine and check to see if the striker has fallen. This will show you that the gun would not have discharged while you were out and about during the day. I tell them to continue to do this as it builds their trust in the safety features of the gun and the holster. This also works for those who want to carry a 1911, but are hesitant to carry cocked and locked.
This is exactly what I did. When I first started carrying, I was paranoid I'd have an ND. So I started by carrying without a round in the chamber with the striker cocked. After 2 or 3 weeks of doing this, and not having the striker fall, I was pretty confident it wouldn't just go off. I've been carrying for over a year now, no ND, and not even a close call.

Some tips.

A gun won't go off in a purpose designed holster that covers the trigger guard. With this in mind, when my gun is loaded with a round in the chamber, it is always holstered. The only exception to this, obviously, is when I'm shooting. If I'm not shooting, but I need to remove the gun from the holster for some reason (cleaning, dry fire, showing someone), the mag is dropped, slide is racked and locked back, and chamber/mag well double checked.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:53 PM   #32
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I carried a cocked and locked 1911 for the first 10 years of being a cop.
Love the 1911, loved the safety. Its very intuitive and fast. As a matter of fact, after the last 15 years of carrying a Glock, every once in a great while, my thumb will still sweep off the imaginary safety on a Glock.

Two things I think about. A Glock, a 1911 and most other striker fired guns have one thing in common. Everything has to work right for the gun NOT to fire. The springs are loaded, the hammer (or striker) is held back mechanically.

On a DA revolver or TDA auto, everything has to work right for the gun TO fire.

I really like appendix carry. Its fast and easy to conceal. I can't make myself carry a Glock in that position. I carry a Glock or a 1911 on my hip all day and, IF something were to go terribly wrong, at worst, I might have a crease on my butt cheek. I can handle that. Poking a hole in my femoral artery? Not so much.

All that said, I would do everything I could to discourage you from carrying chamber empty if you feel you need to carry a gun to defend yourself. In the real world, I don't think you can rely on getting both hands coordinated and chamber a round. Particularly if that off hand is holding a box cutter off your throat. Or, if you are curled up in the fetal position while someone is kicking the stuffings out of you.

Pick the right gun for what makes YOU comfortable. I made my decisions, other might disagree. I still love the 1911, but, as long as I am forced to carry a Glock at work, I'm not going to pick a gun with a safety that goes up...or down...or a decocker or anything else radically different than the Glock. All my off duty guns are basic point and click guns. A revolver or, a Sig P239 with the DAK trigger.

An "at rest" modern revolver is about as safe as it can get. Same with the DAK trigger. It takes a long and deliberate pull of the trigger to fire. But, there are alot of good DA autos with a safety if that is your preference. Barretta and the older Smith autos come to mind. Perhaps you should look at the HK P7M8. It is truley one of the safest guns ever made and, blindingly fast to get into action.

Just try to pick one and play with it until it becomes second nature, whatever action type you may choose. The difference between a 1911 safety that goes DOWN to fire versus a Smith Auto that goes UP to fire really can get you killed.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:59 PM   #33
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So, if we can refrain from cliches and armchair-urban-soldier fantasies, I'd like to hear who else might carry like this, as well as well-reasoned arguments for why I shouldn't.
How about advice from a retired cop? An empty chamber in a carry gun? You may as well carry an empty gun. If you really, really need it, in about 1/2 to 3/4 of the incidents I worked or was around you would never get your gun into play. You must think about how am I as the predator going to take you that maximizes my success potential? If I was going to take you, I would attempt to overwhelm you physically.

This has come up time after time. Take a FOF class and try get your gun out and chamber a round while fending off an attack.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:28 PM   #34
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most other striker fired guns have one thing in common. Everything has to work right for the gun NOT to fire. The springs are loaded, the hammer (or striker) is held back mechanically.
The OP is using a LCP... It may be worth pointing out that it has a hammer tucked in there and is more or less a DAO
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:39 PM   #35
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Posted by Nanuk: How about advice from a retired cop? An empty chamber in a carry gun? You may as well carry an empty gun. If you really, really need it, in about 1/2 to 3/4 of the incidents I worked or was around you would never get your gun into play.
And in most jurisdictions, the threshold for lawfully drawing a firearm is lower for sworn officers than for other people.

Quote:
You must think about how am I as the predator going to take you that maximizes my success potential? If I was going to take you, I would attempt to overwhelm you physically.
Very good advice.

Quote:
This has come up time after time. Take a FOF class and try get your gun out and chamber a round while fending off an attack.
Excellent advice.

I worry enough about not being able to draw and stop an assailant before being overcome, and I always have a round in the chamber.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:52 PM   #36
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I understand the OP's concerns, having had the same concerns and dealt with them the same way (carry without a round chambered, or only carry chambered with gun equipped with decocker/safety). Carrying with a round chambered went against all the safety instruction I'd ever gotten from my dad or from the military.

Don't be put off by the following comment, but, I was given good advice when I was at this same point where you are. "Get some training, and get comfortable with carrying with a round chambered".
The issue, I think (as someone who's been where you are, and who has since received a fair amount of training and has been an NRA-certified instructor for a few years now) is that having a round chambered in a carry gun without an external safety feels unsafe and uncomfortable. It's not necessarily unsafe (if done properly), it simply feels that way to an inexperienced or untrained person.
With training, and assuming we're talking about a double-action or "safe-action" pistol, you can get past that.

In addition to NRA pistol and personal protection classes, I've taken some other really good training from Massad Ayoob, Tom Givens, Andy Stanford, and others generally recognized as knowing their stuff. I believe every one of those top trainers, and most others, would caution you against carrying your gun in a state where it is not immediately ready to use with one hand. Many other posters here have said that same thing, and I agree with them, but, that's not really just people on an internet board telling you that, in this case it really is credible people telling you.

You may be fortunate and not be at a fatal disadvantage by carrying a gun that needs the slide racked in order to be useful. But, if it's not unsafe to carry a gun that's ready to go, and doing that might well be decisively advantageous, why in the world wouldn't you?
I think some training from an experienced instructor could help you get more comfortable with the idea of carrying this way, and would serve you better than carrying without a round chambered.
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Old February 27, 2013, 02:48 PM   #37
CADILLAC HOOSIER
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Got my wife a Beretta Tomcat (32acp) because she felt like you do. I disagree and carry a 380 or snubbie in a pocket holster and feel completely ok with it, have for years. I think your comfort level for what ever you do is the key though. Don't do what you feel uncomfortable with. Be safe, HOOSIER
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:26 PM   #38
OldMarksman
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Posted by CADILLAC HOOSIER: I think your comfort level for what ever you do is the key though.
Not sure what you are saying.

Selecting a course of action that would not give you a reasonable chance of surviving a sudden, violent surprise attack would not be prudent no matter how "comfortable" that may make one feel.

Quote:
Don't do what you feel uncomfortable with.
Agree.

One should become comfortable with doing what is likely to work.

Many people seem to fall into the trap of visualizing what they assume might befall them and preparing for that, perhaps with a modicum of optimism. But range shooting and screen fiction can combine with unsupportable speculation to give one the likely false impressions that (1) he or she will likely be faced with a predictable situation that unfolds slowly; (2) the assailant will move slowly enough to provide the opportunity for aimed fire; and (3) the defender's shots on target will effectivey stop the assailant timely.

That's the way they show it on the screen, and that most closely matches how many people practice at the range.

Want to bet your life on it? As Nanuk said, an assailant will try to overwhelm you. By the way, if he does not, you will have a hard time justifying your use of deadly force.

As Nanuk said, it would be a good idea to try some FoF training. That's the best idea if you can do it.

Failing that, go and watch some timed, mechanized Tueller drills. You will conclude very quickly indeed that drawing from concealment and scoring hits on a fast charging assailant will likely be an iffy proposition even if you have a round in the chamber and recognize the attack for what it is instantly.

Add the issues of the forward motion of an attacker with a contact weapon and of the likelihood that even several hits may not effect an instant stop, and you will not be "comfortable" at all.

You will also very quickly discard the idea of carrying with an empty chamber.

You will realize the advantage of being able to move while firing.

And you will be motivated to avail yourself of some good high performance defensive pistol training, even if FoF training is not within reasonable possibility.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:33 PM   #39
j3ffr0
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This guy has empty chamber LCP carry down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx7UmBEKei0

I carry mine in the pocket. It makes for a slower draw, so I do keep one in the chamber.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:45 PM   #40
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Most of the guys I train with can't even manage to retain control of their gun long enough to point it at me, if we start at close range. I can't imagine them trying to rack a slide in close contact.

As OldMarksman and Nanuk have said, some FoF or hands-on training might do some people a lot of good.

Not only would that help with the decision on whether to carry with an empty chamber, but it would also demonstrate the benefits of some basic retention skills.
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Old February 27, 2013, 05:32 PM   #41
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Without reading the entire thread, I'll add this...the method you propose is known as the Israeli carry: a full magazine with an empty chamber, hammer down on the open chamber, safety off in the case of a 1911 or Browning HP. In your case, with an LCP, the procedure would be to draw, and rack the slide as you come up into firing position, while establishing a two-hand firing position for the shot. Timing has shown that this will cost you 1/2 second in getting the shot off...not a lot, but maybe an eternity if things go badly.

That said, if you practice this method in your weekly drills with an empty gun, (you are doing this right?), you'll do it under stress when confronted by a shoot or don't shoot scenario. Whether you'll have time to pull it off is left to chance.

A gun is a tool to allow those who carry the ability to confront a wider spectrum of daily life. If you are willing to limit what you confront, that extra 1/2 second may not matter. But the key is to always remain aware of your surroundings, and their potential for damaging you or your family.

As to how close to allow potential threats: let me say this that my son, a Marine MP for 7 years said that while in training, using "blue" pistols and rubber knives, it was proven to them conclusively that 21 feet...(7 yds) was the cutoff. If the BG was inside that distance, and the MP was holstered, the good guys were going to make contact with whatever the BG had as a weapon. Twenty one feet, and they knew it was going to happen but could not prevent the attack...think on how you'd react if you were a civilian in a parking lot...

One last comment regarding Police vs. Civilian use...and no disrespect to the fine officers that allow us to sleep safely at night... As a civilian, I do not run towards trouble, in truth, I avoid all situations that have that potential. I will defend my family to the death, but will leave a dangerous situation if it's in my power. Police officers do not have that luxury, God bless them. They run towards the sound of firing...civilians do not. At home? Our plan is to retreat to a safe room, call police while arming ourselves and wait out their arrival. We do not carry in the house but do maintain loaded and charged weapons at retreat locations. Hopefully, locked doors 24/7 will allow that. Are we vulnerable to attacks at the front door...yep, but too, we may be hit by a falling satellite....you have to draw the line of reality somewhere...

Best regards, and do your weekly drills, Rod
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Last edited by rodfac; February 27, 2013 at 05:49 PM.
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:22 PM   #42
MLeake
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rodfac, you lose 1/2 second assuming:

1) You have both hands free to manipulate the weapon (if not, hopefully using the rear sight against a belt, boot heel, or wall or table edge has been practiced and is applicable);

2) You are not being physically grappled by an assailant (if so, good luck controlling where either hand is moving, let alone maintaining sufficient coordination to manipulate a slide).

That 1/2 second is only valid if the shooter has time to assess and draw before physical contact has been made, or injury incurred.
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:25 PM   #43
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Of course, injuries affecting coordination can come from incoming rounds...

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=086_1260862712
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:03 PM   #44
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Searched for, but could not find a video of a robbery where the guard? owner? was carrying unchambered. Robber was focused on another employee when the guy drew his pistol and tried to chamber a round. Failed to chamber...twice...if I remember correctly. Guy was shot. The video was a good illustration of the speed at which this went down.

I carry because I want to increase my odds of survival IF something were to happen. I train to further increase the odds in my favor. I carry with a round chambered, DAO and no safety for the same reason. It did take some time to reach a level of comfort and confidence in doing this.

It’s very important for you to be comfortable with your choices. If a carrying with chambered round makes you uncomfortable, then train, train, train to become proficient in drawing and chambering a round. And be very careful. I would recommend using some type of dummy rounds like those made by AZoom.

Edit: Yep, that's the video in the post above.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:30 PM   #45
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I am glad this post got twenty replies before the first senseless one. Where the heck do you get THAT from? Where in my post did I IN ANY WAY say I would be uncomfortable carrying loaded with a safety? You are making things up out of thin air simply to provide yourself an opportunity to post something obnoxious.
Excse me If I missunderstood the premis of your OP. But it did leave the impression that you were not comfortable with carrying a gun with a loaded chamber. The long trigger pull of a DAO, hammerless revolver is as good a safety as the short throw of a lever on a semi-auto.
With the Ruger LC9 being just a bit larger than the LCP, but still being concealable in a good pocket holste, it would give you a more powerful round in a handgun with both a long DAO trigger, and a manual safty.
I still stand by my beliefe that an empty chamber is an empty gun. I don't agree that the difference is one second as you indicated in the OP. There is also a higher possibility of a ND while racking the slide to load a round in a stressfull situation. Along with the possibility of the slide slipping from your grasp, or not fully retracting the slide under pressure. All leaving you with an empty gun. Or at best requiring a lot more time to have a loaded one.
The other dissagrement I have is with not expecting a potential attack because you are in a "safe" area. Criminals don't always ply their trade in bad areas. Robberies, car jacking, and even home invasions are increasingly happening in "nice" shopping areas, and neighborhoods.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:28 PM   #46
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OP here

First- Cheapshooter- sorry if I came down on you. Most of what you say agrees with the excellent advice from the other posts. I don't have a problem carrying loaded and chambered as long as there's a safety.

I am re-thinking this. I am starting to come around to thinking carrying unchambered is a bad idea, thanks to everyone's common-sense input here.

I tend to be obsessive about safety, probably from being ashamed by less-than-safe gun behavior in my younger days, many years ago. I used to throw a tiny revolver in my jeans pocket, sometimes without a holster, or one of those cheap foam ones at best. Now I have nightmares about a fold of denim having gotten squished against the trigger as I'm squeezing into a tight car, and me getting a .32 caliber hole through one or both cojones.

I recently felt the need to carry to a family gathering (long story). But when I was there, sitting on the couch, with little children climbing on me and pressing next to me, I couldn't get my mind off where the muzzle of that .38 snubby was pointed. It really kept me tense. It was in a good hard leather IWB holster, but it still freaked me out a bit to have it an inch or two away from a small rambunctious child bumping against that hip.

So that's what got me on the quest to find a small pistol with a safety, consistent with my Beretta.

I want to become so comfortable carrying a pistol that it is second nature. I hope I can get there with the LCP. Or find that elusive LCP-size pistol with a safety that flips up to fire.

I am going to read through these excellent responses again and figure this whole thing out.

David
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:51 PM   #47
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I haven't carried much in the last year, but when I do carry, it's with a full chamber. On my H&K P2000, that's a full chamber with no manual safety except the long/heavy-ish trigger, but on my Sig P238 that's with a manual safety solidly in the SAFE position. If the P2000 had a manual safety, I'd use it. If I knew what I do now about pistols and my feelings about them when I bought the H&K (my first pistol, bought when my then-fiance received threatening phone calls), then I would have purchased that gun with a manual safety as well.

My Dad carries with an empty chamber always, no matter whether the gun has a manual safety or not.

It is impossible to dismiss certain situations where either a manual safety or an empty chamber could be disadvantages, but it is also impossible to dismiss the manifold other situations where it wouldn't matter a hill of beans.

Do what you feel comfortable doing and practice whatever you do so that you're good at it. It's unlikely you'll ever need that gun in the first place, and even then it's likely you won't even need to do more than draw and aim it, but if you're that unlucky number that does have to pull the trigger, just make sure you're as prepared as you can be.
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Old February 28, 2013, 12:17 AM   #48
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1. Racking the slide on a handgun, especially on a small/subcompact handgun is a fairly error-prone operation as far as autopistols go, in terms of the possibility of inducing malfunctions. I wouldn't plan to have to do it under stress unless there was no other option.

2. I've seen at least one person have an unintentional discharge while racking the slide of a pistol during a reload.

3. The LCP is already quite limited in terms of power and capacity. Reducing that even further seems like a questionable decision.

4. There are, in addition to the reasons named, a number of circumstances which could prevent you from having two hands free to rack the slide.

It's worth repeating that this type of pistol, should be carried ONLY in a hard holster that completely protects the trigger. The holster, in concert with the passive safeties built into the firearm, acts like a safety in terms of preventing the gun from going off until it is needed.

All that said, and although I don't believe it makes sense to carry an autopistol with an empty chamber for self-defense and I'm trying to get you to reconsider that decision, I'm not trying to convince you to carry an LCP chambered.

If you're not comfortable carrying a round chambered in a pistol that does not have a manual safety, then by all means get a carry pistol that has a manual safety. We are fortunate to be living in a time when a wide variety of carry pistols is available.
Quote:
BTW, that S&W Bodyguard 380 would fit the bill except for one thing: it is one of the ugliest guns I have ever seen.
I appreciate a beautiful gun as much as the next guy (or gal) but when it comes to a concealed carry gun, I can't imagine a more useless (literally) selection criterion than appearance. A carry gun is not meant to be seen, so how it looks is pretty much the definition of irrelevant.
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Old February 28, 2013, 12:39 AM   #49
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I was actually planning in carrying without a chambered round at least for the first few months. At least until I can become more comfortable handling my gun and taking a few NRA classes.

I have only been handling firearms since January of last year and didn't purchase my first gun until July last year. Also, the gun I chose to carry is the FNS which is a striker fired pistol with an manual safety (a very small manual saftey), however there is no "trigger safety" like the Glocks have. As well the trigger pull is not very heavy.

So until I become comfortable and competent enough with my pistol (which I try to handle daily just to get a feel for it) I plan to carry unchambered.

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Old February 28, 2013, 08:36 AM   #50
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Quote:
Posted by Daekar: My Dad carries with an empty chamber always, no matter whether the gun has a manual safety or not.
We of course always hope that no one is ever the victim of a criminal attack, but with his self-chosen disadvantage, it is even more important for him.

Quote:
Do what you feel comfortable doing and practice whatever you do so that you're good at it.
One's feeling of comfort has nothing to do with preparedness--unless one feels somewhat more comfortable because one knows that the question of maximum preparedness can be a matter of life and death, and one acts accordingly.

Quote:
It's unlikely you'll ever need that gun in the first place, and even then it's likely you won't even need to do more than draw and aim it,...
In risk management, it is not appropriate to base one's decisions regarding mitigation on the cumulative probability. Rather, the conditional probability is what counts.

That is, the question pertains to your chances of being able to draw and fire timely in the unlikely event that you do have to draw and fire before you are killed or severely injured.

One will likely have very little time indeed, and the time required to rack the slide may well make all the difference, even without a possible malfunction.

That would have a rather large negative impact on the conditional probability of success.

Quote:
...but if you're that unlucky number that does have to pull the trigger, just make sure you're as prepared as you can be.
Which, of course, mitigates against empty chamber carry.

Now, while many people do carry pistols without safeties with their chambers loaded, I do not feel comfortable doing so. My primary reason is the possibility that something might interfere with the trigger during re-holstering. So, while I would not even consider carrying with an empty chamber for self defense, I do choose to carry a firearm with a safety.
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