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Old January 20, 2014, 12:55 PM   #26
Garycw
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Empty chamber for safety - good idea or not?

Re: the video is why some ranges & training facilities have banned the Serpa retention holsters. I must have watched the beginning 10 times. . I have two and like them very much & plan on continuing to uses them. Used properly this would not happen. The only thing more ironic would have been when he whipped it out from behind to say he didn't blame gun or holster if he had shot his back side.
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Old January 20, 2014, 03:04 PM   #27
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9mmfan, shame on you...

.... for carrying a .32

Glad it didn't turn out worse. Family dogs sometimes like to sleep on the bed, don't they?

Jim March, IIRC, Elmer wrote that a cowboy would lift the heavy stirrup onto the saddle and then bend over to tighten the strap (girth strap? - don't ask me about horses!). Then the stirrup would slip off and fall right onto the hammer of the old model six-gun, resulting in a bang if it were fully loaded. This was fact as he said it had happened.

And I believe he also talked of the way a dropped single action could and did rotate to land right on the hammer. Again, fully loaded would result in a bang with a gun that is aimed up at somebody's soft under-belly, as Churchill put it. Or worse, the horse could get shot

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Old January 20, 2014, 04:24 PM   #28
DannyB1954
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Quote:
The conversation that initiated my question concerned semi-autos and the possibility of accidental discharge while drawing,
Thanks for being more specific. I USED to carry my Semi Auto's with an empty chamber. I have a Diamondback DB9 which is a small pocket sized 9mm. it has no external safeties, but has a very heavy trigger. Loading the first round into the chamber manually often results in a jam. I don't need this in a already stressful situation. When I carry this piece it is in a holster that covers the trigger. I also carry my SR9C loaded with the safety on.

The best safety is not to put your finger into the trigger hole until you are ready to fire. and take it out of the hole before you holster. It is amazing how many people shoot themselves in the leg putting the weapon back into the holster.

Go to Youtube and search the topic Carry empty chamber There are a dozen or more videos explaining why it is not a good idea.
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:11 PM   #29
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I did know of one accident with an old-type Ruger .44 Magnum. The man was carrying it in a hip holster and when he got in his pickup truck it slid out and landed on the hammer. It went off, sending a bullet up through his inner leg, missing the bone. Fortunately he survived but ended up with a bad limp and a huge gash out of his flesh. Had the bullet been a bit to the left, it would have gone into his torso and undoubtedly killed him.

IMHO, there are two lessons there. One is to keep an empty chamber under the hammer with those Rugers and the older guns of the same type. The other is that a retention strap is a good idea unless you are planning to get into a gun fight.

Jim
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:32 PM   #30
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But never the chamber to the left requiring two shots to fire.
If that revolver is most modern double action S&W's or Ruger you'll be in for a rude awakening.

An empty under the hammer and an empty to the left will go bang first pull of the trigger.

Remember that Smith's & Ruger D/A's revolve counter clockwise!!!
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:36 PM   #31
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My mistake. Chamber to the right then.
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:38 PM   #32
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Quote:
Essentially you'd have to pull the trigger twice to fire
There is simply no reason to do this. A modern gun is safe with the hammer over a loaded chamber and I'm not sure why you would want to pull the trigger twice in a self defense situation.
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:46 PM   #33
Glenn E. Meyer
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Ruger will modify the old revolvers with an added transfer bar safety, IIRC. I saw a trial where someone had an old one and dropped it. Sued but it was shown that he was aware of the warning not to load all six and of the free modification. Ruger won the case but gave him some money anyway.
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Old January 20, 2014, 07:08 PM   #34
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If you feel you're responsible enough to carry a gun, you should be responsible enough to carry it as it's meant to be. Loaded and ready to shoot.
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Old January 20, 2014, 07:30 PM   #35
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A friend used to do this with his home defense model 19. The idea was that if someone else got a hold of the gun and decided to fire it they would be disappointed by that first trigger pull.

The owner would know to simply pull the trigger twice.


I mentioned this another time and everyone got upset. I don't really see what the stink is about - it doesn't degrade the usability of the firearm meaningfully, and confounds an attacker in a similar way to a slide mounted safety on an auto.
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Old January 20, 2014, 07:31 PM   #36
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What about if you don't have time to pull twice?
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Old January 20, 2014, 08:03 PM   #37
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Mr. Bart Noir...

Yessir, I've learned my lesson on both counts. The .32 Tomcat Inox has been long sold off. That was the complacent part. Stupid, too. Had I just taken the 1/10th of a second to tip up the barrel as designed, that ND could've been easily avoided. Or just left it cocked and locked. I was exhausted and just not thinking straight. Again, better to learn from other folks' mistakes.

It absolutely could have been worse. Don't have dogs, married a cat person and we were between felines at the time. Wife was in Oklahoma, and lest anyone gets the wrong idea, I ain't that good of a shot. The hole is on my side of the bed anyway.

I was actually fairly calm in my panic, if that makes sense. I was more worried about it going through the floor into the bedroom below, we lived in the upper half of a duplex. Found the bullet slightly mangled sitting on the floor under the bed. Fortunately the worst that came out of it was a slight ringing in my right ear for a bit afterward.

On a brighter side, the dough from selling that .32 and a Cabela's gift card became my 1920 S&W .38 M&P.

Sorry to venture off topic, but I think that if anyone can learn from my stupid error it's worth the embarrassment of relating the tale.
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Old January 21, 2014, 12:21 PM   #38
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Ruger paid off on multiple lawsuits by people who just HAD to have the sixth shot and either did not manage it properly, were careless, or just unlucky and wanted somebody to blame. It was cheaper for them to redesign their guns than to keep getting sued.
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Old January 21, 2014, 01:42 PM   #39
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I prefer to ALWAYS behave as if a gun is loaded. Therefore, I keep them loaded so there is no confusion.
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Old January 21, 2014, 03:07 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelnel View Post
I prefer to ALWAYS behave as if a gun is loaded. Therefore, I keep them loaded so there is no confusion.
That's my general rule. Which I've explained to wife. If you see any of my guns they are loaded. At least. 75 % are except long term storage and those are rifles. No kids at home to worry about. All revolvers are 100% loaded
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Old January 21, 2014, 03:32 PM   #41
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I received a letter from Ruger many years ago offering the transfer bar modification to my Super Blackhawk. I chose not to have the gun modified, even though It is reversible. I just wanted It to remain original. I already had been loading only 5 rounds with the hammer down on the empty chamber, so It was no change for me. I don't see the need for that sixth round in a hunting S/A handgun, and when shooting at the range I am shooting 5 round groups anyhow.
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Old January 21, 2014, 06:02 PM   #42
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

I always find photos to be a big help in explaining these concepts.

This is a photo of an older Smith that was made before hammer blocks were added to the design. The part that has the patent date on it is called the rebound slide. S&W incorporated the rebound slide into their revolvers in 1902 and they still use them. In this photo the rebound slide is in its furthest forward position, pushed there by the coil spring inside it. There is a slight hump at the bottom of the hammer, as well as a hump on the top of the rebound slide. In this photo the hump at the top of the rebound slide has wedged itself under the hump at the bottom of the hammer, forcing the hammer and firing pin back about 1/8". You can see the space in front of the hammer. The gun is incapable of firing in this condition. When the trigger is pulled or the hammer is cocked, the rebound slide is forced back pulling its hump out of the way so the gun can fire.





Sometime later, S&W decided to add an internal hammer block in addition to the hump on the rebound slide, to make their revolvers even safer. The hammer block was pinned inside a slot in the side plate.





This photo shows the hammer block pinned inside the side plate. It was made from a piece of spring steel. The arrow on the left is pointing to a ramp on the hand that would engage a tab on the hammer block. When the trigger rotated and the hand rose, the ramp on the side of the hand pushed the hammer block out of the way. Since it was spring loaded, when the hand returned to its normal position, the hammer block sprung out again to block the hammer.






This system worked out very well until World War Two. In a freak accident, a Victory Model Smith fell to the deck of a destroyer, landed on its hammer, and discharged, killing a sailor. It was a freak accident, but the Navy demanded S&W come up with a solution, which they did in a week's time. Here is the result, the modern S&W hammer block, which is still incorporated in all S&W revolvers today. When the hammer is cocked or the trigger is pulled, the pin on the rebound slide pulls the hammer block down diagonally away from the hammer, allowing the hammer to fall all the way. Notice in this photo, it is actually the hump on the rebound slide that is keeping the hammer rotated back slightly. The hammer block is actually a redundant safety, the hammer is not resting on the hammer block at all.





In this photo I have removed the hammer block in order to see what is going on underneath it. I am holding back the trigger. This keeps the rebound slide pushed back and the hammer is now free to fall all the way.




Gotta start another answer to show how unsafe a single action revolver was when fully loaded.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; January 22, 2014 at 09:27 AM.
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Old January 21, 2014, 06:08 PM   #43
RX-79G
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Those are nice pictures, but not what the OP asked about.

Quote:
What about if you don't have time to pull twice?
Then you probably should have chosen a faster gun than a DA revolver, if the amount of time you're talking about is so critical.

Every safety procedure or device is a trade off. This isn't a very large trade off. ClickBANG is not a lot slower than BANG, and maybe it will save a life if things don't go as planned.

Of course, everyone always seems to know exactly how those self defense show downs are going to go down.
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Old January 21, 2014, 06:12 PM   #44
Driftwood Johnson
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Because of their solid frame, it is impossible to see inside a Colt Single Action Army without cutting viewing windows in the frame. However S&W revolvers had removable sideplates.

Here are some photos of a Smith and Wesson Russian Model.

Sorry, the photo is a little bit out of focus, but in this photo the hammer is all the way down as it would be after the gun had fired. You can just see the firing pin poking through the recoil shield.





This is the so called 'safety position' most single action revolvers had. The hammer has been pulled back about 1/8" and the tip of the trigger has popped into a notch in the hammer. The notch has a lip on it, trapping the trigger so it cannot be pulled. Unfortunately the cross section of the parts is quite thin and they are not very strong. It would not take too much of a blow to the hammer spur to shear off either the hammer notch, or the tip of the trigger, causing the gun to fire.




And here is the hammer at full cock, ready to fire.



Although Colt parts were very differently shaped than these S&W parts, the 'safety notch' was no stronger. That is why it has been recommended for over 100 years to keep the hammer down on an empty chamber in a single action revolver with a Colt type lockup, including modern replicas and the old Three Screw Ruger single action revolvers.

The modern design of Ruger single action revolvers that incorporates a transfer block makes them completely safe ro carry fully loaded.
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Old January 21, 2014, 11:44 PM   #45
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Now THAT'S what I call an in-depth explanation of the inner workings of a revolvers' safety mechanism! Holy smokes! Thanks for posting the pics. And thanks again to everyone else who contributed to the conversation. It helped quite a bit with my question.

Mike
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Old January 22, 2014, 12:57 AM   #46
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I'm not sure if it's been explicitly stated yet, but a proper holster is also a big part of safely carrying any gun.

If you're just shoving a gun down your pants or throwing it into a bag with a bunch of stuff, then accidental discharges are more likely.

When carrying a revolver, a holster can cover the the trigger, limit access to the hammer, and/or limit the movement of the hammer. So these can be viewed as "safeties" as well.

Practice is a huge thing as well, but that's been mentioned.
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Old January 22, 2014, 01:16 AM   #47
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I'm pretty sure I started the thread in the Tactics and Training section that the OP stated he was reading about "Condition 3." Unfortunately, that thread was closed because it was getting a little snipey

At any rate, I spent this whole past weekend running about town carrying my Smith 686 - with all 7 charge holes filled. It's funny, I haven't been able to bring myself to carrying condition 1 with a semi-auto; but have no problem with a revolver. I guess I'm just a revolver guy. Fair enough.

The thought of carrying my revolver with the "next" round empty has never crossed my mind. Wouldn't do it. No way.
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Old January 22, 2014, 01:18 AM   #48
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I'm not sure if it's been explicitly stated yet, but a proper holster is also a big part of safely carrying any gun.
Along with the condition of the holster. I believe there was a documented case of an incident where a loose piece of leather on a well used holster got inside the trigger guard of a Glock while reholstering. It managed to depress the trigger safety, and trigger causing a discharge. Not intended to be a slam against Glock. Just a point for the OP that there are so many things to be aware of.
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Old January 22, 2014, 06:43 AM   #49
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Modern revolvers do not require the user to keep one chamber empty.
Modern revolvers have a mechanism to prevent the firing pin from striking the cartridge primer whether it be by "hammer block safety," or by "rebounding hammer" design.
Any MODERN, double-action revolver is safe to carry with all chambers filled.
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Old January 22, 2014, 08:42 AM   #50
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"When carrying a revolver, a holster can cover the the trigger, limit access to the hammer, and/or limit the movement of the hammer. So these can be viewed as "safeties" as well."--ckpj99
Good point. The 'Tom Threepersons' style revolver holster with the trigger completely exposed always made me uncomfortable.
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"It's funny, I haven't been able to bring myself to carrying condition 1 with a semi-auto; but have no problem with a revolver."--NickCS
With a thumb strap under the hammer, I'm OK with Condition 1.
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