View Full Version : One in the chamber, or not?

June 21, 2002, 05:28 AM
In competition (IPSC/IDPA), do you drop one in the chamber for the beginning mag?

I did, at my first match, for the obvious reason of having an extra shot. However, now that I'm practicing more, I find it more consistant and faster for reloads if I just stick with what I know, and keep all loadups the same. I can keep a cadence, so to speak, and know when to reload without losing focus on the front sight.

What do you do? Why?

Jim Watson
June 21, 2002, 07:32 AM
I don't "drop one in the chamber" because it is hard on the extractor. Most pistols are controlled feed and the rim of the cartridge is supposed to come up from the magazine under the extractor hook. Snapping over the rim of a round in the chamber is more movement than it is made for and can chip or spring it. Especially - but not limited to - a 1911.

I DO use a "Barney Bullet" magazine to top up to 10+1 for IPSC L-10 and IDPA ESP. To have the extra shot available and, because in IDPA, it is REQUIRED that you have a fully loaded magazine and chamber in a stage which will call for a reload.

June 21, 2002, 01:01 PM
In IPSC, do you find yourself dropping a mag with a round left? That's what I seem to do when topped off, and the reason I've been practicing with 8 to start, 8 to end.
(Call me a sadist, but I prefer 8-rounders for some inexplicable reason, bad experience with a 10rd Wilson, I guess)

John Forsyth
June 21, 2002, 01:41 PM
What Mr. Watson said. I just call it my "Barney Mag".

June 21, 2002, 02:54 PM
Whether you will need to reload or not you must start with your gun "topped off" on all scenario Vickers Count stages.

And I drop one into the chamber of my Glock to top off the gun. Now, if I only had some of those 13 round "assualt" mags.

June 21, 2002, 04:27 PM
Never drop one in the chamber to get the extra round. It will eventually chip the extractor. Use a 'stripper' mag to load one, then put in a full mag.

June 22, 2002, 06:41 AM
Gettin way off topic, and I guess it's my fault - I didn't explain properly. I do (did?) use a "Barney Mag". The RO would mess his skivies if a newbie IPSC competitor like myself dropped one in the chamber by hand.

I'm asking this: When you have 4 or 5 mags, do you bother with the Barney Mag, or would you rather have the same round count per mag?

With the adrenaline pumping, I find it easier, for now, to run a count through my when I'm shooting. "One and two and three and four....". It tends to mess me up when I have to remember that my first mag has 9 rounds, and the rest have 8. The counting in my head is done without thought, whereas if I have to remember to count different on the first mag, I find my concentration is on the count instead of the sight. I instinctively drop the mag at "eight" most times.

When I'm concentrating on the front sight, I hardly notice the slide is locked back until go to pull the trigger.

June 22, 2002, 07:18 AM
I carry mags of different capacity, but BASED ON STAGE I stuff the biggest mag in first.

I use 8-rd-only mags in my 1911 (Caspian, of course) and I carry them all with 8 rds.
The gun starts with one in the chamber and an 8-rd in the butt.
My 'bad' mag is my 'load' mag, and it goes into my back pocket (based on the premise that you can NEVER carry too much ammo).

Mike Davies
June 23, 2002, 03:34 AM
yankytrash: ALWAYS start a stage with the maximum number of rounds your gun will carry....When doing reloads, I try to drop the magazine with a round still in the chamber, but I do screw up more than I care for in the heat of competition, and shoot my pistol "dry" to slidelock....not a big deal, but it does slow down the reload just a tad. Try not to get to hung up on round count...it will just distract you. IPSC's a game...plan your mag changes ahead of time, if possible....Watch the "pro's" walking through the stage, they'll "show you" where to do the mag changes. All stages are "8 round friendly" (or should be...). There should be no stages set up where more than 8 rounds are needed to engage target arrays from any one position (unless compulsory mag changes are called for). 10 round mags are preferrable to 8rnd mags, however..:) . They allow a bit of "wriggle room" to make up for the "mikes"...:rolleyes:

June 24, 2002, 10:02 AM
in IDPA, it is REQUIRED that you have a fully loaded magazine and chamber in a stage which will call for a reload.

I have never fully understood that rule. I can understand them wanting to take all the elements of 'gaming' out of it, but have 11 round vs. 10 round as a requirement is something I still cant understand.

June 30, 2002, 07:47 AM
The way it was explained to me; why would you ever carry a defensive pistol with less than the maximum rounds it could be loaded with? Therefore, 1 in chamber and the mag full.

The only reason you would not do this is to make your reload points easier to calculate. That is gaming and not real life.

Navy joe
June 30, 2002, 09:27 AM
If the first part of the run seems to call for 10 rounds then a reload/movement & time to reload I would certainly top off, I prefer to drop an empty mag with one still in the chamber, that's the perfect reload. Dropping one or two still in the mag is fine if you did it during a good time to load as in moving between targets. Yep, counting sure is easy in L10.

June 30, 2002, 01:42 PM

Remember that all of these shooting sports like IPSC/USPSA and IDPA are GAMES.

Actually both of these games share a lot in common:

1. Competitors are timed through the stage
2. A score is tallied for hits and misses
3. An initial walkthrough is done for course familiarization and safety
4. A buzzer tells them when to start shooting

So I would never consider either one of these games to be real life but I do consider round counting to be a skill that’s applicable to all shooting scenarios.

June 30, 2002, 07:12 PM

Yes, I understand that when the day is done, what we are doing is a "game". However, the goal of our club is to teach Practical skills and techniques to those who are actually carrying their firearms daily. We shoot every Wednesday night with a different set up, and any Saturday that there is not a local match also. Each setup teaches a new skill.

Michigan went "shall issue" last year and more and more folks are carrying concealed. Many of those that shoot with us are actually learning the basics of concealment, drawing, cover, and reloading. While it is easy to count when you know what is coming and no one is shooting back, I highly doubt anyone would really be counting shots in a real life situation.

Our club always has one stage in our matches that is an unknown. No walk thru and it is hidden behind barriers so that the shooters can not see what they are up against. This is where the counters really get screwed up.

It really is a sport that each can do as they please, all I was trying to point out was what I was told the reason why the Barney load is required. Some feel that winning the game is all that matters and others feel that perfecting a useful skill is just as important. I for one have improved my use of cover (not everyone uses cover either), reloads, marksmanship, and yes even speed over the last 6 months that I have shot IDPA. I don't win very often, but I have fun.

As always, your mileage may vary.


June 30, 2002, 09:16 PM

We are in agreement on many of the points that you bring up, and kudos are in order for your clubs idea of a stage that you must shoot without the benefit of a walkthrough.

It’s my opinion, that it would be rather difficult for a novice shooter today to pick up the habit of round counting in IDPA competition this being do to the fact, that a procedural penalty will be applied to the shooter that drops an empty or partially full magazine on the ground with a round still in the chamber the only exception I’m aware of is if there is a malfunction. That rule is one of several rules that differentiate IDPA and IPSC/USPSA competition. Having said that I enjoy both games and I hope they both continue to grow and prosper.

BTW, when my father was teaching me how to hunt wild game back in the early 70’s one of the things he taught me was round counting and to date it has served me well over the years in both hunting and all types of firearms competition.

June 30, 2002, 09:46 PM

Actually, we do not give procedurals for dropping a loaded mag or an empty mag with one in the chamber. The only way that we give a procedural is if you leave the partially loaded mag behind or if there is a mandatory retention reload.

We have a very dedicated and creative match director. He prides himself on putting on a fun match and at the same time making it a learning experience for all. Some of us just think he is sadistic :D .

Enjoy the sport and learn something everytime you shoot. That is what makes it all worthwhile.