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Old April 27, 2005, 09:39 AM   #1
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To rack or not to rack.....

Hi fellas,

I was reading another thread and there was an off topic in it about the pros and cons of racking your gun in the middle of the night when you hear a burglar in your house.
I have a loaded 9mm and a loaded 12 gauge in my bedroom (no kids in the house), but I don't store a round in the pipe. Should I? I always figured that I'd just rack a round when the time came - not for purposes of scaring the bad guy, but just for safety reasons. Now I'm not sure.
Someone on the other thread had a great point about your element of surprise being gone once you rack a round. Also that the bad guy, if he stays around, knows that he HAS to try to kill you because he knows you are armed.
How do you store your home defense gun and why? Thanks, as always!
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:04 AM   #2
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Someone mentioned a house fire being the reason not to keep a round in the chamber.. I guess I could see that being a slight reason but yeah.

We have three loaded guns in the house, and thats not about to change any time soon:

My SKS and Defender, and Dad's P89.
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:34 AM   #3
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This is a matter of personal preference. Since you have no children in the house, there shouldn't be any accidental discharges as long as you remember yourself that you have one in the chamber. As for a home invader wanting even more to kill you upon hearing a firearm being racked, you should assume that anyone crazy enough to invade your home is also crazy enough to cause you and your loved ones harm.
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:37 AM   #4
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I have at least three loaded handguns throughout the house in stratigic locations at all times. All loaded and ready to use. A Rem 870 has 5 rounds in the stack ready to be racked in. I have two small children that might get into the closet. The safety they might manipulate but to pump a round in, that would be hard to do.

Also as a Volunteer Firefighter, I understand the danger involved in having loaded firearms in a burning house. Loose shells are not really a problem nor are shells in a magazine. But those in the chamber or cylinder can cause problems when they cook off.
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:45 AM   #5
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Cocked & Locked, 17 rounds of Winchester Supreme, 9mm, 147GR SXT, and a spare magazine right beside it, within arms reach on my night stand.

And, my West Highland Terrier to notify me when the BG cometh!
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:55 AM   #6
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What are you going to do when he barges into the room? Hope he does not come in with a loaded weapon and get the jump on you? Please don't take this as a personal attack but think about how ridiculous the whole tactical advantage thing is. Lets say the intruder is not in your room yet. If he is you sure as hell better have your weapon ready to fire or be firing already. If he is somewhere in the house but not in your room, it will be impossible for him to locate exactly where in the room you are. Hopefully you are not just going to sit yourself down in the middle of the bed. Take cover for crying out loud and then get your weapon ready to go!

First of all, I hope none of us here are just itching to kill someone. The casual burgler has no interest in getting shot. A loud warning that you are armed, that he will be shot if he comes into the room, and that the police are on their way will deter just about ANY burgler. That along with the sound of a shotgun being racked will do wonders for changing a burgler's plans for the evening.

Now I hope that no one has any enemies where they would be coming to kill you. If that is the case, then yes, maybe there is some sense to the whole tactical advantage thing. An unchambered gun does you no good though and you should just store it ready to go with the safety on if there is one.

There are so many internet commandos that have no common sense whatsoever. Even more so, I'm sure many of them just can't wait for the opportunity to shoot someone. If you really want to learn about tactical advantage and get some practical training, go to one of those training institutes such as Gun Site or Thinder Ranch. Great practical training also includes IPSC or PPC competitions as this will give you lots of trigger time and help you speed up your draw and target acquisition time. It should also significantly improve your follow up shot time.

For tactical training, I think paintball is one of the best training methods available. Good paintballers will nail you from a great distance and know how to shoot while moving. They have to be aware of their surroundings and shoot at moving targets. I was humbled big time the first time I went paintballing. Air Soft guns are also becoming really popular as training aids now. Just be sure to wear eye protection as those puppies hurt! I hope this helps.

Oh yeah, keep your guns ready to roll and you won't need to worry about "racking" your brain!
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Old April 27, 2005, 10:56 AM   #7
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If hearing a pump shotgun being cycled.....

is a judged to be a deterrent by some, then why woudn't a racked slide?
It might make the un-armed burlglar run!
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Old April 27, 2005, 11:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses so far, folks. Nope, Stephen, I didn't take offense at all - that's why I ask these questions. I don't have many gun friends, so I rely on y'alls input.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:01 PM   #9
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Rack 'em

An unracked weapon is the equivalent of a very expensive paperweight.

I agree with most of the posts here, ready your weapon BEFORE you need it. And if there is certainty that the intruder is one floor above or below you, rack that 12 ga and see if there is a positive reaction to it.

But if you need your weapon to bear asap, because the bedroom door is being forced open, you waking from a deep sleep need that weapon to be ready when you bring it to bear, not 2 seconds and a rack later.

Garbageman -
House fire? If the temperature of fire is equal throughout the house, how come loose shells are not an issue while one in the chamber of a weapon is? Can you please explain the physics here. This statement does not make sense.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:01 PM   #10
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I was totally agreeing with you until you got to the part of giving a loud warning to the intruder that you are armed. Why the hell would you want to do that? If I have an intruder in my house and I yell to them to leave, if they choose not that is their mistake. If they totally ignore me and continue in my direction, then they are going to die. I am not going to give them any information that they can use against me. Yelling you are armed is giving then information that they can use against you, and in fact more or less tells them that:1) I have guns, come back another time and take them when I am not home 2) if you can kill me you can take my guns now.

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Old April 27, 2005, 01:23 PM   #11
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IMO you've asked a valid question that has no good or bad answer. No one knows what a burglar is thinking. Is he there to steal, abduct or rape the resident(s). Is a person who hollers, "I have a gun" going to scare him away. Will he run from your home, or wait in ambush in an adjacent room if he hears the slide of a shotgun or handgun. Is he on drugs? Is he armed and set to defend himself (in his criminal mind). You've asked a question that only you really know the answer. What do 'YOU' feel comfortable doing? Not us.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:28 PM   #12
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Duxman, while i am no expert, the loose rounds are much less of a threat, because as they will still cook off, they wont really go anywhere as the case will explode and the force will not be enough to move the bullet very far.

A chambered round on the other hand is in the barrel already, and when it cooks off it will be just like you pulled the trigger, ie the powder burns, the explosion force is contained, and the expanding gasses push the bullet down the barrel just like it was fired.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:37 PM   #13
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Duxman, the only reason the bullit exits the barrel with force is the case is controlled by the pistol chamber. The unchambered rounds cook off like a firecracker. The case ruptures and releases pressure before it gets very high, and the brass will usually travel father than the projectile.
Picture a 1" fire cracker with no fuse. as kids, when we got these duds we would break them in half, and light them with a match. They just burn and spin on the ground.
Smokeless powder burns at a high rate of speed but does not explode.
[Sorry perception, slow keyboard]

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Old April 27, 2005, 01:42 PM   #14
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deep sleep need that weapon to be ready when you bring it to bear, not 2 seconds and a rack later.
It takes you 2 seconds to chamber a round?
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:56 PM   #15
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pssshhhaawwww! i'm so tactical it hurts. when i clear my home of boogiemen (and sometimes boogiewomen, depending how many drinks i consume at the bar), i rack the slide each time i enter a room or open a closet door. then when i got the boogieman (or women) in my sights, and they hesitate to comply with my demands, i rack the slide again! just to make them know i mean business.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:58 PM   #16
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IMHO if you had kids in the house (even from time to time), I would strongly lean towards leaving the chamber empty.

If your wife or significant other needs to use the gun, make sure she can operate it whatever the condition. Some women & young children cannot pull the slide on many semi-auto's.

Just practice regularly with whichever way you store it at home.
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Old April 27, 2005, 01:59 PM   #17
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Annnnnnd........have you been consuming drinks at the bar TODAY, Spaceman?
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Old April 27, 2005, 02:38 PM   #18
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I think that Racks are important..very important, maybe not as important as a pretty face or a great personality, but nonetheless...very important!!
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Old April 27, 2005, 02:45 PM   #19
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LOL Thanks...
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Old April 27, 2005, 02:54 PM   #20
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My bro-in-law is retired LEO with >25 yrs on the street. He has always maintained that the best home defense was a loud dog and a 12 ga. pump. In his experience, he said nearly all home intruders fell into two classes - either professional burgler or a druggie. He maintained that the pro knew you were there, but was counting on not disturbing you (the "cat burgler" type) and the druggie knew you were there and just didn't care. When you rack a pump shotgun, the pro knows you know he is there and he leaves with great haste - he didn't come with any intent of facing resistance. The druggie will probably care less that you have a shotgun, but at least you have something that will stop him. Possible added benefit is that if the noise downstairs is a family member who can't sleep or some neighborhood kids messing around, it might provide warning so that they can id themselves. I don't like the idea of yelling out at a possible intruder, so the rack would be the warning sound in my case.

'that said, he sleeps with a loaded .40 S&W on his nightstand. Personally, I have my .45 with full mag but empty chamber on my stand, with spare magazines next to it. As others have said, what works is what you are comfortable with....
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Old April 27, 2005, 03:19 PM   #21
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Bersa .380 and CZ-P01, racked and decocked.

No kids.
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Old April 27, 2005, 03:23 PM   #22
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State laws vary.Here in Oregon,if someone is in my house,that is considered sufficient threat for deadly force.That said,if this person knows me,he or she will definitely ID themselves.(I'm the "gun nut" of the group.)No ID by them equates to no warning from me.I agree with the view that announcing you're armed will perhaps make the intruder leave,but then they are aware of valuables in the home,and they'll just be doubly sure the house is empty before burglarizing it some other time.They can always knock and ask for a fictitious person if the door is answered.I'm friends with a few of the local PD,and this subject has come up,I get mostly unanimous agreement that they'd prefer to call the coroner for a Bad Guy than search the neighborhood for him.I'm not out looking to shoot anyone,but if you're in my home and I didn't invite you,then you shouldn't be there,period...
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Old April 27, 2005, 03:32 PM   #23
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If my house were on fire, rounds "cooking off" would be the last of my worries. Getting me and the cat out would be first priority .

I leave mine chambered (handguns) but I don't have the shotgun chambered. I've seen safeties on shotguns just quit working (especially mossberg 500's) and I don't want ANY danger of a ND.

As for the guns, the 1911 stays "cocked and locked". I feel comfortable with that. The USP .45 has a round chambered and then decocked.

The AR isn't chambered either.

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Old April 27, 2005, 03:34 PM   #24
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noise reduction

i understand the problem with racking the slide and losing the element of surprise. i got a simple solution . pull the gun under your bed covers and rack it there it wont take much time at all. also barricade your door so the bg has to take time to open it. hide and wait.
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Old April 27, 2005, 03:43 PM   #25
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My usual response to the chambered or unchambered question is valid here too... "What good is it if it doesn't go 'bang' when you pull the trigger?"
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