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Old February 28, 2013, 10:02 AM   #51
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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.
I wanted to comment on this, and you are probably already aware of what I'm going to say, but I just want to make sure.

If you are carrying the gun in a well designed (most holsters you'll find are) that covers the trigger, there is no chance of that gun going off. I have a rambunctious 3 year old, who likes crawling all over daddy. I carry my chambered Glock in an IWB leather/kydex hybrid style holster, and I have absolutely no fear of the gun going off because the holster retains the gun well enough I'm not worried about it coming out, and it would be impossible for the trigger to be pulled.

I understand your fear. I had the same fear. But I got over that fear with a combination of the thing I mentioned above, and training. Now, I would not feel comfortable carrying a gun without a round in the chamber. I think I take it even a step further than you...I picked a Glock specifically because it doesn't have a safety I have to sweep off (trigger safety doesn't count as it doesn't require an extra action to use). But that was my preference.

Do what's comfortable to you, but really, I urge you to learn to get comfortable carrying with a loaded chamber. Get some training...I bet there are several organizations that will do defensive handgun training. That will get you more comfortable.
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Old February 28, 2013, 11:21 AM   #52
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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 know it's not LCP sized, but have you looked at PX4 subcompact? It has same safety as 92fs and px4 (slide mounted flip up to fire), 9mm, holds 13+1. From my experience, it's very soft shooting gun for such small size.

Dimension wise, it's about inch longer and taller than LCP, and .3 inches wider at grip. While it may not be the size you are looking for, it does fit all other criteria which could work for you.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:17 PM   #53
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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.
I would say that it is marginally more important. Remember, for those who have tried it both ways and received training but still have reservations (my Dad has witnessed ADs from others in the past, for instance), the alternative is not carrying. I'd say he's far better off carrying with an empty chamber.

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.
Comfort in this context should be associated with competence and familiarity with the chosen firearm and method of carry. Surely you can't argue that being comfortable with your gun and setup are bad?

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.
You are, of course, correct, I don't think anybody would argue that carrying chamber-empty is accepting a slightly-less complete state of preparedness in terms of risk management. However, if the alternative is, as I have said, not carrying, then we may consider an individual carrying with an empty chamber at the maximum preparedness level that they are capable of sustaining.

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.
As prepared as you can be means as prepared as you are WILLING to be, because people who are not comfortable carrying their gun WILL NOT carry their gun. While I agree with you 100% that it is better to carry the way you and I do, if they have tried it and are seriously having trouble with it, then an empty chamber is far better than nothing.

What is interesting to me is that nobody seems to think that a manual safety compromises preparedness, but I would imagine that a large percentage (not going to make one up) of those who carry CANNOT quickly and thoughtlessly deactivate the manual safety of their carry firearm with one hand.

If you want to take it all the way, the only really acceptable carry style is full-chambered with a GLOCK style trigger. Anything else is a compromise. But life is full of compromises, and concessions have to be made for the (never thought I'd hear myself say it, Ayn Rand would be disappointed) "human element." In this case, the shooter and gun form a system, and if both aren't working together the system fails. Better a system slightly less optimal where both are working in tandem than a system with optimal pieces that never comes together.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:56 PM   #54
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Just have to chime in here and say I carry a dao .38 snubby iwb appendix carry. The holster covers the whole trigger assembly and their isn't even a hammer spur to jab me. Their is no way this gun can go off unless I remove it pull trigger or maybe if I was god forbid on fire but that's it. I'd imagine any dao or da/sa style auto would be the same. No mechanical safety seems better than that. The key is in my opinion if there is no spring tension being held with a loaded chamber then I'm good. I'd would be hesitant if it was a tensioned spring loaded hammer or stricker even with a safety but that's just me.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:08 PM   #55
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Posted by Daekar: Surely you can't argue that being comfortable with your gun and setup are bad?
No, quite the contrary. But feeling comfortable will not prove sufficient to save your life.

....I don't think anybody would argue that carrying chamber-empty is accepting a slightly-less complete state of preparedness in terms of risk management.
I think that that is understating it significantly.

First, consider that the attacker may will be charging at a speed of more than four and a half meters per second, and that by the time one has drawn his or her firearm, said attacker may well already be within bad breath range. Adding in the time it takes to rack the slide would likely allow the attacker to close a very large part of that remaining distance, if not all of it. Of course, one needs not only to fire, but to stop the attacker before being overcome, which may require evasion and perhaps even a thrust with a walking stick.

Second, the added risk of malfunction cited by JohnKSa seems more than "slightly-less", considering the stakes.

Third, the likelihood of being jumped by two or more attackers is not insignificant, and time would really be of the essence.

However, if the alternative is, as I have said, not carrying, then we may consider an individual carrying with an empty chamber at the maximum preparedness level that they are capable of sustaining.
The question is, will it be sufficient?

Quote: empty chamber is far better than nothing.
Only after it is no longer empty.

...I would imagine that a large percentage (not going to make one up) of those who carry CANNOT quickly and thoughtlessly deactivate the manual safety of their carry firearm with one hand.
I do not have a problem with it.
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:12 PM   #56
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Their is no way this gun can go off unless I remove it pull trigger
As someon who had a stick and entire linkage assembly come out in his hands while driving on a major thoroughfare once I've learned Never Say Never...
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:21 PM   #57
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Re: Re-thinking my carry/safety rules

I also recommend the Bodyguard 380. Very close in size to the LCP, it has a manual safety like you prefer, and an added bonus is the slide locks back after the last round is fired, which the LCP does not do. In my opinion if having a manual safety will make the difference of carrying one in the chamber or not, then you should buy a gun with a manual safety. I personally have a BG 380 and in the year I have owned it it has been flawless.

EDIT: I see now that you think the BG is an ugly gun, sorry I must've missed that before lol. I personally think it's a good looking pistol, but I personally don't really like the look of Springfields, so to each their own!

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Last edited by Erikbal; February 28, 2013 at 03:38 PM.
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Old March 1, 2013, 01:10 AM   #58
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OP here.

I picked up the LCP from my FFL today. It is a sweet gun, and I whipped together a quick hybrid holster for it. It is obvious this gun isn't going to spontaneously go off in this rigid holster. I'm wearing it around the house to get comfortable with it. It feels like a cell phone compared to that S&W CS9.

Interestingly, the FFL had a S&W Bodyguard 380 he had just gotten in, too. I find that a lot of guns that I think look ugly in pictures look a lot better in person. This one didn't look half bad, felt nice, was well made, and although I'm old-school and tend to eschew lasers, the laser was cool, too. It was a bit heavier and bigger than the LCP, and the safety was clumsy.

The FFL, who is this great old guy working out of his house, told me he bought 6 LCPs to give to family members as Christmas gifts (nice!). But then he said he was shocked when he learned they didn't have safeties! Man, I was just starting to come around to accepting the no-safety thing, and this guy brings it up as a major issue for him!

I am really interested in getting so I am automatically comfortable operating all my autos. I got that way with revolvers, but my revolvers were all consistent in their controls.

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Old March 1, 2013, 08:09 AM   #59
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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. Having one that I am 100% comfortable carrying means I'll be carrying a lot more. 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. The difference getting a shot off in two seconds instead of one second hasn't seemed to enter into the equation. Third, the chances of being shot or otherwise injured so I couldn't rack the slide with my free hand seem extremely remote.
So far, I've had two instances when I had time to rack the slide. One was a guy coming through the door. The other, wife was being attacked by a large dog and I had to grab the gun and run 60-70 feet to the altercation. I honestly don't know if I would have been able to rack one in without issues while running as fast as I could go.

There have been several other instances that I would have had NO time to rack the slide. Each was recognize the issue, draw and point instantly, and shoot. I only had to fire once, the other times, the perp froze and spun in the same instant. I cannot begin to explain how fast things can change from serene to terror and stress. 1 second? 2? Not sure. Some of it seems like slo-mo, but it isn't.
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Last edited by Tinner666; March 2, 2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old March 1, 2013, 09:50 AM   #60
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Mleake, your posts # 42 and 43 are right on the mark, that 1/2 second delay can be fatal for a number of reasons, and the OP's first query and expressed lack of confidence in carrying while fully loaded plays to it. I'd not recommend less than carrying fully loaded and in a gun with controls that you personally find suitable and are comfortable with...anything short of that is a big compromise...but the Israeli method sure beats a sharp stick or a stout rock. Best Regards...and I do enjoy your well thought out posts. Rod
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:32 AM   #61
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Well, its all about safety, aina?

Are you safe with a round in the chamber, or will you be safe with an empty chamber?

Kinda' a personal calculation someone needs to make when one decides to carry.
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:51 AM   #62
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I picked up the LCP from my FFL today.
Congrats db4570. I hope you also found some 380ACP ammo to give your new Elsie a shakedown run. Having owned handguns for over 30 years, as you mentioned in the OP, don't be concerned about the often mention snappy "bite" of the recoil. On our first date at the range my Elsie and I enjoyed over 100 rounds of ammo. From Winchester white box to Speer Good Dot. I suffered no I'll effects, and in fact it was quite fun shooting.
Every type of ammo I have tried, offerings from all major makers, have worked perfectly. Accuracy has been acceptable, If not surpprisingly good with all. My final choice for carry is Hornady Critical Defense.
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Old March 1, 2013, 11:12 AM   #63
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Just throwing out my opinion:

I carry a Ruger LC9. Has a safety. Has a heavy and looong trigger pull. Hammer-fired, so that is pretty darned safe.

It's the perfect gun to carry, if you are worried about pulling the trigger accidentally. I am confident I could throw the thing against a wall 10 times and it would never go off accidentally on the first round, due to the hammer.

If you are against safeties, then look into a Kel-Tec P11. That thing has a very freaking heavy and loooong trigger pull.

I got the LC9, despite my dislike for the trigger, because most SD shootings happen at close range. I'm not a great target shooter with the LC9 by any means, but within 7 to 10 feet -- no problem.

The LC9 is a VERY safe gun to carry, and still packs punch!

BTW... carry a flat-nose, or FMJ in your .380 to make sure you get the penetration you need.

Last edited by baccusboy; March 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM.
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Old March 1, 2013, 05:51 PM   #64
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Thanks for the kind words.

For the last 16+ years, a significant percentage of my workout partners have been cops and corrections officers. With that crowd, you would probably guess that a lot of focus is on weapon retention and takeaway, and you would be correct.

Doing lots of disarm drills with various melee weapons and with blue guns has really been an eye opener.

One thing it has taught me is that I don't want to mess with trying to chamber a round when under the stress of an attack.

Another thing it has taught me is that if you have to think about what to do, you are going to have serious problems. Also, if you decide in advance what to do, you may have serious problems - each scenario unfolds as it will, so trying to force a particular technique or motion may be foolhardy.

So, training to get out of the way of the attack, or to block or jam the attack, or to deflect the attack, plus combinations of the above while drawing is useful - but for it to work consistently well, reflex has to be conditioned.

If somebody comes at me, my feet are moving. Which way will they move? Don't know until the guy comes at me, but I can guarantee I won't stand still.

My off-hand will be busy either striking the attacker, deflecting an attack, or helping block off a path as I move around it. Which will it be? Again, don't know until it happens, but my off-hand will be busy.

Whichever way I end up moving, I'll be trying to keep my draw hand on the far side of me from the attacker until the weapon is drawn and ready to go. This will be accomplished by movement of the feet and hips, which allows much more power and balance than just trying to muscle away with my arm.

It's a body unity thing.

Nowhere in any of those possible permutations, though, do I see good odds of using the off-hand to chamber a round.


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Old March 1, 2013, 08:23 PM   #65
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I carry the LCP loaded, but anymore my favorite gun of that size is a Colt Mustang Pocket Lite, but I don't use the safety. I keep it loaded with one in the chamber, safety off, hammer down, condition 2.

I can cock it just fine with either hand, and I like the single action trigger pull, which makes the gun far eaiser to shoot accuratey, which is very important on a gun like the .380.

Condition 3 is very bad idea with all of the little guns, IMHO, because they are prone to fumble, being so small, and failure to feeds are more common, when first loading then a bigger gun, like the 1911. I do sometimes carry a 1911 in condition 3, sometimes condition 2, and sometimes cocked and locked, but I have been doing it for 30yrs.
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:16 AM   #66
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I carry a gun whenever I legally can. I always carry with a round in the chamber -- either a 1911 in condition 1 or an H&K P7M8. That's the way I've been trained.

Some thoughts --
  • The safest way to carry a gun is unloaded, disassembled and in a locked case. The best compromise between safe and tactically sound, assuming a modern, properly designed firearm in a good holster, is with a round in the chamber.

  • Safety is primarily a matter of training, practice and experience. Whether or not you have an ND is entirely within your control. If you have an ND it's because you did something wrong. If you want to avoid an ND, don't do anything wrong -- and train and practice enough so you know how to not do anything wrong and have the skills to do things correctly.

  • And while your safety with a gun is within your control, the circumstances in which you might need to use your gun are not. Those circumstances will be determined at least in part by the guy who decides to attack you.

    So there is no way that you can count on having both hands free to rack the slide and make your gun ready. Maybe you will and maybe you won't.

    • And it's always possible you will have only one hand available with which to use your gun. For example, see the New York City Police Department Firearm Discharge Report for 2009.

      On page 8 (page 32 of the pdf, there's a long introduction), it is noted (emphasis added):

      ...Utilizing a two‐handed grip, standing, and lining up a target using the firearm’s sights is the preferred method of discharging a firearm, but it is not always practical during an adversarial conflict. Of officers reporting their shooting techniques, 62 percent gripped the firearm with two hands,...
      Therefore, 38% of the officers reporting their shooting technique used in the adversarial conflict (apparently the NYPD term for "gun fight") fired their gun one-handed.

    • To be sure, this is a small and particular sample. But it is at least strongly suggestive that in defensive uses of a pistol, firing the gun with one-handed is not that uncommon.

  • You might feel safer with a gun in your pocket, but the mere possession of a gun doesn't make you safer. One's incremental increase in safety, if there is any real increase in safety, will come from being able to effectively use his gun in self defense in the unlikely event he needs to in order to prevent immediate death or grave bodily injury. A gun is not a magic amulet that offers protection by its mere presence on one's person.

    A number of things can facilitate one's ability to effectively use a gun in self defense, such as --

    • Knowing and understanding the legal issues -- when the use of lethal force would be legally justified, when it would not be, and how to tell the difference. Understanding how to handle the legal aftermath of a violent encounter.

    • Knowing about levels of alertness and mental preparedness to take action. Understanding how to assess situations and make difficult decisions quickly under stress. Knowing about the various stress induced physiological and psychological effects that one might face during and after a violent encounter.

    • Good practical proficiency with one's gun. That includes practical marksmanship, i. e., being able to deploy one's gun and get good hits quickly at various distances. It also includes skills such as moving and shooting, use of cover and concealment, reloading quickly, clearing malfunctions, and moving safely with a loaded gun.

    • Having a reliable gun one can manage properly accessible and available to be put into use quickly if necessary.

  • In the event of an emergency, you can't know ahead of time how fast you will have to be to prevail. There is no way you can count on having the time to make the gun ready. Maybe you will and maybe you won't.

    It's a question of how long it can take us to perceive the threat, determine the need to fire, deploy our gun and engage the threat with accurate fire, having made the decision that shooting is warranted.

    So how much time will we have in which to do all of that? I have no idea and neither do you. It's going to all depend on what happens and how it happens. We might have lots of time, or we might have very little. We simply can't know in advance.

  • If we can't get done what we need to do in the time circumstances allow us, we will not be happy with the outcome. So if there's something I can do to save time, any time, that's a good thing. And the better trained and prepared you are, the luckier you will be.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper

Last edited by Frank Ettin; March 2, 2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old March 2, 2013, 10:30 AM   #67
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I do sometimes carry a 1911 in condition 3, sometimes condition 2, and sometimes cocked and locked, but I have been doing it for 30yrs.
Thirty years or thirty doesnt matter. Mixing up your carry methods like that is bad practice all around.

You have an extra and unnecessary question to think about during the moment of chaos that prompted you to draw it in the first place..."what condition did I leave my gun in today?"

You cant train for any of it well and none of it will become second nature.

Your liable to cycle out a good round you might need later.

Fooling around with it too much increases bullet setback and opportunities for a AD/ND.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:16 PM   #68
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Get a LC9 instead. It can be carried in pocket. I'm carrying mine as I type this. Has external safety and magazine disconnect safety.
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:39 PM   #69
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David you don't need to keep a round in the chamber if you don't want to and yes a gun is always safer without one in there. Wrestling with kids and the like is no place for a loaded gun. Your life is different from other people's so use your best judgement.
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Old March 2, 2013, 11:09 PM   #70
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You're liable to cycle out a good round you might need later.
I've heard of two situations along these lines.

A friend of mine is married to a police officer who was involved in a shooting. The officer's partner was carrying a shotgun with a chambered round, but when the attacker presented with a firearm, the officer racked the live round out of the chamber instead of pulling the trigger. In the meantime, the attacker shot him in the neck. Fortunately the injury was only a graze wound, and his partner responded with a single shot that ended the confrontation.

The second incident involved a bear attack in Alaska. One of the defenders was carrying a shotgun, and couldn't remember if a round was chambered or not. Because he couldn't figure out what condition the gun was in, he panicked, threw the gun at the bear and jumped in the river. One of his fishing companions had a bit more presence of mind and was able to down the bear with his handgun.
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Old March 3, 2013, 03:26 AM   #71
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Re: Re-thinking my carry/safety rules

Sounds good OP.

I agree with, gotta have one in the chamber. Also, safeties get people killed.

Got a Kahr for the long pull and no external safety. If I carrry my da/sa, hammer down on a chambered round.
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Old March 3, 2013, 08:00 AM   #72
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I am fully prepared to get flamed for this post.

I "carry" a pistol in my car. I carried a Colt Government Pocketlite .380 for a few years before retiring it; presently I am carrying a Kel-Tec PF9. Sometimes I put it in a pants pocket or jacket pocket when I leave the car, but it is illegal for me to carry it many of the places I go (such as courthouses) so it often stays in the car.

I have a two-year-old daughter. She gets into things and she is often in my car. You can see where this is going, but that is just one example. There is a 0% chance of an accidental discharge with an unchambered semiautomatic pistol. There is somewhat greater than a 0% chance that I have the second or so to rack the slide and load a bullet if I need to. While it may be less than the best protection possible should the unexpected arise, it's better than no gun and it's the most I'm prepared to do at this point in my life.
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Old March 3, 2013, 10:26 AM   #73
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^Theres not really anything to flame you about...carrying while having kids around is tricky.
Do what you gotta do... your the one who has to live with the results in your household.

I have a already very busy 10 month old and I'm still trying to figure out how/where to keep some of my carry pistols.
If shes anything like me everything will need to be in the safe....guns, knives, forks, fingernail clippers, It'll be like the TSA came through here.

Regardless of her activites... the days of my "truck gun" are about over.

Someone needs to invent a vehicle holster that will only release if the key is in the ignition, similar to how a auto trans wont come out of park.
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Old March 3, 2013, 10:31 AM   #74
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Clever idea and I'm glad to see someone else understands my consternation. I never felt the need for a safe until a few months ago, and after I've seen what my daughter can get into, I've decided it's a necessity. But like you said, the days of just loose-carrying a chambered pistol in my car are over for me.
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Old March 3, 2013, 01:09 PM   #75
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...the days of just loose-carrying a chambered pistol in my car are over for me.
Not necessarily, you have several options open to you that would not require unchambered carry. Here are several off the top of my head.

1. Most, if not all, cars have a system that allows you to lock the glove compartment. You could leave your firearm in the locked glove compartment.

2. You can install a separate lock box to hold your gun when you are out of the vehicle. This also has the benefit of possibly securing your gun against theft if the vehicle is broken into.

3. You could carry a pistol which incorporates a magazine safety. When you remove the mag, the gun is essentially inert, even if a round is chambered. You can leave the gun in the car and keep the magazine on your person.

4. You can keep a container in the car, put the gun in the container and leave the container in the trunk. That would keep anyone in the passenger compartment from accessing the firearm.

By the way, you should check your local laws. It may be a criminal offense to leave a small child unattended in a vehicle. In my state, a child under the age of 7 may not be left unattended in a vehicle for more than 5 minutes.
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