Setting aside the fact that the shooter above wasn’t acting in self-defense, props to the not-so-gregarious gunman for shooting and moving. When it comes to gunfights (not to mention executions) it’s always a good idea to have an exit strategy. It’s usually best to be implementing that strategy as you’re shooting. Granted, standing and shooting gives you a more stable platform, which increases accuracy. Which you kinda need when you’re going for a head shot. Still, for defensive gun owners, shooting while moving is a five-out-five strategy. Where was I? Oh yes: keeping a cartridge in the chamber of your defensive gun . . .

The so-called “Israeli method” of carry was developed back when all guns were like the Caracal C (i.e. not drop safe). These days, you can throw a modern gun at the wall (except the Caracal) and not worry about anything more than A) the wall and B) your warranty. So keeping the chamber empty is an unnecessary safety measure from the days when it wasn’t. Unnecessary.

If you want “extra” safety, get a gun with an external safety, put one in the pipe and switch the safety on—or off, depending. Personally, I prefer an everyday carry gun without a safety. The less physical manipulation during the defensive gun use process, the better.

Saying that, Nick carries a Wilson Combat cocked and locked; I wouldn’t want to be the bad guy trying to get the jump on our man Leghorn.

If you train hard enough, you can learn to rack the slide in less time than it takes to spot a Swedish model in a Latvian train station. But there are still plenty of ways that can go wrong (both the gun and the babe thing).

You could fail to rack the slide for any number of reasons: slippy hands, massive adrenalin rush, awkward position, etc. If you carry a gun with an external safety, you have to train yourself to rack the slide and turn off the safety.

Good luck with that. And there’s one more drawback to Israeli carry that this video illustrates perfectly. Timing.

When second count, fractions of a second count, too. The shooter gave his victim just that tiny of bit of “extra” time he needed to duck out of the way of the lead projectile sent in his direction.

Anyone who says that racking a shotgun stops bad guys in their tracks (a belief system that’s all kinds of dumb) should note that the sound of a racked gun is also like a starter’s pistol for someone trained for combat. Or escape.

Botton line: train as you mean to fight. Do you really want to fight with an empty gun?

46 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Keep One in the Pipe

  1. The intended victim then did the following…
    1) Changed his underwear
    2) Went to the audiologist
    3) Went to his house of worship and said some extra prayers

    • I read someplace that Israeli carry was taught by trainers of civilians in Israel when all were required? encouraged to carry as part of national defense. The rationale was the simplified draw training would work across all handgun types and the drop safe benefit outweighed the speed decrease.

  2. If you watch closely, the shooter intentionally moved his shooting arm to the corner of the room at the last second.

  3. The only good reason, ever, to carry without one in the pipe is if you’re subject to state regulations which only permit you Unloaded Open Carry (UOC) or Unloaded Concealed Carry (UCC). I devoutly hope that no one outside CA has to deal with this madness.

    100% of my training and practice have been based on having a round chambered when the action starts. I’ve always trained to actuate the safety as I draw, but recently I’ve been trying cocked-and-locked with my USP40 instead of DA/SA. Definitely improves the accuracy of my first shot, though the more I train in DA mode with my LaserLyte system the less of a difference I see in my scores.

    • AG — Unloaded Open Carry became illegal in California some time ago (~a year). And just to be totally clear, having a loaded magazine inserted into your pistol would make the gun LOADED under CA law. Chambered or not does not matter. For your pistol to be considered unloaded, it must not have any rounds attached to it in any way. Same unloaded definition goes for transporting it in a locked container.

      • I’m aware of all that, thanks. There are situations (under the hunting/fishing “redneck CCW” exemption, for example) where those still apply.

  4. So the gunman tries to shoot another guy in the head, and the rest of the crew escort him out like he threw a cocktail on someone. Wow.

  5. I carry my Ruger SR1911 in Condition One, using a Gould & Goodrich leather IWB holster, worn appendix style. Serves to focus the mind. 🙂

  6. Well Rusty I’d say there is a lesson to be learned here: Idiots would do well to pack a DA revolver!
    (props to Venture Brothers)

  7. If you’re toting around your EDC gun without one in the pipe you are inviting disaster in my humble opinion.

    Not comfortable carrying in condition zwei? Address your concern be it training, the firearm, holster etc.

    I carried for years in condition three and looking back on it I feel it was a mistake and also that it could’ve been a deadly mistake had I been unlucky.

  8. I carry my Smith 4516 with 1 in the pipe & safety off. It has a stiff double action first shot- thumb break strap holster. I carried my 1911DK cocked & locked 1 in the pipe, Randy

  9. Geeze what says to me these guys are used to folks capping each other. They dont break a sweat when their friend pulls a gun in some waiting room and nearly puts nine grams in another guys head. Youtube is great for comparing street thug vs pro. There are some Italian Mafia hits caught on camera. So different from the other scenes of combat chaos. That is the aspect that amazes me.

  10. I have a 4 year old in the house who has been conditioned over and over not to touch a gun, however I still carry without one in the chamber and that’s how I train… It adds a layer of safety for that one day when I leave a gun lying around and she finds it…And to those who say stupid accidents can never happen… Really? It’s all about odds, odds are I will never be involved in a DGU, odds are I won’t leave a gun lying around and she won’t pick it up… Which one am I willing to bet on? Your mileage may vary….

    • “Everyone is a safety officer” – so – here goes:

      If you have a child in the house, and there is any doubt that you might leave a firearm where the child can access it you are wrong. Seriously, if you aren’t 100% accountable for the security and location of your firearms at all times, you should not have them.

      That’s not a flame – it’s a fact. I don’t want to read about anyone’s kid being injured in an “accident”. Like this:

      http://www.kansascity.com/2013/01/31/4042158/three-year-old-shot-in-mission.html

      If your kid shoots themselves with an unsecured firearm, you need to go to jail. Be accountable, or don’t carry.

      • Being concerned about the possibility of a firearms accident and taking precautions to minimize the risk doesn’t make you unfit to own a firearm any more than wearing a seat belt makes you unfit to drive a car.

        • DJ my point is it could happen…. I always keep track of my firearms, but the potential for an accident exists, nobody is perfect. So I try to add safeguards. Just as before I leave the range I always point my gun down range and pull the trigger one last time with no mag loaded… It’s a habit and it just adds another layer of security. The question of legal ramifications if a child is killed by accident by a household item is not something I can make a blanket statement on it is one of those things you can have an opinion on until it happens to someone you know, and then when you see the devastation it causes to that person you can decide how much more punishment you want to lay on them.

  11. Weapon choice and mode of carry is rightfully a personal choice. It’s all a matter of risk management. Most in the gun crowd tend to prioritize the quick draw scenario, but crimes are frequently deterred by the discrete display of a holstered weapon. And even smart people sometimes do stupid things, like forgetting to keep their fingers off the trigger until ready to fire. So I wouldn’t disparage anyone who feels they are at greater risk of a negligent discharge than to need a quick draw. There are still plenty of scenarios where carrying a firearm would save your life even if it took an extra tenth of a second to get your first shot off.

    There’s also the possibility (probability) that you will be attacked by an unarmed thug. I’ve heard numerous anecdotal stories of LEOs who survived a criminal wrestling their gun from them because the criminal couldn’t figure out how to disable the safety. Some weapons will not fire a round if the magazine is dropped. If you’re a large man you might not fear an assailant taking your firearm away from you but if you’re a small woman disabling your own weapon could save your life. I personally don’t even carry a weapon as I live in a very low crime area and it would be impractical with my profession, but I keep a Beretta 92FS “house gun” chamber empty, safety on, with 15 rounds of Gold Dot +Ps on a high shelf in my office (when I’m home). I have 2 young nieces who I’ve taken shooting and have complete confidence in, but better safe than sorry.

    Practice your mode of carry and hopefully you’ll be well served by your choices.

  12. I get asked questions about loaded chambers all the time in the carry class I teach. Like most here, my opinion is that if it isn’t chambered, it’s pretty useless. I understand that people are nervous about condition one when they are new to carrying a firearm so I preach practice, practice, and more practice so they become familiar and comfortable with their carry guns. As far as a manual safety goes I don’t want one on a carry gun. I train and practice constantly but I also know that in a high stress situation all kinds of things can go wrong. I feel that dealing with a manual safety is just one more thing that could POSSIBLY go wrong so why mess with one? I’m not against a manual safety for those that want one or need one (1911’s) but it does require extra diligence and training to make sure you have the muscle memory to disengage the safety as you draw. It’s my experience that a lot of folks with carry permits don’t take more advanced training or practice enough to become really proficient with a manual safety……or even guns without one, sadly.

  13. We (wife and I) both carry in condition one. Both guns are DAO with external safeties. My FIL works at a range and open carries his 1911 in condition one. He has a special holster that requires a button press to release the gun, a sensible precaution in an open carry situation.

  14. The reason Robert will not carry his beloved Caracal C is b/c it is on recall. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…”. The reason to carry with one in the pipe is that racking will be used against you as “premeditation”. Carry the same every day. Use a modern firearm, a quality holster, and one in the pipe. To Joe, I carry a double action with a wicked trigger pull (LCP). I have a staple gun with less pull. I think my daughter would be more likely to reupholster her doll house than to earn me an award from TTAG. But discipline – cell on charger, keys in dish, gun in quick locker.

    • I hear ya… I happen to have a tremor, so halfway through a trigger pull like the LC9 I find I’m shaking so much that muzzle control is lost. That’s why I like the PPQ or 1911, more of a fine touch on the trigger gives me more control. Bt again, everyone will have different priorities, and there is nothing wrong with that.

  15. Thats one awkward get together when the shooter and potential shootee meet again. “Were you really trying to kill me”? “Why, yes, yes I was” or “nah, I was in a bad mood and all, happens all the time, just forget about it”.

  16. I carry a Glock 26, 10+1 in the pipe. Just pull, point and click *boom*
    Whats the point of having an external safety? or all this Double Action, Single Action nonsense on none Revolvers?

      • Either you don’t understand “the point,” or you do, but you wanted to link that video anyway because you think it’s funny and/or cool.

        That video has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with “the point” of this post, which is carry condition.

        • I fully understand “the point” of the article and I’m thinking that you have trouble following the chronology of threads. I posted this video (which I find horrifying and not funny at all) as a response to the post immediately previously to mine and it’s incredibly foolish assertion that manual safeties are pointless. This video is what plays in my head every time one of you Glock fanbois assert that manual safeties are teh stoopid.

        • “… every time one of you Glock fanbois …”

          I don’t have a Glock, nor do I particularly like them. Try again.

          Again, the point of this was carry condition, which is what Mark was speaking to. Again, despite what “plays in your head” when you hear someone denigrate safeties, the video has nothing do with the point of this thread.

        • I agree that the video is off topic from the story, but why don’t you try reading Mark’s post again… “Whats the point of having an external safety?” and then tell me that the whole point of Mark’s comment was carry condition. My posting of that video was a direct response to Mark’s comment, not the original story.

  17. All things being equal, action always beats reaction. Extending your reaction time by having to manipulate your firearm is giving an evil actor a greater advantage over you. Not a good plan.

  18. For action/reaction times with firearms, here is a site I find very useful. Don’t just look at the motion studies– read the various articles

    http://www.forcescience.org/demos.html

    OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop theory is a another way of thinking about interactions between opponents and the action beating reaction issue.

  19. Notice posted outside Al Queida headquarters: “Due to the unfortunate shooting incident in the waiting room of our Human Resources office, our headquarters building has now been designated a “weapon free zone.” Please leave all firearms, knives, suicide vests, etc. at home or locked securely in your vehicle. Thank you for your understanding.”

  20. Many modern guns have two safeties nowadays.

    Even the 1911 had 2 safeties: a safety that kept the slide from sliding and a grip safety.

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