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By Aaron McVay via

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m far from perfect. My wife would tell you otherwise as she tells me I have a complex where I think I’m always right. Where does that come from? It comes from my insane character trait of wanting to know everything about a subject I care about. Buying a new car? I know most of the nitty gritty details about how much horsepower and torque the new X model has or the new Y model will have. Why? I don’t know. I just care about it so I absorb it. So why then, if I look for so much information on topics I care about have I been going about firearm training and carrying practices incorrectly for all these years? I’ll admit it. I train wrong and I’ve been carrying wrong. It felt comfortable so I stuck with it and I didn’t want to get outside of my comfort zone, so I never changed . . .

My First Mistake

So, what have I been doing wrong? Well, for starters, when I carry any of my striker fired firearms I haven’t been carrying with a round in the chamber. If I’m carrying a single action, I carry it cocked and locked. That just felt ten times safer to me in every way. There was zero chance of accidental fire with that method and it made me feel safer.

So now I find myself reaching for the striker fired models more and more and yet I still find myself carrying what is the equivalent of a paper weight. The old adage of “nothing more useless than an unloaded firearm” keep coming up in the back of my mind. I can draw, rack the slide and get on target very quickly I kept saying to myself.

Until I actually tried it.

I’m sure if you’re a fan of concealed carry you’ve more than likely seen a few videos showing exactly why you want to carry with a round in the chamber. In my mind I hope and pray I never need to draw a firearm to protect my life or my loved ones lives, but I’ve always imagined I’d have plenty of time to draw, rack the slide and get on target. As I’m now coming to realize, most incidents are over in the time it would take to do the above sequence.

These incidents happen so quickly that if you count on having a few extra seconds to prepare, you’re just fooling yourself. Demonstrations of attackers charging and being able to close a 50 foot distance in a matter of a second or two at full sprint are what got me to stop fooling myself. Also, if you have seen the video of the Pharmacist protecting his customers and his store against an armed suspect you’ll quickly learn that if the pharmacist counted on a 2 second window to draw, rack and get on target, more than likely the video wouldn’t have ended well.

So I’ll raise my hand, I’ll swallow my pride and admit wrongdoing. Don’t be like me. There are some very good articles on the Concealed Nation website outlining exactly how to go about beginning to carry with a round in the chamber. If you’ve been hesitant to try this, I suggest you skim through the articles and give it a read. It’s very eye opening.

My Second Mistake

Carrying with a round in the chamber is only my first mistake. I’ll bet there’s a lot of us making my second mistake. When you go to the range to practice with your carry rig (you are practicing, right?) do you fire at targets from 1 to 10 feet away or do you fire are targets 25 to 50 feet away? Studies show that if you need to use your firearm to protect your life, more than likely it will be at night, it will be from a distance of 0 to 10 feet and it will be over VERY quickly.

I’m extremely guilty of firing at 25 to 50 feet, so again I’ll raise my hand. I’ve been bad. I promise I’ll stop trying to hit bullseyes at 50 feet and concentrate more on placing 3 shots in a fist sized pattern at 1 to 10 feet. Being an over analyst, I’m the first to look at the accuracy of firearm tests in all the magazines. When I see a 3-inch group at 25 yards from a $3500 1911 I scoff a bit say it should be at least half that size for that much money.

Brutally honest assessment? It would/could save your life with that accuracy, no argument. That doesn’t mean you should carry a $3500 1911. In fact, if I ever purchased a $3500 1911 two things would happen. 1) You’d see all of my possessions strewn about my lawn and 2) it would never leave the safe in fear of holster wear if I ever carried it. But that’s a story for another time.

In short, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that carrying with an unloaded chamber is safer. Would you carry a dull knife for the same reason, or only fill your fire extinguisher half full in fear it could explode? No. It just takes practice, like anything else. And confidence. Negligent discharges DO happen, but they can be prevented. If you carry a GLOCK and are afraid of negligent discharge, there are products out there that immobilize the trigger and can be pushed out of the trigger guard in a fraction of a second. Some love it, some hate it. It’s up to you to determine what’s right for you. ALWAYS holster a concealed carry firearm and choose a holster that covers the trigger to help prevent negligent discharge.

Also, don’t get hung up on 25 yard accuracy and don’t be afraid to practice at what will first seem to be ridiculous ranges. People at the firing range are going to look at you funny at first. They’ll get over it. If they’re a serious shooter and concealed carry advocate, they’ll know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Some ranges will not allow you to holster a loaded firearm and practice drawing, so be sure to check the rules first. You may need to practice drawing at home, unloaded, but don’t assume the accuracy is automatically there at 10 feet and under because the distance is so short. Practice, practice, practice.

In closing, I’ll go find a blackboard and start writing “I will not carry unloaded and I’ll start practicing at 10 feet and under” 100 times until I’ve learned my lesson.


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  1. Free pro-tip of the day: It’s a good idea to practice shooting from arms length distance as well. Preferably in the one-hand high tuck position.

  2. This is why I switched from striker fired to DA/SA for carry. I know all the pros will scream about keeping your finger off the trigger, and while that is true, crap happens. I have seen numerous accidental discharges during competitions by experienced shooters who all have great trigger etiquette, but again, crap happens. Holstering, draw strings, picking up a gun instead of drawing, bobbling gun in the heat of the moment, it can happen to any one. We are not perfect, and for me a DA/SA makes more sense and I feel safer with one. This is for me, your needs may be different.

    • “This is why I switched from striker fired to DA/SA for carry.”

      What is why? This article did not articulate disadvantages to striker fired pistols. Your choice is your choice and I am not here to change your mind.

      Carrying without a round in the chamber is like being on the starting line in a drag race with the engine off. Carrying a gun with a safety is like having the parking brake on. All I want to do is release the clutch and go…fast.

      • Isn’t a clutch a bit like a safety? Or maybe like a single action revolver that has to be manually cocked in order to be fired?

        If the greatest threat you face is being unable to fire on your enemy fast enough then striker fired pistols are a great option. If, like most of us, you are more likely to have a brain fart and shoot yourself in the foot then there are other safer options. It’s up to each one of us to determine for ourselves which threat is greatest.

        • Why is it that remembering to set your safety is immune to brain farts? Or taking the safety off?
          I would rather shoot my foot than have a goon shoot my face.

        • Ah. I thought the finger was like your right foot and the clutch, being your left foot would be like your thumb flicking the safety off.

          Anyway, I’m not pissing on anyone else’s preference. I’m just saying that sometimes the right decision for one person who lives in one place is not the right decision for another person in another place. I live in a low crime area and I’m unlikely to ever even need to present my firearm in self defense. And I’m humble enough to accept that I am probably more likely to have a life threatening brain fart than I am to have a life threatening criminal encounter. Personally I carry a revolver, so I have the pull the pistol and pull the trigger option, but with the DA pull I have to pull a little harder. I like that compromise, but it may not be right for you.

      • I understand what the artical was about. I was just stating that for me, I feel safer holstering a DA/SA while having a round in the chamber…. I’m not quite understanding your reply…

      • ” Carrying a gun with a safety is like having the parking brake on.”

        Sorry, but that is unmitigated bullsqueeze.

        I know a lot of people like to parrot this kind of nonsense, but the reality is that if you practice (which you should be doing with ANY kind of EDC pistol), switching off the thumb safety becomes an unthinking part of the draw process.

        In fact, in REAL GUNFIGHTS, it has been reported that people don’t even remember flipping the safety. For example:

        Deactivating the safety is not an ADDED time requirement as it is done before the pistol is in firing position anyway.

        Yeah, it may be like having the parking brake on while the other guy is doing his burn-out, but not right before the race starts.


        When I was in LE, we carried striker fired pistols. I owned a SA/DA that I carried as back-up/off duty, so had to qualify with it. I carried Condition 1 with safety on, and trained that way.

        So, how do you think my qualification scores and draw/fire times were on the line with either:

        3 yd, Speed Rock (draw and fire from the hip), or
        5 yd, point shooting

        Hint: I outshot and was quicker with ACCURATE FIRE than well over 90% of the department with their striker fired pistols. The only ones that were faster/more accurate were the SWAT guys that trained CONSTANTLY.

        Of that approximately 90%, I trained more than some, not as much as others.

        I shoot IDPA with a SA/DA in Condition 1 and have many others. I have seen some guys rock REALLY awesome scores with such pistols, and they are not across-the-board out performed by those with pistols that lack manual safeties.

        I’d be willing to bet good money that a host of others that carry with Condition 1 could relate similar stories.

        So please, in the name of THE TRUTH about guns, stop promulgating this tripe that having a manual safety on a pistol is somehow a detriment to shooting performance.

        • You could train to release a parking break too. It is still one more step in the way to get going and therefore not bullshit at all. Just because you can perform an action naturally does not eliminate the need for that action.

        • ” It is still one more step in the way to get going and therefore not bullshit at all. “

          Sorry, but it is crap because you have to show there is an EFFECT of this so-called detrimental “extra step.” Prove, with data, that this “extra step” gets in the way.

          That cannot be shown from real world data. Therefore the claim is specious.

          I’ve offered MY data that in real cases where it does NOT get in the way: my own experience, observations at IDPA, Justin Schneiders real life-or-death gunfight. I could find many more.

          Show me your contra examples, please. My quick Google search for such examples does not support your case.

        • What I find is references to a LOT of “Could be’s” and no real world data.

          “Could be” is known as Geezer Science: I heard it somewhere, so it must be true.

          In other words: bullsqueeze

  3. As a former LEO, we practiced firing from the hip in extremely close quarters, at arms length one handed, weak handed, reloaded one handed, behind barricades, and at night with beacons on. Beacons on can be very disorienting! Train the way you will fight and you will fight the way you train!

  4. Getting a good holster will help if anyone has a problem carrying with one in the pipe. That’s what worked for me. A good holster that covers the trigger properly and your good to go. Also, if it still really bothers you, consider getting a revolver for carry instead.

    • Or a 1911, or a DA/SA, etc. For a test, my suggestion would be to ask “could it be fired by a twig?” You still need a holster.

      • 5.5 pounds is pretty heavy. So much so that Glock guys are retrofitting 3lb triggers. If you have a ND with a Glock, you effed up pretty bad. I dry practice with my Glock and part of that practice is taking the slack out without breaking the trigger. Many NDs are during the holstering process. If you can train to engage a safety on a 1911 before holstering then you can just as easily train to make sure your shirt tail isn’t in your holster with a striker fired pistol without a safety.

        • One of the first things I did with my Glock over 10 years ago was put in a 3.5lb trigger and polish up the internals… Best decision I ever made.

  5. If you only have one hand available, as is likely the case if your target is within the short ranges specified; you unlikely have the ability to rack the slide to put something into that empty chamber… Move the gun towards the hand that is fending off the attacker so you can rack the slide, you’re just handing the attacker your gun… Glad you stopped fooling yourself.

    The LEO perspective on this is interesting. The few times I’ve been harassed by Liberal Anti-Gun Cops while Open Carrying, they all tell me what a piece of sh!t I am for having a round in the chamber. These are the same cops that have no problem pointing the run right at their eyeball “because the safety is on, it’s not dangerous!” Uhm, it’s a Glock, where’s that safety again?

    Most of the time, you’ll be fighting a losing battle with your left hand, while trying to draw with your right… You are already out of time, and you aren’t going to grow a 3rd hand to rack that slide.

    My PT738 has enough room behind the trigger that I can stick my finger behind the trigger when I draw, guaranteeing no accidental trigger pull. With my finger back there, it’s utterly impossible to pull the trigger far enough to drop the hammer. Yes, it has a hammer.

    • It’s a horrible idea to put your finger anywhere near the trigger when you draw, unless you’re going to shoot immediately. What’s wrong with just putting it alongside the frame like almost everyone else?

    • Much as I love its small size and light weight, my PT 738 has such a long trigger pull that a negligent discharge would take a deliberate effort to accomplish. But I appreciate the OP’s points as I love the challenge of longer range targets (although not with the 738).

      • I hope that comment is not taken as something against any poster. Just a statement about the length of the trigger pull.

        BTW has anyone installed a Galloway Sweet Spot adjustable trigger on a TCP? From the information on their web site it would seem to solve the length of trigger pull problem, but would it become too sensitive for a gun without a manual safety?

    • Are you related to that guy on the CTD blog who advocated holstering with your finger behind the trigger? Because he got blasted off the internet for suggesting something so colossally stupid.

  6. There should definitely be a round in the chamber. A lot of folks get mesmerized by the Mozambique drill. While that is useful, I like the triple-quintuple tap rapid-fire from CQB. Blow 3-7 rounds into a fist-pie sized group, center mass, at 1-10 feet as fast as the trigger can be pulled. If a mag dump is necessary, do so. That’s why extra mags can be really useful.

    While a handgun isn’t great for one shot stops, multiple rounds through the vitals will hopefully do the job. Especially if the defender can quickly move to a position of cover / concealment while looking for additional threats. Meanwhile the BG is suffering traumatic blood loss.

    Many hunters do something similar – taking the kill shot or two until the deer or game is down. Wait a minute or two, and then get out of the stand / shooting position to check on the game. Fire additional rounds if needed.

    I did that last deer season when I heart-shot a deer with a 110 grain TSX 300 BLK from a 16″ barreled AR. That deer still needed a spine shot to anchor it.

    • Aren’t differences fun? I began carrying when a revolver was the only real choice, .45 ACP roundball was a poor substitute for .357 magnum HP. Therefore I never got into the mental set of “shoot the first target 5 times as fast as you can.” My engagement rules were “shoot the MF, don’t miss, look for another target.” Today it seems to usually be “high speed mag dump, look around and see if you hit anything, reload tactiquick and repeat.” All those bullets go somewhere. And you’re responsible for every one. I still plan to not miss, and for 6 rounds to be enough, unless there are seven attackers, in which case I plan to finish up with one of THEIR guns.

      OTOH, you really do need a round in the chamber, or at least to be working in that direction. Like, carry without for 6 months, then remove the magazine and see if the firearm is still cocked (ie, you did not have an ND prevented only by an empty chamber). Eventually you have to admit there is no excuse for not carrying a loaded gun.

      • The pharmacist video has been out for a while. I can’t believe TTAG didn’t cover it. I was very critical of the fundamentals of the hero and even offered to pay for his training. The school agreed and gave me a 50% discount but I have not heard from the pharmacist to see if he would accept the offer. My biggest criticism is that he shot one time and then assessed. The bad guy turned and fired back but he should have been down and out had the pharmacist followed up.
        Never assume your caliber is going to be a one shot stop. Even a 44mag. The time it takes you to recover from the recoil is all the time you need to take to assess and fire again if necessary.

      • Cause .357 with Hollowpoints is such a man stopper. I remember watching a guy take 2 .50cal BMB rounds, one of witch was Raufoss, still trying to crawl to his AK that if we had only hit him with a .357 Hollowpoint he would have died instantly.

    • I submitted an article to TTAG about such a drill. I hope they post it. I just downloaded an app to time shots. I am trying to get five shots off on a 6″ target from concealment in 2.5 seconds from 7 yards. So far my best draw time with one shot on target is 1.008 seconds and the 5 shot string in 0.63 seconds for an overall time of 1.638.
      The best scoring I have done is 4 of 5 hits in 2.394 seconds.

  7. Snub nosed revolvers make great carry pieces. They have fairly long and heavy (but consistent triggers) making negligent discharge unlikely. They can’t get pushed out of batter if the thug is mashed up against you. They can be fired while still inside a pocket. They are usually more reliable than the micro .380’s and micro 9’s.

    5 rounds of .38+P is usually (but not always) enough. J-Frame’s and LCR’s rock

    • Naw, naw, naw, who wants to practice with a gun that hurts like hell to shoot? I love the damn things, too, but the .357 LCR, for example, I defy you to empty the cylinder at one outing with .357 loads. And +P loads are iffy. I want a gun I enjoy shooting, and learning to shoot. My new LC9, and equivalent 9mm subcompacts, with Win Train and Defend ammo (for example), you can actually have some fun with, leading to practice hours which we all need.

      Many people here, I know, compete regularly in any or many of several disciplines from 3-gun to cowboy, whatever, and they are expert in those guns and sort of automatically good enough with anything which goes bang. But many people here (myself included) do not. It was torture for me to research less punishing ammo for my wife’s .38 Spl gun, because I was the one who had to shoot them, and I would really rather not. Lehigh was the answer, BTW. Costs a fortune, but shoots softer and hits harder than others, and still is not so much fun to shoot that you need to buy a lot.

      Tiny revolvers hurt, removing fun. Tiny pistols can hurt, as well, you have to SHOOT the damn thing to find out, and examine video gel tests to determine whether it will do the job. I say (and you all should pay attention because I don’t claim any more expertise than you, except I’ve tried it) that a 9mm weighing around 17-18 oz empty, firing standard pressure ammo is pretty much fun! Heavier guns are more fun, less capable of concealment. Win Train and defend is 147g ammo which seems like it cannot possibly be either fun or effective, but it is. Do your research, buying what is cheap is generally the wrong answer.

    • I loves me a j frame airweight in .38. But be careful of which type of +p ammo you choose for it. My all time favorite load for my k frames is the Chicago/FBI load. 158 grain lead semi wadcutter hollowpoint. +P. Carried it in my j frame til one practice session bullet creep created by the violent whip of the aluminum framed gun caused a bullet to walk and lock the gun up. Needless to say, I reserve that load for my k frames now.

  8. My sp101 3″ with .38+p load, very nice for a close shot (HST load) and it doesn’t travel forever! good to know, sounds like me shooting at 25′ Be safe out there guys/gals.

  9. When forced to shoot at a static range that doesn’t allow holstering or rapid fire I encourage people to do more than present the handgun one time per slow mag dump. That seems to be the most common event I see and there is nothing wrong with that when starting out. When you want to do more you can bring the gun back off target and practice removing your finger from the trigger guard at the same time. Not just one shot at a time you can mix it up. It gives a lot more practice towards initial presentation and trigger control per magazine. When rapid fire is not allowed you can still practice everything up to the point of the 2nd shot.

    I agree that one handed very close range is the more likely scenario but I would still never neglect 2 handed practice and longer ranges. I don’t know where single offhand rates in real world use but I still put some time into it as well.

    • “I agree that one handed very close range is the more likely scenario but I would still never neglect 2 handed practice and longer ranges.”

      Agree 100%.

      They train different aspects of shooting. I think the best approach is to train shooting a number of different ways and develop flexible skill sets.

      The things you learn/practice from supported long range are needed as well as the the things needed from one-hand close range.

      It’s not an ‘either or.’ Do both.

      “I don’t know where single offhand rates in real world use but I still put some time into it as well.”

      I think the key is to develop skills to adapt shooting specifics to rapidly changing, dynamic and unpredictable scenarios. The more variety one includes in practice, the more “options” you have in your OODA loop.

      So, it kinda does not matter so much ‘how it rates’ if it helps develop specific shooting skills and ability to adapt shooting skills on the fly.

  10. Yes, you should carry with a loaded chamber. I do. But really, the pharmacist had plenty of time to rack the slide, had he needed to.

    So I agree with Condition 1 carry, but the pharmacy video isn’t the best argument for it.

    • You’re right about the video–just watched it, he certainly had time to rack before he brought the gun up and started shooting. Mainly because he started reaching for his gun as soon as the BG approached the half-door behind the counter. I carry a DA-SA semi, round in the chamber myself, BTW.

      • I think you’re both nuts, after watching the video repeatedly, I think if I’d had to rack the slide, I wouldn’t have been able to even put my hand on it until he had put 2-3 bullets in me.

        • You must move really slow. Or I ain’t seeing what I think I’m seeing on the vid. Which is possible.

        • Yeah that sound of racking the slide would give away the element of surprise that made all the difference in this situation.
          Where are all the idiots saying that that sound would scare off the bad guys?

        • Now the noise of racking the slide I hadn’t thought about. I could see how that might be a problem. Point taken.

          He still had time to do it, though. The BG’s attention was focused on the people directly in front of him, so the armed pharmacist could engage him when he was good and ready. Still a good thing he had a round ready to go, though, of course.

  11. The “experts” will not be there to defend you when your time of need comes. They won’t be in your corner when you have a highly publicized ND, which the antis will make hay out of. In the post-mortem, the experts will always say, “there are always exceptions,” and “he didn’t train hard/well enough to be safe/effective with it.” That will be your eulogy/criticism. Your gun friends will abandon you and you will stand alone. Our community has some interest riding on that, so what you do is a problem for all of us.

    You have to do what you feel comfortable with! Listen to the experts, but do not follow them blindly. They can do things you and I can’t. Just like the car ads, “Professional driver, do not attempt.”

    I know every type of gun could have an ND. I know that strikers can be carried safely. But in 50 years of shooting, I have had only one ND, which was with a rifle, pointed downrange, with the range hot. No harm, no foul. I will NOT have another one, ever, under any circumstances!!! I respect striker shooters, but I don’t trust strikers, even ones with grip safeties. I think even the reset could cause an ND.

    I am a DA/SA guy, revolver or auto. That is what I feel comfortable with. If you don’t do what in your heart you really feel comfortable with, you will always feel uncomfortable carrying and that is the wrong place at which to be.

    • ” Just like the car ads, “Professional driver, do not attempt.”

      Boy, does your post perfectly express my attitude. I’m guessing that, like me, you are not an operational operator operating operationally!?

  12. Glad to see someone finally has the sense to admit we don’t need to shoot pistols at 25 yards. I bet there’s a 99% chance you’re gonna see jail if you are shooting at someone 25 yards away. Not saying it isn’t possible, but you should train for what is probable. It is ridiculous how many shootout reviews of pocket pistols rank them according to 25 yard accuracy. Really?

    • If you shoot someone who is not armed with a firearm at 25 yards you’re probably going to be in trouble. But if someone is armed with a firearm I don’t see how they could be construed to be a non threat just because they are 25 yards away. Handguns can be lethal as far out as 2 miles and rifles out to 5 miles.

    • Yeah, if someone is shooting at me from 25 yards away (or 100 yards away, with a rifle) I would like to be able to make that person’s life more risky. That said, I also don’t see much need for most of us to practice at “can’t miss” ranges.

      • If someone points a bow and arrow at me from 100 yards I’m pulling the trigger (assuming they’re not in close proximity to innocent bystanders). Just because there’s a 70% chance the guy will miss you with a handgun doesn’t mean you should stand there and take your chances.

    • Probably the same reason ARs and AKs are rated out to a thousand yards when you’re more than likely going to use them within 100 (in a fighting scenario): The potential accuracy at range supposedly leads to greater accuracy within short distances.

      I think it’s all crap. If you’re putting all your rounds into the X ring, you aren’t shooting fast enough. The battlefield is a fluid place with infinite variables. It’s not a square range or a patch of desert. It’s your living room. It’s the main floor at a diner. It’s the parking garage. Volume of fire from a handgun and a lack of hesitation save your life in a DGU, not the weapons inherent ability to fire sub MOA in a temperature and humidity controlled range.

      This is why I get so exasperated with shooters who focus on grip or stance. Ask a cop who fired his weapon in the line of duty, or a solider: what was your stance? how was your grip? They aren’t going to remember. They grabbed their weapon and fired to save their life, the life of a comrade, or the life of a non-combatant. If your stance is anything other than “running to cover”, you’re dead anyway.

      The above applies only to defensive, practical shooting, not competitions or the like, which are still valid uses of weapons of course.

      • “This is why I get so exasperated with shooters who focus on grip or stance.”

        You are missing the point of focusing on grip and stance. Those are “fundamentals” of deliberate, accurate fire.

        Yes, they sort of go out the window in dynamic settings. BUT…

        The big but here is that those that are better at those fundamentals also tend to be better at adapting to the dynamic situation.

        So, you don’t practice grip and stance and long range accuracy because you expect to use that stuff EXACTLY like in an ‘artificial lab setting,’ you practice those because getting good at that stuff enhances coordination and adaptability in the other.

        In other words…it’s not “either – or.” Don’t look at this stuff one dimensionally; good trigger control helps regardless of the ‘real world scenario.’ Having solid body mechanics FOR THE SITUATION will help.

        In other words, why not try to stack the deck in your favor in EVERY way you can, rather than throwing out POSSIBLE helpful skills?

    • ” we don’t need to shoot pistols at 25 yards.”

      I disagree with this single-minded way of thinking about training.

      We don’t practice at 25 yards because we think we might use a pistol for 25 yard shots in a DGU.

      We practice at 25 yards because shooting at 25 yards builds different skills than shooting at shorter ranges does.

      ALL such skills are important and can come into play in the real test. For example, training slow and deliberate fire at 25 yards REALLY stress tests your trigger squeeze – one of the FUNDAMENTALS that everything else is built upon.

      Don’t take my word for it: read what Michelle Gallagher has to say about training outside your “single use” mode.

      In my opinion, if you are ONLY training for specific scenarios you think you might encounter, you are limiting yourself and quite possibly creating training scars.

  13. Shooting your carry gun at 25-50 feet?! I usually shoot mine at 50 yards… of course my EDC is a revolver…

        • OLD revolver guy kind sir….and loved my bowling pin matches…..this is the 21st century my good man….

          Carried a 640 for 15 years,,,,,,BG380 now. Day and night as far as concealibility!

        • Well Smiths are essentially 19th century revolvers. Personally I have no problem carrying my Wiley Clapp GP100 concealed and if the need arises it will hit HARD (especially with the Double Taps I keep in it) and if necessary it will reach out.

  14. Or…the article that didn’t need to b written…..REALLY!

    Just the fact this was even posted has me scratching my head…

    Argument done and over with before most of you were born! OMG!

    Jim Greg…..look up ‘Brownie’ on the tube….

    The ‘young generation’ is emotional, wordy and devoid of common sense…..products of education without knowledge…quite different!

  15. I carried for over 15 years, a Glock 26, Mexican carry (yes, with a round chambered also) with never a worry or concern. It hsas been only since I’ve gotten older that I have added an inside the waistband holster to the mix. I know many on this site will blast me for that carry style, I trained weekly for years, in the method of my carry.

  16. It’s also good to practice a draw and fire from retention.. Meaning the classic cowboy quick draw and shoot from the hip because your other hand might be occupied like fending off an attack.

    • Which is the real reason “Israeli Carry” is a bad idea.

      In the “one in the pipe or not” argument, most folks get focuses on the time factor.

      It’s not the time it takes to cycle the action that is the real problem; it’s that generally speaking, cycling the action is a two handed operation for most people.

  17. I agree about being quick and accurate up close & personal…everything else can be debated.

  18. I carried a gun for the Iowa State Penitentiary, for 7 years and we trained for 7 yard and face to face with a draw and shoot, while blocking with the weak hand . We were told to shoot anyone who pulled a knife on us. If a person is inside 20 ft., you are in trouble . Never had any need to use force ,while escorting inmates on hospital trips, but it did happen while I was there.

  19. Might I also suggest training “all 4” as in
    -Strong hand, two handed
    -Strong hand, single handed
    -Weak hand, two handed
    -Weak hand, single handed

    It’s hard, you’ll feel like you are wasting ammo, but God Forbid you every wind up in a bad situation with an injured strong hand you are going to be really thankful that you know how to manipulate/fire your sidearm with your “weak” hand.

    • You can save some ammo and not waste time with weak hand two handed. Unless you can come up with a real life scenario where both hands are functional but you reverse your grip for some stupid reason.
      Try the Dot Torture Drill.

        • It uses exactly one 50 round box of ammo. How cool is that? You can do multiple variations. I have made my own targets set up in a pyramid. I have varied the size of the dots within one target depending on the string of fire. You can shoot from various distance. You can time the shoot or not. It is a scoring drill. You get to practice reloads and drawing. It includes transitions. Double taps on two targets. Sometimes I just set out two eight inch targets side by side and do this drill so I should end up with 25 shots on the left target and 25 on the right. It covers slow precision shooting and quick draw and fire. You do one hand strong and one hand weak. If you want to take it up another level you can do weak hand draw as well during that string. It’s my bread and butter drill.

  20. When I was taking the Pa ACT 235 certification (for on the job carry certification) many years ago, (I was 21 and was very inexperienced with guns way back then) the instructor handed me a replica 4″ revolver just like my Security Six (everyone checked it multiple times to be sure) and then had me holster it. He then stood 5 feet away, told me to draw it, aim and pull the trigger. I unholstered the gun and reached out at full arms length with it and before I could pull the trigger, he had the gun snapped out of my hand and pointed right at me. That was 31 years ago. I never made that mistake again, and have been practicing at all distances, including 5 feet or less ever since. Good article. BTW, I was so embarrrased by that, I went everyday, even on off days of classes to train, and finished the exam with a perfect score, both written and shooting.

  21. Perceived recoil is a funny thing. If you think a small guns recoil is too much than it will be. In this application you don’t shoot so many rounds that your hand goes numb. It’s about good technique and focus. Quality training isn’t about the round count. I’m no “macho” man but I don’t have an issue with +P 38 out of my j-frame or hot 9 mm in a sub compact keltec. Take care of the assailant in your face and retreat to cover or escape.

  22. I disagree with the second “mistake”. Shooting at longer ranges (15-25yds for a pistol is more than enough) will expose flaws in your form and trigger control that will not necessarily be apparent when point shooting at 3-7yds but will absolutely manifest themselves in a life or death type stress event. Should you spend the majority of range time at that distance? No but you do need to send a few long ones down range to make sure you aren’t masking bad habits by only banging away at the 1-10 yard line.

    • +10,000

      For those saying long range practice is a waste of time, please read this. And read it over and over again until it soaks in.

      Point: Practice at longer range develops fundamentals. It can’t HURT to get better fundamentals. It can only help.

      Why not put every tool available into that DGU survival toolbox?

  23. Weapons training is good. Like shooting baskets in your driveway, you’re developing your motor skills. Defending your life as it’s being threatened can not be trained for. Mechanics are secondary. Maybe you’ll shit your pants and cry like a baby, pleading for your life to be spared instead of fighting for it. If you’re a coward then a gun won’t help you. Just dont let a motherf*cker get a jump on you so that you can’t at least draw on them. Situational awareness is the greatest skill of them all.

    • I agree, but you can’t always count on SA and even if you could, who would want to live every day like you were on patrol in Fallujah? It would be like one of those whacky scenes in the Pink Panther where Clouseau’s manservant, Cato Fong, keeps attacking him at inopportune moments to keep his SA up.

      I think a lot of defensive carriers underestimate their potential attackers by believing BGs will “telegraph” their intentions in ways SA could detect. Like any predators, BGs (at least the “proficient” ones) will wait until you have your one moment off guard and the attack will not be straight on, it will be an ambush.

      So I think SA is a great skill, but not “the greatest skill of all.” I think the ability to react quickly to the unforeseen (when SA fails) is as important. Martial skill is equally important also, because once your SA has ID’ed the threat, you need to be able to do something about it. In addition, as you allude to, you have to have the fortitude to do what you need to do.

  24. Ok let me get this straight. This guy writes gun articles and he makes this admission?

    If he is wrong about the barney basics when carrying, are his other articles trustworthy?

    As of late there are so many ‘tacticool gun reporters’ (and instructors) out there but I’ve noticed many are missing the boat and are putting out ‘questionable’ info. I think one needs to be careful on who they hang their hat on.

    Just saying.

  25. Most of your practice should be from about 10 feet, and your focus should be getting as fast a sight picture as possible and firing 2 rounds rapid (1 is ok if your range is a No Fun Zone) and getting them within a 6″ circle. Your goal is to 1: hit every time 2: as quickly as possible. The idea is 1 sight picture, 2 shots, because anything worth shooting is definitely worth shooting at least twice, and you want that muscle memory of bringing the pistol up, getting your sight picture, and immediately firing. A second or more lining up your sights is unacceptable in a self-defense situation. I like to use sights that can give me a good rough alignment when I’m focused on the target.

    • I like the FAST drill from

      It combines a quick-shoot and slower, aimed shots (which a reload in between) into a single drill and aims to improve total execution time.

  26. Not so sure the pharmacist video is ideal here. The pharmacist has reached for his gun at 0:39, drawn it by 0:40 and then almost three more seconds pass before he’s raised the weapon and fired (0:43). Plenty of time to chamber a round. Plenty of distance to use both hands. Just watch the video and draw your own semi-auto (dry fire, obvs) and rack the slide when the pharmacist draws his. Q.E.D.

    As to one-in-the-pipe vs. Israeli carry, it may be determined also by the environment one is in.

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