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Arguments for Condition 3 carry (full magazine, nothing in the chamber):

1. Safer for children (more difficult for them to rack the slide and chamber a round).
2. Helps prevent negligent discharges by adding another task before firing
3. Helps prevent negligent discharges by reducing administrative handling during loading/unloading (you don’t have to chase the ejected round when unloading)
4. Lowers your chances of being shot by your own gun if a bad guy takes control of your weapon in a fight.

Arguments against Condition 3 carry . . .

1. Requires two hands and you may not have both hands available.
2. Shorts you a round.
3. Slightly faster presentation time.
4. Keeps one honest to the fact that “All Guns are Always Loaded.”
5. Murphy’s law. One more thing to go wrong at a critical moment.

Both are viable carry methods, aren’t they?

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  1. Yes, condition three is a very viable carry method. Especially if you don’t trust your current gun/holster combination. I’ve got a friend that carries a cz-82. Great little gun , but he really doesn’t like having to drop the hammer on a live round. Hence, he carries condition three. He’ll be fine as long as his left hand isn’t busy when he needs the gun.

    • The only holster setup that might require an empty chamber is the complete and total lack of a holster — one doesn’t want to pull a Plaxico after all.

      That said, a proper holster is an absolute must, and therefore there is no reason to carry with an empty chamber.

      On top of this, if you have a valid fear of your pistol discharging in your holster during normal activity, then you shouldn’t be carrying that pistol. Plain and simple, a carried firearm is carried to use to save your life, limb, and/or property when you need it; if you don’t trust it *not* to fire on it’s own, then you can’t trust it TO fire when you need it to.

      • Guns should only be carried with a round in the chamber. There is a very high likelihood that you will need your support hand for dealing with 3rd parties, blocking, striking, etc. Also, there is a definite chance of screwing up the racking of the slide especially under stress. Short stroking the slide in a fight could get you killed.

        Part of the loading process is to check the chamber for a round after the slide is racked. This is impossible in a fight.

        If you don’t trust your gun or your holster, you should not be carrying them. If you don’t trust yourself you should not be carrying at all.

        Counterpoint 1. An unchambered gun is NOT safer for children since if properly cared for, children can not get to your gun. You gun should be on your body or in your safe at all times.

        Counterpoint 2. It does not help reduce negligent discharges as your finger should be off the trigger regardless of whether the gun is chambered or not. Adding that extra step actually increases the likelihood of a NG if you do not have proper trigger finger discipline.

        Counterpoint 3. See above

        Counterpoint 4. This is correct. The good news is that an empty gun IS the best way of making sure the bad guy does not shoot you with your own gun. The bad news is that an empty gun is the best way to make sure you don’t shoot the bad guy with your own gun.

        Guns should not be employed until you are have the opportunity to draw and shoot without being disarmed. Shooters need training in weapon retention and disarming so they can both protect their weapon and disarm attackers.

        Remember, most gunfights happen at extremely close quarters. So close that it is unlikely you will have time to access your gun without going hands on first. Knowing when you can draw without being disarmed and when you can’t can be the difference between winning and loosing.

        Carrying a modern gun with an empty chamber is NOT a viable option. Carrying a non-modern gun is not viable either.

        It is never acceptable to carry a gun without a holster. The holster keeps the gun from falling in or falling out, keeps the gun in its proper place and safeguards the trigger. Holsters are a must. A clip draw for grip boot for a revolver is a close second.

        FYI: The Israelis adopted the empty chamber technique when their military was first formed because they got whatever handguns they could find from whatever sources were available and many of them were not safe when carried with a full chamber. The Israelis are changing, albeit very slowly.

        The Rabbi
        Armed Response Training

        • Fairly well put.

          Also, are you actually a Rabbi, and if so, in what geographical area? I ask, because the vast majority of American Jews (at least those I have met) seem to be either very liberal or militantly liberal.

          • LOL I was wondering how long it would take for someone to ask me that!

            No, it is a nickname bestowed on me by Robert Ferago, the owner of TTAG when I started training with him.

            The literal meaning of Rabbi is teacher. Robert gave me the name as he and I are both Jewish.

            The propensity for Jews to be anti gun is something that befuddles me to no end. If any group of people should be pro-gun it is the Jews.

            I actually have a good friend who is a Orthodox Rabbi in Los Angeles. He is in his late 50s, is the Chaplain for the Sheriff’s Dept and is a reserve deputy. He has had me come to CA to run classes and he has trained with me here in New England as well. I jokingly call him my “tactical Rabbi.”

        • Rabbi,
          Amazing how you personally know exactly what each and every other person should do. Rabbi indeed.

        • “Guns should only be carried with a round in the chamber. There is a very high likelihood that you will need your support hand for dealing with 3rd parties, blocking, striking, etc.” – You got this all wrong and screwed up! It seems to me you have a poor understanding of mechanics of different type of handguns. Striker fired handguns with no safeties should NEVER be carried loaded, it’s pretty obvious why. Though Glocks have drop safeties, you wouldn’t want to risk of a negligent discharge if it somehow fails now would you? SA/DA firearms can be carried in condition 1 provided they have a manual safety.

          “There is a very high likelihood that you will need your support hand for dealing with 3rd parties, blocking, striking, etc.” – The chance of you engaging a gun fight your entire life is very small. Now the chances of you engaging a gun fight, and at the same time too close that you would need to block or strike them is even more unlikely! That is just crazy! What about the chances of carrying a Glock with a round in the chamber (no safety by the way), and having a negligent discharge while taking it out of the holster, or accidentally dropping it and the safety failed? The chances are greater and not worth the risk! You could kill someone accidentally even when properly trained! Thats what “accident” means!

          “Also, there is a definite chance of screwing up the racking of the slide especially under stress.” – How about accidental discharge while drawing a gun under stress?? Didn’t you even think of that??

          “Part of the loading process is to check the chamber for a round after the slide is racked. This is impossible in a fight.” – Says who??? Why on earth would you waste time checking the chamber for a round? Rack it and shoot it! If you are bringing a gun that does not load a round in a chamber when racked, then it’s a broken gun that you shouldn’t have brought at all! If you train with it, then it should work..

          “If you don’t trust your gun or your holster, you should not be carrying them. If you don’t trust yourself you should not be carrying at all.” – Nobody is perfect and that includes you buddy. That’s what accident means. No matter how trained you are, an accident can get you or a bystander killed. An extra umbrella of safety by carrying in condition 3 for striker-fired guns with no manual safety is a must.

          “Counterpoint 1. An unchambered gun is NOT safer for children since if properly cared for, children can not get to your gun. You gun should be on your body or in your safe at all times.” – How on earth did you construct this sentence?? Of course a gun with no round chambered WILL AND ALWAYS be safer, duh!!! Lets just assume your kid knows how to open your safe even if highly unlikely.

          “Counterpoint 2. It does not help reduce negligent discharges as your finger should be off the trigger regardless of whether the gun is chambered or not. Adding that extra step actually increases the likelihood of a NG if you do not have proper trigger finger discipline.” – Again, I should point out that under stress, the likelihood of a negligent discharge in a chambered gun is more likely.

          “Guns should not be employed until you are have the opportunity to draw and shoot without being disarmed. Shooters need training in weapon retention and disarming so they can both protect their weapon and disarm attackers.
          Remember, most gunfights happen at extremely close quarters. So close that it is unlikely you will have time to access your gun without going hands on first. Knowing when you can draw without being disarmed and when you can’t can be the difference between winning and loosing.” – Training with situational awareness is better than training for weapon retention and disarm. No matter how close gun fights happen, they still shoot at each other and no gun grabbing or disarming happens. I’ve watched hundreds of CCTV videos of gun fights and they always end up shooting each other no matter how close they are with each other. Now why would you even grab the gun of an armed individual if you are armed yourself? The secret is timing. Timing of when to draw your weapon and, using cover while drawing and using distraction. That is how you do it…

          “Carrying a modern gun with an empty chamber is NOT a viable option. Carrying a non-modern gun is not viable either.” – I pray to God you are not carrying a Glock or a S&W with no manual safety or else, we’re doomed!

          “FYI: The Israelis adopted the empty chamber technique when their military was first formed because they got whatever handguns they could find from whatever sources were available and many of them were not safe when carried with a full chamber. The Israelis are changing, albeit very slowly.” – Maybe you should learn from the Israelis?

  2. I’d rather not. With Murphy being everywhere, I don’t like anything more complicated to bring into action than a double action revolver. Between those and all the modern striker fired, DA/SA with decockers, and DAO autos on the market I don’t see much reason to mess with Israeli carry or cocked and locked for defensive purposes. Simple is good.

  3. Depends on the gun.

    – My Glock 26 with the modified 3.5 lb. trigger, condition 3.
    – My Ruger LC9 with external safety and the marathon trigger pull, condition 1.

    • +1

      I carry my 1911 in C3 unless I am in a high threat area. You can mitigate the downside by training.

      If I carry my wifws M-9 I am always in C1. It is very safe gun to have in C1.

      • That’s simply idiotic; The 1911 was specifically designed to be carried cocked and locked with a round in the chamber.

        • All SA automatics are designed to be carried cocked and locked but that doesn’t mean the gun is idiot proof. Anybody who thinks that they would never do something stupid with a firearm is an ND waiting to happen. We are all capable of being idiots if only for a split second and that is all it takes for a disaster to happen. So unless I perceive a high threat I will continue to carry my 1911 in C3.

          • So, if I read your response right, you’re saying that you carry an unloaded gun because you don’t trust yourself and/or you think you’re an idiot.

            As far as I’m concerned, there is always a high threat; if there wasn’t, there would be no need to carry a firearm. Thus, again by your own logic, you should never carry an unloaded gun.

            • Unless you live in a gang infested neighborhood that is the dumbest threat assessment I have ever heard.
              You can’t maintain a C1 all the time. You will eventually get sloppy and shoot yourself or someone else by mistake. You are a candidate for IGOTD.

              • Keep your finger off the trigger till you’re ready to shoot and you’ll do fine. Carrying in an inconsistent manner that varies by what neighborhood you’re in at the moment is trouble just waiting to happen. In case of emergency, are you really going to remember how you carried that day and what you need to do to get ready to fire?

              • What this guy said.

                To have a harmful AD/ND while carrying, one must both point the gun in an unsafe direction AND manipulate the trigger.

                There’s a way I deal with that in day to day life; I respect the firearm, and the fact that it can do a considerable amount of unintended harm if I am careless. As such I handle it as little as possible, and in those circumstances where it is necessary, I am *always* extremely careful.

                Honestly, if you’re that scared of having an AD/ND, you should dig down to the depths of the phobia and correct the root cause. Whether it be a distrust of your equipment or of yourself, there are ways to correct it, and they should be pursued if you truly desire to carry responsibly.

                The last thing we need is for you (or someone carrying as you advocate) to end up on IGOTD for drawing and making a situation worse because you could only give the appearance of escalating the situation without having the actual ability to.

              • I have been maintaining C1 for over 30 years without a problem and that’s the exact plan I teach at all my classes.

                Violence happens at lots of places outside of gang infested neighborhoods.

    • The Glock 5 pound connector with the N.Y.1 spring may get the trigger pull to around 8 pounds. I read that this setup was designed to increase the pull to what revolver shooters are used to. I had a Glock armorer install the N.Y.1 in my 30 which seems safer for C1 carry.

  4. Isn’t it unnecessary with modern semi-automatics that are striker-fired, and have “internal safeties”, like Glocks, XDs, etc.? Wasn’t C3 initially for single actions like 1911s and Browning High Powers, where folks were wary of C1? Pistols with de-cockers, like PPKs have many decades of more than acceptable safety track record behind them, no?

    I don’t (can’t) carry, so no input from experience, but all my trainers have said it’s not a good idea, because under stress when deployment is critical, unless you constantly train under C3, the likelihood you’ll flub during present/shoot and click on empty is very high – and that may get you dead.

    All the benefits listed, 1 – 4, are mitigated by training, and appropriate gun consciousness. People I know who do carry, including LEOs, tell me if you aren’t prepared to shoot, you’re not prepared period. They’ve also told me if you’re not comfortable with C1, don’t carry a gun that needs that to deploy, and if you’re not going to observe a strict carry control mindset, you just shouldn’t carry.

    • This.

      If it doesn’t have a round in the chamber, it’s a useless hunk of metal and plastic and/or wood.

      If you’re not comfortable carrying your current pistol(s) fully loaded and cocked, then you SHOULD NOT BE CARRYING.

    • More than one person has blown a hole through their leg with their Glock. Ive heard of a couple of instances where people (including one local cop) were re-holstering their Glock and something got caught up in the trigger, pulling it as the downward force was applied on the gun. Was there mistakes / negligence involved? Perhaps. But shit happens.

      • I’ve seen direct pictorial evidence of precisely two ND/AD, and both were with glocks; Beyond that, I’ve heard general reference to AD/ND, but nothing specific or very detailed (Plaxico aside).

        In both cases, it was the result of direct and/or willful negligence.

        The first example was the classic AD/ND you hear about with polymer autos that require a trigger pull during disassembly — rack the slide, drop the mag, hold takedown switch, pull trigger and BANG. I had heard of this happening prior to my seeing evidence from one such occurrence, and, in fact, it was my mention of such that prompted the police officer to show me the evidence of him having done it (hit part of his desk, and ricocheted into the drop-ceiling tiles).

        The second AD/ND I’ve seen evidence of was a glock owner who shot himself (and his car) while holstering his pistol; As I recall, the holster was a worn Galco JAK slide, which had stretched to the point where part of the holster tended to fold into the trigger guard. See here:

        In short, AD/ND only occur due to equipment failure and/or operator failure — most often where the two intersect, as can be seen by the above link.

        That said, there’s a reason why my primary carry pistol is an XD — the grip safety is ONE MORE THING that would need to fail before I could experience an ND, and I do not engage it while drawing or holstering. Instead, my thumb grips the top of the rear sight — while drawing, this gives me a balanced grip on the pistol meaning only my thumb needs to be moved to obtain a proper grip, and while holstering it keeps the slide fully in battery. A side advantage to this, is that it is easily modified for a pistol with a manual safety, such as my P238.

        • Glocks, and similar pistols are not unsafe. There are only unsafe people.

          The Glock (and the like) is a combat weapon designed and carried to be ready with as little as necessary to fire the weapon. One of the reasons I carry a Glock is that it does not have a safety that I’d need to muck with in order to use it.

          Firearm safety, with the exception of design defects, is 100% the responsibility of the gun owner/handler. Having a thumb-safety, etc. does not make the gun safer.

          People always quote anecdotal evidence to show that Glocks (and the like) are unsafe. No one ever shows real numbers to back the claim up that Glocks are more prone to ADs than any other gun. If you can’t give me data then STFU because anecdote means shit.

          @HSR47 – can you post a video showing your draw technique? I’m curious because having shot XDs you have to get a firm full grip on the grip in order to disengage the grip-safety. Besides that, your technique goes against everything I’ve ever heard you should do when drawing – namely have a full (combat) grip on the firearm. It also sounds like a good way to drop your gun.

          • I’m not really a fan of mechanical safeties requiring additional unnatural movements myself — they require extra training, and by and large are only safety theater.

            As for how I generally draw, it really boils down to the holster I use, and the pistols I have carried. Long story short, the only holster I have found to be both comfortable and usable is the Supertuck; None of mine are “combat cut” meaning that getting my thumb in position is extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Also, due to a variety of factors, even when I do get a “proper” grip on the pistol, the angles involved cause the pistol to torque and shift in my hand requiring the entire hand to be re-positioned on the pistol. This effect is exacerbated by carrying a subcompact pistol; thus I experimented and came up with my present method, which when drawing keeps the pistol from torquing, and results in a consistent reproducible draw without any fumbling.

            Is it less secure than going to a full combat grip? Maybe; but even then it is still more secure than a draw where the pistol torques out of the hand, and that’s something that was constantly a problem when trying to get a full grip. Add to this the added benefit of the grip safety not being engaged for the draw (or the holstering, as I reholster with the hand in the same position), and it is all around the best method I have found for me to use with this pistol.

            Effectively, my choice was to either try to use the oft-recommended technique work for my unique circumstances, or to make my own technique that better fits my ergonomical situation. In short, either to try to bash a square peg into a round hole, or to make a new peg that fits the hole.

            If you’d like, I can whip up a few images in MSFT paint to illustrate the fundamental issue with a full-grip draw vs my method….

  5. I have been carrying for the last year or so (I started carrying as soon as my commonwealth legally allowed me), and the QOTD was never an issue for me; It has NEVER struck me as a good idea to carry an unloaded firearm. Period, end of story.

    So far, I have regularly carried three XD pistols (one factory ported, one not, and a subcompact), as well as occasionally carrying a fourth full-size XD, a Ruger LCP, and my new Sig P238.

    If carrying with a round in the chamber is an issue for you, you either shouldn’t be carrying at all, or you should change equipment until you are comfortable with it.

    • When you hear about “absolutes” in RBSD, beware the armchair warrior. A gun in C3 with a loaded magazine is not useless. It’s a gun that has to get racked before it is used. Period.

  6. As a friends former training partner would say, “…it’s your gun fight, carry the way you want…”.

  7. Not good on the street,but very good for home defense-if someone’s breaking in,you will in all likeliehood have time to rack the slide.
    On full size autos,it’s beyond the physical capability of little children to do so.
    I am only alive because I was working with an officer who was carrying with the safety on,in disregard of regs.He lost control of his weapon and the BG pointed it at me but couldn’t fire because of that fact-I hit him in the head with my gun(it was close enough distance),fracturing his skull,and regained the gun from him.
    He had years to think about it afterward.
    If anyone wants to second guess me,you better have been “there” yourself or STFU.Please.

      • His department regs forbade the safety being engaged.
        I was from a different agency,which had just decreed that no one could carry a semiauto with an external safety(we could carry personally owned firearms in addition to the issued 357’s) and that night I had a Sig 226.

    • There’s a big difference between carrying with an engaged mechanical safety, and carrying an unloaded gun.

      As far as I’m concerned, if the gun has a mechanical safety, it’s use should not only be encouraged, but mandated for duty use.

      Personally though, I’m not that big a fan of mechanical safeties on pistols, although your story certainly provides ample good reason for their use.

  8. I’ve read all the responses here. There are some valid points brought up about C1 vs C3 carry. I myself will have to disagree with a few comments I’ve seen here. NOT carrying with a round in the chamber DOES NOT make you an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed to carry concealed. I myself have been carrying a full sized 1911 for MANY years in C3. ( nothing in the chamber ) As a former Marine Corps combat vet I’m very much aware of what’s going on around me at all times. If I feel like I’m in an area where it warrants a C1 carry, I do so. However, I’ve actually been in a couple of situations since becoming a civilian once again where I did have to draw my handgun from the holster in order to deter a would – be assailant. The sound that the 1911 made while racking the slide defused the situation rather quickly — all without me having to point the gun at anyone either. Or put my finger on the trigger.

    As to needing two hands to rack the slide — well I can see that arguement. BUT I have trained myself to be able to simply snag my rear sight on the edge of my jeans pocket or even my belt leather and rack the slide one handed. NOT because of some Hollywierd make believe wannabe commando desire, but because one day a situation may well present itself that I’d need to have that ability. So I sort of prefer a C3 carry for my full sized 1911. That doesn’t make me an idiot who shouldn’t have a gun. Now before someone else wants to jump on the bandwagon and start talking about what if the assailant gets too close ? Well like I said earlier — I am ALWAYS aware of what’s going on around me. And # 2 — a full sized 1911 can make for a decent makeshift club if the jackass gets too close. I doubt a Springfield HD or Glock has anywhere near the heft of a steel framed 1911. As I’m not a little guy, I could probably bash someone’s brains out with the gun and never have to fire a shot in public.

    • I’m with you, Jim. Carry your gun as you see fit. It’s your life and you know how much you like it. I think the slide on the jeans idea is great. I have racked mine on my forearm pointed away from me (unloaded, no clip). Why? Much like you I believe in adapting to a situation. Not training myself into a rut that basically makes me a confused robot when all my training/effort is confounded. Mix it up but just keep safe. What could be wrong with that?

    • Jim, from what I’ve seen of you from your videos, anyone you needed to bash probably didn’t have brains to begin with. Heh.

  9. IMHO if you don’t have the split second it takes to rake a slide, then you are already dead. Meaning you are already hit, or the BG has his hand on your weapon. If you are in a area where you must carry C1 you should just leave.

    • Agreed. The time that it takes to rack a slide or the hand needed to rack the slide may not be available. It is a recipe for disaster.

      I am always amused when someone says they only do something when in a “high threat area” (carry a gun, chamber a round, etc.) Life is a high threat area. Breathing makes you a target. If there is a locale that you feel more threatened than normal, DON’T GO.

      I have had many students say that they only carry a gun when they go “downtown”. If downtown is so dangerous that you think you need a gun, DON’T GO.

      When people ask me why I carry a handgun I tell them that I only carry a handgun when I am 100% confident, without a shadow of a doubt, that I WILL NOT get into a gun fight. After their face contorts into a weird and confused state I continue and advise: “If that were not the case, I would carry a rifle.”

      Armed Response Training

    • @Jin

      With all due respect – fuck you.

      I home carry in C1 because of some lovely neighbors that moved in. These neighbors have brought a certain.. element with them. The kind of element that has half naked men running through our yard at 11:30PM and people on drug induced rages screaming at the back door of other houses.

      We were here first this is our home. If anyone should leave it should be them.

      • Since I am a male I take it your desire to have intercourse with me is your way of coming out of the closet. My point still remains regardless of whom is living next to you.
        Learn how to be proficient with your gun and be aware of your surrounding and the C1 / C3 question doesn’t matter. I once had some less than upstanding people move in near me, but since I value the safety of my family I chose to move before there was a problem. But maybe you’re one of the ones who got an toxic mortgage and now you can’t afford to leave…. I pity you.

  10. i wouldn’t normally. but i don’t feel the need to tell others not to unlike some people here. personally i don’t understand you people criticizing others for how they decide to carry.

    • My point wasn’t to say one is better than the other. My point is every one of us reading this get up every day and run around town with a 4ooolb weapon. Each of us would say we are proficient at driving and we have all learned how to do it with one hand even though the correct way is with two. If your reason for C1 is you may only have one hand available, then don’t call yourself “Proficient” with your firearm. (and I’m typing w/ one hand right now)
      If the reason is Response time….well if you don’t have the 1/5 of a sec to rack a slide then you don’t have the time to take well aimed shots, and that also tells me the BG in already inside your OODA loop. We all know that the majority of the time a BG has what’s called First Mover Advantage. The only legal way to counter FMA is the first step in the OODA loop. Observe… I say that to say this. The question is a non-starter. It does not matter C1 C3 Cwhatever. if a BG gets the drop on you. your have to default to a reactionary stage, which should be to seek cover or create space between you and the enemy. or you are already dead and never saw it coming.

  11. I’ve carried a gun for over 20 years and I still don’t understand why I would ever have a gun in any condition other than ready to fire. I’ve got a LEO background, so that perspective may have been drilled in during the academy. I could see that if you are carrying a gun that your worried about being cocked and locked, then maybe you have an argument. I would also argue that maybe you need a different gun, if your going to carry every day.

    • “I’ve carried a gun for over 20 years and I still don’t understand why I would ever have a gun in any condition other than ready to fire.”

      Honestly, even though I’ve been on the firearms scene for a fairly short amount of time I’ve been astounded by the number of times I’ve seen people advocate carrying a partially loaded gun, along with the number of people who say “I’ve been carrying for X years and I’ve finally started carrying my gun fully loaded.”

      I honestly don’t understand why people are so afraid of doing it right.

  12. I am thinking a lot of people are missing a good reason to be condition one or three – threat in an area/threat likelihood. Some examples:

    When I am in populated areas I am condition one. People tend to know what to do to stop a gun from discharging and having a firearm in three makes it much harder to fire once in the situation. So, in cities and towns I am one.

    I hunt a lot in bear/cougar country. When I do I am in condition three. It is safer in the trees and bramble. I have yet to come across a holster that cannot be undone by a branch or whatever as I am bombing through brush. And I do not want to chance my sitting down or crouching and the trigger being pulled by a homicidal twig. So I carry in three. Some would say this is dumb or not the way it should be. Fact is that it is safer for me and friends in this instance and the consequences in this situation do not require me to have one in the pipe as there are eight in the tube of my shotgun. Whatever comes at me that can take one, or two or three or eight shells will basically stumble onto my now racked carry weapon.

    When I am at home. I am in three. The likelihood of someone entering my home without me knowing is basically not going to happen. Smash. Tinkle. Alarm. Rack. Bang! However, the likelihood of my one and a half year old who is very strong and smart distracting daddy and touching what she shouldn’t is very likely. So, condition three.

    At night, in the night stand with all asleep and child secured in her crib, condition one. I know I will not react as fast as when I am asleep because off the start I am groggy and have just been rudely woken. With hand around my throat? With a knife to it or my wife’s? Who knows? Either way I need a hand to play ‘keep away’ and one to pull the trigger. Condition one.

    There is no wrong way to do it as long as it is done safely and with good reason. My thoughts anyway.


    • I still carry a revolver from time to time (force of habit?) and I feel real comfortable with my snubby. Out of fashion? Maybe, but I’m not carrying to make the front page of GQ.

  13. A holster for all the C3 fans: Phalanx LASH

    Of course, a “slight” drawback is you have to remove the magazine and unload the gun to re-holster.

    This guy tried to market this thing to law enforcement years ago. I’m flabergasted that it still even exists.

        • Even if I lose a hand at some point, I’ll continue to carry with a fully-loaded pistol. I won’t even need to purchase any new equipment off the bat, as my brother (who uses the same model pistol for primary EDC) already has several left-side holsters on hand from when he broke his arm last spring. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind loaning me a holster or two for a few weeks while I order my own, nor would I be surprised if he offered to sell them to me outright for a fair price.

          First step beyond that is to go to the range to familiarize myself with carry in that method and the new circumstances, but I doubt it would take much time to figure things out. Sure it would make things more challenging, but shit happens.

          As for the linked holster, it wouldn’t do any good — reading the usage instructions it appears to not offer the functionality you seem to think it would in so far as using it to clear malfunctions.

  14. I used to carry C3 until I was alone in a rest stop a few years ago. After finishing my business and heading toward the exit door, four 20-somethings came bursting into the restroom. I was taken by complete surprise. When I got back to my vehicle (nothing happened, they just had to pee real bad) I vowed never to let that level of unpreparedness ever happen to me again. C-1 baby!

  15. I’m not a fan of the 1911, but carrying without a round chambered? That doesn’t work for me. I’m not saying that anyone who carries in C3 is wrong or a fool, and no insult is intended. Each of us has his or her own way of assuring their safety and if it works for you, go ahead. I’m just saying that I’d never carry a gun that wasn’t ready to use right now. I guess that comes from carrying revolvers and, more recently, a DAO, striker-fired pistol. None have an external safety, but I consider them safe to carry with one in the pipe or all chambers loaded, as long as they are tucked into a good holster. Aside from a brain, a good holster is the most important piece of safety equipment a person can have.

    • You can carry a 1911 in C2 safely if it has a firing pin safety.Those came in with Series 80’s from Colt.
      The new Smiths have them,but the 1911’s based on Series 70 or earlier don’t.
      Drawing and cocking one handed needs practice and a hammer accesible to one’s thumb.I have two Browning HP’s and one has a loop hammer and the other a spur hammer-I can’t draw and cock easily with the loop,but the spur model is no sweat.

  16. Rabbi writes: “Guns should only be carried with a round in the chamber.”

    Your absolute argument isn’t valid.

      • I think what he means is that all the rules don’t work all the time and that sometimes change and adaptation is needed. Only fear of change keeps most from getting that. Like I used to say to my buddy back in Ohio. “Nice grouping. How is it on the other hand?” *chuckle* No response.

        • Some defenseive techniques are open to personal preference and interpretation, some are not. C1 vs C3 is not one of them.

            • As has been said above, the referenced Israeli doctrine of carrying with an empty chamber is not anything more or less than a lack of confidence in the fundamental safety of *some* of the limited equipment that the IDF had early on.

              To wit, the majority of the firearms that the IDF was able to procure early on were junk, or at least thought to be by those they purchased them from (Including the slave-built WWII K98’s they got that had been deliberately sabotaged at the factory so as to hinder the NAZI’s).

              In effect, it’s a relic of the past that was only ever created to suit the needs of a very unique situation.

              These days the vast majority of pistols are designed to be carried, and as such are designed to be carried fully loaded in a safe manner. This has not always been the case, either from original design intention or otherwise from manufacturing issues and/or later abuse.

  17. If it is on my hip, it is ready for a self-defense moment, C1. When seconds count, you don’t have time to chamber a round!

  18. C1 or C3, whatever, I don’t care what you do. its your butt on the line. But how do you people who switch back and forth manage that? How do you keep track? Do you ever forget to go back to C3 from C1? When exactly do you decide to go to C1? Before you go out the front door? Before you get out of the car? When leaving a “hostile area”, exactly when do you remove your mag, eject the round, stick it back in the mag, and stick that back in the gun? While you are driving? When you get home?

    Loading and Unloading, Holstering and Drawing are the high risk times of gun handling. Stick your gun in the holster and leave it alone, especially in public! The taco bell restroom is not the place to reconfigure your weapon.

    • This.

      I can’t understand why someone would pull out a pistol to handle it extraneously while out in public.

      The only times my pistol comes out of it’s holster while I am out and about (short of actual defensive use) are when I have to enter a prohibited place (such as the county courthouse or a K-12) in which case it gets locked in the best storage container I can manage (the county courthouse has a lockup room, and for other potential needs I usually carry a cabled lockbox) or when I need to change which pistol I am carrying (in which case the one(s) I am not immediately get locked and/or unloaded.).

      Otherwise the pistol stays in the holster and doesn’t get messed with.

  19. My 1911 is C1 24/7.

    To me switching back and forth, C1/C3 depending on where I am makes little sense. I liken that to the idea of only wearing a seat belt when I perceive driving conditions particularly hazardous.

    The town I live in is tiny and really doesn’t have a bad part. The danger comes by road . There was a murder like three years ago when a neighbor farmer came home to interrupt a pair of traveling burglars, not from these parts. I like my snub nose when doing chores around the house. Neighbors, in this sparsely populated town are no threat, but because of the highway, any opportunists can come to ruin my day, or hopefully, I ruin theirs.

    When I have to go the the nearest city for groceries (my town doesn’t have any retail stores) it is about as safe as can be. C1 us the rule of the day.

    I been shooting my 1911 for a lot of years, but when I first started carrying I did it C3. After some reading came to the conclusion C3 is not the wisest thing as there is zero reason to do C3.

    Seconds count.

    Cannot see complicating a stressful situation.

    My wife calls C1, condition RED, she doesn’t like it at all. Therefore she carries a revolver, nothing wrong with that.


    • “To me switching back and forth, C1/C3 depending on where I am makes little sense. I liken that to the idea of only wearing a seat belt when I perceive driving conditions particularly hazardous.”

      Well put; it really puts the lunacy of carrying a partially loaded gun in the proper light.

      “My wife calls C1, condition RED, she doesn’t like it at all. Therefore she carries a revolver, nothing wrong with that.”

      Also well put, although there are some semi-autos that tend to have fairly heavy double-action trigger pulls, and she might want to investigate some of those. I personally prefer SAO setups, I don’t really care for DAO setups but I can deal with them, and the few DA/SA setups I’ve shot I didn’t really care for.

      • First, TTAG does s good job of educating people and maintaining an open forum for a variety of views. Second, the “Rabbi” does a good job of teaching, for the most part. Third, the big problem is that you all are preaching to the converted. Almost all who read TTAG are civil liberties (gun) friendly. That is great, but the anti civil liberties people should read TTAG. That won’t happen.

        On carrying a 1911 or derivative cocked and locked: sometimes as one moves or sits the mechanical hammer block is unintentionally moved off safe position by the movement of one’s flesh.Dangerous to the user. Much as I love the SA semi auto, I feel more comfortable with a DA revolver or a DA,/SA auto such as SIG. Everything is a trade-off.
        From my own experience , try to avoid potentially dangerous dituations in the first place. Easy enough to do but if a predator seeks you out in what you think is a safe environment, you do what you must in the face of imminent danger. So many confrontations have the predator with the advantage of having the drop on the good guy or gal. We all support professional and good policing but LEOs can’t be everywhere and do not have the constitutional duty to protect. Our political elite, including anti Second civil liberties candidates, have 24/7 security. The peasantry does not, which is why many opt for armed self defense. And people wonder why such a Ms Hillary and progressive Dems breed resentment from the yeomanry….m

  20. Here’s my question -and this is the reason I would consider carrying in condition 3- how many times is it safe to chamber and rechamber the same round without firing it? Yeah, I know, rotate the top round, but I find that even loading and unloading magazines tends to dent and deform hollowpoints. (FMJ not so much, but who wants to carry those?) I only make it to the range 3-4 times a year- even if I shoot a box of defense loads each time I go, that’s a lot of rechambering.

    What I’ve been doing is keeping a round in the chamber- even at night and when I’m not carrying (I don’t carry at work). But that won’t work when my son gets a little older, unless I buy a safe (which I don’t have the money for right now).

    If you carry in condition three, that’s less of an issue. Any thoughts?

    • You can get a “Sentry Small-Box Electronic Safe” at Wal-Mart for $39.99.

      It is big enough for full-size pistols, extra magazines, a holster, etc and has a programmable 4-digit security code with key override. I had a friend who said that he couldn’t “afford” a pistol safe. When I asked him if he would buy my Infiniti for $100, could he come up with the money – he eagerly said “of course”.

    • Chambering a round multiple times isn’t an issue so long as it doesn’t effect how far the bullet is seated into the case. I currently carry Hornady Critical Defense (9mm 115-grain FTX bullet) which has distinct markings on the bullet that are barely visible (1mm or less exposed) above the case; As long as I can still see the marks, I don’t have a problem with the round.

      My bigger issue with trusting my ammo is whether the primer and bullet are still bright and shiny brass/copper or look dull and corroded; As this happens well before the chambered rounds get smashed too far into their cases to safely fire, I don’t tend to worry about it, especially considering that the chambered round and the top round of the mag tend to get handled more (and thus dull faster), and thus get switched more often….

  21. @Jin

    Carry your gun however you want – what I’m saying is it makes no sense to carry/have any tool in a state that’s anything but ready to use. Obviously it’s not practical, or safe to carry a pocket knife with the blade open. But by the logic implied by the C3 carry argument – you should carry a piece of blunt metal and a file so that you could sharpen the blunt metal when you needed a knife because carrying a sharp instrument in the first place is just too unsafe. Also, you should not carry a flashlight with batteries in in because of the risk of inadvertently shining it in your eye’s, or someone else’s.

    If your going to let someone push you out of your home then fine. Just like your carry method – that’s your business. Personally, I’m not the type of perosn to tuck my tail between my legs, uproot my family, make my kids change schools, and walk away from acreage we own in wine country (no, I don’t grow grapes) just because some fuckwads decided this was a good place to open business. It may be your modus operandi to cower away but it’s not mine.

    Also, I think there is a distinct difference between moving into an already bad place, and someone moving into a good place and making it bad.

    I’d also add that through working with law enforcement and other agencies, and not giving up, we’ve managed to get the biggest offenders removed form the area; literally kicked out.

    Finally, as to your bigoted remark – when the phrase “fuck you” is used remember that “fuck you” means “go fuck yourself” i.e. “go have sex with yourself.” “Fuck” is the verb, “you” is the noun. “Fuck you” does not mean “fuck me” and to imply that it does only makes you look stupid (no an abnormal state for you I imagine). In this case it also makes you look like a bigot.

    • Amazing how you still miss my point. Let my say this in simple terms, the Truller drill shows that it really doesn’t matter what condition your gun is in, if you let a BG in your OODA loop you are screwed. Step one…. OBSERVE. Step two…. ORIENT (get ready) Step three… Decide (is this a real threat?) Step four… ACT. According to the results of various Truller drills your can face (OBSERVE) your attacker who can be up to 21 feet away armed with a knife or club or whatever and you can be in C1 ready to draw and still be mortally wounded. ( the legal precedent as long been set so please lets not argue that point)

      Also I never said which is better. I said the question is a non starter. Unless you are Rambo who can let a BG get the drop on you then ninja throw them across the room while giving them a double tap in mid air.

      I live in a castle doctrine state. And I will still move if i see threats moving in around me. Call me crazy but even in a gun loving state I would not want to take the chance or pay the cash to defend myself in court. That will cost me more that any moving expense.

      I am glad to hear that you are using the law to solve your problems. More power to you.

      As far as you calling me a bigot… Let me just say I noticed that you are the only one using profanity, and unprovoked at that. Makes you look like “one of those crazy gun nuts ready to shoot your neighbors.” Just saying…

      • @jin

        Point taken. I completely get the point your making and in principal I agree with you. That said – tool in unready state… seems like and odd choice.

        I also have to question if it’s fair to assume that should a BG get the drop on you (which they almost always will) that you’d be rendered completely incapacitated. Is it fair to assume that there is at least the possibility that after being attacked (assuming the threat is still present), or during an attack, you’d have the ability/opportunity to use your weapon to defend yourself/others? If there is the possibility then the question is not entirely a non-starter as having the firearm ready to use would (I think) be the preferred state as opposed to having to rack a slide back while being attacked and/or injured.

        As for moving out of a bad ares – you keep moving, they keep moving where you go and soon you have nowhere “safe” left to go. When does it end?

        My use of profanity has noting to do with you making a bigoted remark and misrepresenting what I said. It also has noting to do with how I’d treat people.

        You said something to the effect of – people should not go to places where they feel the need to carry in C1. That if you feel the place is that dangerous, you should just leave.

        My response to that was “fuck you” because who are you to tell me to leave my home? Who is anyone to tell anyone to leave their home.

        • The thing to keep in mind, is that EVEN IF the perp is inside your “OODA loop” the state of your firearm (whether unloaded, partially loaded, or fully loaded) still matters. You could already have a bullet in you, and your drawing and firing can scare the perp(s) enough to STOP THEM FROM CAUSING MORE DAMAGE.

          Don’t believe me? See this example from Philadelphia that happened within the last 24 hours:

          In short, three urban youths (hereafter referred to as perps) approached two Temple students (hereafter referred to as victims), one of the perps pulled a gun and the three of them demanded the victims’ money. The victims refused, another perp pulled another gun and opened fire at the victims. One of the victims has a valid PA LTCF, and was carrying at the time, and drew his own pistol AFTER ALREADY HAVING BEEN SHOT and returned fire hitting perp who was alleged to have shot first twice.

          In such a situation, I have little confidence that partially-loaded carry would have produced as positive a result.

          • I don’t want to seem like I’m arguing but… you proved my point. Thank you. The BG got in his OODA loop and the VIC took a round in the stomach as a result. Luckily it wasnt a one shot kill.
            Thats all my point was. PLEASE OBSERVE YOUR SURROUNDINGS at all times.

            We will never know the condition of the vics gun. But what ever it was he at least was good enough with it to save his life.

            AGAIN I NEVER SAID WHICH CONDITION IS BEST. I simply stressed that if you don’t observe who’s around you then when it hits the fan you are screwed cause you are already hit (LIKE THE VIC) or the BG has his hand on you gun.(PLEASE SEE ABOVE, man did i call it or what, hours before) Cause you have to default to reactionary response as opposed to proactive.

            • The issue is that observation isn’t foolproof; There is always the possibility that you will not see things that would alarm you (and thus allow you to avoid conflict), just as there is always the possibility that the things you do see won’t raise any red flags until viewed in hindsight.

              Once you have lost the initiative in combat, the first thing you need to do is to make the best use of your strengths to combat your opponent’s weaknesses.

              Thus, as the vast majority of criminals fear death, injury, and imprisonment, your best action is to prove to them that you have the will and the means to stand your ground. The single best tool to use to do this, as we both know, is the firearm.

              Again, in such a situation, your goal is to be able to present the firearm and put it to effective use as quickly, and with as few steps as is physically possible.

              To that end, carrying in any state other than C0 or C1 adds additional steps to get your firearm into a fully ready-to-use state than are absolutely necessitated by mechanical safety concerns that apply to effectively any firearm in good mechanical condition — in effect, the only reasons for carrying in C2/C3 that I have seen in the above comments has its root cause in either Psychological issues and/or mechanical issues — Extrapolating this, the people who carry C3 generally do so because they either distrust their equipment (In which case I recommend training and/or replacement of equipment), and/or they distrust themselves, in which case they need additional training and/or psychological help.

  22. Carry whatever, however, and whenever you are comfortable. Don’t presume to tell other people what to do or how to live, regardless of what you think about soundness of their choices.

  23. I just read all posts and enjoyed the point-counter point discussions very much. You’re all passionate in your convictions which make you all winners in my book. Here’s a twist for all of you to discuss/argue/banter: I carry C3, IWB in cross draw and know that I can draw, point and shoot accurately my Kimber CDP II .45 as quickly as anyone in C1. . . . . . . . Let the bantering begin – I can’t wait for the replies.

    • “I carry C3…and know that I can draw, point and shoot accurately my Kimber CDP II .45 as quickly as anyone in C1…”

      That’s not the point.
      The point is that you can’t draw point and shoot from C3 as fast as YOU can in C1

  24. I carry a revolver most of the time (since I’m in Colorado I feel 357 with hot loads are bear (pun intended) minimum and I don’t have coonan money) I only poped in on this to ask if a condition 3carry person would leave one cylinder on a revolver empty as well?? Because while I have never had to shoot a charging bear or mugger I’d hate to think that extra 1/4 second sliding the slide cost me a follow up shot on a pissed off yogi

  25. For me, it depends on the gun, the carry method, and the situation. When I am carrying my duty weapon, in its assigned holster, it’s condition 1, the way I was trained. If I am carrying my personal carry Glock 33 (.357 Sig compact) I carry condition 3. If I get in a situation I am concerned about, and can do so discretely, I chamber a round. I train with each weapon the way I carry, and I treat every weapon according to the 4 cardinal rules. Training and discipline are the key; It’s not that difficult, if you train and practice accordingly. Good habit patterns and muscle memory. Good luck to all.

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