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“Israeli carry” means carrying your gun with an empty chamber. The name dates back to the beginning of the Jewish state, when Israelis adopted the method due to the farrago of firearms available, many of which were not drop-safe. Not to add an extra step to inhibit bad guys from using a stolen gun on its owner. As most gun gurus will tell you . . .

Israeli carry is a bad idea. Holstering a gun without a round in the chamber adds an extra step to the presentation process that doesn’t need adding, and can get you killed. All modern handguns are drop safe. And racking a gun under duress — a two-handed process — is an invitation to Mr. Murphy.

And yet the TSA blog for September 9th – 15th reveals that the nation’s premier security theater organization . . .

discovered 68 firearms this week in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 68 firearms discovered, 60 were loaded and 10 had a round chambered. All of the firearms pictured (above) were discovered in the last week.

Is that sample representative of the average Joe’s carry condition? No se. But it’s worrying. Meanwhile, please don’t get to thinking that the TSA are a bunch of overweight, unarmed, blue-shirted, heartless, gun-grabbing goons (perish the thought). They’re friendly!

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000.

This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

And still faced the permanent loss of their gun rights, depending on what state they were in when they were asked to step to one side. Stupid people doing stupid things in a stupid place, to be sure. But gun rights gone? That ain’t right. Yes?




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  1. The empty chamber would make a little more sense to me if these were guns that weren’t really depended on for immediate self defense, but instead just transported. For example, if you had placed a gun in a duffel to take with you on a road trip as a second gun or something. Maybe you put a mag in it, but you might not chamber a round.

    Eh, I don’t know. I’m kind of reaching here.

    • Actually CarlosT I think you are on the mark. The few times that I transported a handgun off-body in a backpack, dufflebag, etc., I purposely carried it with an empty chamber in order to be absolutely certain that it could not discharge due to something snagging the trigger.

      We can hope that 5 out of 6 people are that safety conscious, right?

    • We’re talking about people stupid enough to try to go through an X-ray machine with a gun. God only knows what, or if, they were thinking. My guess is these are not people I would want shooting beside me at the range.

      I’m not handing out any safety awards here. Having guns in places you don’t know about does not a responsible gun owner make.

    • If people are dumb enough to carry gun into an airport today, then they are dumb enough to be “Israel carrying” too I guess.

      But what we all really NEED to know is how many people tried to “Mexican carry” their guns onto a plane last year? Yeehaw!!!

  2. “discovered 68 firearms this week in carry-on bags around the nation”

    68 gun owners had brain cramps in one week? Doesn’t sound like any gun people I know. Any Fed leo involved?

    • 68 guns found, 60 loaded and 10 with a round in the chamber? This must be the new kind of math. 60+10=68

      • What’s so hard about this?
        60 of the guns were loaded, i.e. there was ammo in the magazine.
        10 of the 60 loaded guns had a round in the pipe.
        50 of the 60 loaded guns had no round in the pipe.

      • It wasn’t an addition problem but rather a given ratio. Of the 60 guns out of 68 that were loaded 10 were chambered.

  3. Transportation Security Administration: the nation’s premier security theater organization.

    I love it!

    They should start displaying that on recruitment posters.

  4. Maybe there is something wrong with me but I know where all my children are at all times and the condition they are in. None of my children leave the house without being in condition 1 or 1.5. I simply cannot imagine what kind of special stupid it takes to bring a firearm to a TSA checkpoint regardless of condition.

  5. Thanks for my word of the day. I did not know what ‘farrago’ was for the the last 50 years somehow. In fact I can’t even recall ever seeing it before.

  6. The article states these firearms were found in carry on bags. So I don’t think you can extrapolate that to what condition Americans are carrying on person.

    • Agreed.

      IF I were silly enough to carry a firearm off-body in a bag, I would also carry with an empty chamber, since I have small children. Which is why I would not carry off-body.

  7. reading comprehension is important. THESE WERE CARRY ON BAGS. they were not on the person. completely different. you have to stow it anyway so its not going to be readily available in the first place. slow news day i guess. i see that as a good thing for us.

    • And with the charges that many airlines have for checked baggage I am betting that the majority if not all of these bags would be the type that is normally checked and not carry-on, i.e. containing the traveler’s clothing and similar stuff. Not a backpack or purse with a laptop, phone, reading / work material, etc.

  8. On a more serious note …

    The Transportation Security Administration would actually be an asset to us (in my opinion) if they restricted their screening to only look for explosives. And to do that, all they really need are explosive chemical screeners and detection dogs. They don’t need imaging technology nor metal detectors … just chemical sniffers of both the technological and canine variety.

    That would actually reduce the delays and other silliness and add value to travel.

    • Are you outta of your mind you some kind of efficiency expert? It would cost less, have the benefits described and most likely work. You should be throw in the pit for the suggestion.

    • Important explanation about restricting TSA screening only for explosives:

      Let people carry concealed handguns onto airplanes. We already know that a person with a handgun cannot bring down an airplane. (They can neither depressurize the cabin, compromise the structural integrity of the airplane, nor take out an engine.)

      If a violent criminal decides to start shooting, the dozen or so passengers within arm’s reach will be “hands on” before he/she can fire eight shots … and those eight shots would be in random directions at that rate of fire radically decreasing the potential lethality of any wounds to passengers.

      If a violent criminal wanted to place carefully aimed shots on passengers to increase the probability of inflicting mortal wounds, their rate of fire would be much slower (perhaps one shot per second?) and surrounding passengers would be “hands on” before the violent attacker could attempt to harm more than two or three people.

      Remember, if a violent attacker is determined to kill people, they can accomplish it. They could bring a Garrote wire onto an airplane and easily deliver life-ending wounds to multiple people before anyone would have any idea what they were doing. They could bring a small vial of poison onto an airplane and poison multiple people’s drinks. They could deliver a simple “haymaker” sucker-punch to an unsuspecting person and kill them. They could bring improvised stabbing tools onto the plane that do not appear to be stabbing tools and deliver life-ending injuries to multiple people before anyone knows what is going on. Or they could do whatever they want off of the plane.

      • Every time i see the security line, containing several planes’ worth of people, I cannot fvckin contain my urge to tell the TSA goons how stupid they look.

      • @uncommon_sense, while one hijacker’s rate of fire might be compromised, that’s not true for a gang of the bastards. Back in the day before passenger screening, teams of six or more armed bad guys had no problems seizing airplanes.

      • “That probably won’t detect things like TATP.”

        Damn straight.

        TATP is triacetone triperoxide.

        Acetone and hydrogen peroxide are common makeup chems a whole lot of women carry in travel kits.

        TATP is the main reason you have the ‘4-ounce rule’ the TSA enforces…

  9. I keep hearing how it is dangerous not to have a round chambered, but haven’t seen a good answer to the following:

    Very many striker-fired pistols don’t have a safety that can be disengaged effectively on the draw – so, the safety is left disengaged all the time. Doesn’t that mean, though, that you have a light trigger pull on a gun that is ready to go? Isn’t that the equivalent of having a 1911 that is cocked but NOT locked? The 1911-style pistols have two safeties for exactly this reason, right?

    So, why would I carry a 1911 with two safeties (mitigating the risk of having a SA trigger & round in the chamber) but carry a striker-fired pistol without any safety at all?

    • Short of pulling the trigger there’s no way for the gun to go off.

      So if it’s holstered, or at least has a trigger guard cover, one could literally do anything to the weapon and it won’t fire.

        • I can help here.

          The story you referred to is known as a lie.

          The gun did not “go off” in the holster. It went off in the officer’s hand when he pulled the trigger. Then, he lied about what happened.

          Any questions?

        • Curtis – Source? I’d like the link so I can confirm. Or are you spouting off without any facts. Anyone that thinks under no circumstances can a gun “go off” in a holster is delusional. Very rare, sure. But even a shirt corner getting caught in a holster has caused more than one ND.

        • Ponder the odds.

          Scenario 1: Police officer lied to cover up his dumbassery and save his job, his pension and his department’s reputation.

          Scenario 2: Police officer was walking around with his shirt tail tucked into his holster, until a “struggle” ensued with a 13-yr-old girl and said shirt tail suddenly pulled the Glock trigger. Bang.

          I’ll let you calculate the odds of each.

    • Striker fired pistols have multiple safeties. They are disengaged automatically when the trigger is properly pulled. One must be familiar with their particular weapon and how those safeties work. And then there is the final safety, Rule No. 4.

    • Bryan,

      You asked an excellent question and Jeff O and Gman pretty much covered all the relevant points.

      If you carry a striker-fired pistol in a good holster that fits properly, stays on the gun, and covers the trigger, that pistol will never go “Bang!” unless the operator pulls it out and squeezes the trigger.

      • Which helps to underscore the point that safety is a system, and the most important component is located between the ears of the operator.

  10. If the gun is just sitting in a bag, the surprising thing to me is not that some don’t have a round chambered, it’s that some actually have a full mag in them at all.

    • Agreed. If I’m carrying a gun that I’m currently not using for self defense, I make the gun safe and carry it magazine out, and slide open if possible in its case or box.

      Obviously we are dealing with a sampling of gun owners, selected for their lack of consciousness of where their firearms are located so this isn’t that surprising.

  11. ‘Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide.’

    Well then, so much for a jury of your peers.

    • Not really, Gov. The law enforcement officer has the discretion on whether to write a summons or make an arrest. That starts the process that ends up with the person being judged by a jury of their peers.

      • I realize the intent, but it could have been worded better. Then again, if he’s said ‘that’s up to a jury of their peers’ it would have implied that everyone gets arrested.

      • Except that we’re talking about TSA types. You know the kind. They take a woman’s nail file because it has a pointy end.

  12. Am I anal or weird or something? Even when I leave the range, all mags and cylinders are filled and all weapons are back in condition 1 or 1.5. Heck, if you’ve got 5 guns at the range, why not have them available just in case you need them? I have dedicated range mags and dedicated self defense mags and yet I fill them all before going anywhere.

    • Gman,

      Well, that is an interesting topic. I have heard stories about criminals who rob people as they leave a shooting range since the people leaving the range are virtually guaranteed to have a high-value item (handgun).

      I would not be so concerned about having range guns and their magazines loaded as having your everyday-carry self-defense handgun loaded and ready for deployment as you leave the range.

      If you were shooting your everyday-carry handgun at the range, then give it enough time to cool down and re-holster before you leave. And if your range prohibits such activity, then either find a new range or acquire a second (identical if at all possible) everyday-carry handgun that you keep ready (and concealed) for self-defense as you exit the range.

      Bonus: this is a great excuse to acquire a second identical self-defense firearm! Of course having a backup gun is a great idea regardless because your primary self-defense handgun could fail and you would be unarmed while waiting for repair. Or worse, if you had to use it for self-defense, the police would most likely take it as evidence which means it would not be available to you until disposition of legal proceedings. Having a backup gun in that situation would be most handy.

      • My carry guns gets fired every week at the range, along with a plethora of whatever peaks our fancy to bring along. I step up to the plate and lay out the choices de-jour and all associated ammo. I draw my EDC and eject the mag and chambered round. Those I place to the side and use my range mags. Yes, before you ask, I do cycle all mags to ensure operability. At the end of our session, I reload my EDC and put it back in my holster. I always keep enough extra range rounds to refill all the mags on hand. Once a quarter, I use my self defense ammo to keep it fresh and make sure the mags function and that my gun still likes to eat good ammo. Even our .22’s are refilled before leaving. Call me paranoid, but just in case the parking lot is filled with zombies, I really think it’s prudent to have all weapons on hand ready to go (bang). Funny you mention EDC backup. Generally I carry my BHP for which I simply have not found another to my liking. Yet I also have a pair of Sig SP2022’s in .40 and my wife and daughter have duplicate SR9c’s and SR40c’s. So we think alike.

  13. Sorry RF I don’t care. Have Your Shite Together. I don’t see a correlation between Israeli carry and…anything. An idiot carries a loaded gun with it chambered in the airport-whether encased or on his person. I have a tiny bit of sympathy for a distracted doofus who just “forgot” he had a gun in his bag.Not chambered. Oh yeah we HOPE everything is dropsafe-until it’s not.

    • I don’t understand all this talk about drop safe. No, I am not infallible, and yes I drop stuff all the time. But guns are not stuff, and I DON’T drop THEM. Is dropping guns a real problem in our community?

      • Oh yes. There have been plenty of AD’s of guns that were dropped, and since the advent of the Glock system, many discharges while people were fumbling for a gun that they were in the process of dropping.

        Back when the Colt 1873 SAA was “the” preferred sidearm for folks, it was well known that you never carried with all six chambers loaded. If you drop a SAA with a round under the hammer and it hits with the hammer down, it will go off.

        Solving this issue was what propelled Bill Ruger into the top tier of US gunmakers so quickly after they entered what was otherwise an already well-served market: They made a cowboy gun that looked and acted like the real deal, but you could safely carry six loaded.

        • SEE: Taurus multimillion $ settlement too. And every cheap “ring of fire” zamak masterpiece…

        • “If you drop a SAA with a round under the hammer and it hits with the hammer down, it will go off.”

          That also applies to the tiny NAA mini-revolver.

          I’ve personally come across 2 people who carry the NAA mini in the last 10 years or so that didn’t know you should rest the hammer of the NAA in the tiny ‘notch’ between cylinders.:

        • See now I consider this, and the subsequent examples, not as ADs but as NDs. The gun did not fire in and of itself. The discharge was aided by negligent handling. What is up with all this gun dropping anyway? I have never dropped any of my children on their heads (hammers) ever.

        • That NAA safety slot is similar to a reproduction of the Remington cap and ball revolver I used to have. This is the revolver used by Clint Eastwood in many of his Sergio Leoni westerns. It had similar notches in the cylinder for the hammer to rest in. You could safely carry six loaded rounds. You could also carry a spare loaded cylinder for a fairly fast reload.

  14. Stupid people, stupid places, stupid things, stupid writing, stupid reader, stupid stupid stupid.

    Every person that uses some stupid form of the above is a perfect example of whatever they are trying to explain (yes, including me).

    Go stupid yourself.

  15. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home.

    Somebody sent this memo to the criminals and terrorists too right?? Did they get the memo?

  16. Once upon a time, pre TBA I set off a metal detector while going through security at the airport. Pretty sure I looked completely ridiculous checking my hip and then my pockets until I found the small mag light I had forgotten was in my suit coat pocket!

  17. These are guns found in carry-on bags, not holsters on hips. That ain’t “Israeli carry”, it’s “safe transport”.

      • I’m assuming that most of them forgot they had the gun in the bag, or used the bag for a range trip six weeks ago, or whatever. I doubt that very many of them carry the luggage in question around with them for EDC.

        In any case, I’d say your assumption that this is the normal mode of carry for these idiots would mean that you’re the one assuming they meant to take the gun on the plane, wouldn’t it? If this was their regular carry mode (an unloaded gun in a shoulder bag), they’d be more likely to be aware that it was in the bag. People who carry every day generally tend to keep track of where their carry piece is.

        EIther way, they’re still morons for not checking all their luggage thoroughly for any “contraband” items before trying to take it on a plane. Israeli carry may be inadvisable, but not checking your bags before you get to the airport is straight-up idiotic.

        • I really don’t see why we’re name calling the these folks. 1.73 million people fly every day, that’s 12.11 million a week. 68 of them made a mistake and got caught. That’s .000056%. Now I don’t know or have any way of knowing how many of those people are POTG but if we assume 10% (I’d hazard a guess that this is a lowball) are POTG and traveling that’s 1.211 million POTG a week of which 68 (that we know of) made this mistake that’s .00056%.

          That’s actually pretty damn good for a species that isn’t perfect about anything.

          On top of that, I doubt most of these people are stupid. They’re likely tired, stressed and in a hurry and they’re making a simple mistake. While I don’t care much for “off body carry” I can understand why the “business warrior” puts a gun in their bag rather than on their hip, it ups the concealability factor in the office.

          Should they check their bag explicitly for a gun before going to the airport? Yes. We should all do a complete walk around safety inspection of our cars, like a pilot does with a plane, each time we’re about to drive them but how many of us actually do that? Nearly none. There’s a zillion things we all should do very regularly but don’t. Then there’s the things we should be doing that we mostly get right but sometimes life interferes with our best laid plans.

          Calling these people idiots doesn’t help the situation nor does it change the fact that human beings get distracted and make mistakes and that there is no remedy for this.

      • “Y’all are assuming that they meant to carry a gun onto a plane. I guess.”
        I cannot for the life of me comprehend ANY circumstance under which a responsible gun owner would ever “forget” they had a firearm while transiting a TSA checkpoint. Perhaps we need to readdress your previous post about what makes a responsible gun owner. Or maybe what does not.

        Oh, and though Texas is technically south of the MD line, your use of Y’all seems out of place for us real southerners :).

  18. How many of these are in bags or purses without a holster?

    Condition 3 makes a little more sense in that case.

  19. Israeli carry is safe from a negligent discharge point of view. Obviously it is slower from a self-defense standpoint, but… If enough people Israeli carry, odds are good somebody will have time to chamber a round and respond after the first victim but before the second or third.

    So if you play the odds, Israeli carry may work for you. I also think new carriers start with Israeli carry and work up to a loaded chamber.

    • Thank you! For the record, I am for round-in-the-chamber, but I am tired of internet gun experts trying to make themselves look smart by decrying so-called “Israeli carry.” For one thing, it didn’t originate in Israel. William Fairbain, one of the biggest bad-asses who ever lived, mandated it for the Shanghai police. Later, the Israeli Mossad used it and also the Russian Spetsnaz. These are three groups that have certainly been in more gunfights than all the current internet gun experts combined. And it did not have as much to do with guns being drop-safe. It was the simple recognition that you cannot have an ND of any kind without a round in the chamber and NDs can be as hazardous to you health, and the health of innocents around you as a bad guy with a gun.

      • IIRC the method developed for the Shanghai PD was specifically due to the fact that most officers were not well versed in handling a pistol and that they had a fairly diverse set of pistols on the force at the time.

        Fairbairn’s idea was a simple and effective way to standardize safety training without spending a ton of time or money standardizing the PD’s weaponry. It didn’t matter what autoloader the trainee was carrying the system worked for all of them.

        • He also disabled the thumb safety. But he was very clear that these were measures taken because his force was unfamiliar with firearms use and had minimal training. Bill Wilson has one of the originals from the Shanghai Municipal Police and it was great to be able to handle and inspect it during the last course I took with him. His collection alone is worth the price of the course .

  20. So many ways to have your 2nd ammendment right stripped. What other rights can be stripped without actually imprisoning a person? How about the 3rd? Imagine the army moving into your guest bedroom.

  21. I suggest a blend of cultures — Israeli-Mexican Carry with a New York Reload. It’s the best of everything, like a gefilte fish and fajitas pizza.

  22. The TSA doesn’t know it’s own rules.

    Once I was traveling with an SKS in a case and a backpack. The case was kinda cheap, the kind you could easily bust the locks off of and I had 60-70 rounds for it that had conveniently come on strippers. So, I being young, stupid and trying to enhance safety I removed the bolt from the rifle, wrapped it in paper towel, placed it in a zip lock bag and tossed it in my backpack. Rifle disabled, safety enhanced.

    TSA actually found the bolt on Xray and asked what it was. I told them and all hell broke loose. Long story short the manager of the check point understood what I did and why so he let me go after I put the bolt in my rifle case (which the airline had to find and bring back up to the counter). The whole process took hours and during that time the manager told me they were trying to determine if they could let me go or were required to have me arrested. They flipped through a multi-inch thick book of rules, called a shift super over, called in a super super who wasn’t at work, it was a mess. And they never did figure out what the rules actually were. They literally gave up and let me go.

    Probably the only reason I didn’t get royally fucked is because this was a small, regional airport that wasn’t busy and they all understood I was trying (and failing) to help with security. I missed my flight and had to catch another but at least I didn’t get a federal charge. The TSA people actually thanked me repeatedly for trying to enhance safety and apologized for the inconvenience.

    TSA doesn’t know it’s own rules and can’t find it’s own ass with both hands, a flashlight and a roadmap.

  23. Manual safety and hip holster: round in the chamber.
    No manual safety and pocket holster: empty chamber.

    I’m not winning any quick draw contests anyway.

  24. Israeli carrier here! I carry a perfectly safe 1911 that I feel perfectly safe carrying with one in the chamber, but the looks and comments I got when people saw the hammer back made me self-conscience. I work in the gun industry among “professionals” and they gave me so much shit that eventually I decided I had to stop. I debate every day if I should go with one in the chamber or not, no offense to the Glock fan boys, but if I had a Glock I would not, but I feel perfectly safe with a 1911 with one in the chamber, but not everyone knows about guns and a hammer cocked makes them nervous. Maybe a compromise would be one in the chamber with the hammer down?

    • “Maybe a compromise would be one in the chamber with the hammer down?”
      No sir. That is likely not a safe way to carry your 1911. Refer to the owner’s manual. Ruger and Colt specifically warn against that method of carry.
      Carry it as it was meant to be and continue to inform people of the right way.

  25. First off I agree with everyone who said “how would one forget they have a gun in a bag”. If you are so careless that you can’t keep track of your guns then you need to rethink being a gun owner, It’s not for everyone.

    And on Israeli carry -if you don’t feel comfortable carrying a gun with a round in the chamber then you shouldn’t be carrying a gun period.

    Carrying a gun isn’t for everybody either.

  26. Larry Robertson,
    You are 100% wrong
    I carry a gun every day, empty chamber, loaded mag
    I shoot it every month
    I practice drawing, racking and shooting
    I will say Israeli style is slower by 2 seconds
    But it is far safer as an n d is impossible with an empty chamber
    I handle my gun twice every day, and it cannot go off with an empty chamber
    You can talk about ” the best safety is between your ears” but n d’s can happen to even the most careful person
    I have come down on the side of safer carry and accept the 2 second penalty

    • Massad Ayoob agrees with me.


      I’ve been carrying for over 20 years. No NDs/ADs here. Not saying it cant happen but I am confident and aware of everything I do with my gun.

  27. now ah reckon ahm new to all this, but i looked at sum articles on that ‘israeli carry’, an’ ah had these thoughts:

    “All modern handguns are drop safe”
    – a gun with no round in the chamber cannot fire when dropped
    – a gun with no round in the chamber cannot go off ifn yer piece snags on a piece of furnature, or a seatbelt, or a door frame, or gittin’ some object caught in the trigger guard

    “And racking a gun under duress — a two-handed process — is an invitation to Mr. Murphy.”
    – pullin’ a gun frum concealment, under duress, is a two-handed process and an a’ invitatin to Mr. murphy
    – lernin’ to rack on the draw is a skill, jes like all them other gun skills
    – – pullin’ from conealment, yer other hand is right at yer gun, an’ rackin’ is pretty easy from there
    – – practice, practice, practice
    – – ifn yer target kin kill you in less than 1.5 secons, ya ain’t got a chance, noway
    – – ifn yer target kin kill you in less than 2 secons, ya might have a chance
    – – ifn ya switch carry guns much, the ‘israeli method’ might be helpful

    jes sayin’

  28. if I Didn’t already have a beautiful English to carry, I have seen many a beautiful Israeli I’d like to carry…………

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