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Press release:

AUSTIN, TX – We at SCC have made our opposition to UT-Austin’s proposed empty-chamber requirement loud and clear. As we’ve repeatedly stated, carrying a semiautomatic handgun with an empty chamber flies in the face of the standard training offered by every U.S. firearms school, police academy, and military branch. In fact, we know of only one professional fighting force that regularly carries semiautomatic handguns with empty chambers—the Israeli army (hence, this method of carry has come to be known as “Israeli” carry). However, before proponents of UT-Austin’s proposed empty-chamber requirement begin pointing to the Israeli army as proof that this method of carry works, they should take a look at . . .

the totality of the Israeli method and ask themselves whether this is truly the method they want to see implemented at Texas colleges . . .

Unlike all U.S. methods of carry, which were designed with the goal of using minimal force (or, preferably, only the threat of force) and incurring zero collateral damage (i.e., dead or wounded bystanders), the Israeli method was developed as an assassination technique and later adapted for rapidly stopping terrorist attacks by suicide bombers and the like.

Proper aiming is made difficult, nay, impossible by the need to draw the weapon and immediately rack the slide (as opposed to the U.S. method of drawing the weapon and immediately bringing the sights into line with the shooter’s dominant eye).

The idea behind the Israeli method is to fire as many shots as possible as quickly as possible, without pausing to aim, hesitating to assess whether the threat has been neutralized, or stopping to consider where missed shots may strike. In many ways, it bears more resemblance to the shooting style adopted by U.S. gang members—including sometimes firing with the handgun held in a sideways cant—than to the shooting techniques used by U.S. law enforcement.

In a June 2003 article for Soldier of Fortune magazine (it’s not one of the periodicals we subscribe to, but we tracked down a copy), police/SWAT firearms instructor Jim Shults breaks down the Israeli shooting method, which was a short-lived fad in the U.S., and explains its many shortcomings. Here are a few notable excerpts:

All of the U.S. techniques teach that you draw a loaded and chambered pistol and – depending on the instant threat – either fire or present the pistol as a threat with your finger off the trigger (which can be reached and functioned in a tiny fraction of a second if necessary). The Israeli method trains that once you draw, you immediately begin firing – and fire a lot.

There is no gun-presenting to show some idiot 20 feet from you that you want him and his friends to go away. Nope, when you draw “Israeli-style” you start blasting. Remember, you will fight like you train. If trained to immediately fire after the draw, odds are great you will do just that.

No U.S. technique or U.S. instructor teaches that you shoot every time you draw unless you see an instant and deadly threat which can instantly reach you; a guy with a knife 25 feet away from you is not a draw-and-shoot threat.

In all U.S. firearm schools (military, SpecOps, law enforcement and civilian), aiming is taught. This is not precise target-aiming. We are talking about getting the front and rear sights on the target and firing, if necessary. With very little training this can be accomplished nearly instantly. Okay, it’s the heat of a life and death battle and you start shooting with the nifty Israeli instinctive-shooting training (not aiming).

Assuming you survive and win the fight, try to explain to a judge and jury, with the “encouragement” of the prosecutor and police officers, that those shots you sprayed over the landscape smashing into cars, buildings – and bystanders – were the result of you taking a “Mossad” course on how not to aim your pistol.

It takes no talent to fire and hit a bad guy 3 feet away, unless you still have to chamber a round. Up-close a blind man can get hits, but just 4 or 5 yards can make all the difference in any real accuracy in the “crap your pants”-pressure of a gunfight. As John Farnam states when talking about aiming, “You can never shoot fast enough to make up for misses in a gunfight.” One of the basic elements taught in American schools is to draw quickly and shoot slowly (relatively) because only hits count.

The Israeli slide-manipulation method is a disaster in waiting. I guarantee you that in a once-in-a-lifetime, “holy-crap”-panic, self-defense encounter, the odds of you drawing your empty pistol, rotating it, pulling it to your shoulder while precisely gripping the rear of the slide with your fingers, properly chambering and getting it running is – Mission Impossible!

Real life isn’t a gun range; there is no rehearsal. What if you miss the grip and thrust out a pistol with nothing in the chamber? What if you don’t get a good enough grip on it to fully rack the slide (short-racking)? Sure, none of us have ever done that. What about a misfeed and you thrust the pistol out with a stoppage? In the heat of battle you will not notice the problem until you try to fire; whoops, too late. Besides, what kind of idiot brings an “unloaded” pistol to a gunfight?


ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.orgor For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit

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  1. This requirement seems unenforceable for concealed carriers without frequent frisks, and even for open carriers, how would an officer have probbable cause to check? There’s a lot of this going around; regardless of political leanings I wish we could at least restrict laws to those that are enforceable.

      • Nope. The UTPD won’t trust a concealed carrier to clear their own weapon. The officer will be the one trying to clear what is likely an unfamiliar weapon, with likely predictable results. While the UTPD is an actual armed police force, I have serious doubts that their firearms training is anywhere near comprehensive enough for them to safely clear any and every semiauto pistol they encounter.

  2. The same idea behind the New York City police with the 12lb trigger. Intended to stop a ND; but it actually creates an environment for a bunch of missed shots hitting innocent by-standers.

  3. The premise seams to be that if you don’t have the time to train, don’t have the presence of mind to rack the slide, then you don’t have the skills or the presence of mind to use deadly force appropriately.

    The middle part about doing an “Israeli” un-aimed, gangster style, mag dump is a non-sequitur to that core concept.

    Either way (chambered or not) if you are going to open or concealed carry, training better be part of your week. Locked and cocked with an appropriate holster is what you are *supposed* to do, but not everybody does. (cue toddler pulling gun out of hand-bag horror story). Not every pistol has 2+ levels of safeties either. Drop and/or trigger and/or grip and/or thumb

  4. A cabal of hoplophobic bureaucrats setting policy/regulation/legislation over a thing none of them understand even fundamentally.

    Why would anyone expect anything else?

    Worse than virgins teaching sex. We have virgins policing sex.

  5. I agree with Shire-man. The folks who know nothing about guns are talking about gun safety. How stupid is that? If you feel less comfortable with a ready round, so be it. I did when I first started carrying. No longer. And since I carry two different SA forms of the venerable JMB designs, the only way to carry is locked, cocked, and ready to rock.

  6. Proper aiming is impossible if you have to rack the slide? Absolutely it’s slower, but impossible?

    Most of the rest of the article is kind of silly. There’s nothing inherent in the practice of carrying unchambered that mandates the kind of spray-and-pray shooting described here, and vice versa. Both may be methods used by the Israelis, but there’s not much of a connection between the two. They could just as easily train their people to shoot precise double-taps and still mandate unchambered carry, or allow them to carry with a round in the pipe and still blast away to slide lock (aka NYPD style).

    There are plenty of better arguments against Israeli carry than this, and most of them are in the last paragraph of the article, so why waste time on the bogus argument about how the Israeli military trains?

    • Thanks for helping me not feel like an idiot. I had the same confusion.

      The logical reach here is a bridge too far and I suspect will get destroyed by a Philosophy 101 student. SCC has been working hard for a long time to build some level of authority. In this once instance I fear they will learn the meaning of “a lifetime to build, a moment to destroy.”

      There is a lot to make Israeli difficult to use, but moving directly to blind fire isn’t one of them.

  7. The policy is not lawful (UT has no statutory authority to regulate the manner of ammunition load-out in a lawfully carried firearm), and is likewise unenforceable. If I were carrying on a UT campus, I would simply ignore the policy.

    • That’s what I’ve been saying. The legislation in question grants them only the authority to designate where on campus property that carry is permissible and were it is not – it has no authority to dictate methods of carry beyond the scope already stipulated in the the legislation concerning carry in general – that is to say, in a waist or shoulder holster [period].

  8. That’s an awful lot of impassioned rhetoric. But then again, any group that begins with “Student For….” Is bound to be.

    Karate vs Hapkido? Aikido vs Krav Maga? Peterbuilt vs Mac? Ford vs Dodge?

    It fun to watch video of someone who has shot thousands and thousands of rounds with a LOADED chamber, then to disprove the speed/effectiveness of empty-chamber carry, they practice a handful of times before the camera rolls and say, “I told ya so!”.

    I carry with an empty chamber. I don’t care if others do or not. It’s what I do. They can do as the please. I might submit an article or video for a possible counterpoint. I don’t care to argue, but saying ‘if you don’t have one in the pipe, your gonna die first no matter what’ is an irresponsible approach.

    “No U.S. technique or U.S. instructor teaches that you shoot every time you draw unless you see an instant and deadly threat which can instantly reach you”.

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but this is totally illegal in my state (Oregon). Pulling your weapon and NOT firing is called ‘brandishing’, and they take it seriously.

    TTAG, I’ll be in touch.


    • Correct me if i’m wrong, but this is totally illegal in my state (Oregon). Pulling your weapon and NOT firing is called ‘brandishing’, and they take it seriously.

      You’re wrong.

      Brandishing requires the display/threat of force to be unlawful. Following your logic, a good 2/3 of defensive gun uses would be considered inherently unlawful, because they do not involve discharge of the defensive firearm.

    • The “what” isn’t most people’s issue, it’s the “why…”

      Leaving out the “cause I want to” or “it’s just a fast as one in the chamber” comments, only explaining the “why” of it…Then all you’re left with is the lack of confidence in ablity.

    • “I carry with an empty chamber. I don’t care if others do or not. It’s what I do. They can do as the please. “

      Good for you.

      Now, imagine a policy on public property mandating how you carry. The issue is not what individuals choose to do; the problem is the centralization of the decision…everyone must do it this way or that.

      There are many reasons why mandating empty chamber for otherwise lawful carry is a bad idea, and number one among them is exactly what you wrote…your carry, your choice, so my carry should be my choice as well.

      The fundamental problem here is the removal of individual choice from matters of life and death and the underlying cultural belief that those decisions are best made by politicians and committees.

    • I agree with Chip. It isn’t the not firing that constitutes brandishing. It’s the lack of legal justification to threaten someone with deadly force in the first place that does.

      In Texas, the legal justification, that is, the on the ground circumstances, for threatening deadly force (whether verbally, raising your shirt to reveal your sidearm, or otherwise threatening even without actually drawing) is identical to that for actually firing your sidearm.

      Given that, CHL students will often, sometimes facetiously, sometimes seriously, ask whether once they draw, do they then have to go ahead and shoot the guy? I tell them no, and that my interpretation of the statute is that if you don’t have justification even to threaten deadly force, then you don’t have justification to use deadly force. It isn’t a matter of once I threaten, then I must use; but rather, don’t even threaten, unless you’re ready to use.

  9. This is a complete mischaracterization of the Israeli carry/draw method. The gun is NOT shot sideways like “gangsta” style. It is often racked in the sideways position, but always brought back to bear in a normal, uncanted position. See here:

    Also, the Israelis do not teach any type of spray and pray or pointshooting. The gun is brought to bear with both hands and the sights are used in a standard isosceles stance. Israelis aren’t idiots, and whether you agree that empty chamber carry is a bad technique or not, what follows the draw and rack is completely the same as American styles of shooting.

  10. Sorry, folks, one more:

    “Unlike all U.S. methods of carry, which were designed with the goal of using minimal force (or, preferably, only the threat of force) and incurring zero collateral damage (i.e., dead or wounded bystanders), the Israeli method was developed as an assassination technique and later adapted for rapidly stopping terrorist attacks by suicide bombers and the like.”

    This is the same argument against AR\AK rifles “They were designed for killing-we dont need it.”

    “It’s more assassinier, and has more killness, and is more lethalier”.

    Stupid arguments.

  11. I’m not sure I follow here, drawing then chambering a round necessitates turning the gun sideways and dumping the mag?

    Better read it again

  12. I would have to disagree that a guy with a knife 25 feet away is not a draw-and-shoot threat. 25 feet can be covered a lot faster than people think and a lot of dead officers, some stabbings have been filmed, would disagree with the statement if they could. I would say that said person MAY NOT be a threat, but there’s a lot of other variables to consider.

    • Reminds me of a fun game to play at the range (if there is space). Have a buddy act as an attacker with a knife, yet he holds a rock or any other hand held object. You start the game with you and your buddy shoulder to shoulder, you face downrange with your carry gun holstered and he faces the opposite direction. Then have your buddy run as fast as he can without warning. Thats when you draw and fire twice (double tap). Your buddy drops whatever he has in his hand when he hears the first shot (to mark distance until your first shot), and stops running when he hears the second shot. Even your slowest friend will cover a scary amount of distance before any shots are fired.

    • Ding ding ding. At 25ft any closure of that distance while maintaining aggression is going to put the victim in a bad spot. My training was very specific about that. If you let them get to 21ft before you start shooting you’re getting into the zone where you’re becoming more and more likely to be injured or killed by your attacker even if you are able to deliver a lethal hit before the distance is completely closed. Stand 25 feet from me and threaten me with a knife, fine, I’ll present and we can deal with the situation as the attacker decides to continue. If you’re moving toward me with that knife things are going to get loud and right now. 25ft with a knife is already too close.

      It’s also a fact that most DGU’s take place at conversational distances which are much closer than 25 feet. If I could have even the likelihood of 25 feet of space existing when I become aware that I’m under attack I’d probably start carrying a knife instead much of the time. Any attack (excluding firearm attacks) starting at 25 feet away doesn’t seem like it’s being carried out by someone that’s liable to be successful at all in his goal regardless of my initial defense posture. At the very least he has no idea about the benefits of surprise and might be in for one.

    • I read it as it’s not a draw and SHOOT threat…necessarily.

      The essence of the Tueller Drill is that you can’t draw AND shoot in the time it takes the person to close the distance, not shoot a drawn weapon.

      So, I THINK what the author is saying that if faced with a knife armed attacker at 25 ft, draw the weapon, but you don’t necessarily HAVE to shoot immediately. Drawn and presented, you can get a shot off if he advances, but you don’t necessarily have to fire while he’s still at 25 ft if he’s just standing there.

      So, IF (big if) someone is training to draw and fire every time, without a sort of continual threat assessment, that’s not good. Draw and present and be ready for any further movement is one thing. Drawing and firing without “thinking” is something else. At least I think that what the author is getting at.

    • Some “Religious Extremist” with a sword yelling and trying/wanting to cut peoples heads off can be well over 25 feet away and I would take the shot. If the whole distance thing it’s that big of an issue I’ll walk back and pickup my spent casings and toss them in a nearby garbage bin. If the officers ask why I collected the spent casings and disposed of them, I’ll just say I didn’t want to get a fine for littering. If he asked where they were or how far away was the threat, I’ll simply simile and use my right to remain silent.

  13. Just to clarify, in the U.S. Military, the general rule in most Forward Operating Bases is that all service members “Israeli Carry” or Condition 3 their firearms. When I started to carry as a civilian, it took me a while to break that habit and carry Condition 1.

    • Although that is the way we would carry while on the COP or FOB (unless we were actively on force protection duties), we would always chamber a round in all weapons prior to steeping outside the wire.

  14. There was a nice video here on TTAG of a couple of hoodlums attempting to rob what looked like an internet cafe; the two of them couldn’t cover the scene completely.
    What looked like an OFWG patron, stood up, pulled his piece, and opened up on the rapscallions; probably still would’ve been the same result if a round needed to be chambered first, but in that instance having to do so might’ve made him a target and subsequently a casualty rather than a ‘hero’.

  15. Meh. I can rack and shoot very quickly. Practice. Sure it is quicker with one in the pipe but look at all the “professional PO-leece” who manage to shoot themselves or bystanders with their GLOCK brand GLOCK or similar safety deficient gunz…much ado about nothing.

    • Well, it is irritating, it’s the defeated UT poohbahs trying to make life as difficult as possible for the people carrying firearms.

    • “Meh. I can rack and shoot very quickly.”

      Try it after your strong arm has been stabbed or broken by some guy coming up behind you.

  16. My understanding was that the Israelis pioneered the empty-chamber carry because early on they had such a variety of pistols with a variety of safety mechanisms in use that they figured the only way to teach everybody to carry their different pistols safely was to just teach everyone to carry with an empty chamber, safety off. I’m not impressed with the overall accuracy and logic of the Students’ article. Just to make it clear, I’m also not impressed with the stupid UT administrators and their stupid rule either.

  17. A couple things come to mind. One is the old adage that you should not rely on mechanical safeties (and that is precisely what you are relying on if you carry hot). Two, is train how you fight or fight how you train. I practice drawing, racking and firing my concealed carry gun. In watching Rob Pincus in the video, I was fully expecting him on his first draw to rack the slide with his weak hand fire. Seems natural to me.

    • You rely on all kinds of mechanical safeties everyday of your life… Cars, planes, appliances, smoke dectors, street lights, just name a few… All these things have devices, or mechanisms, to keep you from getting injuried.

      Why are guns the outlier?

      • Oh, poor baby wants a safe gun! Trigger electronically matched to your retina pattern? How about to your voting pattern?


    • “One is the old adage that you should not rely on mechanical safeties (and that is precisely what you are relying on if you carry hot). “

      That is absolute bullsqueeze. I don’t “rely” on the safety of my firearm. It’s merely a backup to a multi-layered safety protocol in handling and carry.

      The total system begins with the Four Rules (and a few others thrown in) and includes a proper holster. Also present as redundant mechanical systems include the firing pin block safety.

      So, the firearm’s manual safety technically need not be engaged. I “rely” on no single thing.

      • Let me clarify one other thing.

        In the rule, “Treat the firearm as if it’s loaded,” that is a matter of daily habit … because it is.

        What does the psychology of carrying unloaded do? Does it train one’s mind to accept that the gun is not loaded? To walk around “thinking” the gun is not loaded?

        I disagree with “unloaded carry” for a variety of reasons. This may be the most compelling. It is, in a way, a rejection that one of the Four Rules is really a matter of daily handling of firearms.

      • That is truer than the conventional wisdom on the 1911. In point of fact the manual safety is actually the backup safety. The grip safety is the primary. That concept got lost because the Army did not create a seperate manual of arm for the infantry and cavalry. The cavalry board set the MOA for everyone.

  18. It’s an OK letter. Nothing about the UT reg says you can’t carry chamber empty, draw, rack a round, and then actually use the sights and do all the other smart things they talk about.

    It’s a little academic, it’s not like they’re going to check. $100 says this was just some doofus on campus police who doesn’t understand firearms or defensive shooting.

    The letter makes sense I guess if the goal is to push the agenda, otherwise maybe they should have focused elsewhere.

  19. The article is, I’m sorry to say, mostly stupid propaganda. Carrying with an empty chamber has *nothing* to do with how one aims and/or shoots and so on. The article spends a lot of words trying to make carrying an empty chamber look stupid but what it actually manages is to make itself look biased and stupid.

    I would say that carrying with an empty vs loaded chamber is a matter of what kind of tradeoffs is one more willing to accept. Empty chamber means lower probability of an ND, period. If your finger slips where it shouldn’t, if your holster fails, if your safety fails, if any of such things happens, empty chamber becomes your safety net. But it increases the risk that you will not be able to fire (or fire in time) should you have to. Carrying with an empty chamber makes it less likely that you will fire when you don’t plan to but it also makes it more likely that you will not fire when you do want to.

    However, none of this changes anything about the fact that legislating this is a bad idea. Are there shooters out there who would do everyone a favor by carrying with an empty chamber? I’m afraid that yes, there are. Does that mean that *everyone* should be forced into this. No, I don’t think so.

    • I had a Zastava Model 70 pistol (pretty much a scaled-down Tokarev with a safety lever but no half-cock). Due to the looseness of the safety it was not practical to carry it “cocked and locked”, and due to the lack of a half-cock it was not drop-safe with one in the chamber. Not by any means my first choice as a carry gun, but if it was the only pistol I had now, I would certainly carry it, with an empty chamber, and just practice the draw-n-rack part. In fact, for some odd reason I wish I had it back.

      • Why not buy one, then? It is not like they’re rare collector’s items, is it? My LGS has a refurbished one for sale for like $140 and while I’d guess that’s useless to you (that LGS is in Prague) I’m sure you could buy one elsewhere.

        • They seem to have kind of dried up hereabouts–I’ve actually kind of kept my eyes open for that and similar milsurp. And I can’t find ’em on the net anymore either. And truthfully, if I had even $140 to spend on a gun I don’t really need right now, there would be more pressing things to spend it on. I just kind of miss the thing sometimes.

  20. Attempting to require Condition 3 carry seems like a blatant attempt to appease the crowd that’s against campus carry, regardless of which side actually proposed it. “Sure, they/we have guns, but it’s not like they’re LOADED.” It’s like banning a heat shield just because it “looks scary”. All it does is make guns more dangerous to operate for the user and “less scary” for those opposed.

  21. Does anyone have a direct reference to Texas state law specifically mentioning whether or not you can have a round in the chamber? HPD officers and Harris county Sherrif’s regularly regurgitate various references to law that doesn’t seem to exist.

    Such as, requiring a handgun or longarm to be unloaded. Some go as far to recognize you can have a magazine in the gun but say you can’t have a round chambered.

    It’s like that with knives too. You get HPD telling people you can’t carry a knife with a blade that is longer than half the length of your palm starting. Which is ridiculous considering blade length law is 5 and a half inches and very clearly stated in Texas law.

    • Texas law does not address whether you can have a round chambered. The campus carry law gave each university some discretion to regulate carrying on its campus. One of UT-Austin’s proposed regulations is carrying with an empty chamber. Can UT do that? Dunno. We’ll see.

  22. Well gee wiz! How else am I going to be able to do the “emphatic gun cock”, if the bad guy doesn’t take me seriously?

  23. So, they want to restrict the rights of people without two strong hands? What are people with revolvers supposed to do?

  24. While there are many important points raised above, I feel the single most pertinent issue has been overlooked; condition 3 may be the rule on campus, but only there, thus a majority of carriers would have to clear the chamber of their pistol before/upon entering the campus. That’s a lot of unnecessary gun handling in parking lots and on sidewalks, increasing the chance for an ND. The foolishness of this rule, like so many progressive ideas, is that it effectively does the opposite of what it’s intended to do. In this case, it increases the likelihood of NDs.

    • True. I wouldn’t draw much on how the US Army does it. I don’t recall any training on handgun beyond range safety briefing. “Load __ Rd magazine” and plink at the target. I’m sure if too stupid to figure it out someone would have helped with fill man, load mag, chamber round.

      I do clearly recall (peacetime CONUS) ammo convoy OIC issue of ONE 5rd magazine which was NOT to be loaded but was to be in mag pouch. Being a rebel I broke that suggestion. Defend 1/2 dozen trucks with tons of demo, AT rounds, and all other Infantry things that go boom with an unloaded handgun and 5rd. If only the gangbangers knew.

  25. Not quite sure what they are attempting to gain by this method.

    Handguns today all have a variety of safeties in place and the only way a round gets fired off is if someone pulls the trigger or gets the trigger caught up in something.

    I can see requiring that the trigger be covered when holstered to keep a negligent discharge from happening, as has happened when people pocket carry without a pocket holster.

    But frankly, today’s firearms are pretty darn safe if handled even somewhat responsibly.
    And spray and pray…not the most efficient use of ammo or effective method of dealing with a threat in the US.

    ….just my opinion…

  26. I am just so happy that Texas and UT allow campus carry, or better yet they don’t disqualify the 2A as much as others but the empty chamber doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the look of those empty holsters that they had to wear in protest. But then again I fully chamber my wheel gun but Israeli carry my semi-auto. Just easier to ND even with proper and regular training.


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