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August 21st, 2021

If you are new to carrying a handgun, you are most likely going (or have at some point gone) through a Shakespearean dilemma: “to chamber or not to chamber?”, or putting it in more modern terms, “should I carry a pistol with a round in the chamber?”

The purpose of this article is not to answer this question for you. That’s because there is no single right answer. You have to decide for yourself and be comfortable with your decision. But I am going to give you a few thoughts to consider…

  1. If you carry a revolver, the round is always in the chamber. There is no other option, unless you are going to carry your revolver with an open cylinder, which is rather unthinkable. And revolvers are notorious for their reliability and safety. In this case, by “reliability” I mean “regularity of going off when needed” and by “safety” - “regularity of not going off when not needed”.
  2. Modern pistols (and I mean quality modern pistols) are just as safe as revolvers, but although they are generally quite reliable, they cannot possibly be as reliable as revolvers simply because they have more moving parts (and as such, greater probability for a "hiccup"). By not having a round in the chamber you further decrease the reliability of your weapon.
  3. Not having a round in the chamber also creates an additional risk of not being able to rack the slide timely and/or successfully at a critical moment. This risk is not present in case of revolvers. And if you had chosen a pistol over a revolver for its higher capacity (the main advantage of pistols over revolvers), what good is that capacity if you fail to get a round in the chamber when needed?

So, why are people even thinking twice about carrying with a round in the chamber? All the reasons essentially amount to the fear of an unintended discharge. But why would an unintended discharge ever happen? Provided you have picked a suitable gun for your EDC and always adhere to good safety practices (both points are crucial!) the gun’s going off without pulling the trigger is next to impossible. Therefore, the hesitation to carry with one in the chamber can only be explained by the person’s lack of comfort with his own gun-handling skills. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as a reservation is within the limits of an objective self-assessment rather than having to do with some pathological fear or confidence issue (one must find a happy medium, since excessive confidence is equally bad if not worse). It’s a matter of a process; meaning, it’s perfectly OK to start carrying with an empty chamber, while continuously training, perfecting one’s habits and safety practices, and ultimately evolving to being comfortable with carrying a round in the chamber. How long this process takes will vary from individual to individual. People should be patient with themselves, intuitive to their internal level of comfort, and not succumb to any outside pressure and criticism.

Thank you for reading! Be safe and responsible!


Author: Edward Meyman

CEO, Kind Sniper LLC

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