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August 21st, 2021

Stepping into the world of handgun ownership presents a multitude of choices and decisions that can feel overwhelming. A pressing dilemma might be a modern version of Shakespeare's legendary contemplation: "To chamber or not to chamber?" In plain terms, should you carry your pistol loaded with a round in the chamber?

This piece isn't designed to coerce you into any particular decision. It is important to remember that there's no one-size-fits-all answer, and you need to arrive at a conclusion that sits comfortably within your personal comfort zone and aligns with your competence. In the interest of aiding your decision-making process, I will provide a few key points to consider.

The revolver, an old-school choice among firearms, invariably has a round in the chamber – it's simply how they're built. Carrying a revolver with an empty cylinder is widely regarded as impractical. Revolvers have established themselves as dependable tools, hailed for their robust reliability and consistent safety features. Here, "reliability" refers to its steadfast performance when called upon, while "safety" underscores its steadfast propensity to prevent accidental discharge.

In the modern era, many high-quality pistols compete fiercely with revolvers in the realm of safety, though they may fall a little behind in terms of reliability. This is largely attributed to the additional moving components in a pistol, which can augment the chances of a malfunction. If you opt not to chamber a round in a pistol, you may inadvertently dent its reliability even further.

Moreover, choosing to carry a pistol without a round in the chamber presents another risk: that of failing to rack the slide swiftly and efficiently in a moment of crisis. This issue is non-existent with revolvers. And if your motivation to choose a pistol over a revolver is its superior ammunition capacity, consider this: that advantage might prove useless if you're unable to chamber a round when it matters most.

What's at the core of the dilemma around carrying a chambered firearm? Usually, it's rooted in the fear of an accidental or negligent discharge. But when would this happen? Assuming you've chosen a trustworthy firearm for your Everyday Carry (EDC) and you diligently adhere to safety measures, the likelihood of your firearm discharging without a deliberate trigger pull is practically negligible. Consequently, any hesitation to carry with a round in the chamber may stem from uncertainty about your personal firearm handling capabilities. This self-awareness can be beneficial, as long as it's based on a rational self-assessment rather than unfounded fears or overconfidence. Striking a healthy balance is crucial here; excessive confidence can be equally harmful, if not more so.

Remember, entering the world of firearm handling is a journey, not a race. It's entirely acceptable to start off carrying with an empty chamber as you steadily train and enhance your safety routines. Over time, you may find your comfort zone expands to accommodate carrying a loaded firearm. This transition period will inevitably differ for everyone. It's essential to be patient with yourself, stay aware of your comfort level, and resist any external pressures or judgments.

Your journey as a handgun owner is your own. Always place the highest importance on safety and responsible firearm handling. We hope this article supports you in making an informed decision that best suits your needs and proficiency.


Author: Edward Meyman

CEO, Kind Sniper LLC

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