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Smyth Busters: Is It Safe To Carry With a Round in the Chamber?

Author Caleb Savant
2 years ago

Is it OK to carry a handgun with a round in the chamber? A lotta folks on the Interwebs are sayin', "No, never, that's a terrible thing to do!" But is it? Brownells Gun Techs™ Caleb and Steve have donned their Kevlar gear today because they're tackling this hotly debated topic. A good-quality modern semi-auto pistol such as a Glock®, SIG, M&P, or even a double action revolver, CAN be carried with a round in the chamber. Even the old Walther P38 and the venerable Colt 1911 were designed to allow this (as long as the 1911 is "cocked and locked" with the thumb safety on and you follow Steve's holster advice). These guns have redundant safety systems to prevent an accidental discharge. You DO need to thoroughly understand the operation of your gun and observe the necessary safety protocols. The vast majority of accidental discharges are not caused by mechanical failure of the gun but by a shooter's handling error. What about old single action revolvers? They should be carried with the hammer resting on an EMPTY chamber. Steve shows us the RIGHT way to load a single action wheelgun. The myth is NOT entirely busted because there are modern guns that are not safe to carry with a loaded chamber. But if you have a good-quality autoloader or revolver that's been engineered for it, you're OK carrying it with a round in the chamber.