Firearms Food for Thought: Conditions of Readiness

When Col. Jeff Cooper came up with what he called the conditions of readiness he had the 1911 in mind. Cooper was a 1911 man – well, he was also a 10mm man, but that’s another story. For those who are unfamiliar with the various conditions, here they are explained as briefly as possible:

Condition Three: Pistol has a loaded magazine but an empty chamber. Hammer is down.                                                                                                                The U.S. military used this method back when the 1911 was their standard issue. More recently this has been referred to as the Israeli Method due to the fact that Israeli law enforcement and soldiers have been carrying this way with their single-action pistols.

Condition Two: Pistol has a loaded magazine and a round chambered. Hammer is down. Thumb safety engaged.

Condition One: Pistol has a loaded magazine and a round chambered. Hammer is cocked. Thumb safety engaged. This is the method known as “cocked and locked.”

Cooper’s conditions of readiness can easily be modified to include striker-fired pistols. Some have external safeties while some do not, so there would need to be an allowance made for those guns that do not have external safeties. It really all boils down to one thing, though: do you believe it is safe to carry a gun with a round chambered? Furthermore, do you believe carrying a pistol for self-defense purposes without a round chambered makes the presence of said firearm pointless?

The argument against carrying with a round chambered is simple: the gun owner might shoot themselves in the [insert body part here]. The argument for carrying with a round chambered is also reasonably simple: it takes time to chamber a round, so having it ready saves precious time in case of an assault of some kind.

Here’s the thing. Both arguments make a valid point. Both are dependent on skill level – or should be. Carrying Condition One implies the person in question has the training necessary to carry and use their gun safely and accurately. However, that is not always the case. There are quite a few people out there carrying guns who either have no business carrying in the first place or lack the experience needed to carry Condition One. So, should someone who lacks the experience to carry Condition One leave their gun at home until they’re ready to carry using that method?

Condition Two

Racking the slide of this Republic Forge 1911 will cock the hammer.

There’s a steady flow of pictures on social media illustrating this point. Gun owners have shot themselves through their buttocks, feet, hands, and groin. They’ve lived to tell the tale and have, for whatever reason, chosen social media as their platform. Rather than be horrified and chastised by the experience, they laugh it off and blame the gun or holster. It must be faulty gear, because it could not possibly be due to their own stupidity and/or lack of experience, right?

Guns fire when their trigger is pulled. While there have certainly been instances of faulty triggers or safeties, those are the exception rather than the rule. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target. It’s one of the four golden rules all gun owners should know, but there is a difference between knowing it and following it.


Condition One, striker-fired

What do you think? Is a gun carried in anything but Condition One useless? Should it be left at home? Or is any gun better than no gun, even if the shooter has to take the time to chamber a round?

This all comes down to training.Training isn’t just an important part of being a gun owner, it’s vital. Guns are not toys, something that seems to be forgotten with increasing frequency. That means they should be treated with respected and trained with accordingly. Putting fifty rounds through your pistol a couple times a year is not training. Standing in a shooting lane for the entirety of your trigger time is also not proper training. It can be a start, but it should never be all you do. In a life-or-death situation you won’t have time to get in your favorite stance, carefully obtain a good sight picture, and squeeze off a few measured shots at a stationary, unreactive target. In fact, odds are good you won’t be extending your arms at all but will instead be shooting from your hip. It happens with a muscle-trembling rush of adrenaline. It happens without time to consciously mull over your options. It happens fast.

The various conditions of readiness seem dependent on training both as they were originally written and revised for other types of handguns. What do you think, do you train for fun or train to fight? What is your condition of readiness?

TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • Ax

    Does condition three really mean that the safety should be engaged?

  • Pete M

    “Is a gun carried in anything but Condition One useless?”

    Not useless in every situation, but definitely unnecessary and not optimal.

    Carrying a defensive weapon with an empty chamber feels like a holdover from ancient times where soldiers advanced in lines, one-on-one duels were the typical gunfight and gentlemen laid their coats over puddles for women to cross the street.

    • Austin

      Well condition two is acceptable if you are carrying a SA/DA.

  • politicsbyothermeans

    Condition of readiness shouldn’t just be about your pistola. Some of the best defensive training I ever got had almost nothing to do with firearms and everything to do with learning about human behavior and how to achieve and maintain situational awareness. If you’re carrying and spend most of your time bumping along fat, dumb and happy you may well be surprised one day and have to rely on gross motor skills and very poor/no training to keep the coroner from spilling doughnut crumbs in your Y incision. You don’t have to be a super-elite DevGRU sniperface operational operator to develop a sense of what is going on around you. All that said, learn how to carry in Condition 3.

    • Peter (BE)

      Wise words…. a man with his mind in condition one and his pistol in condition 3 is a lot better off than the reverse. That said, only a narrow set of circumstances require the use of C3. In no particular order of importance: obsolete gun type, inadequate or inexistent holster, department regulations, need for deep concealment…

      • Sulaco

        I thought Coopers conditions were logged from Red to yellow and to be used every day on the street by cops and civilitions as conditions of situational awareness….

        • Jim_Macklin

          Cooper’s colors were mental states. Condition was configuration of the gun, particularly the 1911.

          US Military procedures with a 1911 were NOT intended for active combat troops in the field. Rather it was intended for troops on guard at bases where often guards exchanged THE sidearm as part of changing the guard duty shift.

          To avoid accidents by nearly untrained guards, guns were carried in a full flap holster, with chamber empty hammer down and a loaded magazine [if ammo was issued] other wise an empty magazine.

  • Ridge

    Most people carrying have not had the training to handle battle field designed weapons like the Glock and other striker fired weapons. By carrying cocked with a round in the chamber, they are at the mercy of the natural tendency to place your finger on the trigger and the safety incorporated light trigger pull. The feeling that a manual safety would endanger one during a gun fight is just fantasy. If you are trained to respond effectively during a gunfight, you are trained to swipe off the safety. If you can’t do that….

    My beef with people carrying Condition 1 is that they (unless rigorously and constantly trained} are prone to accidental discharges; often in public. As the author states, they have no business leaving the house . If they are going to do that they have to take responsibility for every bullet that leaves the barrel. I’m afraid that means criminal prosecutions for reckless endangerment for firearms going off in stores, theaters, libraries, restaurants, and every other place you see in the news. It can’t be “no harm, no foul”. And that means at home as well. Toddlers should not be to fire a pistol (battle field weapon design) nor get their hands on one. If they do find one in Condition 1, then the firearm owner has to be held accountable.

    Thanks for this site.

    • Pete M

      I have an opposing point of view:

      Every gun should be treated as if there is a round in the chamber and the manual safety (if present) is off. If someone is worried that they are going to have an ND and their answer is to carry with an empty chamber, they are doing it wrong and need to leave the gun in the safe until they can get some proper training. Guns shoot because someone pulls the trigger.

      I had a police chief once tell me that he carried condition 3 because it was easier for him to go in and out of the lockup that way – saved him time when he was locking up his gun. Unacceptable in my opinion.

      Condition 0 is how all guns are to be treated anyway, why not carry them like that?

      Also, spend decent money on a quality holster.

      • Big Daddy

        You point of view is narrow minded and completely wrong about how to carry a handgun. Yes it should be treated as always loaded but…..not everybody can carry in a hard holster like a Kydex. You carry the way that is best and train with it. Not every gun is the same not everybody is the same and to make statements anything like that is narrow minded and ignorant.

        • Pete M

          I you read my post carefully, I never said how anyone should carry their gun. I said “if the ONLY reason someone is carrying on an empty chamber is because they are worried about an ND…” An ND is NOT the only reason to carry with an empty chamber.

          By definition, telling someone the are “completely wrong” is being narrow minded and ignorant. You might want to rethink your argument.

          There is no right or wrong here.

          • Big Daddy

            Condition 0/1 is how all guns are to be treated anyway, why not carry them like that?

            Because that is a narrow minded and ignorant way to look at it.

          • Spencerhut

            A civilian out in the wild carrying in anything but Condition 0/1 is going to be at a sever disadvantage in a use of force situation. Not knowing to your core this is a true and accurate statement is an indicator of poor training and little to no real experience in use of force situations. Your opinion therefore is of little to no value.

          • Jwedel1231

            @disqus_kLyKLprS9D:disqus “Because that is a narrow minded and ignorant way to look at it.” Care to elaborate? I’ll start: Carrying in condition 1 (or 0, whatever) is benefetial because it allows me to draw and fire quicker and without the possibility of forgetting or missing the thumb safety. Can that be overcome in time with training? Yes, but that time can be otherwise used on other things. If I am going to go through the hassle of treating my guns like they are on condition 1, shouldn’t I at least get the benefits of condition 1?

          • Pete M

            I think we will just have to agree to disagree. See you for the next discussion, Big Daddy.

      • John Yossarian

        I’m going to call down the hell hounds of orthodoxy by saying that anyone claiming that all guns should be “treated as if loaded and the safety off” is a hypocrite and/or a moron.

        In a defensive situation, do you treat your Condition 1 firearm as if it has the safety off? MORON – in fact – DEAD MORON – because the safety on your firearm needs to be disengaged before firing a shot.

        Do you treat your firearm as if it is loaded before disassembling it? HYPOCRITE – Because you first cleared your firearm and verified that it is unloaded, then began disassembling it as if it wasn’t – In clear violation of Cooper’s Rule 1!

        This “Treat every firearm as if it was loaded” or “ALL firearms are ALWAYS loaded” is so obviously stupid, it encourages brain death to pretend that it’s valid.

        Instead, how about you treat your firearm AND yourself with respect and abide this rule: “KNOW – or VERIFY – the condition of your firearm. When loaded, abide the remaining three rules of gun safety.”

        Then – When you’re sure your firearm is unloaded – You can clean it, dry fire, even look down the muzzle if you have to and not worry about your noggin’ or what is beyond it. In other words – Keep behaving as you (hopefully) behave now, but put the proper words behind it!

        • Pete M

          Besides not being a moron, I also don’t know what condition every one my guns is in at all times. Like all the guns in my safe: do I think I know what condition all of them are in? Sure. Do I know for certain? Nope.

          I think we agree more than you think: treat all guns as if you were to blindly pull the trigger they would fire, until you verify that they are not.

        • Bill

          You are WAY overthinking it. The concept that “All firearms are always loaded” is the response to “don’t worry, it’s unloaded.” I’ve been to a number of incidents where people were shot with “unloaded” guns. Whose really the moron and hypocrite?

          • John Yossarian

            So a stupid “response” to a stupid statement should become a law? No way that I’m overthinking it.

            You make a Rule, make it one that can actually be followed. Otherwise, anyone who follows it is a moron and anyone who can’t – aka, everyone – is a hypocrite to recite it.

            Better to tell people to be always cognizant of the condition of their firearm than to lie to them that it’s always loaded.

            Or is that a problem to tell people to think, know or verify? I sure the hell hope not – Because the less we expect, the less we’ll get!

          • Bill

            Statements like yours demand the response: “Whatever.”

          • Interestingly enough, the *majority* of NDs I’ve dealt with had a common thread:

            “I thought it was unloaded.”

            Hell, even *Mark Twain* commented on this fact.

            Which is the reason for the rule. Anything less leads to complacency, which leads to NDs.

      • Ridge

        Pete, thanks for the reply.
        I would agree that we treat all firearms as loaded and ready to fire until confirmed otherwise. But problem is that modern striker fired guns are inherently dangerous (more so than others) in Condition 1 for the average owner. Its like carrying a revolver with the hammer back over a live cylinder. Without strict user control and appropriate holster, they go off. Yes, the user is to blame, but the design make it more susceptible to user error. When used in a “pocket 9” configuration, even more so. Fumbling for change, pulling out a shopping list, dropping out of jacket pockets. If you feel Condition 1 is warranted, then avoid that design and avoid the added chance of ND. A SA/DA semi-auto or a revolver would be all that’s needed. Recent studies show that domestic firearm defensive use average 2 rounds fired. I’m old school and think if you need 12 or 15 rounds, get a shotgun.


        • Pete M

          Well said. And I see your point. Thanks.

        • Jwedel1231

          Anyone that carries a “pocket 9” in a pocket w/o a holster or with anything else in that pocket, even with a holster, is asking for an ND.

          As for saying “if you think you need 12 or 15 rounds get a shotgun”, you are awfully close to sounding like a Fudd.

          • Ridge

            Not Fudd but realism. Sgt York just needed 7 rounds from his M1911 to stop a German squad advancing on his position while under machine gun fire. Of course he was a trained soldier and a marksman. Does someone need 15 to stop a man in a parking lot or coming in your window?

          • Jwedel1231

            If you use Sgt. York’s use of a 1911 as your basis for EDC, and judge others’ choices by that same standard, you are a Fudd. Then again, if the gangs, muggers, and other ne’er-do-wells in my area starting carrying Lugers I might start using the same logic. Until then, I’m going to use modern weapons.

          • Bill

            I don’t really know what a “Fudd” is, and I might be one ‘ cause I carry a 1911 frequently, as do a lot of local and federal SWAT teams. ARs are over 50 years old. DA revolvers are way over than that.

            It may or may not take more training to run a 1911, but if I can do it, anybody can. “Modern” weapons are like new cars – each model year is theoretically an improvement but it’s usually incremental and frequently more cosmetic and gimmicky than functional.

          • mbrd

            seriously? sergeant york?

          • Bill

            A review of modern LE and .mil shootings will find similar feats, like the detective who took a 175 yard pistol shot and downed a perp. You do what you gotta do, whith what you have at the time.

        • Risky

          I would like to have a link to these “recent studies”. Not trying to single you out, but I’ve heard the ‘recent studies’ line on number of shots fired, distances encountered, etc. when the person claiming the stats cannot produce the research or point to adequate original source… as the source is just from another person repeating another person because it sounds correct.

        • Bill

          “Its like carrying a revolver with the hammer back over a live cylinder”

          Actually it isn’t, and even if you choose to believe that it is, a modern revolver with a transfer bar will not fire unless the trigger is pressed fully. Striker fire pistols are not “cocked” without pressing the trigger

          • Ridge

            Its my understanding that the Springfield XD, striker spring is under full tension when a round is chambered. The Glock is partially tensioned, pulling the trigger completes the process. Others somewhere in between.

            Single action trigger pull of modern revolvers 4-6 lb or lighter.
            Trigger pull of a stock Glock is reported to be around 5 lb.
            so I would say while the mechanisms are different, the results are the same for my analogy.

          • Bill

            And none will fire if the trigger isn’t pressed.

          • Marcus D.

            Except that the Springfield has a grip safety and the Glock does not. IMO, it is a substantially improved and safer design. If JMB was down with grip safeties, who am I to dispute it?

          • Actually, it was the US Cavalry who insisted on the grip safety.

          • Marcus D.

            The Cavalry demanded the manual safety, not the grip safety, as I understand it, because there was no firing pin block that would prevent the hammer from dropping on a loaded round. The point is established by comparing the 1911 to the original trials (pilot) Model 1910, which had no manual safety, but did have a grip safety.

          • I’ll have to dog out the test reports from about 1905 to 1910, but IIRC, it was the Ordnance Corps that demanded the thumb safety on semiauto contestants (since they didn’t have a DA trigger), but it was the Cav that demanded grip safeties, in case they dropped a loaded.pistol on horseback.

          • Marcus D.

            I think you missed his point. A cocked revolver takes only a couple of pounds pressure to drop the hammer, same as a Glock, and in both cases, there is a substantially higher probability of something inadvertently entering the trigger guard and depressing the trigger. True, a striker fire pistol will not discharge if bumped or dropped, but if you google Glock and accidents, you will find a slew of stories where people have “accidentally” shot themselves or others, and not all of the victims survived, simply because something (in one case it was a flap from an old holster, another it was a lipstick) got inside the trigger guard.

          • Bill

            “there is a substantially higher probability of something inadvertently entering the trigger guard and depressing the trigger.”

            Which is invariably a finger, and if not, something that wouldn’t have entered the trigger guard if a proper holster was used, even one of the minimalist style that covers only the trigger guard.

            Set a GLOCK, a cocked SAA, a 1911 and a SIG P229 on a table and wait for one of them to fire itself. Bring a sandwich, ’cause you’ll be there a while. Guns don’t fire themselves without human intervention, the possible exception being mechanically defective firearms.

          • mbrd

            i am sick of this ridiculous “debate”, and am determined to experiment as you’ve suggested. what sort of sandwich would you advise? i assume it has to be a big one…

          • Bill

            I think someone has a webcam constantly broadcasting a pistol sitting on a table, waiting for it to become sentient and self-aware and fire itself.

          • It takes more effort to fre a true DA trigger than a Glock. Less chance of inadvertently tripping the trigger before you notice, whether it is with your booger hook or the corner of your windbreaker. Yet not enough extra effort to seriously affect your ability to shoot it, unless you’re crippled with arthritis.

            It takes a separate action to disengage the thumb safety of a cocked 1911.

            In the Real World, things that are easier to activate are more likely to be unintentionally activated.

          • Ridge

            Marcus, thanks for the clarification. Yes, that is exactly my point. Very few of us would take a revolver, pull back the hammer, then strap it on. But many will carry striker guns in Condition 1; guns without manual safeties whose trigger pull is the same as the revolver in SA. Often these guns are not holstered properly or mishandled when being drawn, replaced in holster, etc…thus the ND. The ease of the trigger in Condition 1 and no manual safety also make them operable by toddlers. Yes, its the adult’s fault, but would a normal firearm user place a cocked revolver (even with transfer bar) on the coffee table, floor of their truck, or kitchen counter? Yet many make that mistake again and again with the other design. Somehow appearance is separated from effect.
            Thanks again.

          • mbrd

            to be fair, when he wrote “with the hammer back”, he meant “cocked”…

          • Bill

            Sure, I assumed that. I’m equally confident that I could take a cocked 1911, tape the grip safety down, take the safety off, sit it on a table, and absolutely nothing would happen, until someone messed with it.

          • The trigger pulls on my striker fired guns are roughly analogous to a cocked “service grade” 1911, and many cocked DA revolvers. And lighter and smoother than most of my foreign milsurp semis.

            If you have a relatively light and short trigger pull, it doesn’t matter what the gun does internally when the trigger is pressed, nor do “trigger safeties” actually help – from a user (and ND) perspective, it’s basically a cocked SA with no safety.

    • Bjørn Vermo

      This is true. I learned that you do not chamber a round unless contact with the enemy is immediately expected. You just train to do that quickly, reliably and instinctively in case of unexpected contact. That is just as important as the 3 second magazine change.
      In civilian society it is usually wrong to expect an ambush everywhere. There is a reason why NATO has conditions from green to red and then ALARM, it is counter-productive to always stay at maximum preparedness. It is wrong to believe that you will be able to cope with an ambush by walking around with a round chambered because you have not trained enough to rack and draw your handgun in one fluid motion.

  • Mark

    On 1911’s, the thumb safety can only be engaged when the hammer is cocked. Your definition of condition 3 is impossible on guns like that. Bad form, Katie!

    • CapeMorgan

      She never said that in Condition III the safety is set.

      • Marcus D.

        There is no reason to set the safety in condition three, since no round is chambered.

      • Norm Glitz

        Joshua did.

  • Anonymoose

    Glocks and other guns without a manual safety default to Condition 0, not Condition 1.

    • Tierlieb

      Well, technically you have to disengage the trigger safety on the Glock and most other striker fired handguns.

      • Cymond
      • iksnilol

        You mean, to pull the trigger you need to pull the trigger?


      • Marcus D.

        The trigger safety is for drop safety, not for stupidity or inadvertence safety, which is what a manual safety (or a stiff DA trigger) brings to the table. My daughter has been taking classes from a gentlemen who claims to be retired SEAL, a dyed in the wool Glockfanboi who thinks that 1911s are too complicated, but even he Israel carries his Glock. To me, a Glock with one in the chamber is an accident waiting to happen–and accidents happen. Obviously, others have different opinions (or did before they shot themselves).

        • mbrd

          does anybody remember revolvers?

          • Billy Jack

            That’s when you rotate the magazines you use regularly right?

          • That’s why I’m rather fond of DAO semis. They’re basically “flat revolvers” with a buttload of ammo in the “cylinder”, and a *speed loader” second to none. 😀

        • Bill

          I’d REALLY double-check his credentials: while they may not be issued, I find it REALLY hard to believe that a SEAL thinks a 1911 is “complicated” and a GLOCK should be carried chamber-empty.

          • Billy Jack

            There are a lot of ex-SEALs around with all kinds of mental states. Poser or not people like being “different” and also like telling people they don’t respect intellectually all sorts of wild crap.

      • Jim_Macklin

        Just touch the trigger with your finger or a key, pocket knife or pencil.

  • Tierlieb

    Even condition 2 is not bad. It simply depends on what you train the most: Give a cowboy action shooter a 1911 and they will impress you handling it very fast in condition 2, since they have a lot of practice drawing and cocking their SAA revolvers this way, too.

    Teaching them to do it differently would be a waste of practice time. Same for many SA-only revolver hunters.

  • Major Tom

    If I was carrying in public I’d never go beyond Condition 2 unless I needed it. Flicking the safety on a pistol is trivial and you can practice doing it on the draw.

    Although in terms of Conditions of Readiness, I’d also propose a Condition 4 for storage and when off your person. That is to say safety engaged, chamber clear, magwell empty. In short, completely incapable of firing.

    • Pete M

      How about condition 5: all of the above in condition 4 plus the slide removed and kept in another room? 🙂

      Im just joking around and not criticizing you.

      But I do think that all of this changing of conditions increases the likelihood of having an ND.

      • ARCNA442

        Your last point is worth stressing. When I first got into handguns I attempted to keep them in the “best” Condition depending on the circumstances.

        I quickly realized that this was adding a lot of unnecessary loading and unloading that was probably more dangerous and confusing than simply keeping them in Condition 1 whenever they were on my person.

  • Jimbo

    Am I the only one who’s eyes glaze over any time someone mentions Jeff Cooper?

    • TC

      Some things just won’t go away.

      • Spencerhut

        Some things should not go away.

    • Austin

      Only if they are defending the concept of scout rifles

  • Pete Sheppard

    Good food for thought. This is why I currently carry a revolver, with a DAO auto as alternate. The simplicity and long pull helps ensure the gun does not fire unless I intend it to.
    When I shoot a traditional DA/SA pistol, I often think about how these readiness conditions would apply.

  • Big Daddy

    Whatever way you carry your handgun you need to train with it. That includes situational awareness, especially if you open carry.

    If you use a soft holster, you do not have a round in the chamber unless you have a safety and it’s on. You still need to train to get the gun out and the safety off. Revovers are a bit different.

    I use a belly band because I have a severe back problem and cannot wear a belt. So to those with the attitude there’s only one way to do it you are wrong. Not everybody is young and in great physical condition. I also use a Galco shoulder rig and there is a round in the chamber because it is a hard holster.

    Find a way that is comfortable for you and train with it. Safety is first and foremost.

    Again for those who think there is one way and if you cannot carry that way leave it in the safe you are narrow minded and completely wrong.

  • BrianZ

    Condition 1. Any sidearm carried for the purpose of self defense needs to be ready to fire in the least amount of time. Again there is no substitute for proper training especially when your life and that of others are at stake.

    • manBEar

      This – couldn’t have said it better myself. Sooo many people are ‘hurr durr you’re gonna shoot yourself if you carry one-in-the-chamber – it just takes a second to rack the slide!’ smh

      • Yup. It’s a “HANDgun”, not a ” HANDSgun”.

    • Phuphuphnik Q. Phuphuphnik

      you’d look for cover, then draw in an active shooter situation, wouldn’t you? I ask because I don’t have training in this area, not to be hostile.

      • I’d draw *while* going to cover. I habitually look for cover (due to indoctrination) all the time anyway, so I already know where I would be going.

  • Will P.

    My main carry is a DAO LC9 so I carry with one in the chamber and safety on. I have trained over and over doing holster draw drills to flick the safety off. Sometimes I’ll carry it safety off but rarely. When I open carry my 1911 or Beretta 92 I’ll carry with one in the chamber, hammer down, and safety off. I believe it’s all what you’re comfortable with and train for but I have never carried condition 3.

    • Jwedel1231

      You carry a 1911 with a loaded chamber and down hammer, or did I read that wrong? Is your 1911 a double action?

      • Will P.

        No its SA but I only carry it in the woods hunting or fishing. The trigger is 2lbs with 1/8″ travel so I consider it too light for SD use. Not sure why but my first comment was rejected.

        • Jwedel1231

          I guess you just cocktail the hammer on the draw, so you do you. I guess people carried single action revolvers that way for decades, after all.

  • How would you characterize a firearm with no round chambered, but no external safety engaged? I don’t carry often but this is my preferred way to do so when I do.

    • Amit Nachman

      Still condition 3. That is actually the Israeli Carry method.

      • Austin

        And how the Russian’s carried the Makarov but they also had a crazy push-through holster.

    • Darren Graham

      Good way to get dead.

  • Amit Nachman

    Training is important for condition 3 as it is for 1. To minimize the time it takes to fire that all important first shot you have to train hard and make racking the slide an integral part of your presentation. Otherwise under duress you may fail to chamber a round…One could claim that condition 3 actually requires MORE training. What condition 1 requires is more common sense and habbits. Many Israelis now carry chambered, especially following the slew of stabbing attacks we had in the last 6 months.

    • John Yossarian

      From what I understand – and you can correct me if I’m wrong – the IDF only began training Condition 3 because they began with a diverse number of pistols. Carrying unchambered and racking the slide was the only common, safe way to carry them all.

      • Amit Nachman

        That is the probable reason. It is worth noting that the IDF was never big on hanguns anyways. Most service pistols in Israel belong to law enforcement. Only specific IDF units are issued and trained with pistols. In ancient (1960s) history tank commanders were issued Webley revolvers. It is also worth noting that almost always other then actual combat, IDF troops carry rifles in condition 3. This is pervasive in all Israeli manuals of arms and seems odd to you but natural to me. Even though I believe conditions 1 and 2 are better, if I carried a pistol (God willing soon!) I have to admit that I have an ingrained fear of carrying chambered. Not a rational one, a deep rooted one only a Drill Sergeant can instill in one 🙂

        • Jwedel1231

          I heard somewhere that they carry condition 3 for religious reasons. Never heard any further explanation, but then again carrying an empty chamber doesn’t make sense either.

          • Amit Nachman

            I can assure you it has nothing to do with religion. It is a simple case of NDs being considered a worse risk than not having time/space to chamber a round.

          • Jwedel1231


  • Mike

    It depends on the situation I think. For example, if you’re headed into an area where Condition one seems like common sense, I’d say it’s a good argument. Personally, I think it should also always be condition one in your own home, simply due to the likely chance that the burglar would already be cooked and locked themself. However, say you get to be in the rare, albeit most thought of situation, of being in an active shooters scenario (think mall, theater, public area, etc), tactically speaking I’d be more concerned with cover as a first step, rather than running and gunning or going off the hip. I’d also say it’s the safer option in a more crowded area, on the off chance that accidental discharge does happen.

    Scenario to Scenario…

  • Bob

    I’m in the “cocked and locked” camp. I feel all self defense pistols should be ready to rock and roll with the minor exception of the safeties. Of course, I also feel holsters should be good ones that cover the trigger guard completely, have a thumb latch to keep pistol from coming out even should I be hanging upside down or wrestling with someone, and I feel that guns on my person need safeties. The Glock I own I consider best put in a quick access safe. I just have an irrational fear that somehow I could be hugged or bumped into or whatever and the lack of a safety could make it go off. You just never know what weird situation might arise, and safeties make me feel better…

  • Austin

    In my opinion condition three should only be used if local law doesn’t allow condition one or two. Condition two works for SA/DA. Condition one is obviously optimal but I can understand why some might be nervous about it.

    As an aside why did you not include your preferred method and your logic behind it, your a blog writer not a debate moderator after all.

  • Joshua

    In my opinion it doesn’t make a lot of difference how you carry so long as you are trained, if your in a position whereby you don’t have time to draw, rack and fire, you probably don’t have time to consistently get the shot off even if you carry condition 1

    • Not true. And you disregard the idea that (for whatever reason) you may have one hand fouled and not be *able* to rack the slide immediately.

  • USMC03Vet

    Condition 1 all day every day.

    The compromise is for others, not you.

    • Pete M

      Boom. Agreed.

    • Ben Wong

      I became a Marine in 1980 and back then 1911 was the standard issue and I do say 1911 is not for the novice it takes training and confidence to carry a 1911 in condition 1

      • Marcus D.

        The only reason that a 1911 is not for the novice is the complexity of field stripping it, at least compared to the typical plastic fantastic striker fired pistol. The only confidence you need to is to understand that there are two safeties between you and a boom. Personally, I think carrying a striker fired SA pistol with no external safety with one in the tube is a gun that requires training, especially on draw and reholstering, to avoid accidents, and even more training if carried without one chambered.

  • Sulaco

    If I miss remember my 1911 US Army manuals the condition of cocked and locked was only to be used by mounted (on horses) troopers who had used their guns, until you could dismount and put the gun safely back into condition one.

    • Marcus D.

      According to articles I’ve read, Browning designed the gun with only the grip safety. A manual safety was added at the request of the Cavalry so that a cavalryman could safely reholster while riding. Dismounting had nothing to do with it, since that is something that you would not want to do with a gun in your hand. Further, you would not send a rider into a charge with a round unchambered, so cocked and locked condition would occur while mounted and before action.

      • Sulaco

        The MANUALS I read talked about going from condition 3 to 1 while on horse back and going back to condition 3 “as soon as is “practical”, while “dismounted”. Condition carry with a 1911 was and still is condition 3 in the armed forces.

        • Marcus D.

          You misunderstand the MANUALS. You go from 3 to 1 BEFORE entering action, and yes, while mounted. While riding, you engage the manual safety when reholstering. You DO NOT return the pistol to Condition 3 while mounted and riding, since that takes two hands, and is particularly unsafe when the horse is moving. AFTER YOU DISMOUNT, meaning you are no longer engaged in action, THEN you return the pistol to Condition 3 while dismounted.

          • Sulaco

            You don’t read very well do you. That (your comment) is what I said. The army manuals in considering carry were very clear about what condition the gun was to be in and believe it or not troops do not all ways know when they are going to “enter action”. This required going from 3 to 1+ (ready to fire in hand) on horse back, Using cocked and locked until dismounted to remake the pistol into condition 3. Sheeh

  • Jacob

    First, i would disagree with your conditions. Your condition 2 is never a viable option on a 1911 style pistol, as manually lowering the hammer with a round chambered is dangerous and unnecessary. This should only be considered on a weapon with a decocker.

    Next, I think a better description of conditions is the actions it takes to fire a round.

    Condition one: Pull the trigger
    Condition two: Lower safety, pull trigger
    Condition three: Rack slide, pull trigger

    I currently carry DA/SA, but when i carried SAO i carried in Condition two.

    • Re: your comment about decockers. That’s why I classify guns (for carry purposes) like the original CZ75 (DA/SA with a safety, but no decocker) as “single action”. Because, unlike a DA/SA with a decocker, you can’t safety drop the hammer because you can’t *block* the hammer from reaching the firing pin while doing so.

  • Roy G Bunting

    An empty chamber seems fine for hunting, target shooting, hiking with your gun or other low stress firearms use.

    For self defense, that first shot is likely to be the most important or only one. empty chamber carry could be viable with lots of training, but the problem of shooting yourself by accident is one of not enough training. If you are going to put in the training time to be good carrying an empty chamber gun, why not put that time into being good at carrying a loaded chamber gun?

  • Don Ward

    Hey! It’s 1980s Retro Firearm Argument Day at TFB!

    And here I forgot to dress up in my woodland camo BDUs!

  • Cymond

    That’s my view, too. A carbine by the bed at home and a pistol in a pocket in public are two very different scenarios.

    • Long guns are “two hand” guns by design. Leaving a defensive long gun “cruiser safe” (loaded mag, empty chamber) is wholly different from doing the same with a pistol.

  • Cymond

    I hope you mean half-cock, because Janet down in a standard 1911 is not drop-safe at all. It’s like carrying 6 rounds in a SAA.

    • Will P.

      Mine has the series 80 safety so it has a firing pin disconnect if the trigger is not pulled.

    • Will P.

      My 1911 has series 80 safety with the firing pin disconnect so unless the trigger is pulled the firing pin cannot go forward. Also carrying 6 in a SAA is fine as long as it’s a modern one with a transfer bar. But yes I get your point.

    • Marcus D.

      Depends on the1911. All series 80 and after colts have a sear disconnect that the series 70s do not have, so hammer down is safe until you depress the grip safety. Kimbers have a different system, same result.

      • Cymond

        When somebody says “1911” I assume they have a relatively standard model, not some variant that’s mechanically different like a Series 80 Colt or a LDA ParaOrdnance.

        • Marcus D.

          They are all 1911s, as far as Colt is concerned, and the 80 series has been standard since 1983, and the (no longer produced) MK IV Series 70 was introduced in 1970. I did not write this, but it is an informative post from another forum:

          Historical background:

          Colt is the original manufacturer of 1911 pattern pistols, having made
          versions for both the military as well as commercial market since
          regular production began in January 1912. The commercial versions were
          nearly identical to the military ones, differing only in markings and
          finish. Following World War Two military production ended, but the
          commercial guns remained in production with only minor changes such as
          deletion of the lanyard loop and a larger thumb safety shelf. These
          pistols are known to collectors as “pre-Series 70” guns, as they
          pre-dated the Series 70 guns introduced in 1970. It was during this year
          that Colt introduced the first major design change to the Government
          Model in nearly 50 years. In an attempt to improve the accuracy of
          production guns the barrel bushing was redesigned, along with the
          barrel. In this system the bushing utilized four spring-steel “fingers”
          that gripped the enlarged diameter of the muzzle end of the barrel as
          the gun returned to battery. By tightening the fit of barrel and bushing
          in this manner Colt was able to improve the accuracy of the average
          production gun, without going through the expense of hand fitting the
          older solid barrel bushing to the barrel and slide. Models using the new
          barrel/bushing setup were the Government Model and Gold Cup, which were
          designated the “Mark IV Series 70″ or simply Series 70 pistols. It
          should be noted that the shorter 4 1/4” barreled Commander pistols
          retained the use of the older solid bushing design and thus were never
          designated Series 70 pistols, although one hears the term erroneously
          applied to Commanders from time to time. The new “collet” bushing (as it
          came to be known) generally worked quite well, however it was
          occasionally prone to breakage (see post #3 below) so it was eventually
          phased out around 1988 as Colt reverted back to using the solid bushing
          in all of their pistols.

          The single biggest change to the 1911 design came about in 1983, when
          Colt introduced the “MK IV Series 80” pistols. These guns incorporated a
          new firing pin block safety system, where a series of internal levers
          and a plunger positively blocked the firing pin from moving until the
          trigger was pressed, thus eliminating the possibility of the gun
          discharging if dropped onto a hard surface or struck hard. In this
          instance however, ALL of Colt’s 1911-pattern pistols incorporated the
          new design change so even the Commander and Officer’s ACP pistols became
          known as Series 80 guns. With the previous paragraph in mind, it is
          important to know that from 1983 until 1988 the early Government Model
          and Gold Cup Series 80 pistols used the Series 70-type barrel and
          bushing as well, although they were known only as Series 80 guns.

          There was one other design change made to the Series 80 guns as well,
          and that was a re-designed half-cock notch. On all models the notch was
          changed to a flat shelf instead of a hook, and it is located where
          half-cock is engaged just as the hammer begins to be pulled back. This
          way the half-cock notch will still perform its job of arresting the
          hammer fall should your thumb slip while manually cocking the pistol,
          yet there is no longer a hook to possibly break and allow the hammer to
          fall anyway. With the notch now located near the at-rest position, you
          can pull the trigger on a Series 80 while at half-cock and the hammer
          WILL fall. However, since it was already near the at-rest position the
          hammer movement isn’t sufficient to impact the firing pin with any
          amount of force.

          Regarding the “clone” guns (1911-pattern pistols made by manufacturers
          other than Colt), so far Para-Ordnance, SIG, Auto Ordnance, Remington,
          and Taurus have adopted Colt’s Series 80 or a similar firing pin block
          system as well. Kimber’s Series II pistols and most models of S&W
          1911s have a FP safety also, but it is a different system than Colt’s
          and is disabled by depressing the grip safety. No manufacturers aside
          from Colt ever adopted the Series 70 collet bushing/barrel arrangement,
          so technically there are no “Series 70” clone guns. What this
          means is that design-wise most of them share commonality with the
          pre-Series 70 guns, using neither the firing pin block NOR the collet
          bushing. Because of this it is important to remember that only Colt
          Series 80 models, and a couple of “clone” 1911 makers use a firing pin
          block. Older Colts and most other clone guns lack a firing pin safety
          and can possibly discharge if there is a round in the chamber and the
          gun is dropped on a hard surface, or if struck a blow hard enough to
          allow the firing pin to jump forward and impact the primer of the loaded
          round. Typically, use of an extra-power firing pin return spring and/or
          a titanium firing pin will significantly improve safety in these older
          designs. By the way, for the past decade Colt has been producing new
          pistols out of their Custom Shop that lack the S80 firing pin safety.
          These are the Gunsite and CCO models, WW1 and WW2 GI replicas, and a
          reintroduced original-style Series 70 in both blued and stainless steel
          that should appeal to 1911 purists. Interestingly, all of these use a
          solid barrel bushing, so mechanically they are more similar to the
          original pre-Series 70 models despite being advertised by Colt as having
          a “Series 70 firing system”.

          Regarding the controversy involving getting a decent trigger pull on a
          Series 80 gun, it is only of importance if the gunsmith attempts to
          create a super-light pull (under four pounds) for target or competition
          use. In defense/carry guns where a four-pound or heavier pull is
          necessary, the added friction of the Series 80 parts adds little or
          nothing to the pull weight or feel. A good gunsmith can do an
          excellent trigger job on a Series 80 and still leave all the safety
          parts in place, although he will probably charge a little more than if
          the gun were a Series 70 since there are more parts to work with. But
          any gunsmith who tells you that you can’t get a good trigger on a Series 80 without removing the safety parts is likely either lazy or incompetent.

  • I carry my gun in Condition Glock.

  • CapeMorgan

    What always comes to my mind when this topic comes up is the difference between long guns and pistols. Is there anyone who would carry a rifle like they would a Glock with a round in the chamber and no external safety?

    • Bob

      only when you are POINT MAN and on a mission.
      I sure would not want a deer hunter behind me carrying with a round up the pipe and safety OFF (on fire mode)

      • Even then, selector on SAFE, thumb riding the selector. Even with an AK, I can sweep the selector with a knife hand (thumb still around the pistol grip) while bring the rifle up.

        I’ve seen too many NDs *in training* from people.patrolling with rifles off SAFE. Even had one myself, where I snagged the trigger on something and popped off a blank.

        • Bob

          I’ve never had an ND in 48 years! I have had a rifle pop off on me AFTER I had a trigger job done by a so called gunsmith who would NOT (and did not) stand behind his work. Needless to say, I bought a NEW trigger and had a competent smith put it in.
          I also had that rifle pointed in a safe direction where it would have had to penetrate a block wall and about 60 feet of an earthen berm behind it!
          The “secret” is to have your mind on WHAT you are doing.
          If you are “administratively” holstering your pistol, you should have the presence of mind as to WHAT are you doing, HOW are you doing it, and is there anything UNUSUAL!
          Next thing you know…. we will have MORONS TEXTING while they are shooting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They do it WHILE they are driving in RUSH HOUR on the interstate!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • IOW, you *have* had an “unintended loud noise”, but aren’t willing to call it an ND. Got it.

            Me, I fess up to my ND.

          • Bob

            um…AFTER a gunsmith SCREWED it up. It is hardly an ND!!
            I aimed it at a good backstock (cement wall with at least 60 feet of compacted earth behind it), and when I closed the bolt it fired into the SAFE BACKSTOP.
            Call it what you want. After I went to a different gunsmith and had a NEW trigger installed it worked.
            Perhaps you need to re-read what I said!

          • No, I read what you wrote.

            *You*, and *no one else*, are responsible for ensuring your personal rifle is safe to fire (after all, it wasn’t a “company gun” where you have no control.over armorer repairs). If you picked an incompetent, or chose to have shoddy parts installed, that’s on you. And a trigger job with such poor sear engagement that it fired on closing the bolt will generally be caught if you did proper function checks *without ammo*. It is no different than the Bubbas who gonto the range with their home trigger job on a 1911 and end up with a machine pistol by accident.

            And a safe backstop doesn’t make a negligent discharge not negligent – it just keeps it from turning into a negligent *shooting*.

          • Bob

            I guess you KNOW better then I.
            I tested it without ammo (and having it pointed in the SAFE direction).
            The next time, it went, but hey, who am I?
            have it your way. I have nothing to prove to you one way or another.
            You WIN, okay. Hope you feel better now.

  • Marcus D.

    My Kahr is DAO and has no external safety. Moreover, contrary to common advice at the local gun stores to not use the “slide lock” as a “slide release”, the Kahr manual specifically instructs that it is a slide release, and the slide release should always be used for chambering a round. This is sound advice, as rounds do not reliably feed if the slide is manually racked. In short, it is a gun designed to be carried with one in the chamber, and I do so. Since my wife will not touch my guns, and I have no children, grandchildren or visitors, it is always loaded unless being shot or cleaned.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I personally can’t stand people that are advocating that the masses should always carry all of their guns with loaded chambers. There’s so many stupid people out there that will have accidental discharges because of that advice. Not to mention all of the freak accidents.

    From a statistical point of view, the people advocating for loaded chambers at all times (even on firearms that don’t have thumb safeties) are getting people injured and killed. We know this from police departments that switch from using handguns. All of the reports that I’ve seen show an increase in accidental discharges if the handguns don’t have thumb safeties. That’s why I think that it’s stupid for military units to adopt Glocks. They’re going to experience more casualties from accidental discharges than actual combat uses of their pistol against the enemy.

    If a gun doesn’t have a thumb safety, then I’ll always store and carry it with an empty chamber. Chambering a round is such an easy and quick motor function. It’s nowhere near as difficult as people try to make it seem.

    If I’m going to store or carry a firearm with a loaded chamber, then it has to have a thumb safety.

    • Marcus D.

      Unlike a military encounter, and I suspect most police encounters, civilian DGUs tend to occur at bad breath distance where there is little time or–more importantly–space to rack a slide. If faced with an immediate (and here I mean imminent on top of you) attack, most people will instinctively raise one arm in a defensive posture, and that is independent of the weapon with which they are being assaulted, either to fend off a blow of some type or to push away from the attacker. Kind of hard to rack a slide with only one hand. This was never a problem with SA or DA revolvers with a hammer down on an empty cylinder, but is a more modern issue arising from semiauto pistols and the fact that they cannot be fired until a round is chambered. So the dilemma is presented: Israeli carry or locked and loaded? For my Kahr, as described below, the only choice is a chambered round since racking a slide is nonstarter.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        I’ve never seen any statistics on civilian self-defense ranges, but from most of the civilian defensive gun uses that I’ve seen in the news, the good guy would have had enough time to chamber a round. But I believe in preparing for worst case scenarios, so, we’ll just assume that you’re rolling around on the ground with some guy who surprised you and is now trying to kill you. In that scenario, you’d still be able to quickly and easily flick a safety off with your thumb. That’s why I think that people should simply stay away from handguns that don’t have thumb safeties. I personally carry a SIG P238, a SIG P938, and an M&P9c for that exact reason.

      • Peter (BE)

        An “imminent on top of you attack” requires empty hand techniques or a contact weapon to gain the distance necessary to bring your firearm into play. Basically you are talking ambush. An ambush is a very bad thing anyway and the answer is not weapon related, it is situational awareness.

        • Marcus D.

          A Condition 1 handgun IS a “contact weapon,” and takes no more time to deploy than a knife, taser or wand (assuming the legality of such items in your jurisdiction). Sure, situational awareness is critical, but if you watch enough armed hold up videos, the attacks occur suddenly and rapidly. “Empty hand techniques”? Give me a break. The average elder has no business engaging in such activity, and probably lacks the speed, strength or training to do go up against a 20 -something intent on doing harm. And even if you have situational awareness, you can’t draw until the attack is imminent, and that means the attacker is within a car length and has either drawn some type of weapon or is rushing you. To draw earlier is brandishing. Another example, car jackers. They usually come up on the driver’s side in the blind spot, and in traffic. The driver has amost no time to react before the car door is jerked open and a gun stuck in his or her face.

          • Peter (BE)

            Well, good luck delivering contact shots with a gun that can be pushed out of battery when pressed against an attacker or that can jam when feeding / ejection is hampered by clothing or body parts. Not to speak of the risk to your own body parts when shooting during a grappling match for the control over your gun, or the danger to bystanders caused by what is essentialy unaimed gunfire. Could it work? Yes, but it is a lousy plan A in my book. Situational awareness is supposed to not getting you into the trouble spot in the first place, if you think that situational awareness is just meant to make you a better gunfighter, then you might not see the full picture.

  • Nor have mine—-

  • Phuphuphnik Q. Phuphuphnik

    If I were to carry, it would be condition 3. I feel that if I carry in 1, I feel that I would have to be hyper vigilant, to go along with that state of readiness. Gun readiness=mental/tactical readiness. If I am out and about, I don’t to be so aware of possible threats that I am not enjoying myself. Mosul? sure, Suburbs USA? not so much. Carrying in condition 3 will enable me to split the difference, be aware but not to the point where I think everything is a threat.

    I don’t carry as a choice, but I’m happy I have that choice.

  • Norm Glitz

    “very difficult”?

  • Aaron Brooks

    It’s not just extra time to chamber a round. The action of chambering is one that has multiple ways to fail – a swollen case, bad technique (a virtual certainty in stressful life or death situations!), or even a sudden breakage in the firearm. Maybe there are more. If I am going to carry I want to know that the first round is chambered, and those 3 or more conditions of failure are behind me.

  • Core

    Condition One is the way to go with a 1911. During draw practice you need to keep your finger off the trigger until you come to target and pop the thumb safety off. I practice focusing on disengaging the thumb safety when my sight picture is coming to the sweet spot. It’s surprisingly intuitive and I snap the safety back on after I reassess the threat before taking the pistol down from high ready. It’s not instinctive at first but now I often catch myself forgetting that I’m engaging and disengaging the safety, which in itself requires reassessment. But it’s always where it needs to be. It reminds me of the reholstering training by Brian Hartman of PFC. He covers reholstering without looking to build muscle memory so you can maintain situational awareness. Go check out PFC and watch their free videos on YouTube, good stuff.

  • nick

    sigh….here in the north, we cant even have this “discussion”…if we did manage to need a side arm for self / home defense, its unlock the safe, unlock the firearm and then put a (limited to 10 rds.) mag in.
    or worse, the 5 rds. in your blocked AR mag for your restricted AR’s … (of course, unless you have an L and R pistol mag handy….)
    in Canada, we train how fast we can do the above……..;-)

  • scaatylobo

    Gun in anything but “condition 1” is a hammer.
    NO ‘Right’ to be allowed to draw and LOAD if attacked.
    Happened to me a long time ago,lesson learned.

  • sean

    strike fire, one in the chamber, buy good holster

  • Here’s what I think: I think Nathaniel F should put a stop to “what do you think” articles which are mere clickbait and don’t actually convey information, or a stance on anything. Sure they generate a lot of comments, but they aren’t articles.

  • And thumb cocking a SA semi is more dangerous than using the safety.

  • I’ve had 1911 safeties (and I don’t use ambi safeties, nor extended.ones) disengage occasionally with an IWB holster. That is generally an indication it’s time to get a new holster, because this one has gotten too floppy.

    Of course, I switched to a Milt Sparks Summer Special years ago, and it was still going strong when I switched to Combat Tupperware a couple of years ago. Quality holsters matter.

  • Bob

    I agree with you 100%. it is called “paying attention” and proper maintenance on your equipment! In my humble opinion, the worst thing they did was put a “safety” on a firearm! Now the person “thinks” (if at all) oh, I’m safe. I too have seen the people with the “safeties” having ND’s!! And you can’t believe which way that muzzle is pointed also. There are certain folks I WILL NOT go shooting with ! Where as if you are packing and you know you are cocked and locked (1911) or you have a REVOLVER with NO safety, you are “good to go”.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Thank John Moses Browning.

    I like to think that Thor’s hammer was a 1911.

    • Aaron Brooks

      Yep! I also have a sear-slip-safety on my Sar K2 45. Thanks JMB! 🙂

  • Mog Grat

    I had a discussion with an armed policeman at an Atomic Weapons Establishment about the Browning Hi-Power he carried. I suggested that a loaded chamber, cocked hammer and safety on was a very good idea. He sucked his teeth and said ‘Oh no, that would be thought far too dangerous’

  • Dean

    Not trying to pick nits, but regarding Condition 2 as stated above, you can’t have the hammer down AND thumb safety engaged on a 1911 style pistol. Jus’ sayin’.

  • Archie Montgomery

    Too much of the issue is wrapped up in the individual in question, not the firearm. Frankly, some folks – including a few who claim to be shooters – shouldn’t be allowed to handle firearms. They shouldn’t be able to drive anything faster and more complicated than a wheel barrow, under supervision, for that matter.

    Most shooters are pretty good about knowing the four safety rules, AND the concepts of ‘correct’ ammunition, barrel obstructions and so forth. However, most shooters are not experienced gunfighters, either.

    HARD AND FAST RULES: The empty chamber approach works well for those who have fairly loose “rules of engagement”. If one may draw and chamber a round (regardless of action type) when ever one feels the need, Condition Three may be reasonable. Of course, this leads to the need to ‘clear and make safe’ as many times as one feels threatened.

    Condition Two is neither fish nor fowl. It isn’t particularly quick and it isn’t really as safe as either One or Three can be. It is however, a great false feeling of security for administrators who simultaneously fear their subordinates can’t distinguish peanut butter from show polish AND refuse to spend the time and money for proper training.

    Condition One is very quick to employ and as safe as the individual operating the device. It can also be very treacherous. I do not think it advisable for someone with ‘nerves’ or little self-control. Of course, telling another they are ‘nervous’ or lack ‘self-control’ can be a real conversation killer.

    I rather think most folks should operate somewhere below their own personal level of expertise. In my experience, many people see certain weaponry, ammunition and holster types to be status symbols rather than tools based on skill.

    One of the great ignored alternatives is a revolver. As simple and quick to use as Condition One and nearly as safe as Condition Three. The answer to ‘limited number of available rounds and slower reload’? Learn to shoot. The only time many, many rounds are needed is if one is attacked by a reinforced battalion of Red Chinese Army, or if one misses a lot.

  • Walt Mather

    No amount of training can make carrying a round chambered in a striker fire pistol dependably safe.

    Yet carrying without a round chambered is severely hindering your response in real world defense of yours or someone else’s life.

    Therefore when male ego is taken out of the equation, the only viable compromise that makes sense is carrying with a round chambered but only in a “de-cocked” weapon requiring heavier da trigger pull.

    Having a safety on a da/sa handgun is certainly debatable but in my opinion adds an unnecessary redundant step.