Rebuttal: “The Folly of the ‘Press Check'”

Browsing through the interwebs as we writers do, I came across an interesting proposition from one Mr. Jeff Gonzales that the “press check” is not appropriate for …”when you strap a firearm onto your body (unless the instructor specifically asks you to use an unloaded pistol or rifle).”

I disagree. I’m no Navy SEAL like Mr. Gonzales, but this assertion fails my logical tests.

Unlike rifles where it is easy in an administrative situation to see the double-stack magazine change sides, most handguns are single-feed weapons and as such, it is near impossible to tell that the weapon is loaded without one of two things – a loaded chamber indicator (this is why I like them) or a press check. Press checks are ideal for administrative times – exactly when you are strapping a firearm to one’s body. In fact, administrative handling is the one time you should be handling a firearm unless drawing to fire or de-gun.

Should one press check in the middle of combat? I would assert the situation dictates it – but it’s likely a hard no in almost all circumstances. But, in an admin function why would one not want to verify their readiness? More on this below.

Mr. Gonzales continues:

 “Why do students want to perform a weapons check? Because we as instructors have failed. We’ve failed to encourage and empower students to understand the importance of readiness.”

Now, I will say that Mr. Gonzales is quite right on his points on willingness, attitude, and readiness, but readiness includes having the weapon ready to perform and if one does not have a loaded chamber indicator – the only way to do that is to press check the gun.

We want to perform a weapons check because we are learned and empowered to actually understand that malfunctions happen. I am checking to make sure that the most critical shot – my first one – has the highest chances of success.

I instruct my students on the importance of handling themselves responsibly with loaded firearms as soon as they can handle their gun safely.

There is nothing worse than drawing your firearm, aiming it at your attacker and hearing a click. To reduce the odds of that happening, start as you mean to finish.

There is absolutely no logical argument here. How is a press check not handling oneself responsibly so long as the firearms safety rules are followed? Then, to imply that BECAUSE one did the press check that they are going to draw a dead trigger is nuts. Do it right – ensure your weapon is in battery and in fact one of the key points of the earlier argument of readiness.

If you feel the need to press check your firearm, you need to ask yourself why. And do whatever it takes to be confident in yourself and your gun’s condition. So that you’re as ready as you can be to fight. And win.

This is a flat-out oxymoron. How can one assert that one should do “whatever it takes to be confident” yet throw out one of the processes that makes one confident?

I press check my guns to ensure that I am ready to win – either combat or competition. Press checking is simple and follows an old maxim: “trust, but verify.”

I choose to verify.


TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • Michael Bane

    Meh…GUNSITE teaches press check “as needed.” They also run a hot range, which I prefer.
    Michael B

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Anyone group worth going to teaches press checks. This is a really bad article.

      • gusto

        I only target shoot and hunt, not in a “tactical” way not even run and gun IPSC-style (not since I was in the army anyway)

        I have never presschecked, never not had a round chambered when I expected either

  • Texas-Roll-Over

    Never understood why people have to open their chamber to remember if they put one in the tube after closing the slide or racking the slide with a full mag….

    • pun&gun

      It’s especially silly if you top off your magazines. Can I fit that extra round? All right, I know where that last round went. (Even more ridiculous if the magazine has round count windows)

    • marine6680

      Um… do you know with 100% certainty that a round chambered?

      You can’t… Everyone has been at the range, maybe sighting in a new scope, lined up the shot, CLICK…

      The mag wasn’t fully seated, but didn’t fall out either.

      A press check is done once, after you first load and make ready. After that, you know the condition of your weapon.

      If you are constantly press checking, then yeah, that is a problem.

      And while I can see the point about topping off, it is also faulty logic…

      Are you 100% sure you loaded the mag to full capacity before inserting it into the gun?

      I have seen popular youtubers who are conducting tests, fail to load the mags to the round count they wanted. (A recent element test by MAC is an example… “was that a full ten?”… no it was 8, you only loaded 8)

      As I said, a press check is an administrative action performed when first making a firearm ready… After that, you should know and be sure of your weapon’s status. There should be no need for further press checks.

      • Bobb

        Yah, I do know with 100% certainty, especially on Glocks. They have this nice little extractor that pulls double duty as a loaded chamber indicator. Also most other polymer guns have a nice little hole above the chamber you can look straight into and see the brass.

        • valorius

          “you can look straight in and see the brass”….in the daytime.

        • marine6680

          Not all guns have that. If you do have a loaded chamber indicator of some kind, that is an acceptable substitute.

          Using those indicators is basically the same mindset as a press check.

          So that does not argue against a press check… Its all the same basically, just how you get there is a bit different.

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: Um… do you know with 100% certainty that a round chambered?

        If you load by manually inserting a loose round, closing the action, and then inserting the mag, you know. Having an LCI might avoid the point of doing that, but routinely re-chambering the same round off the mag has considerations as well.

        In any event, one can have a stewardship policy in which a press-check is theoretically never needed, or is routine. If neither posture is comfortable, carry a revolver.

        • marine6680

          Do you want a broken extractor? Because thats how you get a broken extractor.

          Dropping a slide onto a chambered round, and not feeding from a mag, can damage the extractor.

          • TechnoTriticale

            re: Do you want a broken extractor? Because thats how you get a broken extractor.

            Valid, and firearm-specific, issue. Thanks for raising it. I see some debate on it in other comments here, as well as Plan Bs for when it’s a problem.

            In the future, of course, a sensor will read the ring barcode off the CT as it chambers, reporting load status to the HUD in the shooting glasses (including primer and propellant use-by dates), as well as basic status to the dimmable LEDs at receiver rear.

    • Tom Currie

      You mean you DON’T carry a gun where the slide regularly goes fully forward on a properly inserted fully loaded magazine without feeding a round into the chamber?

      Apparently you and I are the only two in this discussion, who have pistols that do always chamber a round when you rack the slide on a loaded magazine.

  • Giolli Joker

    -Tries to press hard on gun’s cylinder. Nothing happens. Scratches head. Agrees press check is stupid.

    • Vhyrus

      Press on the side so the whole thing swings out. You’re welcome.

      • valorius

        On most revolvers you can see the cartridges in the thing if you look at it from the side.

        • Disarmed in CA

          and if you look through the front you can verify they are loaded and not empty shells!

          • valorius

            I am not in the habit of keeping spent cartridges in my revolvers.

          • Klaus Von Schmitto

            “Did he fire six shots or only five?”

          • Phillip Cooper

            “Well, do you feel lucky.. punk?”

          • valorius

            Do you feel lucky?

          • Ringolevio

            “In all this excitement, I kinda lost count myself!”

          • Hollywood. (ˇò_ó)ᕤ

      • Klaus Von Schmitto

        Dammit. I was wondering why my bullets keep falling out.

  • QuadGMoto

    “And do whatever it takes to be confident in yourself and your gun’s condition. So that you’re as ready as you can be to fight. And win.”

    Wait, is he arguing against doing a press check or for it? Because this sounds like a reason why you would do it.

    • RSG

      He’s arguing against. Because everyone should be so in tune with theirbweapon that they should just know it’s loaded.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        I FEEL that it’s probably loaded, definitely.

        • QuadGMoto

          “Reach out with your feelings, Luke. Use the force.” 😏

          • RegT

            Sorry, Quad. I typed my reply before I saw yours. Great minds, and all that 🙂

        • Edeco

          I can tell by the weight whether there are 18 cartridges on board or 17. Doesn’t work when dutch-loaded course.

        • Tony O

          How would you not know that it’s loaded? Did you forget that you loaded it? May need to have some tests run to check your memory capabilities.

          If you’re talking about doing it after inserting a mag and closing the slide, can you not tell the difference? There’s definitely a difference, both tactile and aurally. You should try it sometime, closing the slide on a round versus an empty chamber. You’d be amazed at how obvious it is.

          Of course, coming back to your weapon, you could press check it, but again, how do you not remember if you loaded it or not? OR why was someone messing with your gun that they unloaded it? Why did you leave it somewhere so that someone could mess with it?

          • Lyman Hall

            I walk into me LGS/Range/Training Center. The sign on the door says “ALL FIREARMS MUST BE UNLOADED AND CASED.” I get to the classroom, and Mr. Gonzales immediately assumes that I have broken the rules of the range by bringing in a loaded firearm.

          • RegT

            As a cop, every time we went into Juve Hall or court, our duty weapon went into a locker. Would you trust your life to the idea that no one else had access to your weapon while it was out of your sight? Suit yourself, folks (not you Lyman, I agree with you) but I sure wouldn’t – and didn’t.

          • lucusloc

            A lot of us share a safe with a spouse and/or grown children. A lot of us leave our carry/defensive arm in condition 1 in a holster in the safe. A lot of us press check our carry gun when we go to strap on the gun from the safe, just in case one of the other members of the household cleared it and forgot to tell us. A lot of us know when a press check is necessary, and will do one to verify the gun is in the condition we expect it to be in.

        • pablo4twenty


      • Some Guy

        I mean…. I can tell by sound when the gun picks up a round vs when it doesn’t but why would I stake my life on it?

      • RegT

        Kind of like telling them to “use the Force” to be sure their weapon will work as desired.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    The only activity that should be discouraged is activity that is dangerous. Either directly dangerous (such as any 4 rules violations) or indirectly dangerous (as in activity that makes you a less effective fighter and therefore more likely to be shot)

    If youre discouraging something else then I see little basis on how your advice has any relevance whatsoever.

  • Swarf

    The following point is ancillary to the articles, I get it.

    People make jokes about the SR series’ loaded chamber indicator, and they are right, they do look a bit… happy to see you… but I’d rather that than a visual press check that takes my gun partially out of battery.

    Especially if I were to need that gun at night, in the dark. Yes, I always store my pistol in condition 1, but a little tactile reassurance before heading out to investigate a bump in the night isn’t a bad thing.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Especially if I were to need that gun at night, in the dark

      Exactly. Dumb articles like this one and people who repeat them are always picturing the most ideal situation.

      Your gun, perfect daylight, all the time in the world.

      Go to pitch black, not your gun, and in a hurry – and all of a sudden knowing how to press check properly in the dark seems pretty reasonable.

      • Cal S.

        If I doubt myself and I have to do a press-check in the dark, I’m going to take the potential loss of one good round and rack that sucker like I’m clearing a malfunction.

        I think the remaining 14 rounds ought to be sufficient.

        • valorius

          I have seen several videos of people dying because they decided or had to cycle their slide in the beginning of a fight. There are several on the ASP you tube channel. Please do not do this.

          • Cal S.

            Did you catch the context? My whole comment started off with an ‘If’ in response to someone else’s ‘what if’ thought process.

            Yes, though, you are correct. Idiots that practice “Israeli carry: because if Israel does it, I must do it” are begging for a bullet.

          • Simcha M.

            It serves us just fine and with all due respect to the SEALs, Spetznatz, SAS, et al, we’re the best in the biz.

          • Cal S.

            Not according to “Deadliest Warrior”… 😉

            The problem is US commando-wannabes just suspend all reason when they decide to follow what some SPECOPS force does without having the same level of training. Sure, empty-chamber is SOP for some Israeli units/police, but they also have the hours of training and reactionary muscle memory to go along with it. Without it, you’re asking for trouble.

          • Ringolevio

            I’ve never understood why Israelis carry with an empty chamber, but I guess it works for them. They have certainly mastered the drill of draw/rack/fire.

            I’m far more bothered by all the scenes in movies and TV where a guy racks his slide to show that “things are really serious now!” Which means that a) presumably he’s been carrying with an empty chamber or b) the writers, actors, director and technical advisor (if there is one!) don’t really know dick about self-loaders. There are probably even movies and shows wherein someone racks his slide several times in succession (with no rounds shown being ejected) to show that “we’re really, really serious now!”

          • Wow!

            Israelis carry with a empty chamber for the same reason that our military has the need for decockers and safeties even though they don’t actually make a person safer: it allows trainers to evaluate a person’s level of discipline. If a person fails to follow a procedure such as starting with an empty chamber or forgetting not to decock or put on safe, no one gets hurt and the instructor can chew the guy out. In contrast, if they fail to keep finger off the trigger or some other base line 4 rule, then someone could get hurt. It is the Fairbairn-Sykes approach, the “quick kill” point shooting vs the aimed fire. It is an easy way to train a mass of people quickly to proficiency, but not necessarily to mastery.

            For the rest of us who either have looser training regimen or are completely in charge of our own defense, then we can carry to a higher level such as chamber loaded and striker fired guns.

          • Cal S.

            No kidding, there was a “Murder She Wrote” episode that was set during a female prison riot/takeover. The woman that had Lansbury captive literally racked her shotgun’s slide anytime she felt like it or things got tense. Must have been 8 times. On a 5-round capacity 870.

            The Ruskie Spetz carry without a round (easier to eliminate NDs with your conscripts), but their holster is such that the ‘push-through draw’ racks the slide and chambers a round.

    • Hoplopfheil

      On almost all of my guns, the extractor feels noticably bumped out if there’s a loaded cartridge.

      I think some of the complaints about the SR is that the indicator sticks up SO much it might get snagged on something, or break off.

      • Swarf

        The rest of the complaints are that it looks like a dog rocket.

        At least the rest of the complaints from me.

        I’d still rather have it than not, although I don’t clean the gunk off it any more so it’s not red.

        • Hoplopfheil

          I have a Ruger P345 (first time Ruger tried that LCI design) and I get what you mean.

          I also have a Taurus Millennium Pro where they thoughtfully painted the LCI red, but it doesn’t stick out far enough for the red part to be visible. Thanks Taurus.

        • Rick Grimes

          Gave you an upvote for “dog rocket”. Haven’t heard that one before lol

      • valorius

        If your extractor sticks up it’s an LCI.

    • valorius

      100% this.

    • Jai S.

      I have had a loaded chamber indicator (one that is separate from the extractor) stick up in the loaded position. Carbon filled the channel it sat in, and since this non-vital part required a roll pin punch to clean, it just never got cleaned.

      I just try to ignore them, and do the press check.

  • Jim Drickamer

    I press check my sidearm before I go on duty every time. That is how I once discovered a broken main spring just before leaving home. I have found this to be a better alternative than a friend of mine who, after qualifying one year, heard an unusual rattle when he shook the S&W 686 with which he was armed. He chose to ignore it and carried that weapon for a full year until his next qualification. Then, after his firearm would not shoot, the range officer determined that the rattle was caused by the broken pieces of his main spring. It is also a good idea to make sure the barrel is clear.

    • valorius

      I had a similar situation a couple decades ago. Had a Ruger .357 magnum police service six whose only purpose was to go between my mattresses for “oh crap” home defense moments. There it sat for about a year, til the next time I decided i wanted to fire it. Click click click…broken firing pin.

      • Wow!

        One reason why I think people thought revolvers were more reliable than semi autos is because they often don’t fire them! I can understand, the ammo is expensive, it isn’t all that fun to shoot due to the poor grip and the heavy recoil, and revolvers are generally marketed to those who aren’t into firearms anyways. Even in movies the revolver is rarely carried on the hip, but rather stored in some desk drawer. However, I was started on the revolvers and I have shot the heck out of them (enough to have had to time them several times in their lives). While revolvers have their place in niche users, I think they are a higher level weapon like the shotgun is. I would only recommend them to the guy who is willing to live or dry fire at least 5 hours every week.

        • valorius

          They seem to work quite well for all the grandmas and non gun people I read about in The Armed Citizen every month.

          While practicing all the time is a great thing, no disputing that, it’s not really necessary at the ranges actual civilian home defense gunfights occur- which in the US is typically about 10 feet.

          • Wow!

            I agree. Clint Smith once said something along the lines that at close range, it isn’t that I can’t miss, but I better not miss since at this range even a blind man can get lucky.

            That said, I would say that Armed Citizen doesn’t included those who failed due to not being prepared for the realities of a fight, and most people who submit their encounters to American Rifleman are likely those who have a higher level of interest and competence in shooting than the average nightstand owner.

          • valorius

            Perhaps. There’s not really any comprehensive column of failures, so it’s hard to say. One of the reasons i like the ASP channel on you tube is because he often shows failures.

    • Bill

      Probably the most concerning part of that story is that your friend only shoots his duty weapon once a year.

      • Phillip Cooper

        For probably 90% of cops this is the case.

        • Wow!

          Unfortunately so. Many are complacent since getting in a gunfight is somewhat rare despite how the media wants to paint America as being equal to Iraq. That said, those who do finally get into a violent encounter and somehow survive due to luck, generally take their training a bit more seriously afterwards.

    • KestrelBike

      Soooo… He went a full year without practicing firing his duty weapon at the range… Good times lol.

      • valorius

        There are a lot of places where you dont even need a gun to be a cop in America. I’m in one of them now. About the only use a cop would have for a gun here is to shoot a lame horse or cow or something.

      • Ringolevio

        The average NYPD officer goes through his entire career without ever drawing his service weapon, except for semi-annual re-qualification at Rodman’s Neck.

    • MeaCulpa

      With a duty weapon I’m fond of the Army’s way of doing things, actually test fire every weapon and re filling mags before going on patrol.

      • William Conrad

        Yepper, “test fire for function”, for sure on belt feds.
        Always in a combat zone. Which now day would seem to be most everywhere !!

        • rick0857

          Well, whether or not one finds oneself in a “combat zone” depends on the ROE of the location. During the obama admin our troops found themselves in multiple ENEMY COMBAT ZONES which coincidentally were NOT AMERICAN COMBAT ZONES because of the said ROE!!!

    • Phillip Cooper


      This is why you press check.

    • DunRanull

      Jim: BINGO!

  • Saint Stephen the Obvious

    I was in the military and did some time in law enforcement and they all said to make sure your locked and loaded which means you might need to do a press check.

    Mr. Gonzales contradicts himself a few times and that just goes to show that just because your a high speed, low drag operator doesn’t mean you’re perfect.

    Just saying “all have sinned and fallen short”.

    Saint Stephen the Obvious

  • Cal S.


    Let’s just say I’ve never been one to assume that my firearm is loaded. Even if I always treat it like it is. Just part of a normal gear-check.

  • Get over it fanbois

    A 1911 Luddite says something stupid, again. Time to let this “condition 1” bs die. They have no bearing for Striker* pistols. Which are always preset and doesn’t need stupid crap like “cocking the hammer”.
    Israel carry is good enough for a more up to date firearm. Maybe he should teach his students to buy better guns.

    *Strikers the best we have until something better comes along.

    • BillyOblivion

      Israeli carry is chamber empty, striker released and is inappropriate and unecessary for modern defensive/combat pistols, especially for those who don’t get into gunfights on a regular basis. When you’re under threat for life or limb you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to run the slide. Skin that smokepole and commence.

      Condition one is VERY relevant for striker fired pistols.

      • Get over it fanbois

        Nope, it’s a worthless action that adds unnecessary steps. The nostalgia ninjas are carrying their striker pistols wrongly. The striker action is nanoseconds faster then hammer relics. Make it a complete waste of the shooters time and increases the risk of stove piping a striker.

        • BillyOblivion

          From the wikipedia article on Jeff Cooper:
          Firearm conditions of readiness:
          Condition 4: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
          Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
          Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
          Condition 1: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
          Condition 0: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.

          “Israeli Carry” is Condition 3.

          Modern stricker fired pistols should be carried Condition 1 (California legal pistols) or Condition 0 (Striker fired pistols without external safeties and most of the “decocker” pistols).

          I suspect our disagreement is over what “Israeli Carry” is. Everywhere I’ve seen that term it means carrying the pistol safety off, magazine full and chamber empty. You then run the slide on the draw to finish loading the gun and then have at it.

          This is slower and more prone to failure than either using the safety or getting a gun without an external safety and trusting your holster and your training to keep things from going off unintended (the holster protects the trigger from inadvertently being pulled and in a modern design that’s the only way you’re going to get a round off).

          • lucusloc

            This is correct, though I consider a safetyless gun in the holster to be condition 1, as the holster is acting as part of the safety. Israeli carry is condition 3, and I have never heard of it referenced to mean any other condition. All modern striker fired arms can and should be carried in condition 1 in a good fitted and durable holster.

          • BillyOblivion

            We are in agreement there.

            I’m trying to figure out what /Get Over It Fanbois/ was saying.

          • lucusloc

            Pretty sure he was misunderstanding what you were saying, and thought condition one was chamber empty, and Israeli carry was chamber loaded. Pretty sure we all actually agree, but two of us are using the common understanding, and the other either learned it wrong/different or forgot.

            In that regard I can sympathize, I never learned “OODA”, I learned “OIDA” (Observe, Identify, Decide, Act), and I like “Identify” a lot better than “Orient” because orient is something you do when navigating, not assessing a situation. But OODA is the norm now, so the one I learned and like makes no sense to anyone but me and a few old hands who remember the concept from before it got all standardized.

          • BillyOblivion

            OODA was from Boyd’s original exposition, and was scalable up and down the size of the combat action (from individual to army sized units), and in repeated loops.

            Also I suspect Boyd called it “orient” because he wanted to make explicit the cultural and experiential filtering that happens there. We are running our OODA loop *constantly*, and we need to be conscious (especially when deadly force is involved) to be aware of the frameworks by which we are evaluating information.

            One think that happens a LOT in the firearm training world (it’s WAY to fractious and backbiting to be called a community) is that instructors steal from each other. Good to Great instructors will steal and integrate other people’s ideas but will keep the idea generally intact and will attribute the material when they can (if they remember–we’re all human). Others will “massage” the material to make it theirs (which sometimes it needs, either because the germ of the idea needed to grow, or to fit better into a school or framework).

            It could very well be that in the original context you learned it “identify” was a less ambiguous way of explaining the situation, and for “simple” gun-fighting is really close enough to the original idea. One should always endeavor to eschew obfuscation.

            However at ‘larger’ levels of combat operation, and through multiple feedback cycles “identify” starts to not carry the focus needed.

            As to the “Israeli carry” thing, there are a significant minority of people who think you *should* carry hammer down on a empty chamber. Some of them do it because that’s the way they carried 6 shooters when they were younger (because their elders had learned it from people who carried single action pistols without hammer drop safeties)

  • BillyOblivion

    I suspect, from reading, that what Mr. Gonzales is talking about is a gratuitous check before starting a stage of fire.

    You *should* know the condition of the firearm *when it’s on your person* and shouldn’t need to check it ONCE YOU HAVE HOLSTERED IT.

    Take empty gun out of the safe/range bag/suitecase/etc. Insert magazine. Run the slide, press check, replace magazine with a full one, holster.

    Now you’re good to go until you completely clear the weapon and start over.

    Now I used to be of the opinion that if you can’t trust your pistol to load the first round out of a magazine then it’s probably not something you want to rely on. However the Prophet Murphy is always lurking, and it doesn’t hurt.

    But once you’ve verified it’s loaded, it’s loaded and the more you handle a loaded gun the more likely you are to have an ND.

    • Hoplopfheil

      That might be what he means. If students are doing a press check as part of their draw, that seems tactically unsound.

      • BillyOblivion

        What I got was that students would step up to the line, with a holstered, loaded pistol and then requesting permission from the RO/Instructor to do a press check, checking and reholstering.

        In some ways this is a nervous tick, or a ritual–a way of alleviating performance anxiety.

        The best way to relieve this anxiety is to remember Maxim 70. “Failure is not an option, it is mandatory. Just don’t let it be the last thing you do.”

        • noob

          That makes a lot of sense. I was (excuse the pun) wracking my brain trying to think of a mechanical reason why press checking a pistol with a full strength factory recoil spring would be not enough to return the slide to battery and cause a malfunction.

          Making this be a psychological issue makes more sense

      • RegT

        Which is why that most likely _wasn’t_ what he meant. It would be as ridiculous as telling students they need to drop their mag to make sure it is fully loaded. No, this guy is telling his students to assume their readiness to fire is the same all of the time, simply because they did it once.

    • richardstevenhack

      Absolutely that’s what he meant. I understand it at the first read.

      Everyone else here is talking past each other. They need to stop and THINK about what Gonzales was saying. Although I agree he probably could have made the context clearer.

      All these people talking about “not your gun”: Dudes, Gonzales was very clear that he’s talking about YOUR GUN – and therefore not something handed to you.

      • BillyOblivion

        > They need to stop and THINK about

        Da fuq they do mate, this is the INTERNET. Thinking is ENTIRELY OPTIONAL. So is reading comprehension.

    • Barry McCown

      This was how I read Mr Gonzalez’s article also. That students ask to do a press check before a drill, or drills, even after having spent the past few hours using the same gun in the class and should therefore know the gun’s status. But usually there is someone who does not, because their head isn’t in it.

    • RegT

      Sorry, Billy and Richard. This subject is too important to be left to “Oh, yeah – that’s what he meant.” If that is what he meant, then he should have said so. When talking about things that concern whether you can defend your life or that of your loved ones, you do it right and tell it right. No one should have to “ass-u-me” what he meant.

  • GuySerious

    I feel with loaded chamber indicators, cocking indicators (on some striker fired pistols) and just having the hammer back/ safety engaged on a single action that press checking is almost moot. Now, if you don’t carry a handgun with none of those features, I can understand wanting to press check and confirm a good habit. I guess, it really all depends on the firearm you choose to carry.

    • Phillip Cooper

      You do realize it’s possible to have the hammer back and safety on and not have a round in the pipe?

      • GuySerious

        Now we’re just arguing semantics. You can have a revolver only loaded with snap caps, you can have a piece of spent brass in a glock so you can dry fire. I’m just saying that technology has replaced the need to press check on certain platforms. You’re free to do it with others, free to skip it with some.

        • Phillip Cooper

          No, we are not arguing semantics. There was reference to a SA/DA (IIRC, give me some latitude as I’ve not yet had my coffee this morning!) autoloader having the hammer back and safety on and a round being in the pipe , as “proven” by the condition of the safety and hammer. Such is not true.

          It takes less than a second to do a brass check. When you holster the weapon, brass check it, and make note of/keep aware of the condition of the weapon from then til you put it away in the safe.

          There was some discussion about the point of the article being people that constantly brass check the weapoon througout a range session. Yeah, that’s asinine. But if that’s the author’s intent, they did a poor job of it.

  • USMC03Vet

    TFB staff, contact Mr. Gonazles and see how he likes the domain he writes for publishing articles entirely based on stolen valor clowns like John Giduck as a legit source. I’m curious as to why a supposed legit Navy SEAL or any legit veteran would support that weekend warrior clown show domain.

  • RyanC

    He’s saying: Either be ready, or stop asking for permission to be ready.

    1) Check your gun yourself. This isn’t prison. You don’t need to ask permission to do things.
    2) You should always stage your self defense pistol consistently, each and every time, so that there is no need for the press check.

    • Ringolevio

      “This isn’t prison. You don’t need to ask permission to do things.”

      “Press checking now, Boss!” “Go ‘head, Luke. And keep shakin’ that bush!”

  • Phillip Cooper

    Loaded Chamber indicators, like all machines, can fail. Press Check .

    • The_Champ

      If you are doing an admin load, insert fully loaded mag. Rack slide. Eject mag and verify one round missing, and/or top up. No need to press check, there is only one place that round could be, and it is in the chamber.

      My two cents.

      • Phillip Cooper

        And with some weapons, some mags, it is a fine way to do it.
        Works great with a Glock factory mag. But it doesn’t work with the Pmags.

        Far better to adopt a “one size fits all” way to verify the state of a weapon. Thus, brass check (which is what we are actually doing when we press check).

        We can argue this all darn day. Get to the range and shoot!

      • lucusloc

        For admin loads I just drop it right in the chamber and drop the slide. No worries about bullet setback, dropping and topping up mags, or knowing if the first bullet properly fed. I know it’s loaded because I put the round there myself.

        I use press checks when checking a gun I know should be loaded but has been out of my control, e.g. the safe gun. This guns stays loaded in its holster in the safe in case it needs to be used, and when I want to carry that gun I take it out of the safe, press check to verify loaded, then strap on and go.

        Neither one of these methods require me to futz around with the gun any more than necessary, and both offer far less handling steps than other ways to load and make ready.

    • RealitiCzech

      Mag springs can and do fail. Always single load rounds by hand into your chamber or you will die on the streets every time.

      • Phillip Cooper

        A specious argument at best.

      • M1911

        Then you risk breaking the extractor.

        • lucusloc

          Maybe if your pistol is a hundred years old, but no modern pistol should have a problem with this.

        • Norm Glitz


  • Michelle & Randy Krieger

    Rule 1: Every gun is always loaded. That is not just a preventative rule, it is prescriptive. If I’m carrying it or have it in a place to use, IT IS LOADED. Most NDs happen during administrative handling. Want to reduce NDs: STOP TOUCHING IT.
    In case it is not clear enough, a press check is “touching it.” For some people, it is touching it near the muzzle. Just say no.
    If you absolutely have to know if it is loaded, insert a magazine, give it a tug to make sure it is seated, rack the slide, then top up the magazine, preferably not with the ejected round.

  • Jeff

    “readiness includes having the weapon ready to perform and if one does not have a loaded chamber indicator – the only way to do that is to press check the gun.”

    Nope. A press check doesn’t make anything ready. It only indicates the condition the weapon was in. If it was ready, the press check is superfluous. If it wasn’t ready, then the original argument stands – you failed to be ready.

    • lucusloc

      How so? You insert a mag, rack, then verify a round went into the chamber. Press checks are important if that is how you ready your gun.

      Me on the other hand? I drop a round in the chamber, release the slide then insert the mag. This avoids issues with bullet setback (for repeated use) and having to drop the mag again to top off. This is pretty analogous to the press check though, as I am still verifying that a round is in the chamber.

      A press check does not “make” ready, it verifies ready. This is a good thing to do.

      • The_Champ

        Depending on the gun, there are other problems that come with dropping the bolt on a live round already in the chamber.

        Slam fires might be an issue. Also I was taught that on certain guns you can damage the extractor claw, or the rim of the round in the chamber, which could lead to malfunctions.

        How common those occurrences are I do not know, but they are plausible in my mind.

        My method with my duty gun, a Glock, is to make sure the mag is fully loaded thanks to the handy little holes on the back side of the mag. Insert mag, rack slide, pull out mag and observe the handy little holes again to verify one round chambered. Top up if that’s your thing. No press check required.

        • valorius

          If you damage the extractor by hitting the slide release, you’d damage it by firing the weapon. Non issue.

          • The_Champ

            No, the point is if you drop the slide with a round already sitting in the chamber the extractor has to ride over the rim of that round, where as normally the rim would slip under the extractor as it is stripped from the magazine. Different mechanics going on than during the normal function of the weapon.

          • valorius

            I’ve been dropping the slide on a loaded chamber for like 25 years now. If i ever see a gun break because of it, any gun, i promise i will come back here and post about it.

          • lucusloc

            This is pretty much my feelings on the matter. I keep hearing people tell me it could possibly cause problems. Thing is the majority of people I know do it this way, and I have heat to hear of anyone who has had a problem on any modern gun. I concede it could have been an issue on really old guns, but as I said those firearms had a whole host of issues that have been fixed on modern guns, so using them as a guideline on what should or should not be done is a bit silly.

          • AlDeLarge

            It’s a problem on 1911s with the original style extractor. They’re not spring loaded levers. If the rim doesn’t slide up from underneath something has to give that wasn’t designed to give.

          • lucusloc

            Good to know where this idea came from. That makes the notion that you should not do it with modern guns easier to combat. Personally I think that unless you know that you gun cannot handle it, dropping the round straight into the chamber is the “correct” way to make ready, and all other methods are inferior. I will see if i can get my hands on an original style 1911 to check out their fixed extractor.

          • Norm Glitz

            Been doing it for years on 1911-ish guns, including original military 1911A1s. My bullseye guns have thousands of these cycles.

            The extractor itself is the spring. It was most definitely “designed to give”.

        • lucusloc

          Some of those concerns may have been an issue with older guns, but older guns were often not drop safe either. Any modern gun should be able to handle having the extractor rid over the rim of a case with no issues. If it cannot I would suggest finding a more durable gun. My main reason to use this method is to combat bullet setback caused from repeated chamberings. This way the bullet never hits the ramp, and therefor never experiences the forces that cause setback. One cartridge can permanently server as the first round, and the mag always stays 100% full. The fact that I know for sure there is something in the chamber is just an added bonus.

          Using witness holes is also a valid method, if your mags has a hole for the last round. Not all of them do, however, so in that case a press check is necessary. Due to my methodology I honestly never bother with witness holes. I load my mags with the right number of rounds then forget about it until I cycle my carry ammo. Now I only use a press check if I remember the gun being ready to go, but I want to verify to be 100% sure. For example, my two carry guns stay in the safe, in their holsters loaded and ready to go (they server double duty as the defensive arms for that portion of the house, which is why they live in condition one). When I want to use one, I pull it out and do a press check to verify good to go, then strap on and walk out. Even if they did have witness holes on the last round it would not do me a lot of good, since I am not loading the weapon every time I grab it. It *should* be already loaded, and a simple press check verifies this condition.

          There is some speculation that the cited article meant “You should not do a press check every time you draw your weapon. Have faith that it is in the same condition it was when you first holstered it for the day” which is a true and valid statement. If I check my gun at the beginning of the day, and it has been on my hip ever since, then yes, I can feel confident that it is still good to go and another press check right before action is an unnecessary waste of time and brainpower. But for weapons that have been out of my direct control for some period of time, or that you are setting up for use this very moment, a press check is a good idea to do so you can verify condition (provided you do not have another valid method like a chamber indicator or witness holes).

          • The_Champ

            I’ll agree with you that bullet set back may be just as likely to cause a malfunction as rim/extractor damage. Gotta pay attention to your ammo.

            I brought up slam fires because I believe on a lot of old military rifles, especially with free floating firing pins and softer commercial primers, it is a real danger. You are likely right that it doesn’t apply to most modern designs. Although I doubt any gun manufacturer would recommend dropping a round in the chamber and letting the action slam shut.

            As I general rule I would certainly recommend people avoid that habit, but it might be perfectly safe on your particular firearm.

          • lucusloc

            See, I fall on the other side, drop the round in the chamber unless you know your gun model has a problem with it. Its a better methodology for readying a pistol because it requires less manipulation and time. This is like the recent popular switch away from manual safeties (or the even older switch to drop safe guns), eventually the old methodologies just get phased out. I think almost all modern pistols are more than capable of tolerating this method, and as it becomes a more common practice an extractor that can rider over the rime will come to be an expected feature (hell, it already is an expected feature for many).

            But just like the previous changes in methodology I fully expect there to be a lot of resistance from the old hands, as well as some confusion as to which models it is safe to be performed on. As with all things firearm use your head, if you have an extractor with geometry that lets it ride over the rim you are probably good to go. If not ask the manufacturer. The more they get asked this question the more they will know it is a desired feature, and if they did not designed their extractor to perform this way they will at least start thinking about doing so. Manufacturers, by their nature, will not recommend something that is perceived to be out of common practice, even if it is perfectly acceptable to do so. I highly suspect that many of them, when asked if this is ok, will simply change their answer from “no” to “yes” as the practice becomes more accepted (without making any changes to the firearm whatsoever).

            Even if you have an older model pistol that does not tolerate this method it is a trivial fix: just use an extractor with better quality steel (and possibly a slight change to the leading edge geometry). It should be a drop in replacement.

            There is no reason to think about bullet setback, rotating first rounds, topping up mags, initial loading press checks or checking witness holes if you do not have to. Dropping a round straight into the chamber neatly solves all those issues, and does so in far less steps than most of the other methodologies. If my carry gun cannot handle it then, just like a gun that cannot carry chamber loaded, I’m going to retire it and go find one that can.

  • Saint Stephen the Obvious

    Press Check = warm fuzzy before everything gets all fuzzy.

    Saint Stephen the Obvious

  • Hoplopfheil

    Do it like Pat Mac.

    Strap on your gear. Chamber a round in your AR, brass check, hit the FA. Chamber a round in your pistol, press check, good to go.

    If all the article is talking about is press checking after you draw, then yeah. That’s probably not a wise thing to do in a defensive situation.


  • valorius

    Ah, the things that tacticool trainers and range ninjas worry about.

    PS: I also like LCIs.

  • Will

    Unless you have COMPLETE, EXCLUSIVE control of your weapon, 24/7, you have no idea what condition it’s in. Do you accept a weapon from someone else without checking it? If you do you’re betting your life that it’s right. Press check is one way to ensure your weapon has a round chambered and is ready.
    Two loudest sounds in the world are “BANG” when you expect “CLICK” and “CLICK” when you expect “BANG”.
    Never, ever, accept someone elses word on the condition of your weapon. It’s your life on the line not theirs!!

    • valorius


    • Tom Currie

      Since when do you accept a “loaded” weapon from someone else .

      Regardless of whether you favor or oppose a press check, THIS part of the argument is total nonsense.

      Any person handing you a weapon should have just completed CLEARING IT while you watched. If they didn’t, then the very first thing you do is CLEAR IT, then proceed to put it into whatever state of readiness you choose.

      • Phillip Cooper

        Agreed, with a change:
        “Even if they did, the very first thing you do is CLEAR IT, then proceed to put it into whatever state of readiness you choose.”

      • GetFactsBeforeFormingOpinions

        I would never accept any firearm from anyone without the action open and/or locked open. Period. Unless it is full auto, it won’t fire with the action locked back…

    • Marcus D.

      No one touches my EDC except when I am at the range. No one. When I clean it, I rechamber then top off the mag, and return the gun to its holster. So I have no reason whatsoever to press check. But if I am worried about it, the external extractor serves as a LCI. If it sticks out, the gun is loaded.

    • Phillip Cooper


      And this is exactly why I’ve drilled into my son’s head that EVERY SINGLE TIME he accepts a weapon from someone, or picks up a weapon- even if he’s watched them clear it- he is to immediately clear it with the “Look Feel Say” method:

      -Drop the mag and/or open the action
      -LOOK into the chamber/breech/magwell (observing the 4 Laws- finger off the trigger, muzzle in a safe direction, etc) and state the condition of it (“Chamber is clear”)
      -FEEL to verify (insert finger into the chamber/across breech/into magwell) and state the condition (“breech is clear”)
      -after verifying the chamber/breech/and magazine are clear, state the condition of the weapon (“Weapon is clear”)

      After 10 years (he’s coming on 17 now) of training, he’s the only person I’m close to trusting implicitly with a firearm.

      • Wow!

        I too think that it is important to do the feeling not just the looking. However, I’ll admit that I sometimes do not actually take the time to actually check the chamber when I am handed a weapon, even though I will treat it as if the gun will go off the second I touch it (pointed in safe direction, finger off the trigger). In my case, it is more pragmatics. If someone is carrying a long arm and has to restrain someone, they can’t have a weapon flopping around for the adversary to potentially steal, so they hand it to someone else, in which case I will treat it as my primary temporarily, holding it with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction (usually up), not slung.

  • Bigg Bunyon

    I feel about press checking the same way I feel about working the slide on an empty gun. Like pretty much every tester I see on Youtube and elsewhere, I rake the slide multiple times when showing it’s empty to prove it’s empty. Hickok45 is one that immediately comes to mind. When he drops the magazine and works the slide, he works it back and forth several times every time. One is sufficient … in a perfect world. But it’s not a perfect world, people do deviate from the norm and it’s just human nature to press and pull more than once just to be sure. “Just to be sure” being the operative phrase.

    • Rick Grimes

      Isn’t a visual check the quickest and surest way?

      • M1911

        When doing a visual check, you can see what you expect to see. Speed isn’t important when unloading a gun. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do a visual check — you should.

        Running the slide multiple times protects against the possibility that you screwed up and left the magazine in the gun. If you see more than one round come out of the gun, then you know you did something wrong.

        Some years back, when I was a safety officer at an IDPA match, we had an ND that demonstrated this. It was near the end of a long day. We were on a low-light stage indoors. After the shooter completed the stage, he was performing the unload and show clear. He stowed his flashlight, but thought that he had stowed his magazine. So he racked the slide, and one round came out. He assumed that he had emptied the chamber, but, in fact, since the mag was still in the gun, when he closed the slide it loaded a fresh round into the chamber. He pointed the gun at the back stop and, expecting a click, pulled the trigger. Boom. As the SO, I had also seen what I expected to see, not what was there. If he had racked the slide several times, we both would have seen multiple rounds come out, and that would have been a clue that we needed to get our heads back in the game.

    • valorius

      Watch the louder with crowder parody of hickok45, its hillarious.

  • Some Rabbit

    On many pistols if you look closely at the ejection port where the slide meets the chamber there’s enough gap to see that there’s a round in the chamber. And some guns in which the ejector sits flush on the surface of the slide, simply running your finger over it will telegraph that there’s a round in the chamber.

  • Veteran for Trump

    If you can’t remember if there is a round in the chamber (there SHOULD be), you have memory problems. The only thing you really need to check in a combat situation is how many rounds you have left. Drop the mag to check. Reinsert. Round still in chamber unless slide is locked back, then you KNOW you’re empty!

  • Don Ward

    I just roll open the cylinder of my revolver when I need to do a “press check”.

    So much drama with these semi-auto carriers.

  • Gunn

    More than anything else, that article is something of a word salad. Sometimes I think Mr. Gonzalez is saying one thing, and sometimes another. I respect him for his service, and he was a badass among badasses, but it didn’t seem to result in an ability to write clearly.

    In re: press checks generally, I will check my pistol when I’m getting dressed in the morning and putting it on, on account of having been asleep for the past eight or so hours and not having control of the gun. To the folks who talk about extractors that stick out or plain-old LCIs… well, any mechanical device can and will fail, so I’ll rely on my eyes and hands to guaran-damn-tee I have one in the pipe.

    Press checks are also really handy before, during, and after dry-fire practice. They’ve saved me from walking around with an unchambered gun more than once after a practice session, and even from putting a hole in the wall the one time I got lazy about not putting away the mags loaded with live ammo…

    Sure doesn’t seem to hurt, at any rate.

    • txJM

      Who has control of your gun while you sleep?

      • M1911

        Do you live alone or is there someone else in the house with you?

        • txJM

          Wife, kids, dogs. Not that it matters.

          • M1911

            Then it is possible, though unlikely, that your wife or kids handled your gun while you were asleep.

            Every time I gun up, I verify the condition of the gun.

          • txJM

            Not possible, in my situation. Which is very simple to duplicate.

  • Django

    In my opinion, the less you touch or handle your gun/rifle the less chance you have of a negligent discharge. Press checks are unwarranted in my opinion, if you “TRAIN” to always treat your weapon as if it were loaded at all times; as it should be!
    Also you can look or FEEL your ejector on most models to indicate if there’s a round loaded or not!

  • Gary Kirk

    “Unless the instructor specifically asks you to use an unloaded pistol or rifle”.. Welp, In a training environment where that would be the case, wouldn’t it be prudent to have all mags removed actions locked open and show clear???

  • Joe F.

    With a weapon that I cannot see a round in the chamber, or that doesn’t have an indicator, I see no issue with a press check. I think it’s good idea to trust but verify. But I also am in the habit of rotating out the ammo frequently that’s been in there awhile with fresh, as well as getting some trigger time in.

    I enjoyed the comments from LEO’s indicating the woeful lack of training put in by many officers with their weapons. Seems so true all over and I never understood it. Even when I still worked as a deputy, it was like pulling teeth to try and get folks to the range beyond the State’s required 50 round course of fire once a year. That a blind person could pass chucking rocks. Sad but true… quote Metallica.

  • Phil Elliott

    I don’t know about other guns but my Kahr’s extractor sticks out just a little bit, enough for me to verify, by feel that it is indeed loaded.

    • lucusloc

      I know some guns do this, but I have enough that remembering which ones do and don’t is not worth the effort. I just press check everything. It’s slower than using a chamber indicator, but it is also universal. Something in my brain also likes first order verification better than second order verification. I’m not saying that relying on a chamber indicator is wrong, because it is not, I’m just saying it does not satisfy my tick 100%.

  • Avid Fan

    Pick up strange gun during some real or imagined fight: “press check.” Going into Red Lobster for the early bird shrimp special? My two cents says avoid the press check. If it is a gun I’ve worn all day having loaded and checked it earlier, no press check. If it is a gun I haven’t personally handled before, yes press check the damn thing. This is a part of gun handling you should know how to do. Don’t let it become a mental block or nervous tic.
    “But when you have doubts as to the condition of your firearm prior to a drill, that is a failure.” Allow me to insert …”prior to a drill” or any action that requires the use of a gun “that is a failure.”

  • Tony O

    Based on the comments here, apparently I’m one of the lucky few people carrying a gun who can feel the difference between a slide closing on a round going into the chamber versus the slide closing on an empty chamber. Absolutely no need to do a press check.

    Seeing a lot of comments about picking up a strange gun, you should press check. Why? Your first action shouldn’t be to press check the gun. It should be to clear it. Then you reload it, if necessary.

    • The_Champ

      I’m curious, what gun do you carry that you can “feel” the difference? I’ve never really noticed such a feeling on any firearm I’ve shot.

  • txJM

    Press checks are stupid. Taking your gun out of battery to make sure it chambered a round – when you should have witnessed the load/reload properly, anyway – is asinine.

    • lucusloc

      What about for people who store their gun condition 1 in the holster in their safe? Now they want to take it out to strap on and go. Should they not verify it is in the condition they left it in? And is not a press check the simplest way to do that?

      • txJM

        Why would you press check a weapon that is stored in a safe? Taking a pistol out of battery to make sure the midnight gnomes didn’t unchamber the round it is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.

        • lucusloc

          It may not be the midnight gnomes, it may be the wife. Since I am not the only one with access it makes sense that I would verify condition before use. I could assume that she did not mess with it, or that she would remember to tell me if she did, but a simple press check seems far more reliable, especially since I may have to rely on that condition in a potentially very bad situation.

          Hell, even if I was the only one in the house I would still press check. Memories are imperfect, and since I keep two loaded in the safe for different types of carry, I may not touch one or the other for a week. A simple press check verifies that I remember the state of the gun correctly, and that I did not clear it for whatever reason and forget.

          The only time I don’t bother with a press check is if the pistol has been in my exclusive control since I last checked. If I am at a hotel alone and I put the pistol on the night stand at night I probably will not press check in the morning as I already know the state of the gun. If I am at the range and my carry gun got handed around (or even left safely in its holster in the bag) I am gong to press check, because it is reasonable to assume it got cleared even if I did not see it happen.

          Press check are great to verify ready on weapons that live ready to go, but may not always be under our exclusive control, or that may not have their state change for long periods. A simple press check every so often to verify that things are as remembered from a week or more ago is not remiss, it is an integral part of being prepared.

          • txJM

            If you can’t remember the condition your carry gun was left in, then I don’t have any helpful advice for you, except to say that a press check is probably the best option. We keep a lanyard on my youngest child’s pacifier, for the same reason.

            For me, personally, my defense weapons are very high on my list of priorities. I can tell you exactly where they are and what their conditions are, at any given time. I guess they’re just novelties to some folks.

          • lucusloc

            I have been carrying every day for years and years. That is long enough to know that weapons that are out of your control can change states. As someone with an extensive collection of firearms remembering the state of each one is simply not possible. Fortunately I have paired down my carry guns to 2, but even then I do not carry both at the same time. Since one or the other will be out of my direct control for possibly days at a time checking if it is still ready when I want to use it is the most prudent course of action. It is not about novelty or lack of care, it is about reality. Just like I occasionally check the pressure on all my fire extinguishers, I will check the condition of any carry gun that has been out of my control, so I can be absolutely sure it is ready to go when I put it on my hip. If that is not a practice you are in I would highly suggest you start, as it would really suck to draw down in that moment of need, only to find out the wife cleared the gun for some reason and forgot to tell you. It can happen, not often, but I have press checked guns from the safe I thought should have been loaded only to find an empty chamber. When more than one person has access that is really a thing that can happen.

            If the gun leaves your exclusive control, press check when it comes back into your control to verify ready. That is what it is for. Better to know for sure than the assume and be wrong.

          • txJM

            Comparing fire extinguishers to guns is not apt, as you don’t run the risk of disabling a fire extinguisher by looking at the dial.

            I own many guns, as well, but I can tell you the condition of each: all of the guns in the safe and the two guns in the vehicle are unloaded. The light-bearing home defense pistol, my wife’s carry pistol, and my carry pistol are all in Condition Two.

            All you have to have is a doctrine of use/storage/readiness, and stick to it.

  • Kulibin762

    Not press checking a gun makes as much sense as not having your main and reserve pins checked before exiting an aircraft.

  • DunRanull

    FWIW, I have always “press-checked” and was taught to do so as part of the “firearms training” I received when I got my first gun at age 12… family-taught by my Dad and an uncle or two.

  • AL

    If you don’t know you have a round in the chamber you got issues, it’s always loaded, even when it’s not. If it’s somebody elses weapon that’s handed to you i guess a check is probably warranted unless you loaded it to start with.

  • Hist Ed

    I check every firearm every time I get it out of storage and every time I put it back in. I have never put my .22 pistol away loaded. I have never put my 9mm away unloaded. Still check them every time I get them out of the safe.

  • Barantos of ReCon

    How do you carry a gun and not know if you have one in the chamber? Press checks are pointless activities.

  • Will P.

    I verify my pistol is loaded and chambered before it goes on my side, where it stays unless it is used. If it has been on my person the entire time there is no reason to press check it after loading it because I know MY gun is still loaded. I believe this is what he’s getting at, if you do not have enough competence in yourself to know if you chambered before holstering than you appear an amateur. Know your weapon condition!

  • Bork

    John Wick press checks. 😉

  • Tierlieb

    Congratulations to Jeff Gonsalez for gaining some attention by either saying something stupid or saying something reasonable so unclearly that it got a lot of rebuttals.

    Well, “as long as they spell my name right”, eh?

  • GetFactsBeforeFormingOpinions

    So, when I load from a magazine – which you should – and I have an extra round to put in the magazine when I’m done loading the chamber, then if I can add the number of rounds in the magazine and know that I’m missing one, the chamber is loaded. Am I wrong or is this math too hard? Did that other round just disappear like magic? Press checks are just a tacticool way to make the possibility for your gun to not be in battery or other malfunction. I’ll break it down for you that can’t handle it: Lets say your magazine holds 8. You take 8, plus one for the chamber to load your pistol. Load the magazine with 8, you have one cartridge left over. Insert magazine, pull and release slide. Drop magazine (that now has 7 rounds in it), load remaining cartridge in magazine. Insert magazine into pistol. Done. Press check? Why? I can always spot the newbies doing press checks or with “accidental” shootings (in the hand) from press checks….

  • missourisam

    Gonzales has once again proven that any idiot can call himself an expert and some people will believe him. Only problem is, his so called expertise can get someone killed.

  • James Kelly

    agree w Don Ward
    Open cylinder of my S&W every morning to check it is loaded, and nothing is plugging up the bore
    I like: Point, Pull Trigger, Bang.
    For me, autos have too many buttons & switches to push – or not to push – accidentally.
    Under life/death stress
    As an aged civilian

  • RegT

    Thank you, Frank. You nailed it. Fortunately, thinking individuals will do what is right and necessary, rather than blindly follow bad advice from someone simply because they were a SEAL, especially when they see this SEAL was not using logic in making his decision.

  • jim

    The logic is: if One is inserting a loaded magazine into a pistol, then One is probably releasing the slide and loading the chamber. If not then One IS manually cycling the slide to load the weapon. One or the other condition so that WHENEVER a loaded magazine is introduced the weapon has a round chambered and is made ready.
    It is instinctual and a logical process (and how I do it)

  • Mikey Hemlok

    On the range I can’t imagine needing a press check or really any ‘administrative’ process. I am holding the gun, I am loading the gun, I am chambering a round, I am holstering the gun, I am drawing the gun, I am *unloading* the gun, lather rinse repeat. The time you might want to press check is if your gun has been in a holster or nightstand for some number of days and you ‘hear something’ and you DO want to verify you have a round in the chamber.

    Of course, my preference (I’m an old fart) is a 4″ .357 revolver so there’s ALWAYS a round ready to fire….

  • trailcamdoe

    My father is a retired federal agent and the very first thing I learned from him when I turned 21, is that if your gun is in a holster, it needs to be loaded and chambered. If it is out of the holster, it needs to be unloaded. To this day I continue this trend and I don’t need to guess, or check if there is a round in the chamber…I know because it is holstered. Additionally, 18 years and thousands of rounds later, I have never once dropped a slide on a loaded magazine, have the slide go into battery and then magically have a round not go into the chamber. IF I DID press check my guns, I would do so by tactically feeling the round to ensure that my press checks worked whether in the day just as well as they do in total darkness….something 95% of you press check nuts never do.

  • txJM

    You have never needed your gun to go “bang”. Ever.

    The press check is a facet of a larger paranoia.

    • lucusloc

      Against a person no. Against an animal yes. But a similar case could be made for both seat belts, fire extinguishers and other safety gear. Just because you think you will not need it does not mean it will not be needed. If you think a press check is not necessary for a firearm that has been out of you control that is on you. But if your rational to not bother checking is that you probably wont ever need it then that begs the question of why you carry at all.

      As for me, I will make sure all of my safety gear is set and ready to go when I pick it up, weather it is looking at the gauge on the fire extinguisher as I walk down the hall, verifying that what should be in the first aid kit is actually there when I am rooting around in the trunk of the car, or press checking my carry gun when I grab it from the safe. I like to verify I am as prepared as I think I am, because it sucks going for a piece of kit that you though was ready only to find out it was not. It happens. Even for someone like me who likes to double check everything it still happens.

      You’re probably the same type of guy who does not double check the knots on your climbing gear because you “know” you tied it right the first time, even if the rig and harness has been in the back of your truck for a few months since you last used it. Just like you will not press check a pistol that has been in the safe for a week because you “know” you put it in there loaded last time you used it. It’s your system or something. I know more than a few guys like that. I really truly hope that system never fails you when you need it the most. And though I do not personally know anyone for which it has, I have read more than a few stories about safety gear that failed because it was not checked.

      As for me, I will have a system, and part of that system will be verification steps to maintain the integrity of that system. I will check the knots on my climbing gear every time I put it on. I will press check a gun that has been out of my control. It is not paranoia, it is understanding that systems fail, and that if we do not verify the system’s integrity we may discover that failure at a most inopportune time, instead of at a time when it would be trivial to rectify.

      • txJM

        You talk too much, Ed.

  • Capn Jack

    If it’s been out of my sight since I loaded it, I check it

  • jetthelooter .

    My pistol pretty much always has a round in the chamber. There is no reason i can think of for “press checking”.

    I unload my pistol for cleaning and switching to range ammo. At no other time is it ever unloaded.

    I dont think there are ninjas stealthily stealing my chambered rounds so there is no need to “press check”

  • Wow!

    There were some LEAs that believed in the concept that no matter what, whenever a fresh magazine is inserted, you rack the slide/bolt. This is because slide locks can malfunction, and nothing is more dangerous than an empty chamber when you expected a loaded one. You lose a round in tac reloads, but you make certain that you have a round where it counts. First round on contact is most important. Many of us were taught that technique when using foreign weapons like the AK series which lacks a bolt catch, and H&K seemed to have followed suit with that concept with their roller delay weapons in that you have to rack the bolt every time you want to insert a magazine (well you don’t have to, but with the way the bolt is profiled, it makes it very difficult otherwise with guns like the Mp5 which don’t have a rocking mag lock which allows you to get leverage when inserting.

    That said, my take on it is that unlike safety measures where every gun is assumed to be loaded, it is very rare for the accident to happen where a round is not chambered when you expect it. While I don’t use the chamber indicators on firearms to determine if my weapon is safe, I do occasionally brush my finger over it when I am using the weapon to make sure my chamber is loaded. On guns like the glock, the chamber indicator is tactile enough that I can feel it even when wearing puncture-resistant gloves.

  • Andrea Goldstein

    I even press-check my revolvers!

  • survivor50

    Geez…is it just me, or is there anybody else out there that KNOWS when he has ammo…and his firearm is loaded????
    I only ran of ammo ONCE !!! Since then, I assure you, I KNOW if I have ammo, and WHERE it is !!! And Hell yes, there is one in the tube…it don’t work any other way…

  • survivor50

    I wonder what ELSE these people feel the need to “PRESS CHECK”…and are there “SERRATIONS” for that purpose…
    If you don’t “KNOW”…it ain’t so…

  • Archie Montgomery

    When I put myself together to meet the day, the arm is loaded. Since it is under my immediate and direct control at all times, the likelihood of the arm being magically unloaded does not weigh heavily on my mind.

    Except when cleaning or performing repair or maintenance (rather rare) or some ‘administrative’ condition, my carry gun is loaded. Period.

  • DaveGinOly

    If it hasn’t been inspected, it isn’t right.
    Napoleon Bonaparte

  • Core

    I don’t buy handguns that don’t have a chamber indicator. My first P38 had one and I learned the value of being able to check the chamber in the dark when something goes bump in the night.

  • HollowTs

    If your weapon is on your body…. IT SHOULD BE LOADED PERIOD! Never carry your weapon in condition 3! Period!

  • A lot of people here have never met the Ammo Fairy, obviously.

    If the gun has been out of your sight, you check it to make sure it’s in the condition you *think* it used to be. Period.

    If you checked it before you put it on, then there’s no reason to check it again, until you take it off and it leaves your sight. Period.

    It’s the same reasoning behind ALWAYS checking to make sure the gun you THINK is unloaded, actually IS unloaded. Same reason, same response: to ensure that the gun you THINK is loaded, actually IS loaded.

    If I am loading an cleared autoloading weapon under “administrative” conditions (i.e., not in an actual gunfight or a fighting scenario), then, yes, I do a chamber check after loading – whether it is to peek through a little witness hole in the chamber (as several of my pistols have), to check a popup loaded chamber indicator, or, yes, “press check” a gun that has neither option. Because I’ve ALSO had weapons that failed to strip the top round and feed it… almost always a sign of a magazine failure. Which means that I IMMEDIATELY change magazines, and flag this one as faulty.

    Now, if you don’t actually verify that the top round fed, and you find yourself having to actually use the weapon in a hurry, guess what? You’re starting your gunfight with a bad magazine, and “TAP-RACK-BANG” probably won’t help.

    As someone else said, would you make a parachute jump without checking your main and reserve? Hell, I pack my own mains, and know – exactly – what the pack dates on my reserves are, and I *still* inspect both when I pull them out of the bag, including reserve pack dates,