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Should I Carry a Round in the Chamber? - Self Defense



What an interesting topic this is. Take a moment and view the video first.

We know that, to best defend ourselves and our loved ones, we must be ready, equipped and know what to do if necessary. Winning and surviving is about having the edge in the fight, whether that is in time, equipment, skill, and perhaps even in luck. We need to give ourselves the edge to win. As discussed in the video, there is no doubt that not having a round in the chamber can put us at a great disadvantage and at risk. So why, then, is having a round in the chamber something we hesitate to do? After all, we carry a gun to be able to defend ourselves so naturally we don't want to put ourselves at greater risk, so why do so many choose to do exactly that?

But fear can also cause us to make decisions and choices without fully understanding the issue and the ramifications. We then make emotional decisions and not ones based on complete, accurate information and perhaps ones that are not in our best interest. We do so because of fear. We fear having a negligent discharge and someone getting hurt. This is a good thing to not have happen, so being concerned is natural and healthy. It is only responsible for us to do everything we can to prevent it from happening.

Beretta Pico

I believe that the KEY factor in this decision is CONFIDENCE. This is where both the question and the answer lies. Your level of confidence in knowing your gun, having it secured and under your control at all times and handling your gun is directly related to your confidence and willingness to carry your defensive handgun with a round in the chamber.

You are the keeper of your confidence and you are the only one that can raise it. Committed practice and experience is what can and will raise your confidence. Do your homework and due diligence in selecting the proper holster and equipment to minimize negligent discharges. Practice holstering and unholstering your unloaded gun to gain confidence and skill. Practice shooting as much as you can so you know everything your gun can do and everything it can't do.

Carrying a gun is serious business, with serious consequences. If you are going to carry a gun, you need to be READY to carry one and ready to use it. If you are not, then perhaps you should wait until you are. Ready means being mentally prepared; it means you are trained, comfortable and competent to to carry and use your gun. Anything less, leaves you and others at risk.

Of course, each one of us makes our own decisions and we each have unique factors in our lives that influence them.

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.


very informative and interesting topic.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 3:51 PM by archie
After 32 years pushing a patrol car around, I have a little experience on the "Stress of the moment". What you practice, over and over is what you will fall back on under stress. You have to practice, a great deal drawing and racking a round into the chamber. Much easier to practice draw and fire. Faster and smoother. Remember, smooth is fast. The last thing you want in an emergency is to: Draw, point, pull the trigger and hear "CLICK", Oh poop, rack and start over. Also, practice drawing from standing, sitting in a chair or car, flat on your back, kneeling.  
Nothing more attractive than a lady that is armed with and confident.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 4:59 PM by Roger
Totally agree with Roger. And my own 2 cents... adding one more process (racking a round) to a stressful situation could put the ccw holder at risk of accidental discharge also. And....with a slide lock safety on my Ruger LC9, if that lock was on safe (by choice or accident)I would need to take that off, rack a round, and then acquire a sight picture, way too many steps for my comfort. In my world I rely on the slide safety and the long trigger pul of a DA firearm and have a round chambered. Never do I "wear" my firearm without a trigger covering holster. Again, like it says here it's all about knowing your firearm and it's safety mechanics, and practice, practice, practice as Roger says.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 5:31 PM by thepiratemorgan
I realize that this is a Beretta site and Beretta does not make revolvers suitable for concealed carry but for anyone who is too uncomfortable to carry a semi-auto with a round in the chamber, the answer is to carry a revolver. A gun with a covered hammer like a S&W 442 is an ideal CCW gun.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:54 PM by Buck Rio
I went for 3 months without a round in the chamber because I needed to prepare myself. I, now, have a round in the chamber. 
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:11 PM by Alisa
Generally, no.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:17 PM by The Jimmy Z Show
I have always carried with one in the pipe. and on my 1911, at times when I feel it necessary cocked and locked.the +1 factor is a lifesaver if you need that 1 extra round. 
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:33 PM by david
I always want one in the chamber except on the shot gun then I want the bad guy to know I have a shot gun. Practice
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:03 PM by dawn phipps
I have been carrying now for 2 yrs and was a little uncomfortable at first to have a handgun in my bag. I grew up around guns with a family full of Uncles who were hunters but a hand gun was different . I took a Woman's Handgun training at Sig Academy a short time after I purchased my handgun and have never looked back. I carry with a round in the chamber at all times.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 6:57 PM by Sandy
Carry at least a .38 Special revolver, first round is a snake load which will sting their face as a warning. If the thug doesn't stop then all the next rounds are 158 grain JHP, shoot him in the torso and guts. Then retreat away from him.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 7:12 PM by Harry
I always carry with one in the chamber. Furthermore I check to ensure that any semi-auto I carry will fire the round in the chamber if the magazine is out.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:16 PM by norma
I always have one in the chamber and it is always +1. If the need arises I figure it will be fast and you won't have time to rack the slide or worse yet forget you need to. The key is to remember finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:30 PM by Debbie Krause
Always carry a round in the chamber. Shoot three rounds real quick like in two seconds- the first two rounds a double tap to center chest area (to cause massive hydo-static shock (countering waves causing ripping of tissue- imagine two stones dropped in water one slightly after the other except much more violent for the stones- bullets traveling about 1000 feet per second) and the third to the head anywhere in roughly a triangle area between upper lip and the eyes (T-zone) the area snipers shoot for a immediate take down (Flaccid Paralysis caused by damage to the Medulla Oblongata when taking a head shot this is called the "Mozambique Method". Otherwise you might have to fight this person for 10-15 seconds for they have oxygenated blood in the heart,brain and lungs before they loose enough blood and pass out.
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:30 PM by James Randazzo
I have a round in the chamber at all times, whether it is a pocket pistol (Rugler LCP .380) or my Springfield XDS .45 in an IWB holster. My wife always has a round in her Glock 26 that she keeps in her purse. I used to not carry a round in the chamber, then one day I heard a noise in the back of my house, tried to rack a round and it jammed, I said "Never again".
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 8:36 PM by Dan
@ Roger - I like to promote that self defense has nothing to do with sex appeal. Women who carry should be doing so to be safe not attractive. Comments that focus on sex appeal may encourage women who are not ready to handle a fire arm to do so for a very wrong reason. The more men that can see women with firearms without relating it to attraction or sex appeal the better off us women will be. To go to the range and be drooled over is enough to make me pack it up and go home some days. I'm there simply to compete just like all the men. When I carry, it's to save my life or the life of someone I love, not to be attractive.
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 6:49 AM by Sara Cannell
Carrying a gun is serious business, with serious consequences. If you are going to carry a gun, you need to be READY to carry one and ready to use it. If you are not, then perhaps you should wait until you are. There are no truer word ever said. But with a gun it is not as simple as being ready. In my opinion a person with a gun has to be always be tactically prepare. And continue practicing until his gun and him become as one, even than the practice must continue under watchful supervision and be certify peroidocally to maintain his permit. Anyone who CCW daily better be prepare to understand the legal and personal liability they are putting them self in if something goes wrong. Think about this " your intended target move from your line of fire and there is a little kid or someone else there instead."
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 11:38 AM by George
Just having a gun, being well trained and mentally alert andprepared, puts one at a great ADVANTAGE! Every time that I go to the range (1-2X/week), I practice drawing and chambering a round while presenting the gun; and it's now an automatic response. If my gun is somehow taken from where it's secured, or from me personally, the "taker" has to understand how it operates in order to use it. In no way do I feel "disadvantaged".
Posted @ Friday, October 04, 2013 12:41 PM by Ken Miller, Park City, UT
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