One of the Internet arguments that never seems to die is whether you should carry a pistol with a cartridge in the chamber.Â The argument against carrying with “one in the pipe” is based on the idea that it is unsafe to do so.Â People are concerned about “accidental” discharges while it is carried, or if the pistol is dropped.
I’ll be completely up front and tell you that with a quality firearm, quality holster and competent owner, the handgun should be carried with a cartridge in the chamber if you are carrying for self defense.Â In most instances, a self-defense situation involving the use of deadly force develops far to quickly for you to draw your weapon and then work the slide before being able to employ the handgun.
But is it safe to carry a cartridge in the chamber?
In my mind, there are three components to safely carrying a handgun: the firearm, the owner, and the holster.Â When all three parts are of sufficient quality, and in place, a handgun can be carried safely with a cartridge in the chamber.
A quality firearm will not discharge when dropped.Â Modern handguns of quality construction are designed to be carried with a cartridge in the chamber.Â These firearms incorporate some type of “drop safety” into the contruction of the firearm.Â Some guns use a physical block that moves out of the way when the trigger is pressed.Â Others use light firing pins with heavy springs to prevent the pin from ever generating enough energy in a fall to sufficiently strike the primer.