One of the main reasons why individuals choose to concealed carry is so they can be prepared to defend themselves at any time. Part of being prepared to defend yourself includes having a prepared gun as well. To most carriers, this means carrying a round in the chamber. Carrying chambered is one of those things that can seem intimidating at first and is often misunderstood.
What Does it Mean to "Carry Chambered"?
Carrying chambered means having a round in the chamber, ready to be fired, when the trigger is pulled. It takes away the need to rack the slide and chamber a round when you are in a self-defense scenario. It means you will be as prepared as possible to defend yourself or your loved ones if needed. For many people who carry, having a round in the chamber is standard practice, however, it is understandable that this is something that can take some time for new carriers to get used to.
Why Carry a Round in the Chamber?
While it may only take seconds to chamber a round, often times seconds matter in these situations. Having a round chambered prior to any self-defense situation will allow you to get a shot on target as soon as possible by streamlining the process of drawing and firing. Drawing and then needing to rack the slide requires you to commit more steps to muscle memory, increasing the likelihood that any of those steps could go wrong when under stress. When you are under stress, you do not perform tasks at the same level as you would when you are not under stress. A round in the chamber gives you the simplest way to perform the task of self-defense.
In a self-defense scenario, you may not always have the time or ability to rack the slide. Sometimes we have our hands full with things such as grocery bags or even children. Sometimes an attacker will grab you by the arm. In any of these proposed situations, there is no guaranteed way to effectively chamber a round in a reasonable amount of time. Drawing your gun and not being able to use it gives your attacker the upper hand and can put you in more danger.
How to Safely Carry a Round in the Chamber
The safest way to carry a round in the chamber is to use a Kydex holster that is made specifically for your gun model. This will ensure that your gun fits properly inside the holster and that the trigger is completely covered. Protecting the trigger is a great way to prevent an accidental discharge when carrying a chambered round. Our most popular holster for concealed carry purposes is the Valknut Inside the Waistband which successfully covers the trigger and has various clip options to keep it secure when drawing.
It is absolutely essential that you practice responsible gun handling when you are carrying a round in the chamber (and when you aren't). Following the basics such as always treating a gun as if it is loaded, keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, not pointing the gun at anything you are unwilling to destroy, and knowing your target along with what is beyond it, will all mitigate the risks that come along with carrying a round in the chamber.
Solid holsters and safe gun handling are both extremely important and should be paired with training. Dedicating time to practice drawing from concealment and dry firing (with an UNLOADED gun) will help you to prepare to do it safely whenever the need arises. Something that I have found to be helpful is practicing in front of a mirror or filming yourself when practicing. This will help you to identify any possible mistakes or points of danger when you are drawing. Watch in the mirror or watch a recording and ask yourself the following questions:
Am I flagging myself at any point when I draw or re-holster? Is my gun getting caught on my clothing at any point when I draw or re-holster? Am I able to get my sights properly aligned on the correct target? Am I keeping my finger off the trigger until I am ready to shoot?
Identifying any mistakes and fixing them early on can help boost your confidence in your abilities and help you to feel comfortable with carrying a round in the chamber.
If you are new to the world of concealed carry, check out this article.