The Judgement Free Guide to Empty Chamber Carry (and how to fix it)

The title of the article is way too long, but I’m not sure how else to sell this to people. For a long time, I saw the jokes and memes about empty chamber carry and assumed it wasn’t common. People here and there may do it, but it seemed far from common. Then I joined a few Facebook groups and saw those same memes with hundreds of comments. While most agreed, I’d say 30% defended carrying without a round in the chamber. People tend to dig in when they are teased and taunted. 

With that in mind, I still think carrying with an empty chamber is an inefficient way to carry a firearm. Our judgment free guide is here to help you transition from carrying with an empty chamber to carrying locked and loaded. Here are a few things you can do to get over your fear of carrying with a round chambered. 

Get Training 

The best thing someone carrying with an empty chamber can do is seek training. Training will make you am ore competent shooter, and you’ll be under the eyes of a professional. Training will also improve your confidence with your firearm. Good training from companies like Sentinel Concepts and IWI Academy will show you the benefits of carrying with a round chambered. 

Train, train, train and you can be John Wickish

A lack of confidence is often the biggest reason people carry with an empty chamber. Get some training, then after you train, get a lot of practice. Stay sharp, and as your confidence rises, you’ll have less, or likely no fear, about carrying with a round chambered. 

Invest in a Good Holster 

A holster is a big part of safe handgun carry. There are some holsters that are just unsafe, and empty chamber carry would be a safe way to carry with them. The SERPA, for example, has a long history of NDs attached to it. (Although Blackhawk does make decent holsters outside of the Serpa) Ill fighting nylon holsters also have issues, as do beat up, cheap, worn out leather rigs. These can all cause safety issues. 

The Desantis Inner Piece 2.0, a Proper fit nylon rig. Holster size and fit are critical to safety.

Simply put, don’t carry them. Carry extremely well made, purpose molded holsters that fit your firearm. If you want me to save time and just tell you some good holster manufacturers, here you go. 

Carry Cocked With an Empty Chamber

Something you can do just to test how safe your firearm can be is to cock the weapon and still carry with an empty chamber. Do it all day long. Do it in public, around the house, and everywhere else for an entire day, or a week, or a month. At the end of your period of time, pull the gun out and see if it’s still cocked. 

If it is still cocked, then the weapon would not have fired as you carried it throughout the day. If you do this daily and check the weapon daily, the goal for you is to gain confidence in your weapon. You can examine and see how the weapon doesn’t just go off. 

Carry a Modern Gun 

Was your pistol made before World War 2 (not designed, made)? Okay, then maybe it’s not drop safe. However, the vast majority of modern firearms from the last 50 years are drop safe. A lot of justifications for empty chamber carry is that ‘accidents happen’. Accidents are different from negligence, and a negligent discharge is just that, negligent. An accident can be a gun falling and going off. 

But these days that really doesn’t happen. Sure, freak accidents happen, but people also get struck by lightning and knocked downstairs by owls. A modern, unmodified weapon isn’t going to go off when dropped. Buy a modern gun, and don’t bubba it up. 

Empty Chamber Carry and You 

There are lots of good reasons to carry with a round chambered. It’s faster, allows you to draw and shoot one-handed, and simplifies your life. I’m hoping something in this guide will help you gain the confidence required to carry with a round chambered—the more good guys with guns we have, the better. Regardless of how you carry, get out there and get sharp, get fast, and stay safe. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.