With the preceding post about the spineless liberals at the campus at UT-Austin in my home state of Texas promoting the “empty-chamber” method of handgun carry for carry on University campus grounds, I thought it appropriate to have one of HCS’ contributing authors and one of the leading authorities on handgun training and self-defense with firearms, Mr. John Farnam of Defense Training International, put his two cents in. I think he not only makes the case against this MORONIC/OBSOLETE/OUTDATED practice, but SHUTS the case on it as well. Let her rip Mr. Farnam and give em’ both barrels! -SF
By John Farnam
“Truth is… a streaming fountain. When her waters are not in perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition.” -Milton
Uniformed troopers of the 1700s universally carried their flintlock muskets with the muzzle always pointed up. Reasons for this were obvious to everyone of the period. Military muskets were long (by today’s standards), and troopers carrying them were, on average, shorter than is the case today. Carrying them with the muzzle down, particularly with bayonets affixed, was nearly impossible for most. In addition, with the muzzle down, the projectile (ball) may well roll out the barrel! Such lead balls were, of course, generously undersize (in order to facilitate fast reloading), and only a slight amount of friction held them in place.
Thus, it was the general custom of the era to handle all longarms so that the muzzle was continuously pointed in an upward direction. In fact, as late as WWII, the short, light M1 Carbine was still carried by most with the muzzle up, a classic example of “cultural-lag,” where deep-rooted cultural practices stubbornly lag behind technology, sometimes for generations!
A similar example is the long-obsolete practice in Israel of carrying pistols with the chamber empty.
Starting in the late 1940s, pistols smuggled into Israel (prior to recognized nationhood) were often defective, even broken, and were thus not “drop-safe,” the empty-chamber-carry practice was settled upon at the time as the only safe way to carry many of these guns.
Once more, seventy years after this custom became outdated, indeed altogether obsolete, many in Israel still religiously adhere to it, even to this day! I don’t think it can all be ascribed to just naive cultural-lag. I believe many observe this “tradition” (silly as it is) as a way of commemorating and manifesting respect for Founders and visionaries like Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, and others.
That is where the “empty-chamber” tradition got started in Israel, and I surely understand why. Don’t get me wrong! Israelis are good people, but they have allowed themselves to be philosophically castrated by their nanny-state. For one, I don’t show my respect for George Washington by carrying a flintlock! We have to maintain our respect, and sense of history, but relentlessly move forward at the same time!
Today, we carry our wonderful, modern, military rifles with the muzzle down, and our modern pistols are always carried, in modern holsters, fully-loaded. The best way to honor our spiritual antecedents is through ever-seeking new paths to personal victory, much as they did in their time!
The vast majority of modern, autoloading pistols and revolvers are designed and manufactured to be mechanically “drop-safe.” That is, no external blow to the pistol, no matter the severity, will cause it to discharge. Putting continuous pressure on the trigger is the sole method for persuading these weapons to fire. Thus, carried with an empty chamber, most modern autoloading pistols and revolvers are not one bit “safer” than if a live round were in the chamber, but they are a good deal less useful.
The myth of “perfect safety” is believed only by naive egg-heads. Guns that are “perfectly safe” are “perfectly useless!”
So, what is the advantage associated with carrying a modern pistol, in a holster, with the chamber empty?
The “empty-chamber-carry” method provides the user with no “safety” advantage, but it makes the pistol a good deal less useful, as noted below.
So, why do certain people still insist on carrying that way?
They are willfully, fearfully, arrogantly naive and impervious to logic, even when their very lives are in the balance. They probably shouldn’t even own a gun, nor anything else dangerous! And for one, I really don’t care what they do, nor what happens to them as a result. I get annoyed, however, when these dithering buffoons presume to dictate to me methods for preserving my own safety, when they obviously have not the foggiest idea of what they are presuming to talk about!
That brings us to our present situation:
Naive, modern-day gun-phobic twits at UT/Austin claim “it’s just not ‘safe’ to carry a loaded pistol in public” “Besides,” they continue, “… all you have to do is rack the slide after your pistol is drawn. Then you can shoot.”
They have clearly not thought the issue through:
(1) Who promised you that both your hands will be available the next time you need your pistol?
A pistol is an item of emergency/safety equipment. We carry pistols for “unexpected” threats. You may be pushing your children behind cover with one hand while trying to draw your pistol with the other, all at the same time.
You might find a home-invader on top of you doing his best to stick a screwdriver into your eye. As you fend-off the screwdriver with one hand and draw your pistol with the other, how will you then persuade it to fire?
(2) And, after you rack the slide of your pistol, and then don’t have to fire immediately, what do you do with it?
Do you take the time, in the middle of this life-threatening situation, to unload it before re-holstering? Or, do you re-holster it loaded, in which case we’re back where we started!
The sad fact is:
Who don’t carry loaded pistols needn’t bother carrying at all. As I’m sometimes compelled to remind my students:
Get serious, or get out!
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!