As a new shooter there are many techniques one might feel are seemingly reasonable. They can be justified largely by their lack of understanding being new to the trade craft.

First time Gun Owner

I worked with a student, an engineer by trade who wanted to improve her ability to protect herself and loved one. We started the class with the typical array of subjects. One subject I find important is Conditions of Readiness. Usually when I get to Condition Three, empty chamber with loaded magazine inserted a few will nod their heads in agreement. I will go on to explain the value of this condition, but not without explaining the risk. For some, they are new to owning a firearm and to ensure unauthorized access will secure the firearm in a storage locker or vault. Typically these are equipped with quick access features to help the new firearm owner and give the intrepid consumer a warm and fuzzy.

To Each Their Own

However, they may take it a step further by storing the defensive firearm in condition three. I have had several families weigh the risks versus rewards who come to the same conclusion. While a home invasion or robber is possible, it is not probable. They have a higher risk of an unauthorized person gaining access, mostly children or young adults. I respect this concern. My belief is each family must conduct similar analysis to determine what is in their best interest giving all the variables. Create their own system, but periodically evaluate it for relevancy and effectiveness.

And Halt…

However, all that stops when you decide to carry the defensive pistol on your body. The justification you may have created for home defense does not carry the same merit when you carry concealed. The biggest concern for this belief is safety. The justification stems from a higher level of safety created in their homes when securing firearms. However, the mistake is believing you will have the time, ability or space to charge the weapon. It is all but wishful thinking and most of the time once I am able to explain the difference between these two situations there is a greater understanding. Most acknowledge the different situations require different systems and techniques. There is no single or simple answer to solve all the problems.

Face Your Fears

There is another reason some will resort to this method of carry. There is a safety concern with a chambered round while on the body, typically inside the waistband. What is often overlooked is the why. Why does this fear exist in the first place. To me, understanding the why is is at the heart of the matter. Rather than ridicule and potentially ostracize a new shooter, we should take a more mentoring approach. What may seem second nature to us, did not materialize overnight. It took time, practice, but most important knowledge. The key to managing this fear is in education. New shooters must be educated on why their anxiety exists. Honestly, it is not unreasonable to have this safety concern as a new shooter. It may also be a signal to the new shooter they need more training, practice and experience.

It is important to emphasize carrying an empty chambered defensive pistol is dangerous. It’s not even a really good hammer.

2 thoughts on “Conditions of Readiness

  1. Ramin Zarnegar says:

    Carrying a pistol in Condition 3 is not so bad. In some cases, like in Israel, it’s either common practice or the law. Once you always carry in Condition 3, drawing and racking the slide becomes second nature. In one of the classes I took several years ago with Dave Harrington we practiced it quite a bit and you become pretty fast and proficient with it in fairly short order. Of course, it has its drawbacks. Certainly, it will always be slower and more cumbersome than Condition 1. Personally, I don’t see a need for Condition 3 with today’s reliable striker-fired pistols and if you have a solid holster that covers/protects the trigger area when holstered.

    • Jeff Gonzales says:

      I believe your closing comments are spot on and the point to the article was identifying your why. If you are concerned carrying a live round in the chamber due to safety, it begs the questions of how we define safety.

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