Monday, November 7, 2016

Carry Condition: An Appeal For Condition One

There are many different ideas out there when you talk about carrying a gun with a round in the chamber. It is my experience that a lack of experience tends to lean toward C3. But you must be comfortable with the safety of your weapon and your ability to draw and put into battery your gun.

Auto-pistols can be carried in various conditions of readiness. First defined by the legendary Lt Col John Dean "Jeff" Cooper these conditions are commonly accepted to be:

Condition 0 –– A round is in the chamber, hammer cocked, and the safety is off.

Condition 1 –– known as "cocked and locked", means a round is in the chamber, the hammer cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied.

Condition 2 –– A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down.

Condition 3 –– The chamber is empty and hammer down with a charged magazine in the gun.

Condition 4 –– The chamber is empty, hammer down and no magazine is in the gun.

These conditions were designed with a 1911 style pistol in mind. The Glock with no external safety (but with its "safe action" safety measures) technically can’t have the thumb safety applied so it’s condition when loaded and chambered is a matter of debate among gun guys but it’s commonly accepted that a Glock is in "Condition 1" when loaded with a round in the chamber.

With these definitions in mind, a common debate among shooters is the argument over which is safer for defensive carry, condition 1 or condition 3?

C3 carry is commonly referred to as the Israeli Method. Some people believe that it is safer and no less effective to carry the pistol with a magazine inserted, safety off, and no round in the chamber. When needed, the shooter draws, racks the slide on the draw stroke and fires.

I hate to be “that guy”. I got this far in this article and stopped for about a 3 weeks. I thought about it and actually tried C3 in my trips to the range. I know that I have not trained this way (ever!) but I fail to see the safety in this. Here’s where I become “that guy”. The thought that I cannot handle a loaded (C1) gun boggles my mind. The thought that an instructor would actually teach this is a mind blower. I’ve never met one that taught that way, but I am assured they are out there. With all due respect from a fellow instructor, “Are you OUT of your FLIPPIN’ mind!?” What would prompt this? I am told safety. I have met some crazy, anal, over bearing, full of themselves instructors who think that safety means leaving the gun in the case…. at home… in the safe!
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do advocate safety! Ask my family, they can roll their eyes better than most at my constant reminders. I also believe that experienced people can handle a fully loaded weapon. Do you have to be careful? Yes. Do have to be hyper vigilant? Yes.
C3 carry is just not reality to me. I would have a hard time understanding it in a combat zone.
But be sure your gun can carry C1. Does it have an external or internal safety? Does it have “drop safe” features? If you are to carry C1, you should know this about your gun.

Detractors of C3 carry state that carrying with an empty chamber is a symptom of insufficient training and confidence. Adding an extra step to make the weapon function is slower and needlessly adding complexity to a high stress situation. Secondly it requires two hands, or a riskier one-handed "rack" that again adds needless complexity that C1 carry does not.

Imagine removing your handgun from the holster, pointing, aiming and pulling the trigger. It can seem like it happens in slow motion when you’re in a stressful situation. Your mind is trying to comprehend everything going on, your heart is pumping and you’re trying to do anything you can to stay alive. What if, due to the stressful circumstances, you point and pull the trigger and hear… CLICK... or feel nothing but a limp trigger? Would your stomach drop a little? I know I would freak out. Not every situation allows time to remove your weapon, rack the slide, grasp the gun with both hands again, point, aim and shoot. Would the thought of this be solved by always having a round chambered? The answer is "yes."

Milliseconds count. If you still are not comfortable with one in the pipe training to be faster with your draw will be very important. Carrying C1 isn’t for everybody though. Deciding to carry with a round in the chamber can have benefits as mentioned above, but depending on the style handgun you’re carrying, you might want to consider all of the risks. Part of the decision to make with some weapons is, to carry the weapon with the hammer cocked and ready to fire or not. Does carrying with your hammer back make it more likely to accidentally go off? Is it safer to carry a hammerless semi-automatic pistol if you’d like a round in the chamber? Let's talk a bit about both styles. Make sure to reference the laws for your state about the term “loaded” refers to. Take a look at the gun laws by state. The term can vary from state to state thanks to legal-speak. No matter what you read in forums and blogs and see on the news, following the wording of the law of the state you are in is a must.

There is no wrong way as long as it’s within the confines of the law and you are comfortable with it. There’s a fine line between what’s legal and illegal though. Know the laws for the state you are in and do not cross the boundaries. You are more likely to have a run in with the police at a traffic stop or accident than you are a situation where you would draw your weapon to save your life. Even though there are some seemingly useless laws out there regarding guns, having a legal way to defend yourself is better than having nothing at all.

Carrying in Condition 3 is not restricted to the Israelis, nor did they really invent it. I remember having to carry in Condition 3 in the military (both with a 1911 and the M9). The “Israeli” label was popularized as a method of carry and developed an entire method of presentation around empty-chamber carry. The philosophy is that C3 provides a method of carry that allows for a largely untrained population with a diverse variety of firearms.

An argument against C3 carry based on pure speed is relative. I’ve seen trained C3ers pretty fast and I’d say plenty fast enough for combat application.

I know my personal experience is that I’m just not practiced in C3……but should I be? I can’t see the wisdom of investing practice time into C3 deployment when I’m trained to carry C1.

In regards to the two hand necessity though I have to side with the doubters.
I’ve read articles about the reality of knife attacks, and just how fast and brutal they tend to be. It doesn’t matter what school of martial arts you attend, if somebody attacks you with a knife you are going to bleed…unless you are exceptionally lucky. Blood is slippery, and wounds hurt and distract. Anyone who has ever simulated racking a slide with slippery hands, or racking it with one hand, will tell you that this is not a situation you want to find yourself in when people are actively trying to kill you. One-handed slide racking is an emergency malfunction clearing technique, yet people who carry empty chamber may have to use this as their only method to get their gun into the fight. Your other hand may not necessarily be injured, but it may very well be occupied with trying to keep your assailant away from you, and you will be forced to rack the slide with one hand regardless. People who carry with loaded chambers do not have this concern. In a real fight you will have milliseconds to respond to a deadly threat. There will be no time to rack a slide. There may not even have time to properly aim. When things go south, they do so faster and more violently than you can possibly imagine. What people are taught in martial arts studios around the country to fend off a violent attack doesn’t even come close to simulating reality.
There are exceptionally good reasons why internationally acclaimed instructors like Massad Ayoob, Larry Vickers, and the late, great Pat Rogers, and more, do not teach empty-chamber carry: they have all walked the mile in hostile territory, seen and experienced things that by far most people have not, and have figured out what works and what does not work. The fact that they unanimously and independently conclude that empty-chamber carry does not work should tell you something.
But you must decide for yourself.

Semper Paratus
Check 6