Wednesday, October 17, 2018

One in the Chamber

Do you carry with one in the chamber?   Condition One?  Of course you do.  It's the conventional wisdom!  A well holstered pistol is perfectly fine that way.

But what about your nightstand gun?

Ok, this isn't an issue for folks that keep tomorrow pants by their bed.  Their pants with their holstered firearm there with it, ready to go.  You hear a bump you just grab your the grip of your holstered firearm.  No fuss no muss.  And it is still condition one, obviously.   I'm not talking that.

What if that isn't your habit?  Or like me, you aren't going anywhere in your state with a holstered firearm tomorrow because you live in Maryland or somesuch?

What condition is the nightstand gun?  Or the gun in the lock box on the nightstand because you have kids in the house and there is a chip in your ring that opens that box?  There is a different sort of fumble in the dark for that gun than the more-sure unholstering.

And this is a bump in the dark, not a jump on the street.  It is more common to need condition one when jumped than to find a prowler standing beside your bed looking down on you as you wake.  You generally have time to work the slide on the bedside nightstand gun.  Why NOT Concition 3?

Big plus, easier to make that gun ready for the range bag to go practice with it at the range.  Come home, put a magazine of self defense back ammo, and secure it in the bedside spot.

So, what condition for that kind of bedside gun?


Comrade Misfit said...

Mine is a revolver, so "N/A".

When I did have an autoloader for a nightstand gun, it was a DA/SA or DAO gun.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I am moving from revolver to striker fired

Ratus said...

Yep, condition three here.

It keeps the clearing and re-chambering of defensive ammo to a minmmin.

Most recent, good defensive ammo is crimped to keep the bullet from setting back into the case and causing an 'overpressure event'. I'd like to keep it to the recommended two chamberings.

Notice I said recent. I have a couple of boxes of older defensive ammo that were part of lot that was given to my Pop as a 'hey you like guns, here take this old junk...'

It had box of Winchester Silvertips in .380 that several rounds had chambered so many times as to very noticeable.

I was going to post it to my blog in the long, long ago time but never got around to it because I couldn't find a good source on setback to link to for why you should be concerned.

Album link:

Ratus said...

minmmin = minimum

Freaking phone keyboard!

Will said...


I did some testing using a G27 some years ago. My finding was that the bullet suffers setback virtually every time it is chambered in a normal fashion. The exception is dropping the round into the chamber by hand, then lowering the slide to contact with the extractor, and then bumping the rear of the slide to enable the claw to snap over the rim. WARNING! Only do this with an extractor that has a separate spring and pivots to move. NOT the flex type as used in a 1911. The actual cause is the impact of the bullet into the feed ramp. The more straight-in the feed cycle has, the less setback should be expected. Glocks and 1911s seem to have a fairly violent impact.

Reloaded ammo is worse than factory in most cases, but not always. If the factory didn't temper the case, it can be REALLY bad. (Took a bad case of Blazer Brass to class. My Officers Model will load anything with it's 24lb spring, but my buddy's Gov Model choked on it constantly. Spoiled our class, pretty much. [He bought a pallet of the stuff.] Blazer couldn't have cared less about making bad ammo, they told him to f.o.)

I've seen as much as 0.070" on the first chambering for crappy ammo. I am convinced this is the actual cause of those handgun Kaboom!s that have no clearly identified cause, such as double-charging.

One of the side effects of shooting this sort of ammo is a vertical string of hits on a target. The setback is seldom consistent, so the pressure varies on ignition, which tends to leave that track above your aiming point.

Good factory ammo may only move .001" the first time, but all ammo moves every time you re-chamber it, and it tends to increase. It may compromise it's sealing when it moves, but I didn't look at that. I suspect different models of guns will exhibit different setback characteristics to some extent. The take-home point is to be aware of the issue, and be cautious of how, or if, you re-chamber ammo.

Will said...


my original write-up is somewhere on the Glocktalk forum, under a long discussion called Kaboom! Maybe ten years ago? Not sure at this point.

danielbarger said...

Loaded handguns are kept in a holster of some type at all times...even if it's just a cheapo Uncle Mikes nylon pocket holster. ANYTHING to keep the finger away from the trigger till 'go time'.