"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?" –Marvin Martian

I have no intention of purchasing a pistol, so I don’t need safety instructions, but it is clear a lot of people who own them either haven’t had such instruction or simply ignore it. You’re right, I wasn’t aware that so many models of handgun don’t have a safety, but it does explain a lot.

Evidently the Glock will only auto-chamber a round if you slap the magazine home quite hard. I guess they call it the combat re-load. I read on a forum that it is somewhat inconsistent.

Are safety courses typically required to own a handgun, like when you want to get a hunting license? It seems kind of weird that I’d have to have a safety course to kill animals but not one to potentially kill people. I think in NY it is regulated by county. I’ve been used as a reference for several people for pistol permits but I don’t recall them being required to take a safety class.

At the risk of starting a row here, what is it with people and guns? When you are carrying a pistol, is it really necessary to have it loaded, chambered, and with the safety off?

None of the most popular models of handguns have switchable safeties. They mostly have mechanisms designed to prevent the gun from firing if they are not being held normally. Revolvers cannot be “chambered,” as the magazine and the chamber are one and the same. And many automatics, such as Glocks, automatically chamber the first round when you load the gun. Some will chamber a round on the first trigger pull. Since they’re personal defense weapons, not hunting or military weapons, they’re designed to be ready to go as soon as you draw them with no fumbling around.

While no doubt you are familiar with rifles and shotguns, it is clear that you don’t know much about pistols work and should probably take some safety instruction before purchasing one.

Any self-defense tool is going to be dangerous because it’s a device that can kill a man. Consequently, there will be accidents involving them every year, both of the totally random and the “I was stupid” kind. Law of large numbers and all that.

Disclosure: I do not carry a handgun. I live in a pretty safe area. I do keep a rifle at home. I keep it in the closet, unloaded and with the magazines in a separate place.

Jeremiah: Good points. I agree.

Loaded: yes. Why would I want to fumble with loading a gun in a moment of emergency?

Chambered: no. It’s a concession, but I hope I have time to rack the slide if I ever need to.

Safety: no. My usual carry guns don’t have them. Thus, see above.

My wife’s revolver, however, is loaded, chambered, and has no safety. She uses a trigger bra that keeps the trigger covered until needed, like a little holster.

We both hope we will never need to use these tools except for fun. But it’s worse than the Wild West out there, so you never know.

Randy: Do you carry with the gun loaded, chambered, and with the safety off?

Why might a law enforcement official need quicker access to a shot than I might?

Bill, it’s obvious you don’t know what you are talking about when you ask that question about a revolver. Why don’t you stick to areas of expertise and leave the gun stuff to others?

You carry it loaded and chambered as well? I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I really wonder how necessary it is to be ready to draw and fire in a split second if you are not a law enforcement official. This isn’t Tombstone. I’d like to see some numbers as to whether this scenario is more beneficial than harmful.

Bill – you asked “When you are carrying a pistol, is it really necessary to have it loaded, chambered, and with the safety off?”
My answer – not sure, ’cause I carry a 357 magnum revolver. There is no safety, just the trigger and my finger.

Bill, whether it’s gun safety or vaccinations for kids or financial investment I have lately had this feeling the common denominator is a lot of people presume they will be the exceptions to statistical patterns. There are a lot of us who are tempted to say “I wouldn’t be/do/fall for/exemplify X.” We all have a weakness for this in some area of our lives, I figure. To put it another way, the temptation to convince yourself you’d be the principled objector in some Milgram experiment can be really hard to resist but it may be the temptation we most NEED to resist. If we all individually presume that the “herd immunity” will come from everyone else following rules we think we’re responsible enough to tweak here and there we can end up with a lot of self-inflicted misery.

What gives?

At the risk of starting a row here, what is it with people and guns? When you are carrying a pistol, is it really necessary to have it loaded, chambered, and with the safety off? I’ve spent my whole life with guns. My father was part of a hunting camp that quite frankly wasn’t filled with paragons of virtue and that played a little fast and loose with game laws, but you did not, under any circumstances, bring a loaded gun into the camp, let alone a loaded gun with a round in the chamber and the safety off. Now people seem to be walking around more ready to shoot someone than in the wild west. We just recently heard about a woman killed in a store when her toddler got hold of the gun in her purse. A similar thing happened at a home when a young child got the gun and shot both parents (one shot). A few minutes ago I read about a woman who shot herself in the eye while adjusting her bra holster. Are people really going to be in a situation where they can’t take a second to chamber a round? Does anyone but military or law enforcement really need to be able to shoot at a moment’s notice? Even the police have the gun strapped into their holster for crying out loud.

My son is an ER physician and he says people are always coming into the ER with gunshot wounds to the leg because they had a loaded gun in their pants. They always claim they were shot by someone else.