October 23, 2007
What condition should you carry your weapon?
I am new to the CCW world. (Even though I have been around weapons my entire life.) I just got qualified last month and am trying to find my legs as a responsible gun-toting member of society. Some of the questions that we newbie’s will face will be: what pistol, what caliber, what size, what shape, what color, what carry, what condition…..what, what, what?
This entry is on what condition should I carry my weapon in. The three conditions are condition 1, 2, and 3. Condition 1 is the condition that many police carry their weapon – that is what is euphemistically called “cocked and locked.”
Quite simply, cocked and locked means you pull the trigger (purposely or negligently) and the damn thing is gonna go BANG. Condition 3 (on a semi-auto) means that you have a magazine inserted but not chambered. To use the weapon, the round must be “racked.”
Most modern semi-autos (think Glock, as the product represents over 50% of recent hand gun sells) do not have a safety lever. They rely on your good sense and 100% adherent to good “finger” control and use practices. This is the dilemma that I faced, cocked and locked or mag inserted but no round in chamber.
That is what this blog is entry is about: How I reached my decision on how to carry and in what condition. I started by speaking with some of my LEO friends and went on to reading hours of online discussions on the subject. There are some marvelous chat boards out there so please take the time to visit and read them. I found that the “vast” majority of the posters carry their weapon in condition 1. Their theory is that they gain a valuable second or two not having to rack a round. They also reason that if you have your non dominate arm injured, then you will most likely be up a creak without a Glock.
I think these are all very valid considerations. But………..As I professional pilot I live in a world of constant risk/reward analysis. (Do I save 200 miles by picking my way through weather or just going around it.)
I see this decision process as being no different. What is your risk/reward by carrying in C-1? The upside is probably saving about one second (even though I think it is less) by carrying hot. The downside is what is known by some as an increased probability of an A.D. or accidental discharge. BS. There is no such thing in my book. If that hawg leg goes off and you aren’t either on the range or intending to stop a BG (bad guy), your action was negligent – period. That is why I bristle at the understatement of calling it an accidental discharge.
I think ND’s make us all look like a bunch of red-neck hay-seeds and the negligent discharge statistics will no doubt, be used by the ACLU to bring unwanted scrutiny on the privilege and right to carry. Next, ND’s can kill or seriously injure innocents that had the bad misfortune of being around the dumb ass that discharged his pistol. So, carrying a pistol, in and of itself, is an extraordinary responsibility. Carrying it cocked and lock requires absolute and unwavering adherence to safe use protocols.
Next, I did a threat assessment on my personal carry environment. If I am handling cash or driving in an area that I know to be questionable, I will be in C-1. But about 98% of the time I am in C-3. REGARDLESS, I ALWAYS TREAT THE WEAPON AS IF IT IS IN CONDITION ONE – NO EXCEPTION, ALWAYS!
Also, I practice the Israeli style of simultaneous drawing, cocking, pointing and firing. I have timed it from my paddle holster and from my quick release fanny pack. The difference, if there is one, must be less than a second. But in return, I get “some” piece of.
The operative word here is “practice.” If you aren’t shooting once a month, I personally think you have no business being a CCW.
So, be careful out there and let me know what is working for you.
The above was written in Oct, 2007. It is now March, 2011. As my children are now 9 and 7, there is no doubt in my mind that only a fool would carry a concealed weapon cock-and-locked. You are asking for trouble. Since this I wrote this, I have dropped my weapon on 2 separate occasions – once in a theater and once in a restaurant. When I was at the show, I had the weapon in my coat pocket, which I had taken off. In the dark, I accidentally turned the coat up side down and heard the distinct clunk of my .40 cal bouncing off of the floor. In the restaurant, I was in the toilet and had sat the weapon on the toilet tank. I again knocked it off and it crashed to the floor.
I am ever more convinced that only a moron carries a concealed weapon cocked and locked. I could see holstering a different story, but must holster don’t conceal that well, particularly when you are lightly attired.