Concealed Carry

Is It Safe to Carry a Handgun Fully Loaded?

Wilson Combat and Colt Handguns fully-loaded

It is unfortunate many shooters get false information from the cinema, popular fiction and even from other shooters.

As an example, a popular crime series I often read is dead-on with forensics and deductive reasoning. On firearms, not so much.

The main protagonist often carries a Colt 1911 with an empty chamber. I won’t say I have not seen officers carry 1911s chamber empty, but it is a very poor choice.

If you cannot tolerate a cocked and locked handgun, then carry a revolver or a double-action pistol.

Let’s get to the point, there are both automatic pistols and revolvers that are unsafe to carry fully loaded. For others, it depends on which model you choose.

There are several choices in carry options with a number of pistols. Let’s look hard at each.

Revolvers

The original design of the revolver is a single-action. Many close copies are still being manufactured.

Some feature a notch in the cylinder in which the hammer nose is placed for safety when the revolver is fully loaded.

A hammer nose resting on the base of a cartridge is an accident waiting to happen.

Experienced individuals carried the original Colt 1873 with an empty chamber under the hammer.

The proper way to load the revolver for carry is to load a chamber, skip a chamber, load four chambers, cock the hammer and lower it on the empty chamber.

This allows carrying the revolver with five chambered rounds. The single-action is a hunting and recreational revolver these days, so this isn’t a problem.

Many modern revolvers feature a transfer-bar system. The transfer bar makes carrying six rounds safe.

If you own several types of single-action revolvers, you may as well just load them all with five rounds and rest easy.

If you are choosing the type for serious use, purchase a transfer-bar action such as the Traditions 1873.

Iver Johnson Revolver
The Iver Johnson safety-automatic design is a groundbreaking revolver.

Derringers

A friend showed me his newest acquisition, a small .45-caliber derringer.

The handgun requires the hammer to be cocked — and it is a heavy hammer spring to be overcome — as you simultaneously press a cross bolt safety to allow the firing of the derringer.

I have a disproportionate number of accidents in my files with Derringers. Most are poor quality.

The High Standard double-action derringer, long out of production, featured a rotating firing pin and a safety action.

Few derringers are fast into action or safely carried. The North American Arms mini revolver is several steps removed from the Derringer.

This revolver features a notch in the cylinder for the hammer nose to ride in.

If you do not properly set the hammer nose and allow it to ride on a chambered round, you are asking for trouble.

If you are not able to consistently tag the hammer in the notch, then load four rounds.

Double-Action Revolvers

It has been a long time since an unsafe double-action revolver was manufactured. Colt, Smith and Wesson and others developed hammer blocks.

The hammer block moves the hammer out of contact with the firing pin after firing.

These hammer blocks are good, with the Colt generally superior, but they are not perfect.

With a great deal of wear or when very dirty, they may not work properly.

A modern revolver is superior as safety goes compared to revolvers manufactured prior to 1950.

Smith & Wesson Double-Action Revolver
The Smith and Wesson double-action system is a safe and smooth design.

Transfer Bar to the Rescue

Iver Johnson developed a system they exploited in their old “Hammer the Hammer” advertising.

In a late 1890s ad, a heavy hammer was seen pounding a revolver hammer. The transfer-bar system is still in use.

A bar blocks the hammer from touching the firing pin. Even if struck by a heavy blow, the hammer cannot move forward.

As the trigger is pressed to the rear and the hammer flies forward, the transfer bar rises from its blocking position.

The hammer strikes the bar and the bar contacts the firing pin to fire the revolver. As the trigger is released, the hammer retracts and the revolver is safe again.

When Charter Arms revolvers were introduced, they adopted this system. So did Ruger with their double-action revolvers.

The original Ruger single-action revolvers were Colt types.

Ruger incorporated the transfer-bar system into their single-action revolvers after paying off an expensive lawsuit in which a person was seriously injured by a discharge from a fully loaded single-action revolver.

In short, even the most inexpensive double-action revolvers now use the transfer-bar system. Smith and Wesson revolvers now feature a frame-mounted firing pin.

They are not a transfer-bar system, but feature an advanced of hammer blocking action.

The final word on revolvers: single-action revolvers are not universally manufactured with the transfer-bar system.

In my opinion, those who purchase a single-action revolver must be more vigilant, as some are safe to carry fully loaded, some are not, so the type demands greater scrutiny.

Load all with an empty chamber under the hammer and you will be safe.

Ruger Revolver with Transfer Bar
Ruger’s transfer-bar system is a fail-safe design.

Self-Loading Pistols

When it comes to self-loading pistols, there are many variations. Most modern handguns are safe in the mechanical sense, but demand care in handling.

Early self-loading pistols sometimes did not have an inertia firing pin. This is a firing pin that is shorter than the firing pin channel.

The hammer strikes the firing pin and the firing travels the length of the firing pin channel and strikes the primer or a chambered cartridge.

The firing-pin spring retracts the firing pin. Early self-loading pistols with the long firing pin are simply curiosities today.

The advent of small striker-fired pistols resulted in handguns that were unsafe to carry fully loaded.

The connection to the striker or firing pin was very small, often less than .002 inches, and they were prone to jumping off in the pocket and firing the pistol.

Some did not even have a sear, the trigger contacted the firing pin directly. These were sold for as little as 40 dollars during the 1960s.

They have many problems other than safety and should never be trusted for personal defense.

Better quality single-action pistols such as the Ruby were sometimes better. We will cover single-action pistols first.

Single-Action Pistols

The single-action usually features an exposed hammer. The pistol is loaded and the hammer is fully to the rear.

The hammer may be lowered on the loaded chamber or the pistol may be carried fully loaded and the safety on, referred to as cocked and locked.

This is a safe way to carry and the carry method the designer intended (Considering 1911-type handguns).

There is no pistol faster to a rapid first shot than the single-action properly carried cocked and locked.

If the pistol is an inertia-type firing pin design — and all modern guns are — it is safe to keep at home ready fully loaded and the hammer on a live chamber.

Many folks adopt this as home ready and some even carry the pistol hammer down for personal defense.

Modern pistols have a positive firing-pin block (in the case of the Colt, SIG and Kimber) that prevents any movement of the firing pin unless the trigger is pressed completely to the rear.

Others, such as Springfield, feature an extra-strength firing-pin spring that assures the firing pin returns to a safe position after firing.

The primary sources of unsafe firing-pin designs are early Star, Llama and Astra types. I have examined a number with the firing pin stuck forward.

These pistols should be in collections and not trusted for defense use!

1911 and Hi-Power Single-Action Handguns
These single-action handguns are not only safe to carry, they are very fast to an accurate first shot hit.

A Note About Shooter Error

A 1911 carried cocked and locked is in a safe condition. The hammer is blocked by the slide-lock safety and the trigger is blocked by the grip safety.

When the pistol is drawn and on target, the safety is disengaged and the pistol fired. A few runs on the range will confirm the absolute superiority of cocked-and-locked carry.

Cocking the hammer on the draw is fumble prone, distracting and slow. You are far more likely to have an accidental discharge.

On some, but not all, single-action handguns, if the shooter slips while cocking the hammer, a half-cock notch captures the hammer, preventing it from going all of the way to the firing pin.

This isn’t a sure thing! Unfortunately, some have adopted the practice of carrying a 1911 in the half-cock notch.

It isn’t safe. The notch isn’t as thick as the full-cock notch and there is a condition known as false half-cock in which the hammer is held by a sliver of metal and could slip and fall at any time.

An exception to the rule on half-cock carry is the Tokarev TT-33. This pistol is designed for half-cock carry.

Some carry automatic pistols with the chamber empty. They think they will have time to rack the slide in an emergency.

This is a ridiculous notion. You will need two hands, which isn’t a given in a critical situation. You may well fumble the action.

Your speed is cut down badly. Running a few range drills shows that I am able to draw, fire, and get a hit on a man-sized target in one to 1.5 seconds at 10 yards on demand, with a hit in the X-ring.

Add the problem of cocking a hammer or racking a slide and 0.8 to a full second is added. Why would you limit yourself in this manner?

If you do not trust the 1911, then get a revolver, a GLOCK or a Beretta double-action first shot pistol.

Double-Action Pistols

Double-action first shot pistols use a long trigger action to fire the pistol. After the slide recoils, the hammer is cocked for single-action fire.

These pistols usually have the SIG-type firing-pin block or a heavy-duty firing-pin spring.

Most have a decocker lever that safely lowers the hammer from full-cock without the shooter touching the hammer or trigger.

Always use the decocker as designed. If you press the trigger and use the thumb to control the hammer to set it at rest, you may short-circuit the firing-pin block and it may not reset.

Always use the decocker lever! The double-action-only types such as the SIG P250 have a long pull for each trigger press.

They are good defensive guns for those that are not able to practice as often as they would like, and are a simple and safe system.

Wilson Combat 1911 Beretta Double-Action Handgun
The Wilson Combat Beretta 92G is shown cocked. Pressing the decocker lever safely lowers the hammer.

Striker-Fired Pistols

The GLOCK set the standard for modern striker-fired pistols.

While there have been accidental discharges by the dozens with the GLOCK, there also were many with the double-action revolvers in institutional service.

They are shooter error. The GLOCK isn’t fully cocked when loaded. As you rack the slide, the striker is prepped against a striker spring, but not fully cocked.

If somehow the firing-pin block was damaged and the spring ran forward, there isn’t sufficient energy to fire the pistol.

As the trigger is pressed and the striker is drawn to the rear, the striker breaks against spring pressure and fires the pistol.

The GLOCK and similar pistols are safe to carry fully loaded. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you fire.

Beretta APX Striker-Fired Pistol
The Beretta APX is a striker-fired design. The trigger-lever safety prevents lateral discharge.

Conclusion: Carrying Handguns Fully Loaded

When choosing a firearm, be certain you know what you are getting into. I cannot predict safety that is in your hands and between the ears.

Some modern polymer guns look like striker-fired guns, but they are not, they have a hidden hammer. Other pistols are actually single-action, not double-action.

A heavy trigger action or a slight sear movement, and sometimes a grip safety, are used as safety measures.

A mechanical safety is good, but in the end, the shooter must bear the responsibility for safety.

Would you carry a fully loaded handgun? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (24)

  1. I’ve carried a loaded weapon on my person for 30 years now. Privately and professionally. Firearms were not made to be carried unloaded. The best safety carrying ANY firearm is between your ears. The other thing is KNOW your weapon of choice and train with it for everything to be second nature. I’ve carried revolvers and autos and still do. Heck I’d feel well armed going into any kind of incident even with my single action “cowboy” revolvers. Why? Because I know each of my weapons like they are my arm. I’ve had the luxury of having been trained to be able to use anything that goes bang with proficiency so I’m not the norm, but novice or not, use what’s between your ears first and foremost and everything else mechanically should always do it’s just as well making any firearm you carry loaded safe.

  2. I own two mdl, 1911’s and they just LOOK scary with the hammer back even if they are cocked & locked. So I choose to tote a modern day d/a revolver or a little auto loader that has an external safety. I have made it a practice to NEVER purchase an auto loader with out an external safety,if it is used for everyday carry. I also check and make sure the external safety is on EVERY time I pick up the weapon. With habit, flipping down the safety lever is just like pulling a trigger, it just comes 1st. I don’t want a little trigger safety thingy getting hung up on something in my pocket, or nervous me pulling on the trigger to soon!

  3. My EDC is the S&W model 411 in .40 cal It is a true double/single action pistol with a de-cock which disengages the trigger which allows for a round in the chamber . A quick flick of the thumb disengages the de-cock and you can fire yes there is a long trigger pull for the first shot which gives on time ( a few nanoseconds) to THINK what they are doing !!!

  4. I thought Bob’s article was insightful, thorough and a great way to get CCDW licensees to reflect on the massive responsibility they have chosen to take on.
    Like your one reader noted- I served during peace time 82’ and we weren’t even allowed to have a magazine loaded let alone a round chambered.
    So when after being licensed I too use the Israeli method, mostly for safety. I’m not sure I will ever be comfortable carrying a cocked- locked and loaded weapon, but I do carry magazine in and all that is needed is to chamber a round- which like many who use weapons frequently I can chamber very fast. The only exception is the home defense weapons which my wife and I have loaded at all times.
    What I like most about the article was the EDUCATION it provided on how guns have evolved with safety AND how a carrier CAN safely carry a loaded weapon or a cocked & locked weapon SAFELY!
    For those of us peace time veterans- I can assure you we had 2 things beat into our heads- safety & the immense responsibility a Marine carries when shooting a weapon to kill. The use of deadly force better be used at the right time amd at the right person- you CAN NOT take it BACK once it’s fired!
    So Thank you for a great article outlining the types of weapons, and the safe ways you can carry a loaded weapon. I know now that I do not always have to buy a hand gun that has a thumb or palm safety in order to be sure it won’t go off. First time in a long time I read the entire article and then read read it again- I may be carrying a loaded (chambered) round eventually- but I’m not sure about cocked?
    That might be a little extreme for this old Devil Dog to take a chance on…I don’t want to hurt someone- especially myself, not at this point in my life!
    HOORAH!

  5. I am a longtime shooter, but only recently got my CCW. I carry a Shield in the appendix position, but on a belt slide holster OWB. Initially I carried it Israeli style with the safety on to see if the safety was reliable. It turned out to be trustworthy, so I now carry it with the chamber loaded and safety on. I also have a Glock 23. As Bob mentioned, when the trigger on the Glock is depressed, the striker initially moves rearward. There is a device called the “Gadget” that replaces the cover plate on the rear of the slide. If the trigger is moved rearward, a hinged plate on the gadget also moves to the rear. Whenever the pistol is re-holstered, it is a simple matter to put the thumb against the back of the slide. Any movement of the trigger will be instantly felt on the thumb and a dangerous ND avoided.

  6. I carry a Springfield XD-M .45 ACP on duty. I have been on the job for over 20 years and I am an Army veteran, Infantry. I carry my pistol fully loaded and ready to fire. I think it depends on the individual to make the decision whether or not to carry fully loaded. I do based on my experience and the fact it’s for On Duty purposes. Stay safe out there

  7. Question for you. I have a S&W model 19 Combat Magnum pistol that I bought in ~1977. It is not the new one that they just brought back into production but the original. It has a 6″ barrel, is nickel plated, and has the Gonalco Alves grips. Back in the day, I had ordered it with either 4″ or 6″ barrel and any finish, as it was difficult to get S&W revolvers back then and most of this model was going to law enforcement. The hammer on this has that pin that rocks up and down a bit and is not a flat face nor a one piece striker.

    Two questions –
    1. Can I dry fire this for practice or will I damage it by doing so? I’ve heard both responses, but not by anyone with a real depth of knowledge.
    2. Is it safe to carry fully loaded with the hammer at rest.

  8. I still considered myself a novice about concealed carry weapons. After being robbed at gun point I decided it was time to carry. My knee jerk reaction was to purchase a S&W .357 magnum to supplement my buck shot loaded pump for home defense. The .357 model is great at the range but to heavy to carry and hard to conceal. I replaced it with a S&W MP Compact 45cal. This model, as I understand, is striker fired. It also has no safety. Initially I carried loaded, a round in the chamber. I am trained to avoid an unintentional discharge of my doing. However I became concerned about a mechanical failure that could ruin my day, now I carry without a round in the chamber. I have questioned, should the need arise, will I have time to load a round. I’m really thankful for your very pertinent article. Opinions please, can I carry loaded with confidence?

  9. Quite often carry my SA 1911 RO. I prefer a vertical shoulder rig.
    I did modify it with the SFS so that it can be carried Cocked & Locked
    with the hammer forward.
    An alternative carry is a Glock 32. The 357 SIG round is a reasonable
    stopper IMHO.
    Yes, without a safety the Glock at first made me a bit concerned about
    condition Zero. Just have to keep the finger off the trigger and all is well.

  10. I would carry fully loaded with a mechanical safety or striker type pistol. Obviously concealed carry is meant for personal defense so I want the advantage of having a full gun nit also a safe one. That being said I do like the aesthetics of single action revolvers but I would only feel comfortable open carrying them in a holster on my hip.

    But seeing as how I live in New Jersey I dont have to concern myself with such matters because my Governor wont allow me to legally carry because the government and its police will protect me. Luckily I will eventually be moving down south and yes it will be somewhere my rights as a gun owner arent infringed upon. Stay safe.

  11. I really enjoyed this article. I agree with everything Mr. Campbell says here, especially in regards to the so-called Israeli carry. My concern with Israeli carry is what happens should one arm be injured, shot, cut, struck by the proverbial blunt object, a fall, or what ever. What if the individual is trying to shield a loved one. Any of these issues would cause the person using Israeli carry to lose valuable time getting the firearm into action. I agree with Mr. Campbell. If “cocked and locked” isn’t your cup of tea, get a striker fired pistol or a double action pistol.

  12. I realize I am an old timer, but I will never own a glock or any other Auto-loader without a manual safety. It isn’t the weight of the trigger pull, it is the distance, and the sudden break. (and many Glock folk have very light triggers now as well)
    A double action revolver or SA/DA Auto -loader have long trigger pulls, as the hammer is slowly drawn back. Not a sudden break. I don’t buy this ‘all between the ears’ garbage either. You handle the gun a lot more than you shoot it, and someone ELSE might one day pick it up. If I was given a Glock and could not sell it, I would keep the chamber empty. And leave it at home.
    My opinion.

  13. As carrying is for self-defense situations which are almost all over within 3 seconds, if you don’t have a bullet in the chamber you might as well be carrying a block of iron.

  14. Great discussion and I cannot disagree with any even though they often differ. I was a peace time Marine and after a year and a half in training, I served in Okinawa ’60-61 and Beaufort and Leeward Point ’61-62. I rarely handled a firearm because my job was electronics maintenance on helicopters and observation planes in Okinawa and F8U jets in Beaufort and GTMO. If needed, I was issued a 1911 and returned it after the mission, usually not more than a day. Of course on longer missions, some of us packed our M1 rifles. Since then I’ve acquired a couple of dozen firearms and disposed of a dozen or more.

    When the COVID scare began, my daughter asked to borrow a handgun. Back during the Hillary scare I had purchased an FNS-9c specifically for her when she had the time. It had never been fired. This model came with and without a safety. While I respect the notion of carrying with a round in the chamber, neither of us are experts or even accomplished amateurs. I opted for caution and the model with a safety. Experts practice regularly and seek very high speed response. I wish we had the time by for now, my logic is a round in the chamber is dangerous, especially for a middle aged woman with no training and little time to practice. She likes the notion of a safety AND an empty chamber.

  15. Now, Bob, Jethro Gibbs is a retired Marine and back when he would have been on active duty, it would have been expected for him to carry with no round chambered while stateside, except in rare circumstances. The Army was that way, too. Some habits die hard for us old guys.
    One thing that still makes me scratch my head, since you mention it, is the discussion about Israeli carry, i.e., carrying with an empty chamber. Most of the people who condemn it the loudest almost scream that it was because the early Israeli settlers were not competent and would pull the trigger to soon and shoot their own people, for their own protection… etc., etc., etc. Too bad, that is not true.
    Israeli carry was put in place to prevent the gun carrier, read “good guy” from having his gun taken away and killed with it. If there was no round in the weapon, if the bad guy took the gun, popped the safety off and pulled the trigger, there would be a very loud “Click” and give our good guy a chance to relieve the bad guy of his weapon and ruin the bad guy’s whole day. There are more than one Krav Maga techniques for relieving someone of their weapon.
    I have no problem with what the author said about disagreeing with the practice. He stated, “I won’t say I have not seen officers carry 1911s chamber empty, but it is a very poor choice.”
    Having carried a US Government owned 1911 almost 50 years ago (in places that I seem to have forgotten the names, but I do remember a certain amount of inhospitality from just a few of the nationals and would have rejoiced at seeing American blood shed because it was American blood that was at risk.) I would present a plea for tolerance to those that choose to carry Israeli. Many people I have known who carry Israeli can clear their holster and have a chambered round in about the same amount of time that most people can bring their loaded and cocked weapon to bear. And many of them can empty and change the magazine in the time that some people are just realizing that there is a lot really loud noise and my ears are ringing again and I smell gunpowder. What is happening?
    I have a comment and I am not speaking about the author, Bob Campbell, as I do not feel he is guilty of what I am commenting on. But, it seems to me, the most vocal critics of Israeli carry opine about being in a gunfight as something that they know so much about, that they are an authority on, the BTDT, kind of mentality.. And then, they give all sorts of cues that they have never been in a real, draw your gun, in fear of your life, shoot, or be shot, kill, or be killed scenario, and you realize they haven’t been anywhere close to there, let alone done that.
    If memory serves me correctly, Bob has been there, and I will listen to his perspective and give credence to what he says, because he has pretty much shown himself to be a gentleman when it comes to discussions such as this. There are things about which we can disagree without resorting to heaping all sorts of vituperation on the individual with whom one disagrees as some opponents of Israeli carry are prone to do.
    BTW, for those of you who call other people names because they are of a different opinion on this… Not Cool… Especially, if you know nothing about the background of the person on whom you are hurling that invective. Even less cool if you have never walked in their shoes, or combat boots… or any combat boots for that matter.
    Not so, the virgin experts who have seen the movies, the videos, have read a lot of books and articles about being in a shooting and actually taking a human life or thinking one might be about to do so but only have book knowledge on the matter. I call them virgin, but when I was overseas, we called them “Cherries.” Having seen how the first instance of being in that situation changes a man (or woman) in ways that one cannot begin to comprehend, I would urge caution to all who lust to savor that experience. I have known so many men who lusted for the chance beforehand but soon found themselves wishing to undo what could not be undone. Some things we thought we wanted will return again after we no longer want to be associated with those things and attempt to destroy us after the fact. PTSD is a horrible taskmaster and does not give up. There is a reason why 22 veterans die at their own hand every day on American Soil.
    So, Bob, thank you for the article, I found it interesting. For the record, I have more than one 1911. The Government model that my wife would use is hidden where only she and I know the location; it is chambered, locked, and loaded. All she has to do is… safety off, point and shoot. The spring is a little too stiff for her to do that easily, (Neither she nor I can be called young any longer and that is but one way it shows with her. But, after forty plus years, I would marry her again.) My carry is an Officer’s Model by Smith, their ProSeries… and yes, it’s a .45 ACP.

  16. Skye: If the safety stays reliably on in all situations (that is, until you turn it off), then I believe you can feel safe carrying the S&W Shield loaded if you have the safety on. Problem comes in when the safety rubs against something and gets turned off without your knowledge. Beretta PX4 Storm is an example of a gun which has a safety that stays on till you turn it off. The PX4 Storm Subcompact is a gun that you should check out if you have concerns about the S&W shield. It is the one I have, and I am very pleased with it. I carry it loaded, decocked (i.e. in double action), and with the safety on. An added benefit of having it decocked is that the first shot has a heavier and longer trigger pull (it’s not that heavy, but it is heavier than when the gun is cocked). By having to pull harder and longer, I get a tactile reminder that I am about to fire the gun – this can prevent an accidental discharge on the first shot – I believe an accidental discharge is more likely on the first shot, when you could be distracted by something. However, once I have heard the loud “boom” of the first shot, I am fully aware that I am shooting the gun and am very careful with the trigger on subsequent shots.

  17. Skye

    The Shield is comparable to the Glock.
    It features a bifurcated trigger and operated like the Glock,
    which is actually a DAO type.
    Nothing wrong with the Bersa, I like it a lot, a great and affordable firearm.
    If you like the Bersa that is what counts. Quality is Beretta comparable.

  18. Very nice overall picture of the carrying handguns! I am an longtime owner of two Ruger Blackhawk revolvers (single action). The older one was purchased in 1965, called a 3- screw gun by Ruger. This did not have the safety feature of today, with the trans bar system, At a gun class at a Jr college, the teacher showed how it would go off just dropping it! Since I hardly ever carried the gun around loaded anyway (and if it was fully loaded, it was always in my western style holster and not riding a horse), I was not too concerned, until my son’s class in the 80s. So, in the early 2000’s I sent it into Ruger and they upgraded it for free. This is a powerful .357 mag gun (6.5″ barrel). I then purchased a Ruger .45 Colt convertible(shoots .45 ACP with a cylinder swap) in the early 2010’s, and it cocks very differently when I load compared to my original .357Mag Ruger, and slightly still from the upgraded .357 Mag gun.

    I do wish to add some info on handgun safety. To me, revolvers are considerably more safe, and easily a lot more powerful than almost all semi-auto handgun. Of course, there are some non-safety related benefits to the semi-auto guns, but not too many. Today you can now buy 7 and 8 round double action revolvers, especially inn the powerful .357 Mag caliber. With a revolver, you can see almost immediately if it is loaded or not, and you can even pop out the cylinder for immediate inspection for both single and double action revolvers. Furthermore, with the single action revolvers, you can usually simply remove the cylinder in 5 seconds, and walk off with it, which I do, so that if the gun is ever stolen, it is unusable.

    Considering that my .45 Colt Ruger is only 5.5″, this is small enough for hand carry, and what a wallop it would generate in any kind of a fire fight. But I do not have a hand carry license, nor a holster for such, but I might look into it. So far, the license is still rather expensive to get.

    Vincent (11-02-2020)

  19. Be very cautious when reholstering a striker-fired pistol of the Glock or Springfield Armory XD/XDM type! If you jam them down into the holster against any unusual resistance, you may find that a protruding shirt-tail has entered the trigger guard, threatening to depress the trigger. The next thing you may notice, if you persist, is a loud bang, followed by sharp, shooting pain down the leg! This did happen at a well known shooting school I attended. Being a Marine, he merely grunted and waited for the next range command! Needless to say, though, he was done for the day.
    No one ever won a contest or a gunfight by being the fastest back into the holster! Reholster slowly, cautiously, reluctantly, and only when after-action drills have satisfied you that no further threats exist.

  20. I am interested on opinions regarding the S&W Shield. I bought one because it is advertised as double action. Upon closer research, I determined that it is actually a true single action. I felt it unsafe to carry even with the safety on, so I traded it for a Bersa. Opinions?

  21. i went through about 8 holsters for my 1911 that would ,as i walked, would let the safety move off to fire position. finally got a Blackhawk Serpa that didn’t do that. also it has a retention lock on it to hold the pistol in. and i’m not talking about cheap holsters either. so i carried a 1911 a lot in condition 3(empty chamber)

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