Is Carrying a 1911 in Condition One Safe

Is Carrying a 1911 in Condition One Safe?

Recently, I received a comment in response to a video I produced on this subject some time back. The comment was similar to some I have heard before from people who hold strong beliefs based upon myth and misinformation. As a result, I felt it incumbent upon me to respond. I’ve posted the video and both the viewer’s comment and my response below for your consideration.

Viewer’s comment:

“You’re not military and you aren’t going into a war zone. In civilian, milk run to the store usage, more people died from negligent discharge enabled by Condition 1 than by a bad guy. And Condition 3 never killed anyone. Racking the slide isn’t that hard, but you make it sound like an extremely difficult complex procedure to push your belief though.”

My response:

“You obviously have strongly held opinions on this subject. I respect your point of view. However, there are some holes in it. In your first statement, which is copied below, you wrote:

‘In civilian, milk run to the store usage, more people died from negligent discharge enabled by Condition 1 than by a bad guy’

This is not supported by factual evidence and is entirely false. Responsible people do not draw or fiddle with their firearms while making trips to the store. It is also an established fact that handguns do not routinely go off while holstered on the carrier’s hip. Therefore, the notion that negligent discharges are a common occurrence among concealed carriers while they are carrying their handguns is not only ridiculous but entirely untrue. This is the case regardless of what type of handgun is carried.

It is also instructive to note that negligent discharges from semi-automatic handguns happen more often at the point at which the firearm is being loaded or unloaded. The reason for this is simple. It is common for untrained or poorly trained individuals to have their finger inside the trigger guard while racking the slide. Not only is this assertion supported by anecdotal evidence, I can also attest to it as a firearms instructor. Frankly, an untrained or poorly trained person carrying a semi-automatic handgun in condition 3 (a loaded magazine and an empty chamber) is often more dangerous, since the concealed carrier is likely to have a finger inside the trigger guard while racking the slide. A nervous or frightened person racking a slide while placing a finger inside the trigger guard is a recipe for a negligent discharge.

There are also problems with your follow-up statement, which is copied below:

‘And Condition 3 never killed anyone.’

That statement is completely untrue.  A year or so ago a young man with a concealed carry permit was robbed in broad daylight. The thief approached him with a gun in an attempt to take his motorcycle and money. The young man, apparently fearing for his life, drew his concealed carry firearm, which he carried with a loaded magazine and an empty chamber. He pointed his firearm at the thief and pressed the trigger, forgetting to rack the slide. For obvious reasons, the gun did not fire. The thief promptly shot the young man in the head killing him. Racking the slide is not hard, but it can be (and often is) a step that is forgotten in the heat of the moment.

I have been shooting for 55 years, carrying a gun for 38 years, training civilians for twenty years and teaching security personnel for the last ten. While I am certainly not the most experienced person out there, I nevertheless have considerable experience. I did not produce this video to push my belief. I produced it to dispel myths which have been accepted as facts by the inexperienced and untrained. Like it or not, the idea that carrying a semi-automatic firearm in condition 1 is dangerous is a myth. That’s why people have been safely doing it with 1911 style pistols for over 100 years and why people do it today with polymer pistols designed specifically to be carried cocked with a round in the chamber: Glock (carried at 1/2 cocked with no manual safety or grip safety); Springfield XD (carried fully cocked with a grip safety); Smith & Wesson M&P (carried with the striker 98% cocked with no manual safety or grip safety on most models); etc.; etc. The 1911, by contrast, is carried fully cocked with both a manual safety and a grip safety. Let’s see…. which pistol is safer? I would argue that the 1911, because it has more safety features, is slightly safer than the others.  Still, all of the pistols mentioned above are safe to carry fully loaded with a round in the chamber.  Facts, however inconvenient they may be, are facts.

* “Condition one” indicates that the semi-automatic pistol is carried with a loaded magazine, a loaded chamber, the hammer or striker cocked and the safety (if one is present) on.

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