Auto-pistols can be carried in various conditions of readiness. First defined by the legendary Lt Col John Dean “Jeff” Cooper these conditions are commonly accepted to be:
- Condition 0 – A round is in the chamber, hammer cocked, and the safety is off.
- Condition 1 – known as “cocked and locked”, means a round is in the chamber, the hammer cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied.
- Condition 2 – A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down.
- Condition 3 – The chamber is empty and hammer down with a charged magazine in the gun.
- Condition 4 – The chamber is empty, hammer down and no magazine is in the gun.
These conditions are/were designed with a 1911 style pistol in mind. The Glock with no external safety (but with its “safe action” safety measures) technically cant have the thumb safety applied so it’s condition when loaded and chambered is a matter of debate amongst handgun afficinados but it’s commonly accepted that a Glock is in “Condition 1″ when loaded with a round in the chamber.
With these definitions in mind, a common debate amongst pistoleros is the argument over which is safer for defensive carry, condition 1 or condition 3?
The “Israeli Method”
C3 carry is commonly referred to as the Israeli Method. Some people believe that it is safer and no less effective to carry the pistol with a magazine inserted, safety off, and no round in the chamber. When needed, the shooter draws, racks the slide on the draw stroke and fires.
Carrying in Condition 3 is not restricted to the Israelis, nor did they really invent it. I remember having to carry in Condition 3 quite often as a USArmy Military Police Officer (both when I was issued a 1911 and the M9). It’s gotten that label because the Israelis popularized it as a method of carry and developed an entire method of presentation around empty-chamber carry. The philosophy is that C3 provides a method of carry that allows for a largely untrained population with a diverse variety of firearms.
Detractors of C3 carry state that carrying with an empty chamber is a symptom of insufficient training and confidence. Adding an extra step to make the weapon functionable is slower and needlessly adding complexity to a high stress situation. Secondly it requires two hands, or a riskier one-handed “rack” that again adds needless complexity that C1 carry does not.
An argument against C3 carry based on pure speed is relative. The above video is pretty damn fast and I’d say plenty fast enough for combat application.
I tried comparing my own speed with the two:
Not really being practiced at the “Israeli Method”, even my draw is not excessively slower, but I did short stroke the slide a few times or fumble it in some other manner. I’m just not practiced…but should I be? I can’t see the wisdom of investing practice time into C3 deployment when I’m trained to carry C1.
In regards to the two hand necessity though I have to side with the doubters.
One hand deployment
Look at what this Police Officer faced.
Officer Cress shot and killed alleged DUI suspect Errol Baker on Sunday. For over one minute, Cress battled with Baker after pulling a gun on the officer. The trooper punched Baker several times, once causing him to drop the 45-caliber handgun. Baker retrieved the gun and fired, narrowly missing Cress. The trooper then grabbed his own gun, firing a fatal shot into Baker’s head.
Right around 1:40 after wrestling with the BG for what probably seemed like eternity, the suspect pulls a gun and fires over his shoulder at the cop. The officer draws one handed and shoots the BG in the head. Sure if he was carrying C3 he could have raked the slide against his belt or something, but that’s a murphy laden disaster waiting to happen.
There are simply too many instances I can think of where having to rack a slide in a CQB scenario will simply be too slow or physically impossible. Watch what Gabe Suarez has his students doing in this video:
Start around the 3:00 mark. Do you really want to face a situation like those in C3?
I see the “what will you do if he’s attacking you with a bat” question as being very legitimate. Since most gun fights start out at bad breath range you may very well be faced with those types of examples far more often than you would like. Adding having to chamber a round to make your weapon usable is just adding more problems to the situation vs solving any.
Some say “If he’s attacking you with a bat or knife you should deal with that using empty hand skills then gain distance and deploy your gun”. Sure, you MAY be forced to resolve the H2H issue without your firearm, but when carrying condition 3 you have just put yourself into a situation where thats going to be the fact. Like it or not. You have effectively taken the gun out of the equation for all intents and purposes.
And comparing one handed stoppage clearing in a SHTF situation to forcing yourself into a situation where you will have no choice but to chamber one handed is apples and oranges. You train one handed manipulations as a “God forbid I ever have to do this in real life” type of thing, not as normal operating procedure.
In the end, I just don’t see the risk of misfires in a modern auto-pistol being significant enough to warrant carrying unchambered. It’s more a matter of the carrier not feeling comfortable or well enough trained than it is anything else IMO. I also think that there is a dose of “It’s Israeli so it must be high-speed” going on.