Concealed Carry: Hot or Cold?

For semi-automatic pistols, I’ve heard it both ways. Some people will carry their sidearm with a round in the chamber, others won’t. Which choice is best?


Those who won’t carry hot usually cite safety concerns. They are afraid of an accidental discharge. It makes sense. You are quickly pulling your pistol out of your pants under duress. I can see how it would be possible to shoot yourself or someone else if there is a round ready to go. I know of a guy who can draw his sidearm and charge it in one quick motion.


But then there is the other side…speed. If you have a round in the pipe, it’s ready to go. A pull of the trigger is all that’s needed.

Number One

When I took my concealed carry class the instructor taught us an important concept. If you are put into a situation where a person becomes a threat (say you walk in on a robbery) their focus will mainly be on something else. But as soon as you pull your gun to stop them, you are now target numero uno. It doesn’t matter what they intended before, you are now the main focus.

It stands to reason that if you are carrying a pistol without a round in the chamber and decide to pull out your weapon, then you will have to take the time to chamber that first round while you are being targeted. That scenario doesn’t sound favorable. “Excuse me Mr. 7-Eleven robber, I need to chamber my gun first. Can you give me an extra second?”

Safety Solutions

Some pistols come with safeties which help alleviate some of the accidental discharge  issues.

Also, most of the small double-action pistols intended for concealment were made with very deep triggers. My Taurus TCP 738 has a pretty long and heavy trigger pull until it “breaks”. It would be pretty hard to accidentally fire it.

I recently tried carrying hot in my .380 for the first time. I had been exclusively carrying without a round in the chamber around the house, but after taking the CCW class I wanted to try it. At first It was a little weird. I felt like I had to keep everyone away from my right side, but after a while it kind of became no big deal.

It’s Your Thing

I suppose the final decision comes down to the person who will be carrying…you. If you don’t feel comfortable with a round in the chamber, then that is your prerogative. On the other hand you who feel like you want to carry hot, have at it.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Whatever you decide, repeatedly going through the motions will teach your body to automatically move in the same way every time. This is important while under duress. And if you constantly work on a consistent proper draw over and over, it will cut down on potential accidental discharges. Make sure you practice with your  weapon unloaded.


What do you think, hot or cold?

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  1. Always hot. If I need my pistol, there’s a good chance that I won’t be able to use both of my hands to charge the handgun. If a pistol isn’t safe to carry loaded, it isn’t safe period.

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