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Chamber Empty VS, Chamber Loaded

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by TEXASTACTICAL, Feb 21, 2013.



    Sep 3, 2002
    In case anyone is interested in the time differences using some real numbers

    Chamber Empty VS. Chamber Loaded

    On February 16 and 17th 2013 the Texas Tactical shooters set out to gather data
    on the efficiency of carrying a gun with an empty chamber vs. carrying a handgun with a loaded chamber.

    104 shooters shot 4 strings of fire.

    The Course of Fire consisted of 4 Targets at 3 yards. The strings of fire were as follows:

    String 1. Starting with magazine inserted and an empty chamber and handgun in holster,
    at the signal chamber a round and engage Target 1 with a Mozambiquee drill.

    String 2. Starting with magazine inserted and loaded chamber and handgun in holster, at
    the signal engage Target 2 with a Mozambiquee drill.

    String 3. Starting with magazine inserted and an empty chamber and handgun in holster,
    at the signal chamber a round using strong hand only and engage Target 3 with a
    >Mozambiquee drill, firing strong hand only. Shooters were instructed that they could use
    any safe technique to chamber the round strong hand only. This included using the belt,
    holster, pant seam, etc. or even the Bianchi barricade that was conveniently placed in front
    of them within arms reach.

    String 4. Starting with magazine inserted and loaded chamber and handgun in holster, at
    the signal engage Target 4 with a Mozambiquee drill using strong hand only.

    Special Thanks to all the Texas Tactical shooters who helped to gather this data. Thank you to Ryan and
    Jennifer for your work in compiling the data.

    Here are the results:

    Average Difference on strings 1 and 2 using all data between Chamber Empty Vs Chamber Loaded:
    Chamber loaded was faster by 0.77

    Average Difference on string 1 and 2 after removing extreme high and low between Chamber Empty Vs Chamber Loaded:
    Chamber loaded was faster by 0.84

    Average Difference using all data for strings 3 and 4 between Strong Hand Only Chamber Empty Vs Strong Hand Only Chamber Loaded:
    Chamber loaded was faster by 2.09

    Average Difference on strings 3 and 4 after removing extreme high and low between Strong Hand Only Chamber Empty Vs Strong Hand Only Chamber Loaded:
    Chamber loaded was faster by 3.22
  2. We did something like this a couple years ago with our Tri-State shooters here in Memphis (where's PEC-Memphis...). As I recall, the general results were similar, with empty chambers taking longer to complete stages. A couple of things we should look at additionally, are: time to first shot and accuracy. Harder to test is: these were all shooters who were knew the course of fire and knew the beep was coming. It'd be interesting to see how the element of surprise would impact the results, especially if you can get inside the OODA loop earlier, for example, going hands on before engagement.

    Good job in pulling all the data together. It still tells me that when seconds count, I don't want to be jacking the slide back while staring at the threat.

  3. Lord

    Lord Senior Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    and this test was done with professional shooters in a controlled environment.
    Forgive me if I take the results with a grain of salt as most CHL/CCW holders (while not all) don't go to the range and shoot and drill as frequently as the pro's do... therefore the chambered vs non-chambered results would be WAY different in a real world scenario where tensions are high, and adrenaline creates a river of chaos and possibilities.

    The best thing to do, is TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN.
    I carry C1, and the only thing I would have to do is thumb the safety in order to fire if I have to... which would not detract time from since I thumb as I draw.

    It's a good test, gathers good data, but it's really hard to reconcile with real-world.
  4. WT

    WT Millennium Member

    Jan 12, 1999
    Excellent work. Thanks to you and your volunteer shooters.

    My Excel skills are a little weak. Do you have the standard deviation and medium for each column? I am trying to get an idea of 'overlap' between column 1 and column 2.

    Thanks again for this presentation.
  5. GreenDrake

    GreenDrake Rip Lips

    Apr 22, 2007
    North Idaho
    No correlation to agitated scenarios of life or death really. I will never be convinced that anything other than hot and ready to go is the proper way to carry. Heck I don't even like safeties anymore. DA/SA is my favorite these days.


    Sep 3, 2002
    These were all recreational shooters. Some train harder than others but most are your everyday gun enthusiasts.

    These times were gathered under optimal conditions. With the only stress being the timer and competition.

    In real life I would expect things to get worse.
  7. vandros

    vandros 10mm fan

    Jan 9, 2013
    i wonder if most of these folks train and carry C1? if so, it is not surprising that C1 so dramatically outperformed C3 in terms of speed... just my 0.02.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  8. Paul53

    Paul53 Geezer Boomer

    Nov 27, 2011
    Thanks for the post. Interesting results.
  9. Run stage 5 with someone pummeling the snot out of the shooter and see how much difference there is.

    Stage 6 with the attacker using a knife or bat.

    posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  10. robhic

    robhic WOLVERINE!!!! Platinum Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Interesting results.Thank you for posting them. Only thing I would mention is, like vafish mentions, running a drill at a range and staring at an attacker OR a gun pointed at you would probably skew the results! A lot!!!! :wow:


    Sep 3, 2002
    Also just for the record one of the shooters lost his factory Glock rear sight while using them to rack it off the barricade.
  12. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    Need to try it with one injured hand and being under fire, real world senario.


    Sep 3, 2002
    Are you volunteering? :supergrin:
  14. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    Here's what we did. About 15 total shooters....

    Experiment - Chambered Vs Unchambered Vs Calf OC
    We had a little experiment with the first three (3) CoFs, at our weekly IDPA match tonight - Here's what we did:

    Each stage was set up where the targets were four (4) yards away - seven (7) rounds; not limited. T1 is shot standing in the open - two (2) shots to the body, one (1) to the head;then move to the barricade two (2) yards to the right;from behind cover, "pie" T2 & T3 with two (2) shots each;

    Here's what was different:

    Stage 1 - Cover garment required, firearm holstered with magazine inserted and round in the chamber

    Stage 2 - Cover garment required, firearm holstered with magazine inserted and NO round in the chamber.

    Stage 3 - California OC Style - No cover garment allowed, magazine in belt pouch, and NO magazine in firearm, and NO round in chamber.

    I averaged the masters/experts/sharpshooters in one group, and marksmen, novices and unknowns in second group - then averaged everyone combined in the third group, and here are the results:

    MA/EX/SS - (Stage 1/Stage 2/ Stage 3)

    Raw Times - 5.31 / 5.50 / 6.04
    Scores - 6.48 / 6.50 / 8.06

    MM/NV/UK - (Stage 1/Stage 2/ Stage 3)

    Raw Times - 6.50 / 6.40 / 6.94
    Scores - 7.05 / 6.90 / 8.64

    Combined - (Stage 1/Stage 2/ Stage 3)

    Raw Times - 6.05 / 6.06 / 6.60
    Scores - 6.84 / 6.75 / 8.42

    Personally, I think that Stage 1 was at a little bit of a disadvantage in that everyone shot it "cold" - and if there had been a "warm up stage" before, the scenario in stage 1 might have scored a little better. But overall I think the results were pretty interesting - In every group, the raw times are about 2/3rds of a second, or less, apart for each method.
  15. fwm


    May 31, 2006
    Near Central US
    A point I have always believed in. Most CCW carriers, myself included have real lives away from carrying and can barely get a couple hundred rounds every couple of months. ALL of my carry guns are DA or DAO for just that reason. Since I was 10 and my father died and I no longer had access to my uncles' colt, I have never again used a gun that required a safety to be safe (55 years). To old to learn new tricks.
  16. Cool.. now time it with one hand while the other guy is beating the stuffings out of you.

    And maybe try it with sweaty hands after 20 or so pushups to get your heart racing.

    And maybe time it with someone who is NOT familiar with guns nor has practice chamber loading a gun at speed.

  17. davsco


    Feb 27, 2011
    i don't understand the rationale behind carrying a firearm without a round in the chamber. it obviously takes extra time to rack the slide and doing that certainly is a distraction, and one may not have both hands free to do all this.
  18. SpringerTGO


    Jul 30, 2011
    When I carry, it's always with one in the chamber.
    That said, some people aren't comfortable with one in the chamber for a variety of reasons. Some are new and don't have a lot of training or enough experience to feel at ease carrying that way.
    Some people don't have retention holsters and might worry about a child getting it's hands on it.

    In any case, it's an old argument, and for civilians a pretty silly one. People should carry however they feel secure.
  19. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    Police officer carry: One in the chamber, ready to fire

    Bad guy carry: One in the chamber, ready to fire.

    Anyone else see a pattern here?

    Why would anyone legally carrying a pistol, NOT want a round in the chamber, ready to fire?

    Genesis likes this.
  20. Spiffums

    Spiffums I.C.P.

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nice! But "just carry with one in the pipe" would have been easier to type.