Carrying in Condition 3

Condition three being without a round in the chamber. Robb is not a big fan of the practice, and neither am I. But on the issue of re-holstering:

Placing your gat back in its saddle is something that requires ceremony. It’s not an action to be done lightly without preparation and visual inspection. This isn’t a situational issue either; I wager most of you are not operators operating in operations where reholstering is something that needs to be done in milliseconds because you’re needing to transition to your full auto in order to lay down suppressive fire.

The only issue I have with this is that when the chips are down, and adrenaline is pumping, you will do what you’ve trained yourself to do. In that circumstance, I’m not sure how wise an idea it is to remove your eyes from the threat you just put down to put your eyes on your holster and gun, rather than keep them up looking for further threats. So I’m a believer in being able to re-holster without looking, and training that way. If you are wise in your clothing and holster selection, you should not have to worry about foreign objects getting lodged in the trigger guard.

What say you?

13 thoughts on “Carrying in Condition 3”

  1. I think what he’s saying with re-holstering is that if you’re doing so, then you’ve already concluded the threat is over, so you shouldn’t rush it. I think this applies more to CCW than open carry, as you’d likely have a garment covering the holster.

  2. I would think that if there are still threats out there then one would want to have their gun deployed. If you determine that it’s time to re-holster, then it’s probably a good idea to do it carefully, without rush. I can understand why one would want to get their gun out of the holster quickly, but getting it back in the holster with such haste, not so much. YMMV.

  3. I agree with Pyrotek and Greg. If the situation dictates that I can’t focus on my holster while putting away my handgun, then I don’t need to be putting away my handgun.

  4. This is one of the great reasons for competition. I probably re-holster 100x a week as well as practice reloads another 100x a week. Eventually it becomes second nature and you get fast at it. You can do it with your eyes closed. Proficiency only comes from practice. People who are afraid to carry with one in the chamber are telling you two things. 1. They don’t practice. 2. They don’t understand the safeties on a modern striker fired pistol.

    1. I don’t see very many people at competitions using their carry holsters. The few that do generally aren’t there to win.

  5. Here’s I’m going to add my incessant advocacy of handguns with “external” hammers. Scare quotes because there are fine designs like Beretta’s Cougar where the hammer is normally flush with the back of the gun.

    I got this from Massad Ayoob’s safety video: the principle is that if you’ve got your thumb on the hammer you will feel it going up if it’s DA and it will drop on your thumb if SA, after which you can do the right thing and then “change your underwear and pants” to roughly paraphrase him.

    Every time I holster one of my Condition 1 1911s my thumb is over the front of the hammer. It’s entirely natural to do this every time I holster, and as others note, “you will preform as you practice” (insert here the anecdotes of police in firefights carefully dumping the brass from their revolvers into their pockets since that what they always do at the range).

    Ayoob has similar advice for making sure your semi-auto is clear, stick your pinky into the chamber and into the magazine well. If you always do this, you’ll always do it right, even on a dark and rainy night in a parking lot while you’re coming down from an adrenaline “high”.

    (I’m of course lucky that since I was a teen 1911s have fit my hand like a glove and I can shoot them accurately even going years without practice (I did have a pretty intensive decade and a half of general practice growing up and my father is an excellent trainer). That e.g. the grip angle of Glocks is wrong for me avoids any temptation to buy an internal striker handgun, and, hey, Sig is coming out with a 1911 pattern full 9mm to compliment their version of the .380 Colt Mustang.)

  6. I like what David just said.

    I recently took a couple pistol skills classes where we were heavily encouraged to use the holster we would wear “out” during the class. (I wore a crossbreed knockoff IWB custom made for my CZ PCR) I do see now after having the training that you can learn pretty quickly to “put it back where you got it from” without looking down, making it part of a “reverse” draw stroke. Of course, we were also instructed that reholstering does NOT need to go full speed like the draw.

    In my case, there’s a love handle in the way, so looking down is of limited benefit and actually is more difficult now that I have a bit of muscle memory built up towards putting the gun back the “right” way. I used to think reholstering was of secondary importance at best after a defense shooting, but upon further consideration, it’s the best place for your gun when not in use.

  7. It’s like the “clear your weapon in the dark” nonsense. If it is too dangerous to turn on a flashlight, WHY am I clearing my weapon?!

    If it’s too dangerous to take my eyes off the threat, why am I holstering my gun???

  8. I’m going along with pretty much everyone else here: if the threat is not entirely gone, why ever would I want to holster it? I’m not holstering it unless I’m comfortable that I can do so in a leisurely fashion because all threats are gone.

  9. Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to be wielding a firearm when the police arrive on scene. As soon as the threat appears to be gone, it’s time to re-holster. But that said, it’s a good idea to keep your head up, regardless.

    1. Generally, but if the choice is between holstering while there is still a threat or having a firearm out when the cops arrive? That’s a lot less clear cut.

      1. To also answer Rob K above, there will be situations where the threats are “not entirely gone” but the police are arriving. In that case you’ll want to holster without shooting yourself.

        If there’s still a very real, active threat, well, that’s a good reason to carry a cell phone (I only do for transportation coordination and emergencies) and to be actively communicating with the dispatcher. That said, hard experience shows you have a good chance of getting shot by the police if you’re holding a gun. It’s something you have to weigh the risks of.

  10. If the fight isn’t completely over you don’t holster. There are no awards for ‘speed holstering’. If you feel uncomfortable about looking at your holster you are not convinced the fight is really over.

    If the cops are arriving put the gun on the ground away from the guy you are covering. Then move away from it, keep your hands in their view and do whatever they tell you to do.

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