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Not locking a loaded gun

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Hunter125, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Hunter125

    Hunter125 Well-Known Member

    I've had "Never lock a loaded gun, never load a locked gun" drilled into me from a young age. But what qualifies as a loaded gun as far as pistols are concerned? Is it okay to put a pistol in a safe that has a magazine in it, but no round in the chamber, or should the magazine be out as well?
    To me it seems just as safe to have the magazine in the gun with nothing in the chamber as to have a magazine sitting next to the gun in the safe, and response time would be shortened. Even so, I still am uneasy leaving a magazine in the pistol when putting it in the safe. What do you guys think?
  2. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    All guns are always loaded.

    As far as I'm concerned, nothing should go in the trigger guard unless the action is open. Otherwise, plan for a loud bang.

    If you choose to secure a gun with the action closed, a holster or case would be the way to go. (Please also recall the NRA recommendation that guns be stored completely unloaded and separately from ammo.)
  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    I keep no less than 2 handguns in my safe loaded. It's never been an issue to me. Every time I pick up a handgun, I treat it as though it were loaded and check to see if it is.
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    All guns are loaded until you prove they're not. I don't care if Grandpa checked and said it's unloaded, it's still loaded until I check it.
  5. Hunter125

    Hunter125 Well-Known Member

    I understand that whole concept of always treating a gun as loaded, and I check every gun every time I pick it up as well. I did know the NRA recommendation, but I will either put my gun in the safe with a magazine in it, or right beside it. If I need a gun and it's in the safe, I don't want to have to go searching for a magazine too. I just want to see what other people think about a gun in a safe with a magazine in it.
  6. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    If your "safe gun" is also your "response time" gun, why would you want the chamber empty? It should be ready to go as soon as you get your hand on it.
    Of course, only you know what your requirements are in your given environment.
    I have a few guns in carry rotation. Those not in current use are locked away, but they are still loaded. Those guns not in rotation are locked away, but in a different location, and are not loaded.
  7. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    For me, whether to store guns loaded or unloaded depends upon the level of access to the guns and their purpose. Here's a couple scenarios:

    1. Storing guns used for self defense in the safe that only people you know and have briefed have access to. Why not keep them loaded? You take them out of the safe, verify they are loaded however you want to (press check, loaded chamber indicator, whatever), put it on your belt and go.

    2. Storing guns used for range/target/plinking only. Why even have magazines inserted in them at all in storage? Likely to get them to the range and onto the range they are going to have be sans magazines anyway.

    Due to a divorce which allowed my ex-wife to steal and sell all the guns, I have a limited collection now and no safe. My one carry gun, when it is not on my belt, is in the same location in the house and is fully loaded. Everybody in the house knows exactly where it is and knows it will be loaded at all times. The only time that changes is when my stepdaughter has friends over for extended visits, then the gun gets removed to a more secure location.

    The 4 range/target guns I have are always stored completely unloaded, no magazines in the guns, no rounds in the chamber.

    The final answer is to always assume the gun is loaded.... there is always that one time when someone is going to assume there is no round in the chamber just because there is no magazine in the gun. Stepdaughter at the range didn't want to finish a magazine, so she dropped the magazine and set the gun down on the bench. I asked her if the gun was unloaded and she said yes. I said really? She carefully picked the gun up and racked the slide and out pops the round. It was a very good lesson for her and I think it really drove home the requirement to second check and verify.
  8. hercster

    hercster Active Member

    Without getting into the statements and arguments that have already been posted. I suggest that "it depends". Storing a 1911 with a round in the chamber but uncocked makes little sense and getting it in that condition is dangerous. A DA/SA could be different but in a SD situation you would always want to have a magazine in the gun. IMO, you have to be consistent as when the stress is on, it's not the time to think and actions should be burned in. Inserting a magazine and racking the slide takes about a tenth of the time it takes to open the safe. The law restricts my choices big time but if I had the choice for a defensive situation it would be magazine in the gun and a round in the chamber and in the case of a 1911, cocked and locked. Recreational guns would be unloaded and likely stored in a different place. Those would get loaded at the line.
  9. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    My defensive handguns are not unloaded just because I put them away in a secured location for short-term storage. If long-term storage is the plan, I will unload, to apply extra protectant.
  10. SIGMA40

    SIGMA40 Member

    Mine has one chambered whenever i put it in the lock box because it is my home defense weapon...The only time I clear it is when company is over and I may show it...
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Why not store all your guns except for your HD gun in the safe empty as they should be and keep a second small handgun safe on your night stand for your loaded HD handgun?
  12. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

    I have used this personal rule ever since I got my gun safe about 7-8 years ago:

    All firearms in the safe are unloaded at all times. The only guns I keep loaded are those handguns I have placed in strategic locations around the house and inside my vehicle (CCW licensed) for defense.

    For defensive purposes, the loaded handguns are ready to go instantly, no safety to flick off, no chamber to load, just grab and put into action. Me and my wife know where they are and in what state at all times. Nobody else does.

    No kids around to create a safety issue. When the grandkids visit (all very, very gun savvy) I unload all guns, place them into the safe and spin the dial. Just peace of mind sort of thing.

  13. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    Many of my guns in the safes are loaded. Revolvers fully loaded. Semi autos have fully loaded magazines but empty chambers.

    Most all the guns around the place are loaded the same way.

    The usual carry guns are on top of the safe with a fully loaded magazine, a round in the chamber and a spare loaded magazine or two.

    The 24/7 car gun handguns are loaded the same way but the long guns don't have a round in the chamber.

    This suits my life style.
  14. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Guns in my safe have an empty chamber. Revolvers are empty. I've seen pics of gun safes that have been in a fire. The cooked off bullet will go right through most safes.

    A "ready" safe by the nightstand might be different. But unless you can open it one-handed, then what's the difference of leaving the chamber empty?
  15. plunge

    plunge Well-Known Member

    all of my guns are pretty much always loaded
  16. KJS

    KJS Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't a hammer be vastly cheaper and more effective in a defensive situation than an unloaded gun where ammo is safely locked away in another part of the house?
  17. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Well-Known Member

    "If your "safe gun" is also your "response time" gun, why would you want the chamber empty?"

    I'll go a step further. Why would your loaded response time guns be locked away in a safe? This could prove to be fatal.

  18. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 Well-Known Member

    These are my non-carry pistol's & revolver's They are all fully loaded. If I pick a weapon up I want to know it is ready right now otherwise it is just a rock or hammer. The two empty spaces are my carry & BUG

  19. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    I have made an error; please allow me to correct it.

    I remembered a rule that stated that guns not in use should be stored unloaded and separately from their ammo. I still think that's a good idea. However, if a gun is stored "on stand-by and ready" for self-defense use, I consider that gun "in use," and so it is fine to store it (securely) loaded. In the same way, given the tendency of batteries to leak and corrode over time, all flashlights not in use should be stored without batteries; but if you have one ready for an emergency, I'd consider that "in use," so batteries stay in, of course.

    Here's the mistake: the NRA has no such rule (perhaps it did in the past?). It now has two rules that apply to this situation:
    So, no specific rule about storing the ammo separately. I apologize. And I think we all recognize that the first rule quoted above does not mandate that, if you are drawing the gun in a SD emergency, you should check to make sure it's clear of ammo. ;)
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  20. FAS1

    FAS1 Well-Known Member

    My HD handgun is always loaded and secure. It is very fast to access even in the dark. My EDC handguns go into my RSC at night, still holstered and loaded for the next day. The other two guns that stay in the RSC but are always loaded are a Beretta 1201FP shotgun and a Marlin 30-30. All these have full magazines and are chambered. My other guns that are used for recreational shooting or hunting stay unloaded.


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