Saturday, October 26, 2019

Pistol Condition 3

You may be aware of Jeff Cooper's conditions:
  • Condition 4: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 1: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
  • Condition 0: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
On a modern pistol, there is usually a firing pin block that prevents a dropped pistol from firing, so Conditions 1 and 2 are very safe, but Condition 3 is attractive nonetheless, at least if you live somewhere like Idaho where robbery or random assault is rare.  My only reasons to carry a pistol are wildlife attacking my dogs, or mass murderers.  Both usually give you lots of warning, enough time to draw and rack the slide.

I understand that Israeli Defense Forces for many years carried Condition 3, and practiced drawing and racking the slide in one motion. Unless your other hand is busy with a steering wheel or cellphone, this does not sound like much of an obstacle.  And a fire could easily discharge that chambered cartridge.  The next round won't chamber; this is the ultimate weak hand shooting.  But a pistol stored in your car or house might be a hazard to a firefighter.

Racking the slide might well cause an attacker to run off to his suddenly remembered dentist's appointment.  Even a justifiable shoot will be a paperwork hassle as Johnny's next of kin sue because you just misunderstood Johnny; that knife and demand for your wallet was really was a form of aggravated begging.



  1. I learned from an early associate of Cooper that Condition One was the only way to carry and that was what I taught as an instructor.Any threat inside 10 yards can be on you before you can present,rack and fire.

  2. RM380 has no safety DAO I carry with chamber loaded. Hammer is flush. Odds of a force great enough to case discharge are minimal

    Regarding vibration loosening screws on mill. Some medium strength Loctite might hold the screws

  3. Time may be a factor if you need to remonstrate with Johnny and his life choices. Or you may not be able to rack the slide due to circumstances. I'd rather have a fully functional and loaded firearm.

    IF the display of a firearm doesn't change his attitude then racking it probably won't either.

    I'd rather be ready, if and when.

    Racking a slide on a pistol or a shotgun doesn't have the effect most people think, outside of a movie.


  4. Sidecar: These screws need to be loosened or tightened pretty regularly when adjusting tooling.

  5. My CZ75b is usually carried with round chambered, full mag, hammer down; since it's DA/SA I can just squeeze a round off DA, though given time I much prefer to cock the hammer back & shoot SA.

    I've tried carrying 1911-style with the hammer back & safety on, but it makes me nervous. I just don't trust safeties very much.

  6. The Israelis carried/taught condition 3 because back when they were a young nation with no indigenous arms industry they had a motley collection of handguns that were donations/surplus etc.

    The thing is that with pistols (meaning not revolvers) *all* of them work the same way of you don't use the safety. Rack, aim, fire. This way they were able to train everyone--regardless of which pistol they had--how to shoot. The instructor didn't have to know where the safety was, whether it was a SA, DA, whatever, rack and go.

    We aren't living in that world. Every week somewhere around 8 hundred thousand police wander around the US with their pistols in condition 1, 1.5 or 2 (depending on the type of pistol. Glocks and similar don't really fit on that list because the safety is tied to the trigger) and another million or so CCW types are also walking around in the world the same way.

    Given those numbers, you only occasionally hear of a negligent discharge, and it's almost always someone monkey f*ing their firearm. It is INCREDIBLY rare that someone with a more-or-less stock pistol has an *accidental* discharge, and that's usually a manufacturing defect.

  7. A lot of modern carry pieces do not have safeties (other than the firing pin block). Your only choices are conditions 0, 3 and 4. Or, with the dual trigger ones like Glocks - Considition 0.5.

  8. I would never CARRY a defensive pistol in a condition which requires any 2-handed manipulation to fire. Period. Even for the dog thing, you may be trying to hold your dog with one hand. And I don't prepare for the fantasy of what "usually" happens. For those who are nervous about Condition 1 in a 1911 style single action, there are holsters with hammer-blocking thumb breaks. Or just get a different gun that you can carry. There are a jillion striker-fired pistols and DA pistols and revolvers out there that you can carry uncocked and still ready to fire. Spend the $400 and begone.