Israeli Carry?

by Bill Kincheloe (

Israeli Carry?

For those of you that don't know, "Israeli Carry" is the practice carrying a pistol without a round in the chamber. The Israelis didn't invent the practice but it got the name from Israeli armed forces policy.

A little background: When Israel was founded, "drop safe" firearms were not as common as today and the fledgling state had a mixed bag of armaments scrounged from all over the world. They also have a conscript military which forces them to deal with all-comers. There is some value to a manual of arms the accommodates a variety of weapons and skill levels.

Those early days were the definitive time in Israel's history and so became enshrined in tradition, like ideas from the Revolutionary War have been in the US. While other military and police forces have largely abandoned the practice, it has remained in Israel. Israel's military is very competent and capable, an exception to the rule regarding conscript armies. This lends more credibility to their ideas.

Armed Forces do not start gunfights at "social distances" if they can avoid it and generally not with pistols. Military policies on pistols (and more) are generally driven by officers worried about the effect on their careers if some 17 y/o does something stupid. We are more concerned with personal protection, however, and should look at the problem differently.

Most interpersonal violence occurs at distances that make un-chambered carry
impractical. It is difficult to rob or rape someone from across the street so the problem often becomes clear at arms length or closer. Frequently the victim is forced to draw while wresting or fending off an attacker or after being knocked or thrown to the ground. The need for two hands complicates all of that.

"Israeli Carry" is much slower. The Israelis train hard to mitigate this disadvantage but it will never be as fast as a chambered draw.

1. Safer (safer than safe is pretty safe, right?)
2. Safer if you leave a loaded pistol laying around (but we don't do that, right?)
3. Safer in the case of a gun grab (but we conceal or use retention holsters, right?)

1. Requires two hands (or advanced techniques that new shooter are unlikely to know)
2. Slower
3. Difficult if in physical contact with an assailant
4. Makes it easier for the assailant to disarm the defender
5. The defender can't shoot from retention or during the press out

Many new gun owners carry un-chambered because they are afraid of a pistol "going off". This simply doesn't happen with modern handguns and ammo. When you hear that excuse from someone who had a negligent discharge it is a lie or they honestly don't know what they did wrong. Modern pistols do not "go off" when dropped either.

I see no problem with cautious new gun owners carrying this way at first but it should only be a phase that training, experience and a little nudge from folks like us should get them past.

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Thanks and see you at the range.