Condition 1 carry vs the “Israeli Method”

Carry Conditions

Auto-pistols can be carried in various conditions of readiness. First defined by the legendary  Lt Col John Dean “Jeff” Cooper these conditions are commonly accepted to be:

  • Condition 0 – A round is in the chamber, hammer cocked, and the safety is off.
  • Condition 1 – known as “cocked and locked”, means a round is in the chamber, the hammer cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied.
  • Condition 2 – A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down.
  • Condition 3 – The chamber is empty and hammer down with a charged magazine in the gun.
  • Condition 4 – The chamber is empty, hammer down and no magazine is in the gun.

These conditions are/were designed with a 1911 style pistol in mind. The Glock with no external safety (but with its “safe action” safety measures) technically cant have the thumb safety applied so it’s condition when loaded and chambered is a matter of debate amongst handgun afficinados but it’s commonly accepted that a Glock is in “Condition 1” when loaded with a round in the chamber.

With these definitions in mind, a common debate amongst pistoleros is the argument over which is safer for defensive carry, condition 1 or condition 3?

The “Israeli Method”

C3 carry is commonly referred to as the Israeli Method. Some people believe that it is safer and no less effective to carry the pistol with a magazine inserted, safety off, and no round in the chamber. When needed, the shooter draws, racks the slide on the draw stroke and fires.

Carrying in Condition 3 is not restricted to the Israelis, nor did they really invent it. I remember having to carry in Condition 3 quite often as a USArmy Military Police Officer (both when I was issued a 1911 and the M9). It’s gotten that label because the Israelis popularized it as a method of carry and developed an entire method of presentation around empty-chamber carry. The philosophy is that C3 provides a method of carry that allows for a largely untrained population with a diverse variety of firearms.


Detractors of C3 carry state that carrying with an empty chamber is a symptom of insufficient training and confidence. Adding an extra step to make the weapon functionable is slower and needlessly adding complexity to a high stress situation. Secondly it requires two hands, or a riskier one-handed “rack” that again adds needless complexity that C1 carry does not.


An argument against C3 carry based on pure speed is relative. The above video is pretty damn fast and I’d say plenty fast enough for combat application.

I tried comparing my own speed with the two:

Not really being practiced at the “Israeli Method”, even my draw is not excessively slower, but I did short stroke the slide a few times or fumble it in some other manner. I’m just not practiced…but should I be? I can’t see the wisdom of investing practice time into C3 deployment when I’m trained to carry C1.

In regards to the two hand necessity though I have to side with the doubters.

One hand deployment

Look at what this Police Officer faced.

Officer Cress shot and killed alleged DUI suspect Errol Baker on Sunday. For over one minute, Cress battled with Baker after pulling a gun on the officer. The trooper punched Baker several times, once causing him to drop the 45-caliber handgun. Baker retrieved the gun and fired, narrowly missing Cress. The trooper then grabbed his own gun, firing a fatal shot into Baker’s head.

Right around 1:40 after wrestling with the BG for what probably seemed like eternity, the suspect pulls a gun and fires over his shoulder at the cop. The officer draws one handed and shoots the BG in the head. Sure if he was carrying C3 he could have raked the slide against his belt or something, but that’s a murphy laden disaster waiting to happen.

There are simply too many instances I can think of where having to rack a slide in a CQB scenario will simply be too slow or physically impossible. Watch what Gabe Suarez has his students doing in this video:

Start around the 3:00 mark. Do you really want to face a situation like those in C3?

I see the “what will you do if he’s attacking you with a bat” question as being very legitimate. Since most gun fights start out at bad breath range you may very well be faced with those types of examples far more often than you would like. Adding having to chamber a round to make your weapon usable is just adding more problems to the situation vs solving any.

Some say “If he’s attacking you with a bat or knife you should deal with that using empty hand skills then gain distance and deploy your gun”. Sure, you MAY be forced to resolve the H2H issue without your firearm, but when carrying condition 3 you have just put yourself into a situation where thats going to be the fact. Like it or not. You have effectively taken the gun out of the equation for all intents and purposes.

And comparing one handed stoppage clearing in a SHTF situation to forcing yourself into a situation where you will have no choice but to chamber one handed is apples and oranges. You train one handed manipulations as a “God forbid I ever have to do this in real life” type of thing, not as normal operating procedure.

In the end, I just don’t see the risk of misfires in a modern auto-pistol being significant enough to warrant carrying unchambered. It’s more a matter of the carrier not feeling comfortable or well enough trained than it is anything else IMO. I also think that there is a dose of “It’s Israeli so it must be high-speed” going on.


40 thoughts on “Condition 1 carry vs the “Israeli Method””

  1. A lot of the ‘high speed’ Israeli stuff originated from desperation and necessity. The ‘old timer’ Israeli fighters had crap guns that were unreliable at best (same with rounds I imagine) because of horrible budgets/support. Carrying Con3 and all the tactics/techniques around that were steps toward safety. Some of the old/beat up revolvers (and possibly autos) would either go out of battery and/or actually fire unintentionally because of bad springs/mechanisms.

    You make a great point about the current state of firearms changing that factor when it comes to carry condition/procedures.

  2. I still can’t figure out why they tip their pistols over like that when they run empty. Check out that top video. You see that technique over and over again. I would think that the intent is to dump out any loose brass but that technique usually goes with a hand sweep too.

    1. Seems like ‘tradition’ isn’t just in the recreational martial arts… I don’t see a reason for that wrist flip after firing either. If you asked 90% of the people who are shooting ‘purely’ in this style, I’d bet they’d be able to tell you the party line and/or even just say ‘that’s what we were trained to do’ sort of like the “Blue worm” conversation we’ve had in the past.

      1. The reason for the flip is, If you observe, The weapon is brought up to eye level, Flipped to the side allowing for visual insertion of the magazine, all the while never losing situational awareness.

        My friend a Retired Sgt Maj. Special Forces operator, Firearms Instructor, retired Police officer, showed me this method and it works well.

  3. The only people I’ve ever known who carry or advocate carrying in Condition 3 are people who do so out of fear. If you train properly to keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you’re ready to shoot, carrying in Condition 1 is safe. If you don’t train properly, you aren’t safe no matter how you carry.

    1. Agreed Mike. Tom mentioned it in the original post too, but that type of carry/training is really meant for the ‘lowest common denominator’ level of training. If you have to train generally trained, basically qualified shooters, this is the ‘least liability generating’ way of doing it. Statistically, it reduces what they use to call “Shoot Granny” situations and/or Friendly Fire accidents… so you can see where the bean counter mentality is focused. Reduce risk with minimum cost instead of invest in training/time/higher standards….

    2. Then you do not know very many people who work armed for a living.

      The Israeli’s are the cream of the professionals in the art of security protection.

  4. Hello Guys,

    The entire carry-ready situation depends for the most part on how someone was trained and what type of firearm is being carried. The SA ACP type of handgun is going to be different than the DA autoloder which in turn will be different again from the DA-only handgun. Each carry method has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but in the end it is the training and practice that make the biggest difference between people with regard to effectiveness. My preference is based on my training and I am so totally aware of that fact because my first handun training program involved a revolver and my instructors were totally distainful of the auto pistol.

  5. Here’s the problem. I’m now 70 years old with a disabling back injury. H2h combat is not an option, but then being able to afford a high dollar pocket rocket isn’t either. I bought 2 fa’s. A Phantom Arms .25 cal auto & a .40 cal Hi Point $50 bucks each. It isn’t my training concerned about. The 40 has internal hammer & a safety that is gravity fed to the firing positon, so a round in chamber iss completely out of the question. Also keep the firing pin spring active all thme might use it to fail when needed most. Now the 25 seems to be similar to the 1911action, so cocked and locked or condition 1 might be okay, however I don’t trust the safety if of dropped, cause if I’ve pulled it out I sure need it but if my artheritis kicks in I don’t want to help the attacker by dropping it & shooting myself or worse a by stooder coarse maybe they need shooting for not helping an ol’ fart

    1. Sam. I don’t mean to imply that C3 carry is bad “per se” and certainly there are some situations such as what you describe where it may be the lesser of two evils. But I stand by my belief that it’s not optimal.

      1. Very glad you revived this. I saved up my change sold the Hi Point for a small profit got my CCW permit and bought an entry-level 1911 45 acp. Haven’t had a chance to get to a firing range yet but look forward to it. Now on the question of how to pack the iron.

        Here’s how I see it. Every situation is different, as is everyone. A cop may need to enter a given situation at condition 0. He might feel due to his likely hood of being involved with bad people to always carry at condition 1 or 2. While off duty at home condition 3 would be adequate. For the rest of us, going about our daily lives, I maintain condition 3 is sufficient. Ok, dead of night in a bad area and you have to be there change it. But, you aren’t going to out shoot a would-be mugger that already has a gun in his hand no matter what condition you are, unless, your weapon is drawn, hammer back, trigger pulled, pointed directly between the eyes. Normal everyday life condition 3 should be fine, gives you time to assess the problem, clear the back ground, and do whatever is necessary. The greatest weapon you have is your brain. Use it and you may find it is all that is necessary.

      2. Too many variables in your method of carry only increases your chance of fucking up. Your better off carrying one way or the other than mixing up.

      3. In my humble opinion different scenarios call for different conditions. A cop wouldn’t approach a suspected armed criminal with a holstered weapon, and you or anyone else is not coming down the stairs to investigate a possible home invasion with empty hand or empty chamber, however I can not see the logic in walking around the the house, office, stores, church, and riding around in my car, with gun in hand, round chambered, hammer back. Remember you said optimal. If I’m not smart enough to know when to go to condition one or zero from condition three, then I shouldn’t be carrying a lethal weapon, nor should anyone one else. Remember I’m 73 years old and got this old with out being killed. Never lead a sheltered life either. Was a maximum security guard for several years and had to deal with some really big certified bad guys with nothing to lose already doing double life absolutely no parole, no good time, that wants some excitement in an otherwise boring existence. Brain and hands the only defense available.

  6. I stick with condition 3 simply because a FNP 45 has no external safty like an early glock. but i can cock and fire pretty damn fast if needed. doing condition 1 with no thumb safty give me hives 🙂

  7. So I carry a Barretta 92fs. I normally carry in condition 0 but with the hammer down in single action like cat. 2 Would this be considered 0, 1, or 2?

    1. Chris: Though the “Carry Condition” numbers actually relate to the Colt M1911-type sidearms, the CarryCon you describe – condition 0 but with the hammer down – is actually better described as “Carry Condition 2”, and is the method we in the Air Force Security Police carry our M9 sidearms: Magazine Loaded, Round Chambered, Hammer Down, Safety/Decocker OFF (i.e.: UP).

      Straight up “Draw, Aim & Fire”.

  8. I am 64 years old and the1911 at my waist right now is in condition 1 with one in the snout and the thumb safety is on (ambidextrous becauause I’m a lefty (handed not politically)). It is the way Browning meant it. Draw, flick the thumb and plug in and play….The original point and click interface.

    1. mark falkey wrote:

      “It is the way Browning meant it.”

      Actually, that is incorrect.

      JMB’s first submission for the Army Pistol Trials was with his M1910 – which had no “Thumb Safety”:

      His original design intended for the pistol to be carried with a round chambered and the hammer cocked, as the Grip Safety had to be depressed in order for the pistol to the discharged (as it still is in the M1911-types).

      It was at the Army’s request (demand, actually) that the pistol be equipped with a manual, user-operated & -controlled safety – this led to his M1911 design – which the Army did adopt.

      Then, in “normal” US Army fashion, they mandated that soldiers carry the pistol in what’s now known as “Carry Cndition 3.”

    2. mark falkey wrote:

      “It is the way Browning meant it.”

      Actually, that is incorrect.

      JMB’s first submission for the Army Pistol Trials was with his M1910 – which had no “Thumb Safety”:

      His original design intended for the pistol to be carried with a round chambered and the hammer cocked, as the Grip Safety had to be depressed in order for the pistol to the discharged (as it still is in the M1911-types).

      It was at the request (demand, actually) that the pistol be equipped with a manual, user-operated & -controlled safety – this led to his M1911 design – which the Army did adopt.

      Then, in “normal” US Army fashion, they mandated that soldiers carry the pistol in what’s now known as “Carry Condition 3.”

  9. I call bs on even calling it the usrali method as the populirization of condition three and mist commonly found nation doing it was the
    soviet union… The TT-33 had to be carried by troops in vondition three as it was a single action with no safety at all
    And carrying in condition three continued even after adopting a dual action pustol with a decocker …. Yes even the makarov was carried in condition three as was instructed by tje soviet army they even invented a special holster to chamber a round by racking tje slide when witjdrawing a wrapon….

    Calling it the israili method is just wrong in every way….

  10. Hey there, I am familiar with firearms but not trained with any weapon so well.. but I have an important point to make to the experts.

    The Israeli Carry method is important to consider when you think of being disarmed by someone untrained. If you drop your gun or it is taken, an untrained person may just point it and try to pull the trigger. Most people do not know how to operate general firearms. I know it is not a perfect reason, but it is one reason to carry one extra step from fire-ready.

    1. I prefer to be ready for a more likely scenario… like armed conflict being sudden, violent and not on my timetable vs worrying about every possible situation like carrying condition 3 being an advantage if disarmed.

      1. I do not fear death so much that I would risk killing an innocent person, quite possibly a child, by an accidental discharge of the weapon. If you don’t have time to rack it, you don’t have time to aquire a legitamate threatening target and make a decision to fire. An empty pipe never killed anyone. The world is full of dead people killed by an accident of someone who thought they were experts, or worse, knew they were.

  11. The vast majority of the time I was in Iraq, Kuwait, and Kosovo we were in condition three. I was/am a support AFSC, so I’m surprised the stars even let us have weapons. However, where/when I was, it was never called “Israeli”. Soldiers occasionally called it condition 3, but we were usually told to be in “yellow”. I don’t know if that was to match with a threat condition. I don’t recall it being just a ‘chair’ force thing and I’m pretty sure it was named that way on multiple deployments.

    I carry condition 3 the vast majority of the time I am armed as a civilian because it is the most appropriate under any honest threat assessment. I chamber a round when the situation dictates.

    1. I wouldn’t use the militaries carry method as a model. I was under the same restrictions when I was in uniform. Condition 3 in the military is about ROE, woefully undertrained (pistol wise) soldiers and “safety first” obsessed chain of command. It was never about the best method of carrying a pistol.

      1. I don’t call the Group CC and ask his opinion, I was simply adding my experience to the conversation. I chamber a round when the situation dictates.

        I’m aware that according to all the modern tactical gurus that we should all be in ‘0’ all the time. I don’t think that is reasonable in my threat environment. Modern firearms trainers seem to all default to the highest possible condition without enough attention to relative risk and threat assessment.

        If I was a police officer or if I lived in Detroit I probably would keep a round in the chamber and BUG in my pocket. ‘Best’ depends on the circumstances, tools, level of training, and individual judgement.

  12. Safety is the main reason for condition 3. That poor mom at walmart shot by her own boy because she carried a glock ready to go in her purse. boys will be boys, but I don’t know any youngster able to rack the slide. Quit telling ‘everyone’ you have to have the most popular gun in the world (Glock) set to go off with only a trigger pull. Even the weakest kid can set off a standard glock trigger with ease. Racking the slide adds a huge measure of safety. My wife and mother-in-law are completely unable to rack the slide. Takes me under half a second to rack the slide. I’d bet on me getting one off before the bad guy compared to the consequences of an unintentional discharge. Carry loaded but no round in the chamber. Train to rack the slide on your weapon. The guys that argue racking the slide will slow you down should consider that having your gun in a holster slows you down, so why not walk around with your gun in your hand all the time?

      1. I did read it, and thoroughly. It’s obvious by your comments you are on one side of the fence and many are on the other. That’s ok. If you watch the video you will see that with proper training, racking the slide to chamber a round adds minimal time to making a shot. There is substantial argument for carrying with no round in the chamber for the added safety factor. It’s been pointed out several times that the US military has come to this very conclusion. The IDF has also. The argument that carrying in condition three is an indication of “lack of training” and “fear factor” is without substance. I don’t think many people could outshoot the guy in the video even if they had their gun out and at low ready. You seem to have missed the ironic poke at those who feel slowed down and limited by having one more step added to the manual of arms by racking the slide. For me, I’ll take a half second in the interest of safety. Eight percent of accidental deaths caused by shootings were done by children under the age of six. I’m just trying to be an ambassador of gun safety in a country where the legislators are looking for any excuse to impose more restrictions on us all. People running around expecting to get into a quick draw contest where half a second matters are just adding fuel to the wrong campfire. I know it’s cliché, but safety needs to be first.

  13. My two cents. In part it depends on what you carry. Per Anything but condition one or two is storage. The correct way to carry a 1911, Hi-Power or other single action pistol is with a round in the chamber, hammer fully cocked, and the manual safety engaged. This “cocked and locked” condition is perfectly safe for a shooter with the proper training. It is also very fast. When drawing the 1911 or Hi-Power from concealment, one should place the thumb of the firing hand on top of the thumb safety and the trigger finger alongside the frame. The safety may be snapped off as the piece comes into alignment with the target as the finger engages the trigger. In a different situation, the piece may be leveled at the target with the thumb resting on top of the safety. If the decision is made to fire, the safety may be disengaged instantly.
    I prefer DEFCON2 on a DA\SA, & I’m sorry but I’ve seen too many twigs & vines get caught in places impossible for them to reach to be comfortable carrying a Glock C1 in anything but a bureau drawer. I favour something with a safety & hammer or decocker like my FNP357 & Taurus PT24/7 OSS DS .45. Lack of confidence? No, just supreme confidence in Murphy & Glitch, godlet-of-fuckups.
    This says all what needs saying about ‘Israeli carry’ (why carry an Israeli, when if you can do that you can carry a cop?!)\DEFCON3. (I can’t believe some people honestly think they can rack a slide & put rounds on target as quickly or faster than C! or 2!)

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