Firearm Carry Conditions of Readiness

I was talking the other day with a fellow who worked the counter at a local sporting goods store. He was, I guess, around fifteen years older than me and we ‘chewed the cud’ about various topics for a while (it was a slow day) and when the topic of firearms came up he asked me about how I “Kept” my defensive firearms.
Understanding he was talking about what READY CONDITION I keep my guns in, both at home and when I carry concealed, I proceeded to tell him using terms that I was both raised with and trained with in the military, that is Colonel Jeff Coopers 5 Carry Conditions:
  • Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition Two: Round chambered, full magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition One: Round chambered, full magazine, hammer cocked, safety on.
  • Condition Zero: Round chambered, full magazine, hammer cocked, safety off.
Once I explained these simple conditions he then asked me did I think it “safe” to carry a pistol around in Condition 1 when I carried concealed. I politely asked him what is the difference between a civilian like myself carrying a loaded pistol around and a police officer (besides the obvious fact that uniformed police carry their firearms openly). To that he could not give a response.
He then asked me what condition I keep my defensive long guns at home in. I told him the same. Condition 1. Again he was concerned about “safety”. I assured him all of my firearms are kept in a very sturdy safe that only I and the wife unit have access too. To this he still seemed unsure of “the safety factor”.
I proceeded to tell him that being OVERLY concerned with firearm safety when it comes to DEFENSIVE FIREARMS, and by this I mean not having the firearm READY to use in a moment’s notice, can often lead to tragedy on the part of the gun owner. I then did a quick comical impromptu pantomime of a homeowner asking a would-be criminal to “wait” while he got his gun ready so he could shoot him dead…that got a chuckle.
We have to remember that in the real world, seconds matter when it comes to dealing with deadly threats. Lethal force encounters are often over in a matter of seconds, not minutes. So stacking the odds in YOUR favor when it comes to being able to lay your hands on a firearm that is ready to use RIGHT THEN can literally be the difference between life and death.
Lastly, I told him about a firearm readiness term I learned a while back regarding Shotguns: “Cruiser Ready” is a Law Enforcement term that applies to 12 gauge Pump Shotguns that are carried in patrol vehicles. Cruiser Ready is basically Condition 3 where the tube (ie, magazine on a pump shotgun) is fully loaded but the chamber is empty and the safety is on.
Hopefully I left this fellow in a more “informed” frame of mind that when we met!
Stay Dangerous!