Using a Springfield Armory 1911 EMP 4” Lightweight Champion, Rob Pincus demonstrates the correct way to run a 1911 for defensive use. He starts by explaining that with a modern firearm and a good holster, empty chamber carry is the wrong choice.
Empty Chamber Carry
Empty chamber carry means that when drawing your 1911 (or any defensive handgun), the safety is off, the hammer is down, the magazine is loaded, and there is no round in the chamber. Drawing and firing then involve these steps: draw the handgun out of the holster, grab the slide with the support hand, pull back to chamber a round, drive the gun out into the firing position, and take the shot.
There are a few reasons why this is inefficient, including that it requires the use of both hands, which you may not have available in a defensive incident, and that there are too many steps. Extra time and manual dexterity are required, and you may not have these when you’ve been startled and need to defend your life.
Rob shows how you can rack the slide back when you only have one hand available for manipulating the gun. It’s doable but far from optimal.
Empty chamber carry: don’t use it in handgun training and practice, or for actual defensive use.
The Correct Way
The Springfield Armory 1911 EMP 4” Lightweight Champion and other modern handguns are designed to be carried with the safety on, hammer back, and a round in the chamber. Then the drawing and firing procedure is: draw the handgun out of the holster, drive the gun out, flick the safety off, and press the trigger. After you take the shot(s), put the safety back on as you’re pulling the gun back into the ready position. Keep your thumb on top in case you see another threat while assessing. Then you can quickly flick the safety off with the thumb.