Home Defense Condition Question [Archive] - Glock Talk


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Go Navy
03-23-2012, 15:58
My nightstand weapon is a Gen 4 Glock 17 with tritium night sights and a TLR-3 Streamlight attached. While I have other 9mms, this one is assigned to this duty because of its simplicity of operation and I do shoot it well.

On rare occasions, the wife will wake me up and declare she's hearing strange noises. Fortunately it has never amounted to anything so far, but one of these nights she could be right.

The only thing I have to do to put this pistol in firing condition is rack the slide. I don't keep it in the nightstand with a round in the chamber, and I won't, so don't beat me up over that. I do keep it there with a loaded mag in it and a loaded spare nearby (here in Taxifornia, we're not grown-up enough to be allowed anything more than 10 round mags---yes, some will say ten rounds is plenty etc. etc.).

Question: Should I rack the slide and load a round immediately as my first move? Or should I wait until I find myself potentially confronting a bad guy inside the house?

Please note: could go cocked and locked with another of my pistols, but I don't like that condition, don't feel comfortable with it, and won't do it, so don't beat me up with that either!

Thanks for any advice on this seemingly minor point, but it would affect reaction time in a sudden encounter.

Mas Ayoob
03-23-2012, 18:40
First, Go Navy, I ain't gonna beat ya up over nuthin'. Thank you for your service.

I am getting a mixed message, though. You said you chose the Glock for its simplicity, but you have it in a condition that complicates its operation.

With the TLR light installed (do some shooting with it on if you haven't already; the lateral pressure of its screw-tight attachment mechanism has been implicated by some in malfunctions with polymer-frame guns such as the Glock), you still will have to be doing some other things with the support hand that would normally rack a round into the chamber.

You may be holding a cell phone or hard line phone. You will need that hand to hit light switches, and perhaps to balance yourself doing quick-peeks around corners. Heck, for all I know (you didn't mention your "household demographics") you may be carrying your baby or grand-baby from the nursery back to the safe room.

If you are jumped from the dark shadows, the hand you need to rack the slide may be reflexively fending off a blow or a knife-slash. Yes, a slide can be racked one-handed, but it takes time, and doesn't work well when you're not wearing a belt and holster to leverage the slide against.

Indeed, some of us would be suggesting that your support hand be holding a dedicated search flashlight. The light mounted on the gun is used to illuminate the threat in a worst case scenario home defense situation; the searching should be done with a separate light for the simple reason that anything we point the gun-mounted light at, we're pointing the gun at. The single person you're most likely to encounter in a "bump in the night" search is a member of the household or an invited guest. Pointing a gun at them is not a good thing.

(Yes, people will tell you that pointing the gun-mounted light at the floor will let you see a person. Maybe, maybe not depending on light conditions and distance...but when you DO see a person under stressful circumstances, instinct will bring the light center on them, and therefore, the gun.)

With all that in mind, I have to give you an answer you've already said you don't want to hear. Plan A: Keep a round in the chamber.

Plan B: practice like Hell, first dry fire and then live, racking the slide while holding a flashlight/phone/whatever in the other hand. You'll find it's not very easy, and not very reliable.

Wishing you and your family the best of luck whatever choice you make,


Go Navy
03-23-2012, 20:53
Plan A: keep a round in the chamber. If the first thing I do upon awakening and retrieving the firearm is to chamber a round, isn't that the same result? I'm asking a very narrow question here, which I didn't make clear. Should I chamber immediately before taking any other actions, or should I chamber when I've determined there is a bad guy on board?

It may seem like a silly question, but I'm safety conscious. In our household, it's only me and spouse. No other humans, no pets. Kids are all grown up, moved away. So the situation is less complicated from that standpoint.

The reason I don't personally like a hand held flashlight at all is that it messes with my familiar two hand grip on the pistol. I don't turn the pistol-mounted light to a steady on position because I feel it will allow someone to track my location. I envision using its instant on/off function to ID the stranger and temporarily blind him.

But my question really is: at what point in a developing situation should I chamber a round? It sounds like your answer would be at the very beginning, the moment I retrieve the firearm and prepare myself for whatever comes next.

Mas Ayoob
03-24-2012, 04:24
Yes, at the very beginning.