how to israeli carry

You Shouldn't Israeli Carry, But If You Had To…

One of the occasional debates when it comes to concealed carry is so-called Israeli carry, in other words carrying with an empty chamber. The Israelis didn't invent it, and really shouldn't be called that but colloquial terms being what they are it's not like anyone's going to stop anytime soon.

While there were formerly some good reasons for it, they don't really apply too much anymore and as a result, you should only be carrying with a loaded chamber. You should do so in a secure holster and with a good gun belt to support them both.

That said...if you absolutely must...there's a right way to do it.

Why It's Called Israeli Carry

why its called israeli carry

To be clear, carrying with an empty chamber was done for a whole lot longer than since the time when Israeli police and military personnel started doing it. In the old days, you had to carry a Peacemaker, Model 3 or black powder revolver with an empty chamber because the drop safety hadn't been invented yet. Granted, the Remington Model 1858 kind of had one, because you could actually stop the cylinder halfway between chambers. In fact, drop safety devices didn't start becoming standard until the 1980s, so there was a rationale for carrying in this manner with many pistols back in those days.

Fairbairn and Sykes taught the Shanghai police and later British commandos to carry this way. Heck, the US Army even recommended it for personnel carrying pistols when not in combat zones at one time.

Why is it called Israeli carry, though? The story goes something like that when the modern nation of Israel was getting started, they didn't exactly have a uniform supply of guns to issue to their troops. They issued whatever they could get their hands on. That meant either teaching every soldier an individual manual of arms depending on what gun they got or figuring out a way for anyone to safely carry any gun, which carrying with a loaded magazine but empty chamber accomplishes

In those circumstances, it's necessary. Today, the modern shooter doesn't really need to do that. If you learn a bit of firearm safety, and use your gray matter while handling and carrying a gun, there's no reason to carry with an empty chamber.

Practice The Draw, Then Practice It Some More

practice israeli carry

That said, IF you're going to carry with an empty chamber...you live and die by the draw. Carrying with an empty chamber can be viable enough for defensive purposes, but if - and only if - you practice the draw and get proficient doing so. Otherwise, you could get yourself killed.

Get on the internet, and you'll find a number of variations on the Israeli draw, sometimes called the Israeli shooting method, Mossad draw and so on. (Mossad is Israel's intelligence service; their CIA. Ever see "Munich"?) They don't necessarily publish their training methods for everyone to read, but enough people that actually learned it, in Israel, have taught it to people to get an idea for how it works.

Before we get into the Israeli method, let it be clear: if you're going to carry with an empty chamber, you better get good at charging the pistol upon drawing through practicing. Making a mistake with it in an actual life and death situation is not going to work out in your favor. If you're going to carry with an empty chamber, you have to learn how to cock the pistol as you draw.

This applies equally to semi-autos AND to single-action revolvers. The Israeli method applies, however, to semi-autos. For combat use of a single-action revolver, consult the works of Bart "Skeeter" Skelton, a peace officer who served in the Border Patrol, Sheriff of Deaf County, Texas, as a Customs officer and later a gun writer of some distinction.

With practiced hands, Israeli carry actually can be a viable method for defending yourself with a pistol. The keyword there is practice.

The Israeli Draw And Various Imitators On The Internet

israeli draw techniques

How does the Israeli draw work? It's a five-step process.

First: the strong-side hand gets purchase on the gun while the weak-side foot slides outward, dropping into a wide combat shooting stance.

Second, the pistol is drawn and pulled up toward the chest while rotating the barrel up toward the target, stopping between the collarbone and eye-level.

Third, the slide is pinched with the thumb and finger of the off-hand.

At this point, it should be mentioned that there is some debate over whether the gun is cocked using the slingshot method - the slide is brought almost to full lock, then released so the recoil spring does the work returning to the pistol battery - or if the slide is brought fully to the rear, then the release is actuated. You may get one or the other depending on whom you ask.

Fourth, the slide is pulled back and released - by either method mentioned above - while pushing the gun forward and bringing the support hand up.

Fifth, the presentation is completed, the gun is brought on target (the Israelis use point shooting) and firing commences.

The advantage of this method is that the shooter is getting a sight alignment before they finish presenting the pistol, meaning the shooter can actually start getting rounds on target early. A well-drilled Israeli draw can put shots on target with less than a half-second lost to cocking the pistol. Provided you get efficient with your motions, that can mean a perfectly viable carry method if you had to carry with an unloaded chamber.

Other Draw Techniques

other draw techniques

There are a few other draw techniques for use with Israeli carry. They could even be effective; again, with practice, the additional time for cocking the pistol is half a second or less.

First is relatively simple; you bring the support hand over while getting purchase on the pistol. Right as you clear leather - or whatever material your holster is made from - the gun is brought to the support hand, usually in front of the strong-side front pocket at a low-ready position. The gun is cocked and presentation continues as normal.

Then there are one-handed methods. As the gun clears the holster, you snag the rear sight on your belt or pants and rack the slide, either using the slingshot method or locking the slide back and hitting the slide release. Then the gun is brought up for one-handed shooting.

Practice is vital. You have to be well-drilled in any draw and cock procedure, but anyone who carries should be practicing the draw whether they carry loaded or not.

With that being said, if you're considering carrying in this method, get professional instruction in either the Israeli draw or other draw method. That will help you get proficient in cocking the pistol upon drawing, which is completely and utterly necessary. Make sure said instruction includes one-handed draws, as you may not have the use of both hands; fights do not always occur under ideal conditions.

So, if you have to Israeli carry...you can, but you need to have your draw down to a science. Otherwise, you're just taking chances with your life.

Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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