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Whats the Deal With Loaded Chamber Indicators?

I’m not a fan of loaded chamber indicators on pistols. As a kid, I was taught that safeties on a firearm are a mechanical device, and mechanical devices can fail, so I’ve never been one for relying on any sort of safety device.

I have several pistols with Loaded chamber indicators, including my new XDs 9mm, and to be honest, I’ve never used them. Its just as easy to open the slide and actually verify that the chamber is empty, so I’ve always just done that and been 100% sure of the status of the firearm.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. I would generally agree. I think Ben brought it up on a podcast episode that it’s just as easy to do a press check. The one exception to this would be in a low/no light situation like a late night/early morning home invasion. In a high stress situation where seconds count, I like having some sort of tactile indicator so I can keep my eyes on more important tasks.

  2. Especially the “loaded chamber indicator” on the M&P, which is actually just a tiny hole through which you can see the cartridge. It’s a simple design with no mechanical parts to fail, so I guess it’s harmless to have it there. But I find it to be pretty useless — unless the light is just right, and the cartridge is a nice shiny brass, you can’t really see anything through there. A press check is much easier and faster.

  3. I don’t use it for my primary safety check, but I have used it to check right before I’m going to fire.

  4. I prefer to carry one in the chamber so I find it a nice quick visual verification there is a round loaded.

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