Do you even press-check, bro?

M&P9 press-check

Ah, the press check. The way truly paranoid people make sure the bullet gremlins haven’t magically removed the round from the chamber of your carry gun. Some people will say that it’s an unnecessary measure that can cause bullet setback, and other people say it should be an essential part of your daily routine. So bro, do you even press check?

Here’s the logic behind the press check. When I get home, I take my gun off. I don’t unload it, I just leave it in the holster and that rig goes either a safe or on my nightstand, depending on the gun. Either way, still loaded. But when I put it on in the morning, if I’m carrying a semi-auto, I pop the mag out, make sure it’s still loaded, then press check the gun to make sure there’s still a round in the chamber.

I like to think of guns that have been out of my personal control as Schrodinger’s Gun, in the sense that because it’s outside of my control, I don’t know if it’s loaded or unloaded until I open the box and the cat is dead…wait I mean take control of the gun myself. It’s the same reason why if someone hands me a gun, the first thing I do is the same – drop the magazine and check the chamber. To my mind, it’s just building positive gun handling habits. When I check a carry gun, I want it to be loaded, so I’m verifying that it’s in the correct state. Same if I’m checking a gun a client hands me at a photo shoot – I want this to be unloaded, and so I’m verifying its state as well. In either case, if I find the gun is in an undesirable condition, I can rectify it pretty easily.

Okay guys, so what do you think. Press check, yes or no?


  1. Paranoidly, yes. Although I will forego it on my options which show me the nice brass without requiring a press.

    I do like to check the magazine them make sure it’s seated well.

  2. This is where those loaded chamber indicators like on a Springfield XDM some in handy. Even in the dark, while it is still in the holster, I can feel the nub on the top. I think it’s an advantage over the ones with the little visual hole, like the gun pictured (M&P?). I still visually inspect the chamber when unloading. I do press check my 1911.

  3. I don’t get why people make such a big deal about this either way.

    You wanna make sure your gun has bullets? Fine. Why not?

    You feel pretty good about that fact that your gun stripped off a round the same way that it did every other time you’ve ever chambered a round or shot the thing? That’s fine too.

    Who cares?

  4. I think it is a meaningless gesture. I do it most times I retrieve a gun from my safe mind you, but I think the act isn’t necessary and simply satisfies my OCD. Same way I have to turn around 1 out of every 20 or so trips away from my house to make sure I closed the garage door.

  5. I too put my gun in the safe and only I know the combination(no key for it)and when I close the safe I set it on a number so I can see if anyone has tried to tamper with it(highly unlikely)so checking it would only prove I have paranoia to the extent I would need medical help and should not even own a gun(unless those damn gremlins have a back door to my safe)If them sombitches had a secret door then I would check,I would check every time and would add a new safe inside the main safe just to be safe for safety’s sake,you can never be to safe.Be safe

    1. This is stupid, you really think that gremlins, little mythical creatures would have a back door to your gun safe? There is no way they would be so obvious, if they wanted in they would have installed some sort of false bottom or hidden entry point that you didn’t know about, wake up sheeple!

  6. I press-check every time it’s been out of my hands, and after every time I load. May not be necessary, especially since almost every pistol has some type of LCI, but I still do it for OCD reasons.

    The one “test” I’ve seen that claimed that repeated press-checks would cause setback was flawed. Here was their procedure:

    1) Measure the OAL of a cartridge.
    2) Chamber the round.
    3) Press-check a few dozen times.
    4) Eject the round and measure the OAL.
    5) Repeat for X number of rounds.

    There was no check whatsoever that the change came from press-checking, and not from the initial chambering. I don’t have calipers, or I’d redo the test myself. I don’t worry about press-checks, but after any JHP round has been chambered more than a couple times I relegate it as a practice round, and throw it in with my FMJ.

  7. During daylight hours I will use the chamber sight check if so equipped, and in the dark of night, I will generally perform the press check; if I am unsure if a round is chambered. I do not unload when I get home or go to sleep as I live alone. Before I pack to head outdoors, I do the sight check.

  8. I’ve owned my carry gun since 1990. I can tell by the vibrations set up by a cartridge stripping out of the mag and seating in the chamber whether the round is successfully chambered as well as by the feel of the fully forward slide. I load my mags 1 round short to ensure proper seating

  9. This, uh, friend of mine, totally not me, forgot to load up after dry fire practice one time. A week later he realized he’d been carrying an unloaded gun for a week.

    My friend now press-checks every morning.

  10. Always assume every firearm is loaded. Conversely, always assume something went wrong if you WANT it loaded 😉

    I press check when I get a hold of a firearm I haven’t been in control of, just like you mentioned. Better safe than sorry, especially considering the amount of mechanical F up’s I’ve seen guns have from merely shooting low stress competitions.

  11. Darwin says just use a flashlight and look down the muzzle. :p

  12. “So bro, do you even press check?”

    Depends on the clips I’m using.

  13. I learned my initial handgun handling SOP from my dad who was a cop. Nothing about no stinkin press checks. Then as an MP in the Army. Again, no stinkin press checks. Then later at the FLETC as a fed. Once again, no press checks. On top of that, my agency policy strictly forbids any unnecessary gun handling of a loaded wespon. Rational being, your simply tempting fate. Loading and unloading for firing at the range and for cleaning. All this nonsense of press chevks happens with guns you know are loaded and either you are OCD mental or you are parroting some dead tree gun writer or operator wannabe or OCD competition shooter. Basically for Ivory Soap % (99 and 44/100%) of the time you press check, you are doing it on a gun you in fact know is loaded. Bottom line, I don’t do it and I believe it to be silly at best and potentially dangerous/excessive handling of loaded guns at worst.

    1. You trained at places where they cater to the lowest common denominator. All professionals press check – period. “Potentially dangerous/excessive handling of loaded guns” sounds like an undertrained individual who is afraid that their gun will randomly go bang because they are touching it. Same people who keep their gun in a paddle holster in their desk drawer. My agency prohibits unnecessary handling, but a press check to me is necessary. Beyond that, they also teach – when in doubt, unload it, perform a safety check, and reload it. Seems a bit more involved in this unnecessary handling than a properly done press check.

      1. CVPD198, I respectfully disagree. You don’t know my level of training and whether or not I’m undertrained or anything else. I certainly don’t feel undertrained. IMHO, I probably have more training and most importantly, higher quality training, than the overwhelming majority of folks who post on this website or ones like it. I work for a Fed LE agency that works exclusively white collar crime, and we typically dont do as much enforcement operations as some other agencies, we tend to train harder when we have UOF training. We have also had very progressive forward thinking training. I don’t say this to insult anyone just to state a fact. I dont know your training level, and I wouldnt claim that you are undertrained. In competition or just target shooting, with gun pointed safely down range, no prob with press check. But with a gun that you loaded, put in safe and hasnt been out of your control, press checks are unnecessary ocd stuff. How many times have you properly seated a full magazine and then charged your weapon, did a press check and found the gun not hot/loaded? Probably never. If this has happened to you more than once, you might need more training.

    2. Agree with David K. I chamber a round from a full magazine, drop the mag, holster the gun, and if I can get another round in the magazine to top it off, I know a round was stripped off. (A loaded chamber indicator is a nice bonus check.)

      I will press check when shooting IDPA, since this is easier than ejecting the mag and counting rounds. No fun to hear a *click* as you pull the trigger with the timer going. I’ve never let the slide forward without the mag fully seated, but I suppose it could happen.

  14. I kinda like the Bodyguard 380 and P09 method, I can literally see if their is a bullet in the chamber or not without doing anything.

  15. I’m with Caleb. Anytime a firearm has been out of my direct possession, it gets checked. When I get ready for bed, the pistol goes on the night stand. In the morning, before it goes in the holster, I drop the mag, check its status, press check, re-insert the mag and holster.

    When a customer comes in to the shop, the moment a firearm is handed to me, it gets checked. I can watch one of my coworkers check a firearm and make sure its cleared. As soon as it gets handed to me, I check the firearm. I do not want a negligent discharge inside the office, and I do everything I can to make sure that we don’t have one.

  16. I do revolver checks. Ialways check the rear of the cylinder for condition. For the single six open the loading gate and spin the cylinder since rimfires are counter sunk.

  17. I know it’s loaded because it’s always loaded when I leave the range. But when I pick it up to holster, the mag gets a tap tap. Also, the Hornady Critical Duty 9mm has a prominent cannelure which will immediately reveal any bullet setback.

  18. I always check the chamber out of safety and that the one time I forget is the time likely something will go wrong. I prefer to keep a round in the chamber when carrying but a full mag but empty chamber at home. So at home I’m always checking the status, even if I put the gun down 5 minutes ago, always assuming its loaded. Always avoiding being complacent with my safety practices. Just as even when handling or cleaning a firearm, I never put my finger directly to the trigger. I repeatedly try to instill the muscle/training memory, so that if I’m ever using a firearm under stress, I do the right thing.

  19. What I do like about my XD is the loaded chamber indicator. For modern firearms, I think its a no brainer feature to have,

  20. After initially loading a gun I press check to insure that a round made it into the chamber. If a round doesn’t make it into the chamber, either due to unseated magazine or short-stroking, I’d like to know sooner rather than later. Press checking will not not result in setback.

  21. I like the loaded chamber indicator on Ruger’s Mk III pistols. Occasionally, after you are told “Shooter make ready.” you will find that a round did not load. Touching the indicator with your left finger while making ready prevents those embarrassing clicks.

  22. I’m a press check fan. What his should really be called instead of Press Check or No is ‘Magpul vs James Yeager’ school of thought. It seems when one instructor advocates some method of gun handling others feel the need to go in the opposite direction and come out against it as unnecessary.

    If the gun has been out of my control I do a press check. If my intent is to load and holster I will press check before holstering.

  23. With all the talk today about gun safety, who in their right mind would talk badly about ANY safety check? Redundant or not, any extra safety is definitely not a bad thing.

  24. Press check is safety not paranoid. I always unload when I take the gun off except when I forgot. Press check prevented bad things from happening.

  25. I just kick a round out load it back into the mag and rack it again

  26. Since everyone is just listing off pieces that have LCI, it’s an often forgotten fact that the M9/92F series has an LCI in the form of the extractor that sticks out a little. It protrudes enough that if you know the gun, you know it’s got one in the chamber even in low light conditions.

  27. My Ruger LC9 has a top piece that sticks up when loaded. That’s nice to have.

  28. I press check every time I strap on any of my guns. The daily carry guns I carry are both Glocks, a 17 and a 42. Both have LCI, but I will not rely on that alone. I would prefer that I know there is brass in the chamber because that is how I practice. Loaded chamber indicators should not be your sole check of whether a gun is loaded or not. A peep hole in the chamber is a differ story, assuming you are in an area that is lit well enough to see it, because you actually see brass.

  29. My EDC has a “Round in Chamber” indicator and, as it’s a Striker Fire, there is also a “cocked” indicator (both are “readable” by feel). Even so … I catch myself “Press Checking” often.

  30. I press check my bottom feeders and check the mag. I also swing open the cylinder and look when I carry my wheel gun. I have done this ever since I bought my first gun. (I guess I was overly paranoid) so it has just become a habit over the years.

  31. No press check. I do check the loaded chamber indicator on my G26 or G19 by feel, however.

  32. I guess it comes down to the gun. I wear mine all day until I go to bed. Then it goes in a bedside gun safe (I have kids & can code the safe in seconds as I practice every day when I open it). When I put it on in the morning I don’t have to Press Check because my XDs has a chambered indicator & a visual gap. However, I do in fact check both the chamber indicator and the visual gap before holstering for the day. So…I press check without the press…lol

  33. “Revolter” carrier. I open the cylinder and verify loaded before holstering

  34. I can run my index finger over the extractor of my Glock 42 and determine if there is a chambered round or not.

  35. John Farnam will tell you a story about a cop who always took his duty weapon off when he would get home and then ignore it until he put it on for the next shift. His girlfriend was unhappy at the time and filled his gun with super glue. Guess how long it was like that before he figured it out? MONTHS. I think I will ALWAYS press check when a gun has been out of my control.

  36. Always. In my case, I don’t carry (not 21, no license for me yet), but ever since I started a competition stage without a round in the chamber, I now press check.

Comments are closed.