Language Lessons: Press Check

pistol press check
| May 25, 2017
Categories: Learnin'

We’ve press checked a shit ton of things, and honestly it’s nice to know you’re in the right hole. After all, a slip up could cost a happy ending. Wait — we mean guns, not shooting loads. Eh, whatever… read on to hear some thoughts on press checks (which are often a source of contention). We can continue the other conversation in the comments. What have you press checked lately? – Mad Duo

Today’s debate brought to you by Propper Apparel. Everyone say, “Thank you Propper!”

Term: Press Check

Also Known As: Chamber Check or Status Check

Category: Tactics and equipment

Application(s) of Use: Any application where you want to verify there is a round in the chamber of your firearm.

Definition: Taking the firearm out of battery in order to see if it is loaded, while preventing the possibly chambered round from being ejected. The main reason for doing this is to see if the gun is loaded, whereas, if you wanted to ensure it’s clear- you’d rack the slide a few times. In most cases, the press checker is checking if their weapon is loaded before holstering, re-holstering or beginning a course of fire.

Into the Weeds: There is debate as to whether or not press checking your firearm is beneficial or if it could cause the gun to malfunction. If your life depends on that firearm, wouldn’t you want to know it is loaded? For the record, we press check, and we press check often. We have not had issues with guns malfunctioning due to press checking. Nor do we have much regard for the self-righteous “You should always know the condition of your weapon!” crowd.

Yes, you should. Do you always? No, you do not. Accidents and stupid shit happens. That’s why we have have safety measures and rules of gun handling.

There are several ways to press check your firearm. If it’s a long gun, it’s a simple process: Pull back the action ¾ of the way to see if there’s a round in the chamber. If it’s a pistol, the internet tactards will readily tell you how you’re wrong if you do it in whatever-the-hell way they despise. But, the bottom line is: as long as you do not put your hand in front of the muzzle, over the ejection port, or pointed in an unsafe direction —  you’re good to go.

Seriously. Don’t shoot yourself in the hand.

Press checks – you’re doing it wrong.

If this is a new technique for you, we strongly recommend (like, Darwinian level strong) that you practice with an unloaded firearm first. This is because when you press check a pistol, the movement is slower than when you rack the slide. You need some level of dexterity in order to complete this procedure slowly.

In a perfect world, you would always know the condition of your weapon. Until we can find that perfect world the interwebz speak of, we’ll continue to press check our EDC pistols, and any other gun we want to make sure will go bang when we pull the trigger. Just like a morning routine of shit, shower, and shave, press checking is what you do before you holster, draw, and then shoot.

Question for the Crowd: Do you press check your firearms? Why or why not?

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Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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  1. stephen houston

    My pistols all have loaded chamber indicators, either a witness slot or an ejector that projects outward when clamped over a chambered rim. On the other hand, if your pistol is always kept in a loaded condition except when cleaning, there is little reason to press check. In my opinion too much press checking leads to a nervous condition that begs from more press check stimulation.

  2. JKifer

    There are certain fundamentals to operating with firearms that those of us who have lived by the sword do without thinking, small TTP’s that are noticeable by those with experience. press checking is one of those. the benefits of a quick and simple press check outweigh whatever negatives that can be argued…

  3. Munson

    If it’s been off my person, I press check before bolstering.

  4. Walt

    Always. Before holstering. That’s how all of my instructors have taught.

  5. Dan

    Always before holstering. You just got to be sure.

    Any other time just making sure it’s clear if it is not locked open.

  6. Vic

    Whenever my weapon is out of my sight or control I will press check and repress check each time I holster my weapon…out of habit…32.5 years as a cop and most of that in a tactical unit….

  7. Invictus

    Generally I don’t, based on the the amount of times I’ve seen the bullets of some calibers being set back deep in the casing in factory crimped ammo from multiple chamberings. That could lead to bang times of the not pleasant variety. But when the occasion arises to do so, and I know I’ll be expending that round shortly, no worries.

  8. Michael

    As my TL always said Press Checks are Free


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