Devised by pistol guru Jeff Cooper, this convention is used to designate the state of readiness of a m1911 pattern pistol. It can also be applied to most other designs of auto loading pistols.

The 5 conditions are:

  • Condition 0 - A round is in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the safety is off.
  • Condition 1 - Also called "cocked and locked", this means that a round is in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the manual thumb safety is on.
  • Condition 2 - A round is in the chamber, the hammer is uncocked.
  • Condition 3 - There is no round in the chamber, the hammer is uncocked but a fully loaded magazine is inserted in the mag well.
  • Condition 4 - The chamber is empty, the hammer is uncocked and there is no magazine inserted in the mag well

Condition 1 is the preferred state of readiness if carrying a Single Action autoloader like the 1911 as it offers the best balance between safety and readiness. It does seem menacing to the untrained as the sight of a cocked hammer makes some people needlessly nervous.

Condition 2 is not recommended in the 1911 as it has no decocker and would entail pulling the trigger and slowly lowering the hammer on a loaded chamber. This both violates a gun safety rule and renders you with a gun that will not fire even if the trigger is pulled. And should the hammer slip you will then have a negligent discharge and possibly a broken thumb when the slide hits it on the recoil. On a DA/SA pistol with a decocker, like the Variant 1 H&K USP, this is a safe and ready way to carry. It is point and click.

Condition 3 offers an added margin of safety as there is actually no round in the chamber but has the disadvantage of taking a relatively longer time to get into action. The IDF is trained to carry their sidearms this way and hence the name "Israeli Draw".

Condition 4 is no way to carry a concealed sidearm unless there are legal reasons you can not carry a loaded firearm. Should you be unfortunate enough to be in such a country, carry a gun anyway, three seconds to put a gun in action still beats running back home to get one.

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