Stupidity of a Loaded Chamber Indicator


Striker Status indicator on a Springfield XD-45 showing it's in the ready to fire position (thanks Cliff)


Springfield Loaded Chamber Indicator showing a round is in the chamber

What’s it supposed to do? Encourage people to think “Well, it’s okay if I point this thing at Cletus over there because the loaded chamber indicator says it’s empty…“?

Exactly.  You should be treating all guns as if they are loaded all the time.  Relying on a mechanical “safety” of any sort is risky.  Your #1 safety should be your brain.

Hat Tip: View From The Porch Blog

UPDATE: I had incorrectly labeled the picture as being a “loaded chamber indicator” when it is in fact a Striker Status Indicator (thanks Cliff).  There is also a Loaded chamber indicator on the XD-45, and I found a proper picture of it (see above).



Ty October 27, 2009 at 02:44 am

That’s a tactile indicator that the pistol is loaded. You can use that instead of doing a press check. I don’t think it’s intended to be any kind of safety.


admin October 27, 2009 at 03:06 am

I know what you’re getting at Ty, but I think a lot of people out there have too much confidence in indicators like that and end up treating the gun differently because of them. Plus it doesn’t help that lots of brands have a differing indicators and different positions, which is why I believe you should always treat the gun like it is loaded when you pick it up until you verify by actually seeing the round in the chamber. To each his own though.


Aaron February 8, 2016 at 08:00 am



Cliff October 27, 2009 at 07:57 am

Your article is about the loaded chamber indicator but the picture is of the hammer indicator; a bump that lets you know if the hammer is cocked or not. If your going to bash a feature at least get your pictures straight otherwise we might mistake this for the evening news.


admin October 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Wow good catch Cliff. That’s what I get for using a picture of a gun I don’t even own (I couldn’t find a picture of the Glock loaded chamber indicator and I don’t have my camera nearby).
How the heck do you have the striker indicator down, but a round in the chamber? Only on an empty chamber or misfire? And in the case of a misfire wouldn’t that be obvious because the trigger would not have reset? This mistake actually kind of makes my point of how putting too many extra features on a gun only over complicates things. Thanks again I will update the post.


Cliff October 27, 2009 at 02:39 pm

I owned an XD for a while and lets just say I changed my mind. the striker indicator is a worthless feature and with those “Failsafe” indicators people have still shot themselves while disassembling the gun because it requires the trigger to be pulled to remove the slide. Proper awareness and inspection are a must no matter how many indicators a gun has.


Steve April 8, 2010 at 02:41 pm

I know I’m a few months late but, I don’t think the loaded chamber indicator is meant to make people look at the gun differently. I think it’s more for a situation where you might need your gun; maybe in a dark place or a place where you can’t just whip it out and check the chamber. For example if somebody broke in your house and it’s dark, you don’t want to turn on a light. Instead of having to pull the slide back for a chamber check you can just feel the chamber indicator. “Hmm it’s sticking out, I know it’s chambered.” Or maybe in a robbery and you want to just feel the indicator to see if a round is in the chamber without looking too obvious. Not that I’m saying it can take the place of safe handling. Safe handling is necessary to even own a firearm. I think it’s more for tactics like I described, instead of safety. Calling a loaded chamber indicator stupid is kind of an absolute. It has it’s place.

Just my two cents.


Admin (Mike) April 9, 2010 at 01:00 pm

In the couple of scenarios you mentioned though, I’d think the person would already know that there gun was loaded or not.

I could see it being the most useful if you walked into a room and saw a gun that wasn’t yours on a table and picked it up, and you could tell it was loaded by looking that the indicator… Although I still wouldn’t assume that it was unloaded if that indicator told me that. My example just brought me back to my original feeling, that the indicator is pretty useless and should not be relied upon.


Jason October 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Go to and check this thing out. Its brilliant. Watch the video.


MeLo January 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

I am new to being around guns and I can honestly say I love the indicator because the two times I thought someone was breaking into my house I grabbed my husbands gun, loaded it, and had it ready but because of my adrenaline I forgot whether or not I had cocked it. So when I double checked to make sure it was ready, the bullet that was ready falls out. Now I have one bullet less to protect me if necessary. Now, with a gun that has the loaded indicator and striker indicator, once I load and cock it, I won’t needlessly loose good ammo if i want to know it is ready to go.

And even with the indicators, a responsible gun owner knows that even if the indicators are not engaged, you still treat it as loaded.


SC March 10, 2013 at 08:47 am

To each their own…I like the indicator on my pistol, especially during classes when told to ‘make ready’. I don’t use this as a ‘safety’ feature as much as eliminating one process during classes. I can just reach down in my holster and feel that there is one in the chamber so that I don’t have to ‘make ready’ like others who don’t have an indicator.


SittingDown March 10, 2013 at 09:06 am

Talking guns coming soon. “Dave. You’ve chambered a round, Dave.”


Nars Lark September 30, 2016 at 02:34 pm

That’s some funny shit!


Boris July 27, 2015 at 08:40 am

My XD45 had that loaded indicator fail. Stuck in the up position in any condition. Seems like these are a weak link in the XD line. Alot of owners just tap out the retaining pin and run without it.


Nick May 7, 2019 at 06:47 pm

The high instances of CTE in football is directly linked to the use of helmets. Helmets cause overconfidence in maneuvers like helmet-to-helmet impacts. CTE is very rare in rugby, where they don’t use the head protection the American NFL uses. I see some parallels between the loaded chamber indicator problem and football helmets.

Going skull-to-skull with someone when one or both of you are near or at full sprint, is a horrible idea, and a helmet doesn’t make it any smarter or safer from a medical standpoint.
When a gun’s loaded-chamber indicator is down, it’s still medically unadvisable to point the firearm at anything living, unless the desire is to make it dead is still there.

There’s a difference between a necessary and reasonable safety device, like a seat belt, that’s there to help prevent injury in an accidental situation that occurs so incredibly often, and a device that’s invented and used by a society that’s interested (probably to a fault) in trying to make everything safe even to the total idiot. The latter just emboldens the idiot to trust their idiotic (lack of) logical thought. Devices like the loaded-chamber indicator are decidedly the latter, and not necessarily the former at all.


Will November 4, 2020 at 02:12 am

Believe it or not, sometimes people have to use guns in the dark


Will November 4, 2020 at 02:14 am

Why do cars even have brake lights? You should always treat the car in front of you as if it could slam on its brakes at any time.



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