Can My Handgun...

May 28 2021

Can My Handgun Fire If I Don’t Have A Magazine In It?


Most questions about firearms are answered with the caveat, “Well, it depends.” And the question “Can My Handgun Fire If I Don’t Have A Magazine In It?” is a prime example. We can all agree that without a round in the chamber, then there is nothing to shoot. But what if there IS a round in the chamber? This situation is where “well, it depends” comes into play. Some firearms have what’s called a magazine disconnect safety. These firearms should not fire if a round is in the chamber and the magazine has been removed.

Magazine Disconnect Safety

This mechanism engages the internal safety if the magazine is partially or entirely removed. Once you re-insert the magazine, the safety mechanism is disengaged, and the firearm is capable of firing. Manufacturers developed this feature to prevent a discharge if you forgot a round in the chamber when you remove the magazine.

How do you know if you have a magazine disconnect safety? Your owner’s manual will tell you. Don’t have an owner’s manual? Google your handgun to find a manual online.

No Magazine Disconnect Safety

Handguns without a magazine disconnect safety will fire the round in the chamber even without having a magazine inserted or partially inserted. Glocks are an excellent example of firearms without a magazine disconnect safety.

Which One is Better?

It’s a personal preference. Just be sure you thoroughly educate yourself on your handgun’s operation. And, practice, practice, practice!

SAFETY TIP: Always make sure your handgun is clear once you are done using it. Physically and visually inspect the chamber and the magazine well.


By Joyce Gould, Benbrook Supervisor and LTC instructor.

This article does not represent the actual performance or function of any particular firearm or firearm safety mechanism, is not intended to substitute, supplement, or replace firearm training conducted with a professional, and is intended for informational purposes only. The reader and firearm owner is solely responsible for the safe operation of their firearm. Please seek the assistance of a firearms training professional to learn more about the safe handling of your firearm.
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