Getting ready for work. Just count out enough for a full magazine plus one.

Born in Paranoialand to Mr. & Mrs. Is My Gun Loaded?, her death today was confirmed by several thousand devoted chamber checkers. (The Ammunition Fairy was a weightless, invisible, silent wraith who took the rounds out of the chambers of loaded guns. What she did with them is unknown and unknowable.)

Services will be held Saturday at your local range. Please participate by firing a memorial round or two.

That’s right, the Ammunition Fairy is gone for good. If you load your handgun, shotgun, or rifle this morning and control access to it, it will remain loaded until you unload it. No one and nothing will steal the round of ammo from the chamber of your carry gun, even if you are one of the legion of devoted chamber checkers who live in fear of the AF.

For those of you who came late, a generation of gun owners has been conditioned to constantly check the chamber of their handguns to make sure the Ammunition Fairy has not removed the round of ammo their life may depend on. A well-known gun writer from another venue recently stated in print that he is so scared of the Ammunition Fairy that he feels compelled to chamber check his carry gun every morning. The good news is, he can now rest easy—there is no Ammunition Fairy!

If your gun was loaded when you put it on, there’s no need to check it again.
There is no such thing as the Ammunition Fairy.


This phenomenon reached new heights of ridiculousness when on-duty uniformed police officers started checking their guns before serving warrants. Let me get this straight: An officer dons his duty gear, loads and holsters his service gun, and goes out to confront evil-doers without being sure his gun is loaded? But he takes the time to chamber check it just before a raid? What is wrong with this picture?

Officers respond to calls on duty, and even the simplest call or traffic stop can turn into a gunfight in an instant. Plus these days, most officers are working solo, so backup could be some distance away. If an officer needs to apply deadly force, he needs it right now!

On the other hand, on a warrant service or raid, handguns are secondary armament after the shotgun or patrol rifle. But officers working the street without knowing the condition of their handgun shows either a lack of understanding of the real world (vs. the fantasy world) or a failure to adequately train. Either of those is far scarier than the imaginary Ammunition Fairy!

Even if you carry a high cap, count the rounds out first, plus one for the chamber, to avoid a visit from the Ammunition Fairy.


By the same token, I have met folks with CCW permits who feel they have to constantly check the condition of their gun. If they are that unsure of themselves, they should not be carrying a gun in the first place! These are usually the same people who carry a backup gun and a “deep cover” backup backup gun.

Watching them can be a real treat: by the time they have checked their primary, their backup and their backup backup, they worry that the Ammunition Fairy has come, and they have to start all over! This usually involves multiple contortions and even partial disrobing to reach their backup backup. They never actually do anything, as they spend all their time checking their various guns.

These visitors to Paranoialand have even caused makers to add grasping grooves to the front of the slides of some guns, encouraging folks to place their digits in close proximity to the muzzle, “just in case the Ammunition Fairy came for a visit.” Oh yeah, that’s exactly where I want my fingers, close to all that blast and particles of unburned powder— NOT! Not to mention the possibility of an errant digit getting directly in front of the projectile!

The Ammunition Fairy never made an appearance — not even once!


What worries me is that the more people handle loaded guns, the greater chance there is for a Negligent Discharge—no, they are not “accidents.” The four NDs I observed or investigated at my agency all resulted from this “administrative” loading or unloading of guns. Had they been left alone, a couple of walls and two ceilings would not have needed repairs. Fortunately, no one was injured during these unexpected loud noises.

Let us start at the beginning: When I finish cleaning my carry gun, I count out enough rounds to load the magazine fully, plus one for the chamber. I load the magazine, insert it in the gun, and function the slide. I then try to load the additional round into the magazine. If it does not fit, there is no round in the chamber.

If it does fit, where did the first round go? Did I eat it? NO. Did it fall on the floor? NO. Did space aliens take it? NO. DID THE AMMUNITION FAIRY STEAL IT? NO! The only place it could be is in the chamber. Do I need to check the chamber to see if it is really in there? Again, NO.

Part two of the procedure is to place the additional round in the magazine and insert it into the gun. Then holster the darn thing and leave it alone! If you do not mess with it, it will stay safe and loaded.

Throughout my career, when I got home at night (no kids to worry about, and my wife was an officer as well), I took my sidearm out of the holster and placed it on the nightstand. Next morning (or at o’dark thirty if I got called out), I would dress for work, pick up the gun that no one had touched, and put it back in my holster with complete confidence. I did this for 27 years as an officer, and before and since as a CCW holder, and the Ammunition Fairy never made an appearance— not even once!


I have seen officers place their loaded guns into a gun locker at a courthouse or jail and take the only key with them. When they returned, they unlocked the box (which was under constant observation by guards), and what did they do? You guessed it, they checked to see if the Ammunition Fairy had evaded the guards, opened the box, stolen the round from the chamber, replaced the gun and carefully relocked the box!

Most of these locations are all steel and concrete, which means any ND will endanger everyone in the area, but they still do this. A recent video on the Internet showed a Federal Officer who, while administratively handling his pistol, fired a shot that wounded a nearby officer with another agency.

And all of this took place in an area full of prisoners! What if he had killed his fellow officer? And just this week, another “lock box” was shot, fortunately without any injuries.

Other officers have placed their gun inside their desk and locked it, gone to use the restroom, and returned to unlock their desk and see if they have had a visit from the AF! They never had, although the subsequent surprise “bang” resulted in one of the holes in a government office ceiling.


So folks, trust me on this one: The Ammunition Fairy is dead—dead and buried. If you loaded your hand cannon and controlled access by wearing it or locking it up, the round you left in the chamber is still there—I personally guarantee it. And it will still be there tomorrow, next week, even next month! Stop this unnecessary handling of guns, and get on with life. The real threats require your attention, not the myths.

And if you can’t resist checking to see if the Ammunition Fairy still lives, then check under your pillow for signs of the Tooth Fairy, and under the bed—you might find Freddy Krueger there!

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