In a word, no.
In two words, HELL NO.
I met quite a few gun owners / CCW holders at the old job who routinely carried semi-auto pistols without a round in the chamber because, they said, they were afraid to carry around a gun with one in the chamber because of potential safety issues.
This is, of course, insane.
Unlike other people, I didn’t grow up with a 1911 in my hands: This is all fairly new to me, but even I know that if you follow the rules of gun safety and carry in a good holster, the chances of your gun going “bang” when you don’t want it to is pretty much diddly and/or squat.
The chances of having enough time and hands to draw, rack the slide, chamber a round and THEN point the gun at the threat fast enough to be effective? Also pretty much diddly and/or squat.
Tam has some interesting thoughts on engagement distances, and I think she’s spot-on here. The fact is, to a criminal, we are prey: We have something that the crook wants, and in order to get it, he/she is going to have to come close enough to take it from us. Unless it’s a home invasion situation where the loot is scattered about our abode, that means the bad guy/gal will need to get within bad-breath distance at some point in the encounter to get what they want.
Whether or not they’ll be able to accomplish such actions is up to us.
A gun, ANY gun is not a talisman of self-protection. A $150 Hi-Point or a $1500 Zev are equally useless in protecting the lives of your loved ones if they’re not ready for use when you need them the most. Carrying a semi-auto without a round in the chamber is magical thinking at its’ very worst, because it presupposes you’ll have time to recognize the threat and prepare for what’s next. Unless I’m in my domicile or have to defend the lives of my loved ones, if I have time to recognize the threat and charge up a gun, I also have time to imitate Jesse Owens and get the @$!% out of Dodge.
I think that home-defence might be influencing people’s thought processes here. In a home invasion situation, yes, there might (MIGHT) be enough time and warning to access an unloaded gun and get it ready for use, but if the bad guy is within spitting distance of you, the time to get your gun loaded happened a long time ago.