When I was at Ranger School there was still the "hand to hand" or "Combatives" training. One of the more interesting parts of that training was when an instructor would toss a taser or plastic knife into the bout. Yes I got shocked. Yes it "got my attention." By the time a fight involves body contact the first person to a useable weapon usually wins. I know this, I understand this, and I still think that condition 1 carry is inappropriate for the vast majority of situations.
I've written before on why Condition 3 carry is good for slowing down your OODA loop so that you don't do something you don't want to do in hindsight. http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/2010/12/condition-3-carry.html
This debate will not die, http://blog.robballen.com/2012/05/04/p5565-i-like-to-keep-the-halon-and-the-actual.post, and very respected people are dead set against Condition 3 carry with some very valid reasons. However, those reasons are not objective but subjective, just like my reasons.
Tam has a valid point that it is "handgun" not "handsgun" and if you have a hand trapped by an attacker you are at a severe disadvantage to racking your slide. Case in point George Zimmerman, laying on his back having his head bashed against a concrete sidewalk is probably very happy that he didn't condition 3 carry.
But, and this is my big but, if you are going into harms way, confronting unknown persons in the dark, then condition 3 carry is a bad idea. If you are planning to put yourself in danger by all means make yourself as dangerous as possible to any potential threat.
Now, if you are NOT putting yourself in harms way, what do you gain by condition 1 carry? A few fractions of a second while playing frisbee with your dog at the park to react to a "prison yard rush?" If you are in a "normal" situation where even if you are trying to not be "condition white" and something bad happens, what is the first thing you do?
BAM, toddler gets hit by a truck, what do you do? If it is anything like China you walk on by, or take a video of it.
BAM, fire hydrant fails, what do you do? If it is anything like reality you stop and gawk for a while.
BAM, big ugly guy turns the corner in a threatening manner, what do you do?
Well, you have 4 options; Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Submit. If you choose fight then your OODA loop goes right out the window, your analytical portion of the brain turns off, and you FIGHT. Of course you could end up shooting an undercover policeman, just like happened in New York. OODA loop fail, inability to properly assess the situation.
If you choose to Freeze while you take in information you might make yourself a tempting target to the big ugly homeless guy who is staggering towards you with his face contorted because of acute angina. He walks away if you can unfreeze fast enough to call 911.
If you choose Flee, then you live and he may or may not.
If you choose "Submit" you shouldn't be reading this blog.
I cannot make anyones choices for them, nor can I make people stop writing posts about why "condition X is totally wrong and should be banned by law!" Carry in a manner that you choose based on your experience and risk level.
Now why is Condition 3 a really good idea? If it weren't for condition 1 carry we wouldn't have the meme of "Only Ones" from the cop down in Florida who said "I'm the only one in this room qualified to handle a Glock 40" before shooting himself in the leg in front of a classrom of elementary students.
"But Merc" you say, he disobeyed the 4 rules! Yup he did, and so will you at some point. Whether your screwup results in a hospital visit or not remains to be seen.