My G-father was Deputy Sheriff in So. Texas in the 1890s. Probably never gave a thought to keeping an empty chamber. I was his protégé, being only G-son & learned almost all my early gun-stuff from him, 1930s. He was big on gun cleaning & gun safety, carried his 4 3/4" SAA .45 in his front waistband with the loading gate open to keep from falling lower. G-mother complained washing stains 'from that gun' on his shirts. He said he rubbed the outside of his guns with a Bull Durham (tobacco) sack with pecan (nuts) in, beat up till their grease permeated the cloth. I asked about his .45 & he said after he became Justice of the Peace, loaned it to a bar keeper & someone stole it. All I got of his is 12 ga. double bbl he bought used the year he got married 1886 - Damascus, I shot 100s of times, never heard of 'black powder only' back then.
He told about back-in-the-day stuff but little about his 'adventures' as a Deputy Sheriff. One when he was handcuffed to a perp taking him to be hung & finding a perp dead out in the woods, they had been looking for. I always suspected maybe he put him that way.