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Thread: Magazines, how many to carry and how many rounds?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th June 2012
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    Magazines, how many to carry and how many rounds?

    A couple of recent threads have dealt with magazines, how many to carry and how many rounds does each hold. So I wrote this up to start a little discussion if anyone wants to jump in.

    I've thought long and hard about a reload magazine and the correct pistol to carry. There are advocates of 9mm Hi Powers with a 15 round mag in the pistol plus another 15 round mag or 2 carried in a pocket or belt carrier. Wow, that seems like a lot of ammo (46 rounds) for some event that will almost never, never, ever occur. And if this rare, rare event ever does occur, the likelihood of using more than 4-6-8 rounds seems very, very remote, unless you're a hose and spray USPSA shooter (and I played that game at one time). However, I often carry this way (using one 13 round mag in the pistol and just one extra mag in a pocket--27 rounds total). That extra mag because it is double stacked can be hard to conceal and uncomfortable if you're wearing jeans (especially if you're wearing Mac Davis "Hard to be Humble" jeans). I often carry a Hi Power 40 cal or 357Sig conversion, 10 round mags. 21 rounds should be more than enough in the rare, rare event of a need to discharge my weapon. You have the same problem with magazine concealment for this caliber.

    I have a ParaOrdance P13. I got it 20+ years ago, had Novak sights put on it, and it is a great pistol. However, the double stack mags are hard to conceal just like the Hi Power mags. But I'm carrying similar capacity ammo to the Hi Power, just in 45 cal.

    Lastly, I have a nice WC CCO style in 45 cal. 7+1 in the pistol plus I carry a slightly extended 8 round mag which is thinner and easier to conceal in a jeans pocket than a Hi Power mag. This is actually the most concealable combo of all that I've mentioned and the one I carry the most. This is almost, but not quite, as concealable as my wife's 9mm EMP. I feel that if I need more than 16 rounds of 45 cal ammo, then either I have not been good with my sighting and placement of shots or the zombie apocalypse has occurred. Yeh, yeh, I know, many people will say that under stress I will pull shots and need more ammo. Maybe. I sincerely hope to never have to find that out. And if I ever have to fire my weapon, I will be doing my best to retreat to a place of safety and away from the danger. A pistol is not an offensive weapon.
    Last edited by danriverboy; 19th November 2016 at 10:57.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    22nd December 2004
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    Well my theory on defensive use of the pistol is that you want the most effective gun for the fight. That is usually defined as a full sized service pistol of some sort (full sized Government model, Glock 17, etc.) as a rule I relegate the current crop of compact pistols like the S&W Shield and other similar pistols to backup status.

    My main concern with a backup magazine, is staying in the fight, so the ability to retrieve the magazine quickly and keep my pistol topped off is most important. It is carried on the belt most of the time. Mission drives the gear, so I dress in clothing that conceals my gun, rather than carrying a gun that fits my style of dress. Even in hot, sunny Florida I can conceal a full sized pistol and a spare magazine or two under a polo shirt and shorts.

    I won't be specific about my loadout on a public forum, but I can say that I generally have somewhere in the range of 25-30 rounds on my person in some combination of magazines and gun at any given time that fits within those parameters.

    There is a "rule of threes" that applies to lethal force encounters that a non-LEO would likely face (armed robberies, car jackings, and other assorted street crimes) that it will be over in 3 seconds, and will require about 3 shots. More recent statistics also show that it may now include 3 (or more) individuals. So after a common encounter, the single stack pistol will be at lock back, and the double stack will be about half full. The purpose of the spare magazine is not necessarily for use in the current fight, but so you can be ready for the next fight (in case the bad guys buddies here the shots and decide to come check it out).
    "The 1911 was the design, given by God to us through John M. Browning, that represents the epitome of what a killing tool needs to be. It was true in 1911 and it's true now." - Col. Robert Coates commanding, U.S. Marine Corp Special Operations Command Detachment 1 (DET 1)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    2nd October 2006
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    When carrying a single stack pistol, I always carry at least two spare mags, and sometimes carry more, for a minimum of 25 rounds available.

    When carrying a hi-cap pistol, I always carry at least one spare mag, and sometimes carry more, for a minimum of 35 rounds available.
    "Sights are for the unenlightened."

    Rick

    IDPA Certified Safety Officer
    Last edited by Rick McC.; 19th November 2016 at 20:36.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    14th August 2011
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    Everybody has different thoughts on how many rounds to carry. It comes down to what a person is comfortable with. It has been said that the only reason to carry a pistol is so you can fight your way back to your vehicle to get the rifle you should have been carrying.

    Personally my thoughts are that if the situation cannot be taken care of with one magazine worth of ammo, I cannot carry enough ammo to take care of it.

    Having said that, I do carry a second magazine because magazines are the most problem prone part of a pistol and I want a back up just in case of a failure.

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