How Many Extra Magazines Do I Need To Carry?
When the Glock 43 was released on the market, it met a demand many concealed carriers wanted: slimline, compact, single-stack, chambered in 9mm and easy to conceal in the waistband. It followed on the heels of the Walther PPS and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield series. The only downside is that something has got to give. In the case for slimline single-stacks, it’s usually ammunition capacity, grip, and recoil compensation.
Because of the reduced ammunition capacity in slim-line single-stack concealed carry pistols, it’s a good idea to prepare for the likelihood that the concealed carrier will need to reload in a self-defense shooting situation.
Working With The Concealed Carry Routine
The standard procedure in a self-defense situation is to safely draw, put sights on target and judiciously fire. After the event, though, it’s routine for a concealed carrier to scan and do a magazine reload. Why? Because even if the situation has been handled appropriately, there is no telling what’s coming next.
For revolvers, it’s hard to keep an extra bag of rounds on hand. It’s possible to keep a speed-loader in a vehicle but it’s not really convenient to carry on person.
Pistols, however, have easily interchangeable magazines that are easy to carry and easy to conceal.
It’s your judgement whether or not you think you’ll need an extra magazine. In general, it’s always a good idea but each occasion will have its own unique demands. Keeping an extra magazine in a vehicle isn’t a bad move. If you’re able to keep it in your purse or pocket, even better. The most important thing is that you’re familiar with the reloading procedures of your concealed carry firearm.
So, How Many Magazines Should You Carry?
In addition to the one loaded into your concealed carry firearm, it’s a good idea to keep at least one on standby – secured in a vehicle or on your person. For larger compact and full-size pistols chambered in 9mm or similar, chances are you have at least 10 or more rounds of ammunition capacity. That should be a suitable amount.
For instance, if you have a Glock 19 Gen 4 (and live in an unrestricted magazine state), you have a standard capacity of 15 rounds. The chances you’ll need a backup magazine on-hand are slim. That said, if you get into a firefight with one or multiple opponents where the opponents are able to get to cover – that one magazine will get scarce quick.
But most of the concealed carry self-defense experiences we’ve reported on are generally over and done within 6 to 8 shots. In actuality, the first 2-3 rounds are what’s important. We’re really splitting a hair discussing that one in a million scenario where you’re forced to fight your way out of a situation with multiple opponents who do not retreat at the first sign of resistance. In that case, you’ll most certainly wish you had that back-up magazine on-hand.
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James England is a former United States Marine Signals Intelligence Operator and defense contractor with over two tours spread over the Al Anbar province and two more operating across Helmand and Baghdis. He is presently a writer focused on Western foreign policy and maintains an avid interest in firearms. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, he presently resides in New Hampshire – the “Live Free or Die” state. He is finishing up his first novel, “American Hubris”, which is set to hit shelves in Fall of 2015.