Pocket Carrying a Spare Magazine

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By Jason Hanson

I find myself carrying my Ruger LCP more and more often these days. After all, it’s lightweight, fits perfectly in my front right pocket, and with Hornady Critical Defense ammo I feel confident in stopping a threat. I realize a lot of folks believe the .380 is underpowered but I’ve still never met anyone who was willing to let me shoot them with one. However, as with any pocket gun, you’re carrying a limited amount of ammunition – typically 6 to 7 rounds. That’s why I believe it’s important to carry a spare magazine. But a lot of people don’t do this because it’s not convenient or easy. And obviously, just throwing a spare magazine in your pocket amongst your keys, pens, and change isn’t the smart thing to do. If you ever needed it quickly, it could take a while to fish it out . . .

To solve this problem, a few holster makers have created holsters that have built-in magazine pouches. One of these is the Pocket Roo by Tuff-Products (above left). It carries a spare magazine in a pouch underneath the grip area of the gun. When I first picked up the Pocket-Roo I didn’t know what to expect. But it seemed like a quality built cloth holster and I was hoping it would solve the extra magazine problem for all of us.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, it doesn’t. The thing is, whether your gun is on your hip or in your pocket, you need to be able to get a firm grip on the gun while it’s in the holster. If you can’t get a firm grip, you’ll be adjusting your grip on the draw, which is a big no-no that will slow you down, affect your shot and could cost you your life one day. When I try and get a firm grip on my LCP while using the Pocket-Roo the magazine pouch always gets in the way. I wish it wasn’t so because I think the Pocket-Roo is a clever design, but if I can’t get a firm grip I can’t consider using the holster.

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Instead, what I’ve found to be one of the best ways to carry extra ammunition in your pocket is to use a magazine pouch that goes in your other pocket. In other words, since I carry my gun in my front right pocket, I carry my spare magazine in my left pocket. The magazine pouch I use is from a company called Aholster (above right). Their mag pouch is made from kydex and is formed to fit in the bottom of the pocket to keep the magazine upright and in place. Even better, thanks to its design, when you reach in your pocket to draw the magazine, the kydex pouch stays behind.

Aholster also makes a kydex pocket holster for my LCP that allows me to get a solid grip on my gun (I can draw and fire in two seconds or less). Like all of my gun-related gear, I’m constantly searching for better options, but for now, these are the pocket carry options that work for me and may just work for you too.

Jason R. Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He also runs the Concealed Carry Academy. He can be reached through www.ConcealedCarryAcademy.com

 

40 Responses to Pocket Carrying a Spare Magazine

  1. avatarjkp says:

    Even if you WERE able to get a firm grip on it, this holster seems like a bad idea for another reason.

    Once the gun is in your hand, how are you going to change the magazine?

    • avatarBrett says:

      The Pocket Roo makes a lot more sense with a revolver. The quick strip doesn’t Obscure the grip at all, and you can easily draw the strip during the hand switch in your revolver reload.

  2. avatarJay In Florida says:

    Ive just been carrying a mag loose in my left side pocket. Along with my wallet. It stays sort of in place next to the wallet.
    I carry the gun IWB right side.
    But being realistic.
    I cant get to it if I needed to under stress.
    The only way is in a belt holder and I cant do that wearing a tucked in t-shirt and jeans.
    So even though I have a spare reload.
    I hope to heck I will never need it.

  3. avatarblahpony says:

    I use a Buck knife case size #112 for my LC9 spare mag. It goes on my belt next to my Leatherman and hides in plain sight.

  4. avatarblehtastic says:

    This is a good backup idea, but my preference is a pocket gun in my pocket for quick draw situations, and a backup full sized pistol in an edc messenger/small backpack. For those stores/places that prohibit bags I should probably start doing this.

    • avatarmp says:

      I use an old “flip phone” case—easy on and off clip or horizontal belt loop, secure (enough) velcro closure, can carry anything from p3at mags to 15 rnd glock 19 mag in plain sight keeping my pocket(s) free. 5- 10 dollars at hme depot or wal-mart.

  5. avatarensitue says:

    my pocket carry has a 10 rnd mag

  6. avatarsightpicture says:

    So with all that stuff in your pockets what do you do with change, keys, pocket knife, wallet, etc.??
    Pocket carry is for the middle of the night IMHO.
    For me all my shorts and pants are a little different, which changes entry point And draw angle. This is enough to discourage daily pocket carry for me

  7. avatarJay W. says:

    I use the DeSantis Mag-Packer in my left front pocket for my M&P Shield 8 round mag.

  8. avatarDirgeNYS says:

    I’ve been very happy with the DeSantis Mag Packer pouch for my Kahr PM9 magazines. It’s made from the same kind of rubbery, tacky material that DeSantis uses for their pocket holsters that keeps them from being pulled out of the pocket along with the gun/mag. Plus, it’s soft and pliable, so it does a better job at conforming to the shape of your pocket than a kydex pouch.

  9. avatarBob Damon says:

    I have that pocket roo holster for my S&W snubbie.
    The spare magazine holder is perfect for a quick strip, and since the reload for a revolver involves holding it with the left hand, it works very well.
    I also have a belt carrier for 2 speed loaders. This allows for easy carry of 20 rounds.

  10. avatarRonaldo Ignacio says:

    I just live with 7 rounds.
    3.1 seconds.
    A lifetime?

  11. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I considered carrying my Taurus PT709 in my pocket (a little big but doable), haven’t tried it yet, but ended up deciding if I do it I’m going Israeli and skipping the holster altogether. No need to have the trigger covered if there ain’t no round in the chamber. I know a lot of people around here will scoff at the idea of Israeli carry, but here’s a question for you; would you rather carry an unchambered 9mm or a chambered .380?

    • avatarRonaldo Ignacio says:

      Chambered .380.

      Hell, I would rather carry a chambered .22lr rather than an unchambered 9mm.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        Just an observation, Renaldo, but a 9mm is as powerful at 250 yards as a .380 is at the muzzle and as far as the .22 it’s either 400 yards or 700 yards depending on whether your .22 is a rifle or pistol. Granted you might have to aim 100 feet above your assailant’s head (as opposed to running 700 yards to shoot him at point blank), but it seems to me that unless your assailant shoots you in your support hand that 1/10th of a second it takes to rack a slide more often than not will mean less than hitting him with 2.5 times the energy. Just playing the odds here.

        • avatarRonaldo Ignacio says:

          1/10 second?
          250 yds? We are talking more like 250 mm.
          It takes me 2.8 seconds to draw and fire from pocket carry.
          In that time an assailant could cover 43 feet.
          Realistically with pocket carry we only have to be concerned with muzzle energy.
          And what about the printing factor?

        • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          So if your assailant is only 42 feet away you’re screwed? If you’re worried about getting into a quick draw situation maybe you should skip the pocket carry altogether. I wasn’t saying you could draw and fire in 1/10th of a second, I was saying that it would take and extra 1/10th of a second, at least with a bit of practice. Personally I figure that 90% of the time you could get in a quick draw situation it would be best to leave your pistol holstered and wait for a more opportune moment.

          My point was that the muzzle energy of a 9mm is twice that of a .380, it takes 250 yards for it to lose half of it’s energy and therefore become effectively a .380.

          If your pocket pistol is printing you should probably buy some pants that aren’t so tight. Nobody is looking there anyway.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      If Zimmerman had been carrying an unchambered 9mm he may not have survived to tell the story.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        And if he were carrying a .380 Travon might be alive today. It’s all about the odds. What are the odds that either your weak hand will be disabled or the fraction of a second it takes to rack the slide will be the deciding factor vs. whether having a sufficiently powerful round will be. My thought is that a .380 in a pocket holster would be nearly as bulky as a single stack compact 9mm would be without the holster.

        As I mentioned I have yet to try pocket carry, but my hands are large enough to be a problem with the PT709, I don’t think a PT738 would be an option. The 709 would be a little too bulky to pocket carry with a pocket holster (I think), so for me, I think Israeli carry is the only pocket carry option (chambered without a holster is NOT an option) for pocket carry. Odds are I’ll forget pocket carry altogether.

    • avatarjimmy john says:

      I use to have your same mentality about why should I carry with a chambered round? It takes a fraction of a second to do so. And then I saw some surveillance video of someone that got into a gun fight without a round chambered. He got shot, pulled his firearm and pulled the trigger, nothing happened and he then proceeded to try and chamber a round and got a failure to feed because he didnt pull back far enough. in the mean time he was shot multiple more times and the assailants got away, I have no idea if he survived but in the footage he ends up passing out from blood loss.

      If you are going to carry empty, anytime you draw you need to train to rack the slide. That means even just going to the range. if you pick it up from a table you rack the slide, if you draw from a holster you rack the slide, which then entails, you will probably need to unload before reholstering.

      If you dont train this way, under stress you will default to the standard draw and get a click. then you go to tap rack bang and your 1/10 of a second (pretty generous) has now turned into most likely more than a second extra.

      I understand the aversion to a loaded gun in your pocket (same reason why I dont appendix carry, dont like muzzling that area, and it is really uncomfortable) if you put other things in there. but my opinion is regardless of a chambered round or not you should have it in a holster. After all all guns are always loaded, and if you throw it in your pocket accidentally with a loaded chamber (people get bangs all the time thinking there wasnt anything in there) you have now increased your risk for a negligent discharge exponentially.

  12. avatarensitue says:

    unchambered is as good as unloaded, sheesh!

  13. avatarSkyler says:

    A question I haven’t seen answered yet is whether a magazine needs to be concealed in Texas.

    • avatarMatt in TX says:

      Did a little search and the answer seems to be it doesn’t matter only the gun matters. Though if
      someone were to see your mag they might look harder for a gun. That no longer matters either. Picking up a quarter off the floor and flashing your carry piece is no longer a class A misdemeanor. That just changed. It must be intentional. Doesn’t mean you won’t get arrested. Just means you can beat it in court. (TEXAS ONLY)

  14. avatarRopingdown says:

    Mr. Hanson, it is an interesting discussion. I use the kydex pistol part (sans the belt attachment device) of a Stingray belt holster, to hold my G30, in the right pocket of a jacket (unless conditions demand a G36 and no spare). It doesn’t print because it is covered by a same-size rectangle of plastic. In the left pocket, for balance, I often keep a G21 magazine, also behind a rectangle of plastic. If I am uncomfortable in a situation due to an obvious approach in a tough neighborhood or late at night, I simply put three fingers on the grip in the pocket. If I need to draw, my thumb is ready to push off the kydex. It is simple. It also works with slacks pockets, if I’m not wearing a jacket. I see no need for a spare magazine holder. It is simple enough to push the spare into a handkerchief to keep it in position and lint-free. I assume SAD Para, sticking a G17 into a simple slide holster, became tiresome for you?

  15. avatarChas says:

    Jason,

    I wouldn’t let someone poke me in the eye with a stick, either. That doesn’t make it a good carry weapon.

    • avatarSkyler says:

      A stick is better than nothing. And in my profession I need to carry a very small hand gun, so I choose the ruger lcp. I don’t much like the ruger company because of its betrayal of firearms rights back in the 90′s, but it came into my possession and it does the trick.

  16. avatarCameron S. says:

    I carry my LCP’s spare magazine in a Sneaky Pete Plan B.

    It’s a nice OWB leather case that looks like a really nice multi-tool holster. It’s made of nice leather, has a really great spring steel clip that attaches it to the belt securely, and secure yet easy to open magnetic closure. It fits the magazine perfectly and it never rattles around. I’ve practiced reloads with it and a pocket magazine holster, and this won by a long shot.

  17. avatarneiowa says:

    On a side note – WTH does “is a former CIA Officer” have to do with anything? The CIA has for decades been a disfunctional incompetent burecratic cesspool of polictically correct fools. Sucking on the taxpayer teat does not qualify anyone as an expert on anything. In particular does not make one an expert on anything firearms related. Dating back to Jimmy Carter days, the CIA became the NOT Human Intelligence organization. Just one more “security” agency lovin’ the high tech BS over getting hands dirty in order to accomplish something (see also Iraq/Afgan and today Syria).

    Might recall that the left made the same “CIA Officer” claims a few years ago for Valerie Plame/Wilson (file clerk/eyecandy) as a beat up on Bush.

    Advice from a “CIA Officer” is as useful a credential as advice from an unknown “SWAT team member, USAF officer or the local Sanitation Engineer.

  18. avatarBruce McDonald says:

    I have not yet seen any actual occurrence of an armed citizen needing to reload to stop a threat. Nobody needs to get carried away by all the what ifs that keep getting brought up, there is no actual substantiating evidence that supports this in any armed citizen story I have read.

  19. avatarRobZ says:

    I carry a couple of spare 6 round magazines for my Kahr PM9 in a discontinued WRB magazine pouch. It’s made of some kind of soft quilted material and sticks to the pocket pretty well. Wish I had one for for my Kahr P380 too.

  20. avatarHardy says:

    I carry the Kel-Tec p3at and most of the time I carry a ten round mag in a pocket knife holder that clips onto my belt and it works great.

  21. avatarPat says:

    A pocket gun IS the spare mag.

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