I carry a spare ammunition magazine in my front pocket. Son, I say son, that’s a recipe for failure! What’re ya goin’ do when your mag gets gummed up, I say gummed up by gumballs, loose change and used condom wrappers? You’re going to die, that’s what. You’ll have more holes than the Obama administration’s explanation for Operation Fast and Furious. Although probably not. If I need more than 11 rounds to solve a self-defense situation (i.e. escape), I’m probably better off calling in an air strike (1-800-DIE-MFER). On the other hand, most semiautomatic pistol failures are mag related. So . . . I carry an heir and a spare. And I practice swapping mags from my pocket. You?

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39 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Carry A Spare Mag?

  1. No I dont carry a spare mag but thats because I am to young to legally carry a handgun. It would be silly to carry a mag for a gun I dont have. But in all seriousness when I am old enough I will probably carry a spare mag in my pocket. if your gonna carry a gun might as well be able to make it go bang even if your mag fails.

  2. Yes. If you carry an autoloader, the primary advantage of doing so is a fast, efficient reload compared to a revolver.

    Carry in a good holster with a good mag pouch molded specifically for your magazine, NOT a generic nylon one.

    I use nylon ones with velcro overstraps for kit, but not for CC.

    • I’ve yet to see a revolver that holds more than 5-7 rounds; my current EDC holds 16+1 (XD9701), and my BUG-sized pistols are both 6+1 designs.

      The benefit of autoloaders isn’t all in ease/speed of reload, it’s in gross ammunition capacity, and weight efficiency in the ammunition feeding device.

      • The only auto I have is a full-size. It has flush mags from Mec-Gar that hold 18 rounds, +1 in the pipe. The revolver only has 5. I don’t generally carry an extra mag, but I will bring a stripper and a speed loader for the revolver.

        • Devil’s Advocate: No spare magazine? What happens in the event of a magazine-induced failure?

          Also: Sig?

  3. I carry a spare speedloader for my revolver. Although I’ve noticed that I’ve had a harder time concealing (or finding a spare pocket for – don’t really want my hollow points sharing a pocket with my keys or my ipod) the extra rounds than I have the revolver itself. All of the pouches I’ve found leave a very obvious bulge under a loose shirt that hides my revolver fine.

  4. It depends on what I’m doing, and the time of year.

    I started out carrying my spare mag in a pocket, but it caused grossly excessive garment wear, so I discontinued the practice. These days, when I’m at work, I generally keep it in my backpack during warmer months, and on my belt during colder months. Outside of work I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t really give a damn about concealment, so I generally wear a spare mag regardless of weather.

    • I’m starting to feel the same way about concealment. Most of the time I’ve found that if a mag pouch (or, heaven forbid, my pistol) becomes visible, most people steer clear. Also, I’m larger than the average human and I generally look surly – two effective deterrents against most of the population.

      • At 6’5″, north of 300 pounds with a shaved head and bushy beard I too find that people tend to steer clear even if they don’t know I’m carrying.
        The wife and I used to go to Old Country Buffet for Sunday morning brunch, and I would sometimes remove my cover garment (open carry being legal in MN). at one point the manager said to my wife “You know, some people find your husband kind of intimidating carrying a gun.” To which she replied “A lot of people find him intimidating when he’s not carrying a gun.”

  5. Not all the time with an automatic, maybe 50% of the time. But with my new snubnosed revolver I always carry at least one speed strip, sometimes two.

  6. Absolutely. Eight in the mag, one in the chamber, and a spare on the opposite hip. Why only one spare? Like Farago said, if I need more than 17 rounds of .45 Auto to solve a problem, I probably should be fighting my way to a rifle. Say, the one in my trunk, for example.

  7. Yes, but not always. It would be interesting to see some statistics on the number of rounds fired in a documented self defense situations and if a reload was performed.

    With an autoloader is it really about the number of rounds or the magazine itself? What if the magazine is damaged and the gun jams. A damaged magazine or jam could effectively mean you only get to fire one round. Maybe a second gun is a better solution than a spare magazine.

  8. If I carry a spare it’s in my handy dandy cheap high impact plastic pouch from Springfield attached to my belt.

  9. I don’t carry a spare mag when I’m toting a pistol, but when I carry a snubby I pocket-carry two reloads in speedloaders. Unless I’m going to Fallujah, where I might need additional firepower and a squad of Marines.

  10. Ah… but have you ever seen someone “answer” their spare magazine when they get a cell phone call? Most hilarious flub ever.

    -D

  11. The idea of needing more than 7, 12, or even 18 rounds isn’t that crazy. Mr. Farago and many other pundits advocate not reacting viscerally, training, controlled pairs/double taps/insert fancy name here. But what if all that goes to shit and you just empty your entire mag into/towards the first of multiple BGs? Not too far fetched of a situation, and a second magazine could be your saving grace.

    • Nothing is more dangerous than an idea—when it’s the only one you have. So sure. Second mag. Why not? Just slow down a bit for number two eh?

    • Even if you don’t fire off a full magazine, it’s a good idea to have a spare available for a tactical reload when the opportunity presents itself. You never know if the guy you put down as a buddy nearby.

  12. Wander over to RangeMaster. Tom Givens has plenty of real world evidence from students involved in shootings. Have a spare mag. DO NOT carry it loose in pocket. Real world example, student needed to reload, mag wouldn’t seat, dime stuck in feeedlips. That would suck during a defensive shooting.

  13. I am not permitted to carry (Illinois resident) but I would absolutely have a spare magazine if I carried a pistol. It doesn’t matter how many rounds the magazine carries or if I would exhaust that first magazine, I would have at least one spare, and preferably two. I’m a big proponent of the “tactical reload”; so that necessitates carrying at least one spare magazine right there. Two is one, one is none; so two spares.

    Frankly, I don’t understand the reasoning for NOT carrying a spare magazine. Folks carry concealed for that “just in case” situation. Why on earth would you carry a gun “just in case” but not carry spare ammo “just in case”? If that justification is good enough to carry a pistol, isn’t it good enough to carry a spare magazine or two? Doesn’t “just in case” apply to magazine-related failures as well as it does to assaults? (I have to tell you, I’ve experienced far more magazine-related failures than I have assaults. So my experience suggests that, if I’m willing to say the chance of assault is high enough to carry a pistol, then the chance of magazine-related failure is high enough to carry a spare magazine.)

  14. I always carry a spare mag and always in a mag holder. I use a Comp-Tac holder that clips on my belt just behind my left hip. It’s out of the way, secure and doesn’t interfere with me accessing my pockets.

    On the occasions I carry a revolver, I either carry a speed loader or speed strips.

  15. 1911 on my left hip (8+1). Two 8-round mags on my right hip in a Bianchi snap-top dual-mag pouch. No problems concealing under a T-shirt either. I still carry at least one (if not two) spare mags when carrying a double stack .40 as well.

  16. Yes, I do. In fact, I bought two Gould & Goodrich B860, one to hold a spare mag for my Kahr CW9 and a flashlight when concealed carrying, and one to hold a spare mag for my XD-9 and a flashlight when open carrying.

  17. I carry a spare mag (an additional 13 rounds for my Beretta 92 Compact) in a leather pouch that also holds my surefire. Beside that I also have a pouch with my Gibber multi-tool. I also carry a paraframe knife clipped to the inside of my front pocket.

    I would love to find a pouch that would hold all three at once or a holster that would hold the tool.

  18. I carry two spare mags, in a holder by Raven Concealment Systems. My FNP-45 has a 15 shot double-stack mag, and I keep two 14-rounders in the carrier as backup. That’s 43 rounds of 230gr +P .45ACP.

    I think that covers just about any situation.

  19. Carry a reload? Yes!

    If I’m carrying my LCR I have a loaded Tuff-Strip in my right front pocket.

    If I’m carrying my Bodyguard 380 or Kahr PM9 I have a spare mag, top down, in a inside-the-pocket mag carrier in my right front pocket.

    My feeling is this: the advice I was given was – after a self defense shooting, stay put. Running away makes you look guilty. Stay there, call the cops, then call your lawyer. A reload keeps you from being unarmed in the event that you emptied your gun and the cops haven’t come yet. You never know what is going to happen.

    • She should really consider getting a gun with a higher capacity so she doesnt have to reload so much. (sarcasm alert)

  20. Most of the time I carry my G20 and two reloads. I really only carry two by default. I was going to just carry one but the single mag carrier I was looking at wasn’t any easier to conceal and only took up a little less room IWB than the double mag carrier of the same design so I figured WTH. Now, with my Arredondo +5 mag extensions, I carry a Glock 20 and 56 rounds of 10mm Auto 😈

    If circumstances aren’t permitting then I’ll carry a reload off body for the G20 or keep one in a pocket for my XD or LC9.

  21. An extra mag in the pocket is the standard for the G19. So are drills using that setup at the range.

    Winter clothing may facilitate carrying 2 extras. One of the very few benefits of cold weather.

  22. I carry a spare mag for my EDC Glock 27 in my weakside front pocket. It’s carried in a DeSantis “mag packer” holster. It gathers far less lint than my G27 does in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster.

  23. No spare mag.

    P11 20 oz.
    Holster 2 oz.
    Knife 3 oz.
    Cellphone 6 oz.
    Holster 1 oz.
    Multitool 8 oz.
    Holster 1/2 oz.
    Wallet 3 oz.
    Flashlight 4 oz.
    Vehicle Fob 1 oz.
    Pen/pocket calendar 1 oz.
    +/- JA-22 14 oz.

    3+ pounds on my belt/in my pockets, almost 4+ if I have the JA-22.

  24. I carry one spare mag for my weapon of choice
    (13rounds .40/.357SIG or 17 rounds 9mm additional) if I am driving. The mag and pocket knife are in the back left pocket. If for some reason I’m walking or spending the day in someone else’s car I carry two magazines. Lately I’ve been carrying a BUG in my right front pocket. That, depending on the weapon, adds 5 rounds of .38 or 7-8 rounds of 9mm but if I have a pocket gun I may not have a spare mag. My belts take a LOT of wear holding my pants up with all this weight and try sitting on a double column magazine all day when it shifts at the wrong time. Ouch. My minimum is 21 rounds total, I’ve been through a lot of carry weapons and mags and that number stops the “do I have enough ammo?” OCD twitch.

    I carry a spare because the average bad guy does not and I don’t plan on being outgunned if he does.

  25. I don’t carry a spare I carry two. Since I carry in a shoulder holster this helps equalize the weight. And since normally I carry a FN FiveseveN with an extended (30 round) mag in the well and two regular (20 round) mags in the pouches I am regularly carrying 71 rounds. That’s if I don’t have my BUG (10+1 9mm) in my pocket.
    If I’m heading into the woods though I trade out the FN for a Para P-14 .45 (cause a bear might get seriously pissed if he noticed you shot him with a 5.7x28mm round or ten) with extended mags so I have 20+1 in the holster and 2 20-rounders in the pouches. One of these days I’m going to fixerize the pouches so they can handle the extended FN mags.
    I figure if I’m ever in a situation where 91 rounds isn’t enough I can shoot 90 times and save the last one for myself. πŸ˜‰

  26. I carry a spare mag for my Kahr CW9 in a Desantis pocket carrier. I’ve trained with it enough that I can reload from my pocket almost as fast as if I had a spare mag on the belt. Carrying a spare mag is essential for anyone who carries daily. If/when you need to use your daily carry, there’s no telling what might happen when you draw the weapon. You could inadvertently depress the mag release and lose the mag that way, and it bounces and falls under a table or car. It’s much easier to reload from the pocket than to dig around for it on the ground.

    And along the lines of mag failures, if you’re not actually using your daily carry at the range, with your carry ammo and carry mags, that’s a recipe for disaster. You want to make sure they all work together flawlessly, your life depends on it. BUT, anything can happen and a mag failure is still possible, so having at least 1 spare mag is common sense! I love the old adage “2 is 1, 1 is none”.

  27. I generally keep at least one spare mag on me, unless I’m working, in which case it is generally in my work bag, along with my ears, a lockbox, some climbing hardware, and various other items.

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