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Millions of Americans carry a firearms every day. And that number’s growing all the time. Yet not all of them pack a reload. IN fact, it seems safe to assume that the percentage that carry a reload is smaller than the percentage of people who have faith in our federally elected officials.

Then again, not everyone thinks carrying a reload is that important.

John Correia from Active Self-Protection wrote in his piece “Lessons From Observing 5000 Gunfights“:

2. Reloads are almost vanishingly insignificant factors in gunfights. I have seen precisely 2 reloads in a real gunfight that weren’t on-duty LEO. And neither of those affected the outcome of the fight. I have seen about 7 or 8 where a higher capacity firearm or the presence of a reload might have affected the outcome. So 0.2% of what I have witnessed. Don’t spend much valuable class time teaching emergency and retention reloads…at least until your highest level classes where all the fundamentals are flawless. I like Tom Givens‘ focus on the PROACTIVE reload once the fight is over. That has value in my opinion.

I respect John Correia a lot. Having said that, I’ve always been taught to carry at least one reload. Malfunctions happen. Also, if someone attempts a disarm, magazines sometimes end up on the ground.

I have heard a dozen or more reasons over the years to carry a reload. I always come back to my personal favorite: ammunition is like bubblegum. If you don’t have enough to go around, you’re in real trouble.

I don’t walk out of the house without two reloads. Is that excessive? It’s only another pound of gear to go with the other eight pounds of stuff I carry every day anyway.

I realize that most civilian defensive gun uses fit the profile of three rounds or less in three seconds or less at three yards or less.  At the same time, I understand that, like distance, more ammunition gives me options. And options mean safety.

As far as reloading in the immediate aftermath of a gun battle, it depends. Can I reload safely from behind cover while keeping an eye on my environment? Can I do so while ensuring the magazine seats properly? Both are important considerations.

So…why don’t you carry a reload?

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  1. um, how about, I carry at least one extra magazine, full of reloaded ammo? does that count? I find that my handloads are more accurate, more reliable, and just plain shoot better than any factory ammo, more consistant, and a third the price still running xtp’s in both my 9mm and .45acp.

    • Either you’re a reloading god or you use some cheap ass factory ammo. I never feel nervous about my primary load of Hornady Critical Duty.

      • still a third the cost, and I still shoot better than I do any top shelf ammo, not saying it’s crap ammo, but I’m very picky when loading for defense, there are still variances in high end factory ammo, not so much when doing it by hand, but I’ll take your compliment about being a reloading god, I take pride in my rounds.

        • If you have to use the pistol to defend yourself, which I presume is the reason you’re carrying it, you could be placing yourself in a very ill advised position by using reloaded ammunition, particularly in light of the prevailing legal climate. There’s nothing in that equation that bodes well for you.

        • I agree with Mr. Savage. My reloads are better than a lot of factory cartridges for the same reason your mom’s apple pie beats anything you can buy at the grocery store.

        • Just beware that in the aftermath of a defensive shoot, you will get destroyed in court for using reloads. Even if you did everything else right, even if you prove the shoot was self defense, the few dollars you saved could cost you everything you own. A halfway decent prosecutor can convince a jury that you created a round that causesd undue suffering, that only a madman predispoaed to violence would.use. Legally, the best defensive ammo is what the police use, for it destroys any argument a prosecutor may present that the ammo was used for some nefarious purpose. I know, it is silly, but that is what happens in our courts.

        • Regarding the use of reloaded ammo causing extra jeopardy in court, please cite a case where this happened. Otherwise, I call BS.

        • Did anyone read the article. I thought is was about carrying extra ammo not reloaded ammo.

        • Before you carry reloads in your every day gun, Google “Harold Fish Arizona self-defense”.

          Mr. Fish spent a lot of time in prison for shooting a man in what was eventually shown to be self defense. (The legislature changed the law and he won a re-trial.)

          In the initial trill the prosecution made a big deal out of the fact that he used handholds that he considered more effective than factory ammo. Using factory ammo, especially that labeled “self-defense” or similar takes this away from a prosecutor if you ever have to use the weapon.

        • Before you run your yap about the Harold Fish case, how about you do your damn homework? The issue was about the nature of the shooting; the handloads played no part in the legal reasoning, and his appeal succeeded because that type of shooting was later ruled to be in self defense.


        • Sports fans; I think the author is talking about additional ammo for your Pistola, not factory vs hand loads???if I am wrong smear me with butter and call me a biscuit!

      • I feel is safer with Critical defense. Critical Duty (watch the youtube comparison.) may be too much. If you have time -I doubt you will not learn something. Shawn.

        • It depends on the gun. Critical defence is designed to work best in a compact, short barreled handgun. Thing is many people carry a full frame 9mm, and critical defence tends to under penetrate.

    • Admittedly I’m not a great reloaded, but Federal HST + P 9mm, Bonded Underwood 125 grain .357 JHP, Winchester Ranger RA40T, and Eagle Eye 175 grain .308 BTHP are pretty accurate and incredibly reliable.

    • Agreed that reloaded ammo will probably give you more accuracy. However when it comes to dependability, if you inspect each round of factory ammo, it will probably not fail any more than your reloaded cartridges will. A primer you get out of a box and that you installed yourself, can fail just as much as a factory installed primer.
      I think the key here is to check each round and maybe cycle it through the gun that it is intended for. Another reason to carry a “wheel” gun. If you get a problem with chamber extraction, stove piping, or failure to eject, or just a plain old misfire, if you have a revolver, it is very easy to just pull the trigger again, and you have a whole new ball game.

    • Reason not to carry a spare mag.

      “I never miss.” — el Wray

      That said, I reload, and would prefer to carry reloads, but I got some very good advice from a lawyer, and would recommend you check into it (since I would not presume to tell you how to carry).

      Hand loads will create problems for you if you ever have to use them. Same as trigger jobs, or other weapon modifications. There is always a chance that you will have to go to court, either criminally or when the family sues you. The opposing lawyer will, successfully, make you look like you prefer your “killer loads,” or your super light killer trigger.

      Remember cops are typically not allowed either of those things (some may allow some customizations to pistols, but never your hand loaded rounds). If cops are not allowed to use your “super killer 225 grain ATX specials with 10 grains of bullseye powder,” why do you need them? Street justice? Vigilante? Or, you just want to make sure they are dead?

      Ok, not me… but that is absolutely what you face if you use one on another person.

      • ” I never miss” is the same as saying i guarantee this is the winning power ball ticket lol come on with that BS cuz let me guess u practice every time with your heart racing adrenaline pounding and tunnel vision id love to practice where u do

    • “I find that my handloads are more accurate …”

      I know this is gonna start a ‘fight’, but with handguns, that’s simply not an “accurate” statement.

      Simple geometry shows that in order to achieve a 1 in group at 10 ft, the barrel axis may not deviate from intended point of impact (the exact center of a target) by more than 0.48 degrees, or from the exact center of the target, up / down, left / right by .24 degrees.

      A hand-gun can achieve that level of steadiness – thus measurable accuracy – if a quality gun-rest is used, but not otherwise.

  2. I always carry at least 1 spare mag. Even if it is in a deep carry position like down in a pocket or pack I still have the ability to get toit if I need it bad enough. I’ve seen people lose mags out of guns before… kinda impedes your ability to operate operationally. My buddy lost the mag out of his Browning buckmark camper .22 one night while crawling through a laurel thicket Coon hunting with hounds. He only noticed it when he got to the tree and went to shoot out the Coon. He had spare ammo in his pocket and was able to single feed the gun but he said it was fun trying to shoot while holding in the magazine disconnect button with his support hand!

  3. I started carrying a spare mag about a year ago. After all of the Trump riots and what not, and now Scalise getting popped, I definitely carry an extra. There’s no reason not to, extra ammo is always a good thing, especially considering the smaller gun I pack at work.

    • I’ve recently rethought capacity, along those same lines. Ditched my LCR and my 6-round .45 semi for a 14-round semi that’s almost the identical size.

      What’s not to love? 3x as much ammo, and that’s without carrying a reload. A reload is 18 rounds, so that puts 32 rounds on me at once.

      • I’ve always been of the mindset that it’s better to have more ammo, or at least as much as I can take. I’ve thought about a LCR or J frame in 327 federal, but the ballistics are so close to 9mm, I’ve found it’s easier to just stick with a subcompact.

    • Yep – that old saw about the 3 rounds 3 secs 3 feet may be the norm, but there are now enough outliers that I think the self defense environment has changed. Multiple attackers, flash mobs, riot situations, or terrorist attacks cannot be dismissed now. And, while I’d never knowingly enter areas of known unrest, a mass shooting/stabbing/vehicle attack now is possible almost anywhere.

      Locally (rural community) I carry an XDs with a reload. In the big city (Bellevue, Seattle) I upsize to an XDm and a spare mag.

      • Normally it’s a G26 with a 15rd spare at work. Not at work, it’s 90% of the time a G19, but I’ve found it’s nice to take the 26 along for fun when it’s super hot. Colorado Springs isn’t exactly big city, but it’s not rural, so there’s a good balance. As soon as I can get some land, I’ll start rocking a G20 or a 357mag of some sort around the property.

      • Flash mobs are generally nonviolent events for fun. Using “flash mob” to describe a regular mob or a spur-of-the-moment group attack is a misuse of the term.

    • Why is a spare mag or two a good idea? Antifa, the hamburg riots, rabid leftists in packs, Ferguson… Well that’s a few reasons. The natives are restless and travel in packs lately and that isn’t a racist remark. Rabid leftists come in all colors.

      • I totally agree. The threat environment has changed. Riots now are organized events using instant cell phone communication. They and terrorist attacks are planned well in advance.

        And since the three L’s, Libertarians, Liberals and the Left, all agree open borders are a good thing. That makes having a imported terrorist attack easier.

  4. Reloads are important because they allow the user to miss faster and more often.

    And really, if you have a malf in the middle of a firefight, wouldn’t you be better off with a second gun? Or a third? Or maybe a platoon of infantry?

    Where do you draw the line? Maybe a little perspective would help here. If seventeen rounds won’t get you out of trouble, what makes you think that eighteen will?

    • I draw the line where I run out of pockets. For everything else, there’s my “Oh Shit” bag. Give me 90 seconds to gear up and I have a fairly decent light infantry combat load ready to rock.

      • Hate to throw a wrench into your plan, but gunfights almost never pause for a commercial break in real life.

        • Choice in how, when and why you gear up.
          As long as their choice doesn’t impact my choice or others negatively, keep on rocking.

          Choice, MURICA!

        • It’s a backup for mass casualty situations. My sidearm is on my hip at all times with a spare magazine in my pocket. The “oh shit” bag gives me backup options.

        • Ah. I carry around a guitar case full of gu ns everywhere I go for that. 2 seconds tops and I’m back in the fight.

      • I am an averages man myself , I carry a single stack small 9 (g43) ousually without a reload. It’s not much more then a revolver but I am more comfortable with the platform and have practiced remedial action. To your point I am aware of outliers but I carry that G43 everywhere without fail which is better then the other guns that sit in my gun safe. It’s what works for me.

        • I do what works for me as well, it’s just too bad that the gun community has as many needlessly combative, Asperger-y jerkasses as any other fandom. Some people will look for any reason to be a condescending know-it-all, and cannot simply let other people make their own choices, no matter that they’re ignorant to the unique circumstances that may have informed those choices. Of course, the Internet magnifies this phenomenon by 1000 times.

          The solution is to treat their rantings like you would anything offensive you read on a public bathroom stall: Just ignore it, because it’s nothing but pointless garbage written by an idiot you’ll never meet.

          To paraphrase one of my favorite comedians: When they die alone, they go to a hell where their mouth is taped shut for eternity next to people who keep saying that Carl Weathers was in Star Wars.

  5. I carry a spare magazine in my offhand pocket. It’s the only thing in that pocket and rather easy to access. In all honesty, if I need more than 34 rounds in a given situation I done goofed or there will be plenty of spare weapons lying around. Carrying two magazines is a bit much for an everyday situation. It’s not so much a weight as a bulk issue. I already have a gun, two knives (one holdout and one everyday use), two lights (one on my pistol and my pocket light) and a spare magazine. Given all that, I rapidly run out of pockets.

    Combat / Ferguson loadouts are a different discussion. My battle belt has 60 rounds of 10mm ammo on tap, two rifle magazines, as well as a micro IFAK (with tourniquet) and a full size combat knife. That’s before I even touch the gear on my plate carrier. The awesome thing is that with an Airlite plate carrier and my shortie AK, it all rides in a nice low-profile gym bag behind the passenger seat of my Jeep.

      • I bit the bullet and bought a Glock 40 MOS. It lives on my battle belt. If I’m in a situation where I need to use my battle belt, I want the nastiest ammo I can get in a reasonable autoloader. If I ever need to transition to my sidearm, I’m probably in a desperate enough situation that whatever I’m shooting at needs a severe case of dead.

        • You sir, sound like a prepper. Bonus points if you have a couple hundred ounces of silver for bartering, 55 gallon barrels of water, and emergency food.

        • Food yes. Water yes. Precious metals are something I question the value of. The way I see it, ammo is a far better barter item than precious metals.

  6. With some pistols I carry, I do carry an extra Mag, and some I do not. For example, if I’m carrying my Sig SP2022 with a 17+1 capacity, I don’t carry an extra Mag. If I’m carrying my Springfield Armory XD40 with a 12+1 capacity, I usually don’t carry an extra Mag (sometimes I do depending on where I’m going that day). If I’m carrying my Beretta Nano 9mm with a 6+1 capacity, I always carry an extra Mag. Right or wrong, that’s usually how I roll.

    • Sounds sorta like me, a while back I decided that 10 rounds seemed like a good idea, since I have not yet carried a gun with that capacity, I carry a spare mag. If I started carrying a slightly larger gun which I bought ‘cuz it seemed neat, with a 13+1 capacity, I doubt I would.

      • I carry less but a retired detective friend of mine said that he always carries 10 rounds. Based upon his observation and experience as a large city police officer that most off duty/ civilian gun fights fall below 10 shots fired from a given side. The few cases that he covered that fired more where gang related shootings that focused on quantity over quality (i.e. Drive bys ect)

  7. 2 spares minimum
    4 spares max load

    “I wish I had carried less ammo.” said no one ever…

    • To be fair, if you’re carrying four spares, you better be in full battle rattle and your handgun better be your sidearm.

  8. I don’t carry a reload because a carry a 2nd gun, a 642 to backup my 686. I find the former easier to conceal year round than a speedloader for the latter.

    • I too carry a second gun. It’s almost as easy to carry a second gun as a spare mag. With two guns from 13-19 rnds apiece I’m pretty covered for ammo. The common thread here is to carry a spare mag in case of a malfunction, so if the malfunction has something to do with the firearm what good is a spare mag? If you lose your gun or are disarmed how does a spare mag help. If you have an unarmed companion do you throw them the spare mag?

      • Excellent points. One can argue that it makes more sense to carry a second gun rather than a spare mag. Two guns means separated firepower which can come in handy if one gun becomes disabled or dropped. Also, a second gun provides more access for the shooter.

  9. It’s personal preference, just like what you carry. Want extra? Fine. Don’t want extra? Fine. Two in the vehicle, one as part of my EDC, and two in the house.

  10. My usual EDC, G19, one spare mag. With ankle carry of several single-stack 9’s and a .380, two spares on the opposite ankle. With revolver, 2 and sometimes a 3rd speedloader.

  11. Quoting statistics as a basis for not carrying a reload is akin to an anti-gunner quoting statistics as a basis for disarmament. Sure, you probably won’t need one. But wouldn’t it be better?

  12. I carry appendix, my rig has a mag caddy attached to is so that makes it easier for me. Also I never leave the house without my etc bag, its got 2 G19 mags, a trama kit, and other BS that I can find useful outside the house. Its usually in my truck which I’m never too far from.

    The way I see it is its a game of numbers, statistically speaking most DGU don’t require a reload, but no one want to be the exception to that. Is it really that much of a big deal to drag along 1 spare mag with you?

  13. For years I carried an older Colt 1911 Officer and occasionally a 5-shot S&W snub and ALWAYS carried two extra mags or two speed loaders. Became weary of the occasional yet usual malfunctions so sold the 1911 and bought a VP9.

    Depending on pocket space availability I now usually carry a spare 15 round mag for the vp9, or will still carry two speed loaders when I pack the revolver. That said, occasionally I will leave the house without the spare magazine and do not feel under-equipped at all, not having had a single malfunction with the vp9 after 2000+ rounds.

  14. And in the interest of being the odd man out, I carry a Redhawk .357 8 shot, 1 full moon clip on my belt and 1 each in the living room, kitchen, and bed room, and 2 in my car.

  15. I always carry the weapon with 2 additional magazines in the opposite side where I carry. I am also surprised at people’s assumptions that one magazine may be sufficient and confident that murphy’s law will not present during that critical situation (name your favorite malfunction,etc). The ability to exchange magazines quickly can be the deciding factor between going home or having a useless piece of fine empty pistol in your hand when the coroner’s office draws a chalk line around you.

  16. …. because the odds of being trapped in a high rise building on Christmas Eve, when its been taken over by German terrorists who are trying to steal the bearer bonds in the underground vault are very very low.

    • Strangely enough the folks at the “Cleveland Show,” did a great parody version of “Die Hard.”

    • “Welcome to the party, pal.” For my encounters with eurotrash German terrorists I carry an HK 45 compact with two spare mags. Don’t care for the elephant foot 10 round mags. If I need more than that: “I figure there will be plenty of them lying on the ground.”
      Sorry to mix movie metaphors.

    • And even if you find yourself in that situation, all you have to do is kill Tony and steal his weapon (and radio) and then when you kill Heinrich you’ll not only have his weapon but a bag full of C4 and the detonators. Now you’ve got a veritable arsenal, and it all started with your little LCP (or Beretta 92).

      • ” Now you’ve got a veritable arsenal, and it all started with your little LCP…”

        Is that like the goal of using a Liberator?

  17. For years I carried a Beretta 92 with a spare mag but I recently traded it out for a P229 in 9mm. I still carry a spare mag and keep an extra in the car.

    Prior to the transition to the P229 I had considered making my single stack (used for traveling out of state and when I have to dress up) into an EDC but national events over the past seven months have convinced me otherwise.

  18. My EDC is 7+1, no reload. State max capacity is 10+1. As noted, the odds of needing any more than 0-3 rounds outside the home is vanishingly small. Plus I live in a small town were the murders are either husband-wife things or drug related, and on average no more than 2 or 3 per year. I don’t drink, so I don’t hang out at bars or late at night, and I don’t use illicit drugs, so I am not hanging with marginal folks. The odds of an incident are statistically insignificant. I principally carry since my wife is in a wheel chair; I I feel that makes the two of us something of a target. When I am not with her, not so much.

    If I have any issue with a criminal, odds are it will be at home (which is also where I have my office), and there I have several loaded guns and multiple reloads, plus loose ammo.

      • Ha! Good thought, but the tubing on my chair is far too small in diameter to be useful that way. Instead, I carry my two reloads between the two layers of the seat upholstery so that they stick out about 1/4 inch from the leading edge, right between my knees. No one ever even sees them.

  19. All of life is risk assessment. On a battlefield, I would give up everything except comm gear, energy bars, water and clean sox on order to carry more ammo. As a police officer charged with suppression and capture, I would carry 45 roinds total and more in the squad (rifle too). As a civilian in a quite town, I carry a G43 or a G17 depending on the neighborhood because my sole reason for discharging my wrapon is to get to cover by neutralizing the threat. The realistic threat. Jihadists on every street corner is not a realistic threat and I never could carry an M60.

    • ‘Jihadists on every street corner is not a realistic threat…’

      But A jihadist (or 3) on A street corner is a very realistic threat.

      • Based on recent historical evidence, it’s a more realistic threat in places where you probably don’t have the option to carry a gun in the first place.

        • I agree with oldlawprof,and I did hump a 240 and its pos little brother the 249. If encountering armed trained terrorist surprise and audacity are going to be your only advantages. If encountering a lone wolf you might get tempo as well. It’s still a pipe dream to think you will Rambo through the situation, you may delay or deter them but it will cost you I am sure.

        • Joe, or you could get lucky. And if you and 13 other people get lucky it’s going to be one hell of a short jihad.

          I look at carrying a fi rearm as just part of my civic duty. If even a small fraction of citizens did likewise it would make criminals’ and jihadis’ lives pretty miserable.

        • Gov, I like the perspective. If more people carried it would indeed ruin a terrorist day. My only hesitation is for people who are having delusions of die hard. Realistically how many more rounds then 6 to 10 will someone be able to get off accurately without cover?

  20. I do carry a spare mag. I guess it is a psychological thing but I do. Yes, I do know I’m not likely to need one, I even know I’m unlikely to need the gun itself, but I do carry a spare mag.

    I’m not a soldier. But sometimes I play at being one, a Union infantryman, and there have been moments when my cartridge box was close to empty. That is not a nice feeling, even if you’re only waging a mock battle. So I do carry spare mags.

    My EDC is G42, so I carry two spare mags, and my other handguns are wonder nines, so I’m happy with just one spare mag. That’s enough to make me feel I’m being reasonable.

  21. I usually carry a reload, but I definitely want some serious cover before I pull the speed strip out of my pocket.

    • As a semi shooter I do as well. In a former life we practiced mag change drills but even those are painfully (hopelessly ?) slow. Anyone who thinks they can changes mags in contact without cover is dreaming.

      • Absolutely. I made a comment the other day in response to someone who claimed he could clear most jams in a semi and get back into the action in 3 seconds, that that was 2-1/2 seconds more time than what he had in a gunfight. IMHO, if you’re limiting yourself to 5 or 6 rou nds, you’d better make sure they count. Shoot straight and hit hard. If you doubt your ability to do so, carry a 9 mm with a 15+ ro und maga zine and go the spray and pray route.

      • Absolutely. I made a comment the other day in response to someone who claimed he could clear most jams in a semi and get back into the action in 3 seconds, that that was 2-1/2 seconds more time than what he had. IMHO, if you’re limiting yourself to 5 or 6 rou nds, you’d better make sure they count. Shoot straight and hit hard. If you doubt your ability to do so, carry a 9 mm with a 15+ ro und maga zine and go the spray and pray route.

        • I completely agree and spray and pray is a pretty bad strategy. I love revolvers and see nothing wrong with them I just don’t shoot them/ conceal them as well as my mini 9.

        • It only takes one time for an autoloader to fail, to put you in deep shit! Ask yourself: What would you carry if you were going into grizzly country where bear attacks were common, and you were not carrying a rifle?

  22. When I first looked at the picture at the top of this article, I thought he had a toothbrush in the holster…

  23. I carry a 10 round mag in my Rami, and a 14 round mag in my pocket. and some times a spare CZ75 mag in my car.

  24. I got halfway through this article before i realized it wasnt about reloaded ammunition…

  25. I mostly carry in an EDC shoulder “sling” bag that hangs over my strong-side (right) hip. I have a large on that accommodates my largest pistol, an HK USP Expert in .40 S&W equipped with a Jet Funnel that allows it to hold 16-round magazines only, and I have a two-magazine holder for a total of 49 rounds (including one in the pipe). It is always loaded, cocked and locked-Browning style.

    I own a slightly smaller sling bag with similar capabilities, except the pistol is a Glock 43 with extended mags. I’m not 100% happy with these type of bags and tried to get the manufacturer to adopt a design change that would have made them pop open instantly without having to open a zipper and still be a fabric style rather than rigid, but they passed on the idea. I’m thinking of making one myself and having it manufactured here instead of in China. Watch this space.

  26. I don’t carry a reload. Good on you if you do pack a reload, but it could be argued that a NY reload is better. I just don’t want to be bothered with concealing additional bulk (got enough of that myself as it is) and the value is demonstrably minimal. I’m willing to work with those odds and I do my best to avoid stupid people/stupid things/stupid places/stupid times.

  27. I carry one extra magazine for my LC9s Pro. So, 8 on board and 7 in reserve. More would be nice, but that’s all that fits in my pockets, my preferred carry position.

  28. My off duty carry guns are single stack (Kimber Ultra Carry or Ruger LCP) or J frame wheel guns so two reloads are a must.

  29. I generally carry a reload, but I keep it in the front pocket of the Magic Murder Bag rather than on my hip. I much prefer carrying a smaller secondary weapon, usually a small revolver or pocket pistol. If there’s a malf during a high-stress moment, my remedial action beyond tap-rack-go is new-gun-go.

  30. Mostly because I don’t have a good way of carrying it concealed which will protect the magazine feed lips and still make it accessible without being overt.

    Give me a holster for my pocket-piece that has an integral mag holder and I will use it. Seriously. Please. Sig P-238 with laser and holster-hook for a clean draw.

  31. In CA and other not so friendly gun states, magazine regulations might dictate how many magazines a CCW’er would/should carry. 17 +1 in a Glock 17 might be a good choice for some where it is legal, but in CA, you would have to carry two 10-rounders to be comparable.

  32. I carry a spare which gives me 25 round on my person.

    I would also point out that while the article quotes the 3x3x3 “rule” TTAG itself has busted that as an internet myth with little to back it up. The information comes from a small study with a small sample size of LEO’s who’s job it is to close with and capture criminals. There is no data to support the notion that it applies to civilians.

    Further, based on other research about how people react under stress in a gunfight there is reason to believe that it may be completely backasswards when it comes to home defense or CCW.

  33. Oh and did I mention that a man’s watch pocket(or 5th pocket) was pretty much made to house a spare mag. I’ll admit that single stack mags seem to work best. If you practice this it works pretty slickly.

    • If only they made six pocket jeans instead of five pocket jeans with the watch pocket on the right…

  34. I don’t carry a spare mag because… uhhhhh… your face is a spare mag!

    Seriously though, I have absolutely no viable argument as to why I don’t carry a spare. I’ve GOT spare mags for all my guns (except for the Hi-Point carbine I’ve yet to shoot), I just don’t carry one.

  35. 1 reload is a good idea. If you’re carrying 4 spare mags, you might want to reconsider whether you really need to be going where you’re going.

  36. I keep my SR9C loaded up with 10+1 of Federal Guard Dogs (thin interior walls in my house), and always have one of the two spare mags full of JHPs in my pocket. If I leave the house, I swap out the mag full of Guard Dogs for the other mag full of JHP.

    I rarely carry my 1911 outside of the house (it’s heavy and I need a proper gun belt), so 2 of it’s 3 mags are usually full of Guard Dogs. When I do leave the house with it, I load it with FMJs, since it currently hates JHP.

  37. 1) It’s ridiculously unlikely to be used. All the justifications I see are just not borne out by real gunfights. I’m not going to get attacked by 10 ninjas and experience multiple malfunctions in a gun that never fails to go bang when I pull the trigger… AND have time to reload in that worst case scenario.
    2) It’s counter to my philosophy of carry. I’m not going to be engaging in a drawn out firefight. I carry a gun to facilitate an escape from an ugly situation, not extend it. If I can’t get something done with one mag, it’s the kind of problem I shouldn’t be tackling with a pistol anyway. Feet, don’t fail me now. (at home? different story)

    Malfunctions, dropped mags due to attempts to disarm, etc all end up in the #1 pile. The chance of me needing to draw a gun in my personal life is small but significant enough that I carry. The chance that I’d need to fire it to the point of reload is not… in most cases. If I’m traveling through certain areas at certain times I vary things.

    But the people carrying multiple reloads would probably increase their survival by wearing body armor or something to be honest. Much more likely to come into play in a real shootout.

  38. I dont carry a reload for the same reason that I dont carry lots of things; I consider it unnecessary.

    A gun itself is borderline, though I make the choice to do so…just in case.

    But a reload is just dead weight in my pocket.

  39. I OC a Kimber 1911 with an 8 rnd mag in a Serpa retention holster with 2 spare 10 rnd mags. It doesn’t add much extra weight and it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  40. The likelihood of ever being in a gun fight is highly unlikely as is. Requiring a reload is highly likely in a gun fight relative to being in a gun fight at all if that makes sense. The scales of the odds of me needing to use my weapon makes so the odds of me needing a reload more or less the same. Anyone catch my drift, or can explain that better?

    • Well shoot, with that logic, why carry at all?

      Doesn’t it make a bit more sense to carry enough boom juice to handle pretty much anything one man is capable of taking on anyway, while you’re planning for an event that will almost definitely never happen?

      It takes zero effort for me to throw two full mags in a mag carrier on my belt when I leave the house. They sit at 7:30 and they don’t take up any pocket space.

      Sure, I most likely won’t ever need 43 rounds, but then again, I most likely won’t ever need to use my gun anyway, so if I’m preparing for one, why not prepare for the worst I can without seriously inconveniencing myself?

      It’s not like I’m filling every pocket with mags (I mean, I could; that would be a LOT of boom boom, but then where would I put the other frivolous devices I carry on a regular basis?); I’m just equipping myself against what I feel is the most I would be able to handle anyway.

      If I can’t defeat my enemy with 43 rounds, I probably shouldn’t have my gun anyway. Even against a dozen men.

      • I don’t argue the need for carry. We believe the same things fundamentally on reloading here. My argument should reaffirm your thinking on the matter. You read my post as half empty rather than half full grasshopper. : )

  41. Sometimes I carry a spare mag, sometimes I don’t. Depends on what I’m wearing, where I’m going, and how long I’ll be out. I generally avoid stupid people, in stupid places, doing stupid things. So I generally feel pretty comfortable having a loaded subcompact/compact pistol.

    That being said, as soon as I get a couple more pairs of 5.11 pants, a spare mag will be with me 100% of the time due to the comfort and ease of carry.

  42. I do carry a reload, and on my person not in the car. I was carrying a Kimber Ultra Carry with seven rounds when involved in a DGU. I fired six rounds during the incident. Of course at the time I didn’t know how many I had fired ( which is the norm for most shootings where more than one shot is fired), but when I checked the gun and found an empty magazine and one in the chamber, it definitely made a lasting impression. Now I have at least two extra mags with me at all times.

    • Oh now Joseph, you can’t throw out such a teaser and not give the details. Well, I guess you don’t have to, but it would be interesting to hear the details.

  43. About a year before he died, Col. Jeff Cooper himself told me that the only reason he taught reloading was as a kind of stress-management practice; he felt reloads were unnecessary and impractical in most civilian contexts, and didn’t know of any instances where a pistol reload ensured victory. “A pistol is something you use to fight your way to your rifle.”

  44. Same reason I dont usually carry anything other than a pocket pistol….to heavy and bulky.

  45. I carry two full spare mags with my FNS-40. 14+1 in the gun, and another 28 rounds in the spares.

    I do it because I can. I do it because why not? And I carry them in a Velcro strappy belt-clipped mag holder that rides on the opposite hip from my OWB holster.

    Sure, people might look at me like I’m crazy, but if the time ever comes when it becomes necessary to use the tools that I carry, that might very well become a moot point.

  46. I am of the school of thought that says carry a reload to cover a malfunction. The New York reload sounds like a better choice but it really isn’t for the concealed carrier. The BUG is going to be a snubbie, pocket pistol or smallet subcompact that will only be effective at short ranges when you are under stress. Short range gunfights are over in a hurry so the reload is never going to be used. You are only going to get into a prolonged gunfight at longer ranges. How many times does someone other than LEOs and gangbangers get into prolonged gunfights?

    • Well, that’s true. As long as you always have an escape route and you’re never backed into a corner, you should only need one mag. Everybody knows that you’ll always have an escape route.

      Just in case I don’t, I’m gonna carry a couple extra mags. Cause even though most instances where I’ll have to shoot are going to end relatively quickly, there’s always a chance it won’t, and as long as it isn’t unduly difficult to carry my extra mags, I’m going to continue to do so.

      • If you have no escape route and haven’t been detected you have the advantage. If you are caught with no escape route then you are oing to have a quick gunfight.

        • Always, right?

          You can predict with precision accuracy every instance where one has no escape and is indeed cornered by one or more assailants?

          I don’t prepare for the probable. I prepare for the improbable. I prepare for what I can easily prepare for, which is whatever I could potentially come up against and survive with my EDC and spare mags.

          Obviously, if I’m cornered in an alley with nothing between me and a couple guys with handguns, I’m probably not going to walk away.

          But let’s say I’m in a restaurant and I’m trapped in a corner with no viable escape. There are several barriers between me and the one or two (or four) men with guns.

          I think I’ll be quite pleased with myself for having 43 rounds instead of 15.

          Is it probable that I’ll find myself in that situation? Of course not. It’s not probable that I’ll ever have to draw my weapon (especially so, since I OWB carry). But I might as well prepare for one improbability while I’m preparing for another.

  47. I’m 65 and handicapped. If I can get off 3 accurate rounds; I’m calling it a day & well done.

  48. If you don’t carry a hand gun reload, then why do you also carry a truck gun?

  49. I live outside of Houston, and there are the occasional gang of morons that occur. I generally carry an XDM 3.8″ in 9mm with 13+1, plus a 19 round in my pocket. If we’re traveling into Houston, I toss another 19 round in my pocket for 52 rounds total. The only reason for the additional ammo is in case of BLM idiots mobbing the car. I really want to find a rifle that I can securely store in my car, but so far any sort of lock box for my AR-10 carbine is a bit pricey. I’m not a fan of 5.56 and prefer something with a bit more oomph.

    • Vector. Collapsible. Your choice of barrel length. Plus 9mm in urban environment is lightweight and lethal. Just enough to get you home to big brothers.

  50. Yes, a spare magazine for reload.
    Why these people are taking it as reloaded rounds; I do not know. Maybe they have failed to read the article….
    As far as hands loading ammo for own use, yes you can tailor a round that would make you a more consistent shooter. Being a consistent reloaded takes just as much practice though. That being said though hand loaded ammunition sir comes to the same possible failures as Factory ammunition. Quality In material and experienced hands limit this but still have the possibilities of the bad timer and or manufacture. In all truth carry what you feel comfortable using if your life depended upon it, because it does.

  51. Do we carry additional magazines? Yes. You should always at least carry 1 on you, if not an extra 1-2 in the car.The title does make it sound like we carry with reloaded ammunition, which in a legal sense is a no-no. If you ever have to discharge your firearm, lawyers/prosecutors will make the claim “you made that bullet to kill this person”. No joke, I’ve have people I know in this situation, because they discharged a reload round.

  52. I must be different. Or maybe understand mechanics, and possibilities of failures. I carry full size. With two back up mags. Plus a smaller backup pistol with one extra mag. All the same caliber. I do live in rural America. And those I call friends seem to prepare the same way. But just in the past two months I’ve been from an island in Georgia to North Carolina then Indianapolis back to North Carolina. Wherever I go I carry that load out. But at home in NC normally have an old lever action 30-30 in the truck.
    I was in Indianapolis IN when news broke about Obama and Lynch, and Trump. Made me wish I had packed more. Just in case I had to bolt for home. Talk about fear. Wife and kids across America. Thankfully everything is currently smooth. But we never know. Since that moment of fear WE are making OUR plans. Be prepared. And rather have it (anything necessary for survival) and not need it. Than need it and not have it.

  53. So much nonsense. This thing about reloads and defense lawyers who will eat you up. Defense lawyers will use ANYTHING in your past they can find on you, reloads maybe just one of them. Have you served in a combat zone? You’re a crazed killer. Have you been to Gunsite? You’re training to be an assassin. Been shooting since you were a kid (and you’re 60)? Why didn’t you just shoot him in the leg since you’re so good? You carry extra ammo? You’re just looking for a big gunfight. Carry a second gun? You’re REALLY a paranoid nut looking for a gunfight (or wanna be cop). Are you an NRA firearms instructor? You’re the worst – not only are you a right wing whacko but you’re teaching others to be the same. And on and on… That’s the way it works in a civil court, they can make up nearly anything to make you look bad. I think using reloads is the least of your worries in court – experience and training will hurt you much worse.

    As for carrying spare ammo, I do not (usually) because the odds of ever needing it are so minuscule it’s not worth mentioning. Read all of the thousands of the NRA’s Armed Citizen incidents of civilians using a gun in self-defense – how many ever needed a reload? None that I could find and many never even fired. I was a state trooper for over 22 years and never needed to reload (outside of training) and yes, I did use my pistol in anger. Military was a different thing. If you use a pistol make sure you mark all your mags so you know which ones are “most” reliable. If you use a revolver, well, not much to worry about. I have 9 rounds in my pistol – if I get involved in something where I need more than that I’m likely in something way over my head. Retreating is an option. So I’m not knocking those who do carry spare ammo, just stating why I don’t. I suppose where you live would make a difference too.

  54. Most of you have no IDEA as to what the Writer is talking about! He is NOT Talking about “reloaded” Ammo! He Is Talking About one or More Magazine besides the one in your Pistol!!!! Being Able to reload you Pistol after you have Fired all the Ammo in your Pistol! My Motto is that it is better to run out of targets before you run out of Ammo! To run out of Ammo First means that you DIE! Carrying home extra ammo is a good thing!!!!!!!!! I always carry between 2 and 4 extra Magazines. I maintain my own “threat level”! I carry a FNX-45 so I always have between 46 and 76 rounds to throw at any one who needs it!

    • I completely agree with you. My FNS-40 is always accompanied by at least 2 full mags.

  55. One in the chamber, six in the mag, two spare mags, and a spare box in the center console. And I figure that’ll get me home from wherever I may be.

    Better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

  56. Geez, people. Read the article. It is not about reloaded ammunition. It’s about carrying back up mags – a/k/a “reloads.”

    That said, the fastest reload is a second gun. But I rarely carry 2 pistols.

    However, the mags for my EDC Glock 23 hold 13 rounds each … and I always carry at least 2 extra mags of Hornady Critical Defense JHP. Always. And of course, there’s always one in the pipe.

    In addition, I am a Private Detective and my work sometimes takes me to some places where no sane white boy would go at midnight. In those cases I will carry 2 pistols and 4-6 extra mags. That is rare, but it happens sometimes.

    If you non-LEOs walked where I have walked in the dead of night you would know what I mean. The boys in the hoods here in Chicago have started using ARs and AKs, which as you know could have mags with anywhere from 10-40 rounds. And recently they have totally lost their shyness about ambushing police with those rifles.

    So, I’m with the author.

    One time long ago, when I had a knife but no firearm, some A.H. called me on it and said, “So you brought a knife to a gunfight.”

    I asked whether he had a gun. He said No.

    I asked whether he had a knife. He said No.

    So I said: “So, you bought your d*ck to a knife fight, huh?”

    I am never going to be that guy.

  57. When I throw a football 500 yards into a trash can the statistics wont tell me if I will be in the bucket or hit the rim. The odds are irrelevant.

  58. The image you used at the start of this screed shows ball ammunition. Whether you carry extra ammunition or not I think there are better choices for defense than ball ammunition.

  59. I read that the Brits thought the military wouldn’t need reloads when they went to the Hi Power from their revolvers, but they quickly determined that they still needed to carry two reloads…no matter what capacity firearm you carry, you needed two reloads. (I have no idea if they really said/did this, it is just what I recall reading some 35-40 years ago…).

    So I usually carry two reloads (always at least one!): one to fight, one to disengage, and one to run away. So I carry two to three for my 6 shot .380, 2 speed loaders + two speed strips for my 5 shot snubbie, two with any of my shoulder holsters, and at least one 10 rounder for my IWB ten round 9mm.

    Just because I can’t beat the odds in the lottery doesn’t mean I won’t beat them when I need just one more round…


  60. Many would say that .380 is relatively underpowered and does not reliably both expand and penetrate
    For this caliber ball or wad cutter ammo may be a better choice to get reliable penetration

  61. Having not been in too many gunfights, still carry only a magazine full, spray and pray is not choice, can’t hit target with magazine full why waste more bullets with more possible liability for misses! {usual mag load for guns is between 12 and 15 rounds} Bunches of things are happening simultaneously, recognize threat as a threat, move off the X, draw weapon while moving! shoot if able, add in the Adrenalin rush and strange stuff happens, fine motor skills deteriorate; for instance; process of reloading. while it is true that you fight like you train, how many people have an opportunity to train in a kill house with all associated physical, emotional stress? or learn game skills like not dropping a magazine, or do a top off when low on bullets, who counts under real stress? most people shoot till slide lock, drop mag, reload and reengage if if able!
    also most robberies I have seen, its mostly point and shoot!

  62. If you’re carrying 8 lbs of gear out of your house every day, where do you live? Mosul?

  63. I carry one spare mag for my G23. If 27 rounds will not win my way back to my rifle, I doubt I’ll make it. That’s my contingency plan. If yours is a third pistol mag and that’s it, I hope you never get attacked at 100 yards.

  64. I carry a two extra 15 round magazines for my Sig P226; if 61 rounds and 30 double taps are not enough (I am a former US Army officer and Fed LEO and not a spray and pray guy), better call the US Army Cavalry or Bruce Willis to save the day before I die. Everything else is just academic whether one mag, two mags or no mags at. Do what logic dictates for your particular situation, training or habits; if works, fine if not, adjust or die; as in war, nothing is guaranteed.

  65. I now carry 42 rounds of .40 S&W. The 14 round Mec Gars extended 14’s were on sale so I got four. If three or four Jihadis run in a shopping mall or store and start firing you are going to need more than 10 rounds to get yourself and anyone with you clear of the “kill zone” and escape.
    The chances of that happening is slim but a group of terrorists shot up a big store and tossed grenades in France back in the 1970’s. Everything old is new again.

  66. I picked up a horizontal mag case on Amazon. Very discrete way to carry my spare mag. Easy access and disappears nicely under a T-shirt.

  67. “Why Don’t You Carry a Reload?”

    Oh, but I do, 2 extra mags if I’m carrying my 1911, or 2 extra speedloaders if a wheelgun…

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