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We ran a Question of the Day asking the number of ammunition magazines (“mags”) a pistol owner should own. That’s a matter of debate and personal preference. In terms of new shooters carrying semi-automatic pistols (handguns that accept magazines), I recommend a minimum of four: two for practice and two to carry. How you manage – i.e. keep and use – those magazines is a critical not-to-say life-or-death issue. Start with this . . .

1. Carry a spare mag

Most gunfights follow the three-three-three rule: three shots, three yards, three seconds. “Most” isn’t the same as “all.”  If you run out of bullets…. To paraphrase the old saying, it’s better to have an extra magazine and not need it than to need an extra magazine and not have it.

Yes, carrying a spare mag is a bit of a PITA, but there are plenty of comfortable carry systems for spare magazines. Worst case: put one in your pocket. If you do, don’t put anything else in that pocket. No change (dimes love to wedge themselves into magazines), no phone, no nothing.

The ammunition magazine is the most likely part of the gun to malfunction. If your gun doesn’t work in a gunfight, well, that really sucks. When the gun she don’t run, the “tap rack” drill is your first port of call. Smack the magazine underneath your gun and rack the slide to chamber a fresh round. If that doesn’t work, say you suddenly “discover” you’re out of ammo, change magazines. Dump the old mag and insert a fresh one.

That’s not the easiest process in the world – especially under stress. Train to get it right. Wear your conceal carry clothes. Use your conceal carry system (gun and holster and spare magazine). Unload your gun, safety check it (make sure it’s unloaded), put the ammo in a separate room, safety check the gun again, then load two magazines with snap caps (inert cartridges, available at any gun store). Practice changing mags, always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction and keeping your finger OFF the trigger.

Even if you don’t train your mag changes, even if you think tap rack is a form of sexual harassment, carry a spare mag. It may take you a lot of fumbling to switch magazines but what’s the alternative? Run! Hide! Bite, scratch, kick, throw a chair! Seriously.

2. Dedicate two magazines for practice

Whenever you practice changing mags let the empty mag fall to the ground/floor. I repeat: let it go. Drop it like it’s hot. An empty magazine is no use to you whatsoever. Actually, it’s worse than that. You do NOT want to have an empty magazine in your hand when you’re in the middle of a defensive gun use. So train as you mean to fight. NEVER catch an empty magazine – not at the range, not at home, never.

That means your discarded mags will hit the dirt/floor – as they should. That also means they might get stepped on, dirty, bent and otherwise damaged. You don’t want to carry damaged ammunition magazines. (Note: you DO want to practice with damaged magazines; it teaches you to expect the unexpected.) Take a white Sharpie and write P1 and P2 (P3, P4, etc.) on the bottom of your practice mags. Only use these mags for practice.

3. Dedicate two magazines for carrying

Buy the best possible ammunition magazines you can for carry. Mark them C1 and C2 (C3, C4, etc.) I use factory magazines for all my guns save my 1911s (I use Wilson Combat mags for John Moses Browning’s masterwork). Load your mags carefully and treat them well. Every time you remove a magazine from your pocket or carry system, inspect the mags for damage, lint or any other obstruction.

I recommend unloading and reloading your ammunition magazine on a monthly basis to make sure the springs are working properly. I also recommend that you use your shoot your gun with your carry mags on a monthly basis, dropping the empty carry mags onto a towel or other soft surface. I shoot my carry ammo through my carry mags when I do this; I want to make sure the mags love the ammo, the ammo love the magazines and the gun loves them both. That’s a bit OCD and can get expensive, but I reckon it’s best practice.

Proper magazine management isn’t the most important thing in terms of preparing yourself for a defensive gun use – it’s one of the most important things. Practice these three basics and you can concentrate on THE most important aspect of armed self-defense: mindset.

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  1. I have a mag with a bad spring that causes double-feeds. I mix it in with the good mags during practice and not look at them when I put them in the gun and mag pouch. I also mix dummy rounds with the live rounds and not look at them when I load the mags.

  2. Couple of random comments/observations here:

    1) I’d say practice with one’s carry system without assuming it’s necessarily concealed.

    2) I ended up buying rubber base plates for all my mags because the metal ones CZ provides would bend if you looked at them crosseyed. When it came time to do the switch, I had to cut one of the base plates nearly in half with tinsnips to get it off the gun. (Other than this and a night sight, I carry bone-stock CZs.)

    3) VERY important especially for 1911 owners to make sure your magazines work. For some reason a lot of 1911s seem to be sold with crappy mags. The opposite seems more likely to be true of other brands/types, it’s the after market ones that seem to suck the worst. (In my case Mec Gar actually makes the factory mags, so even though they are stamped differently, they’re actually identical.)

    4) I have one “bad” mag that I know about. It keeps the slide locked back IF it’s already locked back AND there’s exactly one round in the mag–i.e. it doesn’t let an already-up slide release drop if there’s one round in the mag). You can imagine my relief when I realized it was a specific mag issue, not the gun! I can live with that; I’ll never reload in combat with exactly one round in the incoming mag. (The situation only arises when I decide to chamber a snap cap, and a smack to the bottom of the mag seems to clear it up.)

    • Oops, forgot one:

      5) Because my mags are identical to each other, and they can be dropped without likelihood of damage, I will occasionally move my carry ammo to my practice mags, and then use the (former) carry mags for practice. I also tend to download by one (15 rounds, instead of 16, for a full size CZ mag). When I unload the gun at the range, I put the chamber round back into the mag (be alert to setback) since it’s downloaded by one anyway. (I won’t download if doing so results in less than 9+1 carried for a gun.) It’s easy to see which mag should go in the gun and which one goes in the spare mag carrier when I am done, because the one that needs to go into the gun is the one that’s showing a round in the “16” hole in the mag.

      • I also like to load my magazines -10% (rounded down to nearest whole number) to insure that the springs retain enough springiness. Thus I load a 15 round magazine to 14 rounds , a 22 round magazine to 20 rounds, or a 30 round magazine to 27 rounds.

        Note that I actually download my 30 round magazines to about 25 rounds to be d@mn sure the springs stay stiff enough to function properly. It also means that I need 100 rounds of ammunition for every four magazines which is easier for logistical purposes.

      • Thanks for the tips! I also carry a CZ, love the pistol, but the mags are so stinkin’ expensive! Any suggestions on places to get the best price on them? Also, where do you get your rubber base plates for yours? Mine’s a CZ75 P07.

    • You can get baseplates from CZ that have a rubber layer built in. My P-01 came with those on its magazines. If you want something rugged that won’t snag on clothing like the rubber does, CZ Custom sells an aluminum baseplate that does not bend (I regularly drop mine on concrete). They have it in a nearly flush size, as well as +2 extenders. If you get the extenders, get the longer springs for them, but do not use the included followers in a carry magazine, because they do not lock the slide back (but they do allow another +2 rounds, which is great for USPSA).

      • You can get baseplates from CZ that have a rubber layer built in.

        This is exactly what I did. I don’t know why they didn’t sell other polymer baseplates, maybe I just didn’t use the right google-fu. +2 extender is probably a no-no here now, thankyouveryfvckingmuchchickenhumperbloolbergmorseetal. I haven’t found the rubber to be a big issue but then I carry OWB anyway.

        I heard rumor CZ was getting away from those cheapass baseplates anyway; I hope it’s true.

        The major point being, there’s an alternative–if you can drop-safe your mags, you don’t have to dedicate two to getting the crap beat out of them as RF recommended.

        • I moved away from the rubber baseplates because they tend to drag clothing on the draw. Same reason I quit using the rubber grips, as much as I loved them. Buying MecGar mags eliminates the issue of rubber vs. metal with their plastic baseplates, plus they have room for one more round.

  3. I have a real hard time letting mags hit the deck. I also struggle with how a speed reload is actually applicable to 99% of defensive gun uses.

    It’s tacticool derp.

    • Generally I do agree letting your ~$30 magazines hit the ground is more tacticool than practical… Even in most micro pistols you’ll likely be out of danger before out of ammo.

      To play devil’s advocate, if you ARE in a DGU and you do happen to have a mag fail, you’ll probably let it hit the ground. I personally wouldn’t train that way though.

      • Why not when on the range let the mag ALWAYS fall “on a towel” or whatnot? Possible best of both worlds?

        • That is a good point, but as I’m fairly new to shooting sports and concealed carrying, I don’t have a lot of spare equipment to take any chances with. That and the fact that I have a tight budget means I don’t currently own 5 magazines per handgun, so the two that I have NEED to not get damaged.

          In time I will add more, but for me, in the meantime, I’ll play it safe with what I’ve got.

        • Cuz you want the mag to hit the ground then “accidentally” get stepped on and broken so you can get out of the house with the excuse to go buy another one, go to the gun store and buy four more instead of one, then stand around the gun store looking at all the stuff you can’t afford for another hour, all the while avoiding the super interesting conversation your wife is having with her friend about stupid sh*t. That’s why you let your mag hit the ground. Or so I’ve heard…

        • ^ The gun store is directly across the street from where I work, it’s a very bad influence on my paychecks LOL

        • Hopefully you can find a range where you can “move” and not stand square and stationary to the target…in which case the “just always drop on the towel” target would be pretty hard to locate for each mag drop.

    • Are there any statistics on how many DGUs involve a good guy needing to reload? I’m thinking that’s probably a very tiny number.

      • The chances that you will need more than 1 magazine of ammo are very low.

        The chance that you’ll get a malfunction that is best cleared by simply swapping mags? Much more likely. That’s the best reason to carry a spare magazine.

  4. You hit on one important point – the “tap, rack” drill. Every class I’ve taken – all of them from top-tier instructors, stress the importance of getting that bad round out of the gun. For the newbies to which this article is direct, this whole new selling feature about “restrike capability” in various pistols is largely irrelevant to a carry gun. If the gun misfires, standing there clicking repeatedly in the hopes that you’ll get the errant round to fire is wasted, and potentially fatally so, time.

    The only other comment I have refers to tactical reloads. You don’t necessarily want to be shooting to slide lock in all of your practice sessions. The tactical reload (changing out a partially empty mag for a new, fresh one) is very sound practice – which means you aren’t dropping that mag on the ground, but retaining it for potential future reuse. This technique is generally taught in beginning carry courses, so it isn’t a bad idea to bring it up in this article that’s directed at folks new to carry.

    • I think tap, rack, bang is the most ridiculous drill I have ever come across. If you have a gun/magazine that you ever need to do that with, get rid of it! I have also had that drill fail in a FoF class when my Colt 1911 (which I had heard was one of the most reliable autos out there) locked up. I was tapping and racking like crazy, but there was no banging to be had. It turned out the solution was forcibly eject the mag, rack, reload, rack and bang. I would have been dead about three times over.

      The solution? Either find an auto that never, ever, ever needs “tap, rack, bang” or carry a revolver. If that’s not enough capacity, carry two, or three. What good is all that capacity if you’re standing in the kill zone playing with the thing? And if you could get out of the kill zone without shooting, why wouldn’t you do that anyway?

      • Chronic tap rack issues, junk the gun/mag. Every once and awhile, likeky bad ammo, no need to get rid of it.

      • And what if, just saying….what if the problem is neither gun or magazine, but you just happen to have a bad round in the chamber???

        Tap, rack and you’ll bang again….

        If you haven’t had a failure with one of your guns, you’ve been lucky nothing more.

        In my 5 years service time training with the USP 9mm I’ve had like 5-6 failures, all of which were solved with tapping and racking…

        • I competed on a Navy team with the 1911, so I am no stranger to autos, but in 50 years of shooting revolvers, I’ve never had a problem that wasn’t solved by just pulling the trigger again, including bad rounds. That’s what I’m looking for.

      • I have seen revolvers jam up during competitions. The problem with them is, you are really out of the fight if that happens. At least with a semi auto, you should be able to rip the mag out, insert a freshy and continue. Its rare, but it does happen….

        • Yeah, everybody has a “revolvers can fail” story, especially with those tricked out rigs competitors use. But I will go with my 50 years of personal experience with stock revolvers, with no FTFs and my experience of a 1911 failure where the gun was out of action despite tapping and racking.

          It makes me nervous that there needs to be a drill that everyone is supposed to practice to keep semi-autos working and articles and blog posts like this one about how to keep them from failing. Sure, theoretically and anecdotally revolvers can fail, but you don’t hear a lot about it. By and large, if you put bullets in a wheel gun and pull the trigger, it will fire and if it doesn’t it will fire on the next pull. What good is a gun if you can’t expect that every time?

          I do believe that some autos can have this kind of reliability. But I have no idea why anyone would carry one that doesn’t. If any gun fails on me and it’s not my fault or an easy fix, it’s gone.

          • If the required use (self-protection) of a handgun can be restricted to 5 or 6 bullets, a revolver does make the most sense. If one cannot restrict all potential situations to the use of only 5 or 6 bullets, the revolver presents an almost insurmountable problem…reloading. The fine motor skills needed to reload a revolver in the same time needed to reload a semi-auto are not going to be there for the vast majority of handgun users. Not talking about cops who mabye, maybe practice revolver reloads to the point of automatic response. Talking about the millions who would never achieve proficiency in revolver reloads. Notwithstanding the 3x3x3 mantra, if you are realistic you will want to be able to shoot at least 6 times (or 8, or 12, or15….) and then grab more, just in case you underestimated the threat. And this does not even take into account the accuracy problem of shooting double action (12# trigger pull has already demonstrated that the hit rate is dismal).

            If one believes 5 or 6 rounds will cover any situation, and one can effectively use a snubbie (concealed carry) at threat ranges, the revolver guarantees no need to practice the tap/rack drill (even if the revolver jams). As for reliability of semi-autos, do we have any data regarding the number of failures using dutry/self-defense ammo vs. range ammo? Have not seen comments on the internet describing an FTF/FTF using other than range ammo. But, I don’t read everything posted on the entire net.

        • I understand what you are saying, but they are machines, and machines fail sometimes. My only thought is if a revolver does go down, it might be severe and not able to quickly be cleared and able to re-enter service. My 686 has never failed to fire, but I have seen 2 that locked up. Just my opinion, I have been wrong once or twice…

  5. Had some Kimber 8 Round mags that worked fine in my Ruger SR1911 until I added a beveled mag well. Then the first round failed to feed on a reload. Really screwed up my second IDPA State match. Now I use Wilson Combat, wish I’d bit the bullet on cost sooner. Only bought the Kimbers because employee discount. My company stopped carrying Wilsons.

    • Check out Tripp Research (he was the T in STI). I’ve found them to be much better made and more reliable than Wilson magazines. I’ve used them in Kimbers, Springfields, and Dan Wessons.

      • ++++ 101011100111 (whatever that means)

        my ria 1911 compact came with checkmate mags, which worked wonderfully. however, i wanted 10rds vs. 8 (just because). tried wilsons; no joy. bought tripp mags….wow. just looking at them and holding made me want to run to the range. tripp mags are my favorites for every reason a person should want good mags. the customer service (determining whether to custom make 9 or 10 rd mags) was great, recommended the cobra line of extended mags (no sleeve). tripps have eaten ball, hp, reloads, whatever. easy to insert the ammo, no feeding problems, ever.

        OBTW, regarding carrying extra mags, this turned out to be a grand solution:

        you can sometimes get them at less than OEM prices.

  6. What backs up the claim a mag is the most likely component in the system to fail?

    It is arguably the simplest component in the system, way behind the operator or the gun in complexity. I understand carrying a spare for capacity in cases, but not for redundancy where it seems to be another hardware solution in search of a problem.

    • I think the idea comes from the fact that, in most pistols, the mag is a much more fragile component than the rest of the gun. Usually stamped steel and plastic, often pretty thin. Feed lips can get bent, springs can jam, etc.

  7. I have 10 mags for my Glock 19, acquired over 27 years. I rotate 2 every 6 months. One in the gun, one as spare. All still function perfectly despite dropping in matches, training and practice. One was accidently dropped in a drainage ditch in East Tennessee on Jan.4 and not recovered until Feb.28. It was dried out and the mag and all 15 rounds of Federal 115 gr. hollow-point worked perfectly. That mag is still in the rotation. All mags are numbered 1-10.

    • Yeah all of my Glock mags have been dropped all the time. Never has any of them go bad.

      If I had to do a reload in a gun fight, I don’t want to be dicking around with an empty mag. Hit the release and it drops into someplace far away as all of my concentration is on getting new mag in the gun and the gun back on the target.

  8. 5 mags for each pistol, maybe more, but no less.

    Same rule for rifles, but with 10 mags.

  9. “I recommend unloading and reloading your ammunition magazine on a monthly basis to make sure the springs are working properly. I also recommend that you use your shoot your gun with your carry mags on a monthly basis…”

    Unloading and reloading a mag will wear the spring out faster. If you’re shooting your gun with the carry mags- which is important- just do a function test then and don’t worry about fiddling with it otherwise.

    • I recommend all new drivers siphon their gas tank and then refuel it once a month… Just to be sure.

      I mean how can one be sure one’s gas gauge is working properly without taking out the fuel, weighing it, and promptly putting back fuel back in the tank?

    • Agreed, my mags are all kept at 100% capacity until shot. I never “unload” them unless in a ballistic fashion. Modern magazine springs will not take a set over time.

      I do rotate out my carry ammo every 3-6months depending on what season it is and how many boating accidents I’ve had. I will disassemble and detail clean the carry mags before function test with whatever the carry load is for that gun, before reloading and putting back into rotation.

      “Practice” mags get abused but factory Glock mags and Wilson ETM’s soak it up. They get cleaned about once a year, usually whenever I do recoil springs.

      • There have been cases of where someone’s grandfather or whatever passed away. Inside a foot locker was a Colt 45 with a load 7 round magazine from WWII time frame.

        It shot perfectly fine, ammo and mag spring. Springs wear out from use, not compression.

  10. Robert,
    The entire premise of this article is biased against revolvers. Are you racist? Do you hate shiny black things that go bang whenever you pull the trigger? Nothing fails to fail you like a good snake or Smith. And the bang feels soooooo good. All those teeny tiny little “auto” bullets, I feel so sorry for them. Perhaps one day they will grow up into a magnum, one can only hope. Please take all this in the jest it was intended, but anytime I talk to a newbie about carrying, the first words out of my mouth are get a wheel gun. Auto’s have too many quirks which take time to learn how to deal with. A revolver fails to fire, pull the damn trigger again and get rid of the bad round. Simplicity at it’s best.

    • Revolvers fail less frequently, but when they do, they make up for it with intensity.

      But most of what he said was applicable to wheel gunners.
      Carry two speed loaders / moonclips.
      Practice reloading your carry revolver with them.

      Given how slowly I reload my GP100 in IDPA matches, I’d never carry a speed loader fed revolver: moonclips only.

    • Gman, revolvers are far more difficult to hit with for new shooters (in DA mode, the way they SHOULD be shot), suffer from greatly reduced capacities, and are relatively large for the amount of ammo that they do carry. A reload with a bent moon clip is one of the surest ways to seize-up a revolver’s action that I know of, but there are other ways too, like loading a round damaged by a speedloader that uses a metal stud to retain the round. One drop of 3 feet to a carpeted floor was all it took to damage a round in the loader enough to jam the revolver half-open/half-closed after reloading (serious burr on cartridge rim).

      If a primer backs-out hard enough on firing, you won’t be pulling the trigger again without hammering the cylinder open using the nearest hard object, and a few grains of unburned powder under the extractor star is all it takes to bind the cylinder enough to make accurate DA shooting impossible (if the gun will fire at all). A bullet that gets “pulled” (moved forward) by recoil of previous fired rounds can tie-up the gun by bridging the gap between the cylinder and barrel; good luck clearing that stoppage without certain tools.

      If you haven’t shot a revolver enough to have experienced all of these problems at least once, then you probably aren’t experienced enough to be making a blanket recommendation to use a revolver over a quality autoloader. If you HAVE experienced any/all of these problems, but are STILL recommending revolvers, then you know your “simplicity” argument is really crap, and JasonM’s first line (“Revolvers fail less frequently, but when they do, they make up for it with intensity.”) is more true than anything you said.

      There are very good reasons that most smart folks and virtually all police departments and military units have transitioned to autoloaders for serious defensive uses. If you choose to ignore the reasons, fine; your butt, your call. But don’t try to drag others into your early-20th-century cesspool of buggy whips and mostly obsolete firearms.

      (Says the retired cop trainer, PPC shooter, and owner of a half-dozen revolvers in a wide range of calibers)

      • (in DA mode, the way they SHOULD be shot)

        As someone with little experience with revolvers, could you expand on this please?

        • Most shooters who are initially trained on revolver shooting are only exposed to single-action (SA) firing; the hammer is thumb-cocked (usually by the non-shooting hand), and the trigger is pulled to fire the weapon. This is a good way to get favorable results during initial handgun training, as the trigger pull in SA mode is usually short, light, and crisp, making it relatively easy to launch each shot without disturbing the sight alignment/sight picture. Both the shooter and instructor look good, and everyone is happy.

          In double-action (DA) firing, there is no thumb-cocking of the hammer; the trigger finger pulls the trigger all the way through a longer, significantly heavier trigger pull, which first moves the hammer to the rear against the power of the mainspring, then releases it to fire the weapon. If trigger management is done incorrectly (spasmodically, or by slapping/jerking) or in too big of a hurry, the longer/heavier pull can result in shots missing the target by various distances, some of which might be measurable in feet (if you could find them at all).

          SA firing is usually considered a poor choice for defensive shooting for several reasons. First, you have to either use two hands to ready the weapon (one to grip it and the other to cock the hammer), or you have to completely “break” the grip of the shooting hand to get the hand position and leverage to cock the hammer with the shooting-hand thumb. Done hurriedly under pressure, one-handed cocking has caused folks to drop the weapon or (if the trigger finger is not removed from the trigger guard area) accidentally fire it as soon as the hammer reaches the cocked position, due to the very light trigger pull weight.

          Which leads us to the second reason: cocked revolvers only need a scant few pounds of trigger pressure and almost no trigger movement to fire the gun, and during a stress-filled and perhaps fast-moving situation, it is very easy to “tap/touch” the trigger and fire a pre-cocked revolver before there is a true need to do so. This can result in injuring or killing a person who you did not intend to shoot, including yourself or other “good folks” if the revolver unexpectedly discharges as it is pointed in an unsafe or ricochet-prone direction, even for a moment. Combined with loss of fine motor skills sometimes seen in stressful situations, placing your handgun in a too-easy-to-fire condition is not the best course of action from a threat management point of view.

          Double-action revolver firing is a challenge at first due to the long and heavy weight of the trigger’s travel, but once shooters have been properly instructed on grip and finger placement on the trigger, and with sufficient practice and coaching (will vary from shooter to shooter), excellent and consistent results can be obtained. DA shooting is generally quicker, can be done one- or two-handed, without fumbling around, shifting your grip, or groping around looking for the hammer spur in the dark. As some of the sports-oriented folks would say, you just “grip it and rip it”, and with proper technique, your shots go where they are aimed (or pointed).

  11. I want to reinforce Mr. Farago’s suggestion to shoot a few rounds from your everyday carry ammunition magazines once in a while to make sure they work properly. And be gentle with them. The last thing you want to do is crack the plastic bottom from dropping it onto a concrete surface.

  12. I recommend putting your name on the practice magazines as well. Particularly if you’re going to shoot IDPA or USPSA competitions with them. It makes it much easier to get your magazine back, when you leave it on a stage.

  13. I have no problem with anything you have written but don’t be too quick to toss out old GI 1911 magazines after my father died I found in an Old Trunk of his a GI issue leather 2 magzINe pouCh it hAd his name and seriaL number In it but his rank From when he hit ThE Beach with the big red one on D day So his promotion To major befor the breakout was not there. The mags were the old Sort with lanyard Loops And were filed with FA 43 ball ammo And they were Filled not left one short as you Sometimes see recomended. When I shot them out of his Carry 1911 There Were no malfunctions dispite being over 50 years in Fully Compressed mag. I have since used them dozens of times wiTh All sorts of modern ammo some of it +P Also with no malfunction.
    Some old mags can be very good.
    The only mags that I have ever had give me feed failurewith this Pre A1 1911 were modern ones that I bought from MidWay which they promptly replaced.

  14. I know it’s talking about pistols but for my Ar15 I use 10 round mags when target shooting. That way I will not go through the ammo as fast. Especially when I have someone else at the range with me.

  15. Reading this article, to me personally, reinforces my respect for the New York reload.

    If my primary gun fails, I’d rather drop it and grab something that is going to work NOW. I don’t need to be caught in harm’s way jerking my gun off.

    The great thing about this stuff though is that we all have different options and preferences.

    • Well, I’m not sure everyone has the option to carry a second expensive quality firearm vs a far cheaper spare magazine. And considering that fact that some folks currently won’t even carry a spare mag for their pistol (for a multitude of reasons, including increased bulk/weight and perceived potential need), what makes you think you can convince them to carry a whole second gun?

      • I wasn’t saying I would try to convince anyone, I was speaking strictly for myself. Currently I don’t have a BUG, but am in the market for this reason, and also as a better summer carry option.

    • I haven’t read so much awesomeness in so few words in a very, very long time. From the merits of a New York reload to your choice of words on dealing with a failure to your final comment along the lines of “to each his own”, that was fantastic.

  16. If you don’t practice with your carry mags, how can you be sure they will work when you need them?

  17. Pee on dropping your mag, practice swaps over your bed. A bigger question, for me, is magazine care, and I was hoping to see it addressed here. I saw recently we are never to lubricate our mags, which I don’t understand, why not? If because of dust collection, has anybody used Kal-Gard 30-30? I started using the stuff on motorcycles like 30 years ago, guns more recently. Without getting crazy, it is a dry film lube, spray it on something and it dries completely, essentially undetectable except now the part is slippery-dry. On a bike, after application you can run a few hundred miles and the part you sprayed it on is still clean and dry. On a magazine, I can see no downside unless having a clean, slick, dry, rust free magazine is a drawback somehow.

    Stuff has worked great on several firearms, particularly ARs, since they really like working dry.

  18. Repeated frequent cycling of the spring on a carry mag is a bad idea. The spring tension will begin to lessen when the spring expands multiple times. Small microscopic cracks will form and can fail without notice. My rule is 75 runs, $25 for a new carry and dump the old into the training box.

  19. Use orange baseplates for practice (3-6). Black for self defense (2-3). Test the latter by running ammo through them every six months like so:

    Disassemble and clean/lube gun, reassemble
    Fire SD (JHP) ammo through gun, slowfire and focused on fundamentals only, no tactical stuff
    Basic quick clean gun without disassembling
    Reload mags with identical fresh ammo, gun and mags back in service

    Orange baseplated mags get all the abuse and they only go in a ‘practice’ gun which sees the same hard use and cheap ammo so the identically set up ‘social situation’ gun doesn’t receive any undue wear and tear (initial break in and limited diet of premium ammo)

    Use Blue baseplates for competition if you are serious about that, retire to practice when (if) worn out.

  20. Revolver………. drops mike and walks off stage………..

    if you need more shots use the “mag money: and carry two.

    Sometimes the answer to a problem is simple.

  21. Seems to me you could just skip the extra mag unless you can reload under pressure and carry a backup.

    Also there has to be some way people can practice training under pressure. Having had been a target of mugging attempts in the past it does get tricky to keep your mind focused on defensive measures. Mine usually involved backing up out of the little blind spot muggers try to mug people at so I was far more visible to the public eye. Makes ’em nervous when there is a potential witness(es).

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