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Here’s an email from John Farnham describing a bizarre set of circumstances leading to a magazine failure [not shown]. As John Prine sang, same thing; same thing happened to me. I’m still not entirely convinced I’m going to need three magazines’ worth of bullets to solve a self-defense problem. That said, as the rabbi points out, “Most semi failures are magazine related.” And “no one ever ended a gunfight wishing they hadn’t carried so many bullets.” The more important takeaway: don’t just stand there, do something! Even during training.

My friend and colleague, Frank Sharpe of Fortress Defense pointed this out to me during a Defensive Pistol Course we jointly conducted last weekend in IN . . .

Often, beginning students show up at our Courses with gaps in their equipment repertoire.  Despite our sincerest attempt at specific  instructions, students sometimes fail to bring critical items.  The one most often so-overlooked is a spare-magazine carrier.

Consistently carrying a spare pistol magazine on the same place on the belt (usually on the opposite side from the pistol itself) makes smooth, quick reloading far more likely than when the spare magazine is casually thrown in a pocket.

However, when a student neglects to bring a suitable magazine carrier, we sometimes have no choice but to allow him to use a pants-pocket, even though, as  noted above, that method represents a poor substitute. Last weekend, a student did just that, and, during a tactical drill involving movement, he was unable to complete a reload, despite repeated, enthusiastic attempts!

The new magazine (when he, at long-last, finally  fished it out of his pocket) refused to lock into place within the pistol.

A close examination revealed the issue: A single dime, that had been sharing the same pocket occupied by the spare magazine, had wedged itself between the top round and the feed-lips.  How it found its way into that exact spot is a continuing source of mystery, but it somehow managed, and the anguished result was a magazine that adamantly refused to fully insert!

This phenomenon is surely not common, but, as we unhappily discovered, it will happen on occasion, with potentially fatal results!

The lesson here could hardly be clearer. Don’t carry spare magazines in pockets, rattling around in the bottom of handbags, nor other inappropriate places, where coins, paper-clips, lint, and other objects that may be sharing the same place will find their way into the magazine in such a way as to make a hash of your next attempt at a rapid reload!

Use a dedicated magazine holder. Life sucks already.  Don’t make it any worse!


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  1. This is why I believe in a minimum of 5 magazines for each pistol. In reality I have at least 10 for all but 1 pistol. Maybe he should have thrown his failed mag down range.

  2. I ordered the NRA tactical jeans from their online store and I love them. They have an inside pocket for your pistol on the right and two mag pockets on the left and another pocket in the back that will fit handcuffs or money or whatever you want that is wallet size. I used these pants today at AFS for Wayne’s concealed weapons class. I also had my belly band holster that holds another pistol and two more mags, and I had my NRA inside the waist holster that holds another mag. In all I had three loaded 45’s and five extra mags, because you can never have enough firepower. I think I weighed an extra 15 to 20 pounds and now it’s time to rest. We were told to bring plenty of ammo and extra mags, and I’m pretty good at following orders even though I was the only one with extra guns.

  3. Good points on the other debris in pockets and bags infilterating the mags. Never really thought about it but will now.

    Btw…A very nice flinch at 10 seconds into the video…..eeeks!

  4. Self-Defense Tip #1: Carry Your Spare Magazine in A Pouch.
    Self-Defense Tip #2: Don’t Have a Gunfight With a Kangaroo.

  5. When I’m wearing my .45 caliber Springfield V10 in either an SOB or strongside holster, I carry two spare seven-round mags in my left rear pocket wrapped in a nylon wallet, making it look like a wallet, keeping the mags facing the correct direction for quick reloads, and keeping the mags from ripping through the pocket.

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