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How Much Ammo Should I Carry?

iklwa

Master Class
I heartily disagree with "...carry one in your front pocket" because that is the single best place I know of for attracting lint and debris...except for under the car seat.

While magazines do fail, the place for discovering a bad magazine is NOT when your life depends upon it but at the range...after which it can be repaired or discarded.

Statistics show that only rarely does a personal defense scenario require a reload.

Statistics show the more rounds on-board the handgun, the more likely all of the rounds will be expended and the target will only be struck once or twice. If someone takes solace from carrying a two-hundred round magazine, they should consider more range time. The first shot in a personal defense situation is the most important. The nineteenth shot is only making noise and loosing unwanted projectiles into areas you really don't want them to go. After all, you only trying to stop a threat, you are not trying to kill an army.

Law enforcement officers are in a different situation and may actually require multiple magazines as tactical options; however, let me ask, how many reports of law enforcement actions have you heard wherein 28 rounds were fired and the assailant was wounded once...or maybe not at all?

I would say, make sure your chosen ammunition WORKS in your firearm 100% of the time and is of resent manufacture (remember, age is dependent upon storage conditions) and that the magazine is proven and the firearm is regularly disassembled and cleaned of the nasty dust bunnies so prevalent in the modern world.
 

iklwa

Master Class
Well, since my last comment I have abandoned my fixed blade knife and am now carrying a spare magazine, on my belt, in a Blackhawk plastic holder. Now I have seven + six in 45 ACP.
The knife was just too uncomfortable and hard to conceal.
It now sits on the table next to my overstuffed TV chair.
Oh, I didn't tell you, there is a USMC Ka-Bar lashed to the leg of that same table.
There is no such thing as too many knives.
You never know when you'll need to open a popsicle.
 

javbike

Custom
Well, since my last comment I have abandoned my fixed blade knife and am now carrying a spare magazine, on my belt, in a Blackhawk plastic holder. Now I have seven + six in 45 ACP.
The knife was just too uncomfortable and hard to conceal.
It now sits on the table next to my overstuffed TV chair.
Oh, I didn't tell you, there is a USMC Ka-Bar lashed to the leg of that same table.
There is no such thing as too many knives.
You never know when you'll need to open a popsicle.
Ha ha ha
 
When I carried my Walther PPK/S, I always carried 2 spare 7 round magazines (always in a carrier, never just loose), for 25+ years. That gave me a total of 22 rounds. Since I switched to this SIG P365, I carry the gun with the 10 round in place, but usually only 1 spare 12 round. Sometime 2, but 90% of the time just 1. So I've always 23 rounds at hand. Sometime 35, but not very often.

Someone mentioned LE and rounds fired vs rounds hitting the Perp. In the late 80's, early 90's. Two local PD Detectives engaged a Perp in a shootout. Both Detectives had their recently approved 1911's. In the aftermath, the detectives had fired 60+ rounds between the 2 of them at this dude. They hit him 3 times in the lower legs. It was later determined all 3 wounds were ricochets, not clean hits. 60 some rounds at a distance of less than 40 feet, and they disabled the perp by sheer chance.
One of the detectives, was captain of the Police Pistol Team at that time.
 

KASHIRA-3

Elite
As a citizen, I will carry one reload, period. This is for the rarest of conditions where I might encounter a equipment "issue" or actually need more ammo. I see no reason to carry 2 reloads given that I believe it to be exceedingly unlikely that I would need to reload at all. I have 13 rounds in the gun and carry another 13. If there is some compelling reason for me to carry yet another mag.. I am all ears.

I am not one to consider "stats" to be some magical confine but lets be realistic. One reload is my acceptance that (crap can happen). I wont even attempt to qualify the need for a second extra magazine. 39 rounds?.. really? If I were a person with a duty and responsibility to run head long into all manner of danger and routinely be called upon to see a crisis to its proper conclusion, I might. Sure.. if I signed up for that.. I would likely feel different. As a guy who has only a duty to myself and who is simply navigating regular life ( going to the store, grocery, gas station). I have no intention to Rambo-up. ONe gun, one reload... thats it.
 

somorris

Custom
Founding Member
Reading this thread makes me think of a show my wife and I watched titled "Daily Bread." The title sounds kind of like a daily devotional, but the series was about a very large solar flare that created an electromagnetic pulse that knocked out all the electronics on earth, including in cars,at power plants, water plants, etc. It took no time at all for the predator types to start preying on other people, and since all the cars were disabled you walked, rode a bicycle or horse. In a case like that, wherever you were when the SHTF, you would only have whatever ammo you had on hand with you. Some of the people in the show had a stash hidden somewhere they could get to in an emergency. Make me want to carry more! :) But, like most folks, I get complacent.
 

Sld1959

Professional
I always carry at least one reload. Especially with a pistol. Even if you don't shoot, pistol magazines can, and do get accidently ejected. It happens, I have a friend who has a diner and he has found a half dozen magazines in the booths over the past few years. Accidents happen,and if they do without reload, you have a single shot.
 
After 42 years of carrying a handgun on duty, and carrying every day since retiring, I am programmed to carry two reloads at all times. (nowadays it is two 8 round .45 mags) In revolver days I carried four speedloaders on my rig on duty. When we transitioned to hi-cap semi autos, two spare mags was standard and I always had 4 more loaded mags along with shotgun rounds in a bail out bag in my cruiser. As a firearms trainer for 50 years, I have seen enough malfunctions on the range to understand that if your pistol malfunctions, it is either bad ammo, something wrong with the magazine, shooter error, or poor maintenance, not necessarily in that order. I have also seen magazines fall out of the gun due to not being properly seated, and have had one real life gun battle described to me where that occurred. So, my argument for carrying spares is not so much that you are going to need all that ammo in a desperate blazing gunfight, but that you need at least a working pistol amidst the hostilities.

A late friend once commented that "There are only two times when you can have too much ammo. When swimming, or when on fire".

A final note, since I carry a heavy pistol on my right side, two mags on my left helps to balance my gait so I don't walk in circles...
 

BobM

Hellcat
I always carry at least one reload. Especially with a pistol. Even if you don't shoot, pistol magazines can, and do get accidently ejected. It happens, I have a friend who has a diner and he has found a half dozen magazines in the booths over the past few years. Accidents happen,and if they do without reload, you have a single shot.
Maybe, maybe not on mags? Magazines may not not have been from pistols themselves. Many people carry extra mags loose in coat pockets. But, still with most anything to do with firearms is good practice to check fairly frequently what their status is especially when active, moving around or sitting.

Have heard stories of people getting up with pistols themselves laying on booth seats and next to toilets in restaurants too. I usually at least pat where things should be to check once in a while when out and about.
 

Sld1959

Professional
Maybe, maybe not on mags? Magazines may not not have been from pistols themselves. Many people carry extra mags loose in coat pockets. But, still with most anything to do with firearms is good practice to check fairly frequently what their status is especially when active, moving around or sitting.

Have heard stories of people getting up with pistols themselves laying on booth seats and next to toilets in restaurants too. I usually at least pat where things should be to check once in a while when out and about.
Several of them were claimed later and indeed they had been ejected, so it does happen.

Of course it is always good to check occasionally, but I still believe a spare magazine is cheap and easy insurance.
 
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TidalWave

Professional
Must admit I rarely carry an extra magazine. I do practice periodically with my carry ammo but can't seem to get in the habit of carrying the spare regularly. I do take a spare magazine when the wife and I travel or take a road trip.
More or less the same for me. 17 rds in my S&W SD9 or 15 in my M&P 2.0 compact.
Disclaimers:
a) If I ever decide to pack my 1911, there’ll be two mags, min.
b) I dunno if my wife carries. Haven’t met her yet, Lol. :)
 

tapehoser

Elite
99% of my time I have to carry concealed in an IWB holster. Inside the house, I can carry OWB, but I still have a shirt over the gun. To fit another magazine into the holster really puts the hurt on my stomach. Am I doing something wrong? I have a nice, big, stiff belt to help spread that load. Just need your thoughts because I feel like I NEED to carry another mag, but am hesitant to do it every moment of the day.
 

HansGruber

Hellcat
99% of my time I have to carry concealed in an IWB holster. Inside the house, I can carry OWB, but I still have a shirt over the gun. To fit another magazine into the holster really puts the hurt on my stomach. Am I doing something wrong? I have a nice, big, stiff belt to help spread that load. Just need your thoughts because I feel like I NEED to carry another mag, but am hesitant to do it every moment of the day.
Get a separate mag carrier and put it in a different position.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
99% of my time I have to carry concealed in an IWB holster. Inside the house, I can carry OWB, but I still have a shirt over the gun. To fit another magazine into the holster really puts the hurt on my stomach. Am I doing something wrong? I have a nice, big, stiff belt to help spread that load. Just need your thoughts because I feel like I NEED to carry another mag, but am hesitant to do it every moment of the day.
I don’t like holsters with built in mag pouches. I have several types of double mag pouches/holsters that are belt worn. More often than not I just have extra mags in my opposite front or back pockets. A few more in the truck, stuck to some magnets under a table or behind something. In the wife’s purse.

Of course for zombie apocalypse prep I use subloads. 4 extra 30 rounders, 24-48 extra 12 gauge. Keep the pistol **** on the gun belt. 😉
 
Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled How Much Ammo Should I Carry? and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/how-much-ammo-should-i-carry/.

Here's my take on this subject:
Given the average number of shots fired during a gunfight is 3, a handgun with high capacity may not be needed. Of course, there are always examples where high capacity saved the day. But those instances are rare. Using the 3 shot average, that means my 1911 and two spare magazines (25 rounds total) should be sufficient for fighting up to 8 adversaries. This is a mathematical estimate that accepts my skill level being equivalent to the shooters the 3 shot average was based upon. I consider my skills to be above that average and work to develop and maintain my skill level. However, the prospect of taking on 8 adversaries with a handgun is daunting. I would give a more reasonable limit on the number of adversaries me and my 1911 can handle to be about 3 to 4. The 1911 is my everyday carry choice because I'm not expecting to engage in a gunfight with more than 4 adversaries. If I knew there were going to be more, I would carry a long gun with the pistol as backup. So any argument about ammo capacity is really about how many adversaries you realistically expect to engage in a possible gunfight. Military and law enforcement needs the high capacity because of the probability they will face many adversaries during their work. Most armed citizens simply won't ever face that much danger. This is among the reasons even the 'old/obsolete' revolver still performs admirably as an everyday carry defense tool. Using my calculations, a 6 shot revolver should see you through a defense from two adversaries with an additional two if you're carrying 6 more rounds and reloading skills are up to par.

I consider my 1911 a 'get out of trouble gun'. It's my everyday carry pistol that I will use to remove myself from danger. So I can escape or possibly retrieve a long gun.
I consider high capacity handguns 'get into trouble guns'. They should be used as backup to a long gun when one is deliberately moving to danger. Armed citizens aren't required to seek danger. Military and law enforcement seek it all the time.

Overall, for armed citizens, the amount of ammo to carry should be sufficient for three adversaries. 3 shot average times 3 equals 9 rounds total, at absolute minimum. A few more rounds will be better. But a high capacity handgun with 15 round magazines (46 rounds total) used as everyday carry is excessive. The mathematical estimate comes out at about 15 adversaries. The chances an armed citizen will face so many is incredibly small. You'll have better luck winning the lottery! And if you do actually face so many, its not going to matter if you're carry enough ammo. Your chances of surviving such an encounter is pretty much nil anyway. If you know you're going up against 15 adversaries, it's time to call your friends with guns.

Caliber plays a role in this subject too. Larger, more potent calibers will enhance survival given the small number of shots per adversary. You've got to stop the attack of the first adversary before you can deal with the second, then the third, and so on. 9mm, a typical high capacity caliber, is less likely to stop an attack with that 3 shot average compared to .45acp or other more potent calibers. As the number of adversaries goes up, the amount of time you have to defend yourself goes down. You will be lucky if you have the time to fire more than one shot before you have to deal with one of the other adversaries. This argues that you carry the most powerful handgun you can effectively shoot, not necessarily the handgun with the most capacity.

Timmy Green - former US Army Military Intelligence Officer and currently Firearms Inventor
Angle Degree Indicator, Guardian Grip, Second Zero...
 
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FlatEarthFred

Operator
Founding Member
I've been carrying a 1911 with a seven shot mag and one spare mag for a few months and have felt pretty protected. But, I guess more ammo is always better!
 
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