Self Defense Training Articles
If you want the quick and dirty answer it is a resounding YES! However, there are some details to discuss. If you’re shooting a Glock 43 that only holds six rounds and I tell you to carry a spare magazine people say “well of course!” However if you’re carrying Glock 17 that holds 17 rounds and I give you the same advice people wonder why… What kind of gun fight are you planning on that requires more than 17 rounds.
The simple answer is there are more reasons to carry a spare magazine than just round count thought as the primary reason. There are basically three reasons to carry a spare magazine. First is the ammunition count.
How much ammo do you need for a gun fight? Maybe not much or maybe a lot. It really depends. An active shooter situation with multiple threats may require 20-30 rounds to take down all threats. That would be difficult to do with a Glock 43 since you would need 5 spare magazines to accomplish that task.
However a Glock 17 with its 17 rounds would only need 2. What stops us from carrying all that ammunition is simply the bulk and weight. Otherwise we would all carry a Glock 17 size gun with 17 rounds and a 33 round spare magazine. Or better yet we would walk around with an Ar15 tucked in our waist band. All guns require some compromise and with pistols we comprises strength and accuracy for size and wearability. This is why the common advice in our class is “carry the largest gun you will actually carry.”
When we look at civilian gun fights most are done in less than 7 rounds with exceptions going to the 20-30 round count. But here’s the thing the 3-7 round argument is a myth in the sense that you should ask for the source. There’s really no organization that tracks data from civilian engagements so the data is an educated guess at best.
Yet we know of specific anecdotal examples of engagements that went to 30 rounds which is certainly on the high end. However, If I carry a gun with a respectable round count being at least 8 and preferably at least 10. One spare magazine with an extension brings my capacity to 18 - 22 depending on the type of firearm which would be enough to handle certainly the majority of civilian engagements with only very rare situations on the outlier. Those rare situations may even be able to be taken care of with the spare magazines and ammunition that you keep in your vehicle.
Beyond ammunition capacity, remember guns do malfunction and so too do our magazines. A common fix for a double feed is to strip the magazine out and replace it. Hard to do without a spare a magazine; even accomplishing the task of reinserting the original magazine we must remember that double feeds are often caused by damaged or worn out magazines.
The bottom line is that stripping a magazine to the ground is at least in some capacity a fix for some malfunctions that may arise in the moment. Going into a gun fight without a spare magazine is like driving from LA to New York without a spare tire. Sure you might make it but you might not and in this instance, it’s not a towing bill you will face but a one way trip to the morgue.
Finally, we have to acknowledge that though modern self defense ammunition is superb sometimes manufacturers have problems and make mistakes. The simple fact is that most self defense ammo sits on a persons shelves at home so there is very little real world testing of it by comparison to target ammunition so a bad lot number may go unreported to the manufacturer. Even being reported they would not have a good way to disseminate the information to the consumer. You could easily be carrying a lot number that was recalled two years ago!
The best options is to carry one lot number in your gun and a second lot number produced at a different date in your spare magazine while regularly cycling through your carry ammunition to ensure you have fresh reliable ammunition in a defensive situation.
How To Carry
There are a number of options here but these are a few with pros and cons.
-Inside the waistband - These conceal easily but if you're wearing a gun inside your waistband this can get cumbersome.
-Outside the waistband - opposite of the former less cumbersome but harder to conceal.
-Pocket dump - Shoving a magazine into your pocket is a great way to loose it, not be able to access it when you need, and ultimately they move around and get in the way so people quit carrying them.
-Pocket holsters - These are my preferred method I use a magnetic clip pocket holster but there are other options. The spare magazine is always at the ready and secure in my pocket while keeping it enough out of the way I can still utilize the pocket.
-Bellyband - Popular for women slow to access but can fit a lot of different outfits.
-Backpack/purse - Not my favorite since it is an off body carry but it is certainly better than not having one.
There are a number of products and resources out to help you carry a spare magazine comfortably. The bottom line is you need to carry one.
is an entrepreneur and content creator. He lives on a small homestead in central Alabama where his wife and three children raise livestock and enjoy the quit life on their farm. He served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army from Alaska to Afghanistan and currently owns, along side his wife, Timberline Security Solutions LLC based in Birmingham Alabama.
Amandalyn has spent her professional career doing a little bit of everything from being a licensed real estate agent, to a Private Investigator. Currently she operates, along with her husband, Timberline Security Solutions LLC to train civilians, military and police officers for the battle they may one day face. Together with Mackay they work as Private Investigators and conduct executive level protection details.