Extra Ammo? Why Not?

Remember that Murphy's law is a law, and not a suggestion.

posted on June 22, 2024
Sheriff Jim Wilson

We know that the vast majority of citizen-involved shootings are resolved with the ammunition that is in the gun. I strongly suspect that that is also the case with most shootings involving law enforcement. Why, then, do the vast majority of us strongly recommend that an armed citizen carry at least one reload at all times?

Well, the most important reason I can think of is that your gunfight might just be the exception to the rule. There is nothing more disappointing than to run out of ammunition while the fight is still going on. One of the truest statements is, “the fight is going to be what it is going to be”, and you simply can’t predict what will be required to deal with that particular fight decisively. But, there are other things that can go wrong and may do so at the worst times.

Some years ago, I was told about a police officer responding to a shots-fired call. Somehow, as he exited his vehicle, the magazine release on his pistol was activated and, when he drew his gun, the magazine fell out. Fortunately, this officer was immediately aware of the problem and performed a speed reload from his mag pouch. Semi-automatic pistols may malfunction and pistol magazines may malfunction. Often, the quickest way to get back into the fight involves loading a spare magazine.

And revolver shooters don’t get a free pass either. Have you ever loaded a round with a high primer into your revolver? Or how about a round with a damaged cartridge or improperly seated bullet? It is time to clear the gun and get a fresh load out in there, soonest.

When carrying a semi-auto, I always carried at least one spare magazine in a mag pouch on my left hip. And, at times, for various reasons, I would often put on a double mag pouch and even drop a third spare magazine in my jacket pocket.

With revolvers, my minimum load out is one speed loader and one speed strip. The speed loader for when I run completely empty and the speed strip for when I need to do a partial reload. Again, a couple of extra speed loaders and speed strips are comforting and don’t take up all that much room.

Operator error, ammo problems and pistol problems are all reasons for carrying extra ammo. And I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes from Col. Jeff Cooper, “When the fight is over, be sure to reload. It is just unseemly for a gentleman to walk around with an empty gun on.”

Later on, we’ll talk about carrying two guns.


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