Should I Carry an Extra Magazine?

Short Answer


Longer AnswerLoad Semiautomatic

Yes. There are several reasons that you should consider carrying an extra magazine with your every day carry (EDC) gun.

Many people will say that capacity is everything. Others will say that good shot placement is vital, and that is why we train. Both are right. When it comes to capacity, nobody knows just how many rounds might be needed when that really bad day rolls around, and no matter how many rounds we have, you still need to get good shots to stop the threat(s). However, there is more to the discussion that “more is better,” and it is a good idea to outline some of the discussion points.

Small EDC capacity – Many people carry smaller single stack hand guns, and the single stacks have much smaller capacities as compared to larger double stack hand guns. I think an extra magazine is probably more of a need for those that carry single stacks, especially the smaller concealed carry guns like the Smith & Wesson Shield and the Glock 43.

Motivated assailants – I wish I could find the video that I saw a couple of years ago about OC spray. It was really interesting because they were able to show that if the person was motivated enough, they would easily continue despite being sprayed in the face. They had about five people, and told them that if they could get to the table and perform a simple task, after being sprayed, they would get a nice sum of money. Every single one of them could do it. We have seen some really motivated attackers that just continued to absorb shot after shot and kept on coming. If you want to see how a motivated attacker will just keep coming, just watch the video of the Minnesota mall stabbing attack where the officer that killed the attacker had to shoot him several times. We just don’t know how many rounds might be needed to properly dissuade an attacker or stop them, completely.

Drugs – I think it is pretty clear that mind altering substances can prevent the pain center from providing the “F#CK, I have been shot” response. FIBS is a nice acronym that John Correia uses. I love it. Anyway, under the influence of many different types of drugs, an assailant may continue, even though another person would have already died. So, again, we just don’t know how many rounds it will take to stop the threat.

Multiple assailants – I point out, often, that bad guys have friends that are also bad guys. They like to work in groups as it gives them an overwhelming advantage in an altercation, and they seem to be braver when they are in groups. How many shots will it take to stop multiple attackers? Again, we don’t know.

Average shots in defensive gun use – The stats are out there. The super tactical Internet ninjas will tell you that the average defensive gun user will only shoot X number of shots. So what? Yeah, I said it. Since when do we make decisions around our lives based on averages and other statistics? If we really made decisions based on stats, we would never carry, because the stats show that we will probably never need to draw our handgun and use it. I made the decision to not bet my life and the lives of my loved ones, based on some statistic, so why would I choose to not carry an extra magazine because of some statistic?

Stress  – I think it is clear that if you ever need to shoot somebody, the adrenaline will be kicking in, and you will not react like you would on the range. You might draw your gun, and fumble it a bit, and accidentally release your magazine onto the ground. You will very likely not be nearly as accurate when shooting as you would be on the range, either. Actually, many trainers refer to it as the rule of 50%. You will be lucky to be 50% as good as you are, normally, when that stressful situation arises and you have all of that adrenaline flooding through your body. You might, normally, only need a controlled pair to end the threat. However, your controlled pair will not be very well controlled, and you will probably miss.  Need further support for the impact of stress? Do a little research on Police accuracy in similar situations.

Range targets don’t bob and weave – I have yet to see a target on the range duck. Even the best targets don’t bob and weave and duck while you shoot at them, but real people do. I don’t remember there being a rule that assailants have to stand still. If there is such a rule, I don’t think they will abide by it. So, again, that controlled pair may not even hit your target, and you won’t know how many rounds it will take to get good hits and stop the threat.

Malfunctions – Mr.  Murphy will appea0957-0199r at the worst time. That gun that has never had a double feed, ever, will pick that moment to have a double feed. I hope you learned how to fix a Type 3 Malfunction. If not, you should pay somebody like me to teach you. The solution to fixing your malfunction will be best solved by getting a different magazine into your gun so you can continue firing. While your Type 3 malfunction might look like the one in the picture (I hope you are using real defense rounds and not inert rounds like in the picture), you will need to fix it, quickly.


Each situation is different, and nobody can predict how many rounds you will need, or whether you will have a magazine related failure, when Murphy shows up during that one time when you need your gun to work, flawlessly. That extra magazine may be the deciding factor on that really bad day in your life and whether you will have more days in the future.

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