Carry a gun? Carry a spare mag. At least one. Maybe more.
The subject of carrying a spare mag comes up every now, and I feel it’s often a misunderstood subject. Carrying a spare magazine is often considered paranoid and silly. No one gets into crazy gunfights on their way to work. With modern guns carrying 10 to 19 rounds, it’s easy to see why some never consider carrying a spare. The thing is, there are lots of reasons to carry a spare mag, and here are the top 5 reasons it’s not paranoid and it’s good common sense.
The most obvious reason to carry a spare mag is to reload. Is it rare that a self-defense situation goes beyond a single magazine? Sure, but not completely impossible. If you are running a pocket pistol with a six-round magazine, the reality of reloading might be very real. A spare mag will keep you in the fight and hopefully get you out of the fight alive and kicking. Reloading is an important skill, and if you are practicing your reloads without carrying a spare magazine, I have to question your efforts.
If you’ve never had a magazine malfunction, then I have to assume you’re a revolver shooter. Even good magazines can fail. Sometimes a round nose dives, sometimes the follower fails to rise, or any other wide variety of issues can occur with a magazine. Sometimes tap, rack, bang can force it to work, but sometimes it doesn’t. In that situation, your next move should be to drop the magazine, insert a new magazine, and get back at it. If you don’t have a spare mag, then get real used to tap, rack, bang.
Ammo can also malfunction while living in your magazine. Maybe the projectile is too deep into the case, and it refuses to feed. Maybe the projectile isn’t properly crimped, and the bullet separates from the case inside the magazine. Good luck trying to fix either issue when lead is coming at you. It’s fast and easier to drop the mag and put a fresh one in play. A spare mag is quite comforting to have when this situation occurs.
Failures to eject and double feeds can occur even with a well-maintained gun. Sometimes fate acts against you. When corrective action involves removing the magazine, the chance of dropping your magazine becomes a reality. Sometimes it might even be worth dropping that mag, correcting the issue, and reloading with a fresh spare mag in the first place. People with small hands may find it tough to handle a spare Glock mag as they operate the slide and clear a jammed chamber.
We live in a world where extended magazines are a real thing. Some can be massively long stick magazines offering 30 or more rounds, but other more practical variants can offer an extra 5 to 6 rounds without being absolutely massive. For example, in my P365, I carry a ten-round magazine, but I carry a spare 15 round magazine. I figure if I need to reload, then I wanna reload with as much ammo as I reasonably can. Carrying a spare mag is easy to do, and adding an extra inch or so for some extra ammo is well worth it.
A spare mag doesn’t make you crazy or paranoid. It makes you better prepared for very little investment both monetarily and effort-wise. A spare mag on your belt, in your waistband, or in your pocket is a minimal investment with a passive pay-off when it’s needed. If you are looking to pack a spare mag, check out our spare magazine carriers. They are Ameican made, easily worn, and perfect for packing a little extra ammunition when needed.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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