When going about your daily routine while carrying concealed, one imposing question that one can face is: Just how much ammunition should I keep on my person? I myself believe no one can ever carry too much ammunition. However, since your daily business more than likely won’t take you into an active warzone; having a full kit and basic load isn’t exactly practical. Although while going to the store wearing a tactical vest loaded for BEAR might not be ideal, not to mention warrant some serious unwanted attention; you still have the option available to you to carry some extra magazines on your person and remain concealed.
Personally I’ve tried various methods in regards to carrying around extra magazines. I tend to always keep at least two spare magazines in my truck at all times. Currently, during the winter months since I own a tactical jacket with more pockets than I have things to put in; I keep a spare magazine and flashlight in one breast pocket for easy access as well as a knife in the opposite pocket to balance the weight. I’ve found that when carrying extra magazines, balancing the load is crucial to maintaining comfort while concealed carrying.
Now if you don’t own a tactical jacket like mine, or during the warmer months when wearing a jacket isn’t possible or practical, several other options are available if you still wish to keep an extra mag or two on hand. I’ve experimented with simple single magazine holders using BlackHawk’s S.T.R.I.K.E. MOLLE gear. I’ve found with the right sized belt, you can secure the MOLLE gear magazine pouch to your hip for either a vertical or horizontal positon. If you don’t wear a belt, the MOLLE gear straps can still be weaved through your belt loop. Although I will add it’ll be less secure this way. One of the main reasons I like this option is simply because at a glance the MOLLE gear looks nothing more than a pouch on your belt since it completely encloses the magazine.
Now some would argue this benefit, stating that a covered magazine pouch limits accessibility when it counts. I can agree to the point that a covered magazine pouch does slow reloading time a slight fraction; but will comment that if you have to reload in a threatening situation you should be taking cover anyway.
1. Generic double magazine holder with paddle mount fits most double stack magazines. (I can’t remember the manufacturer)
2. My self rig single magazine pouch using Blackhawk MOLLE gear in horizontal position.
3. Another Blackhawk MOLLE gear pouch in vertical position, holds one or two double stacked magazines.
With that small point made on my chosen self-rigs of magazine pouches brings me to the more common method of spare magazine carry. Many options are available and it’s a matter of preference what you decide on. I’ve found that paddle double magazine holders are the most comfortable and offer the best balance when worn on the opposite hip of your chosen firearm. Single magazine holders can be adequate for someone not wanting to add a bunch of weight to their hip, however I’ve found some single mag holders can be slightly unstable depending on the make. Whereas my preference is Fobus double magazine holders with a paddle mount, many manufacturers offer similar rigs with similar functions. IWB magazine holders included. I will add that while IWB magazine holders may offer additional concealment, it does make reaching for and grabbing the magazine difficult since it’s so deeply concealed within the waistband. Of course the depth can be adjusted to a point with most IWB holders. I just prefer something with a little more grab to it.
When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of personal preference and comfort with how you want to carry those spare magazines, if any. Some might be happy with just having a spare mag in their pocket. I’ve tried it, but I can’t stand the extra weight banging around with my phone. I prefer a more secure method of carry. My jackets breast pocket serves its purpose during the cold months as a carrier for my spare mag, however when the warmer months set in a more appropriate method of carry will be needed. It goes along with the consideration of the “dressing around your firearm” mentality. Since I often wear shorts and tee shirts during the summer, I adapted the MOLLE gear magazine pouch method of carry to secure at my non-firing side around the four o’clock position.
No matter what method you decide on when it comes to carrying a spare magazine or two, the reason behind it is just as important. I’ve found myself entering the same debate time and time again as to why anyone would want to carry extra ammunition on their person. The most common argument I’ve faced is one I just happen to agree on: If you can’t do it in one or two well-placed shots, you shouldn’t do it at all. While this statement rings true to me, I can’t help but bring up a few important facts.
While typical concealed carry encounters result in a short confrontation and very few rounds being exchanged without the need to reload, we find ourselves in an age where active shooters are more and more common, regretfully. Those active shooters sometimes often possess enough firepower and ammunition to pose a serious threat to not only the civilians they choose to cowardly target, but the police and law enforcement that respond to the crisis. In those cases, should you as a lawful conceal carry holder be caught in the crossfire, you must decide on a course of action to protect yourself and those around you. Should you be faced with an active shooter with enough ammunition to wreak havoc, the choice you made to carry two extra magazines with you that day could have very well saved your life and the lives of the people around you.
The fact that you’re carrying the extra ammunition might afford you the opportunity to safely lay down covering fire against the active shooter, giving innocent civilians time to seek cover or escape. That extra magazine could allow you to suppress the shooter in order for you to close with and hopefully eliminate the threat, should you choose to do so. That decision lies solely on the individual.
Whatever reason you hold personally is up to you. If comfort with concealment is your main goal when carrying and desire having a spare magazine within reach, a magazine holder is always an option, whatever brand or method it might be.