How Much Extra Ammunition Should You Carry?
Just because you loaded a full magazine into your everyday concealed carry handgun doesn't mean it's going to be enough. The vast majority of concealed carriers will never need to use their handguns in self-defense. Where we run into problems is that off chance you're the lucky (or unlucky) ducky. It happens every single day. Whether it's home defense or out in town, you could be called upon at any minute of any day to respond with deadly force to an illegal assault upon yourself, your family, or your property.
In those situations, six rounds may not do it. There's not a lot of study into how many rounds on average are fired in a self-defense scenario. A lot of sources cite two to three rounds, others cite more. There's no definitive independent and verified source for this information because court documents, police reports, and FBI statistics don't line up. So, in conclusion, we don't know how many bullets we'll have to fire. All we know is that if it comes to that – our life is on the line and we need to be able to hold out long enough to clear a retreat or for police to arrive.
One Magazine Loaded, No Backups
If you head out in the morning with just one magazine, that's how many bullets you have between yourself and whatever violence rolls your way. That is the best way to think about it. No matter how good your marksmanship is at the range, a live fire environment is nothing near similar. If you're confident you can neutralize your attackers with seven rounds of .40 S&W, all the more power to you.
Just realize, if you fire that seventh and you're no where closer to escaping or neutralizing your opponents – you are going to have a bad day.
Improving Your Concealed Carry - One Magazine Loaded, One Backup
Similarly, say you do neutralize your attackers with however many round are in your handgun – can you reload and prepare for further unplanned assaults? Bad guys don't always travel solo or in two-to-three man groups. Sometimes there's reinforcements on the way. Being about to reload is just one more way you can stay on defense.
While we always recommend carrying that spare magazine on your body, even having an additional magazine in a vehicle can be of aid. If you're in a grocery store parking lot and something happens, you know that you can at least get to your vehicle to either attempt to escape or reload if you run out.
Best Concealed Carry Practices - One Magazine Loaded, One Backup, One In Vehicle
This is possibly the most ideal situation while outside the home. Not only can you appropriately defend your life in the immediate time frame of an attack, you can attempt to flee with a reloaded magazine. Remember, your priorities in an assault on your life are to find cover, concealment, and then attempt to flee – if you can't safely flee outright. Which ammo to Carry? Thats another topic, which we cover in our complete guide to ammunition.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.