How Much Ammo Do You Really Need for Concealed Carry?

Once you have realized that you can’t predict when a criminal attack will occur and have begun to pack your concealed carry handgun all the time, it is important to address the issue of carrying extra ammunition. It is generally recommended you carry at least one reload with you. The operative phrase in that sentence is “at least.” In addition to providing spare ammo, carrying extra magazines gives a backup option in case of equipment-related malfunction.

When I carry my 1911, I have two spare magazines in a double mag pouch. Counting what’s in the pistol, that’s a total of 22 rounds. When packing a double-action revolver, I’ve got six rounds in a dump pouch and another six rounds in a speed strip, for a total of 18 rounds. A study of actual gunfights will show the vast majority of threats are stopped with amounts of ammunition within the limits I have described, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for any nightmare scenarios requiring more ammunition.

You undoubtedly have extra boxes of ammo at home. Why not find a way to make a better tactical use of them? Why not put that extra ammunition into your spare magazines and strategically stash a few in your car and around your house? You revolver guys should load up your speed loaders and speed strips and do the same. In all likelihood, you will probably never need the extra ammunition, but at least you can have it there for the mother of all worst-case scenarios.

In defensive handgun classes, after we teach students how to perform speed and tactical reloads, we tell them, from now on, ammunition management is up to them. How much ammo they carry and when they reload is their problem. That’s the way it works in the real world, too.

This post originally appeared in the Shooting Illustrated.  




This entry was posted in Ammunition, Guns, Personal Defense, Revolvers, Semi-Auto and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How Much Ammo Do You Really Need for Concealed Carry?

  1. Jim, What rear sight do u have on your Commander pictured here? And did xs sights dovetail the front sight in or is it pinned. Thank u

  2. I have found that a .357 speed loader pouch, that hold one K-frame loader and six rounds, will hold two .45 full moon clips, for 12 rounds total, once you take the plastic cup out of it. A uniformed belt pouch setup, with dual speedloader pouches, will hold 24 .45 ACP in this fashion, 4 reloads vs. 2. I think 30 rounds makes better sense than 18…

  3. Art Matto says:

    Has anyone used “JOX” speed loader carriers for CCW? Opinion? I do not want to buy blind and end up with them in the box of things that do not work.

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  5. William Waddell says:

    When I carry my full-size 1911, I use 8-round Wilson magazines and I carry two spares in a double mag pouch, for a total of 25 rounds. My default concealed carry gun has become the Sig P365, and I carry with the 10-round flush magazine (plus one in the chamber, of course), and a spare 12-round magazine, for a total of 23 rounds. With 115-grain Hornady Critical Defense, the weight of the whole package is quite reasonable.

  6. John Straub says:

    Depends on what I’m carrying at the time. Beretta 92, 3\15 round mags, Baby Eagle .45, 3\13 round mags, Ruger 22slr 3\10 round mags.

  7. William White says:

    I carried my Beretta 92 with one magazine, nothing chambered, and 5 spare magazines when flying missions over Iraq. I keep 2 spare magazines with my Glock 43x now that I’m a judge.

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