Why I Carry a Spare Magazine

I tend to open carry. It is more comfortable for me, Tennessee law allows it, I make a pro-gun statement without saying a word, and it starts conversations.

Open carry with spare magazines

The author showing open carry with spare speedloaders. His regular carry gun is an M&P Pro in 9mm.

The specific conversation I am going to write about today is a follow-up conversation. The initial conversation happened at my local grocery store between two 60ish-year-old cashiers and me. After seeing me shop at their store for about 6 months, they decided to thank me for carrying openly. We had a long conversation. The basics were, they are happy to see me carry as they KNOW I am one of the good guys and my presence increases their safety. This particular grocery store chain demands employees not conceal carry but does not bar any type of carry for customers.

The follow-up conversation took place when one of the women asked why I carry a second magazine in addition to the magazine in my full-sized gun. She laughed and said, “I don’t mind, but what do you think you can fix with an additional 15+ bullets that the first 15+ bullets won’t have taken care of?”

I smiled and we had a conversation about it while she rang up my purchases.

In order of importance:

  1. No one has ever wished for fewer rounds in a gunfight. This is a simple truth evolved from battle and it transfers over to citizen defensive carry. Although the average defense gun use ends at 1.7 shots fired, there have been many instances with more than a dozen shots fired. The Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooting being one such example.
  2. There is no such thing as too many bullets unless you are on fire or swimming. A re-statement of the above, with examples for emphasis.
  3. Having some weight on the left hip helps to balance out the load of the right hip. Simple math and ergonomics dictate if you have 30+ ounces on one side a counterbalance will help. I used to run a double mag holder on the off side but the extra bulk was annoying while seated in my car.
  4. The truly important factor – the most likely item to fail on a modern semi-automatic pistol is the magazine. Not being a fan of only having one shot, I carry a spare mag. In the event of a jam; the drill is tap, rack go. If that fails, drop the mag, clear the chamber, insert a new mag, chamber from the new mag. You can’t do that if you don’t have a new mag to use. There is also the opportunity for the magazine plate to break off. Then, the bullet in the chamber is your only one, as the rest of the bullets follow the floor plate to the ground. That has happened to me (at the range), so I know from experience it can and does happen.

Clearly, the odds of needing to use the gun defensively are fairly remote. Yet, we carry one anyway. The odds of having a magazine failure if you do need to use the gun are even more remote. We all practice quick reload drills (you are practicing that, RIGHT?). Doesn’t it make sense that if you practice the drill, you should have a method to actually perform it in a real-life situation? The only way to do that is to carry a spare magazine. So I do. And you should too.

Do you carry a spare magazine? If not, why not? Share your experiences with us in the comment section.

Defender Outdoors Shield

John BibbyJohn Bibby is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has always pushed the envelope to see what he could do. He started shooting at age 5 and by age 9 shot his first Uber Thumper, a 375 H&H. His current shooting interests bounce between 3-gun matches and informal long-distance shooting with friends.

In the intervening years, the accuracy bug has bitten hard. This has led to an ever-increasing digging into the depths of precision reloading. John shoots a 24-inch barrel AR for practice with reading wind and a 30-inch barrel F-class 6.5×284, too infrequently.

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