Harboring Your Ammo

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

If you shoot regularly (and I certainly hope you do), you know just how easy it is to go though a box of ammo. Even taking your time, it doesn’t take any time at all to go through 50 rounds of ammo, punching holes in targets. That can be a bit expensive, especially with the way ammo prices have been the last few years; but that’s not the biggest problem. To me, the bigger problem is that it gives us an unrealistic expectation for an active shooter situation.

Allow me to explain. My favorite gun to shoot at the range is my Glock 17. That holds 17 rounds per magazine and I have plenty of magazines. I can easily go through six magazines in a session at the range, although I usually limit myself to three or four, before switching over to a .22LR in order to save costs on ammo. But even if I only shoot three magazines full, that’s considerably more than I carry every day.

My carry gun is a .45 caliber Springfield XDS. I like having the larger caliber round in case I get into an altercation with someone who is on drugs. At the same time, the pistol is considerably smaller than a Glock, even though it is a bit on the large side for a concealed carry pistol.

Here’s the thing though… that XDS only holds five rounds in a standard-sized magazine. I carry two spares, which are extended magazines with a seven-round capacity. So, with one in the throat, I’ve got a total of 21 rounds to defend myself and my loved ones with. That’s not a whole lot, especially if I find myself in a real shootout.

Granted, most life-fire situations involving concealed carry holders are limited to three rounds in five seconds; but not all are. If the assailant is on drugs, chances are they will keep shooting until you either knock them down, they fall due to blood loss or they die due to a critical hit. In one notable shootout with a drug addict a few years back, the police officer shot 48 times, hitting the assailant with 17 rounds. It took that many to get him down.

I can’t afford that sort of shootout with what I’m carrying. Nor can I afford to lose such a shootout. At the same time, carrying enough magazines to shoot that many times would mean that I have to carry be carrying six spare magazines. I don’t exactly know how I’d keep that many concealed.

Looking back on that shootout, there are a couple of things that become immediately apparent. First, the police officer missed his assailant more than he hit them. We shouldn’t berate the officer for that though, as it is common for anyone’s shooting accuracy to go out the window when the adrenalin of a live-fire situation occurs. He actually did pretty good, in that he won that encounter and didn’t hit any innocent bystanders.

Could he have shot better and missed less? I wasn’t there, so I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that if he had taken his time, he could have shot better. At least, I hope he could have, as that’s what I’m counting on, should I ever find myself in the same situation. Since I don’t have 51 rounds, like he did, I’m going to have to make my shots count.

The second thing ties in with what Hollywood has shown us time and time again. We see shootouts all the time, on a variety of different shows and movies. In pretty much all cases, most of the shots fired could be considered to be suppressive fire; something that has a place in the military, but really doesn’t have a place in the civilian world. In combat, suppressive fire is used to keep the other guy from being able to shoot accurately at you; but if we try to use that in a shootout with a bad guy, there’s a good chance that the bullets will ricochet and might end up hitting an innocent bystander.

I don’t know that the officer in that case was firing shots that weren’t aimed shots, intended to hit their target; but I sure hope he wasn’t. More than that, I see the risk that exists if you or I choose to do the same. It’s better to hold off on pulling the trigger until you are sure you have a good shot, than it is to take a wild shot when you don’t know if you’re going to hit or not.

I’ve participated in a fair amount of combat shooting competitions. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that, it’s that accuracy trumps speed every time. I don’t care how good you are, a miss is still a miss. The only shots that count are the ones which hit their target. So, take the time to make sure that your shots do actually hit the target and don’t allow yourself to run out of ammo. You never know when you might have to give someone another shot.

Conserving ammo is just one more tool to keep you safe, just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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