How Much Ammo Should You Carry

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Every once in a while, I get into a discussion about how much ammo is sufficient to carry. As with what’s the best caliber or pistol to use, there are a lot of different opinions about this. There is no ideal answer to this question, simply because none of us can look into the future and see what sort of situation we’re going to find ourselves using our firearms in.

That’s not to say that we can’t apply a bit of forethought and logic to this situation, coming up with at least a logical answer, even if it isn’t a perfect one. In that, we can start with the premise that one magazine probably isn’t enough and carrying a whole ammo can on our back is probably too much.

There was a police officer a few years ago, who ended up facing off against an armed suspect who had apparently been on drugs. As I understand the situation, the officer was carrying a Glock 9mm handgun, with a 17 round magazine capacity. When the shooting stopped and the dust settled, he only had three rounds left. He had hit the suspect with 19 shots before the suspect went down.

If we were to use that as a guideline, I doubt that any of us are carrying enough rounds. I know I’m not. My .45 caliber Springfield only carries five rounds in the magazine and seen in the extended mags. So, even though I carry two spare mags, I’m only carrying a total of 20 rounds on me. If I were to be in the same place as that police officer, I wouldn’t have enough.

On the other hand, most shooting situations that people with concealed carry licenses find themselves in amount to three rounds in three seconds. There isn’t even time to think about emptying out a magazine in that time, let alone replacing it. So if I was to find myself in that sort of situation, my two extra magazines aren’t going to make a difference at all, except to give me something to recharge my gun with, once the smoke has cleared.

That brings up my first important point; one magazine is never enough, no matter how many rounds it has. If you are ever involved in a shooting situation, the first thing you want to do is to replace your magazine, so that you have a full load in your pistol. The situation may not actually be over.

In that case, put the partially used magazine in your pocket, so that you can turn it over to the investigating officer, demonstrating how many rounds you fired. While that will not be of much use as evidence, it will give them a starting number to use, when looking for your rounds. If they only find two, and your magazine shows you fired three shots, they’ll know to keep looking.

But how many magazines are too many? There literally is no answer to that. I would suggest carrying as many as you can comfortably. For most of us, that means two. That will probably give you about as many rounds as I have in my basic load.

But is that enough? I’ll have to say no. While most shooting situations involve very few shots fired, there are those which involve more. The last thing you want to do is run out of rounds, while your opponent is still shooting. That would put you in a very precarious situation.

That brings me to my second important point; always have a backup supply of ammunition close by. Whether that ammo is in magazines (ideal ) or in a box, make sure that you can reload, even after you use up your basic load. I keep spare ammo in my car’s glove box, my desk, and in the backpack that I use as a briefcase. I also have a box in my get home bag, which is in the trunk of my car.

Remember, we’re living in times when there’s a lot of violence going on. If you have to draw your gun, you don’t know what you’ll be facing. So, the idea is to have ammo in enough different places, so that you’re always in close proximity to a source of resupply. Even so, you’re probably going to have to work your way to that supply of ammo, so you need to be cognizant of how many magazines you’ve gone through. When you slap that last mag into the well, it’s time to start moving towards your stash.

Finally, make sure you husband your ammo. Only having 20 rounds has made me realize that I need to make every shot count. I can’t afford to waste even one. While that might be difficult in an active shooting situation, it would be best to avoid missing a single shot; that’s impossible, but it’s a good goal to strive for.

Think it through, so you can make sure you’re ready. A lot of this is mental. But then, carrying enough magazines, like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand, is the practical part we can’t ignore.

Dr. Rich

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