Here’s a question for all of us who choose to carry a concealed weapon : How many rounds do you have with you, both in the pistol and in spare magazines?
Many people carry a small (and therefore convenient, lightweight and easily concealed) pistol that might have perhaps a six round magazine, and if they are prudent, they’ll not load the magazine to full capacity so as to preserve the life of the magazine spring. Perhaps they’ll have four or five rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber.
And how about a spare magazine? With how many rounds loaded in it? Another four or five rounds?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if the (say) five – ten rounds in your gun aren’t enough to solve a situation, nothing much else would be of use either, and you should be running away rather than standing your ground.
But there are several considerations to keep in mind.
First and most importantly, we – all of us – would always prefer to be a ‘brave coward’ and run away. For all reasons, we must always do all we can to avoid any sort of conflict that could escalate up to requiring deadly force. That goes without saying. But so too does it go without saying that sometimes there is no alternative open to us. We are forced to defend ourselves and our loved ones.
Remember – the whole purpose of carrying any concealed weapon is to plan and prepare for the worst case scenarios, not the best case scenarios. So, when planning for moderately worst case scenarios, the first part of your planning has to be an allowance for there being no way to avoid the need to use deadly force.
Now, next thought. What happens if you have a ‘Type 3’ malfunction – a ‘failure to feed’, with the requirement to strip out your magazine and replace it with a spare magazine? This lengthy process assumes you have a spare magazine readily to hand, and even in the most optimum of situations can take five or six precious seconds to complete. What if you don’t have a spare magazine?
Sure, there is an alternate drill for reusing your current magazine, but it adds further time and requires additional dexterity at a time when the adrenalin rushing through your system is making you massively clumsy, and in a situation where the bad guys are almost literally on top of you and you don’t have the time to quietly and calmly work your way through the clearance drill.
There are other situations where you may need a second magazine (other than running out of ammo). Maybe in your stressed condition, you accidentally hit the magazine release button – I’ve seen this happen more times than I care to count. All of a sudden, your gun is empty and your magazine has fallen somewhere away from you on the ground. Stopping the fight to crawl around, perhaps in the dark, looking for your dropped magazine is not an option.
So, lesson learned – if you’re carrying a concealed semi-auto, be sure to carry at least one spare magazine too, in a location easily reached by your support hand (the one that doesn’t have your pistol in it).
Next, how many bad guys do you expect to have attacking you? As a former instructor of mine always insisted, ‘rats travel in packs’. If you’re being mugged on the street, there’s every chance there are two or more bad guys – and always remember that just because you only see one, that does not mean there isn’t one or two more lurking in the background, waiting to surprise you if you resist the attack from the first guy. If you surprise a burglar in your kitchen, there’s a good chance his partner is in your living room or bedroom. And so on.
Worst case scenario, let’s say you’re confronted with a group of four or five bad guys – maybe gang members, out for some mischief, murder and mayhem.
How many rounds do you need to have per bad guy? Allow for misses, and particularly if you’re using a smaller caliber weapon, allow for multiple hits to stop each threat, and perhaps you should plan for as many as 4 – 8 rounds per bad guy, ‘worst case scenario’. Five bad guys and eight rounds per bad guy – that is 40 rounds.
Do you still feel good carrying your pistol with five or six rounds in it and no spare ammo?
Lastly, and the reason for sharing these thoughts today, consider the situation described here – two people were attacked by a group of 30 youths on a MARTA train in the Atlanta area.
Think about that situation and use it to redefine your concept of ‘worst case scenario’ : You can’t run away, and, for that matter, neither can the 30 bad guys either. If they set upon you, as they did these two innocent riders, with the conflict occurring suddenly and from short range, and in a subway car full of ordinary innocent citizens as well as bad guys, what are you going to do?
One thing is for sure – you’re going to need to project a massively powerful force at the group of bad guys if you wish to take control of the situation. I’m not even sure you could triumph, but wouldn’t you much rather fail having taken a sizeable number of the bad guys with you, than passively submit to whatever they chose to dish out.
And a closing thought : Your chances of surviving such a scenario would be much better if the person you were traveling with also has a concealed weapon and knows how to use it. Of course you don’t want to alienate the gun-haters among your friends and family; but for your safety as well as theirs, any time you have a chance to encourage a person to join you as a gun carrying non-victim, you increase the odds not only of their future survival, but of yours too, if/when something bad goes down.
How Many Guns Can You/Should You Own
Here’s a related question – how many guns should you own? The same breathless newspaper articles that express shock and horror at discovering some ‘survivalist’ had thousands of rounds of ammo stored also refer to his ‘arsenal’ of guns.
How many guns are fair, and how many become excessive and too many?
Most states have no limit on the number of guns you can own, so that removes that constraint. As for an actual number, here is an interesting article where a person lists the 16 guns he owns and why he needs each one of them. We’re not going to say that 16 is the exact number to aim for, but clearly this person can easily explain each of them and why he has them all (not that he should need to).
Lastly on this point, if you’re being given grief on this point by someone (often a woman) ask her how many pairs of shoes she owns? After all, you can only wear one pair at a time, right (chances are she has just been saying ‘you can only shoot one gun at a time, why do you need more)?
Make her a deal – you’ll limit both the number of guns you own and your ongoing purchase of more guns to the same quantities as the shoes she owns and continues to buy!
Bottom Line Action Items
1. Always carry at least one spare magazine
2. Consider choosing a self-defense pistol with a higher round capacity
Please also see a second related article ‘How Many Rounds to Carry with Your Concealed Weapon‘.