Should You Carry a Spare Magazine

October 9, 2018

Many concealed carriers carry a spare magazine or two to supplement the ammunition in their pistol. There is a fair amount of debate as to whether it is really necessary to carry a spare magazine or not and the best way to carry it if you do.


There are certain reasons some shooters do not feel the need to carry a spare magazine.

Spare magazines can be just as difficult to conceal as a pistol, and the choice of carriers or holsters for magazines is not as extensive as those available for concealed carry guns.


In a self-defense situation, a spare magazine may not be easily accessible when you need it. Consider that if your ammunition supply runs out, you will need to drop the current magazine from the pistol, access the spare magazine from a pouch, carrier or holder and reload the weapon. That can involve a fair amount of time and distraction that can be difficult to manage if you are being shot at.


Most people who carry a concealed weapon may never need to use it in self-defense. If they do need to use it, an attacker would likely be stopped by the first few shots.


There are shooters that believe carrying a spare magazine is a good idea.


If you have to use your carry gun in self-defense, there is always a chance that you’ll need more ammo than what is in your pistol. The old adage “better safe than sorry comes to mind.


Another reason for carrying a spare magazine is the problem of magazine malfunctions. All semi-automatic pistols malfunction eventually, and in many cases, the only way to clear the malfunction is to drop it and reload with a spare magazine.


If you choose to carry a spare magazine, you need to give some thought as to how you are going to carry it. There are a few different methods of carrying a spare magazine.


Pocket Carry

Carrying a spare magazine in a pocket is easy, low-cost and doesn’t require the purchase of an additional accessory. For smaller, compact double-stack magazines such as a Glock 26, pocket carry can be a practical and simple method of carry. However, for larger full-size magazines, pocket carry could be impractical.


There are a few drawbacks to pocket carry. If you carry in your pocket, you shouldn’t carry anything except the magazine in the pocket so you can be assured of easy access. Concealment of the outline of the magazine could be an issue depending on the fit of the pants and the material the pants are made of. It could also be difficult to draw the magazine from the pocket without snagging the seams of the pocket and possibly dislodging a bullet.


For this reason, many shooters choose to use a magazine carrier or a magazine holster to carry their spare magazine.


What to Look for in a Magazine Carrier or holster

It has to be concealable. Just like a concealed carry pistol, you don’t want the spare magazine outline to print or stick out and alert others that you are carrying. Inside the waistband options are easy to conceal.


The magazine needs to be easy to draw from the holster or carrier. Be sure to get a carrier or holster appropriately sized for the type of magazine you plan to carry. Naturally it will take practice to become comfortable drawing the magazine from the holster or carrier.


The best method of carrying a spare magazine is in a magazine holster. A magazine holster is available in several styles such as Inside the waistband or outside the waistband, custom molded or generic, and in different materials such as leather, durable plastic, Kydex and the like just like concealed carry holsters.  The key is to choose a magazine holster designed for your spare magazine and that best meets your needs.