By Sammy Reese
My pop told me a story about running out of ammo in the middle of a firefight. When he realized he had fired the last shot from his rifle he emptied his 1911 and took cover as best he could. His ears were ringing and the sounds of 7.62x39mm rounds zinging over his head caused him to think about three things: One, could he get what he thought was his last cigarette lit? Two, why did he have to be 6′ 5″? And three, he wished he’d humped more ammo.
I never forgot Pop’s story when I geared up to go into harm’s way, or even now when I leave the house carrying a concealed firearm. I always make sure I’ve got a spare magazine or speed loader with me.
I’ve spent the better part of 20 years teaching law enforcement, military and civilians all types of weapon systems. Regardless of the type, they are just about useless without ammo. I say “just about,” but I don’t see buttstrokes, bayonet techniques and impact strikes working very well in the middle of a two-way gunfight.
What should you carry?
Tuff Products makes the Pocket-Roo pocket holster so you won’t leave home without your gun
and some spare ammo. The Pocket-Roo is also available for revolvers with a slot for a Quickstrip.
Tuff Products quickstrips from .22 LR to 40mm (yup, 40mm).
One Is None
What we carry and how we carry is a personal decision, and I’m not going to get into what type of gun or the caliber you should be carrying for personal defense. We’re focusing on the need for spare ammo and how you can carry it for the handgun you choose to bet your life on.
If you spend enough time on the range you’ll see guns break, all kinds of malfunctions and magazines self-destructing like they were blown up. Magazines are the weak link in semi-auto pistols — even the best-made modern mags can let you down. No matter what type of semi-auto pistol you carry, you have to have at least one spare on your person. A non-functioning, high-capacity magazine turns your gun into a one-shot derringer.
Belt carriers are the most common way to carry an extra mag, but pocket carry works too. It’s not competition-fast, but it works. Some pocket holsters even have a built-in mag holder.
If a revolver is your gun of choice, you already know you are limited in capacity, much like you are with the tiny, pocket auto pistols. Reloading a revolver takes dedicated practice. Using Quickstrips it can be slow and deliberate, or you can set a world record or two using full moon clips like Jerry Miculek does. Somewhere in the middle is my goal. I want to have a smooth manual of arms allowing me to get more ammo into my revolver so I can continue to defend myself.
Speedloaders (HKS on the right) have been around for a long time because they work. The Moon
Clip idea has been around even longer, and Sammy says thery’re the fastest way to load a revolver.
Probably for you too.
How Much Ammo?
Iknow guys who carry more spare ammo on them in a concealed carry capacity than I did when working uniformed patrol. I also know guys who don’t carry any spare ammo at all. Some might call the guy with a lot of ammo paranoid, others would just say, “more prepared.” The guy who chooses not to carry spare ammo might be labeled foolish — or worse. In all cases it’s a fine line, and there has to be a place in the middle. I don’t have all the answers.
One thing for sure, though, is the guy who runs out or has a magazine malfunction will be wishing he humped more ammo.