Some wiseguy said this:
“I still don’t get the fascination for high-capacity mags in a non-military / non-law enforcement scenario. I mean, seriously: if the average gunfight is pretty much over, one way or another after three rounds have been fired, the remaining dozen in your double-stack mag are superfluous.”
That was in response to Tami Keel’s article about the low-capacity drawback of the 1911 as a carry piece.
But lo and behold, she’s just come out with a new piece which agrees with me, sorta:
Let’s get this out in the open: You can count the number of private-citizen defensive gun uses in the U.S. when a rapid reload made the difference between a dead good guy and a live one without taking off both mittens.
Reloading a handgun mid-gunfight, outside of a military or law enforcement context is pretty unlikely. Although he’s talking about carbines rather than pistols, a great quote from trainer Randy Harris springs to mind: “If you empty one 30-round mag in civilian-world USA, you’re going to be on the news … if you empty two, you’re going to be in the encyclopedia …”
Another trainer, Claude Werner, studies the reports of private-citizen defensive gun uses as collected in sources like the NRA’s Armed Citizen column. Over time, he’s found the average number of rounds needed in these encounters is low. One month, May of 2017, the average round count across seven reported gunfights was only 1.43 rounds per incident. That’s not a lot. Unless you find yourself caught up in the middle of an action-movie shootout, you’re highly unlikely to need that reload.
And of course, we both agree that having a spare mag is nevertheless A Good Thing should the one in the gun malfunction: the “drop [the mag], clear [the gun], reload” mantra is repeated endlessly in training, with good reason. (I myself generally carry two spare 8-round 1911 mags, by the way, because terrorist assholes / spree shooter possibilities and for another reason that I’ll discuss below.)
But I love the pic which accompanies her Recoil piece:
I think I saw that guy at the range a couple weeks back.
I know all the arguments for carrying spare mags but there’s only one sound reason I do, and it’s not because I’m likely to face off suddenly with a dozen rabid coyotes or the Plano chapter of MS-13, either; it’s just in case my hitherto-infallible PowerMag becomes suddenly fallible. Everything breaks, sooner or later.
And let’s be honest: the aforementioned terrorism / spree shooter thing is probably even less likely to happen to me than a mag breakdown. Any of these scenarios may be unlikely, but experience also tells me that most of the time, you don’t need a fire extinguisher in your car; but when you do need it, you need it really badly. Ditto ammo, hence my 16 spare rounds. I’m just not going to carry around a hundred spare rounds in ten 10-rounders — it’s heavy and spoils the look of my trousers. (Yeah, that’s me: Mr. Fashion Plate lol.)
Of course, the one qualifier to all this is geography. If your business trip takes you to or through unsavory neighborhoods full of gangs and similar goblins, why then, take as much ammo as doesn’t cause your trousers to fall down, with my blessing. There’s no need to be stupid about this issue, after all.
As with all things, your opinion may differ from mine (and in this case from Tami’s too), and that’s fine. Just don’t think you’re somehow deficient if you’re the only guy at the picnic who’s not bow-legged because of an overloaded ammo belt.