Why Do We Recommend You Carry Extra Ammo?

Both the SnagMag (left), and the Neo Mag (right) allow one to easily and comfortably carry a spare magazine in their pocket.

You may have heard us or another instructor in the industry saying that it's a good idea to carry more ammo than your gun holds. This is true in the case of a spare magazine for your semi-auto, or a spare speed loader for your revolver. It doesn't really matter, just as long as you carry extra munitions at the ready, should the unthinkable happen.

Why do we say this? There are a couple of reasons why, actually. First, obviously, you may need as much ammunition as you can carry to see your way out of whatever trials you may find yourself in. If you end up in a shootout with more than one bad guy or even an extended shootout with only one bad guy, you'll be happier to have more ammo than less.

This way, you can either last longer than them, eliminate their threat, or at least hold out until backup arrives. It's always better to have more ammo than you'll need in a firefight than not enough, but always remember to only shoot what you need, not spraying bullets out needlessly in any direction.

Oddly enough, this is even truer now than it was just a few months ago. The United States is currently doing well and we're currently supporting one another pretty well. However, we don't know how bad this coronavirus thing is going to get and if we find ourselves outside of our homes during a societal collapse, having extra ammo on you can help you get home to hunker down, if you're not already there.

However, the chances of you needing that much ammo because you emptied your magazine is not as likely as the other reason why you might need an extra reload of ammo. And, that is because you've had some sort of malfunction during the firefight.

In fact, many semi-automatic malfunctions are caused by a failure in the magazine. If this happens, being able to ditch the mag completely, or at least stick it in your pocket for later as you insert a fresh one that hopefully works correctly, may be your best option to get back into the fight quickly if needed.

But you can only do that if you have the spare mag on you to begin with. Of course, also necessary is the skill to perform the magazine change which can be practiced both at home in dryfire as well as at the range during live fire practice.

Do you carry a spare reload? Let us know in the comments below.

Next check out Matthew's comp between the above pictured mag carriers, here.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Dennis Bader on April 2, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Always, better to have it and not need it,than to need it and not have it.

  2. Steve on April 2, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Yes for both 9mm and 10mm

  3. Thomas on April 4, 2020 at 5:56 am

    Yes, I always carry at least one extra magazine on me if not two.

  4. Gary Porter on April 4, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Single stack=2 spare mags; double stack=1 spare mag.

  5. JoeUSooner on April 4, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Yes, I have had an Oklahoma carry license for 9 years, and I carry at all times. I have a dual mag carrier on my belt opposite the pistol. Total of three dual-stack mags mean that I will very likely never run out of ammo…

  6. Jason on April 7, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Usually, no unless the firearm I’m carrying has less than 10 round capacity. I do carry spares for several different platforms in my vehicle though.

  7. Deron on April 7, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Remember: “Two is one, & one is none!”

  8. DEFEDER on April 7, 2020 at 9:07 am

    One of the few good things about being 70+ is – No-one looks at you or cares.
    You become almost invisible to anyone younger than say 50.
    So I wear a full double mag pouch on weak side – with fold over flaps.
    Everywhere – no-one ever says anything.
    Bonus – My full size mags will fit my Compact carry gun.
    46 rds is comforting, comfortable and goes unnoticed.

  9. Richard Hyman on April 7, 2020 at 9:46 am

    I guess I’m in the minority here. I don’t normally carry spare mags for either of my EDC guns. I’m pretty much of the mindset that 15 or 12 is enough, but you make a very valid point about malfunctions. Numbers don’t do any good if they’re not feeding into the weapon. Good read. Thanks!

    • Jake Statefarm on April 8, 2020 at 8:27 am

      I’m “quite” jealous of all my fellow shooters who can carry more than 10 round magazines. Here in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, most modern handguns are limited to 10 rounds. I do have two Beretta’s that are legal high capacity, one a Wilson Combat 92FS and the other a Chetta series 81. Both kinda large for an EDC. Yes, I know it can be done, just not for me.

      While I am totally comfortable with my M&P 9C, ammo wise, the magazine spring is a pretty tight fit with just 10 rounds, so I keep 9 rounds in the magazine and now carry a spare magazine with 9 rounds in a flashlight holder from Nite Ize called “Lite Holster Stretch” . Cost under $10, stretches to fit flashlights, has durable rotating clip locks in 8 positions and fits belts up to 2.375 in. It holds a spare magazine perfectly, very discreet, and pulling out the magazine is rapid. Unless I take out the magazine and show you, no one can tell what is the holder.

      I carry it on my weak side as I train and compete in IDPA with that position. And no, I’m not carrying my IDPA double magazine holder as while I’m also very comfortable with it, it is NOT discreet at all.

      While the comments and reasons for a spare magazine are 100% valid, my additional reason is a little different. I have never been in a firefight, never been a LEO, and thank God, I’ve never had to pull my weapon on another human being. I’m realistic enough to know that if I’m ever in need of pulling my weapon on another human being, that (first after crapping my pants) my first shots are not going to be accurate. The second magazine will be critical.

      Stay safe, stay sanitized, and stay aware. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself and loved ones alive.

  10. Dan on April 7, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I started out as a copper 40 years ago when we carried revolvers—-a tradition left over from the 1870’s. Most cops i those days who carried off duty had a 5 or 6 shot snub nose…and I didn’t know of any who carried spare ammo. I was a radical because I carried my 1911 off duty with a spar mag. And annoyed the chiefs trying to get them to let us carry semi autos on duty.
    As an instructor I found many cases of cops in gun fights on and off duty who needed more than 6 rounds, and didn’t have it off duty, and on duty it seemed like forever to reload.
    A semi auto malfunction is often a bad mag/ ammo, so having a spare mag will solve the problem.
    I would not even consider a snub nose revolver for off duty, although some seem to think that is cool.

  11. Rick McC. on April 7, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I’v been carrying concealed daily for over 30 years now, and have always carried two spare mags if carrying a single stack (1911), and at least one spare if carrying a hi-cap pistol, though I will often carry two or more, because if I’m carrying a hi-cap, it’s because I have no choice but to transit a demographically questionable area.

  12. Lee Wall on April 7, 2020 at 11:18 am

    In these times, 3 spares single stack, 2 spares double stack. There’s an old saying amoungst warriors—if never have to shoot, you brought to much ammo, if you fired once, you didn’t bring enough. Better to have and not need than be wishing you had

  13. Bud Walker on April 7, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    My shooting instructor told me to carry TWO spare mags! Not for the extra fire-power (he said if I really needed three mags worth of ammo there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong with either me OR the sit) but in case I DROP the second mag while reloading. He told us that under pressure our fine motor skills go to @#$% and we are just about as likely to drop a mag as get it in the right place! I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration but, thankfully, I’ve never been in that situation to find out. Two mags for every semi, at home, in the car, on my person.

  14. G Dixon on April 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Always a extra mag on me plus 2 more in my car, my wife has the same gun on her ccw

  15. Charles on April 8, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Do you carry spare tire in your vehicles? Try to predict when and where your next flat will occur!

  16. tyler on April 8, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Has there ever been a case of a civilian getting into an on-going gun fight with bad guys? Ever? During an urban riot, a business or property owner might well need more than a single mag of ammo to defend against mobs of looters. (Of course, if you own a bookstore, looting won’t be a problem.) But for daily carry? Seems like overkill. No pun intended.

  17. navypride8488 on April 9, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Always have a spare mag in my snagamag plus one extra in my center console of my vehicle

  18. Marcus on April 9, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    What @Gary Porter said. Also, my single stack spares (G43) have +2 extensions.

  19. Zeke on April 16, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    There is another reason for me to carry spare mags: Balance.

    I have a bad back. If I carry my pistol on my right side with nothing on the other side, I have a feeling of unbalanced weight and that may trigger my back pain. Having one or two spare mags on the left side solves that problem besides all the good reasons in this article.

  20. BillyBob Texas on December 29, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Looking for a ‘holster’ for the Glock magazine that goes inside my weak side jean front pocket – like my large pocketknife (with the outside clip) goes into my strong side front jean pocket. That knife is just ‘part of my dressing’ and never without it – I figure I could get used to the same on the other side.
    Who’s got the best for that? I have not yet tried any of them. Thx.

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