Determining How Many Rounds to Carry Concealed Everyday

A common misconception for new concealed carriers is that a smaller gun is always the better option. While there are some advantages of carrying a smaller gun, micro-compact single-stack handguns have some significant limitations. Diminished capacity is one drawback. So how small is too small, or rather how many rounds should you carry?

P365 With SIG 365 V-Crown Ammo

The old cliche “if you can’t do it in 6, you can’t do it at all” is just that, a cliche that does not necessarily represent the most current information on how best to approach self-defense.

Contrast that with this statement from Massad Ayoob prefacing his research into the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies’ switch from 5-6 round revolvers to 15-18 or 20 round semi-automatics;

5-6 rounds was usually enough… but usually isn’t always

I don’t usually carry a gun.

I always carry a gun. I carry a gun that I trust will always work. Not a gun that usually works, or I  hope it will work.

What does it mean to have a reliable everyday carry (EDC) handgun?

I choose to carry a firearm with as much capacity as I can comfortably accommodate and at least one additional magazine. I alternate between the HK P30L and the FNX 45 Tactical and an extra magazine or two.

Counting rounds in this video is tricky, but I approach it in this manner, the bad guy has 40 rounds in his AK47. So, count off the first 37 rounds and attribute those to the criminal.

Then start the counting over and attribute all the remaining rounds to the officer, and I ask the question, “how many rounds does this guy take before he is no longer a threat to those officers?”

The two police officers fire a total of 54 rounds.  Is the bad guy still a threat when he is on his knees trying to lift the gun and put more rounds downrange? Absolutely.

By my count, he takes about 30 rounds of the 54 total that officers fire before he is not a threat. The remaining rounds fired as the assailant lays on his side are likely because the officer is terrified for his life. He and his partner are injured and cannot afford to allow this guy to get back up and finish that 40 round mag.

I want to mention that there is a difference between the “typical” law enforcement self-defense shooting and the “typical” shooting a citizen defender finds themselves in. However, I choose to determine my load based on how the human body reacts to gunshot wounds rather than solely on the specific mission.

You Train A Lot, and so Every Shot is going to “Count,” Right?

Self-Defense Accuracy StatsOne of the biggest mistakes we make is to think we will replicate the same speed, accuracy, and fluidity during a deadly attack as we do on the range.

Dave Grossman, in his book “On Combat,” discusses many of the physiological and psychological pitfalls naturally programmed into our bodies. Some of the side effects of being in a deadly force situation include; loss of bowel and bladder control, tunnel vision or fog of war, loss of fine motor control, auditory exclusion, loss of depth perception, and more.

In life or death situations that happen at lightning speed and come with debilitating physical reactions from our bodies, we cannot expect to target every one of our shots perfectly.

In fact, according to several studies about police and law enforcement shootings conducted by the NYPD, the LAPD, and FBI, we find that the percentage of rounds fired that hit the threat, on average less than 20%.

To do some quick math, 20% of 8 is 1.6, so if in a gunfight you are better than average because you train weekly or bi-weekly and you carry 8 rounds in your gun, you can expect to be in slide lock and have only put 2 good, effective hits into the target.

Apply this to the above video. Out of the 54 shots fired by the officers, it’s possible only 10 of the rounds actually hit the assailant. The actual number of gunshot wounds the assailant in the video suffered is unknown.

So then, if 5-6 shots were “usually enough but not always,” we would need 25-32 rounds on our person. This number accounts for the average number of missed shots in typical gunfights while still getting the 5-6 good hits prescribed in the cliche.

Having Less Capacity is Ok if You Have a Larger Caliber, Right?

stopping power of defensive handgun rounds

Well, he had to use so many rounds because he was using a 9mm. If he was carrying a .45 he could have gotten it done in less rounds

I have created this table using Hornady’s ballistic chart PDF available on their website. Therefore this is only looking at the rounds that Hornady manufactures and their energy in foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Because most defensive shootings occur between 5 and 21 feet, the foot-pound measurement at 50yds is negligible.

Foot pounds is an energy measurement for the amount of work an object can do. For example, 1 foot-pound is the amount of energy needed to move a 1 pound object one foot off the ground at a certain altitude.  We use JHP or jacketed hollow point rounds in our EDC gun because the “work” destroys vital organs, which effectively stops the attacker by disrupting the connection where the brain tells the finger to pull the trigger.

We want the round to penetrate the assailant, to transfer all of its energy into the target doing as much damage as possible in the form of expanding the projectile, creating heat energy, and transitioning raw, violent force to the vital organs.  Foot-pounds are not the “end all be all” way to discuss the lethality of a particular round. Still, it remains our most scientific way to discuss something that inherently combines many different factors that are all needed to stop an assailant effectively.

However, at a most basic level, we can use this to see what capacity each of these rounds has to do “work.”

The 9mm averages around 332-foot pounds, where the .40 S&W and the .45 ACP average around 409 foot-pounds. For a real difference of 77-foot pounds or about ¾ the energy in a .22.

Many states have laws defining minimum foot-pounds needed in a projectile to humanely (effectively) take a deer or an Elk. Most have pinned that number around 1,000-foot-pounds. So to stop a strong, healthy 150-pound animal requires at least 1,000-foot-pounds of energy. And we know that even still, many of these animals can run and evade or survive after being shot, even if the shot damages vital organs.

If your 150lb animal is another human bent on killing you, the scary fact is that alone, none of these handgun rounds has even half that capacity to do work.

Assuming that all factors remain the same and we switch out the officer’s 9mm for .45ACP, a compelling case cannot be made for the .45 ACP doing a substantially better job at stopping this bad guy faster. So we can make a case that .45 ACP might do a better job some of the time but not ALL of the time.

Indeed, it cannot do 2x or 3x the damage of the other rounds as it is so often reported.

That still leaves us with the issue that a handgun capable of holding 15/18 rounds of  9, .40, or .45 even still wasn’t enough to stop this guy. At 1:10, we hear the officer do a magazine change and then empty his second magazine into the attacker to stop him eventually.

I think too often we think, “well, if I need a second magazine, then I must be in a much worse situation than is reasonable to anticipate.” EJ Owens talks about this in his video about whether to carry a round in the chamber or not. He says something like, “If I need an extra magazine, then that guy is REALLY in trouble.”

Again, to me, this video illustrates the point that having an extra magazine and needing to reload in the middle of a gunfight is a little more prevalent of a concern than maybe we are all willing to confront mentally. Even though the vast majority of citizen defensive gun uses don’t involve magazine changes, it is scary to think you would have to reload in the middle of a gunfight.

When was the last time you practiced a tactical reload? Did you move to cover, or were you standing in a lane at a gun range? If we don’t develop the necessary skills, they won’t be there on demand.

Don’t Forget the Physiology of being stopped by gunshots

In a deadly force situation, your objective is to stop the threat as quickly as possible.

Shoot to kill, shoot to maim, shoot to injure does not exist in real life.

Hollywood has led many of us to believe in the essence of a “kill shot” or one-shot kill. It is portrayed as a clean, sanitized ‘easy’ thing to do with one bullet—the Villain and the Hero circle each other with guns drawn, well-aimed, and fingers on triggers.  The hero shoots, and the other dramatically dies in a few seconds, gripping and pointing their gun, gasping for breath, a look of shock on their face, and for some unknown reason, the inability to squeeze the trigger on their still aimed gun and respond to the hero…  Roll Credits.

The truth is that one or three well-placed shots are unlikely to immediately stop the threat because of the way the brain, the nervous system, and the muscles work. For example, the brain can continue to tell the finger to squeeze that trigger up to 2-3 minutes after the heart and lungs have been damaged due to several shots to center mass and no longer pump blood to the brain.

We either need to cause MASSIVE trauma like the officer in the video did by putting shot after shot into the assailant. The assailant’s body eventually shut down and gave up in around 1 minute.

Or we shoot a target area that is difficult to hit (ocular occipital), and hopefully, we are just really super accurate. Or we find a place to hide while we wait for the bad guy to succumb to their injuries.

READ MORE: The Physiology of Stopping The Threat

Kill Shot in Hollywood



Are Your Assumptions About Criminals Accurate?

Dave Grossman in “On Combat” tells us that are three things that we want to be prepared for so that we can effectively win a defensive shooting.

  1. We automatically assume that EVERY violent attacker is going to be under the influence of some narcotic. In the 1996 National Institute of Justice report “Adult Patterns of Criminal Behavior” (this is a preview or overview only), it states that “Use of illegal drugs was related to all four measures of offending. For example, during months of drug use, the odds of committing a property crime increased by 54 percent; the odds of committing an assault increased by over 100 percent. Overall, illegal drug use increased the odds of committing any crime sixfold.” It stands to reason that if doing drugs increases the odds of committing a crime sixfold, the assailant is likely under the influence if you are the victim of a crime. It took 25ish rounds to stop a guy that is only determined. How many rounds will it take to stop a guy who is determined and under the influence of narcotics? Whose body may not respond to massive trauma and may keep going until his brain runs out of oxygen? One word, Nightmare.
  2. We automatically assume that EVERY violent attacker is heavily armed. Unfortunately, some psychopaths want to make a name for themselves as villains. So they show up with a desire to kill as many people before he gives up, is killed, or subdued.  This phenomenon started with the North Hollywood shootout where three bank robbers wore body armor and were better armed than the police. And even though instances of this type of violence are statistically on the decline, the media makes it seem like they are getting more and more prevalent.
  3. We automatically assume EVERY criminal will not be alone but committing crimes with friends or accomplices.  These days the instance of criminals committing petty crimes with friends or accomplices makes a ton of sense. In my neighborhood a few months ago, we had a group of 3-5 thugs walking around checking the locks on front doors and cars and, in some cases walking into homes and bedrooms while people were sleeping.  In one case, they brazenly stole a wallet out of a man’s pants in his bedroom while he was asleep just a few feet away.  Or even worse, the video below shows multiple prepared criminals enter a home heavily armed. This incident happened in a neighborhood of upper-middle-class homes in a tight-knit community where people feel so safe they don’t even lock their doors at night.

The Easiest Way to Increase Capacity Is to Carry A Spare Magazine

The gun you carry aside, the best way to double your ammunition capacity is to carry a spare magazine. I started carrying an extra magazine in my left front pocket because I hate carrying things on my belt. There are products such as Neo Mag or Snag Mag, which hold a spare mag in the pocket.

The Pitbull mag pouch is a fantastic option if you like carrying a spare mag pouch on your belt.

These elastic pouches from Stealthgear are an innovative way to carry a spare mag on your belt.

Holsters That Have Mag Carriers Built In

Often referred to as “sidecar” holsters, this style has a magazine pouch connected to the holster. There are various methods and designs for these types of holsters.

While sidecar style holsters have the advantage of providing a spot for a spare mag, they also can cause concealment issues, as described in this post.

Here is one holster that doesn’t seem to have this concealment issue from Stealthgear.

I decided to design a  holster that provided me the ability to carry a spare magazine. The holster is somewhat of a bellyband style, and while this is not everyone’s cup of tea, the design is exceptionally comfortable.

While designing the Brave Response Holster, I wanted to eliminate the worries about carrying a larger gun.

First, we put the mag in front of the gun. During our three years of product development, we found that by placing mags in front of the gun, the whole thing actually took up less total room under the waistband than having mag pouches on the weak side.  As the waistband leaves your waist to accommodate your gun, there is a gap in front of and behind the gun that is left open. We found that if we positioned the magazine in that gap, the magazine only added about 25% gun width to the total, making it easier to fit the magazine in the same size pants you are carrying with your gun.

We believe this will encourage more folks to carry an extra mag because it makes it much more comfortable to do so.

The adjustment I had to make was practicing drawing the magazine from my weak side by reaching across my body to draw it out, which quickly became second nature, and now my reload speeds are the same as they were drawing from the support side.

–>Click here to learn more about the holster

Holster with Extra Magazines

All of that said, in the end, I mostly just want folks to carry a gun so that they can effectively defend themselves. A happy coincidence of creating a holster that makes it comfortable to carry a large gun means that the same holster will also improve the comfort of carrying a smaller one.  If that’s the case, then the Brave Response Holster will conveniently make it easier and more comfortable to carry a few extra mags just in case. If you cannot find a gun that is comfortable in your hand that also has a higher magazine capacity, don’t buy a gun that does not work for you. Just do whatever it takes to make it so that carrying is an “everyday everywhere” habit.


*This post has been updated and edited, and was originally published in 2016*


  1. Brennen Munro on March 18, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I have been wearing my Brave Response Holster for several months now, and I have to say that it is just as good as the makers advertise. I am one of those people who decided to go with comfort over “tacti-cool”. This is the most comfortable holster that allows you to carry extra mags that I have ever tried, and I have the box full of holsters that you read about in many advertisements.
    Thank you for making such a good product. I thought that I was going to be forced to wear the dreaded “fanny pack” to have the level of comfort that I required. I say required because I have had a few back surgeries and could not wear most of the holsters being produced today, no matter how comfortable they claimed that they were. The Brave Response is as comfortable as advertised, and it is well built and solidly crafted.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Brennen, Thanks so much we re so glad you are loving it.

      • Donlad Conner on March 20, 2016 at 10:01 am

        Alessi has been chosen to be the chosen holster sold by one of America’s premiere pistol smith shops, Cylinder and Slide, operated by Bill Laughridge in Fremont, Nebraska. I’ve tried, as have most of us, to avoid biting the bullet on a “real” holster. After the thousands I’ve spent with Bill, I know his guidance is better than gold, and that when the chips are down, the guns he has worked on will stand up to the job. I’ ve got a middle sized box full of assorted stuff, including “x” many holsters that have lain for 10 years or more.

        As to how much ammo one should carry, my solution has come to 3 10round .45APC mag’s by McCormick in the Shooting Star line, filled with 165 grain .45ACP CorBon ammo, I 8 rounder in the pistol, and 1 in the chamber. The left front pocket is reinforced so as not to fail or loose it’s shape, and carries the 3 10 round mag’s nicely. If I need more ammo than that, well…. if you see something that looks a raped stripe assed ape fleeing the scene, that’s me.

        After 4 months with the Alessi, I usually don’t recognize it’s there. although I do check it occasionally when prying eyes are absent. Under most rigorous activity, such as falling down 5 steps and breaking the left ring finger while ass over appetite falling and breaking the 5th left foot metatarsal at the same time, both gun and holster remained in the very same place as they were when I went of that fool’s errand. I’ve had a few other falls (2 knee replacements. left and right, do not always make for the most stabile platform; at least not what you had when in your 20’s or 30’s) and the pistol never exited the holster. I cannot say that for any other holster I own, especially the $35 to $70 range.

        Like the man said in a knife article on another site: He was asked by his platoon mates why he spent so much on a Randall 14 knife, and why KaBar wasn’t good enough during his tour in Nam. His reply (which would have been my own) was :”How much is your life worth?”. No Randalls ain’t cheap, not at all. But if your life is at stake, then you want the best you can dig up the money for, and no less. $500 will get you killed by a for profit killer in any big city in the US And when you viscerally know that those little guys in their black jammers and coolie hats desperately want to kill you in the bush, $500 is just the price of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

        A little Renaissance Wax, available from Brownell’s, for about $12 more or less, is what you want for items going to long term storage, or holsters in regular use. It’s used by the British Museum on articles that require a good wax protective coating. That and a thorough wrapping in rust preventative paper and perhaps a long-term airtight “baggie” has kept most of my stuff in as good of shape as can be expected.

      • Gordon Gaines on September 9, 2020 at 11:38 am

        The most comfortable way to carry is owb. I’ll stick with the so called dreaded gun pouch or fanny pack. I don’t have a problem with a owb pancake holster either.

        • Gordon Gaines on September 9, 2020 at 11:39 am

          I always carry at least 2 extra magazines.

      • Mr Wolf on June 2, 2023 at 12:18 pm

        I think one thing you overlooked when comparing hi cap to revolvers is reliability. I know I know….Modern quality hi caps are really reliable. Yes this is true. But the reliability is very dependent on a good grip. If your practice to real life hit ratio drops sooo dramatically….I can only imagine how much grip drops. Also, even if you have a top notch grip….The malfunction rate is still gonna be much higher w a semi auto vs a revolver. Also if we are talking statistics then it’s well documented that the 357 Magnum is the king of combat caliber handguns. A center mass hit from a 357 Magnum ( I’m guessing a 3 to 4 inch barrel) has around a 90% one shot stop rate. It’s like 88 to 91 if I’m not mistaken. Putting rounds on target is key. Regular cops don’t get great training. Dollars to donuts I can out shoot your regular street cop and thats not saying much. But I grew up w an arsenal at my disposal. My father was a cop/SWAT. As well as a competitive shooter, gunsmith, hunter, ect…. so I’m not dogging cops…Just grew up around em and know that most regular are not fantastic shots. I do carry a 21 shot 9mm during alot of winter months….but during the summer??? A snub, 3 to 4 inch 38 to 357 Magnum is really my preference

    • Jeffrey McGill on June 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm


    • Paul Houghton on August 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      I have had many cops out to my shooting range at my house and after seeing how bad they shoot under no pressure I can see why so many shots are are misses once they are under pressure. Most ccw gun fights last around 6 or 7 seconds. There are the exceptions if corse but not many that I have seen or studied. So going on that I carry 2 guns one on my strong side which is the right and one in my left pocket just in case one arm is out of the fight or one is more accessible or if I have time for more shooting after I empty one I have the option for more. I can shoot equity as well right or left so I have that option. But history tells me I have up to 7 seconds to do as much as I can.

    • Sean Ostrander on June 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      Can this holster be worn outside of your pants

      • Steve on November 15, 2020 at 2:03 pm

        Do you really believe that “cops” are worse shots than the average CCW carrier who practices 4 times a year? That’s nonsense. Go read the military combat analysis – accuracy under duress is only marginally related to range accuracy. ~30+% of on-duty police shots hit the intended victim. That drops to 18% if the perp is firing back!

        • tom56071 on January 29, 2021 at 5:27 pm

          i talked to a chief of police and he said as well lots of cops are bad shots ,so yes its how you practice ,so practice as much as you can

  2. Dynamicdave on March 19, 2016 at 8:42 am

    My GP 100, .357 Magnum will do the trick. I use hollow points, .357 FTX. I also have a quick load. Trust me, it has stopping power.

    • tom56071 on January 29, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      yes so does a 500 mag but you dont want to use that inside a macdonalds .9 mm or a 40 cal is plenty inside a store without hitting innocent by standards ,a cannon is good out side in a isolated area

  3. JungleCogs on March 19, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Lots of words, but little value. I carry a duty Sig on my belt and a Shield on my ankle, that is about 16 to 18 rounds). If I need more than that, I am too far away from the subject I am shooting at.

    Most of us are not LEOs working with SWAT, taking down a subject at long distance. If the subject is within the 21 foot rule, you may need to shoot. Otherwise, you can probably get out of trouble without firing a shot.

    It is better to practice and be a better shot than simply shoot a bunch of rounds that may never hit the target. This topic is like the misconception that bigger is always better. Much better to carry what is best to control.


    • Jacob Paulsen on March 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

      JC, thanks for the feedback. I especially like your point about “get out of trouble without firing a shot.” In our industry I feel we don’t spend enough time talking about avoiding confrontations or de-escalating them. -Jacob

      • JungleCogs on March 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        Thank you Jacob, my intent was not to slight the writer; the information was solid. I have stout and short fingers (though, I am not pudgy) so most full-size grips do not fit me. Single stacks fit me better. When I was trained, the guidance was to remove yourself from the situation if possible; your firearm was the very last resort.

        Thus, I worry little about how much ammo I have as I am not in a war and I do carry an extra mag. I also carry a ‘slap-jack’, small stun-gun and bracelets (better to disable your attacker than kill him as the latter paperwork and legal fees are unbelievable!)

        In the end, the important point is to be armed, proficient and ready. We do not plan accidents well, so the old Boy Scout motto has stood the test of time and to this day is worth following.


    • Bd on March 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      One quick note, the 21 foot rule has been upgraded to 30 feet.

      • Donlad Conner on March 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

        When did this happen? I make every effort to “keep up” but lacking the mental powers of a genius, I fall sadly short. Certainly would like to know when and your citation for it. , Thanks

      • JungleCogs on March 20, 2016 at 11:05 am

        What, do these crooks run faster now??

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      JC, it goes without saying that our first choice is to ALWAYS do all we can to avoid any shooting situation. I totally agree. However be careful with that idea that ‘because you are not law enforcement you may not have to deal with such a threat.’ Think about the good folks in Aurora Colorado, attending the opening night of their favorite movie franchise. That punk (name omitted because it should be forgotten) went into the movie theater and started firing round after round after round. Heavily armed. Think about where you last sat in a movie theater, for me, that was about 5 or 6 rows from the back, so I have often thought if my movie theater was under such an attack what should I do? run down the aisle towards the shooter turn around and run down a long hallway to make my escape? Or should i stay in my seat and possibly use the seat in front of me to steady my arms and get a more reliable sight picture? At that range and under that mount of terror I hope at least a few of my 31 rounds would connect. I train and instruct on a weekly basis and on the range I have a better than 90% hit ratio on my target and i have drilled that exact scenario in one of my classes. But the data shows that police and law enforcement average hit ratios are less than 20% in a gun fight, The time that I have spent observing police officers shoot has led me to believe that by and large they are good marksmen on the range. Certainly better than 20%. unfortunately there is not any data surrounding private citizen shootings but based on my experience from observing others on the range I’d guess that in the aggregate it would be much lower. Like I said in the article, in the end if you can’t find a gun with a high capacity that comfortably fits you then a high capacity firearm is not the gun you should have. You are dead on and the intent of the article is just as you said, to help my fellow 2A supporters follow that boy scout motto to be better prepared to meet any and all threats. Sun Tsu in the Art of War talks at length about the dangers of assuming an enemy will behave in one way or another, as most often he will behave in a way that never occurred to us. (a TERRIBLE paraphrase) but as with every article here on the interwebs you gotta assimilate the information that helps you and discard what doesn’t. Thanks for reading and carrying a gun and being a great American.

    • Ken Curtis on July 27, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Jeff Cooper on the 1911 capacity v high capacity mags: It depends on how many times you plan to miss.

  4. Craig Lawrence on March 19, 2016 at 10:27 am

    This is a well written article and some excellent points are considered. However, I feel there are some critical errors made in the analysis. One is not distinguishing between the different roles and approach that law enforcement officers take in confronting bad guys versus the concealed carry civilian. Civilians don’t have an obligation to intervene, and when they do they can generally do so without being identified until the weapon is out. The second is the author’s emphasis on foot pounds as a measurement of stopping power or effectiveness of a round. This is a fallacy and a myth. A much better indicator of stopping power effectiveness is velocity, which gives an indication of the depth of penetration capable. If interested in the underlying facts and studies supporting my conclusions, read this article:

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Craig, thanks for the feedback! We’ll consider how to refine this to address those ideas!

    • JungleCogs on March 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Craig, may I amend one point about civilian intervention? One may not have a legal obligation to intervene; though one may have a principled or moral one. In short, LEOs have the right (and duty) to pursue a subject; civilians do not. Protecting yourself or another is legal for a civilian. If the subject committing the illegal act runs away, just get the best description you can, help the victim and call 911.

      • Dynamicdave on March 19, 2016 at 7:48 pm

        I agree. Here in Las Vegas, a position indovdual shot and killed 2 police officers while they we’re sitting in a fast food place at a Walmart. A civilian saw that and pulled his concealed gun and was attempting to shoot the individual, but did not pay attention to his surroundings and the fact that the individual had an accomplice; his girlfriend, who then shot the civilian in the head and killed him. It was unfortunate that this happened. If more people would carry, then less people would die. Detterent. Of course, liberals will argue this point, but then again, they’re liberals. 3 heroes died that day. Liberals should get a reality check. Responsible gun owners will do the right thing, 9 out of 10 times. I have had to pull my .357 magnum on 3 different occasions, twice to protect women (one was an 8 month pregnant female being beaten half to death). As for my magnum, it is more than adequate to stop an assailant. I practice with it often, mostly using .38 fmj. Hollow points are too expensive to use for target practice. I used a 9mm Beretta in the service, but my revolver won’t jam.

        • Dynamicdave on March 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

          Sorry for the typo (spell check). I meant a pos individual. You guys should create an edit button, lol.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      Craig, thanks for the comment, the reason I chose foot pounds instead of velocity is that the mathematical equation for foot pounds takes into account not just velocity but also the mass of the projectile. If I have a sewing needle and an anvil and the needle is traveling at 3700 FPS and the anvil is traveling at 860 FPS and they both hit you in the exact same spot, which will do more damage? If it was all up to velocity you would have to argue that the needle would do more damage and get way better penetration. Given the choice I’d rather take the needle than the anvil as I believe I would have a much better shot at surviving it. Thus foot pounds.

  5. Rick Freeman on March 19, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I have your holster. I haven’t found a way to wear it without it printing. There doesn’t seem to be any solution and I am carrying a Kahr because of the print.
    Where do you wear your holster where it isn’t obvious?

    • Jacob Paulsen on March 19, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Rick, I think that can vary depending on how you typically dress and your “body makeup.” That said I think for most people the most concealable place is appendix carry. I personally don’t care for appendix carry but I think it is the least likely to print in my experience. I have also found that a lot of people find that a small of back carry is also generally a low likelihood of printing but it is always going to vary by the person, the gun, and the wardrobe. It is probably a topic that requires additional research and a complete article about it on our end.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      Rick, thanks for your business and thanks for your comment, as with any holster you might have to fool with a few different positions and configurations of clothing. No matter what holster I select I will have to make some concessions in my life in order to accommodate it. I designed the Brave response Holster to negate as many of those concessions as I possibly could but there is no perfect solution. If I carry in a shoulder holster then the new rule of life is I can’t take my jacket off, if my wife carries in her purse then the new rule of life is she can’t hand the purse to the baby or set it down. If I carry under my waistband, I’m going to have to buy bigger pants… As to printing, we built the brave response holster to be slimmer and lower profile than leather and kydex for a reason. Printing is that reason. The Brave Response holster is (in my opinion of course) one of the best solutions out there for reducing printing. Next time you are out at a restaurant REALLY pay attention to the folks around you and REALLY try your hardest to see someone printing. Look at the guys that look like they carry a gun the hardest. When I first started carrying I was very self conscious because in the mirror I could make out the silhouette of my grip under my shirt and I thought EVERYONE would know what it was. Finally I realized that people for the most part are so worried about themselves that they rarely have the wherewith-all to pay attention to anyone else much less a slightly straighter than average tiny indication of something that may or may not be under your shirt.

  6. William Littrell on March 19, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I have carried a full framed Canik CZ75D clone for 3 years using different holster configurations. I have found the Black Hawk holster from Wal-Mart to be very accommodating. It has a pouch for an extra magazine, but I use a cell phone holder/ knife pouch to keep the extra magazine available on the weak side of mt body. I carry 31 rounds of ammunition at all times all hollow point ammo 9mm. I have extra ammunition in the go bag in the truck if necessary to reload under cover. I am looking to get 2 more magazines to carry just in case of an active shooter situation with multiple attackers. Just saying that the more ammo you have the safer you will be and may be able to share for others if necessary.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Love it William, I have been temped to join the CZ crowd for a long time, it seems every one of you CZ guys have found gun nirvana… Thou almost persuadeth me to be a CZ owner. Thanks and keep carrying.

      • Kim Meyer on April 21, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        I have two CZs–a 75B and a 75D and love shooting them both. Very accurate and fun guns to shoot. Another gun that is a CZ clone that I really like is the EAA Witness.

  7. Craig Lawrence on March 19, 2016 at 11:02 am

    You’re welcome Jacob, thanks for being open minded and considering other points of view. There are some other blogs and websites won’t even publish differing points of view which leads people to question their integrity and professionalism. Nice to see that is not going on here at USA Firearm

    Here is an article response I wrote about a blog post concerning much of the same topics Brandon wrote about here- however the original blog site would not publish. It may be of interest to the author and your readers.

    All the best,


    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Craig, I read your response to Mr. Wiliam’s article decrying revolvers as bad choice for concealed carry. Very well done sir. You are a long typer like me. haha I loved your focus on training that came out through the article. I think too often guys get thinking that if they train a couple times a year that is good enough. In my own training I have observed that if I take a couple weeks off there is a noticeable difference in my proficiency compared to when I was last at the range. You should reach out to Jacob as I am sure we are always in need of great content and I am almost sure he wouldn’t pass up on something like that article.

    • Ron on March 20, 2016 at 12:04 am

      Craig, the blog post that you provided a link to is the most well-written article on the subject that I have ever read.

  8. Charles on March 19, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    This all gives me some things to think about, on concealed carry. And printing patterns of the holster, onn my pants. The variety of my planned carry guns, are a 1911 a High Power in .40 and a Star BM in 9mm. I will look into your holster, to see if it fits my needs well, once I obtain my license.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Charles, Thank you. My whole goal in this was to get anyone reading to think about their approach to carrying concealed. As you are studying and deciding what how where and all that as you wait for your permit get out there and read all you can and get some training with a local instructor. Carrying concealed is a journey not a destination there are ALWAYS new things to learn and consider. Thanks again.

  9. Mikial on March 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    This was a good article, and I thought it was well written. I particularly like the quote “For me I don’t usually carry a gun, I always carry a gun. I carry a gun that always works, not a gun that usually works.” The use of the videos was excellent and makes the message very clear. A message I agree with completely . . . you can never have too much ammo, but you as heck can have too little.

    My EDC is a Glock 21 with 13+1 and a spare magazine. I do own a 9mm subcompact that holds 7+1 and which I carry as a BUG along with a spare mag. My choice of a .45 as my EDC is simply because I like .45s, and trust Glocks to always go bang when I pull the trigger.

    The whole discussion on caliber – stopping power – velocity – energy – etc. is wearing very thin. The author is correct that no handgun round is a guaranteed one shot stop. There are just too many variables at play.

    I tried a Brave Response. Since I didn’t see the G21 referenced in their holster/gun compatibility, I contacted them and asked about it. Their answer was they thought it would fit just fine since other full sized guns did, so I gave it a try. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The G21 was just a bit too bulky for it and I wasn’t comfortable with the level of support, retention and trigger protection it provided. I also wasn’t crazy about the idea of carrying my spare magazine on my strong since it would complicate mag changes. However, when I contacted them about my lack of total satisfaction, they were as good as their word and I returned it for a full refund. Men of honor . . . much appreciated, Gentlemen.

    But, just because it wasn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it won’t be just perfect for other shooters, so this isn’t a rant to not try them out.

    My EDC is a Crossbreed IWB that fits great and gives me absolute confidence in its performance every day. I like my mags to be on my weak side to facilitate mag changes. I do agree that you have to plan ahead when you buy pants, so instead of a 36 waist for me it’s a 38. No big deal.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks Mikial I remember that return and email conversation. It was because of your feedback and another couple guys that we began developing a weak side mag pouch that we are releasing soon. Thanks for giving us a shot and thanks for the feedback. We would literally be NOTHING without it as our whole intent is to try to help guys having a hard time finding something that works. I am glad you found something that works for you that you like, even if it isn’t the one that I made haha.

  10. Dominic Famiglietti on March 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I practice a lot but I do believe in a real life situation I don’t thin I will be dead on. With that being said I carry a 229 357 sig I have 10+1 with 2 extra mags. It’s easy enough to carry it so wy not have it. You never know how bad a situation you can find yourself in now in days

  11. Frank Wendlandt on March 19, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    This is going to sound corny to some people but it works for me. I am an 83 yr old veteran who wouldn,t last 2 seconds in a physical fight because of heart problems. But I always carry my equalizer which is either a 5 shot J frame 38 weighing only 15 oz. but in my car I also have a 13 shot S&W 6906 plus 2 extra magazines. When I am not working I wear Bib overalls with usually a fancy sweat short or loose sport shirt over the bibs. These days just looks like I have denim pants on.
    The bids of coarse carry the weight regardless how heavy the gun and have large pockets. The little 38 fits in the upper bib pocket although it is not a quick draw. The only time I wear a suit is at formal doings. I can carry the 6906 in a pocket holster as it only weighs 26 oz. empty. I am a semi retired barber and many of my customers carry even though we have very little serious crime.

  12. Ron on March 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Great article, Jacob, as usual. Something that concerns me is in regard to the video…. the article states, “By my count he [the bad guy] takes about 30 rounds out of the 54 total that the officers fire…” I wonder where the other 24 rounds went. through the wall of a day care center, or a restaurant? I know the police are human like everyone else, but they have training and the good guy mentality, and spray and pray shooting is unacceptable.

    • Brandon Scott on March 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      EXACTLY RON, my number one biggest fear about being in a gun fight is one of my rounds hurting someone or something that is not the punk causing problems. Honestly in the end I hope that this is just a sweet expensive hobby and passion and that my gun never ever ever has to leave its holster.

      • Noah Lipper on October 14, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Amen to that! I say when I’m 80 and someone asks you carried that gun your whole life and never used it I’ll say ok I was a nut

  13. Johnny Nightrider on March 19, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I live in the city limits of Los Angeles in a suburb.It is impossible to get a concealed carry permit if your not a Police Officer or Judge.It is a misdemeanor first offense and a felony second offense to carry concealed.Therfore I don’t carry ever.I carry a folding pocket knife.At home I have a Glock19 with multiple magazines as first defense.Than I have A Colt M4 LE6920 with a sling ,red dot sight and multiple ten round magazines for if it gets really combat zone at home.In California we can only use 10 round magazines in our firearms.I would use a 100 round drum but they would probably arrest me and not the intruder.California is either a dangerous or safe place as the gun owner sees it.I feel safe where I live and only once in a security guard assignment in a unoccupied bank at night did I feel unarmed and useless.A big Black man was ramming his car into another car that had his prostitute and a john at the wheel driving.The John begged me for help but the Black man was huge and just kept ramming the car.I suggested that the man drive up the road to the Van Nuys Police Station or let the prostitute out of his car.It was a ugly scene and 2 weeks later I bought a firearm for my home in 1997.A 9mm S&W Sigma.Move ahead to another unarmed Security job that year in Korea Town.I was working a Apartment Complex parking area at night.Two Korean Men decided to rob this Doctor,s vehicle for his golf clubs a second time.He should of moved his new clubs.Maybe he was in on it.I spotted them and told the Manager to call 911.He didn’t call and he came downstairs to tell me to hit the 2 men.One of the men lifted his shirt up to show me a pistol.The owner was screaming at me.I told him they had firearms.Anyway they changed the contract over to a Korean armed company.Smart.I stopped working unarmed security because all I was is a monitor.The next place I worked was a bank unarmed.Very stupid.I was ill one day and 2 Black men came in with shotguns and robbed the bank.Holding the shotgun at the Security Man’s head and demanding money.I didn’t go back there as I went to a different company and to safer accounts.Than finally got out of unarmed monitoring in 2010.So much stuff happened to me at different accounts.Now I work armed Security with my Glock 19 for a armored truck company.I’m the driver.It pays more to get out of the truck with the money bags.I’ll stay in the truck thankyou and take my chances inside.I thought about carrying a .45 auto cause of the extra firepower.Though I think I will stay with the 9mm as I practice more as the rounds are less expensive.When I’m at work the adrenaline is always going.I get tired at night because of that though I think the adrenaline dumps keep me frosty.It makes you shake sometimes.It’s that six sense that something isn’t right or it’s too quiet.I know one thing if we are ever robbed and my officer gets injured or killed as he is my responsibility.I will stop working armored vehicles.I know they tell us to stay in the truck and call it in and remember the perp’s features and clothes and other things.And never get out of the truck.I hope I can follow orders and not screw up and try to go out and apprehend or stop the perp.If I can I will run the bastard over.People are crazy to think about going up against a armored truck crew.Thou shall not steal.Thou shall not kill (murder)

    • Brandon Scott on March 20, 2016 at 12:00 am

      Johnny, I feel your pain man, I lived in Santa Clarita for three years and left all my guns in Utah with my brother while I was there. We feel for you and hope you and so many others can change the landscape out there. Good luck at work, hopefully it just gets more and more boring and you never see a breath of adrenaline. I mean that in all sincerity, stay safe out there. Look out for your family. That money should all be covered by insurance anyway definitely not worth your life or anyone else’s.

    • Nicholas Hahn on June 25, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      I live in the same area. 2 myths: impossible to get a CCW in LA, and illegal to use mags that hold more than 10. You can have higher than 10 “if you have owned them prior to the ban”, and the license takes longer than it should and has more hoops to go through than the NBA Finals, but it is still worth the time and effort because it is good for 2 years, and renewing is much easier and simpler.

  14. Craig Lawrence on March 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Thank you Brandon and Ron for your compliments. I try to be thoughtful about these topics since there so many that simply “shoot from the hip”(pun intended) on such serious matters. Clearly neither one of you fit into that category which is nice to see on a firearms blog.

  15. bob onit on April 26, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    if you live in a 10 round only state it renders the whole discussion moot no matter what you should aways carry spare magazines 2 is 1,1 is none ,spare is there so be there

  16. Scott on May 7, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Very good article. Mostly not new to many of us but very well put together. I’m in Kalifornia so I will not post an item list but I think I have te best plan (for me) that is possible and still legal.

  17. Marvin on June 12, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Honestly, I did not take the time to read every reply, so I may be reiterating someone else’s reply, please forgive me if I do. I do not believe the criminal element are going to “play by the rules”, ergo, I do not see why those of who generally follow the rules, should not be allowed to carry all we can. I’m not talking about carrying bandoliers, but depending on what your mag capacity is, and how bulky they are, carry all you can. I have 3-4 for my autoloaders. Some punk puts me & mine in harm’s way, I intend to do all I can to solve his, or her, personal problems for them as quickly as possible and if they bring 2-3 mags, I hope to have 3-4 on my side. I carry not because I what to shoot another human being, but for the same reason I have fire extinguishers, better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

  18. W.GLENN SOMERS on June 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I carry a model 30 and 36 Glock comes out to 18 or 30 rounds if I carry my model 29 6 loaded 12 in reserve. they say average fire fight 1.7 rounds no matter which 45 you are talking two extra clips with 44 2 extra speed loaders 6 rounds each grand total 18 rounds rather have it on me than in car or house not that big a deal to learn to carry

  19. Ray on April 15, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Look at the video from another perspective. Is a rifle, generally, more accurate than a pistol? What is the energy of a bullet from an AK-47? Does the first person to shoot usually have the advantage in a gun fight? After 37 rounds, was either officer stopped?

    Yes, the officers took cover, but from the sound of wind on the microphone, I assume the female officer had gotten out of the vehicle just before the crazy guy got out of his car with the gun. The officer has an open carry weapon -how many bad guy rounds before she could get it out and shoot? Maybe some delay brcause she took cover first?

    Anyway, I see an AK-47 failing to stop after firing 37 rounds, in addition to a shot up badguy still pointing his gun while on his knees.

    Do police cars still have shot guns mounted off the front dash? After Michael Brown (6’5″ 290 lbs) attacked a police officer through the vehicle window: punching the officer in the face multiple times, trying to take the officers gun, and only stopping after getting a bullet in his hip, the officer spent seconds trying to radio for backup before getting out in pursuit. Why did he not holster his pistol and grab the shotgun? When Brown turned and advanced on him instead of stopping, the officer had to be worried. Was it from 125 feet that Brown approached? I know from coaching youth sports that the chubbiest least athletic 9-yr-old girl can cover 30 feet in 2 seconds. The young tall Brown could be on the officer in less than 8 seconds. I obviously have neither training, nor experience in these matters. Why not use the shotgun?

    • Brandon on August 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      At these distances the rifle is more of a psychological advantage, however they will definitely do more damage per round, both firearms at these distances are going to be more than accurate enough to get the job done. I totally agree the shotgun would have been a goo choice, but id bet the stress, suprise and imminence of the situation didn’t leave much time for thinking about going for the right gun, if they were thinking about the shotgun during the shooting it wouldn;t be out of the realm of possibility that it was too long/cumbersome to get out of the vehicle fast enough to address the threat. the compact size of the handgun and it’s readily accessible location makes it a clear choice for responding to something this unexpected and violent. Thanks for reading!

  20. concealed carry class on June 14, 2017 at 4:49 am

    Right now I alternate between the HK P30L and the FNX 45 Tactical and an extra magazine or two just in front of the gun in my Brave Response Holster. For me it all started with this video,It’s too good,Thank you for provider this information.

  21. concealed carry class on June 14, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Really great this article,,very informative ,keep it up,i really like this.

  22. Simon on August 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    On the street, it’s all over after the first two to three rounds. Your enemy is a street thug bent on financial gain or a nut case fighting for Islam or just some crazy person with a gun.
    You are not confronting highly trained and motivated paratroopers.

    • Brandon on August 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      One of the main points I was trying to get across with the article is you never know who you are dealing with or how motivated they are going to be. We train this mindset with new police officers, we teach them there is no such thing as a low risk traffic stop, you assume every traffic stop is someone like the video above up until it is over. Dave Grossman is his book “On Combat” talks about being in condition yellow, ready for that unkown threat. Granted not all criminals are “paratroopers” but criminals are sure as hell motivated and if under the influence of certain narcotics don’t always realize that they are ‘outgunned’ or ‘losing’ right away. The Boy Scouts put it best with their motto “Be Prepared” you never know how heavily armed or motivated your assailant is, being prepared to deal with the ‘crazy person with a gun’ all the way up to a highly motivated and/or drugged out sociopath is the way to ensure that your carrying of a gun actually matters. Assuming that 100% of criminals are going to flee when they see your gun is a good way to be under prepared for the most critical few seconds of your life.

  23. Gordon on August 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

    There is no way I’m going to carry extra magazines on the same side as my gun. That’s not very smart at all.

    • Jacob Paulsen on August 23, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Gordon why not? I know it isn’t ideal but why is it a bad thing? Isn’t it better than not having a spare magazine at all? And why can’t a person learn to cross draw a mag the same way that millions of gun owners cross draw a gun?

      • Mark Wertz on August 20, 2020 at 1:46 pm

        It is much easier to cross draw a spare magazine with a free hand then crimp up your spare arm to reach for a non cross draw magazine. Brave Response Holster is the best I have ever used and I wear it everyday, even in the home. Just make sure all magazines are facing to the rear on the holster. Be safe

  24. Ray on December 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I have enjoyed reading the different comments on here , most enlightening , caliber, magazine capacity , all important , I had family members who went into the Philippines and found out that their issue .38 special’s were inadequate so back to the old thumb busters in .45 colt , remember this was before our signing an agreement to use jacketed rounds , lead , makes one heck of a man stopper, Military needs something better , the Luger was avaliable , but partly do to bigotry , and a dislike of the .9 , and along came John Moses Browning and the .45 acp , it filled a bill , and has been more than addiquate in its ability’s . It is still preferred by many in the special operations groups , remember that the military is required to use ball ammo , and here the .9falls very short in its ability to stop in its intended roll.
    I myself carried a 1911 Remington rand it was a third run WWll traded that for a spring field XDin .45 it was a nice piece , however ,I traded up to the 10 mm , I have found it to be a very nice piece, my wife carries a cz 97 b .45 and is very content with it , it carries ten with one up the spout , I carry several mags , but I practice situational awareness and do my very best to avoid a ugly problem , after all the only fight you win is the one you go home from , and the best gun /ammo is the one you shoot best .

  25. Matt on July 25, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Great article. Definitely has me rethinking my CC logic. Thanks for taking the time to help educate. Very helpful!

    I did just purchase a Brave Response Holster. Hands down the best holster I own. I have a 4″ 1911 and a VP9 and both fit perfectly. I love the idea that the holster isn’t tied to a belt or clothing. It feels way more solid and is definitely more versatile. I’m telling everyone that will listen about it. Great product!

  26. Josh on March 17, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    I feel this makes sense if you are after the bad guy, and he knows your coming because you pulled up in flashing lights. By this time he’s behind a barricade and ready for war.
    In most footage I’ve seen where concealed carry saves the day, the hero has the element of surprise and is too close to miss. Like someone behind the attacker in a liquor store or that woman in the street market. The bad guy has no clue who is going to try something and gets caught.. dead, by surprise

  27. Mark Wertz on August 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Good article. I have been using the Brave Response Holster for a long time. I carry a G43 with a modified magazine for 7+1. I also carry two extra magazines with Vicker extensions giving me a total of 24 rounds in three magazines. I also carry a Sabre Red Pepper Gel dispenser in the 3rd pocket. What a comfortable holster for IWB or OWB carry.

  28. Earnie Bass on July 11, 2021 at 10:57 am

    In your statement you come across as a authority on the subject and go on to dismiss less ammo as a “Cliche”. But you have no evidence or statistics to back this up. On the contrary, every single statistic out there shows that what you say is not true.
    And what you carry is not practical carry for the vast amount of EDC Citizens. And by the way, why are you comparing what Police carry to non Police citizens? We all are not military nor Police.
    And there is a huge advantage in Pocket guns. Especially for those actually train diligently
    The first round is the most critical. Yea you might be the guy that gets to fire the second round but do not push your luck. Focus on the first three rounds in training and practice NOT the last three. It is the Indian not the arrow. And for sure, not a full quiver of arrows. .
    If you have some legitimate information that says you need more than 6-7 rounds, Or that the vast majority of assaults are more than 3 please show us. I would love to see it. Otherwise it is just your opinion.

  29. Mike Schuttler on September 29, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I always told my CCW students to carry the biggest gun “they can handle”. If someone is elderly or not strong (male or female) what good is a gun they can’t rack or hold? There is nothing wrong with carrying a .22 or .380 “if that’s all you can handle”. You can kill or maim a person with both.

  30. Prepared on November 13, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    I EDC five 20 round mags, two 12 round mags for BUG, and four Emerson-edged weapons.

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