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Do Civilians Need to Carry Spare Ammo?

I recently read an article in a popular gun magazine. You all know my feelings on this. I never carry any handgun without have a reload for it and I recommend you have at least one reload for your primary handgun in your vehicle as well! A handgun carried for defense that runs out of ammo is almost completely useless.


As I mention in my classes, I count on my guns by amount of ammunition and spare ammunition I have for them...10 rounds in my primary gun along with a 13 round reload, 5 rounds in my backup gun with another reload of 5 rounds in the opposite pocket. That's 33 rounds with which to do business with. At the very least, it will allow me and my family to exit and egress a volatile situation and no one can say that "I went down for lack of shooting back!"

The article goes into where there are extraordinary circumstances where additional ammo might be needed such as while in the outdoors. It also asks, "Is it really necessary to know how to reload a handgun quickly?" I've had plenty of students tell me that most gunfights are over after a couple of shots and that "I won't need extra ammo". I caution everyone with this train of thought!


The writer of the article answered the question best:
"As life went on and my career found me researching gunfights, I seen the need for spare ammo.

Not long ago, soft body armor came on the market and was seized upon by the bad guys almost as soon as it was by the cops. Soon more criminals were wearing 'bulletproof vests' than in the time of John Dillinger. Armor today is popular amount armed robbers, cocaine cowboys, gang-bangers and active shooters. By the time you realize your shots to the chest are having little or no effect, a good amount of your ammo supply may be gone.

Certain recreational drugs, today more than ever, give their users adrenaline-fueled super strength or make them impervious to pain that turns them into bullet sponges who can soak up a lot of lead before they go down. Today's bad guys know more than ever about gunfight tactics such as movement and cover making them harder to hit and thus demanding more shots to stop. And of course, predators have always run in packs. All of these situations can leave a defender with an empty gun and an unresolved problem - and that's assuming every bullet we fire goes where it's aimed, which history teaches us is an optimistic assumption.


Malfunction Junction
The best of guns can malfunction.

With auto-pistols, the problem is often the magazine and even if it isn't, a 'double-feed' can still compromise the magazine in the pistol and stripping out the bad magazine and reloading with a fresh one is the best way to clear the stoppage. Revolvers are not exempt from malfunctions either. A common cause of a locked-up revolver is a cartridge with a too-high primer which prevents the cylinder from rotating and therefore, the quickest fix is to open the cylinder, eject the rounds and reload with a speed loader/speed strip and go back to work.

When it comes to being attacked by man or beast and you've depleted or completely spent all of your ammunition, you just don't know how many others of its kind are still out there and all you want to do is  get home safely and in one piece...the only way to do that is to have spare ammunition immediately at hand! Spare ammo is a lot more convenient to carry than the gun itself. Spare magazines are flat and ride comfortably in belt pouches.

A J-frame revolver's speed loader fits nicely in the business card pocket inside the right front jacket of a sport coat, and the watch pocket in most jeans is just the right size for a Bianchi Speed Strip or a Tuff Strip. As my friends at the Calibre Press Street survival Seminars used to remind cops, "it's about preparation, not paranoia." I figured out a long time ago that a gun without spare ammunition is a very temporary gun. So to answer the logical question on civilians carrying spare ammo...I strongly recommend carrying spare ammo!"

Be Safe and Stay in condition Yellow,

Rick Cross
Be Safe Firearms Instruction
Multi-Disciplined NRA Instructor & Lifetime Member
Nevada & Utah Certified CCW/CFP Instructor
Sabre Civilian Defense Instructor
Frontsight Lifetime Member