Along with a quality handgun and holster, I have long considered enough spare ammunition for at least one reload to be essential personal safety equipment. Uniformed law enforcement officers routinely carry a pair of spare magazines, at least one less-lethal weapon, handcuffs, and a portable radio on the duty belt. Ironically, many of these same officers forego carrying any spare ammunition off duty or when on plainclothes assignments. Armed citizens too, erroneously feel that since they are equipped with a hi-cap pistol, an extra magazine isn’t worth the effort.
Armed confrontations tend to be fast breaking, short-range affairs that are over in just a few seconds. But while extended exchanges of gunfire are the exception rather than the rule, are you willing to bet your life on that? I’m not, and that slight inconvenience in carrying extra ammunition will pay dividends should Mr. Murphy call and you find yourself in an unusual event.
In short, we need to find a way to discreetly carry our spare ammunition. We’ve also got to refine our reloading technique to the extent where we can accomplish this task under extreme stress.
Much like a concealment holster, your ammunition carrier must satisfy a number of requirements. First of all, your ammo carrier must be comfortable. I prefer accessories that fit around the belt versus paddle-style carriers. Inside-the-waistband carriers are indeed more discreet, but don’t work for me, either. You, however, may not be bothered by the paddle or magazine pouch inside your waistband.
Secondly, ammunition in your carrier must be accessible. Magazines and speedloaders tucked into the pockets of a tight-fitting pair of jeans are pretty much worthless. Inferior pouches that don’t allow a fast retrieval of your extra ammunition aren’t much better. Since you will probably be carrying your concealed handgun on the hip, an ammo carrier of some sort can also be worn on the belt and discreetly hidden by a covering garment.