How many bullets are enough?

How many bullets are enough?

This is a discussion on How many bullets are enough? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am confused. I have read that most firearms encounters occur between 2-3 meters, last 2-3 seconds, and involve 2-3 shots being fired. Why then ...

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Thread: How many bullets are enough?

  1. #1
    Member Array RmScadd's Avatar
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    How many bullets are enough?

    I am confused. I have read that most firearms encounters occur between 2-3 meters, last 2-3 seconds, and involve 2-3 shots being fired. Why then do I read so much on this forum about topping off the mag after chambering a round, carrying extra mags, etc. My Sig will allow 15+1, so if I carry two extra mags, I will have 45-46 rounds. Why do so many consider this the right thing to do with CC?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions. I am learning a great deal from all of you.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RmScadd View Post
    I am confused. I have read that most firearms encounters occur between 2-3 meters, last 2-3 seconds, and involve 2-3 shots being fired. Why then do I read so much on this forum about topping off the mag after chambering a round, carrying extra mags, etc. My Sig will allow 15+1, so if I carry two extra mags, I will have 45-46 rounds. Why do so many consider this the right thing to do with CC?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions. I am learning a great deal from all of you.
    Because 'most' doesn't cover 'all.' Stuff happens. Murphy is alive and well. One day someone will find out that the 5-shot snubby just ran dry when they realize that the BG in front of him/her had 2 accomplices.

    Also, magazines fail. Or, get ejected in hand-to-hand. Then, what?
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

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  3. #3
    Member Array cdjspider's Avatar
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    Just as miklcolt45 said a quick encounter with only 2-3 rounds being shot may be more likely but there is also a chance you will have to defend your self again more than one person. It kinda fits the old saying about carrying a gun "Its better to carry it and never need it, than need it and not have it."

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    The law of dimishing returns applies here. If carrying 5 rounds is enough to handle 90% of threats, then carrying 10 rounds does not double the number of threats you are equipped to deal with...it might equip you to then deal with 95% of threats. in other words, doubling your ammo provides perhaps a 5% benefit. Doubling ammo again to 20 rounds does not provide even another 5% increase, but perhaps 2 or 3%. The guys are right, murphy is here to stay...stuff happens...but you have to figure what percentage of the threats you are going to worry about. Where does the cost in practicality and convenience begin to encroach on your ability to enjoy life? Me? I rarely carry an extra mag. I figure the odds needing all of my 10+1 are small enough that the odds of needing more aren't enough to inconvenience myself...
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    There are two issues here: how many rounds are enough, and how many magazines are enough.

    Magazines are the most common point of failure for a semi-auto. Feed lips get bent, baseplates fall off, etc. No matter how many rounds your pistol holds, an additional magazine or two is a good idea.

    As for the number of rounds, the fundamental truth is that pistol bullets suck. Their terminal effect and ability to physically incapacitate an attacker just isn't that great. Repeated shots may be necessary to bring about rapid incapacitation of an attacker. Many instructors today are teaching students to fire in bursts of 3-5 rounds, rather than single shots or pairs. Seen in these terms, a 15 round magazine becomes a 3-4 burst magazine. Combine this with multiple attackers and the ammunition capacity doesn't seem that generous.

    Another reason to carry an extra mag or two is for the second gunfight. The odds of any of us having to use a gun on a given day are, thankfully, pretty low. However, once you get into a gunfight, the odds of having to use your gun again shortly thereafter go way up. After you've successfully defended yourself with a firearm, the assailant's friends, relatives, or partners in crime may take exception to what you did. You don't want to face this with a depleted magazine, which is why most instructors teach a reload as part of the after-action drill. This, obviously, is going to require an additional magazine.

    I carry 13+1 rounds in the gun, plus two extra magazines, for a total of 40 rounds. Do I expect to use all 40? No. But having two extra magazines on my belt gives me a chance to use one fix a malfunction or replace the mag in the gun after I shoot it dry and still be able to replace a depleted magazine after the first fight.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    carry as much ammo as you can get away with and keep shooting until your attacker is dead (stopped)
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Senior Member Array BradyM77's Avatar
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    Why? Because even the scummiest scum of the earth BG will have friends.
    "I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything!" Bart Simpson

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    In my view this will depend on your level of perceived comfort. When I routinely carried a semi-auto I would always carry at full capacity. Granted, I seldom carried my extra magazine simply because I became too complacent and I didn’t want the extra bulk. There are plenty of cases where a LEO was killed days before his/her retirement because of this. Even now, I carry a snub and I have to force myself to carry my extra reload. Either way, it’s really up to you, your discipline and the inherit trade-offs’.

    P.S. I just returned from being out with my dogs and I didn't take my speed strip ~
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Blackeagle said it best.

    The only time you can have too much ammo is when you are drowning or on fire.

    In addition to street crime, there is also the consideration of terrorism - the active shooter scenario. If you are unlucky enough to bump into a few al-Quaeda nutcases with AK-47s at your local mall, you are going to feel mighty undergunned - even with a high-cap pistol and a spare mag or two. You will need as much firepower as you can carry to get you and yours out of there...

    I carry 11 rounds in my Glock 26, plus a spare 15 round Glock 19 magazine. I'd carry more if I could!
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    The only time you can have too much ammo is when you are drowning or on fire.


    That's great!

  11. #11
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    I carry one addtl mag for my primary and rarely a mag fo my BUG. Main reason magazine failure can happen. Secondary reason tactical reload or necessity reload if rounds are needed, if you did everything right in a situation protected yourself and got cover, it would stink to check you gun and find the mag empty...

    Also many BG's travel in groups...

    it is not an inconveinence to carry an extra or even 2 single stack mags, fits nicely in an old wallet/eye glass case etc... in front or back pocket depending on caliber.

    Personally I would carry a BUG over an extra mag. Also with my 15+1, I don't always carry spare mag...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array WJP9's Avatar
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    Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Having faced down three attackers with only a five shot revolver and no reload, I can tell you the expirience wasn't very comforting.

    The attackers in question were stray, Pit Bull appearing, dogs. That, and other life expiriences has led me to carrying at least two guns, three if I'm carrying a revolver as a Primary Gun, and at least two reloads for two guns.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Better to have it and not need it, than to......you get the idea.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    In my time in the Army, I never felt worried because I had too much ammo (even when toting an M60). As a civilian, I've never worried that I was overdoing it by having an extra mag or two.

    We are, however, bound by practical concerns, such as comfort and concealability. My EDC is a compact 1911, with a 7+1 loading. I typically carry an extra 8-round mag. When I pocket carry my P-3AT, I load 6+1 with an extra 6-round mag. If I carry my Detective Special, I load 6 rounds and carry a 6-round speed loader. If I've got a BHP, it's 15+1 with an extra 15. Having at least one reload is an ingrained practice.

    I don't expect to need the reloads, but I sacrifice nothing by carrying them, and in the very rare circumstance that I might have to use my handgun at all, they might make a difference.

    Unlike LEOs and active military, I don't have to put myself in harm's way as a normal practice. Instead, I try to avoid hazardous conflicts. The best defense is to be somewhere else. If I knew that a conflict was likely and unavoidable, I certainly wouldn't choose a handgun as a primary weapon. I'd grab an AR w/ lots of extra mags, plus a 12-gauge, maybe a Barrett .50, and I'd probably wish I had that M60!
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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