How important is capacity?

This is a discussion on How important is capacity? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Over the course of my CCW activity I have carried everything from a 5 shot J frame revolver to a 15+1 capacity Glock 19. But ...

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Thread: How important is capacity?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    How important is capacity?

    Over the course of my CCW activity I have carried everything from a 5 shot J frame revolver to a 15+1 capacity Glock 19. But I have wondered how many shots a civilian really needs available to be prepared for most threats?

    I would be interested to hear the thoughts of other people on this question. Does your caliber choice influence the capacity you need? Do spare magazines allow you to have less in the gun itself?

    For myself, I am currently content with 8+1 in a .45 caliber 1911 plus one backup mag.

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    Array HotGuns's Avatar
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    I carry a Sig 45 when I play cop. I carry two extra mags on the belt.

    Thus far, Ive never felt like a I needed anything else.

    If get in to a shooting"war". I'm goin to the AR-15...

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Someone will say it so it might as well be me. Hits are what matter. However, few people practice to the extent that they can reasonably expect to connect with every shot. More rounds available=more opportunities to make a hit.

    How many rounds in the gun are necessary and how many reloads are carried is dependant on the skill of the individual with the weapon in question.

    But I have wondered how many shots a civilian really needs available to be prepared for most threats?
    Most threats? Probably none. I would say the vast majority of situations are resolved without having to fire at all. Personally, I think planning for the "average" or "most likely" situation is foolish.

    Does your caliber choice influence the capacity you need?
    No. I think that it is a safe assumption that a threat will require multiple hits, regardless of the caliber, especially when discussing handguns.

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    Good post Blackhawk.

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    On target, BH6. Capacity is your friend.......

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    BH6 kindly saved me some typing - thx pal! You covered my intended post nicely.
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    Senior Member Array threefeathers's Avatar
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    Like many I face that issue, my preferred carry is a Colt Customized Commander in a Sparks holster. But when I saddle up I usually have a Sig 229 in a Wild Bill No Such Agency. I've gotten really good with it and the 357 Sig is the flattest shooting round I've ever seen.

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    Member Array Al.40cal's Avatar
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    I carry a Taurus m617 and a speed loader and I'm comfortable with that. I figure 14 rds. of 125gr fed jhp .357 can immobilize up to 3 bgs.
    It comes a time in your life when you run across someone you should have never @#$$% with. Allow me to introduce myself!

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    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    I will carry a Kahr PM40 most of the time. With this I will either have 5+1 or 6+1 rounds of 40cal. I am comfortable with this but I am starting to feel it would be wise to carry a spare mag.

    However my caliber choice does affect the number of rounds I will carry. If I am carrying a double stack high capacity 9mm, 40, or 357 SIG I won't carry any extra mags. But if I have a single stack 45 or 40 I will carry an extra mag. I feel much better if I can carry more than 10 rounds.

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    Distinguished Member Array Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    I carry 13 + 1 in my Sig 228 plus a spare mag. However capacity doesn't really matter to me. I have a pistol that I feel very confident that I can consistently score hits in "The Triangle" at combat range. It is a good feeling though to know that I can "keep the hits coming if I need to".
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Right now I have a Taurus .357 5-shot with four speed strips and two speedloaders. I also carry a Para 10mm with 17 in the mag, 1 chambered as well as a 17 and 18 round mag. So...39 rounds total for the .357 and 53 rounds for the 10mm.

    But I have wondered how many shots a civilian really needs available to be prepared for most threats?
    You won't know until you need them.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    I'm of the opinion that a 5 shot snubby carries all the ammo that you'll likely ever need. A survey of all civilian gunfights would show that much less than 1% of gunfights involved a party firing more than that. I don't have a source for this but I've seen a report before that averages somewhere less than four shots fired by all parties in a gunfight. I think reliability and potency of cartridge are much greater concerns than capacity. But that's just my opinion.

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    New Member Array mark228's Avatar
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    i carry a sig 245 6+1 and love it

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    Member Array Tros's Avatar
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    While I have no ccw experience, nor any personal stories as backup, I think high capacity depends on a lot of variables. If a person had a good idea they would be defending their live to multiple perps, they probably will want the extra capacity. Most people, however, can probably be perfectly fine with a "low" capacity weapon.

    From what I can tell it seems like most serious assualts typically only have one perp, so a typical person would be fine with the lower capacity. My brother, on the other hand, is a deputy, so sometimes backup takes 10-20 minutes to get to his location for backup, and he is strongly considering a higher capacity weapon because his history of dealing with perps has been that they are much more hostile in groups.

    It would seem that the need or desire for high capacity or low capacity will be dependant on the persons perception of needs. Proof being in the wide selection of handguns forum members use. Some use pocket pistols and are perfectly content with the performance from these handguns. Other settle for nothing short of a service pistol loaded with the best of the best ammo, and then also carry additional magazines.

    It would seem the most logical route on deciding if capacity is important to YOU is to simply ask yourself if you expect to defend yourself against single or multiple perps.

    Anyways, thats just my two cents.
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    Distinguished Member Array Anubis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2
    I have wondered how many shots a civilian really needs available to be prepared for most threats?
    A self-defense event and how many rounds one may need for it is totally unpredictable. Every one makes a judgement call; the majority of those who carry semi-autos seem content with 1 extra magazine.

    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2
    I would be interested to hear the thoughts of other people on this question. Does your caliber choice influence the capacity you need?
    No. I carry magazine capacity + 1 + a spare magazine in either a G21 (27 rounds of .45) or G27 (23 rounds of .40, using mags with +2 extensions).


    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2
    Do spare magazines allow you to have less in the gun itself?
    Logically yes, but I have tested all my magazines and am confident they function correctly loaded to capacity.

    I have fired up to 31 rounds in an IDPA stage a couple of times, but I don't think I would ever need to fire 20+ rounds in an actual fight. The sole reason I choose to carry an extra magazine is back-up in case the first magazine's base plate were to come off and drop its cartridges at an inopportune moment.

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