Sunday, December 11, 2016

If You Carry A Self Defense Handgun - ALWAYS Carry Extra Ammo

I can not say it more strongly than I said it in the title of this blog post but I am sure that just the title is not enough to convince many that carrying extra ammunition in spare magazines or speedloaders is a necessity.
 
To be quite frank and I say this with all due respect, if you carry a handgun for self defense and do not have either a spare magazine, speedloader, or some other form of rapid reloading device readily accessible on your person, I believe you to be quite foolhardy. Nothing personal in that, this is discussion of the topic of carrying extra magazines and not of any particular person's preferences. I  have witnessed first hand, and have seen and heard reports of, many of the things that can go wrong when shooting and when shooting a semi-auto pistol one of the things that often goes wrong is the magazine whether due to user error or mechanical malfunction. They who think nothing can go wrong really need to pay attention. Here is a list of some of the things I have seen go wrong relative to magazines whether mechanical failure or user induced:
 
-The magazine base/floor plate falls off of the magazine and all the ammo left in the mag falls out with it (usually due to shoot error in reassembling a magazine).
 
-The magazine falls out of the pistol taking whatever ammo is in it for the ride (sometimes due to one or the other of shooter error or mechanical failure of the pistol).

-The magazine does not feed properly due to damaged lips.
 
-The magazine does not feed properly due to worn or damaged spring.
 
-The magazine does not feed properly due to lint buildup or other foreign material inside the mag body.
 
-The magazine does not feed ammo due to improper loading of rounds within it. Once had a shooter load an AR magazine with one round pointing forward and the next pointing backward because she was told that the mag caused the rounds to be double stacked in a staggered fashion and she thought that meant loading it with one round pointed forward and the other backwards. Yes, she was in federal law enforcement!

-The magazine does not feed properly because of improper ammo. (I have seen this more than once, a shooter mixes 9mm and 40 S&W ammo in the same mag. Happened with old generation  Glock mags (but I guess it could have and probably has happened with others). Guy loaded 9mm into his 9mm magazine, picked up a 40S&W (that some else had been loading into a 40 caliber pistol) and loaded it in with the 9mm. First one or few being 9mm went off fine, then the 40 S&W would not feed. Tapped, racked, assessed/reengaged - nothing. Locked slide back, stripped mag (luckily the 40 fell out then), reloaded with fresh fully loaded mag, assessed/reengaged. With another shooter who did likewise none of that worked, the nose of the 40 was stuck in the chamber as I recall, that was also with a Glock.
 
-The magazine does not feed at all because the shooter placed an empty magazine into the weapon.

Then there are failures relative to the firearm and or ammo that also can be due to either shooter or mechanical failure and that that may require a new mag be used, to name a couple:
 
-Double feed.
 
-Failure to eject.
 
There also are the cases in which the shooter fires all of the rounds in the magazine or cylinder and the assailants are still posing a threat of serious bodily injury or death to him or her. Many shooters make the mistake of believing all they need are the amount of rounds in the mag or cylinder because they are excellent shots. The thing is, once you are involved in a life or death situation and have to shoot to defend yourself, there are factors that have an effect that are not usually experienced at the range. There are the more usually discussed effects of a self defense life or death confrontation such as these: You get tunnel vision, you become tense, you grip your handgun harder than ever, you forget all about trigger control, your sight picture goes to hell, you have to point shoot, you have gloves on, you shoot all of your ammo in your one mag at one assailant and don't realize there are two more until out of ammo, you are shaking and you are wound up due to an adrenalin rush, you are tired from a long day, you are groggy because you just were awakened by breaking glass in your home, you are not feeling 100% and maybe are ill with a cold or aches and pains of arthritis, the bad guys are not standing still and you have never practiced on moving targets because your range does not allow it, the bad guys have made effective use of cover, the bad guys are wearing body armor, the bad guys are shooting at you and you are moving, bobbing, weaving and seeking cover if not already behind it.
 
In addition to all those is the less discussed often shunned (by firearms instructors too embarrassed to discuss it I suppose) issue of the bad guys shooting or otherwise trying to harm you and you are peeing or shitting your drawers. I am not kidding about that. One of the things least talked about by firearms instructors concerning conditions a shooter can experience in a life or death situation, and again I mean this seriously, is the pucker factor or loss of it. People involved in life or death situations sometimes actually defecate or urinate while so involved and do so quite involuntarily because of the loss of pucker ability of their sphincter muscles. You muscles that hold in feces and urine just give as everything else tenses. Are you going to be able to shoot as well as at the range if you realize you just shit or peed in your pants? You made need that extra ammo after all.
 
Please note how many times I said bad guys as opposed to bad guy in the above paragraph. There is a reason for it mostly being bad GUYS, that is because the majority of confrontations you are likely to encounter like: being mugged, being taken hostage, a burglary gone really bad, a forcible entry into your home (home invasion), walking into a bank robbery, winding up in the middle of and being beaten by a gang of wilding thugs, turning down a street and suddenly being surrounded by rioters, winding up being in a Bernie Goetz type situation and so on usually involve bad guys (as in multiple assailants) and not a single lone attacker. Even if a lone assailant attacks you, what do you do if he is hopped up on Angel Dust, Meth or some new designer drug and he keeps coming even though you hit him seven times. Yes, it can and has happened that bad guys have been hit many times, even in presumably fatal zones, without being stopped.
 
I know - you (whoever you are) are an excellent shot, all you need is one round for each bad guy and you can take out seven of them with your all powerful 45 auto. Then along comes number 8 and if you doubt that can happen or may happen just look to recent riot scenes and tell me how many assailants were in those. To that you also have an answer, whoever you are, that you will shoot and every one if not shot dead,and whether hit or not will take the advice of the knights, in the movie Monty Python And The Holy Grail when they were confronted by the vicious white rabbit. Don't count on it, you fighting back might make them angrier.
 
 
Okay, so you watched the video, got a chuckle out of it and took all that I wrote above with a grain of salt because you have been doing it your way for many years. If you ever had an encounter you won or at least survived or maybe never had any encounters and figure you never will. Thus you carry only enough ammo to fully load your handgun. I cannot say more strongly though what I believe about carrying extra ammo and that is that I almost always carry at least two fully loaded extra mags or speedloaders and sometimes carry more ammo than that and so should you if you carry. 

If you do want to take my advice based on 32 years in LE and about 15-16 years with collateral duties as a LE firearms instructor (and I have recertified as such twice since retirement) then go to the below link and read the very interesting and enthralling article to be found there. Then imagine that guy tried to rob you, rape you, beat you to a pulp, forcibly enter your home, or do whatever other nasty deed he could do to you, your spouse, your children or other loved ones and you tried to stop him with whatever ammo was in gun and you had no spare ammo. If you do not start carrying at least some extra magazines or speedloaders after reading it and thinking about being confronted by the likes of a bad guy even only half as resilient as him, you may very well have an unconscious death wish.
 

All the best,
Glenn B

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