Top off your magazine


I just read the USCCA blog about adding 1 more round after chambering a round. I have always done that. Thoughts??

“Note that a lot of people “top off” their carry magazines (chamber a round, then add one more to the magazine). I generally discourage it. The stress of that last round has caused failures in at least two police shootings of which I’m aware. Besides, let’s face it, if 14 shots didn’t do it, 15 won’t likely make a difference. Reliability trumps one extra round.”

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WOW! You beat me to that blog post, @MAXIMILIAAN!

Personally, I carry +1. Every round counts and you never know when you’ll need every round. God forbid you’re ever in a situation with multiple attackers or even one very drugged attacker who takes every round to stop.

Be sure to check your equipment for wear and decreased performance - but that’s something you’ll want to do no matter how many rounds you carry.

I believe @KevinM also carries +1 - any input Kevin?


I always plus one, even if I’m at the range, I’ll plus 1 for that extra shot and to keep the same weight an conditions as I carry.

Never had a problem.


I’m going to chime in here with the same comment I left on the blog post: As much as I admire John Caile’s writing, I’m going to have to disagree with the idea of not topping off the magazine. I do it with both my duty gun and my CCW gun. I would ask you to consider this option: My Glock 22 has a 15-round magazine. I load 15 rounds in the primary magazine and 15 rounds in each of my spare magazines. Then, before I start my duty shift I run the slide to charge the pistol, reholster, remove the magazine and insert one round to replace the round that went into the chamber. Thus I have 16 rounds in the gun while on patrol. If the concern is that having 15 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber could potentially cause a malfunction, I ask you this: What happens when I perform a tactical reload? You see my training at the police academy instructs me to perform a tactical (in battery) reload at the first opportunity during a gunfight. If I make that in-battery reload I am inserting a magazine loaded with 15 rounds into a pistol that already has a round in the chamber which is “topping off”… carrying “plus 1” or whatever you want to call it. The only way I am not doing so is if I shoot to slide lock and conduct a speed reload. So does that mean I should load my spare magazines with only 14 rounds? Finally with all the shootings in the world we have two that are believed to have been caused by this loading… that seems like a pretty small sample size upon which to be basing a change in protocol. Could there have been some other element involved? Like all self-defense decisions, this one is personal. But I will say this… if we start saying, “You don’t NEED 15; 14 will do.”… are we starting down the slippery slope of saying, “You don’t need 14; 10 will do.” To me, that sounds like we are giving folks justification for magazine restrictions. That 16th round might be the one that stops the threat. Something to think about.


I always top off. However I also have dedicated carry magazines since it has been proven leaving a magazine loaded doesn’t wear the spring out it’s the cycling of the spring. So I have 3 dedicated carry magazines and the rest are only for training.


Always carry plus one. Who would not want the extra round in a life or death situation?


I think I’m gonna call bs on that. 2 shootings out of how many? Sounds like an anomaly to me. Anything can fail, I subscribe to Murphy’s law. That’s why I carry extra mags, not so I can shoot more, so I can have a backup. Plus, if I had to, I can shoot more.

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With 15 in the magazine or 14 or 2, the top round is held firmly in the same position. It doesn’t seem to me that there would be any extra pressure or interference on the round in the chamber if the magazine is full or not. I may not understand the process perfectly, but “the stress of that last round has caused failures” comment doesn’t compute. It would bother me less to carry 14+1 as opposed to 5+1 when it could be 6+1 in a pocket .380. Having a total of 7 rounds already seems minimal. I would hate to take one away!


Always plus 1 for me


I’d be willing to bet there was more to those two failures. I’m sticking with plus 1.


Plus one for me. Looking at the Smith and Wesson’s page it lists the guns as magazine +1 capacity. It doesn’t matter if it s 6, 7, 8, 10, 12,15,17 round mag. They all are listed as +1.

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I also always top off, one more before you have to change that first mag could be the difference.

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I agree with the plus 1. In New Jersey I can’t carry yet but if I did, and others should pay attention to this, I would make sure that if I carried plus 1 that it didn’t put me over the amount that the state says I can carry. If your state says 15 maximum rounds and you have a 15 round clip and you put one in the chamber and then add one to the clip, you will be carrying 16 in which you would be breaking the law. In cases like that, and my state (NJ) limits to 10, I would just carry more clips then like it was also stated above.


Plus one for me. “Better to have and not need than not have and need.” I also carry extra ammo, i.e. magazine or speed loader. Not looking for a “war” and will avoid confrontations when possible. Just trying to be prepared for the unexpected, i.e. mag malfunction, etc.


I always top off my carry magazines and unload and reload my defensive ammo the first of every month to exercise the spring. I check that the spring is not hung-up each time I clean my gun. I have separate magazines to use at the range with “ball” ammo. My range magazines only get loaded when I’m going to the range that day. I use Federal HST 147gr for my defensive ammo.

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Another “+1 Guy” here. There is literally no good reason to not carry +1 in a carry gun. Every round counts.