Why you need a reload


Awesome “game on” video.

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If I was a police officer hunting down armed suspects to try to apprehend them, I would definitely be carrying reloads.

If I carried a 7+1 single stack…I’d definitely carry a spare mag.

When I carry a 15+1 or 17+1 double stack as a private citizen (in 20 years of paying attention to this stuff I’ve yet to see or read about a single known instance of a private citizen carrier reloading)…I rarely carry a spare mag.

(RE: Malfunctions, quite rare with good proven gear, and even when they do happen, usually a tap-rack-reasses or at most a remove mag, rack, reinsert mag fixes the problem…though you are unlikely to have that much time).

To me, this is a combination of “why you avoid everything you reasonably can” with “why I carry a double stack with good immediately available round count”

If you want a reload go for it, but, I still question the “need” aspect considering the above


Note to self: I am not a cop.

But, Murphy’s Law :man_shrugging:t4:


Call me foolish, but I frequently carry just a 5-shot J-frame. I occasionally drop a speed strip of reloads in a pocket to accompany it. Maybe 50% of the time. And even then I’m thinking that if I need the J-frame I won’t realistically be reloading it.


Statistics (another way of saying, real world actual, quantified) say that 5 shots will be enough for the majority of private citizen handgun carry self defense situations.

But, it seems to me, anecdotally although likely supportable by good enough stats, that there is a significant jump up in the % of situations covered, if you had 10 rounds on board vs 5. Or even 8. I say I’d carry a spare for 7+1 but I think 8 total rounds somehow seems like a lot more than 5. I mean, it is 60% more I guess.

But, consider it this way: Handguns are weak and ineffective as a general rule, average hit rate is 20%, and determined attackers fairly frequently require multiple good handgun hits in order to stop their attack.

Also consider that, IIRC, the majority of attacks where lethal force is necessary/justified seem to involve multiple attackers.

Stopping even one, let alone more than one, attacker that may take multiple hits to stop and starting from the average of 20% hit rate…5 just doesn’t seem like much.

That said, most defensive gun uses have no shots fired. Many have shots fired with no hits. And most of the DGU’s with shots fired and with hits, are still over in around 3 shots on average.

Though swinging the other way, a 3 round average and you only have 5…

…I guess I’m trying to talk you into carrying more than 5 rounds immediately available. Speed strips are very slow and awkward compared to magazines, and may also require both hands to be fully functional to do under stress in a hurry.

Have you checked out a Shield Plus, P365, or Hellcat? Or maybe carry two snub revolvers?


This conversation mirrors in some ways the other thread about the need(?) to carry an AR for self-defense.

I read somewhere SD incidents end in under five seconds and three shots fired.
They’re from historical data—I prepare for situations never seen before in the times we live in.
Hence, I carry two extra mags.


Don’t sweat the 5-round J frame. It’s probably enough for civilians who are not cops trying to make an arrest. If you cannot address the exceedingly rare “socially challenging” civilian self-defense encounter with 5 rounds of 357 magnum, then 15 rounds of 9mm and dozen extra magazines probably won’t be enough. As was noted by an earlier comment, there’s no documented case where a civilian needed a reload to deal with a self-defense encounter.


I’m reading these comments and they all sound like excuses.
“I carry a gun in case of the extremely unlikely event that I might need one, but I don’t carry a reload because I’m not likely to need one.”

Yeah, maybe you have enough rounds in your gun to exceed the statistically average requirement for a self-defense situation. Or, as we saw in a real life scenario, you might just have a less than perfect grip on your gun when you’re trying to save your own life. That bad grip might cause you to hit your magazine release and put your ammo on the ground. Do you really want to be looking or feeling for a magazine on the ground when bullets are flying at you? Or, would you rather have a magazine handy right there on your belt?
It’s your choice, but as for me, I’m not going to be prepared for the “average” situation when it is really easy to prepare for something that is at least as likely to happen during a gunfight as the gunfight itself happening.


I carry a pistol and two extra mags. :wink:
“Murphey’s Law” is real…
I believe in Murphey’s Law…
And Pepper Jell and a knife and a heavy Wooden Cane and, and, and…


This is true.

But it’s also true there are documented self defense encounters where a person with a 5 round revolver ran out of ammo before the threats were stopped. I’ve seen the videos. (and almost surely 15 rounds would have been enough)


There are hundreds of thousands of defensive gun uses a year in the USA. Hundreds of thousands.

And as far as we know, across multiple millions of those across decades, a semi auto pistol reload has never been done.

This is like comparing the odds of needing a gun with the odds of the sun rising in the west tomorrow.

Having more than 3 rounds in your gun puts ready for more than the average. :wink:

Just sayin

Actually, having even 1 round in your gun puts you at ready for more than the average, as the most common defensive gun use has no rounds fired.

Definitely person choice though. If everyone were to carry a gun, a less than lethal, a flashlight, first aid, and a spare mag, we’d all be better off. :slight_smile:


Funny you mention it.

A P365 XL is on my belt right now, so I have 12 rounds available today. (My 12-round magazine only takes 11 rounds, but I keep one in the chamber for 12 total.)

The P365 is fairly new to me, but I like the way it carries and it conceals fairly well, even in an OWB holster.
The grip is smallish fo rmy XL hands, but it seems to shoot fairly well. I need more practice, to be sure.

A Shield 45 intrigues me.


“As far as we know” is the only part of that reply that means anything.
Have you read any personal accounts of all those hundreds of thousands of defensive uses? Have you read all of them?
Where exactly is that statistic? Does it even exist? The only stat we have on defensive uses says 500,000 to 2 Million per year. The reason why the number is so broad is that it is a guess. So, tell me how we can not know within a million and a half how many times a gun is used, but at the same time know for certain that no matter how many times that is it never includes a reload. Ridiculous.

OK, conversely, are you aware of any lawful civilian defensive uses in the past year that did include a reload?


Not being able to find a single incident in decades, despite many many known defensive gun uses, does tell us that it is incredibly rare.

Whether it has literally never happened, or is merely so rare as to have never been documented, the takeaway is that it is incredibly rare.

Far more rare, by orders of magnitude, than using a firearm in self defense.


I brought this one up a while ago but I know of at least one case where a reload was done and needed. It was on a DVD firearm defense course so can’t share a link but it was home security footage of a woman who woke up to several home invaders breaking into her home. She responded with what looked like a 1911 pistol fired it dry went back to her bedroom to reload and came back out to continue to engage with the invaders as they finally stopped firing back and ran out the door.

I have also seen at least a couple of cases where people ran their guns dry and it did not go well for them. A couple were off duty police but the situations were ones everyday carriers could easily run into. There was also a USCCA article a few years ago where the individual had to fire his semi auto 15ish round pistol dry to stop a criminal. Think most of the rounds hit. He then reloaded because he thought the original attacker had friends nearby.

The data is way too incomplete to say how many people were harmed or killed because they didn’t have or weren’t able to reload in time. I’m sure the percentage is pretty low but I’m also sure it greater than 0.


That makes sense. As I said, for me personally, if I was 7+1 I’d definitely carry a spare single stack magazine. I’ll wager that 1911 with reload from back in the DVD days held less ammo than a modern full size double stack would.

The off duty cops one do you know or recall how many rounds they fired?

I am sure it has happened.

I am also sure someone has had a catastrophic malfunction that required a whole new gun to fix. Probably to some revolver carriers who got the cylinder locked up, possibly to some semi autos when an extractor failed or a striker broke or what have you.

I’m really only pointing out how incredibly rare it is to say that I don’t think it’s a “need”.

I’ll also wager that body armour, pepper spray, a second gun, or a tourniquet would have saved more lives than a second magazine.

I just think too many people carry a second magazine and don’t carry other things that are (probably far) more likely to be needed. The evidence doesn’t really support the importance some people place on a spare mag (for a pistol that holds double digits of ammo, anyway), really don’t see how it can be objectively described as “need”


That sounds similar to the argument of why carry a gun in the first place since the likelihood of needing it is so incredibly small.

Though I agree there are things that are far more likely to be needed than a spare mag. I usually though not always carry a spare mag when I can carry a firearm because I feel it gives me more options for dealing with more potential situations. But whether or not I carry a firearm or spare mag I always have a tourniquet, pepper gel, flashlight and knife on me any time I leave the house as well as most of the time when I am awake at home.


I don’t see how.

500,000-2,00,000 defensive gun uses in the US every single year.

How many with reloads of 10+ round capacity pistols carried by private citizens? 0? 2?

Perhaps the hangup is people don’t stop to think how different numbers like maybe 0 maybe a few, and maybe 2,000,000, are.