You run out of ammo---then what?

You reload if you can. Agreed, reloading takes time even if you’re well practiced, but first you run out of ammo which means you haven’t made any effective hits,yet.

How many rounds do you have to fire to put down your target(s?)
Maybe one(highly unlikely) maybe 2.5 (most likely if statistically impossible ) Maybe a whole lot more if you have multiple attackers.

Convenience store robbers and home invaders are commonly known to act with accomplices. For the sake of discussion, before launching the entire contents of your magazine it may be prudent to seek cover if available for protection both while (and from) returning fire and while reloading. Unless there is no cover (ATMs, I’ve noticed notoriously lack any useful cover, no doubt to discourage robbers laying in wait .)

As with reloading, seeking cover is going to draw part of your attention away from shooting unless you associate taking cover as a core element of defensive shooting, such as drawing from a holster.

In any case, if you run out of ammo you reload so you should have spare magazines or speed loaders at hand just in case. The ammo capacity of your weapon only indicates how long or how soon it will be before you’ll need to reload.

At least those are some thoughts I was having this morning. I was wondering what thoughts you might have on the subject?


Shot placement…


I tweaked the formatting a bit for ease of reading, @John292. Hope you don’t mind! ~Moderator

Your post leads me to two questions - how many rounds do you have in your EDC? And do you carry extra magazine(s) with you? :thinking:

And ^^^ @Mr.Plastic makes a good point. We’re responsible for every bullet that leaves our gun, are we in a situation where we can afford to miss?

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Yes, the spare mag is the first thing we should keep around us. Even statistics say 3 bullets… it might happen to be 15 in our case. :grimacing:
As @Mr.Plastic posted, accuracy is the king. If we run out of ammo, that means our training sucks.
However if we run out of ammo, the are still other methods to win the fight and / or survive.

Like Marcus Aurelius said: “Do every act of your life as if it were your last.” It fits perfectly when you don’t know what to do next.

FBI statistics say that most shooting happen within three seconds with three shots at 3 yards as an average.
IF you get into a conflict the fight or flight is what reaction you should expect. a bad guy hears gun shots and his partner in crime is down and dead, will he run for his life or will he gamble on his fate? IF you are in a situation that you have to reload, How long does it take you to reload? Can you do it without watching yourself do it? Practice, practice, practice and train. Be safe

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Yes I carry reloads. If, I expend all rounds, grab my knife with my strong hand, and empty pistol as a bludgeon in my week hand.

I carry spare magazines and speed loaders, and practice using them. I carry rather conventional handguns—a Centennial and 1911.
The criticism I hear too often is than neither hold enough ammo (5 in the Centennial, 8 or 9 in the 1911) which prompts me to ask What do you do if you run out of ammo? and the response I get is usually reload
My response is Of course, that’s what I plan on doing as well.

I just pick up the next pistol that’s already loaded, saves time😉

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If you’re playing by Hollywood rules, you throw your gun at them.

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@Todd30 is pretty much on target here. You’re statically not going to come close to emptying your mag, needless to say performing an emergency reload and emptying a second mag. I’ve never heard of this in the civilian world, (not withstanding LE)

My recommendation would be to find a USCCA Defensive Shooting Fundamentals course near you and sign up for it. You’ll be amazed at the information and training you’ll get on such dynamic critical incidents, and EXACTLY why we teach the most EFFCIENT way to stop the threat.

Reload, fortunately, I got 20+1 factory before I have to reload on my primary.

Train as your life depends on it as one day it might.

An easy drill to do at the range… put a single bullet into multiple magazines. I like to start with my gun open but empty. Lay 1 mag on the table. I put the other in my back pocket. Pick up the gun and load in a fluid manner while acquiring the target. My goal id to be basically on target by the time it takes me to load the gun. I fire the weapon. While dropping the mag from the pistol I am grabbing the spare from my pocket and reloading. I try to reload as fast as possible without taking my eyes off the target.

Near me there are plenty of indoor ranges but not outdoor. I live in a subdivision so I also don’t have enough property to shoot on my own.

Once ammo becomes more available I want to get into the action shooting.

I am fairly new to owning my own gun but did grow up around them. I was also in the military for while.


I would have to go to another state to get DSF class. I am willing too!

This… except I put two bullets per magazine. I’ve been doing this for years. It was a drill taught at a CCW class I had attended when I first applied for a permit.

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There is a class in Pueblo, CO on Aug 27😉

Make sure the RSO is OK with it. Many ranges have policies against speed reloading, draw and fire, etc. Particularly with all the new gun owners. The DSF course is the way to go.


It’s always nice to have a excuse to travel out of town. (As long as it not a maskie state)
Is there one near October and Ft. Worth, Convention time?

Practicing mag changes during dry fire is a good first place to start. Loading spare mags with only one cartridge can create a bad habit of doing a mag change after each shot when under stress. Load a different numbers of rounds in the magazines and mix them so that you do not know when the mag will be empty.

Carrying a back up gun is also a good practice in case there is a malfunction other than empty mag.

Three shots and three seconds on average indicates that there are plenty of incidents with more of each. Don’t count on bad guy running away after your first shot. You might have put down his friend and made him junk yard dog mad.


Good point. I’ve considered this habit during dry fire as well, because of needing to rack between every shot. There’s enough of a difference that it hasn’t carried over to live range fire, fortunately.

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Agreed. That is also why I start on the table.