Why It’s Important to Carry a Spare Magazine

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“It should only take two rounds; anything more, and you need better training.”

That may seem like a surprising statement, but it’s something a friend of mine said during a recent discussion on the validity of having a spare magazine in your everyday carry (EDC) kit. There are many different opinions when it comes to EDC options, so I took an informal survey to gain a better perspective. While some people always carry a spare, others rely on higher capacity firearms or agree with the above statement.

But life is unpredictable. With the possibility of equipment malfunctions, multiple threats, and the reduced accuracy that can result from a stressful situation, carrying a spare magazine just seems like proper preparation.

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The Rhona holster from Silverback Gun Works features a sidecar for carrying a spare magazine. Photo courtesy of Silverback Gun Works.

To say that you only need two rounds to stop a threat assumes that there is only one threat, possible stationary, and that you have nerves of steel. Most people who carry a firearm for their own protection are trained but often not to the level of military or law enforcement with stress inoculation and force-on-force scenarios. Even if you’re highly advanced and confident in your skill level, there is always the possibility of a magazine malfunction or failure. With a spare magazine, a quick emergency reload keeps you in the fight.

“I’ve seen that carrying a spare mag is just as controversial as anything in the concealed carry community,” said Graig Davis, inventor and founder of NeoMag. “I personally carry a spare magazine not because I think I’m going to get into a 31-round gun fight, but because I may get into a two-round gun fight and the magazine in my gun fails me before that second round can cycle.

“Magazines are the most common failure point in modern day handguns. While handgun technology and reliability advances, we are still relying on the same spring and follower technology from the ‘days of old.’ People like to tell me about the insane odds of needing a spare mag as a civilian concealed carrier. If we are going to use that reasoning, you could just as easily talk yourself out of carrying a gun at all. We don’t spend countless precious hours and hard-earned dollars on training and gear every year because of the probability — we do it because of the possibility. If I’m going to be prepared by carrying a gun daily, carrying a spare magazine seems like the obvious thing to do.”

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Belly or sport bands offer a comfortable and easy way to carry a spare mag with your EDC firearm. Photo by Karen Hunter/Coffee or Die.

There is also the possibility of multiple threats, or that the threat is more skilled than we are. Due to stress, shock, or a multitude of other physical/mental reactions, we may simply miss our target. In stressful situations, we revert to our lowest level of training. So think of your worst day at the range, and that will likely be your performance when faced with a threat. I’d rather be prepared and stay in the fight.

One consistent issue I’ve heard is that people don’t know where or how to carry a spare magazine. Concealing a firearm in itself can be a challenge, let alone adding a loaded magazine to the equation. If you carry it in your pocket, it can move around, becoming hard to access and properly index when you need it. For women, most pants pockets simply aren’t deep enough.

However, there are other options. One is a holster with a sidecar. This is a one-piece holster built for your firearm and a spare magazine that can be positioned to be indexed quickly. Silverback Gun Works makes one that has served me well and is highly concealable. Belly or sport bands are also great options as they typically feature additional pockets that can easily support a spare magazine.

Another relatively new and unique option is the NeoMag, which is a magnetic clip that fits inside your pocket. The magnet keeps the magazine in place for quick access.

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The magnetic NeoMag clip fits in standard pants pockets and keeps a spare magazine in place. Photo courtesy of NeoMag.

“I came up with the NeoMag out of pure necessity,” Davis said. “Once I started to take more training [courses], nearly all my instructors preached carrying a spare magazine, and I listened.”

Davis noticed that students and instructors carried spare mags loose in their pockets, and reloads were slow. Shooters often fumbled in their pockets to get the magazine in hand and then in the proper position. Recognizing the need for perfect reloads in a self-defense situation, Davis got resourceful.

“I had the idea to use a rare earth magnet and pocket clip to hold my magazine,” he said. “I bent up some sheet metal and played around with the idea until I came up with a crude version of what is now the NeoMag. The NeoMag keeps the magazine at the top of your pocket where it is concealed yet easy to access.”

Because the primary component of the NeoMag is a magnet, the device is nearly universal. Davis said the medium NeoMag will fit nearly every 9mm and .40 magazine, single- and double-stack. The small will fit .380, and the large size is appropriate for .45 ACP and 10mm.

While carrying a spare magazine may seem unnecessary to some or cumbersome to others, there are many options to make it work with your EDC. It’s a small price to pay to ensure you’re doing everything within your power to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Karen Hunter is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. As a freelance writer, Karen is featured in national print magazines such as Personal Defense World Magazine, Ballistic Magazine, Gun Primer Magazine, Concealed Carry Handguns Magazine, and Skillset Magazine. She is also a regular contributor to online magazine platforms such as NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom and Getzone. Karen is an avid Second Amendment and Personal Protection advocate and has been a guest on a variety of podcasts. She is the Senior Range Officer for Force Options USA as well as a certified firearms instructor in defensive handgun and carbine.
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