Self-defense shooting and tactics instructors tend to have many different perspectives on many different issues, but there are the occasional exceptions where the advice is always the same. In all of my training through the years, one of these has been the admonition that all students tote a spare magazine when carrying a semi-automatic handgun for self-defense.
The primary reason to carry a spare is in order to appropriately deal with malfunctions, many of which are caused by magazines. They are often the weak link in the system. The secondary reason is the more obvious one – additional ammunition. The vast majority of fights involving defensive firearms do not involve an emergency reload, but the old line about it always being better to have it and not need it than … applies in a big way. I’m pretty sure that I’ve had nightmares associated with running out of ammo when it’s needed the most.
Assuming responsibility for your own safety by carrying a firearm is anything but convenient. It is definitely the more difficult path to take through life. Carrying a spare magazine is one of the big inconveniences associated with this lifestyle. My pockets are already full of junk including keys, iPhone, hand sanitizer (I’m an admitted germaphobe), Chapstick, flashlight, wallet and building access cards.
Dedicating my entire front left pocket to a magazine in a Milt Sparks pocket carrier is almost unmanageable, but I’ve been doing it for years while wearing suits. In the quest for alternatives, there are benefits associated with having friends who love their gear as much as I do (except when they try to take mine from me). One of them is that they often let you know when they find an exceptional product.
This happened recently when one of my buddies who writes for a number of gun publications told me about the Kytex pistol magazine carrier. He was clearly excited about this new product that he had found, so it was just a matter of time before I had to get one for myself. Now that I have one, I see what he’s talking about.
Carrying spare magazines on my belt is not something that I’ve done in the past for a couple of reasons. The ones that are carried outside of the belt line tend to ride too far from the body, growing my overall waist footprint to a point where it’s too big to not have gear “print” on both sides. The ones that ride inside the pant line end up consuming too much space. I don’t have enough room inside my pant line to carry both my handgun and spare magazines, and I almost always carry my gun in an IWB holster. The Kytex magazine carrier rides on a belt outside of the pants. The difference between it and all of the other mag carriers I have tried is that it positions the magazine extremely close to the body. This prevents the printing that I’ve had trouble with in the past. After having carried it for a few days now, I literally forget that I have it on my belt.
Everyone who carries a semi-auto gun for self-defense should carry a spare magazine. I’ve tried just about everything, and the Kytex carrier is likely the best that I’ve seen. At about $18 or less per unit, I can virtually guarantee that the risk will be well worth the reward. The people at Kytex have given me the answer to a problem that has haunted me for far too long.
LaSorte has been shooting regularly since he was four years old and has grown into a competitive shooter, adventure hunter and NRA Certified Instructor. There is nothing he enjoys more than acquiring and sharing knowledge associated with shooting and self-defense. Empowering others, especially women, through an introduction to what he calls the “beautiful world” of shooting is his passion.