One of my first concealed carry pistols was an M&P Shield chambered in .40 S&W. This gun had a whole lot of snap to it, and it only holds six rounds in the magazine. I really wanted a pistol chambered in .40 S&W, but the capacity was cause for concern. It concealed exceptionally well and didn’t print much. It was a good fit for me at the time.
When it came time to train, I noticed I had to change magazines very quickly. Six rounds go fast. So, when I purchased the eight round extended magazines, I wanted to see if this made things any better.
There’s not much difference between eight and six rounds in a magazine. I don’t feel it made my life that much easier.
I still carried them. I loaded an initial six round magazine in the gun when I put it into my holster and put one of the extended magazines in my pocket.
The flush 6-round magazine was easier to conceal, and the eight round extended magazine was pretty flat and fit well in my pocket.
So long as I trained to switch between the two, I should be fine.
That was until I picked up a P320 with extended magazines. A standard carry or full-sized P320 9mm comes with 17-round magazines. With extended magazines, that capacity is pushed out to 21. Seventeen rounds feel like a whole lot longer of a string of fire than eight. But twenty-one rounds felt significantly more than seventeen. Because the P320 is modular, I tried out different configurations of grip modules but ultimately went with the P320 in carry configuration. It could accept extended magazines. It was my buddy now.
Did that decision pay off? Not really. The extended magazines and additional width in the P320 pretty much removed it as a warmer weather concealed carry option for me. I loved the capacity and how it handled, but it just didn’t make sense to print that badly. I like keeping a low profile.
When dealing with a concealed carry pistol, extended magazines make more sense as a backup to whatever magazine prints least.
I don’t think that extended magazines for concealed carry pistols are a terrible idea at all. I do recognize that it’s probably less visible to use a flush magazine as an initial load and a backup extended as, well, backup. Visibility is a big deal in concealed carry.
I think the only time extended magazines don’t make sense is in situations like the Glock 26. Glock 26 magazines typically hold between 10 and 12 rounds. That’s, in my book, a reasonable number of rounds for concealed carry. If I felt the need to push a larger magazine, the Glock 26 accepts my Glock 19 15-round magazines in a pinch.
This is probably one of the most innovative ways to extend magazine capacity without gouging the crap out of the customer — a real rarity in the gun industry. It’s for this reason why I generally respect anyone’s decision to carry a Glock 26, even though I don’t.
In conclusion, if you find that extended magazines make carrying a concealed handgun more difficult, switch down to the flush fit magazine and keep that extended mag as backup. You will never regret having a backup magazine and, if you need it, you certainly won’t mind that it has a few extra rounds loaded.