Why Reloading This Way Could Get You Killed

Why Reloading This Way Could Get You Killed
Why Reloading This Way Could Get You Killed
Why Reloading This Way Could Get You Killed
Why Reloading This Way Could Get You Killed

After teaching my concealed carry class on Saturday I headed over to the NRA range for some personal training time. Since I had just taught a class my gear was in a bunch of different boxes, and when I got to the range I couldn’t find my magazine pouch.

After spending a while looking for the pouch (which probably means one minute since I’m a man of little patience) I headed into the range with my Glock 19, and all my shooting gear, minus my magazine pouch.

Now, when I go to the range I take the sessions pretty seriously. I go there for a purpose, and I always do a series of drills to improve my shooting skills. One of the more advanced drills I do is where I have a target the size of a paper plate and right above it I have a target the size of an index card.

The drill consists of 6 rounds…

And you start with 4 rounds in the first magazine and 2 rounds in the second. I shoot the four rounds into the paper plate target, I reload, and then shoot 2 more rounds into the 3×5 size target. When I’m doing this I start with the target edged, then it faces and then it disappears within 5-10 seconds. (You’ll see why I say 5-10 seconds in a minute.)

Well, as I just mentioned, I didn’t have my magazine pouch on me like I usually do so I was forced to keep the magazine in one of my pockets. At first I tried the front pocket and I was grabbing the magazine out of it slower than cold tar running up a dirt road. Next, I kept it in my back pocket and it wasn’t much better. It was taking me about 10 seconds to finish the drill. 

When I walked out of the shooting session…

My wife, who had been watching me, said: “You sure looked slow today.” I kept my thoughts to myself and just nodded even though I wanted to say “yes my dear, it took me as long as it takes you to get ready for bed every night to get the magazine out of my pocket.”

The point I’m trying to make is that I know several shooters who carry their spare ammunition in their pockets and Saturday’s shooting excursion once again reminded me why it’s a bad idea.

It takes way too long to grab the magazine from your pocket and perform a reload. It’s a heck of a lot quicker when you have a magazine pouch. (I use a simple Kydex single mag pouch.) And if for some reason you don’t believe me, go to the shooting range this weekend and do what I did. Do some timed shooting drills wearing your mag pouch and then do some drills with the spare mag in your pocket. After you do these, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me that spare ammo needs to be on your belt in a pouch and not tucked away in some pocket.

By the way, I did find my magazine pouch and next time I go back to the range I should be back to regular form and shouldn’t be hearing my wife say: “you sure looked slow today.”

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Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and author of The Covert Guide to Concealed Carry. He is also the creator of the Ultimate Concealed Carry Experience, which allows you to take your concealed carry training without leaving home. For full details about this training, please visit Concealed Carry Academy. You can also follow him on Google+ and Twitter.
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good advice


You on pistol forum?


no not that i know of Herpderp


The only time I do this is when I have an extra mag during a comp and it is the first one placed in the mag well before the clock begins…hate it even then. That’s why all of my mags and pouches stay in range bag 24/7…except in the case of the occasional Ruger Mk II usage where I may step forward to the plates and put a couple in back pocket but I usually use a 9mm mag pouch for this…

Robert McCrory

A long dog & pony story to say it’s faster to reload if you carry your spare mag in a pouch.   Wondering if it means much to the average CCWer who doesn’t carry spare mags.  Probably useful to LEOs who expect to lay down a field of fire before getting down to the biz of downing the perp.  Or – maybe I just missed the point.


Silly question here.  For training on the range I am in full agreement, but for standard concealed carry out in the real world, a mag pouch is a bit impractical.  First, in my sorry state of Mass. we can only carry concealed.  If the gun flashes from beneath our jackets, we’re in trouble.  I believe in training the same way you’ll be using in a real situation.  I use an IWB for carry, and reloading from an IWB pouch is not very practical.  Any suggestions? 


I always envy skinny people that can carry gear on their belts without looking like a lumpy humpty dumpty.  I use the Milt Sparks PCH-M pocket mag holster that keeps the mag in the correct position in your pocket for quick access.  I was slower at first, as is the case with all new gear, but can now complete reloads just as fast with it.  It’s a good option if you need to carry the mag in your pocket because your spare tire prevents good concealment like me.  🙂


I guess I totally missed why it would get you killed. In Virginia I have been told carrying an extra clip of ammo says you are carrying in an aggressive manner, so I hope my 7 rounds in my clip and the extra one in the chamber are enough to put down the gang of hoods.


What is an ‘aggressive manner’ and who made the statement? Also the equipment in question is a ‘magazine’, not a ‘clip’ which is a totally different animal.

Amos Walker

A good reason for carrying an extra magazine is that if you have a misfire, sometimes you have to drop the feed and we teach for speed to strip it out and reload with a second mag after clearing the jam.

DC Handgun Info

P.S. About firearm clips versus magazines. Can we get this terminology right? If we don’t, we are as bad as the ignorant masses. “Thank you” to Hollywood, for getting this wrong all the time. P.S. I did not create this .jpg image.


Life saving advice for sure.


If you haven’t found cover before you empty your carry piece, your tactics suck!


Have you ever been in a defensive shooting situation? I’ve seen them end in one shot or 13 or more. I carried two spare magazines when I was an LEO and see no reason to stop now just because I now longer wear a uniform. An empty gun is just a rock.


An EMPTY, expensive rock, at that.


I’ll stand by my statement.  If you empty your carry piece before you find cover, your tactics suck.  If someone is shooting at you, or worse you are shooting at them, cover should be at the top of your list.


i am a new IDPA shooter and asked some of the ( older ) oops more advanced shooters which would be better in a pouch or in my pocket ?  answer recieved ” you figure it out ”  now I know I also do not shoot at that range IDPA


Finding cover before firing is not always an option. On the other hand, always being in condition yellow when in public will minimize that risk. As for reloading magazines. Not only should you use mag pouches, but 1) make sure that the pouch is always in the same place every time you wear it, and 2) make sure that the mags are inserted properly to  minimize movement when extracting and inserting the loaded mag, and 3) before leaving the house, always make sure that you have completed a few trial runs with the particular clothing for that day. What could be worse than reaching for your spare mag and getting tangled in your unzipped hoodie? 


Never take for granted how you’re SUPPOSED to conduct yourself with a firearm.


I must agree with maybejim here; if you’re carrying a weapon and you must use it, there is little chance that you will need more than 2-3 rounds.  Most firefights last only a matter of 2-3 seconds anyways.  If you look at any ACTUAL police/CCW shootout, you will find that neither party had time to reload or even think about what is going on.  I’m a Criminal Justice major at Ole Miss (get your laughs in now) and every teacher that I’ve talked to that has been in the field has told me that every (if only) firefight that they have been in only required a few rounds.  Generally you are not going to hit your target no matter what you do at the range.  From what I’ve been told it is much like if you ran a marathon and chugged a gallon of milk and tried to concentrate on what you’re shooting at (nearly impossible).  So, to all of you who carry extra ammo, consider this — do you expect to need it unless you are a private security contractor or are you just carrying it for your peace of mind?  Either way is totally acceptable; however, weigh your pros and cons before you step out of the house extremely uncomfortable before you attend dinner with your family and are sitting crooked and painful in the booth.  


My philosophy is the same as I feel about concealed carry in general – far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I can put up with some discomfort to have peace of mind.


Interesting info regarding reloading with a magazine.  As for me, when I go out of the house, I am ALWAYS in condition yellow, and my carry piece about 95+% of the time is an S&W J frame.  (The other ~5% it is an S&W BG380.)  During winter or clothed in such a way to conceal the lump of a speed-loader or spare mag, I may have one speed loader or spare mag in my jacket pocket, where it usually is when I have it.

While being able to speedily reload is important, I feel that a good condition yellow and a capability to convert to orange or higher ” in no time” is far more important than the presence of a spare mag or speed-loader or its location.

Always being in yellow has saved my butt more times than I can count………

Pj LaFaille

I am disabled and walk with a cane, so if my 40 is not cocked and locked what do I do ask the criminal if he would mind holding my cane while I camber a round. It should never take more than one hand to draw, flip the safety off and aim and fire. Plus in close up encounters (which most are) you will need the second hand to hold off the criminal while the other hand draws the weapon. If you are not going to carry cocked and locked you might as well leave it in the glove box.


Why was your carry gear in a “bunch of different boxes”, instead of at or inside your waisband and ready to go?

We either take concealed carry seriously and carry all the time and everywhere it’s at all legal and possible, or we’re a bunch of tyros just playing with the idea…

We all need an assortment of gear to suit every mode of dress and the changing seasons…IWB, OSWB, totally covert, whatever works…

But magazines in purse or pocket don’t cut it…Unless you’re down to that’s all you have…


WoW!  Lots of emotion and controversy on this one huh?    I’m not going to pick any side.   I just wanted to say that I’m now retired after decades of peace officer service.   I carry concealed and most times I just have an extra magazine for my Kimber Ultra Elite .45 shoved in my pocket.   It’s true that most gun fights last only a few rounds and a few seconds.

If you really need a second magazine I’ve got a much better suggestion for your course of action . . . get the hell outta there instead!    I do think the author is right, in that a proper pouch for extra ammo or any equipment for that matter is the ideal.   I can’t argue with that.   I’m guilty of not doing so, but I also hope like hell I never need to go to extra ammo in the first place.   I guess at the end of the day whatever is most comfortable and functional for the user is what’s best.

Lee hansenLshretired

it seems pretty remote that you would need a second reload when protecting yourself from a threat. The whole idea of concealed is to catch the perp off guard and remove him as a threat. Right? A 40cal. round well placed should do the job with few rounds needed.