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Do You Use Magazine Holders?


When going about your daily routine while carrying concealed, one imposing question that one can face is: Just how much ammunition should I keep on my person? I myself believe no one can ever carry too much ammunition. However, since your daily business more than likely won’t take you into an active warzone; having a full kit and basic load isn’t exactly practical. Although while going to the store wearing a tactical vest loaded for BEAR might not be ideal, not to mention warrant some serious unwanted attention; you still have the option available to you to carry some extra magazines on your person and remain concealed.

Personally I’ve tried various methods in regards to carrying around extra magazines. I tend to always keep at least two spare magazines in my truck at all times. Currently, during the winter months since I own a tactical jacket with more pockets than I have things to put in; I keep a spare magazine and flashlight in one breast pocket for easy access as well as a knife in the opposite pocket to balance the weight. I’ve found that when carrying extra magazines, balancing the load is crucial to maintaining comfort while concealed carrying.

Now if you don’t own a tactical jacket like mine, or during the warmer months when wearing a jacket isn’t possible or practical, several other options are available if you still wish to keep an extra mag or two on hand. I’ve experimented with simple single magazine holders using BlackHawk’s S.T.R.I.K.E. MOLLE gear. I’ve found with the right sized belt, you can secure the MOLLE gear magazine pouch to your hip for either a vertical or horizontal positon. If you don’t wear a belt, the MOLLE gear straps can still be weaved through your belt loop. Although I will add it’ll be less secure this way. One of the main reasons I like this option is simply because at a glance the MOLLE gear looks nothing more than a pouch on your belt since it completely encloses the magazine.

Now some would argue this benefit, stating that a covered magazine pouch limits accessibility when it counts. I can agree to the point that a covered magazine pouch does slow reloading time a slight fraction; but will comment that if you have to reload in a threatening situation you should be taking cover anyway.


1.  Generic double magazine holder with paddle mount fits most double stack magazines. (I can’t remember the manufacturer)
2.  My self rig single magazine pouch using Blackhawk MOLLE gear in horizontal position.
3.  Another Blackhawk MOLLE gear pouch in vertical position, holds one or two double stacked magazines.

With that small point made on my chosen self-rigs of magazine pouches brings me to the more common method of spare magazine carry. Many options are available and it’s a matter of preference what you decide on. I’ve found that paddle double magazine holders are the most comfortable and offer the best balance when worn on the opposite hip of your chosen firearm. Single magazine holders can be adequate for someone not wanting to add a bunch of weight to their hip, however I’ve found some single mag holders can be slightly unstable depending on the make. Whereas my preference is Fobus double magazine holders with a paddle mount, many manufacturers offer similar rigs with similar functions. IWB magazine holders included. I will add that while IWB magazine holders may offer additional concealment, it does make reaching for and grabbing the magazine difficult since it’s so deeply concealed within the waistband. Of course the depth can be adjusted to a point with most IWB holders. I just prefer something with a little more grab to it.


When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of personal preference and comfort with how you want to carry those spare magazines, if any. Some might be happy with just having a spare mag in their pocket. I’ve tried it, but I can’t stand the extra weight banging around with my phone. I prefer a more secure method of carry. My jackets breast pocket serves its purpose during the cold months as a carrier for my spare mag, however when the warmer months set in a more appropriate method of carry will be needed. It goes along with the consideration of the “dressing around your firearm” mentality. Since I often wear shorts and tee shirts during the summer, I adapted the MOLLE gear magazine pouch method of carry to secure at my non-firing side around the four o’clock position.

No matter what method you decide on when it comes to carrying a spare magazine or two, the reason behind it is just as important. I’ve found myself entering the same debate time and time again as to why anyone would want to carry extra ammunition on their person. The most common argument I’ve faced is one I just happen to agree on: If you can’t do it in one or two well-placed shots, you shouldn’t do it at all. While this statement rings true to me, I can’t help but bring up a few important facts.

While typical concealed carry encounters result in a short confrontation and very few rounds being exchanged without the need to reload, we find ourselves in an age where active shooters are more and more common, regretfully. Those active shooters sometimes often possess enough firepower and ammunition to pose a serious threat to not only the civilians they choose to cowardly target, but the police and law enforcement that respond to the crisis. In those cases, should you as a lawful conceal carry holder be caught in the crossfire, you must decide on a course of action to protect yourself and those around you. Should you be faced with an active shooter with enough ammunition to wreak havoc, the choice you made to carry two extra magazines with you that day could have very well saved your life and the lives of the people around you.

The fact that you’re carrying the extra ammunition might afford you the opportunity to safely lay down covering fire against the active shooter, giving innocent civilians time to seek cover or escape. That extra magazine could allow you to suppress the shooter in order for you to close with and hopefully eliminate the threat, should you choose to do so. That decision lies solely on the individual.

Whatever reason you hold personally is up to you. If comfort with concealment is your main goal when carrying and desire having a spare magazine within reach, a magazine holder is always an option, whatever brand or method it might be.

Categories: General
About Daniel | View all posts by Daniel

Shellshocked is a 13 year Active Duty Army Veteran with a broad experience and knowledge of all things firearms and ammunition related. A resident of Ohio, an Open Carry State…

Shellshocked is a 13 year Active Duty Army Veteran with a broad experience and knowledge of all things firearms and ammunition related. A resident of Ohio, an Open Carry State, but prefers to remain among the ranks of the Concealed Nation. Although you will occasionally find him Open Carrying his FN 5.7 in a BlackHawk! Kydex retention paddle holster. His every day carry is a Beretta Storm PX4 Compact 15+1 in a StealthGearUSA ventilated Kydex IWB Holster. Spare Magazine, flashlight, and knife always on hand.

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  • Victor Andrew Mathis

    Spare magazine in a Desantis Pocket Magazine Pouch in the transition-side front pocket. I’ve tried them all, and nothing beats it. You lose the pocket, but that’s a compatibility issue, not an issue with the carry mode.

  • Brian Johns

    I believe that the paddle mount mag holder is by Fobus. I have a Fobus 6922 that carries 2 mags that fit my Bersa.

    • GDrum

      I’d like to find a Fobus single and double mag pouch that fits the M&P Shield. Can’t seem to find any info or one that has been found to fit.

  • HKforHire

    There is an argument for spare mags: for the untrained it gives them a chance. For the trained opposing a rifleman it allows you to provide your own cover fire while advancing to an appropriate range to engage your target. But for those random situations (that happened recently) where 800+ teens rush a business and fire weapons… I’d have to go back to the truck and retrieve the PS90 and a backpack full of mags. :-P

  • David Rosier

    I have a Fobus paddle double mag holder and it works great. I love the fact that I don’t need to undo my belt to take it off and on. I am a firm believer in carrying at least 2 spare mags. I’m sure I’m probably never going to need it but, much like the gun itself, its better to have and not need than to need and not have.

  • Michael R

    Get a $2 knife pouch.

  • TCWriter

    For concealed carry, Safariland’s horizontal mag pouch (seem to think it’s the “123”) is very comfortable. Doesn’t dig in when you move around, and even if someone sees it, it looks more like a Utility tool holder than a mag pouch. Plus, it goes on the belt very quickly using a velcro loop.

    Nicely engineered and relatively fast in a reload.

  • William Bush

    I thoroughly enjoy reading these articles. I’m often amazed at the level of information given in such a short time while at the same time the author gives his opinion without trying to sell you on it. Keep up the good work guys.

  • Steve DeForest

    I use an old Frost Cutlery knife pouch to carry an extra mag. It can be rigged either horizontal or vertical, and it looks nothing like a spare mag carrier. I live in a pretty rural area, so I don’t have much worry of needing the extra ammo. One extra mag gives me a total of 17 .45 acp hollow points on my person. If I’m headed to a particularly rough area, like Detroit or Flint, I throw a few extra mags into my back pocket or the center console of my car.

  • GDrum

    On occasion, depending on what I’m wearing, I’ll slip a spare mag into a pocket (always by itself), or in a pocket made for a magazine on my tac pants or shorts. I don’t usually tuck my cover shirts in to help avoid the tactical look, and they just look more cargo like. But I definitely prefer to use my Galco M15X to hold a spare Glock magazine. Once you snap into onto your belt, it is rock solid, won’t move, stays very snug against your body and very comfortable.. The retention and draw are excellent.

  • Gary Hill

    Just bought a Blackhawk single to try