Not too long ago, a friend of mine that owned a P320 started carrying those extended 21-round magazines. His P320 was a Carry model. With a standard 17-round magazine, the Carry model stood out on the waistband. With the 21-round magazine inserted, it looked like the Alien was attempting to breach his side.
Is an extended 21-round magazine cool? Sure. I’d love to carry one for my everyday concealed carry handgun. For that size, it’s just not practical for me or my style.
However, if I owned a P320, I’d totally carry a 21-round magazine as a backup to my standard flush magazine. It probably wouldn’t be the magazine I kept in the pistol itself due to awkward bulk and constraints.
As for me, the Glock 19 does have some rather interesting extended carry magazines. For compact pistols, extended magazines have more to do with pushing the limits of what’s possible in terms of spring retention and the number of rounds a user can fire before switching magazines.
If you’re able to carry a Glock 26 with a 30-round extended magazine, I don’t want to know how. I can’t even imagine carrying a 30-round extended magazine as a backup in any concealed fashion.
For concealed carry, sub-compact and micro-compact extended magazines are made with a whole different purpose. An extended magazine for an M&P Shield extends out the capacity from 7 rounds to 8. That’s not a major capacity change. It’s an extra round.
The same goes for pistols such as the Walther PPS. An extended magazine pushes out the capacity to 8 versus the standard 6 rounds. We’re not talking huge values.
Thankfully, most manufacturers price their concealed carry extended magazines around the same price as the standard capacity mags. This means the choice between one style and another isn’t really ground-breaking in terms of budget.
One of the things I always recommend is buying an extended magazine and comparing it to a standard one for concealed carry. If you feel the added length isn’t a problem, feel free to carry with an extended mag. If it looks to be an issue — i.e. opens you up to getting spotted or prints against your clothing line — just switch back to standard.
There’s nothing saying you can’t keep an extended magazine as your backup magazine. It’s always a good opportunity. In the very slight chance you ever need it for self defense, you know you have those few additional rounds backing you up.
My verdict on extended magazines: worth it.
For concealed carry, the added round or two is most certainly worth the hassle of picking up another magazine. In the worst case scenario, it becomes an awesome backup magazine for your flush standard fit magazine.
There’s no downsides and certainly plenty of upsides. Keep the 30-round extended magazines for your truck gun or your glove box — but definitely keep that 8-10 round magazine as your primary backup for a pistol that normally may hold only 6-7 rounds.