Rob Pincus

Extended Magazines as Spares for Compact Handguns

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   13  mins

Rob Pincus explains the advantages of carrying extended magazines or longer full-size magazines as spares when carrying a compact or subcompact gun. It’s not just the extra rounds, but also the gun handling aspects of a larger magazine.


If you carry a subcompact gun or a gun with a chopped grip as your everyday concealed carry handgun for defensive use, you know you’re giving up some capacity in exchange for comfort, carryability, and concealability. But with most popular guns, you don’t need to give up the capacity of your spare magazine.

Spare magazines are usually carried vertically inside a pouch, inside the waistband, or in a pants pocket. Rob is wearing 5.11 Tactical jeans that have a pocket designed specifically for spare magazines, including extended magazines. The magazine is a little more concealed than if it were in a regular pocket, yet is easy to get out.

But Rob has a compact magazine holding seven rounds instead of nine in the gun itself, making the gun easier to conceal. Your spare magazine(s) are important self-defense accessories, so it’s vital to think through and practice how you carry and handle them before finding yourself in a situation where you need them.


The other consideration with extended magazines as spares is gun handling. If you’ve engaged a threat and have only a couple of rounds left in your magazine, after assessing the area for additional threats, you might want to insert the backup magazine so you will have (in Rob’s case) nine rounds on board instead of the two remaining in the carry magazine.

It is also easier to handle and manipulate extended magazines as opposed to compact magazines. When doing a tactical reload — inserting the backup magazine in the magazine well of the gun and placing the original magazine in the pocket or pouch — it’s going to be easier to do with an extended or full-size magazine as opposed to a compact one. This is an important factor considering our dexterity and fine motor skills may degrade in a fight or its immediate aftermath.

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One Response to “Extended Magazines as Spares for Compact Handguns”

  1. Ed Ruesink

    I decided that I would be willing to give up a small amount of concealability, in exchange for 2 more rounds and a better grip right at the start of a problem, by carrying an extended magazine in the gun.

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