Capacity matters.

Having recently written about why people should stop forcing snubnosed revolvers on women, I inadvertently opened a fabulously rancid can of worms. Somehow there are still people out there who firmly believe that if you require more than five shots to end whatever predicament you happen to find yourself in, then you are either a terrible shot (hilarious nonsense spouted by wannabes who have never been in a gunfight), looking for trouble (opinion of humourless fascists who haven’t had a pulse in three decades), or you are screwed anyway (defeatist surrender-monkeys who lick boots talk like this). These people are, in a word, wrong. So, so wrong.

Back in the 1980s, when standard police-issue side arms were still predominantly revolvers, the average armed criminal also plied their trade with revolvers. Fast-forward the 30-odd years to present day and you will find that most police departments appreciate the higher capacity offered by semi-automatic firearms. And so do the criminals. The rules of the game have changed, in some cases drastically so, and outmoded perceptions of how criminals behave and which tools they use are no longer applicable.

There is this strange, almost cult-like belief among certain firearm owners that those who advocate carrying anything more than 5 rounds of ammunition (God forbid you even think of a spare magazine, you Rambo), then you must be a paranoid delusional git who expect to become involved in Hollywood-esque firefights around every corner as you attempt valiantly to pop down to the grocer for some crisps. Probably including a bitching Metallica backtrack and bullet-time effects as you dodge-roll through rush hour traffic.

Do these people actually watch the news? Do they read the newspapers? Can they, in fact, even read? Because they are either more isolated from the real world than a kidnapped Kardashian held in a Tora Bora cave, or they are suffering from the most extreme case of Dunning-Kruger Effect I have ever seen.

Newsflash, sunshine: nobody expects to become involved in an armed robbery. Criminals are not in the habit of sending memos to their prospective victims, courteously informing them of the time and place of the arranged robbery/rape/murder. Victims are generally taken by surprise. Obviously. This means that you do not know beforehand how determined, vicious, murderous, and numerous your prospective attacker(s) will be. Much like my Standard 8 Maths (HG) final exam, this tends to be a rather horrible surprise. Most rational people, when planning contingencies for worst-case scenarios, tend to do exactly that: plan for worst-case scenarios. A single criminal running tail-between-legs as soon as anything resembling a gun is produced by their intended victim is not that.

Do you own a fire extinguisher because you expect your house to burn down? Or because you would like to guard against it burning down? Capacity matters, folks. If it didn’t matter, then firearm manufacturers wouldn’t spend the money on research and development that gave us handguns that hold 17 rounds of 9mmP.

An anecdotal piece of “evidence” in this regard involves a personal acquaintance of mine, whose story I will still publish in good time, who was the victim of a highly unpleasant home invasion a few years ago. He found himself confronted by multiple armed assailants who, for want of a better expression, proceeded to kick the ever-living shit out of him. At gun point. In his own house. He managed to successfully keep his Colt 1911 concealed from them up until the point where he drew it on their already drawn guns. What happened next was basically a full-blown firefight between him and 4 armed robbers at contact range. He managed to escape down the hallway of his home, but was pursued by at least one assailant, resulting in further shots being exchanged. He succeeded in getting to cover, and realised that his slide was locked back and his weapon empty. His spare magazine was in his car, completely out of reach. Out of sheer desperation, and demonstrating incredible presence of mind, he locked his slide forward and charged at the home invaders with an empty weapon as they fired at him, and succeeded at chasing them from his house. The end result was himself suffering several bad wounds to his leg, and two deceased robbers. 7 shots were nearly, nearly not enough. If it weren’t for his display of incredible bravery the situation may have ended tragically.

Criminals are not necessarily the cowardly curs who turn tail and run from the first signs of resistance. Having had the misfortune of being forced to point my own firearm at a violent meth-addict who was attempting to murder a friend of mine, I cannot adequately express the feeling of sheer impotence one experiences when you realise that the person you are pointing a loaded firearm at is regarding it with the same sense of disquiet they would an expensive paperweight. Violent criminals are rather well adapted to violence…fancy that. “Surprise, sunshine! Your little handgun doesn’t scare me. Now what are you gonna do?”

If you want to know just how bad a single determined criminal can make life for you, feel free to read this harrowing account in Policemag (Shots Fired: Skokie, Illinois) about how a uniformed officer was forced into a firefight around his vehicle with a violent felon. The policeman shot the suspect a total of 17 times (including 3 fatal shots to the head) with a .45 ACP calibre Glock, but the criminal kept on fighting. When the fight was over the officer had only four rounds left in his last available magazine. But criminals always run away after the first shots, right? Right?

Capacity doesn’t matter…right?

Yeah, and civilians never face the same threats as police officers either. And Elvis is still alive and writing songs for Justin Bieber.

Nobody expects to become involved in a protracted firefight. But just because that isn’t what you expect to happen doesn’t mean that it never will. The choices you make today regarding the equipment you carry, among numerous other important decisions, can literally make the difference between you coming home alive to your loved ones tonight…or your corpse being carted away by a state mortuary vehicle.

That choice is yours alone.

Choose wisely.

31 thoughts on “Capacity matters.

  1. Great blog! There are only two times you have too much ammo, when you are on fire or you are drowning! Small error, the police officer was carrying a Glock 21 in 45ACP, not 40S&W. Said same officer has converted to 9mm and currently carries around 98 rounds in large capacity mags.

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  2. I, myself am a victim of crime when I walked into a house robbery. In the gunfight that insued, I shot more than 12 rounds of my 15 round mag and the one armed burglar shot a full mag of 15 rounds out at me before attempting to run away injured.

    I was lucky and sustained no bullet wounds.

    What you say in you article is true and I say you can never have too much ammo on you. I now carry two firearms with spare mags for my backup with total round count of 31.

    I will let you know how that works out the next time I find myself in a difficult situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And where is it written that you shouldn’t maximally advantage yourself insofar as equipment and training is concerned before you have your personal ‘critical dynamic incident’?

    We are already at a disadvantage not knowing the specific time or circumstances of the attack upon us; why should we go into that situation further disadvantaged with marginal equipment?

    Handguns are notoriously poor man-stopping tools as it is (or SAPS and SANDF would use them instead of as opposed to in addition to assault rifles). Consider this: Every advantage you give up, you give to your attacker. So by making yourself less capable with a low capacity handgun , you increase the odds of your attacker being successful in his attack on you. Does this make any sense at all?

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  4. “Criminals are not in the habit of sending memos to their prospective victims, courteously informing them of the time and place of the arranged robbery/rape/murder.”

    Quite to the contrary, most of the times they actually do exactly this and once we learn how to read the “letter”or set of instructions we can avoid the attack without ever resorting to violence.

    The sad reality is however that only a very small handful of people are open minded enough to learn to read the messages as it actually costs money and takes time to learn it. Once learned however, one can almost sleep with your doors open as you will know well in advance if someone is planning something for you.

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  5. I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling the need to carry a fair bit of ammo with me.

    I really hope I never need it at all (or all), but I’d rather have too much than sit there going click . . click . . . . click

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve had criminals tell me they fear a taser more than a gun. To quote one “I’ve been shot I know how that feels but that taser, it hurts!” Experience matters. I’ve never been shot at or shot at someone else. Chances are anyone I’d get into a gunfight with has more experience and I’m hoping I have more training.

    I’m constantly reminded about the one fatal dash cam video of a Vietnam vet killing a police officer. He used combat experience and his training to move and fire. He effectively pinned the officer behind his car and walked up and executed him. Experience……

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    • Maybe I can help a tiny bit: I haven’t been shot either, but I’ve been poked with a sharp piece of rebar, which apparently is similar. It did hurt quite a bit. I have also tazed myself out of curiosity. Being tazed on the leg feels like getting hit by a cricket ball-firing machinegun. Both things hurt, but the tazer does have the upper hand. Although obviously if the rebar went through my heart or lung, I’d be dead.

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  7. It depends on what you are after. What is the personal risk you perceive vs. the discomfort you are willing to live/die with. There is always trade off. A snub doesn’t give you as much ammo, but greater reliability, concealability and choice of grip for hand size. You have to dress around it far less than a fullsize service pistol. What is your hand size/grip strength general build like? Bigger magazines mean wider grips mean harder to conceal. What is your body type? What clothing is necessary to conceal a larger sidearm on said body type? Can you wear said clothing to work? What is your work environment? How permissive/nonpermissive will they be in the event you are made? Instead of the biggest question being how much it holds, the first question is, “Do you, in fact, get your best grip/sight alignment/consistent accurate hits with such and such model”? The next is ” Can I/will I commit to carrying all this every day?” The rest is bonuses and tradeoffs.

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    • I think you are decades behind wrt mindset. The subcompacts made in the last 10-20 years are very reliable, far easier to aim, have way better triggers and conceal better. The only advantage a snubby has is for the very casual or inexperienced shooter, who needs to “see” that the wheelgun cylinders are loaded and turning. If a snubby is all that is available to you, then its better than no gun at all.
      I carry a snub on occasion. Its reliable, true. But it takes practise to overcome its limitations. I prefer a 10 round(min) subcompact for concealed carry

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    • You have created a false dichotomy… you are supposing that the choice is between a snubby and a full size service pistol. There is a wide range of mid-size, compact, and sub-compact semi-auto pistols in between the two. Most of these are way more concealable and easier to carry than the snubby (that wide cylinder is a bit of a biatch).

      A further misconception relates to reliability. Modern semi-auto pistols are as reliable, if not more so, than revolvers. Have you shot revolvers much? I have. Ever had a cylinder lock up when a bullet extracts itself from a case in the cylinder and jams all movement? The gun is rendered useless. Or when the cylinder latch jams solid because the ejector rod has unscrewed itself and you cannot reload? Or when the cylinder advance pawl becomes obstructed and the timing goes slightly out and your shot nicks the forcing cone on one side and sprays bullet shavings to the side like a shrapnel grenade?

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