Do you have enough ammo to stop the threat?

by Drew Beatty

A gun is used to preserve your life in the face of a violent encounter. If you are forced to use your firearm, you are likely in a fight for your life or the life of someone relying on your protection. You are using the gun because the threat is real, it is imminent and unavoidable, and it needs to stop. NOW! Right now.

You don't have ten, five, or even one second. For this reason, it is important to have as much cartridge capacity as is possible or practical. Many modern firearms are designed to carry more than a dozen cartridges, and additional magazines or speed loaders are also easy to carry and conceal.

But why, as some anti-freedom politicians would ask, would you need more than 6, 10 or 15 or even more bullets to stop a deadly threat? If a motivated assailant is shot even once, he immediately stops what he is doing, surrenders or dies like in the movies, right? Don't people who get shot fly through picture windows and over couches and never move again? Taking self-defense cues from Hollywood is not always the best preparation.

Back in reality, maybe the assailant stops the attack. Maybe not. Maybe they keep coming. Maybe they are "bullet sponges," high and numb on drugs. Maybe they have a very high tolerance for pain. Maybe the bullet strikes in an area where incapacitation won't place take immediately. Maybe it won't take place for several seconds, minutes, or days. Sometimes incapacitation will not take place at all. What then?

Concealed carriers need to look at it this way: What you have in your hand may be all you have to win the fight.

Violent encounters typically come from out of nowhere, and happen fast. Incredibly fast – faster than you can possibly comprehend. When the time comes, it is far more likely than not that all you have within your immediate reach is all you will have to end the fight. Think about that.

If you have a standard capacity six-shot revolver, you'd better act fast and hope you get effective hits to stop the threat. There is no 7th shot. If you have a 15-round magazine and expend all 15 rounds, you may not have a second magazine. Encounters often happen in the middle of the night, in your home, in your underwear with barely enough time to grab your pistol, much less extra magazines.

Sometimes there are multiple attackers. Violent criminals tend to pack together. Sometimes the attacker is very determined. What is his mindset? Is this his first attack or does he have a long history of violence to the point where he is conditioned, skilled and unsympathetic to others, such as the attack on Dr. William Petit in 2007? How can anyone, even you, know what you will need in a violent event that hasn't happened yet?

That's why capacity matters. Because there is too much out of your control, and carrying sufficient ammunition is something that you can control. You may not even need to fire one shot – attackers often flee at the mere sight of a firearm. Or, the attacker may stand and fight until you run out of ammunition.

It is important to be prepared for an encounter that might require additional rounds. Think through scenarios where you might be forced to use your firearm and ask yourself the question: Do I have enough ammunition capacity?

Drew Beatty is a 50 year old husband and father, and a lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is an NRA Life-Member, and a long-time firearms enthusiast, as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.