How Many Rounds Should I Carry?

It’s a common question I get in my classes or on the internet. How many rounds should I carry? Or put into other words, what capacity or how many bullets? We can’t really answer this question until we address how many rounds it takes to stop a threat. Remember you don’t get to answer that question, and I can’t give you an answer to that question.  The only person who gets to decide is the threat. Ultimately they get to decide when they are going to stop being a threat.

Since we won’t get the luxury of asking our attacker how many rounds it is going to take we have to look at real-world examples. We need to look at actual events that have played out and been captured and learn from these events. Is that snub nose revolver enough? Is that single stack 1911 enough? Maybe, but also maybe not.  There’s a reason that the police carry standard capacity semiautomatic pistols, and no longer carry 5 or 6 shot revolvers, let’s look at some of those examples. These standard capacity semi-automatic pistols carry in the neighborhood of 17 rounds typically.

How Many Rounds in Real Life

In 2020 we see a police officer in Michigan on being charged by a man with a knife. It took 5 shots to stop the attack against this single attacker. But then the attacker reached down for his knife, and it took 4 more shots to finally stop the threat.

In November of 2019 in East Columbus Ohio, it took two police officers firing 11 rounds to stop a motivated attacker in a domestic violence incident.

In July of 2019 in Georgia, it took 7 shots for a knife-wielding attacker to stop his attack and drop the knife, only to get back up and attack the police once again.  It took one more well placed shot, which seemed to be a hit to the cranial cavity, to finally stop the threat.

Various rappers have been shot multiple times and lived to famously boast about it. For example, Tupac Shakur in 1994 was shot 5 times and survived, only to be killed 2 years later. 50 cent was shot 9 times in the year 2,000 and went on to make millions rapping about it.

From various studies, we know that approximately 20%-50% of violent attacks include multiple attackers.

We know from Chicago crime statistics that greater than 80% of people who are shot will survive. It isn’t like the movies, unless the attacker receives a cranial cavity hit, they can continue their aggressive actions against you. Shooting for the cranial cavity isn’t an easy thing to do, it is small, and add the fact that the aggressor is probably moving, adds to the difficulty.

How Many Rounds Should I Carry

How many rounds should I carry?

So the question again. How many rounds should I carry?  Based on the information we have, I would say carry as many as you can comfortably carry and conceal (where the law allows). I personally carry 15 in my magazine, plus carry a spare magazine containing another 15 rounds. I get it, there is no one size fits all solutions when it comes to firearms. What I can comfortably carry and conceal, perhaps you can not. It is up to you to decide how many rounds you carry, but you place yourself at a greater disadvantage with the fewer rounds you carry.

Also please do remember, owning a baseball bat doesn’t make you Babe Ruth. You’ve got to get training and practice with rapid strings of fire on multiple targets. Owning and carrying the tool won’t make you an effective user of the tool without the training and the will power to use them.

Be armed. Be trained. Be Alpha.


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