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View Poll Results: What is the smallest acceptable total capacity acceptable for a concealed carry gun?

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  • 4

    8 3.08%
  • 5

    146 56.15%
  • 6

    41 15.77%
  • 7

    11 4.23%
  • 8

    17 6.54%
  • 9

    4 1.54%
  • 10-12

    18 6.92%
  • 13-15

    6 2.31%
  • 16-18

    5 1.92%
  • 19+

    4 1.54%
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Thread: How Many Shots Is Enough for Concealed Carry?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Daekar's Avatar
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    Dec 2020
    Virginia, USA

    Question How Many Shots Is Enough for Concealed Carry?

    I have been mulling over some of the new gun options out there and have found that there is a huge spread of magazine capacity across guns that folks carry for concealable protection. I have a J-frame which holds 5 shots of 357mag and another that holds 8 shots of 22LR, and those capacities are pretty darn small compared to a lot of other thing out there. However, just because I've started paying attention to a perceived deficiency in my guns doesn't mean that there is an actual deficiency - that is, just because they don't hold much doesn't necessarily mean they don't hold enough to do their jobs.

    So... with the full knowledge that there is no single right answer for every person and every situation, how many rounds is "enough" for you? No reloads allowed, what the gun holds is what you get, and the number is independent of cartridge because we're assuming that you've chosen a cartridge that you judge sufficient for the task. Why did you choose the number you did?
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    Quote Originally Posted by Daekar View Post
    So... with the full knowledge that there is no single right answer for every person and every situation, how many rounds is "enough" for you? No reloads allowed, what the gun holds is what you get, and the number is independent of cartridge because we're assuming that you've chosen a cartridge that you judge sufficient for the task. Why did you choose the number you did?
    Honestly, this says it all, doesn't it? You can't be right for every situation all of the time. "No reloads" makes you want to
    have the highest capacity possible (like a 32 round extended magazine) but concealment dictates otherwise. It has to be
    a compromise. I'll go with 7+1 in .45 ACP.


  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Something I ran across awhile back was an FBI statistic where they found that the national
    average was for all the times where a licensed concealed carry person fired a handgun,
    it averaged out to five shots fired for every four instances.
    That's just shots fired, it doesn't account for misses or non fatal injuries.

    That's 1.25 shots per case.
    There is not really any way to know how many times a good guy drew down on a bad guy,
    but didn't shoot.

    I wouldn't have any problem with it, but you need to decide for your self if a five shot revolver is 'good enough'.
    Personally; I don't go to 'da hood', and don't think I'll ever get pinned down in a fire fight at the grocery store.

    I feel pretty good with a O/U Derringer with two Hornady .410 shells that each carry two OOO balls and a 110gr .357JHP
    It's big enough to be intimidating, and flat enough to disappear in your pocket.
    When it fires, out comes basically three shots not too different than three shots from a small .38Spec.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 07-01-2022 at 12:15 PM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
    LabGuy's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Tallahassee Florida
    I voted 5, because I carry J frames from time time, like right now. But I think a better question is acceptable total rounds, including reloads.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy 414gates's Avatar
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    Jan 2017
    A large caliber derringer is fine for low risk areas.

    Otherwise, the more rounds it takes and the bigger the caliber, the better.

    Addendum :

    Everybody's idea of concealed carry is built up around their personal situation, and there is a big variation person to person.

    If you live in a neighborhood where the homes are not behind walls or fences, that is one situation.

    If you live in a place where home invasions and murders are common, that is another situation.

    There is a lot in between, so there cannot be one concealed carry solution for all.
    Last edited by 414gates; 07-01-2022 at 12:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    The Lowcountry
    Enough shots to neutralize the threat......IF you have to fire.

    Shot placement is everything!

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Aberdeen, South Dakota
    The obvious answer is 1 is the minimum required. 1 is infinitely better than 0. A muzzleloading pistol is better than nothing at all.

  8. #8
    RogerDat's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    The whole statistic on gun in the home more likely to kill an occupant than an intruder is based on occupant suicide vs the extremly low instances of intruders staying to be shot at (0 fatalities) intruder driven off. Followed by shot fired in general direction of intruder but a clean miss (0 fatalities). Then there are the the few times an intruder is shot at, hit, but not fatally (0 fatalities) And after all of these subsets of intruder/bad guy confrontation are eliminated one has a tiny fraction of one percent of confrontations that involve an intruder shot and killed (1 fatality).

    As applies to this discussion my guess is confrontations in the outside world follow much the same pattern. The largest subset is intruder leaves without shots fired. With few situations involving multiple shots. I guess real world the hit to miss ratio might improve if one wasn't awakened in the middle of the night in a dark house and trying to conduct a firefight in ones BVD's assuming one doesn't sleep commando which I'm going to assume wouldn't make it easier.

    I would assume for carry the old detective standard of 5 in the gun and 2 reloads for a total of 15 would be sufficient. I can't think of many situations in public where the rapid shooting and spraying cover fire in an area with innocent bystanders would be appropriate. Worst case I can think of is trying to hold off an attacker and I'm willing to wait until they decide I'm out of ammo or reloading and advance to prove them wrong. Your move, my hallway. Which is how I view my home defense situation. Bedroom is at end of hallway. Wife is on phone to 911 and you have to enter that hallway to do us harm so...

    Nice 5 shot revolves is aces in my book. Although the 45 acp "why shoot twice" idea has some merit out in the world, it is a bit noisy for indoors.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    5 in my Model 38 Airweight. Are there situations where it might prove inadequate? Sure. But an M38 is easy and convenient, and therefore always available.

    "If I thought there was going to be trouble, I’d bring a shotgun."
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Central Texas
    You can have anything you want at home - I kept a 44-40 lever action '92 Winchester in the corner of our bedroom for a lot of years and never felt undergunned.

    Out in public, I carry a S&W Airweight in .38 Special. The primary reason I like it is the weight and small size. Many other sidearms are just too bulky to conceal unless I can wear a jacket - and that's usually only 2-3 months out of the year around these parts. I'm more likely to be in shorts and T-shirt most of the time.

    I carried a standard 1911 in 45 when I was a younger man but it's just slightly too heavy to be comfortable every day.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Southernmost State of the Union
    I voted for five also as I carry either a J frame or my Kahr CM-40.
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  12. #12
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    DougGuy's Avatar
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    Apr 2013
    just above Raleigh North Carolina
    I used an aftermarket flat bottom mag in the Kahr CW45, I think it carries 7 and one in the pipe. I have reloads accessible in my vehicles as it will gladly accept and feed with 7 and 8 round 1911 mags, you just have to have the slide shut when you shove the mag in and it works great.

    There are too many scenarios to cover all the bases with one EDC sidearm, so you cover the scenarios that you are most vulnerable, most at risk.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? 480 Ruger or 475 Linebaugh cylinder that needs the "step" reamed to 6° 30min chamfer? Click here to send me a PM You can also find me on Facebook Click Here.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Feb 2019
    New Market, Iowa
    I carry a Smith and Wesson .38 air weight, so that is 5 shots, but there are 20 more rounds in my pocket.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2022
    Practice, practice, practice, carry the bigest you can shoot with and hit what you are aming at accuratly> then you will only need one shot. Maybe a seckond to remove any doubt.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I carry a Glock in part due to its high capacity. Better to have more shots and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

    I also carry a Kahr but always have a spare magazine for it.

    A 5 shot revolver is probably enough 98% of the time, but that 2% might bite me in the butt.
    Don Verna

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Half Dog's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Grand Prairie, TX
    I carry 4 rounds. I don’t need to carry the extra weight of extended magazines plus I’m usually amongst innocent people. When I’m driving through the desert, that is a different story.
    The sooner I fall behind...the more time I have to catch up with

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    I also answered 5 because I used to and still do carry my S & W 36 J Frame. However, given today's "issues" and wintering in AZ about 40 miles from the border, I normally carry my Glock 26 just for the peace of mind of having 10 rounds, or 10 + 1 - especially if we are on less traveled roads or more remote areas - and yes, I also carry a spare magazine. I carry OWB and have a very comfortable leather holster with a spare mag pouch on the front - under a shirt tail or jacket it's an easy carry and doesn't;t print.

    A simpler answer though, would be that everyone is different and a person should practice on a regular basis and carry what makes them comfortable as far as rounds go and hope that they will never have to find out.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Before the 2020 riots my answer would have been 5. Today it's 12 + 1 and at least one 15 round spare mag.

    Some good discussion on the parrel thread here:
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 07-02-2022 at 01:53 AM.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    The obvious answer is 1 is the minimum required. 1 is infinitely better than 0. A muzzleloading pistol is better than nothing at all.

    back in the early sixties we were on our way home from the river bottoms where we were doing some plinking with black powder. We pulled into the gas station and the attendant was standing there with his hands up. Being young and stupid we piled out of the car with a muzzle loading shotgun and a flintlock horse pistol (both unloaded as it turned out) and proceeded to hold the robber for the police. They came and took him away and laughed their behinds off about the weapons we used to foil the robbery. Wouldn't do it again and probably should have done it then but . . . I guess looking down the bore of a 69 caliber sewer pipe pistol is intimidating.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Brushy Mountains of NC
    Airweight 638, so 5 shots. Carry a speed strip with 5 and a snake shot in a nylon knife case with a small Stream Lite clipped on the side. I carry inside the waistband appendix, comfortable for me and accessible while setting.

    I chased my tail for years and tried a good many types and calibers. I finally decided on the J-frame Airweight for most of my carry. It is easy to carry, reliable and safe.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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GC Gas Check