Strategies for Pistol Magazine Capacities

Dr. John Woods 07.20.20

In the last year or so, have you noticed gun manufacturers developing new models that try to put more and more cartridges into ever smaller guns? First there were compact guns, then micro-guns, and now there are micro-compact models. The guns are getting smaller, but the payload is bigger. This is a unique phenomenon in pistol manufacturing.

A few years ago I was looking for a new pocket pistol. I’ve been waiting for the Glock to bring out the 43 for 9mm instead of buying the 42 in “only” 380 ACP. When it finally arrived, I bought the Talon version with special high-viz visors. I knew the magazine would only last six rounds, but that was the best option in a small package at the time.

It wasn’t long before SIG shocked the world with their Model 365 (days a year?) That would put 10 + 1 in the tank. The 365 was slightly smaller than the G43, but about the same, except for almost twice the ammunition capacity. Then SIG offered accessory magazines for the 365 with 12 + 1 and even 15 + 1 rounds. So of course I had to have the SIG too. I use both the G43 and 365 as concealed carry weapons and truck pistols.

Then other pistols with increased magazine capacities came on the market. Kimber came out with their Micro 9 with six standard rounds, but added extra magazines that increased the number of rounds to seven or eight. Taurus introduced the G3 assault pistol with magazines for 10, 15 + 1, or 17 + 1 in a slightly larger package, although it is still considered a compact weapon compared to a Beretta 92. The new SCCY DVG1 includes 10 + 1 and the Springfield Armory Hellcat 9mm is a micro-compact that comes with two magazines for 11 + 1 and 13 + 1 capacity. There are certainly other pistols that would fall into this classification, but the list is difficult to keep and is constantly changing.

So what’s the strategy for deciding which magazine to carry in a variety of situations or tasks? More interested in increasing the available firepower or maximizing the stretcher’s obfuscation? Smaller capacity magazines that fit flat can be tucked away fairly well in a good holster or pocket cover. However, some of the larger capacity magazines may protrude from the handle, making it much more difficult to conceal. I think the bottom line is that the options are available to balance the total rounds available and hide the weapon.

Regardless of which compact or micro-compact gun you buy, get hold of the optional accessory magazines to take advantage of the benefits that a total system offers. Go easy or difficult as you see fit.

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