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  1. #1

    Default How much is too much? Ammunition and Resupply

    The observation came up earlier I carry too much ammunition on my duty belt for my handguns. I do carry a lot - no doubt about that. Do I carry too much? Perhaps I do or don't, but an outstanding questions is how much ammunition is too much, where should it go and how will resupply be generated? These are great questions that need honest answers for police supervisors, the military squad leader and the private citizen alike.

    I don't know if I carry too much, but I have tailored by supply and re-supply to the environmental, adversarial, and physical factors of my work environment. The following affects me: 1. Highly aggressive, trained and well-equipped adversaries transporting illegal immigrants, drugs and/or terrorists, 2. Traditional criminals, 3. the Public at large, 4. Built-up City and Rural Locales with engagement distances greater than 800 yards, 5. No resupply of equipment and/or provisions, and 6. Backup and/or additional personnel usually greater than 20 to 30 minutes away.

    This is a typical engagement area - they'll run drugs and people through the mountain and then fight it out.

    Based on 14 years with this Agency, I've chosen to carry the following:

    Glock 41 and Glock 30S with no less than 5 13 round magazines on duty belt

    14.5" M4 with ACOG and 7 28 round magazines on front seat

    3 additional 13 round Glock 41 magazines and 6 additional 28 round magazines in backpack

    36 additional 28 round magazines in trunk for re-supply of additional ground units

    For the situation in which I find myself, I and others, consider this a suitable supply of ammunition and it gives us the ability to re-supply a unit in the field. Most I know carry the same allotment. We keep an additional 200 rounds of 5.56mm and 800 round of 9mm and .45 boxed in the supervisor's vehicle as well.

    Do I carry too much? Maybe.

    However, perhaps this will help you think about what you are carrying and you can adjust as necessary. Working CT the past few years, were I to hear "Just a Glock 17 and a spare magazine" I'd say experience would show you to be inadequately prepared.

    Something to consider...... The first time you find yourself in a real situation, where the adversary is well armed with automatic weapons, opts to fight instead of run, and you're by yourself....that affects how you view life from then on out.

    Given where you work and what you'll face, what solution do you present?

    Oh, to answer Greg's question.. Most LEO body armor now has contained within it a suspender system that attached the body armor to the duty belt. It take care of balancing the weight and makes it all one unit.

    One additional thing to consider.. real-life isn't like TV or video games. There aren't any do-overs, time-outs, or "hold on" while one goes to find what one needs. It is my experience that unless one has it on them, or very close, additional equipment or ammunition isn't going to be readily had. As a LEO supervisor I have to think about my responsibilities and those of my squad(s). We don't have the option of calling it quits, running away or not completing the mission because a firefight expended the Glock 17 and issue three magazines..

    If you don't have the option of running away and you have to stick it out and fight, do you have what you need and are you prepared? I've heard this once, but I'll never forget, over the radio while racing to a desert scene: "Last magazine - still in contact!"
    Last edited by JonathanNobody; 01-20-2018 at 11:37 AM.

  2. #2
    My man. That's awesome.
    James 1:5 - "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Snohomish County, WA
    Is that a Glock knife in the backpack on the left side?

    What is your medical load out?

    Considering what you do and where you do it, I think that's a needed load out considering all the different operational environments you encounter everyday. You are well defended for yourself and also have the ability to arm another person should they show up ill prepared or they are unable to secure their own kit because of the current situation.
    The government selectively enforces laws, so I selectively follow them.

    RGF-3: December 2014
    CRG-1: March 2015
    CRG-2: June 2015
    CRG-2: June 2016
    PGF : January 2017
    0-5 Feet: October 2018

  4. #4
    Jonathan, could you discuss balancing the desire to have extra magazines vs staying mobile and fast? I imagine that's something that you have to keep in mind, especially considering that you also have a bunch of other stuff to carry. Obviously, fitness helps to shift this balance, but adding gear makes all of us slower. How do you decide when you've crossed the line to where extra ammo and gear is just weighing you down unnecessarily?

    And thank you for this write-up!
    Last edited by Eric Tull; 01-20-2018 at 12:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Made it to Free America
    Well, from someone who worked the East Coast, specifically just outside Baltimore CITY, where Back Up could be quick (assuming they were motivated (a big question). I finally decided to add a third mag to my duty belt plus 3 more in the car (carrying more than three on the belt was an issue, especially since it wasn't approved and would NOT have been approved if I sought permission--in fact it would have been specifically denied. My threat was Freddie Gray types with a slightly better zip code. Most of hot zones were apartments, which could be 3 floors or one particular 10 floor dream spot.

    Some of us had official ARs locked in the trunk (and at least one guy I knew had an unofficial/unapproved AR pistol broken down in his bag on the front seat). Everybody had a 870; but the chances of many of them being willing to actually take it out was slim. I figured my best bet was more "on body" pistol ammo. I toyed with ditching my TQ for an extra mag (carried in the TQ pouch); but decided against that. Two of the in car mags had +4baseplates and on occasion one might have fallen into my gun before walking to the door--but it had to be discrete in case a inferiorvisor-opposite of supervisor showed up (not likely if it was hot or cold or raining or a game was on TV)....

    So boss I think youre spot on--and thanks for being an actual SUPERVISOR

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Western WA
    I always have one pistol and one magazine on me. Sometimes I will carry a second pistol on me, though realistically I only do this about 25% of the time. So far I have not been happy with methods for a 2nd magazine on my belt - my waist is only so big and carrying much more becomes hard to conceal.

    I also usually have some type of bag with me, either a small "Indiana Jones" bag or a laptop bag. The Indy bag normally carries an extra pistol, and the laptop bag carries the Glock PDW. Both carry additional mags and some minimal gear (light, med supplies).

    I like carrying two pistols. On my belt is best, but if not I have one in a bag. I like having the extra pistol in case my primary goes down, or if I need to hand it to a trusted friend.

    I have identical set ups for 9, 357Sig and 45:
    *G19, G34 and G17L PDW
    *G23, G22 and G35 PDW, all in 357 Sig
    *G30S, G41 and G41 PDW

    All my holsters, mag pouches, bags etc. support those set ups, everything is interchangeable.

    The Indy bag carries two extended mags (the 22 rounders fit perfectly, the KRISS mags needed a customized insert). The laptop bag can carry a little more, for instance one standard mag in the gun, one extra standard mag, and two extended mags. I could carry more but with the laptop that starts to get heavy.

    I also carry the Stakeout in my truck. Right now I don't keep a rifle with me, but I'm thinking of a solution that could carry both an AR pistol and the Stakeout in a simple, convenient and quick access manner.

    For MY needs, that is enough. I live in a low-threat area, and the way I live does not bring me into contact with likely violence. Of course terrorism and random violence can occur anywhere, so I am "reasonably" prepared for that. If I was in Jonathan's line of work, you can bet I would be carrying more.

    One principle is "More is always better" (firepower, guns and ammo). But another principle is "Maximize mobility and speed." Those two principles are in direct conflict and must be balnaced. I place a HIGH priority on mobility, so this is a case where less is better. My style of fighting is about speed an mobility...more like a dirt bike than a tank. I want to carry as much as I can, but when I start clanking around and slowing down, that is too much.

    Everyone's needs are different.

    Last edited by Brent Yamamoto; 01-20-2018 at 12:44 PM.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Considering your job, that doesn't look like too much.
    Making the bad man go away since 1982.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Tull View Post
    Jonathan, could you discuss balancing the desire to have extra magazines vs staying mobile and fast? I imagine that's something that you have to keep in mind, especially considering that you also have a bunch of other stuff to carry. Obviously, fitness helps to shift this balance, but adding gear makes all of us slower. How do you decide when you've crossed the line to where extra ammo and gear is just weighing you down unnecessarily?

    And thank you for this write-up!
    That's a tough question Eric and I think we do have to look at the following through the filters our job, locale and environment bring into play: 1. Stand and fight, or 2. Use speed and agility to move away, or 3. Fire and maneuver. I think the answer is also 100% influenced on the unit commander's personal preference.

    Stand and Fight: This would be the officer with magazines festooned on his body and body armor to the point he makes a good pillbox, but a lousy tank. When we contact a threat are we going to seek cover and concealment, return fire and then wait for the cavalry (SWAT) to save us while we're in a defensive position? This would illustrate the Stand and Fight mentality of LEOs.

    Use Speed and Agility to Move Away: These are the officers that might just carry what is issued - standard 9mm and two reloads, and no backup gun. They'll return fire when fired upon, but only to break contact and move to a position of safety. They'll not re-engage unless absolutely necessary and wait for SWAT to arrive. I don't see many of these type around the Agency but they're there and in my opinion they're useless...

    Fire and Maneuver: These are the majority of officers I see. They'll carry far more equipment than issued, but still do it sensibly. They'll take the fight to the enemy and not take up a defensive position awaiting reinforcements. To to this, I often see officers deploy with a minimum of four pistol magazines and when rifles are used they'll most often have a bandoleer of six magazines in tow. Seven magazine of 28 rounds each is not too heavy, but allows for fire and maneuver to engage a combatant, aggressive foe. I am a strong proponent of the bandoleer system and have seen squads deploy with them over body armor. As a supervisor, they're an extremely easy way to send six spare magazines in a pre-packaged form to advanced units and locations.

    In the end, it depends on personality and job. If you're going to engage only to create a disengagement opportunity, and then retreat that's one thing; perhaps you have no duty to be there and fight it out.. If you're going to engage, actively close in to negate the threat and kill the enemy then you'll need the strength and mobility to maneuver, but you MUST have the ammunition to stay in the fight. It does no good to confront the enemy at a close distance if you expended your ammunition source to arrive there and have no means of resupply. This is where those Ka-Bars on the duty belt Edel wants so bad come in, but that's a different story.

    I opt to go heavy and I've willing to take the hits that comes with such as slower speed and reduced mobility because it is my personality to fire and maneuver to aggressively kill the enemy. We aren't taking a static defensive position and we aren't waiting 1 to 2 hours for SWAT to arrive after the fight is done.

    So, it depends. It depends on who you are inside. In an active shooter situation or desert firefight I'd expect our officers to deploy with at least two bandoleers of ammunition and I find that reasonable.

    Why so many pistol magazines? Sometimes a rifle isn't appropriate for the call for service, but when bad things happen all the others concerns mentioned apply. Going heavy on the pistol magazines gives the officer fighting options.
    Last edited by JonathanNobody; 01-20-2018 at 03:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    This write up gives me some things to consider. I went from working in the city, exclusively, to now working alot of rural desert area with no back up. I think bandoleers are in my near future.
    "Sometimes A Teacher; Always A Student"

    Retired from teaching for the time being.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Nearly Free State of Arizona
    I love the description. I too would like to know what other med gear and equipment you run. Since we are related, I am familiar with most of it (although you carry a light load compared to the battle wagon). I saw a strobe and a Glock knife. What else do you keep? How much water do you keep in the truck? Spare consumables (batteries)?

    I do keep a long range setup (6.5 Cre bolt with 10 x 10 round AICS mags and another 240 rounds loose, a rangefinder, etc). I have a fair amount of time with that rifle and am confident to 1200 or so.
    “How can I shoot people? Shooting people is easy. It is the simple application of the fundamentals of marksmanship. The hard part is ensuring that I have the physical strength to prevail, the moral strength to know when it is right to kill, and the mental strength to articulate the aftermath such that I maintain my freedom while they experience what comes next in the afterlife.”

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