Half spent magazine back in the pouch or your pocket?

Situation: you’ve shot a bunch of rounds (with whatever weapon system you have) and you have time for a tactical reload, which some might call a magazine exchange. For purposes of this article, I’ll just call it a mag exchange.  To the point, where do you put the half spent mag?

Who knows how long this battle will last?  Who knows if it will take one more round or a dozen more rounds, but you want to make sure your gun is topped off, right?

There’s a lull in the gunfight.  You get behind cover.  Hurry up and do a magazine exchange.

But wait!  When you do a mag exchange, where do you put that half spent mag?

Well, here are some options:

Put the half spent magazine in your pocket

A lot of people say put it in your pocket instead of back into a magazine pouch.  I understand the reasoning.  It makes sense.  You put it in your pocket so you don’t accidentally reload a half spent magazine into your gun.  After all, you want a fully loaded mag the next time you reach for your mag pouch and you don’t want to risk accidentally grabbing the half spent mag instead of a full one.

There are pros and cons to putting a half used or mostly used mag in your pocket.  Here are some negatives I see:

First, in the heat of battle, I hope I don’t forget I have the magazine in my pocket.  Second, I hope I can reach that mag in time and in a hurry if I need to perform an emergency reload under stress; and finally, I hope the mag doesn’t fall out of my pocket when I’m running to cover.

Put the half spent magazine back into your mag pouch

As I just mentioned, putting a magazine back into your mag pouch could really mess up your OODA loop.  You don’t want to grab a half used, mostly empty mag to top off in the middle of a gunfight, but also, depending on what type of mag pouches you have, it could be a real pain to get them back in the pouch. (I’m speaking of collapsible mag pouches, like a new Blue Force Gear pouch I bought recently.)  But there are some pros to putting a half used mag back, namely securing the mag if you have to run or maneuver.

It is possible to remember where you put your half used mag and not to load it until last (if the battle goes that long).  Also, if you draw your mags from right to left all the time, putting the slightly used mag in the pouch farthest to your left could solve the problem though it may not be practical seeing as you would have to hurry up and switch your mags around and you could only do that if there’s time.  And that switch would, of course, take time.

Put the half spent magazine into a dump pouch

You could forget about putting the mostly used mag back in your pocket or in your mag pouch and just throw it in your dump pouch (or a purple Crown Royal pouch I saw someone using once at a range). You’d likely remain aware of it and load it last, though retention could be an issue if you find yourself on the move (which you should be in a gunfight).

Other options

Now that I’ve presented you with some options, here’s what I’d do.

I’d consider the situation, the location and assess my gear, and then make a decision.  Situation plus terrain determine tactics.

Situation: I have three mags (with one in my gun).  I have a two pouch mag holder.  I get into a shooting and perform a mag exchange.  Whether I’m wearing just a Speedo and a Sombrero or some Vertx tactical pants and Kevlar helmet, even if there’s an itty-bitty time gap, I’m just going to switch my mags in the pouch after the reload and put the half spent mag on farthest to the left.  Why?  Because that makes sense to me.  That’s why.  And it’s all that matters.

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.