NOTE: USCCA Customer Engagement team members get a lot of questions, and they pass a good number of them along to Concealed Carry Magazine Senior Editor Ed Combs. If you have a question, you can either ask it below or email it to [email protected]. We, of course, cannot guarantee answers to all questions — Ed’s a pretty busy guy — but we’d love to help you out with whatever’s stumping you.

Jared Blohm
Managing Editor
Concealed Carry Magazine

How Much Ammo Should I Carry?

Start a fight with the internet? Don’t mind if I do!

For semi-automatic pistols, I would unconditionally recommend that you carry a backup magazine. Magazines are the single most common mechanical cause of pistol failures, and you only have so much say in how a defensive firearm use goes down. Most self-defense shootings are over within a few rounds, sure … but some are not.

If we’re talking about a single-stack pistol, I would never hold it against anyone if he or she carried a pair of spares if the clothing and lifestyle afforded that option. When I am limited to a Ruger LCR or KelTec P3AT, I always carry a pair of spare magazines. If you’re carrying a double-stack pistol, carrying two magazines isn’t necessary but isn’t unreasonable either. As with everything else in concealed carry, only you will be able to figure out what works best for you.

As for revolvers, I go with at least one reload if not two — and I find speed strips a lot easier to carry than speedloaders. Most revolvers most people carry hold five or six rounds. As mentioned, you only have so much say in how a defensive gun use happens. If you have to fire three times at an attacker in a dark parking garage and you have no idea whether that attacker has a few confederates skulking around, that J-frame or LCR is going to feel mighty light with only two live rounds left in it.

Which brings me to my final point on this matter: Whether we’re talking about a semi-automatic or a revolver, I am of the opinion that “getting to safety” after stopping a deadly threat means getting somewhere you can safely reload your sidearm and quickly pat yourself down to see if you’re injured. THEN you can start making phone calls.

I’m Shooting to the Right Because I’m Anticipating the Shot Before I Shoot. How Can This Be Corrected?

Congratulations on diagnosing the issue. That already lands you miles out ahead of other shooters. However, despite what “corrective targets” might say, everyone is different and everyone’s shooting issues are unique.

Almost all anticipation and flinching are caused by fear (and the kind of fear that can be difficult to just think your way out of). The closest thing I’ve come across to a panacea is a technique forwarded by frequent CCM contributor and firearms-instruction legend George Harris.

Stand facing your target and do everything as you normally would save for one important factor: As you get ready to shoot, concentrate as hard as you can on watching the front sight of your firearm and force yourself to actually see the muzzle flash of the fired round.

As you do this, it won’t take very long until you will train your mind to understand that neither the recoil nor the muzzle flash is going to hurt you. The big front part of your human brain knows this. But subconsciously, the little monkey part of your brain stem doesn’t. So you will have to train to control your subconscious drive to “protect” your vision from the noise and the fire that your little monkey brain stem is so scared of.

Give this an honest try over a few range sessions, and if it doesn’t work, drop me a line.

I Carry Appendix and Am Really Struggling With Changing My Mindset With Regard to My Gun Going Off. Is There Anything You Can Recommend to Help Me Get Over This Mental Block?

This is, as you say, a 100 percent mental block.

As I sit here typing this, with the balls of my feet on two of the feet of the rolly office chair in which I’m sitting, the muzzle of my pistol is pointing at my right heel. When I lean over to get something at the grocery store, the muzzle of my pistol is pointing at whoever happens to be walking or standing behind me. When it comes to holsters, the most important matter is not so much where that holster positions the muzzle of the firearm it is carrying but rather the quality of that holster and the diligence of the man or woman wearing it.

If you find yourself uncomfortable carrying AIWB, then you might want to stop doing so. No serious person would give you a hard time over it.

But if you’re using a quality holster, and if you’re properly removing and mounting that holster, and if you are reholstering your firearm exactly as that holster manufacturer is telling you to, your nether regions and femoral artery are in no more danger than my right heel.

Learn More

How to Properly Store Ammo
Max Effort: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Performance
Beginner Series: Gun Holsters