Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So there's this guy posting at one of the intarw3bz firearms forums I frequent who has the oddest hangup: Spare mags or backup guns.

He claims to be a retired cop, and in his universe, the only reason that a person (read "civilian") would carry a spare magazine or a backup gun is because they're a swaggering braggart who just can't wait to flash their gear at a restaurant.

(Sidenote: The restaurant bit is important for some reason. In his world, a lot of this ammo flashing goes on at restaurants, with the braggarts in question setting their loaded mags out on the table for all to see, for some reason.)

Now, I've been at steak houses where everybody around the table was using a Benchmade, Spyderco, or Chris Reeves 'steak knife', but that's usually because people prefer to cut their meat with something sharper than the butter knives provided by the dining establishment, however in all my born days, I have never noticed the spare mag phenomenon. In fact, I know that when I'm dining out alone I usually select a seating position that puts my gun side towards the wall so as to avoid spooking the herd and thus allowing me to eat in peace. Where's the Rambo benefit in that?

I thought that the spare mag was for just in case something happened to the one in the gun, or the occasional autoloader malf that requires ripping the mag out of the gun to clear it. I will also admit to not carrying a spare mag as often as I should; my rationale is that, should gun one go down for whatever reason, I can try to pull out gun two while running and screaming.

Bat belts in public: Common phenomenon, or something that only happens in overheated imaginations?

UPDATE: Wow. A real, live Only One. I'm not impressed.


Skip said...

Sounds to me like someone has a tv in his basement.
I have two mags in my off side shoulder rig mostly for balancing the '11.
At $25 each, I don't leave 'em as a tip.

Mudruck said...

No way Tam! You mean there is a'retired cop' that feels that 'ONLY VEE SHOULDEN BE ALLOWED TO CARRY UN FIREARMEN! Feuerwaffe is VERBOTEN for mere civilians!'

Lemme go grab my surprised face.

How does this mag showin' work for us wheelgunners? Do we get to take our speedloaders and spin them like tops on the table?

og said...

Don't you usually wear a "shoot me" vest? Spare mag, spare gun, spare matches, lighter, flint, steel, flashlight, knife, spare spare knife,spare mag for spare gun, spare pack of smokes, spare spare spare knife, 22 rounds, (loose) 45 rounds(loose) matches (loose) lint(loose) pen, notebook, nail clippers, etc? That's how I roll. My clothing weighs 20 lbs.

Robert McDonald said...

I usually carry two spare mags on my belt opposite my gun, for the reasons you listed for carrying a spare and 'just in case,' expect the worst and every surprise is a pleasant one.

My spares are as concealed as my gun, which means the average Joe never see nor suspects them to my knowledge.

OA said...

I only flash at the Grab-N-Go. I'll be damned if someone else gets the last bag of BBQ Pork Skins. Chips and salsa or warm rolls at the Family Feedbag aren't worth it.

Wonder what he thinks of that eighth shot in the 327 or 627?

Anonymous said...

Why would you put your magazines on the table? Wouldn't you spill your beer or food on them?

I've never seen anyone put his (or her) magazine(s) on the table, not at gun skul, not in any area of the country, not even at a blogmeet (although one meet they did all pull out flashlights--it was wierd, maybe they thought they were light sabers--save me Obi Won Wookie).

Restaurants? Is numbnuts from Ol' Virginny (I say, I say) where they have to carry openly in restaurants that serve booze?

This can best be explained by envy. He chooses not to be prepared and it bothers him that some choose another way. Thus, their way should be illegal (if I don't like it, it should be illegal).

Shootin' Buddy

Alan said...

I see far more "bat belt" candidates from the cellphone/flashlight/keys folks than the gun folks.

Anonymous said...

New one on me. 30 years of toting guns and I've never seen that as an issue. Perhaps "rambo" is from the great white north where the unwashed have little exposure to firearms?

The Duck said...

Used my Gerber to cut prime rib Christmas Eve, but the mags stayed in their pouches, maybe his are not as well trained

Tam said...

He claims to be from Louisiana, so it's not like he's from someplace where only the po-po have guns.

It's an attitude I usually associate with cops from large cities east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio.

Personally, I'm not impressed.

Boat Guy said...

Wow, another, "Y'all ain't perfessionals like I am." dweeb. I carry one spare mag for the XD whenever I carry it. In a pouch. ON me. I'd no more pull the mag than pull the pistol without cause. When I carry one of the wheelguns (.45 ACP) I carry two moonclips in the Dillon spring-steel gizzies.
Did most of my OC in VA because of their IDIOT restaurant ban and few people ever noticed - except the wheelguns 'cause I carry them crossdraw and they're kinda "out there" without a proper cover garment.

Nick Pacific said...

it was harshly drilled into me: mags fail.
I tried carrying 2, then 1, then I got lax until once I frew my pistol and the mag release had been brushed and the mag came out just a hair. Just a friendly reminder of the weak points of personal protection.
but as said before... Between the phone, knife, keys, mags, pistol, loose change, old receipts and photos of mother, I guess sometimes when you're eating it eases the load to just throw loaded magazines on the table.

Anonymous said...

I've known and dealt professionally with a lot of cops, from big-city departments to Mayberry PD.

Most are not afflicted with the "only one" syndrome, but some are. Doesn't matter whether they're active, retired, or even imaginary cops. The syndrome is a chemically driven one, and the job just a manifestation.

Yeah, this guy probably used to be a cop; and he really thinks he should be the only one with back up; he's intimidated and paranoid.


wv: ingerin
Let's try to get this steak eaten without ingerin anybody.

Jay G said...

Well, we weren't dropping spare mags on the table, but when AD came up north to visit we were comparing pocket knives...

Anonymous said...

If your spare magazine was as fancy as this one, you'd want everyone to see it, too.

I deal with local, state, and federal LEOs on a professional basis all the time. The only ones who criticize private citizens for carrying guns are the ones who, deep down inside, know their skills are so weak that Ray Charles could beat them in a fair fight.

Earl said...

You practice running and screaming? Something else to add to my busy day, sigh. If Tam does it, it must be good for me... at least eating the steak works for me.

Anonymous said...

+1 ToddG

There is a lot of posturing and bluffing by a fairly large perecentage of LEO's. They are afraid bad guy is going to call their bluff. Get them on the range or mat and they can come up with the most amazing excuses

The good ones fear no one and constantly strive to improve. They are a great bunch to be around.


Caleb said...

So according to his logic, a speedloader is okay because it's only 6 rounds, but a spare mag isn't because it'll "predjuice" (his words, not mine) a jury if you have to smoke someone?


Tam said...

No, he doesn't carry spare ammo for revolvers, either.

Joel said...


Gad, I hate people like that. The only ones more adept at giving cops a bad name than braggart wannabe JBTs like this clown are the active JBTs.

"I have a lot more physical control and mental conditioning than most." "You do not know me at all yet I have been written about in law enforcement mags and in the law books."

Gag me.

The Duck said...

Wow LE have special vision powers?
He has time to do 101 wordy posts in less than a month, shoot 5k in rounds, and travel 5000 miles, at 64? He a poser, most cops retire around 55. The ones that have seen it and done it don't talk about it.

Anonymous said...

I reckon if he isn't breaking any laws, what difference does it make? Relying on one of something is just asking for trouble.

As for the steak, if it done right (i.e. medium rare) then you should be able to get through it just fine with a butter knife. That said I could care less if you draw a katana, a guillotine or a rocket-propelled chainsaw to cut it.


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

flash a mag? Only at gunblogmeets where we had to leave the gat in the car. had we been packing gats, no flash whatsoever would I have done.

And no reason to flash if not hanging with the gunblog family.

And if I was at a Fountain Pen Blogger Dinner, you're damn right a pen is coming out while we wait for the meal.

og said...

he claims to shoot 5000-8000 rounds a month.

Given that he probably holds some kind of a job, or at least once did, that leaves, what, maybe 4 hours a night during the week and two ten hour days on the weekend. That's a hundred and sixty hours a month, for a total of 31 to 50 rounds an hour. Not horribly impressive, unless of course I'm paying for the ammo- but think of doing that with only one mag! He must have flying ninja fingers to reload that mag over and over again! And think of the use that mag gets, and he only carries one!

Re: Steak.You mean it's bad form to grab your steak in both hands and gnaw pieces off?

Ed Foster said...

All the more reason for Blackie Collins carry jeans when you're not wearing a suit. Or a well dressed lady friend who's carrying a trick purse.

As for real cops, my son the inner city narcotics detective, who has seen more serious action than Harry Callahan, is the biggest supporter of armed citizenry I know.

He's met too many cops who have had their bacon saved by well heeled citizenry to think otherwise, and he's typical of the guys and gals you meet out at the pointy end.

Am I calling B.S. on the pissy gent? No, he probably was a lab tech or something. But a street-wise undercover or bluesuiter? Probably not.

Matt G said...

You're not impressed?!? Hey, I'm impressed. oldman1946 claims:

"I shoot between 5,000-8,000 rounds a month both privately and in competition. My youngest daughter is a medical professional and she and I shot competitively for years. Neither of us has sustained mag failure but maybe we invest in better equipment or take better care of our gear."

Clearly this guy is the luckiest shooter on the face of the planet. And it seems to be passed on, like a positive mutation.

Moriarty said...

... and then he goes on to provide us all with is astute legal opinion, specifically how a grand jury will hang anyone who carries a spare mag or speedloader. Most cops I know will stop dead in the water before offering legal advice, especially in a public forum.

Wow. An Only One and a lawyer. How did we get so lucky?

Will Brown said...

I particularly like this bit:

"You do not notice this since you are not in law enforcement. You do not notice that LEO generally will sit in a spot where they can watch the door and the register. Most of the time, sitting with their backs to a wall so they can see what is going on and who is coming in."

Of course I notice, they're sitting in my chair.

Rabbit said...

The only occasion I can ever recall 'flashing a mag' was after arriving at Love Field and loading a magazine back up under the portico of the main entrance before going into the parking garage. TSA won't allow loaded magazines to be checked through. I did have a nice conversation about Gold Dots vs. Hydra Shocks with a DPD officer while I was sitting on the bench (really, it was pleasant).

Hey, it's Texas. Nobody gave me an askance look. It happens.


Old Grouch said...

"You mean it's bad form to grab your steak in both hands and gnaw pieces off?"

Only in white-tablecloth restaurants. ;)

Robert Langham said...

In Tyler, Texas we seem to be having an epidemic of plain-clothes police with guns on their belts. There is always a badge around somewhere but you see the gun first. Some with bat-belts and plain clothes, some with just gun, mags and badge. I think they are the argument that open carry would work in Texas for citizens, not just the government muscle.
Spare mags ought to be a personal choice.

Steve said...

I read a few of 1946’s posts and while I’ve never heard of anyone leaving their spare mags on the table in a restaurant either and I don’t care what any member of the public thinks about the fact that I carry a gun and he may or may not be exaggerating his monthly round count, he does make some good points.
I generally carry a revolver and only occasionally carry spare ammo. Not only do I feel comfortable and safe, I am quite sure that I really am comfortable and safe because 1946 is right about one thing: the odds of needing more ammo in a fight than is in my wheelgun are very small.
You could argue that I am not prepared for absolutely anything unless I’m carrying a high capacity autoloader, a couple of spare mags and a backup gun and you’d be right. So what?
Or maybe you’re not really prepared unless you have a .25 auto in an ankle holster too. You never know when you might need a third gun.
Maybe I should add a Garand and a couple of bandoliers of clips just to be on the safe side? Then I’d really, really, really be prepared for anything. Feel free to go ahead and tell me I’m a dope for not choosing an AR-15/M1-A/M-4/HK so and so instead.
One of your commenters on a previous post made a good point in that if the only reason to carry a spare magazine is as spare parts for the gun then that is a pretty good argument for sticking with a revolver because if I have to carry spare parts for a gun, it’s probably not reliable enough to bet my life on.
I’m pretty sure I’m right but any one of you could probably argue the opposite and be just as right.
This conversation reminds me of the George Carlin line that everyone who drives slower than me is a jerk and everyone who drives faster than me is a maniac.
You go ahead and do whatever makes you feel comfortable and safe but please don’t try and tell me that you have the magic formula and that anyone who disagrees is a dumbass.
By the way 1946 is from Louisiana. Any chance he might really be Steven Seagal, Lawman?

Matt G said...

The main reason to carry a spare magazine is to fix the most likely problem with your broken autoloader.

A speed strip in the pocket sure doesn't take up much space for my 5-shot resolver, either.

Joel said...

"please don’t try and tell me that you have the magic formula and that
anyone who disagrees is a dumbass."

I don't recall anyone saying that. If '1946' had just said spare mags are unnecessary, and/or that people shouldn't flash gear in the street where it'll scare the horses, nobody would have noticed. It's the strawman-knocky-downyness and the posturing about being right 'cause he's a big bad legendary only one that got everybody's knickers in a twist.

So basically, it's the fact that he's a dumbass that makes us call him a dumbass.

alath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alath said...

Steve, I don't see anyone here making insulting generalizations about people who DON'T carry extra mags or speedloaders. I think the consensus here is, carry an extra mag if you want, don't if you don't, here are the reasons that I do.

The guy who's making insulting generalizations and trying to dictate behavior to others is the guy saying there's something wrong with you if you carry a mag or speedloader.

I don't usually carry an extra mag. And I generally agree with you, that any problem I can't solve in 12 rounds is probably a problem I won't be able to solve with 24 or 36. But I sure wouldn't go out of my way to criticize - let alone insult - anyone who does tote extra rounds. I see no reason to pick a fight with anyone over their choice in this matter.

The big gripe here, as I read it, isn't the guy's personal choice about whether to carry extra ammo or not. It's his a-hole attitude toward anyone who makes a different choice than the one he approves of, and his bizarre characterizations of why people would do so.

TBeck said...

The only magazines I have ever seen being flashed in restaurants were worn by LEOs having lunch.

+1 to the "back to the wall" urge

Boat Guy said...

While it IS handy to have a spare mag if the one in the piece falls out (only had that happen once so far and it was with an M16)or otherwise fails, the idea of carryin ammo is ... carryin AMMO, as in enough to finish the fight (hopefully). As civilians and especially carrying concealed it's always a trade-off between carrying more ammo and not printing to some stupid extent.

staghounds said...

I'm afraid I HAVE been in a situation where a gun came to be on a restaurant tabletop.

There were about a half dozen of us having a few after work drinks. One went to the bathroom, and another of the group decided that it would be amusing to put one of the little potted cacti on the tabletop into the purse left behind.

Plant and root ball only, of course.

The practical jokee returned, went to the purse to get something, and found a cactus spine instead.

At which point she upended the Prada. First cactus, then dirt, then purse usuals.

Then, KA-THUNK, a stainless J frame.

BUT, everyone but me in this story was an active, just off shift police detective, sergeant,or lieutenant.

So that doesn't count, right?

Divemedic said...

He claims that he with 38 years, his uncle with 40 years, and his two cousins with 20 years experience each shoot 5,000 to 8,000 rounds a month, and have never had a mag failure- doing the math, that works out to 7 million to 11 million rounds of ammo- all without a single failure.

I am not buying it.

Anonymous said...

5000 to 8000 rounds a month? No failures?

Maybe he is the legendary mall ninja Gecko45!!!!!!

We are unworthy.


David said...

I've seen mags on the table in restaurants. Put there by LEO

I have a friend who is the chief of police in our small town. He still wears his uniform to work most days. While in uniform he always has a dual mag pouch on his right hip, opposite the Glock on his left hip (He's a lefty, but I've seen him shoot well enough with either hand). He also has the normal bat belt items - flashlight, cuffs, pepperspray, etc.

However when he is in civilian clothes he wears a different belt that carries only his glock on his left hip and his badge is attached to the right side of his belt.

While sitting at lunch several weeks ago I asked him since he wasn't wearing his standard utility belt why he didn't carry spare mags while not in uniform.

In response he reached into his jacket pocket, his right side pants pocket and his left ankle and quickly dropped four extra mags on the table in front of him. He smiled and said "How dumb do you think I am?"

When I questioned why he carried his spare mags on his left ankle instead of his right he smiled and said that his back up was on his right ankle.

In the 17 years this man has been on the force in this small town starting as a patrol officer and working his way up to Chief of Police he has never drawn his gun in the line of duty, yet he still carries 4 extra mags with him at all times.

When he asked how many I was carrying and I told him only two, he called me a wimp. I pointed out to him that I don't have a badge that lets me carry openly, so my pockets are fuller than his.

Joanna said...

If this was any other object -- say, a flashlight kept in the car for emergencies -- would this guy object to keeping extra batteries on hand? Or do his batteries never go dead?

Who was it said that two is one and one is none?

Caleb said...

I don't know about all y'all, but I carry a knife because I can't open a box or cut a seatbelt with a j-frame.

Boat Guy said...

I wonder where this guy GETS his "5000 rounds a month"? What with all his travel, sleuthing and expert witnessing he most likely doesn't have time to reload for himself. All that activity must be pretty lucrative to be able to afford that much 'mo per month - the only time I got to shoot ammo in those kinda quantities, y'all (taxpayers) were buyin' for us ...

Tam said...

"I don't know about all y'all, but I carry a knife because I can't open a box or cut a seatbelt with a j-frame."


My tactical one-hand-opening knife allows me to "slit film over entree, remove film over beans" without having to set dinner down with my other hand.

Moriarty said...

Ya know... there's something about that guy that seems oddly familiar ...

Sigivald said...

He said, in the second link, "A fanny pack screams gun to us."

Now, I reckon that's probably true.

Which means I was screaming "gun" to cops for years without ever carrying...

Ken said...

A speed loader will be six rounds.

Or, you know, five. Or eight. Depending.

"You do not know me at all yet I have been written about in law enforcement mags and in the law books."

But did you save the virginity of the mayor's nephew?

og said...

"I can't open a box or cut a seatbelt with a j-frame."

Well. You can, but it's messy.

When I'm on an install, the first couple of days I usually wear a ring knife;


Don't believe what they say; it is NOT virtually impossible to injure yourself with one.

The Freeholder said...

Oddly enough, I find the entire discussion reminds me of why I stopped going to gun fora unless I'm looking for the answer to a specific technical question. Even then, I'll try every other means to get an answer first. Despite the efforts of the various moderators, the signal to noise ratio is just not good enough to warrant my time.

Tam said...

Without your signal, how can we drown out the noise? ;)

(I understand completely, but every couple months, I saddle up Rosinante and charge back into the fray...)

Anonymous said...

Ken said: "But did you save the virginity of the mayor's nephew?"


FWIW, I honestly do shoot 5-8,000 rounds per month and I've never seen this guy at any of the meetings.

Joel said...

He might have been incognito. Was there anyone standing in a gigantic pile of brass?

Anonymous said...

"I shoot between 5,000-8,000 rounds a month both privately and in competition. My youngest daughter is a medical professional and she and I shot competitively for years. Neither of us has sustained mag failure but maybe we invest in better equipment or take better care of our gear."

So he (or she) is a run of the mill liar. What's new? Then again, maybe it's a typo that should have been I shot between 5 and 8k rounds one month. But no, I'll go with the liar bit. Probably has never been a cop, but is a 35 year old who still lives with his parents, spending all his time playing out fantasies on the interwebs. -- Lyle

Anonymous said...

If you need to pull out a sharp knife to cut your steak you need to change steak houses.

Tam said...

It's not "need".

Look, no matter how tender and rare your steak (and I consider myself a half-decent connoisseur of cow flesh), the difference between a "steak knife" and a razor sharp knife designed to, among other things, cut flesh, is amazing.

If you don't believe me, try it some time.

Anonymous said...

I AM a 30-year Police Officer - Federale to be precise...willing to provide ny curriculum vitae as requested. I'm also my department's Firearms Instructor and senior tactical officer if that means anything - I carry a Beretta 92D with \3 mags on-duty. A Glock 22 with 3 mags off-duty and a Kel-Tec P40 with another 3 mags as a backup. When I've had to explain "all this firepower" in court I've always just pointed to the Court Officer or Deputy Sheriff and said I carried the same things on-duty as I did off-duty just like them. Usually ends that line of questioning pretty quickly. Who-ever this guy is I'm willing to bet dinner he is a wanna be or former-Cop booted for something stupid. Seen his kind before.

Firehand said...

I once watched a lady load a Springfield 1911 in 9mm- pistol and mag almost new, belonged to the rangemaster- and pull the trigger, and stand there looking at the live cartridge stovepiped. That's not counting the round that popped vertically out after the empty.

That mag had worked perfectly up till then according to the RM, but it would not feed reliably now. Damndest thing I'd seen in a while, it would either pop the next round up into a stovepipe or kick that one out after the empty and the next would stovepipe.

Like you say, they can crap out just like the lawnmower, the weedeater, the...

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered that be may have slept in a Holiday Inn Express quite often in his travels? I hear you get near super powers from doing so just once.

Caleb said...

Also, his assertion that "revolvers > semi-autos" is just silly. Revolvers break, just ask the trigger return spring in my 625 that's been replaced.

Firehand said...

Once, when the wife was having trouble slicing her steak with the fancy butter knife the restaurant supplied, I handed her the little Browning lockblade I carried at the time. She's cutting away when the waiter walks by, stops.
"What are you doing?"
"Cutting my steak."
"With THAT? WE have steak knives!"
"Not that cut like this."
He stood there a moment with his mouth open, then never said another word about it.

Moriarty said...

Huh. They guy joined TFL on 12/5 and now has over 100 posts up.

Where does he get the time to burn all that ammo?

It's also interesting that despite his vast firearms knowledge and experience and his status of having been the subject of firearms and legal writings, he pleads ignorance and asks for help in deciding which laser to attach to his Glock.

Not buying a word of it.

ZerCool said...

I dropped my spare mag on the floor at the grocery store once while retrieving my shopper's club keytag at the checkout. A quick dip-scoop and no one noticed.

Only ones. Hmph.

Alex said...

I'm carrying a flatgun and a wheelgun with spare ammo for both righ now. What of it?

I've never seen anyone show off their magazines in a restaurant.

Regarding your average LEO's shooting skills: I thought the idea was to put all your shots in the middle of the target. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Vinnie said...

I carry my CZ 82 and a spare mag in its issue holster. Open and concealed are both legal here and most people don't think of gun when they see it. Not tacticool but its what I can afford right now.

I actually inherited a set of Gerber steak knives.

harry said...

I don't need no mag or gun. I just carry a can of whoop ass around.