How many Rounds do I need for Concealed Carry?

By: AmSJ Staff


Some concealed carrier that are into “comfort carry” will usually carry a pistol with a single stack vs a dual stack (more capacity).

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Getting back to the title of this article, its not about just having lots of ammo, but the situation requires that you may need it. Plus the idea of using a gun for self defense is not to kill your attacker, but to make them stop attacking.


Now we are back to the original question, how many rounds do you need to stop an attacker? According to Massad Ayoob he states: switch from 5-6 round revolvers to 15-18 or 20 round semi automatics; “5-6 rounds was usually enough… but usually isn’t always.” Massad was referring to law enforcement employment but falls into personal defense as well.

So the consensus is that the more rounds you have the better to prepare for most gunfight situations. When you look into the hits ratios of our law enforcements that were involved in shootouts, its not good. (12% to 19%, unless someone knows of a more updated version from the FBI & NYPD) Yes, while under stress these LEO’s will shoot more than in a training scenario. With that in mind, most lawfully concealed carrier will probably be expending lots of rounds in a self defense situation.Why carry more rounds when you can use a bigger slugChances are most people if shot will probably stop attacking you. But, in this day and age with die hard assailants we’re going to assume they’re still coming. According to a chart from Buckeye Firearms Handgun stopping power, it states 2.45 rounds with a 9mm pistol on average to end the threat.“To be clear, that’s 2.45 Hits – not rounds fired.”

So: If it takes (on average) 5.55 shots to make a hit,And if it takes (on average) 2.45 hits to incapacitate an attacker,Then it takes 5.55 x 2.45 = 13.6 rounds fired (on average) to incapacitate an attacker. That’s for one attacker.So hypothetically, if there are multiples bad guys, you need to double or triple those averages for a single shooter.

With some of these information, it may be the reason why the FBI converted to 9mm.“The majority of FBI shooters are both FASTER in shot strings fired and more ACCURATE with shooting a 9mm Luger vs shooting a .40 S&W (similar sized weapons)”From the FBI’s perspective and testings its all about:“Most of their agents are faster and more accurate with a 9mm simply because there is less recoil. Less recoil means back on target faster, less upset of the gun, and lower likelihood of shooter flinch.”

More Math Reasoning and LogicSo the odds are good you’ll be more accurate with the 9mm, but how much more accurate?

For the sake of this argument, lets say there’s a 10% accuracy penalty going from 9mm to 40 S&W, and 20% going from 9mm to 45 ACP. (I think it’s probably much more, but I’m trying to be unbiased.)

Rounding slightly, we get 6 shots to score one hit with the 40 S&W and 6.5 shots to score one hit with the 45 ACP. Fortunately, the same article that gave stats for 9mm also has them for 40 S&W and 45 ACP. The 40 S&W takes 2.36 rounds to stop on average, and the 45 takes 2.08 rounds to stop on average.

Doing a little math we get:

  • 13.6 rounds for 9mm
  • 14.16 rounds for 40 S&W
  • 13.52 rounds for 45 ACP

There’s not much differences in the numbers but it’s a lot easier to conceal 14 rounds of 9mm than 14 rounds of 45 ACP. Yeh, its up to your preferences.We can go on with other data since our society is data informed. There will be others out there to tell us that data from NRA’s “Armed Citizen” states:“The average and median number of shots fired was 2. When more than 2 shots were fired, it generally appeared that the defender’s initial response was to fire until empty. It appears that revolver shooters are more likely to empty their guns than autoloader shooters.”

As you can see we can go on and on, but logic tells us preppers better to be safe than sorry. I’ll stick to my 3 hi-cap mags, what about you?

Sources: Gun Saves Lives, NRA, Buckeye Firearms, Massad Ayoob, Brandon Scott, Abe’s Gun Cave

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