Carry Spare Magazines for Home Defense

When it comes to selecting a home defense gun, there are a lot of choices to be made.  More often today, folks that are dedicated to protecting themselves and their loved ones when they are at home are turning to the AR-15 Platform.

There are a lot of reasons why the AR-15 can make for an outstanding home defense tool.  The AR is relatively easy to operate and it is light enough that many members of your family can operate it easily.  The recoil from the AR-15 is also light which allows for fast follow-up shots even for those that are recoil sensitive.  The AR also allows for magazines of varying capacity so that you can carry a reasonable supply of ammo in the gun.

Even so, we know that just like it makes sense to carry a spare magazine when it comes to armed self-defense, so too for home defense. But home defense can pose some challenges—especially when it is 3:00 am and you aren’t wearing your tactical pajamas. An over-the-shoulder bag can be a great solution to carrying a mag and your other gear.

First, let’s cover a few of the reasons why spare mags make sense for home defense, and then we’ll take a look at a mobile way to organize all of your home-defense gear.

Why You Need Spare Mags for Home Defense

Carry Spare Rifle Mags for Malfunctions

The AR-15 isn’t perfect.  Although quality AR-15 rifles are typically reliable, the AR can fail just like any other mechanical device.  This is one of the reasons it makes sense to have spare magazines available for your home-defense rifle just like it makes sense to carry a spare mag for your concealed carry handgun.  When dealing with a malfunction you may be forced to jettison the original magazine and reload a fresh magazine.  If you find yourself in that situation you will want to have a spare magazine to reload your rifle.

Spare Mags for Reloads

You also may want to have spare magazines for your home-defense rifle so that you can reload if you run out of ammo.  This isn’t a terribly likely situation. However, having spare ammo and not needing it is a better situation than needing that reload and not having it.

You Need Other Gear, Might As Well Carry Mags

I think the most compelling reason to carry additional magazines for your AR-15 rifle is that there are other items that you need to have with you in case you need to defend yourself and your loved ones in your home, like medical gear, a handheld light, a phone, and a set of keys for your home.

A Solution for Spare Mags: Over the Shoulder Bags

You need someplace to put all this gear and in your hands just isn’t going to work.  Stuffing gear into your “pockets” in the middle of the night might be even less ideal.  My preferred tool is a simple over-the-shoulder bag.  They are available from many manufacturers and you should be able to hold whatever gear you decide you need in that critical situation and the single strap is quick and simple to don.

Home-defense: AR-15, spare magazines in an over-the-shoulder gear bag.
For years I have been using a shoulder bag from 5.11 called the Rush Bail Out Bag.  It has a shoulder strap that lets you don the bag quickly and is comfortable enough that it will serve all day in a training class.
Rush bail out bag, a home-defense gear storage solution.
The three velcro closure magazine pockets on the outside of the bag holds my six Magpul PMAGS right where I need them for fast reloads.  The end pockets work well for your medical gear, and anything else you need can fit in the zippered center pouch.

If you depend on a rifle for home defense, it makes sense to carry spare ammo and one of the easiest ways to make sure you have the gear you need is to stage an over-the-shoulder bag with your spare ammo and other critical gear.

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA's students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

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