Concealing Spare Mags | Horizontal Magazine Carry


If you carry a semi-automatic handgun for self-defense, it makes a lot of sense to carry a spare magazine.  The reasons why aren’t a surprise to most.  Often times, when a gun malfunctions, the magazine is the culprit. When you add the idea that the additional ammunition supply, it becomes a no brainer.

Sometimes, as smart as it may be, carrying a spare magazine is easier said than done.  Over the years I have carried spare mags in several different ways.

I started out carrying a pair of mags in a standard outside the waist band vertical magazine pouch.  Often, I carried two spares in two single pouches behind my left hip.  

The pouches carried well in this location, but printing was an issue when I needed to bend at the waist.  When I actually needed to reload, behind the hip wasn’t the best position as my fresh mag was a long ways away from my dry handgun.

When I transitioned to a double stack handgun and began to carry appendix inside the waistband, I began to understand that the same challenges that applied to carrying my gun behind my hip applied to carrying my reloads behind my off hip.

Like most shooters in search of greater efficiency and faster reloads and malfunction clearances, I  began to look for solutions.

It didn’t take me too long to find horizontal mag pouches.  There were several brands available and they all had their pros and cons, but they all shared some serious advantages over vertical pouches.

Horizontal pouches are easily concealed when they are worn in front of the hip.  When the pouches  are parallel with the belt, it makes bending easy and they don’t protrude from under your cover garment regardless of how you twist or turn.

Wearing a mag in front of the hip also helps to reduce the distance that the hand needs to travel from the gun to the reload and back to the gun and it also helps to orient the magazine so that it is ready to be inserted into the magazine in a more efficient manner.

Since switching to a single magazine carried horizontally, I haven’t looked back.  I’ve carried consistently in that position regardless of the gun I was carrying.  I started out carrying a GLOCK 17 magazine in my Magholder mag pouch, and when I made a quick switch to the SIG P320, Magholder sent me a horizontal carrier for the P20 mags.  It performed just asI needed it to.

I’m now carrying a Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-size and of course my 17 round M&P mag rests securely in my horizontal carrier from Magholder.

If you are carrying a semi-auto handgun you should be carrying a spare mag whenever possible.  If you find it difficult to carry a spare mag, consider giving a horizontal carrier a try.

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.

  • joe the serb

    AHHHHH can you please link a selection of recommended mag pouches please?

  • Joe R Gilbert

    Where can we get those horizontal holders?

    • Nathanael Carrier I have been using them for years. It is the best thing I have used. Like Paul i have tried many different ones and have found this the best. Drawback to it though is that you cant tuck your shirt in.

  • ImOffendedTreatMeSpecial

    Generic cell phone case, mine holds 2 spares hidden in plain sight.

    • Mike

      A friend tried to prove to me that his “cheap option” was better than the real product.
      He lost. I was 3 seconds faster on reloads, and he has the same level of training as I do.

      Take a class or five and then try to use your cheap kit while on a timer, as in real life.

      If a malfunction happens your way is clumsy and time consuming. Do yourself a favor and get with somebody that has a timer and see for yourself that the $25.00 you saved, just cost you 3 to 5 extra seconds, which could be your life.

    • isisskller Z

      a small one could hold 5 380 mags

  • epickett

    I’m still trying to figure out how so many guys carry so much stuff easily and accessible. I have 2 phones(business and personal), keys, wallet, small knife. Now add to that a firearm and mag holder? And I’ve seen some EDC lists with even more items than that. How do you guys DO it?

    • Jose A. Ralat Ballester

      With my work clothes (Lawyer) and my extra love handles, its a miracle I can carry a conceal pistol at all.

    • Michael Vick

      BIG shirts!!!

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