Hasty Mag Changes by R. Ann Parris
In tactical and defensive shooting, we typically focus on getting a gun back into service as fast as possible. That means smooth haste in everything we do, to include magazine changes.
Usually when we talk about life-or-death shooting, any time we spend catching and holding onto an emptied/malfunctioning magazine is time lost. That’s commonly countered by teaching the technique of just releasing the mag and letting it fall, while we’re already reaching for/with the fresh mag.
It sure beats sliding a mag into a pocket or skinny pouch while a bad guy’s running closer or shooting.
*We want to be aware of habits. In dire situations, we fall back on the muscle memory we’ve trained ourselves into. We don’t spontaneously do things differently.
Preppers may want to consider drilling a third option, though.
See, the theories in play in defensive shooting are that you’re not going to be refilling that mag anytime soon, and that you’ll have an opportunity to go fetch it later. In current now-normal life, it’s also not worth taking any chances over that magazine, even if it gets wrecked or disappears in our absence.
They’re not bad theories. For everyday defensive shooting, they’re great theories.
They do, however, rely on several important premises:
• “This” ends with us in position to retrieve that magazine.
• “This” ends with us able to replace that magazine if we can’t retrieve it.
• “This” ends without any possibility of us needing to refill that magazine in the relatively short-term future.
We see similar with some military training now (finally, instead of solely training to retain mags). Big Supply will bring bunches more (usually-sometimes-regularly) so where the average gun-toting daily combatant drops their mags in the heat of the moment isn’t overly important.
However, we’re preppers.
We’re planning for things to go sideways and screwball. Many of us are planning for periods when we’ll be unsupported, with disrupted supply lines.
Consider that “if” world, and all the possible scenarios where we might be engaging a bad guy.
*If someone needs help on that front, I will happily rattle off some non-EROL rebellion, non-NWO invasion potentials (some of which even apply to now-normal conditions), out hunting and in homes, on our properties and out shopping, that lead to “if-then” situations where we might not want to retrace steps searching for our abandoned magazines.
We do want to practice the “let it go, bro” hasty combat reloads, letting magazines bounce underfoot. For a defensive everyday gun, for household/property defense firearms, it should represent half or more of our practice.
We also want to practice hasty-retained mag changes, though.
There are several methods for hasty retention, and several for using a drop pouch. Try it a few ways (even the kooky ones).
While trialing, compare “their” speeds to others’ with videos. Consider their hand speeds and dexterity, and our own. And then work on it, based on your usual wear and carry of gear.
We also want to train to attempt retention, but automatically let the mag go if we miss the bag or hang up on any step of the process.
Otherwise, habit is going to kick in when we need to be moving fast in a disaster, whether it’s everyday defensive shooting or some potential combat scenario, and we’re going to try to chase down a magazine/round/gear at a really bad time.
(Yes, really. Muscle memory is both blessing and curse. There’s a reason grunts and MPs now get that “let it go” training along with accountability/cost-driven retention training.)
Even if you totally discredit hasty-retained mag changes, make sure you’re not training your hands to only ever carefully take a mag out and place it somewhere specific. Get at least as many defensive/combat reloads in there as static, slow mag changes.
Train yourself to do something only one way, and that’s the only way you’ll do it when “real” shows up.