Monday, April 30, 2012

CONUS Gunfights and Ammo Considerations

Ammo in a  CONUS Gunfight.

A reader posted the comment that they believe if you can’t get the job done with the magazine in your CCW weapon, you probably couldn’t do it with 2-3 magazines. Is that possible? Maybe. However, I am of the opinion that we carry a gun because we expect the unexpected. What if today is “The Day?”

First lets define what a Gunfight is vs. a Shooting. Gunfights are a two-way affair. Your shooting and somebody is shooting at you. Shootings are a one sided affair. Most LE Shootings seem to be a one sided affair however there are plenty of LE Gunfights to study as well. We can also bring up non-LE gunfights, i.e. Military operations.

Everybody I’ve talked to or read AAR’s from who has survived a Gunfight has said something about wishing they had more ammo or has found a way to carry more ammo as a result.

Means that LE shootings are the best-documented CONUS shootings and on occasion include video from dash cams, we can use them as examples. Maybe even training tools for those of us in a LE job.

This officer was in a 40 round gunfight. Neither party hit the other. If you had even shot half of that ammo what ammo would you have left with your every day carry?

Police Magazine has a feature they do where LE gunfights are studied and AAR’s are pushed out for training and lessons learned resources. I found the following two articles to be very useful.

The first one happened in Oakland, California in 2002. In that gunfight the officer was carrying a .45 ACP pistol with three seven round magazines and one round in the chamber. During the gunfight the officer was down to his last magazine and effectively had to run from the fight because an empty gun and a knife sucks against a shotgun. The suspect engaged several officers before finally being put down. In most rural agencies backup is a long ways off, not 2-3 minutes. Even the 15 -30 minutes later when backup arrives, its maybe only one or two officers. As a CCW holder, you are the lone person involved until LE gets there and then your putting your firearm down or away and cooperating with LE in order to avoid getting shot.

The second one happened in Skokie, Illinois in 2008. In this fight the officer was ambushed by a bank robber while still in his patrol vehicle. The officer was carrying a Glock 21 with 3 12 round .45 ACP mags. The fight was approximately 15 feet away. The officer initially had to use suppressive fire to be able to exit his vehicle. The officer fired multiple times finally putting the bad guy down for good with 3 rounds to the head. There were 17 total hits on the badguy, most of which were torso hits. This officer later switched to a Glock 17 due to the 17 round magazines vs. the 12 round magazines for the Glock 21.

Ammo is important anytime you need it. The only problem is the weight. This does go back to why there was a push to replace the .308 with the 5.56 round in the military. 30 5.56 rounds weighs approx the same as 20 rounds of .308. I’ll take extra ammo anytime I can.

Going back to my post on Mission, you need to balance your Mission with your reality. If based on your work environment its impossible to have two extra magazines on body as reloads, you might want to consider ways to carry enough ammo to survive the fight. I prefer a Glock 19 with 14 in the mag and 1 in the chamber. 15 rounds is more ammo than a 1911 shooter with a 7,8 or 10 round mag in the gun. It’s also the same amount of ammo that a 1911 has with a 7 round mag in the gun, 1 in the chamber and a 7 round mag for a reload. This alone is a big advantage if you are carrying in a environment where you can’t carry much more than the gun.

Once again, look at your mission, and then choose the gear that fits what you need.

Typed as I carry a Glock 19/15 rounds with a Glock 17 Magazine with Arredondo mag extension for a 23 round reload.

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