How much ammo does a rifleman carry?
Let’s open with a fun little precursor.
We all know how realistic Call of Duty and other military-style video games are, right?
I’ll never forget the first time I fired up one of my favorite games, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
There is a famous mission where you and your super-tactical special forces compadre are infiltrating a top-secret Russian military base on a snowy mountain. The level begins with your character climbing a massive ice cliff. You climb with your ice picks, jump over huge chasms, and nearly fall at one point.
When you finally reach the base, you’re able to see and use your weapon: a Remington ACR with all the fixins.
Aside from all that, what made this moment particularly memorable for me was being able to see how much ammunition my soldier was carrying:
600 rounds of 5.56.
600 rounds, plus a 30-round magazine in the gun, as well as 72 rounds of .45 ACP for the sidearm. That equates to 21 rifle magazines and 6 pistol magazines - well over 20 pounds of ammunition and magazines.
My soldier had climbed a thousand-foot icy cliff with all of that, plus full climbing gear, a 9-10 pound rifle with a suppressor, a full-size handgun, 5-6 pounds of C4, 4 flashbang grenades, 4 fragmentation grenades, and all of their other gear. Totally realistic, right?
It gave me a few laughs for sure, and while it’s still a very enjoyable mission, it certainly gives an inaccurate depiction of a soldier’s load-out.
Obviously, the real-life situation is slightly different - today, your standard combat load will consist of at least seven 30-round M4 magazines and at least two pistol magazines. This is typically considered “standard” - however, most soldiers will carry a variation of this load in practice.
Different weapons, missions, and circumstances will increase or decrease those amounts, as they should for you and your tactical intentions. In other words, don’t force yourself to stick with set amounts - adapt with the situation. But don’t plan on climbing any ice cliffs with that 21-magazine pouch on your chest.
Mag Pouches - What to look for
Of course, all those magazines can be difficult to manage effectively without a solid magazine pouch.
Everyone will have their own preferences when it comes to mag pouches and their specifics. There are a lot of great options to accommodate anyone’s wants and needs.
For example, some people prefer their magazines to be covered for security, while others prefer an exposed top for quicker access.
More about features later. Let’s focus on function.
I have 3 main criteria that must apply to any mag pouch, regardless of mission:
It must attach securely to my carrier.
It must properly hold my magazines and keep them secure (obviously no falling out).
It must allow me to easily access and re-index magazines at will.
How each of those points are accomplished can vary. What matters to me is that they are accomplished in an efficient, durable manner.
Now that Predator Armor has released its own line of mag pouches, I no longer have to worry.
I’ll be the first to admit - for all the mag pouch options out there, it’s rare for me to “geek out” on any of them. After all, it’s just a mag pouch.
I’m often more disappointed than I am pleased with some of these, especially when I’m shopping on a budget. That seems to be commonplace across the industry these days, unfortunately.
Not the case with Predator Armor mag pouches.
Tough as hell.
Made in the USA.
These are just a few things that have made me and my military buddies geek out over these pouches.
Made from 1000D Cordura, our 3-magazine Quick Draw pouch delivers an extraordinarily high-quality option for any budget.
Just because the pouch is affordable, does not mean it is cheap - far from it, in fact.
With incredibly strong and efficient kydex inserts, you can rest assured that your magazines will not be going anywhere. With a special design allowing you to “click” magazines into their pouches, your mags will stay where they are until you need them.
This allows for a minimalist, open-top design with maximum accessibility to your ammunition - a must-have in any tactical situation.
Sometimes, the simple approach is the best approach. It just works. At the time of writing, we offer our 5.56 Quick Draw Mag Pouch in Black, Coyote/FDE, and Multicam. We will soon be releasing an AK version for our 7.62 comrades out there as well. No way we’d forget about you guys.
So between Predator’s Mag Pouch and the vast amount of other options available today, what works best? What setup should YOU choose?
I’ll say this, not necessarily as a plug for Predator, but in general - whatever your load-out is going to be, you’d be hard-pressed to not include our Quick Draw Triple Mag Pouch somewhere in there. It is arguably one of the most versatile mag pouches I’ve used.
With that being said, I’m sure we are already preaching to the choir by now, but the answer to this question is going to depend on the mission at hand. There is no perfect “do-all” solution that applies to every situation.
If I’m going to be stationary and/or defending a specific location for an extended period of time, there’s a good chance I’m going to have at least 6 magazines on my body, with perhaps additional single mag pouches on my belt and/or other spots on my carrier.
If I’m going to be traversing a lot of country while still wearing armor, I’m probably going to just stick with a triple mag pouch - and then of course there are scenarios in between that call for their own unique solutions.
Weight management is key to combat effectiveness. Expect each loaded 5.56 30-round magazine to add about ONE (1) pound to your load-out. You can see how quickly that weight adds up when you’re carrying 6 magazines on your carrier and one in the gun.
Is there a reasonable chance you’re going to need all 7 of those mags before being able to re-supply? What are the odds you can get away with less?
Of course, it is always better to err on the side of caution, and we would never advise taking less ammunition than you ever may potentially need - but as we always say, each situation will call for its own load-out.
If you’re ever in doubt, more ammo is generally a better idea. As the saying goes, better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.
What about Magazines?
The answer is... yes. All the magazines. Buy them. And then buy more. Buy one today!
Many of you - especially the younger crowd - have no idea how fortunate you are to be able to buy 30-round PMAGs for $12 at your local sporting goods store.
Any of my readers remember trying to buy a quality 30-round steel magazine during the ‘94 assault weapons ban? Any idea what the price was?
Anywhere from 5 to 10 times the price you’re paying now - if you were lucky enough to even find them.
It wasn’t just AR magazines, either. AK mags were in the same boat; 10/22 magazines as well. Anything pre-ban with 10+ round capacities were considered diamonds.
I know more than a few individuals that paid over $100 for a single Glock 19 magazine during this dark, dark time.
I’m no expert and I cannot predict the future, but if I had to bet on two things making me a wealthy man in the next 10-15 years, it’d be Cryptocurrency, and gun magazines.
Buy them while they’re cheap. You’ll be glad you did.
An important obligatory side note: that assault weapons ban? Yeah, it wasn't just a “Democrat” thing. More than a few notable Republicans - including Ronald Reagan - voiced support for this horrendously unconstitutional and ultimately pointless legislation.
Anyways! To answer the original question, there are many great options for magazines (as well as a few... average options). The concept of a rifle magazine is fairly simple, so you’d think it would be difficult to screw up, right? Think again.
I’m sure most of us have a few brands on our own blacklists for low-quality magazines. As soon as Magpul began dominating the industry with their outstanding PMAGs, numerous companies have popped up attempting to compete.
Some of them are genuinely great, and some just... aren’t.
My general rule with buying standard-capacity AR magazines is simple: Magpul or steel.
Don’t get me wrong, there are other great options, many of them - and I’ll admit I’m probably somewhat close-minded on this. If you’ve researched another company and love their mags, that’s great, nothing wrong with that, but I personally prefer to stick with what I know works.
Both are inexpensive, and I know that they will work consistently when I need them to. Plus, PMAGs just feel great in my hand. You can say I’m weird for saying it, but you all know exactly what I mean.
Whatever you do, just go out and buy them. You can never ever have enough magazines, ever.
To Wrap Things Up
The world of mag pouches and magazines sure is a large one. I don’t know about you, but magazines are one thing I do not mind hoarding - nothing better than a bucket of PMAGs sitting on a shelf in my office. There are so many great options out there both for mags and pouches, and we are stoked to finally be a part of that space with our own line of Predator Mag Pouches.
Whether you’re new to the industry, or could simply use another pouch, go pick one up - you won’t regret it.