Give Me More

The number of rounds someone has available for defense has always been of great concern to those who actually do have to defend themselves.  Back when single-shot handguns were pretty much all that was available, most people carried two in order to have another chance at life if the first missed.

louise brooks with flintlocks

(Click on all pictures to see the largest versions.)

This really wasn’t good enough to keep people from feeling uneasy.  Inventors tried various gimmicks in order to increase firepower.

reproduction of a brass 3 barrel pistol from 1775

side image of a 16 barrel brass pepperbox

the business end of a 16 barrel brass pepperbox

Pepperbox handguns were a solution, but a seriously flawed solution.  All those barrels increased the weight of the gun to the point that it was almost impossible to carry concealed if the gun was chambered for a serious self defense caliber.  If the gun was chambered for a small and underpowered caliber you might have plenty of shots, and the gun was small and light enough to carry around wherever you might travel, but it wasn’t going to do you much good if you fired them all into a criminal attacker only to see them keep coming without being able to inflict a disabling wound.

Advancing technology resulted in an improvement called cap-and-ball revolvers.

cap and ball

Each chamber in the cylinder was loaded with loose powder and bullet, just like a pepperbox handgun.  But size and weight was kept to manageable levels with the use of only one barrel.

Even with six shots loaded and ready to go in an instant, people still wanted to have an edge in an emergency.  It took a long time to reload a cap-and-ball revolver, what with having to pour powder into the cylinders and stuff individual bullets down on top.  To increase their ability to fight off a deadly attack, people once again took to carrying more than one handgun.

clint eastwood aiming 2 handguns in the outlaw josey wales

With money to be made, inventors sprang into action yet again.  And yet again they came up with solutions that were questionable at best.

very strange cap and ball revolver with extra cylinders attached

That antique is in a fantastic state of preservation, probably due to the fact that it is so wildly impractical I doubt anyone actually fired it!

Technology marches on.  The next advance was modern cartridge revolvers.

snub nosed 38 with six rounds

So simple to use!  So quick to reload when compared to the old cap-and-ball models!  But still not good enough.  People still liked to carry two in order to increase the number of rounds they had available for defense.

more james cagney with revolvers

Another technological fix came in the form of modern autoloading handguns.


These guns can usually be loaded with a number of cartridges that exceed the six that revolvers traditionally carried.  They can be reloaded in a flash.  So everyone is finally satisfied, right?

Well, not exactly.  Most people who are aware that they might have to fight for their lives carry two, the main defensive arm and a backup in case the first jams or otherwise becomes inoperative.

size comparison of two 9mm 2

People can always carry an extra magazine in order to increase the number of shots available during a self-defense situation.  But, even so, history repeats itself with a handful of gimmicks designed to beef up the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading.

100 round snail drum for glock

extended magazine for glock

I once had a student who favored extended magazines, like the one pictured immediately above.  He would carry his handgun loaded with a standard 15-round magazine so he would be able to conceal the gun, but he also sewed velcro tabs to his suspenders so he could carry two 50-round magazines under his jacket.

Why was he so concerned about the number of rounds he could shoot off before being forced to reload?  He had been attacked by three youths, one armed with a knife.  He managed to avoid getting killed by using his right forearm to fend off the blade, with an end result of having a crippled right hand for the rest of his life.  After that he realized that carrying a gun for his defense was only prudent.  His experience also led him to the realization that the more ammo he had before having to manipulate the firearm, the better.

Banning magazines which can hold more than a certain number of rounds is a Liberal shibboleth.  “Why would anyone need that many bullets, anyway?”  Not only could my student tell them, but please note that increasing firepower has been a goal for centuries.  Look back in time, decade upon decade stretching back, and you will see in an instant that everyone with the goal of saving innocent lives knew more rounds available before a reload means there is a better chance to stop the criminals before they rack up a bigger body count.

Anyone who might have to shoot for their life knows that more is better.

6 thoughts on “Give Me More

  1. Interesting piece James. I will admit though that the Glock with the double snail drum looks . . . well, the sort of thing a villian in Bond movie might carry, but a good point was made by your former student’s choices and his reasoning behind them.

    But on a lighter note: in Britspeak, what a chap uses to hold his tousers up are called ‘braces’, and ‘suspenders’ are what a lady uses to hold her stockings up. -g-

    Posted again; ‘cos I’d made some stupid mistakes in the first post.

    Remember: Keep Clam and Proof-read

    • “Posted again; ‘cos I’d made some stupid mistakes in the first post.”

      Hope you don’t mind, but I just went ahead and deleted the comment you said was flawed.

      Thanks to everyone for taking the time to write out your thoughts!

  2. That 50 round drum on the Glock is just the latest version of the “snail” drum(32rds – WWI) for the Luger or the Taylor mag(28rds post WWII) for the 1911.
    And there is now a hundred rounder for the Glock – which is the shitz on a full auto Glock, heh, heh, heh.

  3. Colt’s original cap and ball revolvers came before the pepperbox, not after. The pepperbox revolver were built that way to get around Colt’s patents. They were generally cheaper than a Colt and horrendously inaccurate because no 2 barrels would shoot to the same point of aim. It is hard enough to get a double barrel rifle properly regulated, let alone 6 or more and with a small manufacturing budget.

  4. The morally evil thing about the frothing-mouthed Leftists who ask “Why would anyone need that many bullets, anyway?“ is that when presented with testimonial evidence from the likes of your student, including permanent impairment with scar, they treat such evidence as mere anecdote, too obscure and seldom-occurring to be treated as evidence of a flaw in their logic.

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