The Capacity Advantage

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from JD. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

There is nothing that sparks heated debate on the internet like the topic of which weapons are the best for (………..) purposes. However, when buying small arms for the purposes of a survival situation, there are some models that have advantages over others. Two of those models are the Glock 17 and the AR-15. This isn’t an article about which guns to buy, it is merely my personal thoughts on why these two weapons have advantages over others.

The AR-15, America’s rifle. There is more  aftermarket support for this rifle than perhaps any other on the market. That means you can outfit the weapon to your personal situation. Different optics from short to intermediate range red dots to long-range scopes. Lasers both visible and infrared. Night vision capabilities. It’s endless. And I haven’t even gotten into changing uppers. You simply push out 2 pins pull the upper assembly off and drop on a .50 bmg upper! Or numerous other calibers. There was at one point a crossbow upper made by PSE available. I think this model has been discontinued, but I’m sure can still be found for sale with a little research.

But the main point of why the AR makes such a good choice is because of its capacity. The standard 30 round mags offer serious firepower. They are plentiful and very inexpensive. I am a fan of the Magpul products. Mind you, I am not affiliated with Magpul in any way. I have never had a Magpul mag fail me in the thousands upon thousands of rounds I’ve shot using them. And if one did, for around 9 bucks I’ll just get another one.

The Magpul 60 round drum

The Magpul 60 round drum is a very nice piece of gear. Well made, very rugged, and well designed. Having 60 rounds of ammo on tap is quite a force multiplier. My opinion of it is, it’s not so you can shoot more, it’s so you have to reload less. Think about it, if you fired 2 rounds per second, which is a pretty slow cadence, that’s 30 seconds of very well-aimed fire. Not the spray and pray you see in the movies. That is the capability to keep offenders pinned down while your buddies maneuver and flank the offenders. 30 seconds doesn’t sound like a long time, but how far can you run in 30 seconds? The average person in decent shape can cover a lot of ground in 30 seconds. These drums also are a great option for defensive positions. Having 3 men strategically positioned with a few of these drums each, can lay down some serious accurate fire. The drums also have the advantage of being a storage device. In other words you can load them and leave them loaded until you need them. They are a bit of a challenge to load for some people. But after you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier. They are also not fast to load, so these are something you want to have loaded ahead of time. For those who money isn’t an issue, there are belt fed uppers available, combined with a bump fire type stock like the slide fire, and you have what’s called simulated full auto. All 100% legal without the NFA paperwork. Yes, most of us would love to own a Dillion aero mini gun, but being next to impossible to own, the belt fed offers some nice capabilities.

The Glock 17 is probably the most issued sidearm in the world. There is a reason why. It’s because they work. There are only 34 parts to a Glock. They just don’t have much to go wrong with them. The 9mm has also come a long way in its effectiveness. Modern 9mm hollow points don’t  give up much to its bigger brothers the .40 and .45.  Like the AR, the aftermarket support is huge. More so than any other high cap polymer framed pistol. They are also inexpensive. For what a high-end 1911 costs you could buy 2 Glocks with holsters, mags, and ammo. Now, I’m not crapping on the 1911. They are still nice guns and I enjoy shooting one from time to time. But for a purpose-built fighting weapon, it does not beat the Glock. Why? Aside from the weapon working in all kinds of dirty conditions, again it’s capacity. The Glock 17 holds in a flush fit mag, 17 rounds. With the gun topped off 18. That is more than double the capacity of the 1911. For those of you who subscribe to the mentality that, if you can’t get it done with 8 rounds then you have seriously screwed up, we are not talking about dealing with the meth head mugger in the alley. Potential situations I’m referring to are something like an active shooter, a mall shooting dealing with other shooters who may be skilled, a SHTF situation where you may be dealing with a mob of thugs wanting to steal your stash of food and have their way with your women. I could go on. The weapon is also easy to shoot. There are no decockers or safeties to deal with. Aim and shoot.

Getting back to the capacity advantage, there are other companies out there now making Glock mags. Magpul makes not only the 17 round mags but also a 21 and a 27 round magazine. Glock factory makes the 33 round mag. Elite tactical systems makes a 31 round mag, a 27, 22, and a 17 round mag. Yes I know you won’t carry concealed a 27 or 33 round mag, on your person. In a bag however, it gives you that advantage of being able to put lots of bullets down range. The 21 round mags offer a great compromise in capacity and concealment. If you decide to buy the more compact versions of the gun, i.e. The 19, or 26, you can still use the model 17s mags. Yes they stick out of the bottom of the grip but gives you the piece of mind you’ve got enough ammo to handle most any situation.

The fantasy of getting into 100 round gunfights is just that, a fantasy. Or is it? Remember the westgate mall shooting in Kenya? A group of gunmen stormed the mall and killed over 60 people. The concert shooting in France in 2015, nearly 100 killed. We are living in different times. I personally think a more realistic SHTF situation would be possibly getting caught in one of these attacks. I mean let’s face it, a pole shift or climate change is the least of our worries. These bad people are out there, and they hate us and our way of life. Capacity is king. Well, second only to shot placement. Arm yourself with weapons that give you an advantage. You don’t have to carry Glocks or AR-15s, whatever you do decide to pack, have the skill to be effective with them. Think about this, if you were caught in one of these type situations, which would you rather have, a weapon that packs 8 shots or one that packs 18?

I know which one I’d want.


  1. Flattop

    April 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Your take on those weapons is spot on, both weapons are versatile and capable of accomplishing what you desire.
    However, I would prefer to stand with someone armed with a 22cal and who is well versed and accurate with that weapon, than someone who is heavily armed and not competent in their weapon. God Bless

    • JD

      April 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      I agree Flattop. A hit with a .22 beats a miss with a .44 mag, every single time. Skill over gear!

  2. Harry Goodhorn

    April 21, 2017 at 9:06 am

    If glock will manufacture a DA/SA I will buy it. I totally agree with the
    capacity advantage, I also think speed is an important factor, a full
    auto has a major advantage over a semi, but, it really depends upon the situation, if you are fighting several guys, one man could hold you down with continuous fire while the others advance on you, even if you have unlimited ammo you couldn’t
    withstand a group determined to get to you, the only way to defend
    yourself against a group is to have a bigger group. If a SHTF event
    actually happens we need to band together in well armed groups with
    structure, a single person or a small group with a few guns and food
    will only survive if they can hide long enough for the government to
    come to their rescue.

    • JD

      April 21, 2017 at 11:28 am

      You have some great points Harry. I only disagree with one of them, well, mildly. In that a smaller group cannot beat a larger group. IF, the smaller group has trained together, is skilled, and communicates well amongst themselves, they are a deadlier group than a substantially larger unorganized group. But yes, if all things being equal, the larger group will most likely be the victor. Thanks for reading!

      • Bolofia

        April 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm

        I would add that a smaller group with a good tactical position and field of view is always advantageous, particularly if they have the command of choke points.

        • BobW

          April 25, 2017 at 3:17 pm

          Bolo, there might be a reason that the Army preaches a 3:1 attack ratio, and a deliberate defensive strategy.

          In an urban environment, the attack ratio jumps to close to 10:1. Defenders make attackers into meat at a much higher rate.

          These assume a well prepared defense, and a highly coordinated attack. Throw in scrubs on either side, and the ratio will go up or down.

          Check out the news from Afghanistan this week. A group of 10 Tali-types killed over 140 Afghani soldiers over a 5 hour period INSIDE a government compound. They were prepared, deliberate, and ruthless. The other side, it would seem was unprepared scrubs.

          • BobW

            April 25, 2017 at 3:23 pm

            Bolo, if you haven’t walked your property, observed the fields of fire, and determined the best places to put reinforced fighting position, your defense is likely not near as strong as it could be. Ensure that each position has an evacuation route, proposed alternate fighting positions (fall-back), and contingent fighting positions (think flanking maneuvers). YOu don’t have to dig them, just map them out on a copy of your platt record. I have a couple copies of mine. They are cheap at the county offices.

            Think how you will push potential attackers to your ‘fatal funnel’.

            • Bolofia

              April 25, 2017 at 8:22 pm

              I’m way ahead of you. My property has only one road in that serves me and five other neighbors. It can be blocked on very short notice with telephone poles that are already positioned for that purpose. The back side of my property has a ridge that overlooks the nearest public road. I dumped several hundred tons of fill dirt below the ridge to create what is essentially a long tank trap that is about five feet deep (i.e., a very sharp “V”). The rest of the property has natural arroyos that provide cover. One neighbor sits higher up, so he has an even more commanding view. These are things that you can’t do in an urban/suburban setting

        • JD

          April 27, 2017 at 11:20 pm

          Great point Bolofia, a position of tactical superiority is a huge advantage. Especially when fighting a larger force.

  3. Tony Bunzel

    April 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

    The picture you show of the block 26 9mm, is a good example. I have one as well. What’s nice is that all of the block 9mm mags will work in it. My carry is the 26 and I have the model 19 mag in it with a XGrip spacer. Gives me 15 rounds and with the slide on mag spacer it looks nice. The block is also very easy to disassemble and reassemble.

    • JD

      April 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Great point Tony about disassembling and reassembling the glock. The only tool to completely take down the gun, is a 3/32″ punch. No hammer no screwdrivers, one punch.

      • BobW

        April 24, 2017 at 3:35 am

        I’ll point out here, that since anything after slide/barrel removal is not considered regular maintenance on a glock, its important to spend the time to actually disassemble a glock (one assembly at a time), see how it fits together, learn how to replace the parts.

        On that, hit the youtube and watch some gunsmiths disassemble a Glock. It really is that easy. Then hit a site like Midway or Brownells, and order at least one of each replacement part. I can’t speak for all Glock replacement parts, but the majority of the replacement parts are super cheap for factory parts.

        THis goes along with standardization of weapon platforms. If you are a glock guy, your SHTF arsenal should be Glock. If you are a 1911 woman, stick to the platform and purchase replacement parts for the chosen platform.

        Just like practice is the only way to get better at shooting, the only way to fully understand how to repair your weapon is actually practicing the disassembly/assembly process.

        • JD

          April 27, 2017 at 11:29 pm

          I am a firm believer in knowing how to work on your own weapons. I dont claim to be a gunsmith by any stretch, but i can work on all of my guns in terms of if a part has to be replaced, i can disassemble the weapon, replace or fit the part and put it back together. I dont like to have to rely on anyone to do that kind of job. And with the glock, it doesnt take alot of mechanical ability. There are so few parts to the gun, i dont know of a simpler semi auto to work on.

  4. NRP

    April 21, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Simple fact; the one that runs out of ammo first in a firefight….. dies

    • JD

      April 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

      And that right there, is the capacity advantage!

    • BobW

      April 25, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      It can be turned around too. The first to shoot may not win, but the first to hit will. Accuracy still matters.

  5. harv_y

    April 22, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Totally outside the box observation here. This assuming people reading here are already very well armed and have large stocks of ammunition,and the weight and space of which may have become an issue. Imagine yourself in your bunker, and maybe you don’t want to make a lot of noise to a point your location, and maybe you don’t feel comfortable ranging out to far from family often to hunt. What you need that you may not have is a good pellet gun. Not joking, serious. Likely you’ll be eating some very small animals, and it’s the best specific weapon for that target, and a lot of ammunition can be bought cheap and fit in a small space.

    • BobW

      April 24, 2017 at 3:39 am

      I wouldn’t disagree with the value of a pellet gun as a critter gitter, but in the realm of defense, its a non-starter. Seperate topic altogether. JD is talking about defensive arsenals.

      On food, if I was still in guns, I would prefer a .22 short bolt gun. Accurate as all get up, and the short round is pretty quiet out of a long-ish bolt gun. As is, pellet is a solid play, as is both recurve and compound bows. I think the .22 short or pellet allows easier shot placement for the average user, and doesn’t destroy as much meat as an arrow would.

  6. BobW

    April 24, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Unusual approach to get to the capacity is king statement. Not disagreeing, just observing.

    The Glock and AR platforms are definitely my preferred defense systems. No, you aren’t going to get the same accuracy from a glock as you would a well built 1911, but 3″ groups at 15 yards still puts nice holes in objects. As you mentioned, price is definitely a factor here. Not all of us are Annie Oakley or . Not many of us have returned fire before. Folks are going to be themselves the first time they are in a life/death situation. Its human nature. Having double the capacity per magazine provides simple insurance.

    When you throw in rock solid reliability, simple, easily repaired engineering, and a $550 retail price, most folks serious about prepping can equip their family for far less than with 1911s.

    When talking about ARs, and specifically AR vs AK, something that often gets left out is the surprisingly light recoil of the weapon. Some ladies, and many younger family members are affraid of weapons to begin with. Throwing high recoil at them can be a deal breaker. The AR’s slight nudge is not intimidating for most any shooter, especially beginners. It becomes very easy to put accurate fire on targets when folks aren’t worried about a weapon hurting them.

    About that .50BMG AR. I’d love to see 50 rounds put down range through one of those. The aluminum or plastic lower would take a serious beating. I would be highly skeptical of throwing more than $1800 on an upper receiver for a monster round like that. Consider as an alternative, the Savage arms bolt gun in .338 Lapua. Last I saw they were going for around $1000 with a scope.

  7. EgbertThrockmorton1

    May 9, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the .22lr caliber semi auto rifle, I don’t think we can ever have enough of them. Fortunately, I started “collecting” .22LR ammunition long before the Great Ammo Drought, we have “plenty” for our needs, however, we always pick up more each month just in case.

    • Bolofia

      May 18, 2017 at 1:19 am

      ET1, Good comment.
      As of mid-May 2017, I am still having difficulty finding reliable supplies of .22LR ammo (CCI, Remington and Winchester Super-X, etc.) in my area. Stores that I regularly visit run out of this caliber on a daily basis. I suppose any 40 grain ammo with greater than 1200 FPS is okay for small game, but I prefer the 40 grain Super-X hollow points, which delivers 1435 FPS. If I was reduced to the unlikely need of using .22LR for defensive purposes, I would rather have the hollow point and higher velocity. Although I’m in very good shape with other calibers, I am still trying to work my way up to a few thousand rounds of .22; but it is a painfully slow process. There is no question that semi-auto rifle versions, such as the Ruger 10-22, are the preferred way to go. It’s not a bad idea to have one or more semi-auto or revolver hand guns that use this caliber, as well.

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