What’s worse, not carrying a spare magazine at all or carrying one down in your pants pocket. We have heard both sides of this argument over the years, and truthfully we are guilty of both. First, going without a spare, which is dumb, and just second, tossing one into a pocket. However, it is undeniable that the act of carrying a spare magazine is simultaneously massively beneficial and massively a pain in the ass. We might just have a solution for you, though. Today, we’re going to talk about the Raven Concealment Pocket Shield, and by the end of it, you might just want a pocket carry shield too…
This article originally ran in December 2014.
Pocket Shield: Keeping Everything Where It Needs To Be
Most people recognize that the weakest part of every weapon system is its method of feed. So if something is going to go wrong, it’s probably going to be the magazine. As a result, it is important to consider the potential consequences of going without a spare and the benefits of carrying one.
Add to that fact the reality of gunfights – there are no set terms and no rules; they are unpredictable and chaotic. It is especially poignant to those knuckleheads that go around saying, “all you need is six shots” to justify their decision to carry a revolver, often ‘just’ a snubby. These folks that subscribe to this train of thought are likely disappointed when they find themselves in a situation where they need more than six rounds to defend themselves or others.
More is always better, and that’s especially true with regard to bullets. Not to knock wheel guns completely, We’ll also throw compact semi-autos into the mix. With the limited capacity of 1911-style guns or single stack 9mm and .380s, having spare mags should be viewed as a must, not a maybe. Plan for the worst-case scenario. Have med gear, an extra mag, a knife, and a flashlight handy.
Or don’t., it’s up to you. It’s your skirt; you wear it.
Coming Out Of The Tactical Closet
After carrying mags on our belts and secretly in our pockets for years, we are ready to come out of the tactical closet.
Our friends would approve of our belt pouches, but often we received scorn for having the spare in a back jeans pocket or support side slash. While it may be slower and smoother than other methods, it still needs to be improved over not carrying a spare magazine. The truth is that readily available extra mags can mean the difference between life and death in critical situations.
This past year, we were surprised (perhaps naively so) to hear more and more firearm instructors freely admit to doing the same. Moreover, they acknowledged that they’d carried this way in the past or currently do so while off the range.
If you think that your favorite trainer always walks around off the job with three-cell mag pouches, a fat IFAK, and outside a full-size waistband blaster, you are kidding yourself. We all cheat. We all have a little poodle shooter we take to the gas station. If we are going to cheat, we might as well do it the right way. Now that we’ve used the Pocket Shield from Raven Concealment, here’s what we think.
The Raven Concealment Pocket Shield
The Pocket Shield is a flexible piece of plastic that comprises part of their MODULOADER system of load carriage. You may recall us talking about it initially here. The Pocket Shield is flexible, still rigid enough to support spare magazines, knives, flashlights, and other gear you decide to keep in your pocket.
It’s set up with MOLLE-style cutouts, which means you can put existing pouches on it. The system also comes with hardware, allowing you to bolt on RCS magazine pouches in the ideal position. We have set our Pocket Shields up in various ways and discovered a few exciting things about the system.
It Eats Up Your Whole Pocket
This is a good thing, as it keeps you from putting other stuff in it. Stuff like car keys, dip cans, pens, etc. Since the Shield is holding your spare mag and hopefully a flashlight, there isn’t much room for else – and nor should there be.
You don’t want to grab your Copenhagen if you’re in the middle of a gunfight; it’s tasty but won’t feed your blaster. It spans the width and depth of your pocket; if it doesn’t, you can easily cut it to size with EMT shears. We haven’t cut ours down because its size fits our jeans and various styles of trousers just fine
It Keeps Everything Where It Needs To Be
Before, when tossing a magazine in our front support side pocket, we would be sure to remove all change and other items that might mess with the reload “draw.” The problem was that the magazine liked to rotate, spin and get angled at the bottom of the pocket.
This made for very inconsistent grips on the mag and whompy (that’s a technical term) presentations to the weapon, with the Pocket Shield, your magazine(s), and flashlight stay where you put them. You can now adjust how deep in the pocket you want these items to sit. This has done a lot to speed up our reloads.
It Prints Less Than Belt Carry
We have often spotted our friends packing heat, not by the “printing” of their weapon, but by eyeballing their spare mags. Belt-mounted mag pouches tend to push the magazine away from the body and stick straight up high of the belt line. In the pocket, the thicker pants material and the “flat” of your thigh help break up the shape.
For thinner fabric pants, such as dress trousers, you can flip the Pocket Shield around and still have access to your gear. Whichever side works best for you (and you should obviously be performing reps with it), use that one. Just be sure to adjust your magazine positions and change which side your light, knife, stubby, or pen are located.
What Our Readers Had To Say
This is the second time we’ve updated this article with more info, and fortunately, over the years, we have gotten some feedback from our readers. We think it hammers the points we were trying to make a little more home.
“I got in on this years ago when you did the initial review, it’s worked great with civie dress clothes and especially well with my service uniform. I can keep my ink stick, grabby turny, and stabby cutty close at hand without looking like a total soup sandwich. I have found Blue Force Gear ten-speed pouches do a good job of holding multi-tools, slim knives, and Kahr magazines without making the pocket too bulky.” – Tomcat_AL200
“I’m guilty as charged. I normally carry a double stack compact M&P, with one spare mag in my pocket. My only comfortable mag carriers are OWB, which is tough to conceal. On hot days I carry a thinner M&P Shield, and use the Recover baseplate that has a pocket clip to carry it like a folding knife. Works great.” – Bob
Overall, we like this system of carrying. If you aren’t going to wear a belt-mounted mag pouch, you need to try this product. You can do it cheaply and use a shock cord or bungee cord to hold your gear. You can use the Pocket Shield to carry just your knife and light and keep your mags on your belt. You can experiment with many configurations; check it out here, and let us know your favorite means of carrying.