Bullet Orientation in My Magazine Pouch

I was thinking about the training session I had a few weeks back at the LuckyGunner Blogger Shoot, and how the trainers told me I had my magazines in my magazine pouch backward. The idea was that the magazine should be in the pouch with the bullets facing forward, so as you draw a new magazine from the pouch, you can place your index finger on the tip of the bullet and index it into the magazine well.

The problem is, when I first started shooting 19 years ago, I guessed wrong. I had no instruction, and I had a 50 / 50 chance in orientation of the bullets in my mag pouch. I don’t remember thinking about it at all, but I know I started facing them backward.

I became aware of this “error” some time ago, and I even tried turning all my mag pouches around, and trying to teach myself to to it the other way. It was hard, because to me I seemed to be working against normal physiology. My way, I just pivot my wrist to orient the bullets forward. The other way, I have to twist my wrist, which seems to be a more awkward movement.

Any way, I worked on it off and on for about a month, before I gave up and went back.

So at the training class I just said “20 years of muscle memory, sorry,” and kept them like they were.

Modern behavioral science tells us that it takes about 1,000 repetitions of anything to ingrain it as muscle memory*. In the mean time, when I tried to do it full speed, I messed it up.

I am willing to put in the training it takes, provided I know there is a solid reason.

So I ask, is there a real, verifiable reason for one orientation over another**? If so, I will work through the pain and change. If not, I’m going to stay the way I am.

Thank you in advance. I await your responses.

* I tried to find a first source for this assertion. Most of the sources I found just stated it as known fact.

** “Real, verifiable reasons” do not include “because that’s the way they teach it at Gunsite” or “because that’s the way Dave Sevigny does it.” I need scientific proof, not hearsay or legend.

7 thoughts on “Bullet Orientation in My Magazine Pouch

  1. It is a faster way to load the weapon in my opinion. I also find myself touching the top round and that gives me two indicators: 1) mag is loaded and 2) tells me if the top round is properly seated. And because (insert top shooter name here) does it that way!It takes 1,000 repetitions to imprint a new drill but it takes 3,000 or more to substitute an old drill with a new one.Should you change? I don't know. The only way to be sure is for you to have both drills down pat and then compare which one you perform smoother and give you an actual advantage and that includes if you feel comfortable doing it.


  2. Its what the training classes say and you are never to go against the almighty gun Gods. I have learned that its your personal preference over what someone tells you. I feel that a consistent habit is greater than anything. In a dynamic stress situation, habit and conditioning is what you fall back on.


  3. It has to do with the mechanics of loading. Instead of thinking about the mag, where is the gun? I was taught (by TigerSwan) to pull the gun in to a very high hold, in line with your vision towards the target. Turn the pistol to your left (right handed) muzzle high and bring it towards your chin. You should be able to see into the magwell. They encouraged me to get some orange spray paint and spray it inside the magwell to make it easier to see. The old mag comes out along the way. With the bullets forward, you roll the hand in to meet the magwell, still high and in your line of sight. I didn't like the "keep pointing at the bad guy" method taught at LuckyGunner. Everything was too far away to control it, and my mag won't drop free because the heel of my hand is still touching it. The minute I reverted to training, the mag dropped free and I could find the magwell again. If you keep the gun pointed at "dude," I can't see how it makes any difference how you orient your bullets. But when you pull it all in to about your chin, you can't roll the mag over on the way up.


  4. The thinking behind "bullets point forward" is that that orientation makes for an easier presentation and allows you to use your index finger on the mag as a guide as you insert the mag in the well.There are people who say that bullets facing backwards allows them to draw the mag easier as they don't have to twist their wrist.Personally, I teach "bullets forward" to my students, but I add that the important things are:1. Be consisent2. Both mags should face the same direction if you carry two mags.If you've ever seen someone with a doule mag pouch with each mag facing a different direction because it "looks nicer" you'll understand point #2.


  5. I talked about this pretty quickly on the first episode of my podcast. I've listened to the arguments for both methods. What I decided? Do what felt natural. Especially after so many years of doing it one way, I can't see how any small benefit from changing your method is going to be worth the time and effort it takes to practice enough to get good at the new method you're learning.


  6. Follow up:Over the past weekend I finally did 40+ mag reloads with my eyes closed, and I found that I as able to do it, with the bullets faced rearward, just fine.So for me, I don't plan to change.However, the arguments for bullets facing forward are compelling, such that when I teach a new shooter, I plan to teach that method, especially using the index finger on the bullet as a guide.Thank you all for your input!


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