Do I need a dump pouch?

dump-pouchI recently completed my second tactical response class in the past 3 months or so and came away with a revelation: magazine dump pouches can get people killed.

If you are not familiar the idea of their use it is to have a place to stash empty(or partially empty) magazines rather than dropping them on the ground. I understand the premise. The thought is you only have so many magazines and cannot just chuck ’em on the ground to be lost. Here is my deal: If there is a combat situation which I am expending rounds and changing magazines – the least of my concern is loosing a few magazines. My primary goal is staying alive. In trying to accomplish my goal I need to focus, keep my eyes up, and the few seconds it may take to drop that magazine in a pouch may provide an advantage to the threat which I am engaging. An advantage which could cost me my life.

During my most recent firearms training class a partner and I had to breach a building. We entered the door, cleared the room from far corners to middle – and engaged threats that were randomly placed within the room. While firing my carbine my magazine ran out and I had to change and change it fast. No way would I have taken the time to drop the magazine in a pouch. 

I realize that some might say that the drop pouch could be used only in those cases where engagement provided the opportunity to do it safely. I can see that however your performance in a real firefight is going to be based on your training. I want to be able to be consistent in training – and consistently quick. 

Magazines – specially for the AR and AK are extremely cheap. Buy enough of them so that there is no worry if you have to drop a few. 

That is the decision I have made. No drop pouch on my LBE.

How about you?



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25 thoughts on “Do I need a dump pouch?”

  1. We did not use drop pouches when I was a young Airborne Infantryman. I believe this idea came from fighting in Iraq, where military forces felt a need for them. Basic load used to be 210 rounds, 7 thirty round magazines. On the old LBE/LCE (Load Bearing/Carrying Equipment), the soldier was only issued 2 magazine pouches. Each held 3 mags. In a firefight, you definitely did not want to be fiddling with the pouch, trying to get the empty back in there. Now that the military uses a MOLLE set up, there is more flexibility on how many ammo pouches you can carry and where to put them. A drop pouch is mainly used while moving. If you are in a defensive position, you are less likely to lose your magazines. I don’t believe the cost of the magazine was ever an issue with soldiers or Marines. The thought that you would be reloading mags, when time was of the essence, because you lost them was the primary motivation. As Preppers, it is unlikely we will be in that same situation.

    • Back in the day (’69) we wore OD 107s with tucked in shirts, unbutton the top button and would drop our mags. in our shirt or on the ground until the task was finished, then retrieve them.

  2. The Dump Pouch has a place in this culture….. On the range.. doing drills.. in loose boots.. with shade nearby. As for me, I use one when doing Tac shotgun training and at 3 gun matchs. I’m form a generation of grunts that was never issued one.

  3. During my training at work we do allot of tactical reloads. For those not familiar with this term it means changing a half empty magazine during a lull in combat. Given the above scenario of clearing a room. Lets say you had to fight your way TO the room that needs clearing. At the breach point (tacticool name for door)you check your magazine and you only have 5 rounds. Here is where a tactical reload would be used. Would you rather enter the room with 5 rounds or 30 rounds? Now right now 5 rounds may not break the bank, but after “the event” 5 rounds may be worth $100.00 or more. Now take into account you may have to do 3 or 4 tactical reloads during 1 battle. Those cargo pockets would fill up pretty darn quick. Just my 2 cents in my opinion I wouldn’t “dump” that dump pouch just yet.

  4. Hypothetical question.

    Let’s say you have two guys nearby. One uses the dump pouch, the other doesn’t. Who is going to be able to move around while making less noise? It seems to me that the dump pouch is more like a pouch full of empty cans rattling with every step and move the guy makes.

    My gear keeps my noise level down. I am not TRYING to attract attention. Then there is the issue of letting the bad guys know you are walking around with a bunch of empty mags, so you are most likely running out of ammo very soon. Not something I want to advertise.

  5. If you are in a point blank gunfight (room clearing) and have to do a mag change, that tells me one of two things: 1. You entered the room without a fully loaded primary weapon platform and you had no secondary weapon platform. 2. You are a piss poor shot.

    I’ve used a dump pouch for years, and never had a problem. If you are properly using cover and concealment, there is no issue with ducking behind a building, changing mags, storing the empty, and then re-engaging. There is a difference between as Scott described “Tactical reload” and “Slide lock reload.” Tactical reload, use the dump pouch. Slide lock reload, let the mag hit the floor and pick it up when you are done killing your target, then use the dump pouch.

    As for the noise issue brought up by CM, when moving with all that crap on, you are loud anyways. Once the gunfight starts, noise isn’t exactly a concern of mine. In my experience, bad guys generally don’t use earplugs. Emptying an AK at a target without hearing protection has a tendency to make the ears ring, and the odds of you actually getting close enough to the bad guy for him to hear your mags rattling (I prefer PMAGs, alot less noise) is slim to none.

    Then there is choice of dump bags. If you use something that just flops around, then yeah, they are a pain in the ass, can be loud, and have a tendency to spill. I used a Paraclete that attached to my belt and had two leg straps. Absolutely no issues with it.

  6. A big reason for the dump pouch is that there have been cases of magazines used as an IED. Here’s the scenario- you move in fast, shoot a few bad guys and secure the area. After making sure everything is safe, you start your site exploitation. You start to clean up your empty magazines, when BOOM! one of them explodes. They know we drop our magazines in an effort to reload quickly. So, they booby trap a magazine and leave it on the floor. I have been to a few tactical shooting classes, with my job as a contractor, and as a SFC in the Army Reserve. I have been conditioned to know that any magazine on the ground is lost for good.

  7. Also worth mentioning. The dump pouch is multi-functional. Lets say you are in a wilderness situation and plan to build a fire later. As you are walking you should be looking for natural combustibles to conserve your man made “sure fire” (wetfire, mini-inferno and so on). When you find material to make a birds nest the dump pouch is a handy place to store it. Just another option to consider. Or lets say you come across a decent stash of .22LR they would be way more comfortable in the dump pouch than in a cargo pocket for sure.

  8. To use or not to use? I say do whatever suits you best. Next question: Glock or 1911? 9mm or 45ACP for CCW?

    Final thought: Room clearing is often one of the most debated topics out there. It usually starts like this: “When I was in ______ unit” or “My buddy who served with _______ said that”

    etc etc

  9. I’m reminded of the LAPD officers killed back in the ’60s or ’70s because they broke cover to retrieve their spent brass…just like they had trained. If there’s a chance training yourself to use a dump bag will harm your ability to defend or protect yourself and others, don’t use one.

  10. An extension of the old principle of ejecting your revolver brass onto the ground (floor) rather than catching it and dropping it in the brass can beside you. They started teaching that after finding dead cops with spent brass in their hand — they died looking for the brass can.


  11. Always carry a dump pouch! BUT…..train specifically on how you utilize it.

    Preppers are NOT soldiers and are not resupplied like soldiers. What you have, especially in a bug out, may be all that you will have.

    Train to NOT use a dump pouch when doing an empty gun reload.

    Train to use it on “tactical” partial empty reload. If you have time to do a partial empty reload….you have time to use a dump pouch.

    I’m all about options. Dump pouches can allow you to quickly collect mags, seized firearms, ammo, food stuffs, etc. Without it, you are trying to awkwardly stuff them in pockets. They allow you to retain partial mags when ammo may be at a premium. Especially in a bug out situation where what you are carrying is all you have.

    The comment of “I’ll collect my mags when I collect theirs and thier guns” doesn’t work for me. I would prefer to engage and retreat-the-hell-out-of-there, than stay and fight it out getting wounded or killed or a team mate getting wounded or killed.

    Prepping is about surviving……not winning the battle. Oddly, Monty Python said it best….”Attack! Attack!……Run away! Run away!”

    • andbbmo –

      I like your ideas and will consider adding a pouch for such purposes – but not train utilizing it for my own magazines. Having its availability for “pick ups” – I like that.


  12. in the South african infantry they teach to undo your top button and just toss the empties in your shirt … they rattle around a bit but it works well ..

    then again operation staff wear single piece camo overalls … with a belt so they never fall out of the bottom cause it can never be tucked in …

  13. Xizero: Slick trick, but not very practical if wearing any type of body armor.

    BTW if you insist on a dump bag and also plan on having a gas mask (we do) as part of your kit, you may consider using its carrier as double duty, depending on circumstance. Right size and location. regards, D.

  14. So you can drop your mag where you are at but you when do BDA you pickup the mags and put them in the dump pouch that is what they are for.

  15. As a former Marine infantryman, we were issued dump pouches. Yeah things can happen in a split second, but when you are in the field you better keep up with your gear because if you are advancing to an objective during a firefight you don’t have time to run 1/4 mile back to look for your mags when you need to reload. And your enemies don’t always use the same weapons you are using. Always be prepared.

  16. In the Estonian Defence Forces I used to slide them under my body armour from the left armpit. Another option was deep pants pockets. Later I would put them back in my magazine pouches.

  17. It’s going to be an individual’s choice. I’m a former Marine Infantryman and we trained to retain our magazines. You may not get the opportunity to gather your magazines later. That lesson was learned the hard way in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Rangers were dropping magazines left and right along the way. Then they called in an ammo resupply, and only had one or two mags for their rifles.
    I was trained in MOUT training and you shouldn’t need more then a mag per room. Gives you plenty of time to reload or top off. Plus you should always shoot from cover. So for me I will always retain my magazines and avoid as best I can putting myself in a situation that I need to reload so fast that I will have to drop my magazines. You should always be shooting and moving, so you will more then likely not be in the same spot to police up your mags. That’s just my opinion.


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