Exclusive: How to Carry a Single-Stack 9mm

At last count, there were a LOT of single-stack nines on the market, including the Ruger LC9s you see here. I am very fond of single-stack nines and the LC9s has proven faithful — meaning reliable, accurate, durable, and so on. My only gripes with these guns relate to their size and their capacity. Yes, I know single-stack nines are supposed to be small and trim and therefore easier to conceal. I simply prefer more gun to fill my hand, that’s all. As for capacity, a similar explanation: a single stack of 9mm is of course smaller and lighter … and six or seven rounds is probably enough … but I’m on the fence on whether I prefer more ammo on board along with the extra weight and girth — or not. For now, I’m good with carrying this Ruger LC9s and I solve part of this concealed carry conundrum by carrying it in a Galco Combat Master ($89.95) and also by carrying two spare magazines in a Galco Double Mag Carrier ($72.95). Here’s the rationale:



After carrying concealed for over a decade, I’ve found I prefer balance. Meaning: When I carry a gun on my belt (IWB or OWB at 3 or 4 o’clock), my body likes to have a counterweight on the opposite side. A spare magazine and/or tactical flashlight at 8 or 9 o’clock is perfect for this. With gear on both sides of my belt, I don’t tend to unconsciously favor one side or a another — e.g., “leaning over a gun” to aid in its concealment.

As for the holster itself, the Combat Master needed some break-in but offers an excellent fit for the Ruger LC9s. Clothing drapes over it easily but the holster offers up the stocks for a natural draw.


In addition to balance, I’m certain I prefer more backup ammo as opposed to less. In the case of carrying the Ruger LC9s, two spare magazines is better than one. Ruger LC9s mags hold seven rounds whether they have the pinky extension or not. I do carry a round in the chamber (of course!) but I don’t normally “+1” (chambering a round and then manually adding another round to the magazine for 7+1). So, a full mag in the Ruger and two full mags in a carrier mean I have 21 rounds of 9mm on my person. Twenty-one is better than 14 or 7. Moreover, the additional weight of a second mag on my person is negligible in terms of fatigue but helpful in terms of balance.

This Galco Double Mag Carrier goes on with two strong snaps or, for a tighter fit, you can loop a belt through the leather strap. I always snap this one on. With bullets facing forward I can grab either magazine with my weak hand during a reload.


With balance and backup ammo on my side — literally — I can finish this alliterative article with another “b” — beauty. This is good-looking, perfectly functioning carry gear. Made from premium steerhide, it’ll last for years and be a worthy complement to whatever gun and magazines you order it for.

How do you carry a single stack nine?

— Mark Kakkuri

17 thoughts on “Exclusive: How to Carry a Single-Stack 9mm

    1. Wade

      Jim…multiple attackers? Shooting under real life or death stress? Malfunction? At work I carry backup magazines and a backup firearm, to say nothing of the long guns at my disposal. Off duty, I always carry at least one spare mag and usually 2.

      It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Chance, after all, favors the prepared mind.

      1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

        Thanks for the insight, Wade. You say “at work” and “off duty” so I think I can safely assume you’re law enforcement of some type. What’s your advice on backup guns and magazines for civilian concealed carry?

    2. Pat

      It always make sense to carry more ammunition in case something unanticipated happens. That’s why I always carried 210 rounds for my M-16 and 90 rounds for my M-9 in Iraq.

  1. Rob

    I carry an obese single stack 9mm, a Glock 26. Obviously it is a factory double stack. 10 rounds in the gun, a spare 15 rounds in weak side pocket. Holster is either a Mika Pocket Holster or Glock Combat Holster. All held up by a Wilderness Tactical Instructors Belt. Same silhouette as Glock 43 just chubbier and with more rounds. A fair trade off for me.

    1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

      Hey Willie! Actually, in the article I made a point to say I DO carry a round in the chamber. I just don’t bother with chambering a round and then replacing that round in the magazine.

  2. Michael Esslinger

    I carry my SCCY CPX-1 with a ClipDraw universal clip. On the hunt for a spare mag carrier for my extra mag. The clip makes it more comfortable than a bulky holster.

    1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Michael. I’ve carried guns with just clips and my pants serving as a sort of trigger guard. Some might say this isn’t a wise way to carry. Any issues or insights you can share with us about your experience with the ClipDraw?

  3. Aardvark

    I carry an M&P Shield 9mm in an Alien gear IWB holster. Both have performed flawlessly, and I also have a twin mag carrier with 2 extended 8 round mags for backup; 7+1 in the gun and 2 x 8 in the mag holder, for 24 total rounds.

  4. Scott Ketcheson

    Star Firestar 9mm and Taurus Slim 9 in Uncle Mikes synthetic IWB holsters. Love these holsters, inexpensive, good retention on the weapon and protects the weapon from sweat. Star BM 9mm in an Outbags leather IWB holster. Very good value construction and fit.

    1. Mark Kakkuri Post author

      Thanks, sticky, for your comment. Although the article was about single-stack 9’s, you made a relevant point about carrying a single stack .45 ACP. You mentioned a Remora for the holster; what do you use to carry the spare mag?


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