Load carrying efficiency: How much is too much?

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
#1

Mike Griffin
10 hrs · Madison, WI


Load carrying efficiency: How much is too much? The old saying 'you can't have too much ammo, unless you are trying to swim' may not necessarily be accurate. As a security guy, when I first got to Iraq I was carrying eight carbine mags on my vest, four in a subload on my leg, and I had a go bag with six M4 and six AK (team had mixed weapons) stashed in my seat of my truck. By the time I left Iraq I was running a plate carrier with six mags and I had three extra in a shingle on the back of my TCCC pack.

Carrying 12+1 mags in a full vest along with the standard gear of the day plus the Medic kit was a lot and impacted capability. It can be done but should it be done? How can modifying other variables allow for load reduction? How can modifying the way the load is carried improve capability?
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  • Chuck Haggard, John Miner and 5 others like this.

  • Noah Tramposh
    Depends entirely on the mission. But yes you can carry too much.
    10 hrs · Like · 4

  • Noah Tramposh
    I was never into carrying much on my legs. I like the carry the right amount of gear while avoiding shit i dont need. Everything strapped to you affect mobility. And shooting and moving go hand in hand. I have noticed a stark shift to minimalist setups nowadays. I think its a good move. Everyone tried to be iron man with huge carriers, plates covering every patch of flesh and it didnt work.
    10 hrs · Like · 1

  • Mike Griffin
    To answer a few of my own questions: Looking back I wish I had trimmed that load down much faster than I did. I was running a Diamond Back tactical version of the Paraclete RAV. It was like seven pounds of nylon before you put armor in it and then I was carrying ammo, radio, pyro, medic kit, and personal blow out kit. I could have put that on a plate carrier tailored back mags and cut my load by at least 10-20%.

    Subloads suck. This seems to have been learned and forgotten as subloads become popular again. Tying your leg to your torso limits range of motion and creates resistance within the limited range of motion you do have. I went from a 6004 and and quad M4 mag pouch to all waist height pouches and holsters (occasionally I can be caught with my old 6004 still) to avoid this. If you need space below your armor I recommend one of the UBL deals or a offset for holsters. You can also deconflict that side by limiting gear on the armor from 2 o'clock to 4 o'clock.

    On the software side: There are times that you need volume of fire but my experience is that a lot of times quantity is used to overcome an inability to identify a target or an inability to hit a target. Tweak those two and you can reduce your volume. That may mean more optic than an RDS.
    10 hrs · Like · 2

  • Chris Hill
    Carried 12 mags on me in the Stan. A drum in the day pack for the saw gunner and 3 or 4 m16 mags We were going on loooooong foot patrols with little possibility of qrf getting there in a timely manner and we constantly were denied air. I had no issues operating with that load. Iraq may have been different but in my case the load out was appropriate. If I was in an urban scenario where the squad was moving Id revamp my load out. Our course of action was to fix the enemy in a gun fight then call 120's 81's or use our own 60's
    10 hrs · Edited · Like · 3

  • Andrew Faletto
    METTC
    10 hrs · Like · 3

  • Mike Griffin
    Chris makes a good point about resupply. This, to me, is where HOW you carry the load comes into play. Balancing a load and not just throwing pouches on armor. How much do you need 'right now' and how much can be stowed in a pack. How many emergency reloads do you have?

    I like having one or two belt mounted M4 mags now as my emergency reload. Then 3+ on a plate carrier and anything else in a small pack. The belt mounted stuff may be in conflict with a large ruck so keep that in mind, that was not my environment.
    10 hrs · Like · 3

  • Jonathan Weaver
    Obviously it is very mission specific as to what you carry and the fine line between too much and just right. As CONUS LE, a 30 round mag on my body for the M4 complements the 30 in the gun. For situations where it may be needed, I have 3 more on the PIG on the seat next to me.

    Have talked with some SOF guys that ran DA missions in Iraq with only 3x M4 mags on their plate carrier.

    All so very mission specific and only those who have or are performing your missions will be able to answer this for you
    10 hrs · Like · 1

  • Chris Hill
    I didn't like a sub load for that environment either but I run one now as my Civvie life doesn't require me to carry giant radios mortars and other shit other ppl should be carrying or walk ludricrous distances through Taliban high country.

    The SF guys profile differs as he likely has a friggin stealth flying saucer on station to shoot laser beams at the enemy if they need it. Also they aren't a bunch Of 18-22 year olds who think they are better at hiding than they really are. End of the day it's about the mission. If you have a truck you can easily put 4 on you one in the gun and 16 in the truck somewhere.
    9 hrs · Edited · Like

  • Mike Griffin
    I agree, mission drives the gear train. As a result of the ammo question earlier where someone asked about carrying 500 rds of ammo and expending that much every day I am trying to build some more realistic structure to how people are tailoring there loads when given the flexibility.

    Some people don't get to choose what or even how they carry their gear, some people can choose freely, and others impact how and what subordinates or team mates carry.

    Keeping the above in mind, how are tailoring your gear? How much and where (1st, 2nd, 3rd line) you are carrying it?
    9 hrs · Like

  • Chuck Haggard
    Paul Howe quote; As for combat loads, look at how much ammo and how many weapons you are carrying. I have watched folks carry 12-20 magazines on their body and in my opinion, it is too much. You cannot effectively maneuver with that weight nor sustain any aggressive operation tempo for any length of time. Generally 4-5
    magazines in an LE environment is more than adequate for any situation.
    Let’s do the math on this one. If you critically hit a bad guy with one out of three rounds you fire, that is 10 people per magazine (30 rounder). Carry five magazines and we are looking at 50 people you have critically injured. Multiply that times five officers on a tactical team and you have 250 folks you have neutralized. I think you
    get my point. If the situation becomes so critical that you need more ammo, you will have plenty of dead and wounded on your side who will not need theirs. If it makes you feel better, keep a few extra magazines in the trunk of your car.
    9 hrs · Edited · Like · 5

  • Mike Griffin
    Jonathan Weaver, great point about the SOF guys rolling out with only 3 on a PC and maybe one on the belt. This is somewhere I see some significant crossover with LE as most of the guys I have talked to would say they went slick like that in order to navigate barriers (fences, short walls, climbing in windows, etc) which seems like a vague commonality to domestic LE.
    9 hrs · Like

  • Chuck Haggard
    http://www.combatshootingandtactics.com/.../training_for...
    9 hrs · Like · 1

  • Matt Levi
    "METTC" Randy Hugspath

    I carry 3+1 in the gun as LE. Sometimes one on my belt as well. If assault packs are worn I have 2 more in it.

    9 hrs · Like · 3

  • Mike Griffin
    Thanks for posting that Chuck Haggard. My takeaway from Paul's statement is to focus on making hits. I admitted earlier that there are times where volume of fire are potentially needed a renewed emphasis on target ID and accuracy can reduce rounds fired which reduces rounds needed to be carried.
    9 hrs · Like · 3

  • Matt Levi
    Threat, environment, etc all must be evaluated.
    9 hrs · Like · 2

  • Chuck Haggard
    Being on patrol, etc., is not the same as being on a COP. If I was on a vehicle in a .mil scenario there would be a lot of ammo on board. My cop car was a shift ammo emergency resupply point if it came to that, but when I bailed out of the car it was typically with the AR and an extra mag. 60 rounds of 5.56 is a lot of ammo in a CONUS LE scenario
    9 hrs · Like · 6

  • Chris Hill
    ^definitely.
    9 hrs · Like

  • Matt Haught
    I used to carry a pair of spare 20rd mags for my CCW gun, plus often a J-frame and a full 6-round speed strip. That put me at 67 rounds of ammo for a daily carry rig. It just seemed a bit much, given the weight and increased odds of printing. Now I'm down to the primary, one spare standard-capacity mag, and occasionally the J-frame and speed strip loaded with another 5 rounds. 31 rounds of 9mm and 10 rounds of .38 Special should be more than enough, and I don't feel like I need a pair of suspenders to keep my pants up.

    That said, I will keep a few spare mags in the truck if I'm going on a trip.
    9 hrs · Edited · Like

  • Mike Griffin
    Agreed. I kept my go bag full of mags, ammo cans with m4 mags in vehicles, and I had some larger ammo can for some munition I can't remember that would hold like 98 M4 mags stashed in our TOC.

    On the other end of the spectrum to cutting way back on ammo carried I will relate this story: The first FOB I was on was colocated with an IA base. There was a Kurdish guy that I would see at one of the OPs pretty regularly with IA. He was the only one of them that would consistently get behind the gun when rounds would start coming. He went out on a patrol one day as it was told to me the patrol was disabled by an IED initiated ambush and lightly engaged until the IA ran out of ammo. At that point everyone on the IA side was butchered. By the time QRF showed up, these guys were in pieces. Not running out of ammo before QRF shows up is critical BUT so is fire discipline and having a plan to break contact, etc.
    9 hrs · Like · 4

  • Chuck Haggard
    In cases like Wanat not going full auto and doing mag dumps might be a good idea
    9 hrs · Like · 4

  • Chris Hill
    Inshallah
    9 hrs · Like · 2

  • Tore Haugli
    A few observations (my background is conventional infantry/recon);

    1. Mission dictates gear - yes. Is that a viable approach across the total spectrum of operations, for all types of units? No. In a high intensity scenario, you will not be able to adapt load-outs to missions as easily as you can when doing low intensity operations, working from FOB's and COP's.

    Reference minimalist loads, it might be viable for some units doing specific missions, but not necessarily the correct approach if you are in an infantry platoon about to execute a deliberate attack against a fortified enemy position. Maybe even as part of a larger offensive.

    My loadout as a platoon commander, plt. sgt or patrol commander, wearing a plate carrier when using armor, and belt-kit when no armor, consisted of 4-5 mags on rig, 1 in the gun and 2 in my assault pack. This was standard, and did not change. I ditched my sidearm

    I distributed the load across my 2nd line and assault pack in order to reduce my overall bulk - a priority for how I/we do battle drills is prone shooting when possible. So being able to lay flat is important.

    2. Small unit tactics and engagement techniques/ammo conservation

    For me, working within a platoon, the overall capability of the platoon is what decides how you solve a problem.

    The only thing that matters when engaging an enemy is having an effect - if that effect is killing, wounding or causing him to seek cover is secondary to actually having an effect. As opposed to only making noise. Of course, killing him is the best outcome, but not a guaranteed outcome.

    Volume of fire still needs to be accurate, and is also regulated by what the platoon commander wants to achieve - suppression or covering fire. Suppressive fire should be non-ammo intensive, as it should be sustainable over time. Covering fire is where you increase volume and rate of fire, to ensure that the enemy's freedom of action is limited for duration of the action requiring covering fire.

    Volume of fire will also necessarily be greater during the initial phases of a contact, when the goal is to achieve fire superiority. Also critical here is locating the enemy before returning fire.

    Ammo conservation is key - proper fire commands should be given, targets should be called out using ADDRACs/3D's, engagement ares should be called out at the buddy, team and squad levels to ensure overlapping fields of fire as well as proper security within the squad area of responsibility. Using the weapons best suited for the targets presented is also key.

    All efforts should be directly linked to the platoon commanders maneuver plan - if you are stuck slugging it out with an enemy position, you need to adapt and revise the plan.

    Fire rates should be directly linked to what is going on in your sector of fire - no need to shoot if nothing is happening. Observe instead.

    The final key to successfully executing SUT, and ammo conservation as part of this, is communication. Communicate vital information in order to help build SA at the leadership levels within the platoon:

    -What did you see? (Enemy strength)
    -Where are they grouped? (use reference points, or grid ref if viable)
    -What are they doing? (Enemy actions)
    -What have you done to affect the enemy?
    -What was the effect of your actions? (defeated, displaced, unknown)
    -Any recommendations you might have (enemy dispositions, terrain etc that gives you an advantage)

    I don't think we ever went below 70% in our team in Afghanistan on small arms, in any of the TIC's we were in.

    3. Balance of mobility - protection - firepower

    This is always a difficult subject. That being said, if I was going on a mission where I knew ammo would be a critical component to mission success, I would seriously consider ditching torso protection to maintain mobility. PPE has reduced the instantaneous death rate by 5%, from 25% to 20%, with regards to penetrating trauma.
    8 hrs · Edited · Like · 7
 
#2
Good thread to transfer over.

LE side - patrol I have 1 spare 30rd mag (belt) and one in gun., SWAT gear has an additional 3 mags on my vest. I cannot envisage anything CONUS that would require more.

When I first went to Afghan, I was running 22 mags (18 30rd mags load to 28, 2 x curved 20's with 20rds of Mk262 and 2 x 20rd tracer mags), 3 pistol mags, and a lot of other stuff.
(I'm also the guy who used to run 1200rds of belted 7.62 in a LBT pack when solo running a C-6 {240/Mag-58})

Some dude pointed out to me around 2004, that maybe I should aim more and shoot less, he's sort of bald these days and carries this ridiculous Grock as a CCW ;)

Mission obviously drives the gear - but quite often folks carry too much ammo, if your not dismounted, and have room, knock yourself out, but if your dismounted you need to ensure your mobility is not overly compromised by your loadout.
For SR/Recce Patrols, dumping PPE is often logical - and minimal ammo loads too, but I have a few friends that went Winchester when their SR got turned into a DA, and after 18hrs they got bailed out by an AUSSOF helo mission (the Aussies then new SOAR first combat mission) as the area was too hot for extraction and some folks commented the Aussies did not know any better.
 

Bourneshooter

Blue Line Sheepdog
Moderator
#3
For a CONUS LE mission, Urban vs Rural, SWAT vs Patrol, Big City Patrol vs Rural County no back up for hours Patrol, etc.

Mission Drives the Gear Train.

Tactics are driven slightly/somewhat different based on mission, that will also affect the ammo/gear loadout for me.

On a Search Warrant where we arrive in a Armored Vehicle, I keep 1 M4 mag in gun, 3 on vest and maybe 1 more in my pants pocket. In the Vehicle I have my assault pack with 2 more M4 mags and some sustainment gear. For my pistol its 1 extended mag in the gun, 1 on the vest.

Rural Ops, 1 in gun, 3 in vest, 1 in pocket, 2 in assault pack. I only use pistol mag wise on this 1 in gun, 1 on belt and maybe 1 in the pack.

Patrol in my usual beat: Backup maybe 1-2 officers 5-30 minutes away, 1 M4 mag in patrol rifle, 1 on belt, plus PC (3 mags M4, 1 mag pistol) in the back of the car as well as SWAT kit with a few more mags. Pistol wise I carry 3 mags on my duty belt. I also carry a BUG and 2 reloads for it on me.


When I work the very rural part of my county, I am more aware in my tacitcs/response as backup could be 45minutes to 1.5 hours away. I have the same as regular patrol ammo wise, but just approach situations a little differently.
 
#4
as am Infantry Squad Leader I carry the US standard of 7 on my person with another 7 in my assault pack. all of my dudes will have a combat load on them 6 on vest+ 1 in the gun. RM will carry 10 in the ruck or assault pack, team leaders will have 7 in the assault pack, saw gunners will have at least 3 extra drums, and grenadiers will have 5 mags and 12 HEDP in the ruck or assault pack. tis is due mostly to training (my experience as an SL) ammo requirements. the load stated above are for what we ran at NTC and what we run around with here at Benning. HEDPs are replaced with blue tip... of course.
 
#5
At work on line watch, I keep one rifle mag on my belt, one in the gun. There are cases that I would definitely need a plate carrier. Work has some that can be issued, but not enough for everybody, so it looks like I might as well buy my own plates and carrier. When I do ill throw 3 rifle and a pistol on that.
 
#7
LE patrol, 1x 30 on gun, 1x 30 on belt, 3x 20's on Plate carrier for when things get spicy.

In Afghanistan circa 2008-2010 I ran 11 mags....10 on vest and 1 on gun. Likely, knowing what I know now, I would slim down to 6 on vest 1 on gun.
 
#8
This is an interesting culmination of a few conversations I've seen today. I have a very limited experience with diverse mission sets (1391, Proud POG), but its very obvious why US Army, USMC infantry units get 12 mags (336 rounds) but it's not so obvious why the US Navy SEALS get issued 8 mags (as described by Marcus Luttrell in Lone Survivor) IMO if your going door to door on the mean streets of Faluja or retaking the beaches of Normandy than 12+ mags readily available is perfectly understandable, but if your going to be doing a variety of other task's 6-8 mags seems to be a logical amount. Lets say jock up with a pistol belt (Search for that thread to discus) w/ 2 mags on it, that and the rifle equals 3 mags. Lets say you than don a Mayflower APC and than snap on an EGL VOCR 5 mag, that's 8 mags (224rounds!) even if you get the D3CR (4mags) that's still 196 rounds. You can than run an additional 2 or three in PALS pouches on your pack and still have them some what accessible. None of this, by the way, excludes you from the possibility of having extra ammo in your ruck/war bag. THIS FORUM IS AWESOME GUYS thanks for letting participate!
 

Steve Burris

Newbie
Network Support I
#11
Work has some that can be issued, but not enough for everybody, so it looks like I might as well buy my own plates and carrier. When I do ill throw 3 rifle and a pistol on that.
Regdude- The lack of issued equipment for modern realities is LE wide. I purchased my first PC/plates after chasing the DC snipers in 3A with a pistol. As of now buying your own is the way most of us have a o go.

I agree with the minimal load. Unless there is a swarm attack a couple mags will get you through most domestic LE issues.
 
#12
Ive moved on from FED LE to a Sheriff's Office in AL. In an odd twist of fate, I have been issued a salted carrier and front and rear plates. The carrier sucks, so I'll still probably get a good one, once I can start working OT. Still planning on three mags and a pistol, and one of these days I'll get around to getting a good IFAK and trained on using it. Maybe just a TQ.
 

275RLTW

Regular Member
#13
I remember being a young and somewhat naive Spec4 in Ranger Bn during the initial stages of OEF and OIF, regurgitating the old "never have enough ammo" phrase and quoting lines from BlackHawk Down to support it. Then we started moving further, faster, and more frequently without using it in Afg (I live air support). We learned that there is a point where too much, or anything, can be a hindrance rather than an asset. In Iraq, we sometimes needed 12 mags each as we would conduct multiple raids, all from helos. Weight wasn't as much of an issue as we rotated through assaulter and support roles. However back in Afg where we would be humping for weeks in harsh terrain, we didn't need that many mags on our kits. We wised up and most could be kept in rucks and redistributed when needed. Later, working as a PSS, I found many guys falling into carrying every mag they could get their hands on for every mission. SOPs didn't really cover what missions required how much ammo so lots was left up to the individual.

In short, experience became the best guide for determining how much you needed, could, and should carry. There is no spreadsheet or risk worksheet that will tell you this. Only firsthand knowledge of the expected threats, you (and teams) capabilities and limitations, and your comfort level with the amount of "oh shit" ammo will tell you. Good judgement comes from experience; lots of that experience comes from bad judgements. You have to evaluate before each mission, regardless of size, what gear you will need and how much. There is no textbook answer.
 

Bourneshooter

Blue Line Sheepdog
Moderator
#14
I remember being a young and somewhat naive Spec4 in Ranger Bn during the initial stages of OEF and OIF, regurgitating the old "never have enough ammo" phrase and quoting lines from BlackHawk Down to support it. Then we started moving further, faster, and more frequently without using it in Afg (I live air support). We learned that there is a point where too much, or anything, can be a hindrance rather than an asset. In Iraq, we sometimes needed 12 mags each as we would conduct multiple raids, all from helos. Weight wasn't as much of an issue as we rotated through assaulter and support roles. However back in Afg where we would be humping for weeks in harsh terrain, we didn't need that many mags on our kits. We wised up and most could be kept in rucks and redistributed when needed. Later, working as a PSS, I found many guys falling into carrying every mag they could get their hands on for every mission. SOPs didn't really cover what missions required how much ammo so lots was left up to the individual.

In short, experience became the best guide for determining how much you needed, could, and should carry. There is no spreadsheet or risk worksheet that will tell you this. Only firsthand knowledge of the expected threats, you (and teams) capabilities and limitations, and your comfort level with the amount of "oh shit" ammo will tell you. Good judgement comes from experience; lots of that experience comes from bad judgements. You have to evaluate before each mission, regardless of size, what gear you will need and how much. There is no textbook answer.
Gold. Pure gold.

Thanks.

@Riafdnal blog post quality here.
 

Darth Tater

Regular Member
Network Support I
#15
For LE Patrol uniform: 3 spare pistol mags on belt, 3 spare rifle on PC, BUG with one reload on person
For LE Detective work (my daily): spare pistol mag on belt, selective BUG use. MOLLE 3A soft armor has G21, 2 spare mags, and a rifle mag on it.
For SWAT search warrants, 3 spare rifle, 2 spare pistol.
For "other" SWAT operations, it's ranged from 3-10 spare rifle, 2-3 spare pistol.
 
#16


Here are some videos I randomly found on Youtube. I found it interesting since the series provides a bit more breakdown and context to loadout usage. As far as I watched the video, the guy is very upfront with context of his setup and pretty logical to that context. It is another tid bit of knowledge to pull from and apply to your loadout considerations.
 
#17
I have to say, I thought this forum was kind of quiet but Im impressed by the guys here, this isn't my local state gun forum of a bunch of old guys BSing about old 1911s and high end ARs they never shoot and hunting guns.

Now with me, Im just a boring medicare insurance agent who shoots 2 and 3 gun matches and is worried about people like ANTIFA or riots or something since I live just outside of chicago.

I figure as a civilian your not going to be doing fire and movement or patrolling but probably just defending your stuff/house/family until society unfucks itself. Would something like 2 mags in the gun coupled or jungle taped for a static position work with a reload or two carried on the belt, and then maybe a slick plate carrier or even soft armor? Also guys seem to get reali excited about big rounds like .308 or 6.5 grendel, but by my estimation since I live in a built up area 5.56 or even 5.45 would be better since your not giong to be shooting people that far away as a civilian anyways and it would be easier to stockpile and train with.

Heck, for a built up area as a civilian to just protect your stuff/person something like a 9mm carbine with 3 30 round magazines

Also I apologize if I sound like a LARPing wannabe or something and I have crazy respect for what you guys do here. Truth be told I probably focus 90% on concealed carry and go get a snubbie and EDC and practice with it and take a massad ayoob class
 
#18
Mission drives gear.

A pc sits by my rifle (in a quick access safe) with 2 rifle mags, a pistol mag, a flashlight and an IFAK. That’s plenty for any even semi realistic situation. If the situation changes to where that isn’t sufficient I will dig out a TAP panel from my work stuff and go from 2 to 7. Can’t see that happening though.

If I was a cop I would add a 3rd mag to the PC in addition to the couple in my active shooter bag which would live in the vehicle.

For anything short of a Mumbai/ Chechen style mass terror attack it would be fine.
 
#19
First trip to JRTC I remember being miserable running double stacked mags on the front of my carrier. It created lots of interesting problems since 99% of my time was either patrolling or on my belly which having 6 mags on your chest sucks. Between carrying tons of water, plates, medical supplies exc your back gets pretty worn out. Second trip I carried the same load out but only 4 mags +1 in the gun and the rest in an assault pack which worked pretty well. I replaced the extra space with more medical gear kinda creating the same problem. So then I went slimline and moved some stuff to a belt and flattened out my chest as much as possible and distributed as much to my back that I don't immediately need as possible and I've been gucci ever since. I run 1 in the gun, 3 up front, 1 next to a MBITR near my armpit. Dangler for medical which is so much nicer... SOCP behind my mags centerline (instead of a larger blade for remedial stuff that now resides in the assault bag...) then one mag on my belt and 5 in my assault bag. Used to use a NVG admin pouch on my side and now I keep them in a rear dangler. just out of the way of my ruck. Belt has an additional small IFAK, small dump pouch, that mag carrier and TQ. FYI if I'm doing RECCE type stuff I ditch the belt because its semi goofy... I will say adding organization to your a bag will greatly increase the experience. The idea of reconsolidating ammo should be done very fast and is not a good time to dump out all your gucci snivel to find random mags buried in your home. I guess thats my only true experience to add to this is if you're going to stow it away but you were debating if its possibly needed on your immediate kit make sure its super easy for you or a buddy to access and make sure everyone is on the same page on where your kit is.
 
#20
First trip to JRTC I remember being miserable running double stacked mags on the front of my carrier. It created lots of interesting problems since 99% of my time was either patrolling or on my belly which having 6 mags on your chest sucks. Between carrying tons of water, plates, medical supplies exc your back gets pretty worn out. Second trip I carried the same load out but only 4 mags +1 in the gun and the rest in an assault pack which worked pretty well. I replaced the extra space with more medical gear kinda creating the same problem. So then I went slimline and moved some stuff to a belt and flattened out my chest as much as possible and distributed as much to my back that I don't immediately need as possible and I've been gucci ever since. I run 1 in the gun, 3 up front, 1 next to a MBITR near my armpit. Dangler for medical which is so much nicer... SOCP behind my mags centerline (instead of a larger blade for remedial stuff that now resides in the assault bag...) then one mag on my belt and 5 in my assault bag. Used to use a NVG admin pouch on my side and now I keep them in a rear dangler. just out of the way of my ruck. Belt has an additional small IFAK, small dump pouch, that mag carrier and TQ. FYI if I'm doing RECCE type stuff I ditch the belt because its semi goofy... I will say adding organization to your a bag will greatly increase the experience. The idea of reconsolidating ammo should be done very fast and is not a good time to dump out all your gucci snivel to find random mags buried in your home. I guess thats my only true experience to add to this is if you're going to stow it away but you were debating if its possibly needed on your immediate kit make sure its super easy for you or a buddy to access and make sure everyone is on the same page on where your kit is.
I kind of agree with you, double stack magazines on the chest suck. For me its a slower reload and it gets in the way when your standing and doing manipulations and makes it harder to go prone