A Brief Conversation with Chris Fry of MDTS Training…how many rounds are enough?

The following is a brief exchange I recently had with Chris Fry of MDTS Training (Modern Defensive Training Systems).  Chris is an excellent practitioner and instructor of the multidisciplinary curriculum I talked about HERE.  He is also one of the plank holders of the Paul-E-Palooza Memorial Training Conference, and a regular presenter at the RANGEMASTER Polite Society Conference.  


REVOLVER SCIENCE: Do the magazine restrictions in NY affect your student’s choices in the handguns that they use for personal protection? i.e. are students more likely to choose a, “size efficient,” handgun, versus a large pistol with a neutered magazine?

MDTS:  The magazine restrictions in NY are 10 round mags. The NYSafe Act passed by Cuomo in 2012 attempted to limit the mags to 7 rounds however a Western NY judge threw that part out and it went to an appellate circuit and was withheld. So, we can own and carry 10 round mags. Even during the “7 round scare” people still bought full size, compact and subcompact pistols and I saw/see a mixture of all three. Maybe 1-2 subcompact in each class but most just go about things the way they have always done.

REVOLVER SCIENCE: Do you see 5, 6, 7 or 8 shot revolvers in your classes? If yes, how do the students fair, compared to the semi-auto pistol students?

MDTS:  Occasionally I see 5 shot snubs but not often. They are pretty rare. When I do see them it’s usually a women or a guy with a BUG. They do OK compared to others with a little guidance on efficient loading but are usually slower. Shooting ability varies from student to student. Some have done as well as others with full size pistols and some needed more work than what they received in a one day class.

REVOLVER SCIENCE: Do you design your pistol drills to cater to the reduced capacity magazines?

MDTS:  No. I emphasize the fact that we are allowed to carry a limited amount of ammunition, that we don’t get to decide how many aggressors we may need to engage and that ammunition management should be done when we want, not when we need. Meaning they should continually manage their ammunition via deliberate reloading when time and opportunity provides. This is also emphasized during malfunction drills specific to the “double feed” or failure to extract in that a lot of places I’ve gone to emphasized dumping/throwing the offending mag away because, well, you’re in a pistol class and have 13 spare mags on your belt. I do my best to add a little practically to it reminding people that 1) if it’s in the home MOST are likely to have gun with one mag in it. 2) how many spare mags do you carry? Maybe one. So, clearing that failure to extract while retaining that mag is something I try to get people to consider.

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Interesting thoughts!  I agree with Chris’ views, having lived through that wondrous time known infamously as the, “Crime Bill of 1994,” and I did live and learn with a Glock 19 and an HK USP .45, both with 10 round magazines.

I get, “fan mail,” (I’ll call it that instead of HATE mail) where people ask me why I own a site called, “REVOLVER SCIENCE,” but often talk about how and why the semi-automatic pistol is superior to the revolver.  I wonder if the first automobile manufacturers got mail asking, “WHAT WAS WRONG WITH MY HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE?  KEEP YOUR NEW FANGLED MACHINES TO YOURSELF!”  Who knows?  People are odd, in general, and, “gun,” people can be strange, and often oddly sentimental.  I try to embrace technology, and use it to better my life.  Isn’t that the point, after all?

I asked Chris at MDTS the questions you just read because I was curious, in the training communities he works in that can be considered, “behind enemy lines,” due to their persistent set of gun control laws and magazine restrictions, because if ANYWHERE an 8 shot .357 revolver would be welcomed, it would be in a place that had a magazine capacity restriction, right?  But the majority of revolvers that Chris sees are the J frames (5 shots).  Makes sense…since carrying an 8 shot N frame, while it may deliver the, “horsepower,” of a 10 +1 Glock 19, it requires more square footage to carry, and conceal.  For home defense, the argument could be made to have one staged in a quick access safe, but in a home defense situation, what can a large frame revolver do that a shotgun cannot?  ALLOW YOU TO SEARCH EFFECTIVELY AND RETRIEVE CHILDREN/THE PHYSICALLY INFIRM.  Understood, but what’s easier to shoot one handed…a large frame revolver or a Glock 19?  I have pretty big hands, and I’m much better with a Glock 19 one handed, than I am a large frame revolver.  Most of this is rhetorical, and I say it to inspire thinking, not to quash whatever home defense system you have in place, or are thinking about putting in place.

Revolvers are SIMPLE in operation, but DIFFICULT in utilization.  The long, DA trigger pull takes work to perfect.  Sending that shot straight, takes precision and care.  Of course, any of this can be addressed through practice, but I absolutely believe that it is easier to train a novice on a compact framed or full sized semi-automatic pistol, than it is to train the same person on a revolver.  As much as I love K frame revolvers for all around use, the learning curve is steeper with the revolver, versus the semi-auto.


Some folks have hypothesized that in the immediate future, we might see more gun control efforts and even an eventual abolishment of semi-automatic weapons, full stop, by the government.  In that case, regular folks like you and I would be saddled with using manually operated weapons (revolvers, lever action/bolt action rifles, and single, double and pump action shotguns) for self-defense.  Nobody is really doing that right now…NOT EVEN NY!  Thus, it would be a culture change, no doubt.  If that DOES happen, how would it change your day to day life?  Would you carry two guns (if you don’t already)?  How much more time would you devote to practice to get your revolver game on-point?  Again, just some things to consider.  I think both you and I can deduce from the excellent points given by Chris Fry above that the capacity limitations of the machine you carry (whether pistol or revolving pistol) matter not…how YOU utilize the equipment that you have, DOES matter.  For more about that, read here.

If you are in the market for superb multi-disciplinary training, give Chris Fry and MDTS a look, and tell him the Doctor sent you!  You can find Chris, here:

http://www.mdtstraining.com/

4 thoughts on “A Brief Conversation with Chris Fry of MDTS Training…how many rounds are enough?

  1. I’m in CT, we have the same turd laws here. I recently upgraded my usual carry to a Ruger LC9s with 9 round mags, 7 if I need to be less conspicuous. Untill the recent rash of terrorist events, I was often carrying a S&W 642 or a 60 Pro with a couple reloads, usually Speedstrips. My group of friends who carry range from Taurus carriers to ‘I only need a PPK, no one is taking your guns away’ to ‘if it doesn’t start with ‘4’ it’s no good, and why do you carry antiques?’
    Reading the good stuff out there, I avoided the temptation to carry larger rounds if I can only have 10, stayed with a 9mm or .38/.357, and practice reloads. I will probably get another 9mm carry at somepoint when I can vary my clothing to conceal it.
    I have a 586 locked up in the area of refuge to back up my full size 9mm and HD shotgun. I like the idea of a 7 or 8 shot revolver, but would probably go to a BUG before buying one unless I scored a wicked deal on one.
    When we retire, we are leaving the Communist Bloc for warmer climes. Glad you’re on the mend!

  2. Thank you for this article. Most people assume that all NYers are anit-gun and anti-self defense which is far from true. I have been lucky to Chris Fry’s Practical Pistol Skills 1 course which has almost equal classroom time (reviewing situational awareness and avoiding conflict, verbal commands, appropriate use of deadly force, etc.) as range time. Although I have read a federal judge in Western NY threw out the 7 round limit, I was not sure if it was settled law for the entire state. Therefore, in order to avoid possible confusion with any LEOs, I carry a smaller 9mm pistol with a 7 round capacity. What I liked about Fry’s class was that he didn’t expect people to be outfitted like a military operator. It was for a regular person and how they can defend themselves with basic, common pistols.
    I admit that when the SafeAct passed I did get a .40 cal with the rationale that if I was going to limited to 7 rounds, I wanted a more “powerful” round. With time and experience I can see that many 9mm guns can carry 10 rounds in still pretty small footprint. I still think that carrying a neutered Glock 17 or 19 in NY is pointless, but the Glock 26, FNS-9c, or SCCY CPX seem practical given where we are living.

    1. Are you Anthony Cardone?

      Yes! Chris Fry is part of the smallish pool of civilian-centric trainers that, “gets it.” Context and application is a crucial yet often overlooked foundation of a practical skill set for the prepared civilian. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading!

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