The Ammo Pal is a Molle Compatible ammo storage system. When I first saw this item I was skeptical. Frankly the name Ammo Pal, was not convincing. Also the system seemed clearly different from competition caddies for shells or typical tactical storage solutions.
… by the way, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out our article on tactical shotguns.
As I have used this system I am more convinced it is a useful addition for the shotgun kit. Shell carriers tend to fall into two catagories. Competition and Tactical. Competition carriers have the shells open and ready to be plucked from the carrier and loaded into the shotgun. Often these caddies are configured so the shells can be “twin” loaded into the shotgun. This allows the competitor to devote a few seconds to stoke the shotgun full two shells at a time.
Tactical Carriers on the other hand are often fabric and elastic carriers. Some of the higher capacity carriers fold out offering more storage capacity. The Ammo Pal is a new take on the tactical carrier.
The basic construction is a polymer body with a magazine style spring and follower. The Ammo Pal advertises a capacity of 10 2 3/4″ 12 gauge shells. In practice I find that 9 shells works best. Shells are pulled from the retention lips via a thumb sweep relief in the plastic body. The body is designed to clip into the molle compatible mounts that come with the unit.
My first impression was that the unit appears kind of cheap. The smooth shiny polymer is reminiscent of cheaper plastics. Upon use the plastic is notably sturdy and supple. It does not have the textured polymer we’ve become accustom to on the likes of Pmags and Glock Pistols.
Why choose the Ammo Pal
When I started using the Ammo Pal I noticed that when fully loaded the shells must be removed with some authority. (I noted that some have advised sanding the lips for easier feeding. This may work but proceed at your own risk.) The Ammo Pal is not as fast as a competition caddie. It is probably a touch slower than the elastic shell carriers as well.
Why use it then? It securely retains 9-10 shells in the same location with the same orientation. This means you grab ammo from the same spot, the same way so it can be fed into your shogun precisely. Ok… but the competition caddies are still faster. This is true, but they are not as secure as the Ammo Pal.
This is important if the unit is going to stay loaded and ready to go, especially in a vehicle. It seems without fail I will go to my trunk and find that one or two of my slugs have fallen out of the elastic shell carrier. I never have this kind of problem with the Ammo Pal. Similarly Competition caddies are more about getting shells out than holding them in. In the real world I need ammo to stay on my kit so I can use it when the shhh… er, stuff hits the fan.
Setting up the kit
Setting up the Ammo Pal is pretty straight forward. Attach the molle mounts to your gear then snap the Ammo Pal into it’s mount. The clips took some effort to slide into the molle so consider the best way to mount the Ammo Pal Before you commit to a location. Re-configuring is doable, but the clips are tight.
When I first took my Ammo Pal equipped plate carrier to training. I got a lot of comments and questions. The group took to calling my Ammo Pals: “Pez dispensers.” With two Ammo Pals I added 18 rounds to my load-out. I glued some elastic shell carriers to the Ammo Pals this gave me another 10 rounds, 5 on each Ammo Pal.
I decided to go with Buckshot in the Ammo Pals and slugs on the elastic carriers. After use along with the heat from sitting in the back of my car, the glue for the elastic carriers started to fail, so I had to Zip tie the units to the Ammo Pals.
Ammo Pal Doctrine
When you see a competition shotgun set up, note a few things that differ from tactical programs. First: No receiver mounted shell carrier. Second Long barrel, sometimes longer magazine. Reloads are done directly from belt to fill the gun as fast as possible.
Tactical shotguns differ. Unnecessary length is generally seen as bad. In the real world it’s a race to the shortest shotgun, not the longest one. Receiver mounted shell carriers are the rule. These shell carriers are important for fast emergency reloads , and getting lead down range now is more important than fully restocking the tube.
The Ammo Pal might be a bit slower than competition caddies or elastic carriers, but in the emergency reload situation you should be using on gun ammo first. In my view the Ammo Pal is about restocking a gun during the “lull in the gunfight.” Shotgun fights rarely last long, having ammo in the Ammo Pal is for the long worst case scenario gunfight.
The Ammo Pal is a useful addition to the dedicated shotgun kit. The units are robust and hold the shells securely. Shells must be removed deliberately but they will be there when you need them.