With millions of Americans buying guns for the first time in 2020, many of them are wondering how many ammunition magazines they need. Some of these new gun owners (or even older gun owners) might think that if you need more than one or two magazines, manufacturers would include them. Not so, Kimosabe.
You need ammo and a good holster for your pistol, not to mention a sling for your rifle, but manufacturers don’t include those. So as firearm owner, how many magazines do you need for your gun(s)?
From twenty-some years as a firearms and tactics instructor and a student of the gun at courses from dozens of regional and nationally-known firearms instructors, I’ve seen a lot of answers to this question.
Many people don’t realize that magazines degrade with use. Feed lips become bent and springs don’t last through an infinite number of load/unload cycles. To give you an idea, the military considers their standard-issue aluminum AR-style magazines to have a 4000-round service life. That’s roughly 130 loadings. After that, the military considers them expended and you should, too.
After all, other than ammunition issues, the most common cause for malfunctions in semi-automatic firearms is a defective magazine. You’ll see that experienced shooters number their magazines. They do this so that if they notice malfunctions with a certain magazine, they can easily ID it and take it out of service.
You can still use that defective magazine as a training tool, but you should mark it prominently. Or destroy it. Just make sure it doesn’t stay among your working gear that you depend upon for personal defense or serious competition.
Unlike ammunition, you can still find magazines widely available on dealers’ shelves and online. For now. That won’t last forever. Act now to make sure you have enough.
So how many magazines do you really need?
Semi-auto firearm owners should have at least three magazines for each firearm. That’s the minimum. Three allows the gun to be loaded for self-defense with two reloads. Three magazines also makes a nice complement for recreational shooting as well. If you aren’t going to shoot more than occasionally (or every five years for a qualification), that’s likely enough.
For those of you who you shoot regularly or train even occasionally, you should buy three brand new replacement magazines in addition to your three working mags. These should also be factory magazines or come from a reputable after-market manufacturer like Magpul. These will replace any of your initial magazines that fail over time from use or abuse.
For the revolver shooters out there, you should have “magazines” too – otherwise known as “speed loaders.”
Revolver owners should have at least two speed loaders for reloads. The good news is that speed loaders are less prone to failure with use. Also, for deep cover, speed strips are also available, but they are much slower on the reload.
For AR-15s and Modern Sporting Rifles
Owners of America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15, or other semi-automatic rifles should have a bare minimum of three working magazines. Six would be mo’ better.
Complement that with another three (or six) brand new spares.
Should the government enact some sort of ban on the manufacture of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, milspec AR magazines or other semi-auto modern sporting rifle mags will become very pricey. Buy your spare magazines now while they remain affordable and widely available. Don’t wait. Buy them yesterday.
What about bolt-action rifle owners?
If your bolt-action rifle uses removable box magazines, make sure you have at least three of them. Thankfully, bolt gun magazines are unlikely to face legal sale or ownership restrictions anytime soon.
Can you have too many magazines?
No, no you can’t. Just number them with a white or silver Sharpie and be sure to function test them with your defensive ammunition before you rely on them to save your life.
Just make sure you have at least three magazines, bare minimum, for every mag-fed gun you own. Buy some spares, too. You’ll thank yourself in ten or twenty years. Maybe sooner than that.
100 per caliber is a good number.
What if someone has 100 guns in the same caliber?
Do the Math.
I did and 1 mag per gun seems insufficient.
How many do you plan to shoot at once?
YuP,a chit load as there in no such thing as too many magazines or ammunition.
If you actually know how many magazines you have …it’s not enough. I’ve got at least a few for the guns I carry, but for the 1911’s, AR’s etc. I like to keep “who the hell knows” many….
….and, I’ll put an “X” on any that have pissed me off.
when hell freezes over, I’ll figure out why.
I have a shooting pal who, when he buys a new gun, buys at least 10 magazines for it. But he also buys spare springs and followers.
Don’t be afraid to buy mags for something you want. My dream rifle has been backordered for a year but I have 20 mags and ammo for it.
More importantly, where ya gonna get ammo to put in those mags?
What do you mean get?
succeed in attaining, achieving, or experiencing; obtain.
If you haven’t been gett’n it for the last several years and caching it away you’re well behind the curve. The writing has been on the wall since the Clinton regime advising as to the attack on not only the 2nd A, but the entire firearms industry including ammo. Far to many people live like the grasshopper rather than the ant and find themselves sorely in need when the dark times hit. When it comes to how many mags/clips one should have on hand. When you think you have enough but 10 more. Keep Your Powder Dry
I have little sympathy for some aged, experienced gun owners who’ve been through several panic buys and hasn’t stocked up. You may or may not be surprised how many people are either new to owning guns within the past year or are young and haven’t lived through any spikes as an adult.
I personally have a fair stock of ammo because I like to shoot a lot and I hate having to go buy after each range trip. I remember a sale Nov 2019 for some brass cased Monarch at $7.99 a box plus a 10% off military discount. I bought nearly 2K rounds, I wish I’d cleaned out the whole store. I also wish I’d bought more when 9MM spiked to .30c a round and even more when it spiked to .40c a round. I’m lucky today to find it at .50c a round. This particular spike is immense, far worse than anything I’ve ever seen. I suspect it’ll get worse before it gets better.
I’m going to go down in the basement, select the caliber, brass, primer, powder, bullet and load a few boxes to a favorite load for what I plan to do. I won’t bother with more than a few boxes …I might change my mind or want to try a different combination, load, etc. I’m good for a few more years.
BTW, I’m not haphazard about loading. My daughter’s, girlfriend, neighbors shoot my reloads. I’m not taking any chances. If you think it’s easy, buy your ammo! If you think it’s cheap, think again. After hours of case prep, I use 3 manual presses to de-cap and size, prime and trim. A rotary press to load with turrets set up for each caliber with auto-powder …except .45ACP, 300BLK and .308 where I weigh every charge. The equipment is expensive but, so is my time. It’ll take you a couple of hours to properly load a box of ammo but, takes me about 20 minutes. I spend hours reviewing new loads online with my peers and reconcile this with current load data from the bullet & powder manufacturers…. My setup is as efficient as I can afford to make it.
It’s very relaxing and, I’ll never run out of ammo but, requires precision, science and a bit of art. Before you go out and buy a press, think about the work involved, the dedication and, handing a box or two of YOUR finished ammo to your wife or children! You COULD kill them!
I do keep a junk press at the office/machine shop for .38spl. It’s pretty much a dump & press operation. It’s hard to screw up .38spl. …unless you double-charge a case with Bullseye!
Example: This may be new to you but, will be nauseatingly familiar to the “old timers”. The CLASSIC Bullseye competition load is 3.8g of Bullseye under a 200g LSWC in .45ACP. Competitors will alter the charge +/-0.1g, swage and weigh every bullet, mic every finished round to the optimum for their chamber and “tickle” the crimp. Of course, you can also use AA#2, Unique, etc. but NOT at the same charge weight! Very accurate, light recoil.
The joke is, the bullet goes through the paper and falls to the floor.
And… Having hunted for magazines for old guns, no longer in production, I would say: Buy enough magazines while you can find them, to last the expected lifetime of the gun. Can’t hand it down to the kids and grandkids if you can’t give them a magazine or three.
Exactly this. Better to have more mags than you think you’ll need, than “just enough”. Because the likelihood is that the gun will outlast the original mag(s) in most cases. A polymer mag can crack, and a metal one’s feed lips can bend.
Buying an extra mag or two for specialty guns may be a bit more expensive than the common Glock, Sig, or AR versions, but as you stated, once a model is no longer produced, you’ll be glad you have some.
+1000 from someone with a SIG P232 as my EDC.
That’s why I prefer ARs and Glocks. Mags are cheap, plentiful and I have a tons of them.
Same here. I learned my lesson from the “Assault Weapon Ban”. I’ve got 82 “High Capacity” Glock mags and 80 AR mags. Glock mags are $25 and often $20 on sale. Most other pistol mags are $45+.
I have magazines and speedloaders for guns I ain’t even bought yet!
Sportsman’sguide has Hexmags for $9.37 each IF purchased in tens, AND you are a club member (free trial) AND you use the SG store card from Comenity.
Brownell’s has Gen2 Pmags for $120 per 10, use code PTT to get $10 off, final price $11.50 each.
And use promocode provided by that gunsngear youtuber for a little more.
Oh yeah! THANKS!
Gunsngear OR Warpoet
Handguns have a minimum of 3 each. AR15 a kajillian is a good #. Lock n load…
Oh P mags are still plentiful in ILL & NW Indiana. And cheap. No need to support an online company who gives no chit for you!
I’ve only got two for my LCP (barely a gun). Otherwise it is at least 3-4 for handguns (5-6 or more for serious handguns), and a kajillian like you said for the ARs.
Here in CA we were limited to 10 round mags. I bought my G19 and got 6 Glock brand 10 rounders to go with it. And then we had freedom week. So I ordered 4 of the 15 rounders. All 10 of these mags are glock brand and all function just fine.
I recently gave away my other two semi autos. A makarov with 7 mags and a Sigma with 6 mags. My remaining handguns are all revolvers. I haven’t looked for speed loaders for my Ruger .357. It’s a 7 shooter. Do they even make such a thing?
HKS, Speed Beez, and 5 Star have 7 shot speed loaders that fit the GP100.
Tuff Products makes quick strips for .357/.38/.40 in your choice of 5, 6, 7, or 8 rounds.
They probably make the 7 round speed loaders (maybe not gp100 specific though as S&W and Taurus also make similar revolvers).
I have a few speed loaders for my revolvers (642 and Security Six), but don’t usually use or practice with them. I don’t carry a reload for my jframe and don’t carry the ruger.
I’m so glad you guys had that “freedom” week a while back. Like you, I have a bunch of mags for my G19 (which also work for my Sub2000).
I’ll check into that, Peter. I haven’t put the magnum into my self defense rotation. I got it just as the covid lockdowns started and I’ve only had one chance to get it to the range. I have plenty of .38 ammo because I have a few S&W revolvers. But I only managed to snag a few boxes of magnum ammo and of course now it’s just about impossible. We can’t even mail order in CA.
Agreed. I have at least six 30 rounders per AR (2) loaded at all times. But I also have many spares that have never been loaded.
our racist, senile resident of the White house might change things soon. Could be loading them up tomorrow or next week…
Its like the number of firearms you own. Having only one is a setup for failure and get enough to be just shy of what you personally consider too many.
I’ve had plenty give nothing but trouble from the get go. I like to fill up each one atleast two or three times to function test before trusting them. Magazines are the weakest link in semiautomatic. It’s ironic that it’s also one of the scariest parts in the minds of liberals.
the liberal brain are also the weakest link to a civil society. cranial ventilation is the cure
I would suggest getting enough spare magazine springs for all of your mags. 10 magazine springs per magazine is what I do. Brownells sells AR15 magazine springs in a 10 pack that is pretty cheap. Get the chrome silicon springs that last longer than the normal steel springs if you can find them.
Dunno. Aren’t we hearing that it’s feed lips which kills AR mags? If that’s the case 10 springs per pair of feed lips seems excessive.
I think 3d printing is maybe going to solve this though I’m not really on top of it. The glock mags you make you can also print a spring winder template/tool. I’m sure you need the right wire but I’m guessing there is already a p-mag spring winder.
You’ll probably not be able to beat modern industrial precision from the OEMs, but I would rather invest in complete magazines more so than springs.
Good stuff. I can see replacing mags. with some frequency if you are ejecting them onto the ground in competition (or military). Otherwise, I don’t quite see it.
For every 5 or 10 full mags. expended you should disassemble and clean the mag. .22LR can be bad because of grease or gooey waxes used to lube the ammo. Check follower movement for friction. Deburr or polish the follower if needed. I’ve even squirted a little dry lube on the follower with good results.
In some cases you can buy replacement springs, either OEM or Wolff Springs.
Yes, Wolff springs for sure. I’ve used them.
As for .22LR, the only issues I’ve ever encountered (squibs, split cases, excessive fouling) were from the cheaper waxed lead cartridges. Finally just tossed them. My entire stash for the past couple of years has been exclusively copper jacketed. Nary a single failure with them, for pistol or rifle, bolt action or semi-auto.
Other than .22 WMR, I have never seen copper jacketed .22. You mean copper plated?
Ha ha. That is funny. I think you are mostly correct.
Having said that, I have seen .22 LR with (what I am pretty sure) are brass jacketed lead bullets. If someone makes brass jacketed lead bullets, why not copper jacketed lead bullets?
Lol, yeah, you know…the copper looking stuff…plated…colored…uh…derpity derp 😉
Just anything but exposed lead. Schnikies that stuff is horrible.
” You mean copper plated?”
The copper-plated .22lr I have from CCI is so heavy, more it’s like a light standard copper jacket.
Much better than the bulk stuff 25 years back when a finger nail could scrape it off…
+1 on Wolff Springs.
I love CCI .22LR ammo, with that copper plating or flashing. But I do believe that they also use (or had used in the past) a very light and non sticky wax lube. I once left a box in the hot sun too long and I could see it drip a little.
In some cases buying additional magazines that are in short supply and overpriced it can be better to purchase an identical gun providing it was inexpensive and came with at least 2 magazines. Let’s say an additional mag cost $50 delivered and you want 2. That’$100 towards the purchase of another identical gun. We purchased a Sar9 for $329.00 + $15.00 Shipping + $25.00 FFL. Total delivered price: $369.00. OEM Mags were over $50.00 each delivered so the cost of ordering 2 additional mags was applied to purchasing another Sar9 and for good measure we purchased one more Sar9 while the getting was good.
Not to mislead anyone but these firearms require disassembly, cleaning, lube and tweaking to bring out the best in them. There are videos for disassembly and assembly. For competitive reasons tweaking the Sar9 is something we keep under our hats.
The Sar9 Platinum Model was awarded the 2020 Editor’s Choice Award by On Target Magazine. Tests were performed by Massad Ayoob, Dave Bahde, Chris Mudgett and Mike Dickenson.
Not an expert, or operator. 10 mags per rifle and 5 mags per handgun. Use and train with 3 keep the rest in reserve. Typical gun owner shoots less than a thousand rounds per firearm over the time they own it.
Most of us have a life outside of shooting and don’t have the resources ( time and /or money ) to train to the point of magazines failing or barrels wearing out.
If you order, and shoot, ammo by the case then multiply my first numbers x 5 and top off until you quit shooting that much.
I prefer OEM over aftermarket on most models. I generally prefer metal over plastic whenever available. Also have at least two reliable hi caps per firearm if available. Eg magpul 60 rounders for ARs and 33 rounders for Glocks just in case the zombie swarm ever comes your and you can only grab one mag.
Tactical carry capacity is typically set by weight, that sets the quantity of magazines. 5.56×45 NATO magazine fed auto loader weapons that is about 300 rounds or ten magazines. If you are tactical carrying, those magazines may stay loaded for a while. The rule is a month of loaded magazine carry then recycle.
After that you should rotated magazines, ten in ten out so that is 20. Personally, I never fully load them, so I add one magazine to the count to make the carry weight, now we are at 22. This would also apply to 300 Blackout, 350 legend, etc.
6mm ARC has less magazine capacity but the weight works out 22. If you are into Creedmoor or 7.62×51 NATO then number of magazines carried goes down with the weight. Plus you still have rotational requirements. 130 cycles is twenty years in this process. The limit magazine can see is ten years loaded and ten years unloaded, if you never expend them. Or course that is not the rule is it, we shoot as much as ammo costs will allow.
For pistols and magazine fed home defense shotguns the number 3 is good but then you still have to have the rotation if you keep a number of them fully loaded. Ammo consumption for pistol packing federal officers is 50 rounds every quarter or three months. So they have a builtin turnover.
if your are carrying a pistol as backup for a long gun, then it is still weight limited. There is a trade off between how much of which kind. I believe you should shoot threats as far away a possible, so three pistol magazines is enough with maintenance three move back at the ranch. So, long gun, one onboard, 8 in rig, pistol, one onboard, two in rig. Double that with those at the ranch to meet then general need.
Have 7 loaded and keep buying them when they’re on sale. Keep them on their bags. You just never know. AR15 mags, you have enough when you don’t know how many you have. When you can give 2 or 3 away for Christmas to your friend that bought his first AR, then you’re all set.
A PMAG with 30rd is a great standaard wedding gift (for any couple).
If the guy has not previous thought about defending his home/woman then it is past time he did (by buying an AR). If he already has an AR, then the gift is good to go for him and to protect her.
You can buy a mag or 2 every payday. If you are doing the every payday ammo accumulation you can rotate mags into that as well without crunching your budget.
Watch for deals, just like everything else. I cleaned up (pun intended) on “slightly rusty” AK mags back in, geez, I don’t think Obama was in office yet. They ranged from no rust to all rust. Over the years I’d clean up 5 or 10 every once in a while. When Troy hired Lon Horiuchi and no one would touch their mags with a 10 meter cattle prod, I bought tons from discount bins at dealers who were left holding the mags.
Does anyone have a link to studies about long term life of the magazine springs??
shim shimminy, shim shim shurree.
Who would have done the study? Maybe the military.
I don’t worry about it with quality mags. I have a Ruger 22 that I keep loaded on a shelf.
In 25 years of use, 3 mags are always loaded and have never failed.
All my mags are factory or MecGar. Others don’t matter.
TTAG I think had a good one. At least I think it was TTAG. One of the writers here forgot about a loaded mag they left in a closet for over 10 years and was dirty as hell. Took it to the range with no issues. Good article. Doesn’t speak for any mag but that particular brand but it was interesting.
I’m not sure they’d qualify as studies in a scientific sense, but I have seen some tests done by a couple of individuals (can’t remember where, didn’t bookmark them) on various magazines to see if the springs really will “take a set” and not fully expand if left compressed over time. The result: No. Makes sense; if it had any tendency at all to stay compressed, it wouldn’t be a spring.
What springs will do, though, is weaken with repeated compression/expansion cycles over time. But how many does it take to weaken one enough to degrade its function? I’d be interested in seeing a well-documented test/study as well.
I suspect the results could vary quite a bit, depending on the strength and quality of the springs. What applies to one magazine may not apply to another.
Did a little bit of research just now, and the shooting engineers pretty much agree that it’s the loading and unloading that kills the springs, not being compressed for a long time.
As an example I’ve got some old metal ones for my M1 carbines I bought in the early 80’s. Last summer I ran across 3that were still loaded from who the Hell knows when. They worked like brand new not any issues. Which brings up some interesting questions. Who out there has had mag failures? what caliber? How old? I’ve been shooting mag/clip fed firearms since the 70’s and can’t remember ever having a mag failure and I’ve got some older than many of the poster’s on this site.
Most of my guns are safe queens, so two or three mags for each of them is plenty. As for my EDC and SHTF guns, the upper limit depends exclusively on the availability of magazines and cash.
Well if we have another toilet paper crisis who knows how many magazines a person would need, especially the way I’ve been making politicians here lately. Chili and cheap beer makes a damn fine politician.
Yes I’ve used corn cobs too.
Your West Virginia is showing 😊
But you are right of course
February. 1am. Outhouse.
Anytime anybody tells me about going ‘off grid’ I tell them ‘no thanks. I’ve been off grid.’
the answer is always “one more”.
If you are living in abject poverty — and I do mean abject poverty — then you can get by with at least two magazines. (No need for additional “training” magazines since a person living in abject poverty would not be able to afford training ammunition. And no need for “spare” magazines since their two original magazines just sit there loaded.)
If you are poor, then you should have at least four magazines — two for self-defense and two for your occasional training.
If you have a bit of “extra” money from time to time, then you should have at least eight magazines — two for self-defense, two for training, and four spares.
If your income definitely exceeds basic living requirements, you should have at least eight magazines and something like 12 would be better. And if you practice/train at least a few times a year, then even more would be better.
Important Caveat #1:
Several sources tell me that you can keep a spring compressed pretty much forever without significantly weakening it or causing it to fail. What limits a spring’s life and causes it to weaken/fail is compressing and releasing it repeatedly. Thus, if you simply load a magazine (thus compressing its spring) and leave it loaded, it should be good sitting your shelf for decades, if not centuries.
Important Caveat #2:
While a relaxed or compressed spring will last almost forever since you are not running it through compression-and-release cycles, it could rust and fail if you forget to protect it from oxidation, e.g. keep a light coat of oil on it. That would warrant unloading it and applying a light coating of oil to the spring every five years or so — which is an insignificant number of compression-and-release cycles even over the course of 100 years.
Speed strips will never be as fast as speed loaders for revolvers, but they have the advantage (aside from being a lot more convenient to carry) of being capable of tactical reloads. Not that you’re likely to get a pause in the action in the middle of a gunfight, but if you do it would be nice to go back into the fight with a full six and four to spare rather than vice versa.
Stripper clips for 7.62*39 (SKS) will work as speed strips for .38sp/.357 in a pinch.
If I am ever involved in a defensive gun use with a pistol, I cannot imagine still being alive after expending 3 mags. My favorite revolver loads one round at a time through a loading gate. I do not understand why people buy hundreds of mags for their ARs. I for one am not going to war in my lifetime, so having more than 5 is just a convenience, not a necessity.
So Elmer has ONE mag in his huntin rilfe. Has no AR or mags for it.
There is no guarantee that war won’t come for you during your lifetime. You don’t always get a choice.
“I for one am not going to war in my lifetime”
As far as you know…
I typically trying to have 60 to 70 magazines for each gun that I own; I also own hundreds of guns. Live through a magazine ban once and you’ll never make the mistake of coming up short on magazines again.
PRO N CON COMMENTS . UM , ALWAYS WHEN BOUGHT NEW GUN , EXTRA 3 TO 5 MAGAZINES .
WHAT I WOULD GET . ITS A START .
NOW A DAYS . WISH WOULD GET 100 ROUNDS FREE AMMO WITH NEW MAGAZINES . JUST A WISH N . N A DREAM N . MOE AMMO PLEASE , WHEW THA PRICES OF AMMO .
I am 70 years young and carry a pair of Ruger LCR 9 mm revolvers. No magazines to worry about. Moon clips are great! Carry my reloads in those little plastic 35 mm film cans. I have 9 now and more on order.
Ah, the infamous “New York reload”. I love it!
In addition to being the fastest possible “reload”, carrying two firearms has two additional advantages:
1) You have a “spare” firearm immediately available if your “primary” fails.
2) You have a “spare” firearm immediately available which you could hand to another defender in a crisis.
Now you have me seriously thinking about carrying a second firearm rather than a spare magazine. Time to shop for a slim-profile holster for my “backup” semi-auto handgun!
“35 mm film cans”
That sounds old school, not the 70 years, nor the revolvers, the film canisters.
And, yes I remember them too.
I figure 5 is a good number. 1in the gun with 2 reloads thats how many my magazine carriers have and another set of 2 for laters.
Don’t forget 10-15 years from now you may not be able to find magazines for your firearms. Depends on how popular they are. Still 15 years is a long time and most likely they’re not making anymore anywhere or the newer manufactured ones don’t work as well in your particular weapon.
Anyone with a revolver that sees regular range time should look into having the cylinder machined to take moon clips, if it isn’t already capable of using them. Moon clips are dirt cheap, even compared to HKS speed loaders, are faster to insert, and assist in extraction, too. An all-around win, once you get past the $200-300 conversion cost.
My rule of thumb when I buy a pistol is to START with a minimum number of mags that I will not have to reload when I go to the range to practice. (So it depends on the gun and mag capacity.)
Ultimately I like to have enough mags for each pistol to have 100-200 rds loaded/ready for each pistol (depending on whether I consider it a more primary or secondary weapon) and 200-300 for each rifle.
Just don’t want to have to worry about loading mags when I want to go shoot (or heaven forbid if I ever ‘need’ to).
Buy ’em until you lose count.
For the AR’s still have a box full of Magpul in the Sand color, still in the shipping box and sealed plastic sleeves.
Mostly I seem to wear out Ruger 10/22 mags. Been thru a bunch of those, both OEM and other stuff.
Picked up a number of Ruger American Rifle mags, still in the original package. Won’t open them until I need to.
I tend to use my oft-used answer of “It Depends” on this.
For a baseline (ie modern magazine fed rifle/pistol/shotgun), 5 magazines is a good base to start with, if nothing else it gives you more time on the range shooting instead of loading.
If it’s a firearm I expect to be using in my carry rotation or as a HD firearm, I double it to 10, so I have a spare set to use for off the shooting range (ie loaded magazines for carry or in the home).
Then the number multiplies if I have multiple firearms that accept the same magazines (ie multiple AR’s means I multiply the magazines). The numbers high enough that at this point I don’t even bother with an individual count but rather I count them by number of .50-caliber ammo cans I have filled with them. I will admit though chances are I went overboard on the 15 to 30 round mags simply because it got to the point that after escaping CA it became a habit to just snag another magazine at the gun shop even if I didn’t buy anything else.
For C&R guns though, 3 will certainly be plenty for most. Good luck convincing me to keep more than 3 Luger or Nambu magazines when each mag is over a hundred bucks apiece and the most use they’ll get is as an occasional range toy.
Extra mags are already in short supply. Most of the LGS retailers are sold out, online are down to the last few instock, and (gulp) PROMAG is about all you can find with any luck.
For certain pistols that’s actually a decent choice – 1911 style .45 mags are hard to screw up, and if you have an older 3Gen SW auto the .45 mags are reputedly ok for at least range use. A .45 SW mag is the same as a 1911 except the release hole is located differently. And some have posted cutting their own and their handicraft worked.
Same for other mags, which can be interchangeable – a P99 Walther mag is said to work in a Canik – gun designers prefer to use a somewhat common and proven design to reduce costs, lots of autos share magazines. In my case, Walther mags are darn near impossible to find and triple the price – so I bought ProMags for the Canik.
Good choice? Remains to be seen, however PM does warranty their stuff and plenty have. The issue is that a lot of New! gun owners expect to shoot whatever fodder they have thru a new gun and have it be not only reliable but perfect – even tho the makers often require particular power levels for that. “White Box” is a notoriously underperforming ammo source, along with others, and using it for break in – yes, new guns need to fire more than a mag to get the surfaces working flawlessly – will cause some hangups and jams. Canik requires full power NATO loads – it’s the standard they designed to, not revolver level plinking. Save that for your 9mm Taurus wheelgun.
And when that cheap ammo does malfunction? Don’t automatically blame an “off brand” magazine, especially when the gun is being operated new with low power fodder. Autos require power to operate above and beyond pulling the trigger. Lube the slide rails and barrel lockup ramp, don’t expect it to be ready to shoot straight out of the box. Don’t ride the slide home, let it operate as it does when fired – full retraction and free release. It takes all the recoil spring’s power to cock the gun and chamber the round. Which goes to you cleaned the gun, did you prep those new mags? Burrs under the feed lips and followers hanging in the tube in new mags will plague pistols and rifles alike, not every maker finesses those high friction points. Check and fix it.
A lot of makers use MecGar for their OEM mags, look at this market – $1 a round ammo prices – empty shelves at the gun stores, “out of stock” on the internet listings – you tell me how backed up MecGar is now. This demand level exceeds any previous one we have ever seen, I expect magazines will be sold out for months as production catches up. In the past we have seen six month leads on popular items, I won’t be surprised to hear the same for “common” magazines as the makers try to acquire the one or two to ship with each gun. That’s going to soak up a lot of production, and the rarer models are going to be put to the end of the line, same as some low selling cartridges were.
That means we will be tweaking feed lips and stretching springs long before we can find a new magazine, it’s going to be an interesting summer. Which will come first? In stock ammo, or in stock mags? That is why I grabbed what I could when I could. And I will not be alone.
I can easily see MecGar working thru the backorders until late in the year. Very late. I can also see prescient owners chortling over their 100 mag collection and selling a few for $100 each. Just like the guys who bought 1,000 round cases two years ago and stacked them deep. They are making bank right now.
As said above, if you have two shooters in the house, sharing magazines may be the way you get around this, rather than compounding the problem with two incompatible ones that are unavailable. Which is another reason the military standardizes. You can share magazines when it gets down to the basics. Not even moon clips are universal nor are all revolvers cut for them.
There is a local gun show coming up and I will be scouring the aisles for more mags. I don’t expect bargains.
N being the number of magazines you currently have.
Absolutely mark the magazines for easy identification.
A good friend was doubting his weapon. Asked me to help. I happened to notice that only one magazine was causing issues because the finish was worn in a peculiar place. Placed that magazine in my bag. He finished the day with no issues. He would have come to the same conclusion if the magazines had been marked for easy identification.
I keep 4 + 1 magazines for each of my semi autos, except for the 1932 High Standard Model B I inherited a few years back. Magazines for the Model B are available, but they are very expensive, and getting a spare isn’t high on my list of priorities right now. My CCW, a SIG P365, I keep 6 spares for. 4 + 1 12 rounders and 2 10 rounders. The 10 rounders are stashed in our 2 vehicles in a clip I made and mounted under the dash. One 10 rnd Mag came with the gun, the other I bought from a LGS that was closing its doors at dealer cost.
For my AR’s I’ve 20 PMag Gen 2’s I bought prior to my State’s Cap Limits were enacted (bought them before I bought the rifle), for my 5.56. My AR in .300 AAC, I only have 7 mags for.it. The 7 were bought out of State (cough, cough, wink wink), but since there’s no serial number Date of Manufacture on the Mags, the powers that be cannot prove I didn’t own them Pre-Ban, phuck ’em and their stupid Law.
I want to get my .300 Mag count up to 20 too, but magazines are as scarce as ammo at the 4 stores over the border from Commierado.
I’ve only two revolvers that work with speed loaders, so right now, I’ve 5 5 round for my model 60 and 3 7 rounds fo my 586. My other 2 revolvers are SAA’s.
I’ve a buddy who picked up a trade in HK P7, for which there’s been no luck at all finding any mags for it. HK doesn’t even plan to make any in the future, which is rather shitty customer service on their part IMO, and a reason why I’ll never buy an HK.
Why is it crappy customer service if HK won’t make magazines for a gun they discontinued years ago? Almost every other manufacturer in every industry does the same thing.
Concerning pistols, I agree, 3 magazines per piece MINIMUM. Revolvers, 3 again minimum. They are called Speed Loaders though. Bolt action rifles should have charger slots in my opinion. Of course, I prefer Iron Sights.
As many as you can possibly afford!
My first non revolver handgun purchased was a HK p7 psp grade b police import.
When I bought it I could buy a new in plastic spare hk mag for $15 buck. Limit 1 per gun, I passed!
Flash forward 15 years. Mag spring is weak and it has ftf issues due to magazine. No replacement springs available and mags are rare as can be. HK doesn’t make them anymore. If your in luck you can find one on gunbroker for 90 plus shipping.
So is three the same for the ‘Murica crowd and their 7 rounders as for 17 round nines? Seriously, if you carry 2 extra mags on you all the time and don’t live in a combat zone it might be time to admit you have a problem.
The correct answer is X+1 (x being your current amount of magazines/guns)
as always, the answer is “it depends”.
if you have curios and relics that you shoot for fun occasionally, not so many.
for guns you shoot a lot, a metric shit ton of mags.
for ARs or other guns which might be banned, also a metric shit ton of mags.
How many magazines you should own frankly depends on how much you shoot. Eventually all things mechanical wear out. Cheaper, less well designed mechanical things are likely to wear out more quickly than the better stuff.
There are people who will shoot their gun so little the second magazine commonly sold with most handguns is liable to never be loaded. So, no worries about their gear wearing out.
There are competitive pistol shooters who pump thousands of rounds per year thru their magazines. Different story there, those folks will always be in the market to cycle new mages into their inventory.
After there’s the politics. I likely own more AR mags than I’ll ever wear out simply because of the politics. That especially applies to a box of Mag-Pul Gen M3’s, with window, int he sand color, with the retainer widget over the feed lips, still sealed in the packaging these many years. Meanwhile there are well used AR mags of a half dozen brands in gun cases, ammo boxes, pouches, etc.
At least partly my AR mag collection is influenced by politics, Especially the Mag-Pul 40’s!
The price goes up as the firearms goes out of style. Just ask some of the folks that bought only a couple mags for some of the older pistols that you can’t find mags anymore for and the manufacturer is out of business.
Then to it just make it easier at the range unless you’re only going to shoot one magazine load.
I carry 3. 1 loaded and two as reloads. I have 2 sets of those. All together in a case so they don’t get lost and can be easily locked up. And marking them is mandatory. A dot system works so that if they get scraped up you can still tell what the code was. Numbering gets tiresome.
No shooter ever said they had too much ammunition or too many magazines.
For pistol I carry 3, 1 in the pistol and 2 reloads, and keep 3 more that are tested then held new in reserve. It’s not so much that you’ll need to get into that 3rd mag to get out of trouble but because a lot of malfunctions can be magazine related. Need to be able to just drop one, stick in another, and not have that one be your only one.
AR’s get 7 carried, 1 in the rifle + 6 more (old school combat loadout), and 7 more tested and held new in reserve.
Shotguns get an extra spring and follower held new in reserve.
No there’s no such thing as too many but the advice in this article is a good place to be.
Spot on! My grandpa said the exact same thing about you can never own too much gun magazines
Realistically, at least five- one in the gun, two on the belt, a couple to spare, rotated. They can be switched around so the compression springs get a rest now and again. Some poo-poo the need to rest the springs, fine. That’s what I do anyways.
If it’s a mainline carry piece, well, as many mags as I can get, cuz ya never know what may be coming down the pike!
I agree with TechGuy. If you know how many guns or mags you have you don’t have enough.
I’m trying to remember, my Uncle Sam issued me a rifle M-1 caliber 30 and a cartridge belt with I believe ten pouches for clips of 8 rounds each that I loaded and carried myself. I never had one fail but a magazine on my 1911 is a much more complicated apparatus. I have two for each of my pistols because the manufacturer was wise enough to include them in the box. I wasn’t wasn’t wise enough to consciously think about it, and I’ve cleaned and disassembled them but now you’ve scared the crap out of me. But subconsciously, maybe out of habit when I see a sale I still manage to buy a couple more. Thanks for the reminder.
I personally have 4000 rounds for my ar15 and 38 30 rd mags loaded and I’m getting more