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Col Benjamin Findley (not shown) writes [via]

1) When you grab or acquire a mag from the pouch or insert it into a mag well, always index and guide it into place by extending your support-hand index finger on the front strap of the mag;

2) Always safely keep the gun’s muzzle pointed downrange or slightly up to the air on your right side, while grabbing the mag from the pouch and performing the reload . . .

3) Hold the gun up high in the chest or chin area (high retention position) with arms in close to the body during reloads and mag changes;

4) Label your Mags by Priority (1,2,3,4), so you will know which ones are the reliable ones and your frequency and order of use;

5) Ensure the Mags Always Face the Same Direction in your mag pouch, so you can grab them and insert them correctly and quickly in the gun (I like to face the bullet-end of my rounds in the mag towards the front);

6) Rotate & Shoot your Various Mags Often (especially carry ones) to ensure they function well (I try to change my carry mag springs once a year or so);

7) Never Place EMPTY Mags back in the Mag Pouch so you can expect the mag you reach for to be loaded; some say put ONLY fully-loaded mags in the pouch, while others say put the partially-loaded mags in your pocket or in another pouch or at the back position of a double-mag pouch (your call);

8) Divide your mags into 2 categories: Practice Mags and Personal Protection-Carry or Home Defense use, based on their reliability and length of use;

9) Have at least 4 Mags Per Gun, since they are easily damaged, are perishable, and will not last forever; your purpose and use for the gun influence the number of mags you should own. (Don’t Delay, Order Extra Mags)

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  1. Good basic tips, but I have minor differences with numbers 4 and 6. Why would you keep unreliable mags in the carry rotation at all? And numbering them from most to least relaible makes it near impossible to add new mags to the mix without re-labeling some of your old mags (wasteful of time). I’d change often to periodically in #6.

    I’m always somewhat amazed when an authority mixes “strong-side/weak-side” descriptors with “right/left” in instructional lists (number 2: “Always safely keep the gun’s muzzle pointed downrange or slightly up to the air on your right side…”).

    Stick with the strong/weak side descriptors, as right/left ignores (or worse, misinforms new-to-the-craft) left-handed shooters.

    • I believe they meant to label the mags to identify the poor performers, not necessarily to number them in order of reliability.

      • I initially thought that was what he meant, but several re-readings convinced me otherwise. Perhaps this is one of those concepts that doesn’t abbreviate well, and a longer explanation of exactly what was meant would cast more light on the subject.

        I certainly have no problem with putting a unique identifier on each mag, so I can ID and remove any poor performing mags. But he seems to be advocating 4 different levels of mag performance, where I use only two: pass and fail. I do keep a few “failmags” around for stoppage drills, but they are clearly marked to prevent getting mixed into the carry (or even practice) rotation by mistake/oversight, as John L said, below.

        • I read the 1-2-3-4 labeling thing as a way to ID your good mags so you can keep track of them – make sure they all get about equal use, or use mostly one until it fails and then switch to #2, etc. It makes some sense either way.

      • The spring and the follower are the only moving parts in a mag. When #1 starts to fail, replace the spring and you have a “new” #1. Or take the #1 base plate and move it to a new mag, and put the mag that used to be #1 (that is now weak) in the range bag.

  2. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to throw out bad magazines. The only thing they’re good for is practicing malf drills, and you do not want to accidentally have one slip into your “good” pile.

    • I have a couple of Glock mags I keep for that purpose. One doesn’t seat well without really banging it. The other doesn’t hold but about 3/4 of the rounds that it’s supposed to.

      I applied a short strip of blue painter’s tape to each to identify them as practice mags only. I keep them in my range bag, too, as another precaution against carrying them daily.

      • I got some really bright/gaudy orange nail polish and slather that on older “training/range” mags. I put it on the baseplate, and cover all the round count holes in my 9mm Glock mags. That way there’s no way i cycle any of them into carry rotation.

    • Snap caps are good for that too (malf drills). Throw one or two in at random.

      I agree with keeping “older” mags separate, just wanted to add.

  3. Mark your magazines with a number that way you can identify which ones give you trouble easily vs “I think this mag malfs on the last shot.”

    If you demote one it would likely also be good to mark it accordingly.

    • I picked up a bunch of cheap mags for practice and training use only. I figured these would be more likely to cause a jam which would be great for unanticipated clearance drills. I marked the bottom of the mag in red to signify that they are not for any other use. Funny thing is, I haven’t had an unplanned Beretta 92 malfunction in years with any mags, cheap or not. I have to mix a snap cap or spent casing into the mag to force a malfunction.

      • If they were from Mec-Gar, they are the OEM supplier for Beretta, as well as Ruger, S&W, Sig, and others.

        If they were from ProMag, well, you are lucky. Go buy a lottery ticket.

        • The OEM and aftermarket Mec-Gar are the good ones, no doubt. I have a ProMag or two and several that are unmarked other than a gold “Made in China” sticker on the bottom. If I can’t identify who made them, they go in my practice pile. They get dropped on the floor and dinged up when reloading and all that. I do clean them the same as the good ones. Apparently, it’s that my Beretta pistol and Blazer practice ammo are that good!

  4. Dissension is always fun. Why bring the firearm close to the body when reloading?

    My arms never change length. At full arm extention my reload hand can always teacup my fire arm hand always and by extension the reload mag hits the well at the same location and since I don’t have a magazine disconnect my firearm can still have a round in the chamber pointed at the target while doing the reload.

    So why bring it in?

    • Cuz “workspace” looks and sounds tacticool

      Doesnt really matter as long as you can insert the mag in a fast fluid motion

      I’d just let my shot timer do the choice for me, and practise both just for the toolbox

      • Mag change close to your chest/up near face theory. You’re more vulnerable during mag changes, so present a small target. You may be tunnel visioning, so if you need your eyes, your weapon will (also) be up in the ‘tunnel’. IF you drop a mag during a mag change [everybody has to do pushups] it may be closer to you on the ground. If you are moving, keeping your weapon close may provide more control/retention. Your additional mags will likely be on your person, keep your weapon mag changes separated by least distance, which will likely force you to keep your weapon closest to your natural aiming/shooting position, which will likely be near your chest/face. You MAY “present” to your aggressor, as someone who is in a more ready/aggressive state.

    • Its not the look of the mag, its the sound they make. Kinda like “click”. Usually followed by either profuse cussing or Tap-Rack-Bang.

    • Yeah right. Since my EDC is out of commission for a few days (wore out and cracked the holster), I carried my 357 snubbie today. I put a couple not-so-speedy Speed Strips in my pocket on the way out the door. I got to thinking, am I really going to be able to reload a revolver twice with Speed Strips in a gunfight and survive to tell the tale?

      • That is funny….I got rid of my strips and only use reloaders. Bulky to carry but way faster

  5. “4) Label your Mags by Priority (1,2,3,4), so you will know which ones are the reliable ones and your frequency and order of use;”

    Better solution: replace unreliable mags with ones that are reliable.

    • I believe what he meant was label your magazines so that you can distinguish one from the other. If #3 has a repeated issue, get rid of it.

  6. 100% on numbering mags. If it malfs you can ID the bad mag and rotate it to “range only” status. IDK about “priority”, but if I had one it would be “50 rounds through it, then in order of newest first”. Springs fatigue.

    Expansion and contraction “ages” springs. I had a failure to feed where the spring in the magazine was so “tired” it couldn’t cycle the next round. When I ejected it, rounds were falling out due to gravity, the follower wasn’t exerting any force at all. Fortunately, that was on the range. The more you exercise your mags, the weaker the springs will be. So if you think “loading and unloading every week is good for my magazines” – just stop. You’re creating a problem for yourself.

    You’re not in Iraq. Drop it and forget it when it’s not useful. I first heard of this “retain every mag” BS in the military, because 1) 90% of the time you are in a training environment, and they want accountability, 2) the CO didn’t want to “combat loss” mags (it’s his hand receipt for the arms room) – and if you’re not deployed it’s not a combat loss, it’s a Statement of Charges, 3) supply/the arms room didn’t want to combat loss them either, and 4) you couldn’t always get them replaced, depending on your overall situation (usually “where you were”). If you were only carrying a basic load (which no one does – everyone carries as much ammo, food and water as they can) and you lost 2 mags, that was bad – for you.

    In the sense that we are likely to need ammo as civilians, I would not think twice about dropping a mag because it was out or malfed and moving away from it.

    While I’m thinking about it, best two pieces of general military health and comfort advice I ever received:

    1) If you can’t eat it, drink it, wear it, or shoot it – DON’T BRING IT.
    2) Travel light and you’ll freeze at night.

    I thought I was clever, bringing that intermediate sleeping bag on that field problem in Germany because it was light and took up less space. Lesson learned. Extreme Cold Weather and a poncho liner. Thanks, SFC Hess, wherever you are.

    • IF you drop your mag (before you have another right near your magwelll to put in) then more people then you might know that your weapon is “empty”, drop your ‘good’ mag during that change and you may lose a little pee. If you trained to not drop your mags, there isn’t much use in changing. Command your use of your firearm, and your firearm will serve you.

      • P.S. You’re never out of Iraq, you always train for your last war.

        D O :

        Ensure that all your mags have no-tilt followers, good springs, and non-deformed feed lips. (Micro survival)

        Ensure that your weapon is one you’d feel comfortable (confident) wading through a river with and still using.

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