Storing Magazines Loaded vs. Unloaded is one of the great gun debates. At work yesterday night one of my co-workers gave me the idea of tackling this huge debate for an article. Both sides of the loaded vs. unloaded argument feel very strongly that they are right. There are good reasons for both methods. Today I’m going to share those reasons.Which is better Storing Magazines Loaded vs. Unloaded and then I’ll share what I chose to do. I know that this will end up being one of the more controversial articles and can’t wait to see the comments!
A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines may be integral to the firearm (fixed) or removable (detachable). The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored in the magazine into a position where they may be loaded into the chamber by the action of the firearm. The detachable magazine is often controversially referred to as a clip or mag.
The practice of keeping your magazines unloaded is for the benefit of reducing wear and tear. When you fully load a magazine it places a lot of stress on the spring. Being under constant stress can eventually weaken the spring so it will not effectively push rounds into the chamber when firing the weapon. With an unloaded magazine your spring will be fresh and should not have any feeding issues when you need it. The downside is that when you do need it you have a bunch of unloaded magazines laying around. Not a lot you can do with empty magazines, you couldn’t even beat a man with them. If you do not have a speed loading tool, which I don’t, loading your mags will take quite a bit of time. Don’t worry I’m sure the bad guys will wait patiently while you load up, they are honorable after all.
Storing Magazines Loaded
Storing Magazines Loaded ensures that when you need a magazine all you have to do is to put it in your weapon. They are ready to go with no wasted time loading them up. Magazines make a great safe storage place for your ammunition, that’s what they were designed for. Like mentioned earlier though storing them loaded can lead to spring weakening. I have had a magazine loaded for up to a year with no issues. Not that I am saying that there could be no weakening, but it still works fine. If I have an issue I can just grab another loaded magazine.
The main mechanism that will weaken the springs in a magazine is loading and unloading them. Storing Magazines Loaded will not weaken them if properly rotated. Rotating every six months is a best practice I follow. Also under loading them by 2 rounds. I load 28 rounds into my AR15 magazines for example.
I can see the logic behind both fields of thought. Metal under enough stress will eventually become weak. Also I know that if I ever truly need a loaded magazine I do not want to spend time loading one. So the method I choose is both, yup both have benefits so I do them both. I try to get my magazines in pairs, half of them will be loaded at any given time. Also not loaded to capacity but one or two under to reduce the maximal stress on the spring. Every few months, let’s say six, I will rotate them. Let the spring rest for a while. This is the best of both worlds with minimal compromise.
So do you store loaded or unloaded? A mixture of the two like myself? Fully loaded or just under? Let me know in the comments!
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