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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have various 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP handguns used mainly for plinking but occasionally for potential home defense. I am not active law enforcement and I do not live in a high risk area.

Over the years I have heard a variety of opinions regarding potential feed failures if magazines are left fully loaded for long periods.

It seems as magazine capacities are continually increased there may be the potential for the springs to weaken (especially in high capacity double stack magazines).

I have an XD-M® 5.25″ COMPETITION SERIES .45 ACP on order that may be used for home security.

Does SA (or any major law enforcement agency) have any recommendations for how long fully loaded magazines should be kept and how long magazines should be left empty (for springs to decompress)?

Would there be an advantage to using partially loaded magazines instead of always loading to max capacity?

It seems to me that 6 rounds of .45 ACP should be sufficient (and it makes the gun a lot lighter).
 

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I keep all of my guns fully loaded (+1). Some get shot less often than others. I agree that it can weaken the springs but I can argue that more rounds = more defense. So I'm on the fence about this subject. I'm interested to read comments from others.

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Since you are new, I'll correct your word usage.

There are no such things as "high capacity magazines".
The standard capacity magazine that comes with your gun is just that "standard capacity".

Don't let the TV teach you bad habits.

As to leaving mags loaded, I do.
I have several family members that are cops and me if them hates guns. His duty mags are cycled once a year when he qualifies.
Magazine springs are cheap, if you are worried, just replace them every five years if you aren't using them (not required but to ease your concern).
 

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Modern spring metallurgy has come a long way. Spring steel is worked by cycling, not so much by static load. Case in point - we don't need to jack car up when get home, springs not hurt by sitting with full static load, hurt by bouncing over potholes.

With that said, I don't store long term at full load. Not for springs, but to avoid stress pushing up against feed lips - depends on mags, some might be impacted, I wonder about the poly AR mags. Simply one less than full. Even that may be unnecessary, but no loss for me.

My home defense mags, carry mags and extra mags in car are all full, always.
 

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Since you are new, I'll correct your word usage.

There are no such things as "high capacity magazines".
The standard capacity magazine that comes with your gun is just that "standard capacity".

Don't let the TV teach you bad habits.
Don’t let the Media/radio/social media/cable propagandists/politicians/elected representatives/government appointees/educational system/elitists reassign vocabulary definitions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Since you are new, I'll correct your word usage.

There are no such things as "high capacity magazines".
The standard capacity magazine that comes with your gun is just that "standard capacity".

Don't let the TV teach you bad habits.
Words are just descriptive communications. Some have become political.

For what it is worth I’m 77 and I have played with/been trained on guns and weapons from .22 to 37mm through nuclear since I was 17 and enlisted in the USAF (1961-65).

Magazine spring compression was being discussed when I bought my 1st .45 ACP (Colt MKIV Series 70 Gold Cup National Match) 56 years ago.

Its still a topic of interest to me as I am still interested in other folk‘s experiences and opinions.
 

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My carry gun(s) are always loaded plus 1 and my spares for it are at full capacity when the weapon is in carry rotation. When stored in safe all are left unloaded gun and mags.
Not out of concern of spring weakening or damage to feed lips or anything else. Just dont store weapons loaded is all.

I have several older SA weapons still rocking original mags and springs and all function fine.

Springs weaken from cycles not from static load.

Guns are actually quit robust I often wonder why some feel they have to be “babied” to be reliable.

I much prefer one that can be shale we say rode hard a bit and still function reliably and with out question.

I maintain and treat my weapons with care but Im also not shy about taking them out and thrashing um on occasion.

So leave um loaded or leave um empty your choice.
You will NEVER get a 100% right or wrong answer to the question.


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As I’ve mentioned in other posts—I have, personally, fired a magazine that sat loaded for a minimum of 30 years that functioned fine.

I think spring set is much ado over nothing.

Like .45fan mentioned—if you are really that worried about it, swap out your mag springs every couple of years.

Personally, I keep two different sets of magazines; practice and carry/defense. The latter set are tested with a few cycles, then tested again exclusively with carry loads. After that, they maybe get cycled a couple times a year when I freshen my carry ammo. Minimal wear on springs, have yet to have an issue.
 

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Words are just descriptive communications. Some have become political.

For what it is worth I’m 77 and I have played with/been trained on guns and weapons from .22 to 37mm through nuclear since I was 17 and enlisted in the USAF (1961-65).

Magazine spring compression was being discussed when I bought my 1st .45 ACP (Colt Gold Cup) 56 years ago.

Its still a topic of interest to me as I am still interested in other folk‘s experiences and opinions.
was USAF AP from July 1961 to 1965...howdy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
was USAF AP from July 1961 to 1965...howdy
You probably carried an S&W M15 Combat Masterpiece (my first centerfire). I bought mine from the RAF Alconbury Gun Club. Where were you stationed?

Small world,

Howdy (or Cheers)
 

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If I own a firearm and it has a magazine, it (or they) are always loaded and one is in the chamber of the gun. All my revolvers....the cylinders are fully loaded.
 

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@Jerry Mc -

As @CdnInAz , @Texas40 , @Cuda66 and @BigG XDM noted, modern springs are truly typically quite durable in this sense, and that a modern defensive/duty-grade firearm's magazine spring (as well as other springs) typically do not weaken appreciably over even decades' worth of static storage, but instead lose their capabilities due to repeated use-cycles.

In 2015, I wrote the following in relation to another member's question, and it still applies today:


Albeit with a couple of caveats:

(1) I've now stored a fully loaded 19-round XDm magazine for for 8 years, and it still cycled and functioned perfectly.

and (2), I also have a bit of hard data in terms of the durability of the factory magazine springs (remembering that my purchase of these were c. 2010/11):


^ My screen-mane on M4C.et is the same as it is here, and in that thread, I detail not only my extended experiences with XDm magazine springs, but also deep-dives a bit into the overall durability/reliability of the platform, via old threads on the Brian Enos Forums.

Which then leads well to this:


^ At the bottom of this reply of mine, you can see a series of 3 pictures that shows the condition of the followers and feed lips of some of my perpetually in-use practice/training magazines. It's my hope that from seeing these, it'll give you a bit of peace-of-mind in terms of long-term -and frequent- use.

Finally, little later on in the thread to minimum freebore, I wrote the following, which I also think is applicable for this discussion:

A magazine's stated capacity is its stated capacity - if it is spec'ed for X rounds, then it is designed for just that. Assuming that everything is working properly ( more on this, in a second ;) ), the magazine should work, 100% of the time, at that capacity.

In the modern sense, the practice of down-loading is not to somehow make the magazine more reliable either in storage or for active function. Rather, it is to help the end-user achieve more-certain magazine seating when reloading with the bolt/slide forward. There is less compression of the magazine spring via the downloaded cartridge stack, which makes for easier latching of the magazine (search YouTube for the Vickers/Hackthorn/Super Dave Harrington video in which they talk about their personal preferences for Glock modifications, and you'll find that they go through this consideration).

The critical assumption, however, is that the magazine is working properly. There is no other way of determining this other than to vet that magazine for yourself: and if it doesn't work reliably as-spec'ed? Then you've got two options - either send it back to the manufacturer for a resolution, or make a note of it and remember to accommodate it from then on (this can be anything from trash-binning it to marking it "for training use only").
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Jerry Mc -

A magazine's stated capacity is its stated capacity - if it is spec'ed for X rounds, then it is designed for just that. Assuming that everything is working properly ( more on this, in a second ;) ), the magazine should work, 100% of the time, at that capacity.

In the modern sense, the practice of down-loading is not to somehow make the magazine more reliable either in storage or for active function. Rather, it is to help the end-user achieve more-certain magazine seating when reloading with the bolt/slide forward. There is less compression of the magazine spring via the downloaded cartridge stack, which makes for easier latching of the magazine (search YouTube for the Vickers/Hackthorn/Super Dave Harrington video in which they talk about their personal preferences for Glock modifications, and you'll find that they go through this consideration).
Very useful information.

I often find it difficult to insert fully loaded magazines into a handgun that has the slide forward (with or without a cartridge loaded).

Now I tend to leave the magazines with at least one less cartridge loaded.

I never planned on getting old.
 

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^ While I do agree that getting old sucks (I know I am fairly young, at 46, but I am older than I have ever been! 😅 🤪 ), rest assured that it's not just age and decrease in raw muscle strength that's problematic in this specific context. :)

Some guns/magazines are just harder to full-insert with, on a closed bolt/slide:


I know this is about ARs 😅, but in much the same way The Triumvirate that I've referenced above voiced their preference for Glock mags, the gentleman in the video above - Chuck Pressburg - is also a true SME, and he demonstrates the actual considerations that should solve "the great Internet debate" about whether to fully pack any AR15's magazine.

As long as what you do makes sense for you - and is not objectively wrong (this is the catch-all, of-course) - hey, more power to ya! (y)

For me I do admit that a full stack with any of my XDm magazines (be it the 13-round 9mm 3.8 Compact or the 19-round full-size) makes it a bit harder to insert on a closed-slide (the magazine likes to "bounce out"), but this is a non-issue for me because:
  • I am either doing this "full load" in an administrative manner, during which I have the time and ability to both devote my full attention to insure that every aspect of loading the gun (including seating the magazine and insuring that it is latched) is performed properly or, alternatively,
  • I full-stack the spare mag I carry, because my reasoning is that as a civilian legally armed defensive shooter, if I ever do end up needing that spare magazine, it would be that I have either expended all of my onboard ammo or need to discard that initial magazine due to an induced stoppage: in both cases, that extra round (or two, depending on how I prefer to down-load) could actually mean the difference between life and death.
The above, versus how my home-defense AR is staged: with 28 rounds per spare magazine (onboard is a full 30)....because my teenage daughter has trouble fully seating the to-the-brim magazine on a closed-bolt. ;)

As long as what you do makes sense for you - and is not objectively wrong - it's all good.
 

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Very useful information.

I often find it difficult to insert fully loaded magazines into a handgun that has the slide forward (with or without a cartridge loaded).

Now I tend to leave the magazines with at least one less cartridge loaded.

I never planned on getting old.
I Always load plus 1. I just slap it on the arse real good to get it in.
BTW 60 yrs

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
^ While I do agree that getting old sucks (I know I am fairly young, at 46, but I am older than I have ever been! 😅 🤪 ), rest assured that it's not just age and decrease in raw muscle strength that's problematic in this specific context. :)

Some guns/magazines are just harder to full-insert with, on a closed bolt/slide:


I know this is about ARs 😅, but in much the same way The Triumvirate that I've referenced above voiced their preference for Glock mags, the gentleman in the video above - Chuck Pressburg - is also a true SME, and he demonstrates the actual considerations that should solve "the great Internet debate" about whether to fully pack any AR15's magazine.

As long as what you do makes sense for you - and is not objectively wrong (this is the catch-all, of-course) - hey, more power to ya! (y)

For me I do admit that a full stack with any of my XDm magazines (be it the 13-round 9mm 3.8 Compact or the 19-round full-size) makes it a bit harder to insert on a closed-slide (the magazine likes to "bounce out"), but this is a non-issue for me because:
  • I am either doing this "full load" in an administrative manner, during which I have the time and ability to both devote my full attention to insure that every aspect of loading the gun (including seating the magazine and insuring that it is latched) is performed properly or, alternatively,
  • I full-stack the spare mag I carry, because my reasoning is that as a civilian legally armed defensive shooter, if I ever do end up needing that spare magazine, it would be that I have either expended all of my onboard ammo or need to discard that initial magazine due to an induced stoppage: in both cases, that extra round (or two, depending on how I prefer to down-load) could actually mean the difference between life and death.
The above, versus how my home-defense AR is staged: with 28 rounds per spare magazine (onboard is a full 30)....because my teenage daughter has trouble fully seating the to-the-brim magazine on a closed-bolt. ;)

As long as what you do makes sense for you - and is not objectively wrong - it's all good.
I watched the AR-15 video and it highlighted a recent case (unrelated to the AR-15 video) where a few days ago my Beretta M9-22 (.22 LR) twice dropped fully loaded magazines on the ground. This was probably because the fully loaded magazine did not fully seat. They are 15 round magazines and I normally carry nine of them out to shoot at a time.

It is quite common for me to get misfires with my old 22 LR ammunition. When I clear the dud I close the slide and this is probably when I inserted a fully loaded magazine that failed to seat properly.

With a .22 LR a dud or misfire and even a dropped magazine is no big deal.

My point is that dropping a 9mm or .40 or .45 magazine would be a really big deal in a life or death situation.

It’s an easy enough solution for me to load one or fewer cartridges in a 9mm or .40 or .45 magazine.

“As long as what you do makes sense for you - and is not objectively wrong - it's all good.”

I like it.
 

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I Always load plus 1. I just slap it on the arse real good to get it in.
^ Some prefer the "slap" - others prefer the "smash."

I'm among the latter - I don't know why, but when I "slap," I get a bounce-out more often than not, which of-course doesn't help the magazine seat properly. 😅 Might just be the amount of meat on my palms! :p:ROFLMAO:

I instead prefer a "smash" or "smush," where at the end of the insertion, I kinda "push" the magazine home a bit more: smashing/smushing the heels of my hands together, in a manner of speaking. Since my normal handgun reload has me "dropping the gun onto the mag" instead of feeding the mag into the gun, this smash/smoosh doesn't cost any more time.
 

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^ Some prefer the "slap" - others prefer the "smash."

I'm among the latter - I don't know why, but when I "slap," I get a bounce-out more often than not, which of-course doesn't help the magazine seat properly. Might just be the amount of meat on my palms! :p:ROFLMAO:

I instead prefer a "smash" or "smush," where at the end of the insertion, I kinda "push" the magazine home a bit more: smashing/smushing the heels of my hands together, in a manner of speaking. Since my normal handgun reload has me "dropping the gun onto the mag" instead of feeding the mag into the gun, this smash/smoosh doesn't cost any more time.
It basically comes down to how long you allow the mag catch to return to the fully engaged position, measured in microseconds. A “smush” will provide a longer window of time vs a “slap”.

Someone with a high speed camera and a cutaway grip could easily document this, but I think it is intuitively obvious.
 

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Modern spring metallurgy has come a long way. Spring steel is worked by cycling, not so much by static load. Case in point - we don't need to jack car up when get home, springs not hurt by sitting with full static load, hurt by bouncing over potholes.

With that said, I don't store long term at full load. Not for springs, but to avoid stress pushing up against feed lips - depends on mags, some might be impacted, I wonder about the poly AR mags. Simply one less than full. Even that may be unnecessary, but no loss for me.

My home defense mags, carry mags and extra mags in car are all full, always.
Friend of mine, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, armory, mag capacity, less one. One in the chamber, total number of rounds. Don't know if it's right or wrong, sounded legit. Its the way all my mags are loaded.
Magazine springs are supposed to be under pressure / load. Not unsprung.
Just sayin


What about revolvers?
My governor is also always loaded. What care is needed? Asking for a dumbie...

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