Making the Case for More Magazines
I am often surprised when people talk about having only one or two magazine for their gun. Sometimes, that is perfectly fine, like when the gun is for recreation, hunting, or part of a collection. The thing that really confuses me is why people think it is okay to only have a couple magazines for the gun they choose to carry with them or use for home defense. In this article, I use the terms, “duty,” or “duty use.” Those terms to me encompasses any serious use of a gun, whether you are defending yourself and loved ones, or using your gun as a police officer or military member in the course of those duties.
Invariably, the same people that only have a couple magazine for duty uses are somewhat taken aback when I tell them I have upwards of 100 rifle and 50 pistol magazines, and I still want more. I am not suggesting that you rush out and buy enough magazines to build a new shed with. Instead, for those of you with only a couple, let us take a look at real reasons why you would not want more magazines first, then reasons why you may want more. Credit for the below goes to the myriad of instructors and mentors I have had over the last 10 years of really learning about practical usage of guns.
-Magazines cost money. That is really the only real reason I can think of for choosing to not buy more magazines. Acquiring more magazines requires an investment that may not fit your priorities.
Now we get to the positives of having more magazines:
-Magazines for popular defensive use guns (especially AR-15 rifles and Glock handguns) are generally affordable, especially if you space out buying them over longer periods of time.
-Magazines are wear items that have a service life usually much shorter than the guns that use them.
-Magazines cause the majority of malfunctions in guns. Having more magazines means that if one starts to cause problems, it can be tossed in the trash without any significant impact (side note: for this purpose, numbering your magazines becomes very important).
-Having more means you can dedicate your magazines for the range or duty use. Our magazines get used at the range far more than anywhere else. Since they wear and break with use, dedicating magazines for duty means that they will be less likely to fail. Likewise, having dedicated practice magazines means that you can beat and bang on them with confidence. If you need to use your gun for duty, those magazines are the most reliable ones you have, not the ones you practice with.
-Having more means you can load more magazines before going to the range, saving considerable time at the range. This is beneficial in many ways. Many ranges charge by the hour. Wasting time loading magazines while on the clock at the range is a waste of money. Having more magazines loaded up first also ensures you can concentrate more on what you are doing.
-Similarly, having more means being able to load more magazines before going to a training class. This is huge for me. Many training classes cost upwards of $1000 when all costs are added up, and I want to get the most out of that investment. I have seen a lot of people spend their time at classes loading magazines instead of taking notes, talking with the instructor, or analyzing what they did. That means they will likely get less out of the class than if they had brought more loaded magazines with them.
Buying a lot of magazines is made far easier when you consolidate calibers and firearm types. Among other reasons that I like Glock handguns is that I can use their double stack 9mm magazines in several different sized guns. I can have a couple Glock factory magazines for carry in each handgun, plus dozens more less expensive Magpul magazines that cost less than half of the Glock magazines. Those Magpul magazines are perfectly suitable for range trips and training, and arguably good enough for carry and duty. The same goes for rifles, and a reason I like the AR-15. Good quality aluminum GI magazines and the Magpul MOE magazines are often available for less than $10 each. If you have a gun that takes harder to find and more expensive magazines, figure out your budget so that over time you can afford enough magazines to at least have separate duty and range magazines if you intend to use that gun for duty type uses. In the end, extra magazines are something you should have to ensure efficiency and reliability of your gun. Having more means you can minimize the chances of failure of your duty magazines, plus get the most out of your practice time and training. They are an often overlooked part of the equation that may deserve some more attention.