Acquiring Hi-Cap Mags in CA


April 20, 2008, 12:12 PM
Hello All!,
Seems like there are a lot of great folks here. I've enjoyed reading many of your posts. Quick question here... My father and I used to go to the range every weekend when I was younger (maybe about 10-12 years ago). He's going to be giving me my old Beretta 92FS. My only question is... we got 15rnd mags when we purchased it from my cousin back before the ban, and I'm just making sure that I'm reading the laws correctly... my father can't give me those magazines, right? I'm getting my HSC today and wanted to make sure whether I need to go out and get the regular capacity magazines. Thanks!

If you enjoyed reading about "Acquiring Hi-Cap Mags in CA" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 20, 2008, 01:02 PM
I don't live in CA, but I'm pretty sure that neither hicap mags nor registered "assualt" weapons are transferrable to anyone in CA. If he owns the mags, I don't think he can give them to you. If you owned them when the ban was passed, you could recieve them legally, believe. Anyone know differently?

April 20, 2008, 01:31 PM
. . .He's going to be giving me my old Beretta 92FS. . .As long as you owned them before the ban you're good to go. Did you own them before the ban? The answer to that question is the answer to yours. If you're dad is giving you your old 92FS. . .

Whomsoever's name is on the Form 4473 you filled out when you bought the gun is the owner of the mags and he can't transfer them to someone in California. If you aren't that person, tell him to keep the mags until you leave the state.

I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

April 20, 2008, 03:47 PM
First do you and he both live in Calif? I understand all guns are registered there? (find that out who gun is registered to)

That said are there serial numbers on the mags? If they were your mags before (Maybe I missunderstood) you just LOANED them to your father. Heck maybe he used other mags when he had the gun. (if in Calif)
Like most gun laws. They are stupid/contradictary and seem designed to cause law abiding folks to be in grey area.

April 20, 2008, 04:01 PM may have the answer for you. It is an excellent resource.

Bill in SD

April 20, 2008, 04:33 PM
If they are your father's magazines he can not give them to you. Your father cannot even loan them to you. I also agree that you should check out, really good site for CA issues like this.

April 20, 2008, 05:28 PM
Riverdog has it right. If you owned them before 1-Jan-2000 you can keep and use them; you can no longer transfer them to non-LEO inside California.

If your father bought the gun, then it seems the magazines belong to him; he could have given the gun to you (and still can, of course) if you were 18 or older, and could have given you the magazines before 2000.

Remember that your father should file the correct intrafamily transfer form (; you do not need an FFL for this transfer, except that you do need the HSC and FFL's are generally the place to take the test and get the card.

April 20, 2008, 05:57 PM
Thank you all! It's what I suspected. I was hoping i was wrong, so now I'll need to go get some standard mags for my 92fs. Thanks again!

April 20, 2008, 05:59 PM
I say just go ahead and take the magazines. It's not like they have a serial number so they can be registered or are dated.

April 21, 2008, 07:01 AM
Realistically speaking; How is anyone outside of the ATF going to determine the dating of a magazine or really even gonna care?

April 21, 2008, 07:06 AM
ca doj cares, they have thier ways of sticking it too you.

April 21, 2008, 07:38 AM
I'll need to go get some standard mags for my 92fs.

Standard mags is what your dad has, you need the castrated kind.

Sorry, had to poke fun.

April 21, 2008, 04:46 PM
Standard mags is what your dad has, you need the castrated kind.

Sorry, had to poke fun.
In CA, standard mags (10 rounds or less) is what he needs to get.
What his dad has is a "large capacity magazine" (more than 10 rounds), which is defined by CA law.

CA Penal Code 12020(c)
(25) As used in this section, "large-capacity magazine" means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, but shall not be construed to include any of the following:
(A) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds.
(B) A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device.
(C) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

April 21, 2008, 05:06 PM
Realistically speaking; How is anyone outside of the ATF going to determine the dating of a magazine or really even gonna care?
Since most magazines are neither dated nor serialized, and there's no age restriction or record keeping required to buy a magazine, generally there isn't any way to tell the age of a magazine. (There is sometimes - for example, a pistol brand/model that was not manufactured and sold before 2000 cannot reasonably have magazines older than that.)

OTOH, it isn't especially High Road to advocate committing a crime, no matter how silly the law may be or how difficult to successfully enforce. So, posters in this thread have all suggested being cautious and law-abiding. That's Just The Way We Are.

As to magazine capacities, that all kind of depends, I think.

California calls magazines that hold more than 10 rounds "large-capacity". Clearly, if the pistol was sold with a 17-round magazine before California poked its nose in, a "California maximum capacity" magazine is not "high capacity".

So, "large-capacity", usually in scare quotes, refers to California limitations; we can't buy any of those or transfer them to non-LEO in state.

It's my opinion that, as tntwatt indicates, "standard capacity" ought to be used for magazines as sold with the pistol without reference to California. Many 1911-type pistols have a standard capacity of 7. A Sig P245 has a standard capacity of 6. A Glock 21 has a standard capacity of 13.

"High capacity" ought to be used for magazines that hold more rounds than the pistol was ordinarily sold with - 33 round 9mm mags for a Glock 17, for example, or a McCormick 10-round mag for a 1911.

April 21, 2008, 08:34 PM
Exactly as Librarian said. You need to get 'reduced capacity' magazines, not normal capacity.

Normal capacity would be the magazine size and length the pistol was designed with. A magazine that is either single or double stack and does not extend below the pistol grip would be a normal capacity magazine.

As manufactured and designed the 92FS has a 15 round magazine. That is standard.
There is aftermarket magazines than hold 17 rounds and don't extend below the grip. Arguably those could be standard too from one perspective since the dimensions are not changed whatsoever even though it is 2 more than original design.

Extended capacity magazines would be those that slightly protrude below the magazine in my opinion.

Here is my understanding prior to politics naming anything, at least according to the names people actualy used (whether technical or not): "High capacity" usualy refered to abnormaly high prior to any legislation or the "assault weapon" laws. For rifles that term was reserved for drums often holding several times what box magazines did.
For pistols it was the grossly out of place large magazines that did not go with the dimensions of the pistol and extended around twice the length of the grip or more out of the pistol.
A slightly extended capacity was those that just added a lil something, stuck out a lil beyond the grip etc. High capacity meant high capacity, near the limits of what was manufactured.

(start rant)
Funny how terms change, the old standard becomes high. Reminds me of the old normal size packaged junk food servings that became "jumbo" and "king" size after a prior shrinking.
You think "they must be stupid, nobody is going to fall for that." Yet there you are later with people having taken the bait and adjusted thier vocubulary to suite the legislators or manufacturers.
Now those of us without weight problems shopping for normal qauntities have to get "mega" "jumbo" and "ultra" "super" sized things. what was once "mini" is now standard.
Getting a good filling meal as a healthy active person in good shape is a real pain because its all in diet portions (heh just stopped by the store and everything was in inflated priced 100 calorie serving packages at several times per ounce of product cost.) Not everyone considers starving normal because they have several meals in fat stored on thier body, or are relatively physicaly inactive in life.
(end rant)

However by anyone's definition, the 92FS pistol has a mag well designed to hold 15 rounds.
Anything made to hold less is a "reduced capacity magazine". The dimensions of the firearm are not any less, you didn't save any space, so the only purpose is intentionaly reduced capacity. So any magazine for them with less than 15 rounds should properly be termed "reduced capacity".

Gordon Fink
April 22, 2008, 03:20 PM
Do not let your father become a criminal by selling or giving you these “large-capacity” magazines. However, since it is not illegal for you to own or acquire such magazines, you may want to retrieve them from the trash after he throws them away … assuming you haven’t owned the magazines all along.

~G. Fink

If you enjoyed reading about "Acquiring Hi-Cap Mags in CA" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!