How do you mark your magazines?


August 31, 2013, 05:49 PM
I'm looking to mark my mags. I want to distinguish between range and "duty" service and mark the mags individually to keep track of them, how many are left/full and so on. Also if I have any issues it should help get that mag out of the rotation.

I suppose my primary methods in considering are tape and paint. What type of tape or paint do you use and where do you apply it on the mag?

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August 31, 2013, 06:14 PM
I use silver and gold paint pens. If your mags are silver in color, a black sharpie will work. Be prepared to renew the markings from time to time.

August 31, 2013, 07:23 PM
Bought a Krylon "brights" yellow paint pen at wally several years ago.
The best mag marker I've used.. By far.
Silver mag, black mag, doesn't matter.

August 31, 2013, 07:25 PM
I use maroon/red paint pens. I mainly use it to keep track of which mags cause problems. All of my mags work, so I don't have any 'range only' mags.

August 31, 2013, 07:30 PM
Another paint pen user here

August 31, 2013, 08:39 PM
White appliance touch-up paint on handgun mags. (1, 2, 3, 4, etc)

Or more likely Red, Green, & Blue florescent stick-on spot dot on rifle mags.
Write notes on them with a black sharpie pen.

Or a wrap of colored vinyl electrical tape around the base.
You can spot them from 30 yards away.


August 31, 2013, 08:50 PM
I use a Brother handheld labelmaker. The labels are pretty tough and can be peeled off.

August 31, 2013, 09:05 PM
Labels from label maker and colored electrical tape are both great ideas. Thanks!

August 31, 2013, 09:21 PM
I don't mark mine and maybe this is a dumb question. why should I? I use my duty mags at the range. I want to make sure my carry mags function well before I carry them. Not trying to start a flame I honestly curious to know if I should start marking them

August 31, 2013, 09:27 PM
Often times, a gun that suddenly stops working 100% like it always has is a magazine related problem.

Without being able to positively I.D. the mag causing the problem?
They all look exactly the same, right???

You can be chasing your tail in an ever-tightening circle with ammo and gunsmithing costs trying to get the gun 100% reliable again.

Until you finally figure out it is the same mag causing the problem every time.

If they are numbered?
Pretty easy to remember it is the #2 or # 7 mag every time causing the feed problems.


August 31, 2013, 09:38 PM
I rarely have mag failures. I only keep mags that are 100% reliable. If I have any failures while shooting I normally always troubleshoot the problem on the spot. I always bring multiple mags so it's pretty easy to ID a mag related problem.

I give a troublesome mag some time to work itself out so I might separate it from its brothers for a couple of range sessions. Bad magazines go down range and become reactive targets. It's quite satisfying shooting a mag that is causing problems.

August 31, 2013, 10:06 PM
i mark all my magazines with tape. walmart sells packages of like 4-5 different colors pretty cheap. it works well. for PMAGs, i use different tape for different loads. i use red tape for my 75g OTM reloads. I use green tape for my Prvi M193 factory ammo. I use blue tape for 55g reloads. etc.

For bolt guns, I mark my AICS mags with red tape. I mark my AIAW mags with white tape.

as was said above, you can see it from a long way away. it stands out well, but lots of people in matches do this. I use a sharpie and write my initials on the tape on the flat side, and then i write a number on the spine.

that way, i can instantly
-know which mags belong to me
-know what ammo is in the mag
-correlate malfunctions with mags

example below

August 31, 2013, 10:41 PM
I don't have any unreliable magazines, and if I did I would pull it out of service immediately until I either repair it or dispose of it.

I used to have a ton of 1911 magazines...about 50 extra ones. I got them when they were going to be tossed out at one of my commands.

Cleaned them up, tested every one of them to ensure they worked flawlessly, then cleaned them again and stored them away. I gave them away as gifts to anybody I knew who didn't have at least one extra magazine for their 1911.

I have 8 or 9 for my Colt (my minimum desired is 7). I have 5 magazines for my Beretta. I have 2 for my AMT. And my wife's .22 rifle has 6. There are some markings on the magazines which I can use to differentiate between them, but realistically I don't need it because I would pull an unreliable one out of service immediately anyway.

That's just me, though. I like the marker pen idea.

August 31, 2013, 10:47 PM
why do you have to mark them, mine got my address on them when Itake them out of the mail box. I don't buy any at the store.

August 31, 2013, 10:56 PM
I think some or you all may shoot differently than me and have different needs.

Shooting with friends with the same guns, don't want to mix up mags. Shooting competitions it would help to have them numbered and it could help ID what ammo is in which mags too.

August 31, 2013, 11:20 PM
why do you have to mark them, mine got my address on them when Itake them out of the mail box. I don't buy any at the store.

You don't mark them with your contact info... A simple number or just a color will do. It allows you to identify what is in each mag, or which mag caused a malfunction and should not be used.

I honestly have no idea what your post even means.

September 1, 2013, 06:05 AM
I use a paint pen made by Dykem. Yes, the paint wears off eventually but you can touch up the markings when you are maintaining the mags.

I number the mags sequentially per type.

The only thing I might change is use my initials along with a sequence number if I got back into IDPA or something similar.

September 1, 2013, 10:05 AM
I just use a plain ole sharpie. Works great for everything I have.

September 1, 2013, 12:41 PM
An Elt engraving pin will do a good job and will not come off like paint.

September 1, 2013, 03:01 PM
I've used:
deliberate scratches
industrial black sharpie
silver sharpie
various sharpie with clear tape over top
tape wrapped around (mag must protrude from gun when in use)
nail polish dots in baseplate grooves
labelmaker labels

... all have good and bad aspects, none strike me as "best" in general ...

one version of "best" ... Tape wrap on mags that hang out of the weapon anyway is pretty simple, degrease the mag body and wrap brightly colored elec. tape around snugly, then write on that if you like.

another version of "best" ... labelmaker on the baseplate won't come off for a long time, use two smaller labels rather than one big one, then if one falls off you're not left guessing. Labels would read "BFD _#_" or similar if I was making them.

September 2, 2013, 04:51 PM
Depending on the type of mag, you can get customized floor plates to distinguish between mag use. I know there are dozens of companies for Glocks where you can order custom floor plates with pretty much whatever you want on the bottom.

September 2, 2013, 05:06 PM
I'm lucky enough to have access to a laser engraver. I just put my initials and a number on each one.

September 2, 2013, 05:34 PM
I use a white craft pen you can find at Michael's. Works great on pretty much any surface.

September 2, 2013, 06:31 PM
Silver or gold Sharpie work great on black gear, and black Sharpie on anything other thar black gear.

September 9, 2013, 01:47 AM
Krylon + a stencil and a distinct number that only means something to me. (It's my roller derby number)

I didn't do this with all my mags, just the ones I use in competition.

Mags that malfunction get NFG (tradition of my dad's) written on them in China Marker (grease pencil for you non art types) until they can be sorted out.

September 9, 2013, 02:00 AM
I do something similar for my 9mm Sterling SMG, like Taliv, except for when hunting coyote and such. I have various 34 round magazines, and have blue tape around the bottom for hunting hollowpoints, red tape on the bottom for hot (+P+ or so) FN-FMJ's and no tape on standard target ball ammunition. It's just so I can identify quick in low light and such.

September 14, 2013, 11:03 AM
I just use a plain ole sharpie. Works great for everything I have.
A silver sharpie works for me. Having them marked helps identify and quickly fix problems such as not locking the slide back on the last shot (solved by replacement of a fatigued magazine spring), or returning the mags to the owner at an IDPA/USPSA match (which is appreciated given the high cost of pistol magazines these days).

September 14, 2013, 03:28 PM
I use paint markers. I use different colors for each mag. its not very obvious or obnoxious. I just draw a line down the entire length of the mag.

September 14, 2013, 08:41 PM
I paint the base plates of my range magazines (usually bright orange), then number them with a Sharpie - helps keep track of them at training classes, competitions and other events where there are a lot of shooters about.

Duty/home defense mags stay black.

September 15, 2013, 03:21 PM
I've found a short term solution. I've got various rolls of colored tape around the house. I've just been sticking small pieces on the bottom of the mags. Have a wide enough variety that I can indicate what ammo is in them too. Temporary I'm sure but its cheap and works. Will grab some paint pens eventually.

September 15, 2013, 03:38 PM
blue masking tape and a sharpie

September 15, 2013, 06:10 PM
I've started keeping a black sharpie in my range back... think I will look for one of those paint pens the next time at Wally World. I haven't gotten to the point of marking every single mag, keeping records, etc. However, I do mark mags that give me trouble. Sometimes a "troubled" magazine simply needs a cleaning, or needs fresh springs. Sometimes it needs to be chucked. When I'm in the middle of a range session and I start having problems, I want to be able to mark a mag to "quarantine" it. I will prove the gun with other magazines & ammo, and then go back to the problem mag to try and replicate the failure. It helps me answer the question "is it the mag or is it the gun?".

October 7, 2013, 02:09 PM
If I'm shooting with a bunch of buddies, I wrap colored tape at the base to identify my own mags. If I have one I suspect, I mark it with a Krylon pen on the floorplate.

Not to sound like a fanboy, but I can't remember the last time I had a malfunctioning Pmag.

Mark H.

October 7, 2013, 02:55 PM
i've broken several PMAGs but none lately.

that statement probably says more about slacking off on training than improvements in PMAG quality

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