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Glock magazines, how long do they last?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by one45auto, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. one45auto

    one45auto Well-Known Member

    I have two fifteen rounders which came with my pre-ban Glock 19 when I purchased it this past summer. That would make them ten years old at the very least. I don't know whether the previous owner kept them loaded or not, though the gun looks as if it hasn't seen much use. I've read elsewhere that 1911 magazines can be kept loaded for years without losing functional tension (and mine have all held up wonderfully), but I'm unfamiliar with the Glock.

    My questions are:

    1) How long do such magazines hold thier spring tension?

    2) How many rounds do you generally keep loaded for home defense? The whole fifteen?

    3) How many spare magazines do you have, or would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance for any and all information.
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Well, the spring experts will tell you that leaving them loaded has no effect on the springs.

    Then, if you tell them that the springs are too stiff, they'll tell you to load them full and let them sit for awhile. Seems to me if the first one is true then this won't do anything...

    Then the spring experts will tell you that it's cycling the spring that wears it out, not leaving it compressed. But the folks who make and service spring-piston airguns will tell you not to leave your spring airgun cocked for long periods of time because it will weaken the spring. Well, at least that's something you can test...

    Sure enough--just like us spring NON-experts figured--leaving a spring airgun cocked for a long time will cause it to shoot at lower velocity.

    Now--(don't forget I'm not a spring expert)--I figure that means that leaving that spring in that airgun compressed caused it to get weaker. Maybe magazine springs are special, and unlike other springs they don't get weaker when they're left compressed for a long time--or maybe spring airgun springs are special and they're the only kind of springs that get weaker when you leave them compressed--I wouldn't bet on either one...

    Of course there is one other thing. Double column mag springs and spring airgun springs tend to be compressed to coil-lock. Single column mag springs often have a little less stress on them.

    Again, not being an expert, I figure that maybe compressing a spring as far as it will go and leaving it that way for a long time is a lot worse for it than compressing it NEARLY as far as you can smash it and leaving it for the same amount of time.

    Of course, cycling a spring will also wear it out--no question. Fortunately magazine springs are pretty cheap. You can replace them every few years and hardly miss the money it takes to do it.

    If I'm right on the coil-lock guess I made, then it might also be smart to underload your double-column mags by one or two rounds if you mean to leave them loaded for a long spell.
  3. Blueduck

    Blueduck Well-Known Member

    I'd like to nominate JohnKSa as the official spring expert of THR ;)

    On how many mags you need I'm sure there are many views.

    I'm shopping until I have at least 5 ( 1 in gun 2 on hip, 2 spares). I can see just a small backup gun as needing less and a competition gun needing more. Could also see having extra "Hi-Caps" just in case legislation went through again...
  4. carpettbaggerr

    carpettbaggerr Well-Known Member

    Those tupperware Glock mags only last 8 years. Send them to me and I'll dispose of them properly.
  5. JerryM

    JerryM Well-Known Member


    Me thinks that you have one of them ulterior motives. Ain't there no honor among high capacity magazines droolers??:D :D

  6. NMshooter

    NMshooter Well-Known Member

    They do wear out. If those magazines don't perform flawlessly out at the range replace the springs. If you still have problems replace the followers. If that doesn't fix it you have training magazines which may be abused as needed. :)

    I like to keep 4 to 6 mags, at least twice what I keep loaded, to allow for spares. Fully loaded that is, because springs are cheap. I shoot those mags a couple times a year when rotating mags and ammo.
  7. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Well-Known Member

    The two that came with my Glock 17 back in 1987 are still functioning reliably. They have been loaded since that date also.
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    'Preciate that. But I figure that I have a lot more wiggle room for speculatin' and theorizin' as a non-expert. ;) :D

    Clearly there is anecdotal evidence of mags being loaded a long time with no ill effect. There's also evidence of mag springs getting weak and failing.

    I'm guessing that the higher the quality of the spring, the more resistant it's going to be to failure. And that some of the anecdotes about failing mag springs are probably related to defective or poor quality springs.

    Still, with my luck, I'll end up with a defective spring (being a non-expert I can't tell the difference ;) ) and it will fail on me when I need it most. So I underload my double-column hi-cap mags by a round or two if they're going to be loaded for a spell. It seems that there is at least some evidence that this does reduce the stress on the spring (and maybe the followers too) and can reduce the chances of mag failures.

    All that aside--I've never had a single good quality magazine fail to operate as advertised--have had some cheapos go "Tango Uniform" on me though.

    I have also had a couple of new mags with springs so strong that you had to really huff & puff to get that last round in--and then grunt and groan to get it locked into the gun. I figure a spring like that can take a lot of weakening before it gives you any trouble. Leaving them fully loaded for several weeks did help the situation. ;)

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