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magazine drops

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by HEAVY METAL 1, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. HEAVY METAL 1

    HEAVY METAL 1 Member

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    I have never done a "combat reload" w/ any of my semi-auto pistols for fear of magazine damage and at the best getting it dirty. For those who do train in that manner, how have your magazines held up?
     
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Oh, man. Go to any USPSA match and you will see all kinds of magazines getting dropped, mostly with significant numbers of rounds still in them.* Often while the shooter is running full tilt, sometimes kicking them by accident. It's necessary in that game. People who play that game seriously have dropped all their mags thousands of times.

    Can it damage a magazine? Yes, it absolutely can. It is likely to happen in any particular drop? No. It's virtually risk-free shooting on natural terrain (dirt or grass). There's a bit more risk doing it on hard concrete, but I shoot weekly USPSA indoor matches and drop magazines 2-5 times per week on a hard concrete floor. Eventually you can bend a feed lip or crack a tube, but these are rare for most magazine types. More common is damaging a baseplate/basepad. I end up replacing those every couple of years. But I replace mag springs annually, too. I consider magazines to be wear items.

    If I had a gun where replacement magazines were very, very difficult to find, I wouldn't do it. But for anything with readily available magazines, the "burn rate" on magazine cost is an infinitesimal fraction of ammo cost.

    Dropping into sandy or silty dirt can definitely gum up the magazine. This is why many USPSA competitors carry magazine brushes and disassemble and brush out their magazines during matches if they're landing in fine-grained soil.

    *More rounds onboard means more momentum when the mag hits the floor. An empty magazine just doesn't hit with much force, and the risk of any magazine damage is therefore even lower.
     
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  3. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    ^ What he said.

    The only thing I would add is Baby Bottle brushes are great for cleaning mags + never use lube in a magazine.
     
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  4. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Not a concern in the least with any modern semiauto pistols.

    As an instructor, ranger master and range safety officer I seen hundreds (thousands over the course of a year) of pistol mags dropped on to gravel, dirt and into mud puddles weekly.
     
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  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    1) It's interesting how many things are considered "risky" or "questionable" in some broader shooting circles that I literally don't give a second thought to because of USPSA. Dropping half-full magazines is just one example. Drawing rapidly, cranking off rounds at 5+ per second rates, running with a loaded gun, standing close to (but slightly behind) someone else running with a loaded gun, shooting while moving... all these things "freak out" some significant portion of the shooting population, but I do and see them literally weekly. Once you get acclimated to that environment, questions about whether it's ok to drop magazines or whether a range allows more than 1 shot per second are very humorous.

    2) I like teflon-based lube in my magazines, with no apparent liquid remnants. Agreed re: conventional oils that depend on wetness for lubrication.
     
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  6. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    I have guns for which the magazines -- if you can find them -- cost $100 or more. I wouldn't dream of dropping those magazines. Of course I don't shoot much anymore anyway.
     
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  7. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Go to a USPSA match and you'll see these get dropped and kicked around. https://www.shootersconnectionstore...lete-STI-Style-Magazine-9mm38-Cal--P3812.aspx

    They're over your $100 bar by a bit. But, they are fungible and readily available on the market. As I noted in my earlier post, I wouldn't drop mags that couldn't be replaced. But if they can... use 'em as they were intended, which includes dropping them.
     
  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Dry lubes like graphite powder if you have to use anything... but if your having to do that you should go ahead and replace that magazine anyway.
     
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Magazines are wear items anyhow and will eventually need to be replaced and or rebuilt, if possible, no matter what they cost. One of the reasons why they become extremely rare and unavailable for some guns.
     
  10. Thibaut

    Thibaut Member

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    Dropping any magazine seems kind of dramatic to me no matter its worth but I guess the whole point of that exercise is real urgency or virtual, thereof. I never drop one on purpose. You sure dropped a magazine on pregnant lady with AR15. Heh.
     
  11. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    You're messing with us right?
     
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  12. HEAVY METAL 1

    HEAVY METAL 1 Member

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    No, mine was a serious question. If they are as durable as the consensus here says then I will start to train thusly. At more than $20.00 or so each I didn't want to damage one if they could only dropped once, then be ruined. The "dirty" phrase was of my concern of introducing harmful dirt into the weapon.
     
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  13. HEAVY METAL 1

    HEAVY METAL 1 Member

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    FFOAM----another Jeremiah Johnson fan in the house I see. I give that my stamp of approval.
     
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  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think I have any magazines for my handguns which were that affordable...most of mine run in the $35-$40 range

    Magazines for my H&K P7 commonly run over $100, so I bought up a couple dozen when I found them for <$70...but you can run them over with a truck and they'd still be serviceable.

    Single stack magazines, like for a 1911, seem to wear the fastest. But they should be considered wear/consumable item which need to be replaced on a regular basis...like brake pads on a car. I normally buy them in sets of 10
     
  15. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    You didn't mention what kind of magazines you were talking about but there are several brands that you can buy aftermarket magazines for that are cheaper than the OEM magazines.

    I use MagPul magazines for all my class and range use. I've never had a problem with them and I've dropped them, stepped on them and kicked them numerous times with no issues.
     
  16. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I agree with the other guys, I shoot 3Gun & IDPA and have taken multiple defensive pistol and carbine classes.

    3Gun mags get dumped in the dirt-gravel-grass.
    IDPA the club I shoot most in is hosted at an indoor range, mags get dumped on the concrete
    Classes-typical outdoor range
    My personal range where I practice is gravel

    All of the above conditions; stepped on, kicked etc.

    Zero issues, clean them periodically, and keep in mind they're a consumable item.....
     
  17. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    I'm not a competition shooter by any stretch, but did enter an action shooting league a few years ago. You could shoot pretty much anything you wanted. So there were plenty of glocks, cz's, ect...most had 17 or 18 round mags. I had a 1911, in 45 so I had either 8 or 7 round mags. The stages ran anywhere from 30 to almost 50 rounds. I was raining mags all over the place, kicking them, stepping on them...by the end of some stages, I'd have 6 or 7 mags on the ground, a few with at least some rounds in them. Nothing bent, nothing dirty enough that a few wipes on my pants couldn't remedy. And none of my mags have rubber bumpers on the bottom.
    Side note...I ended up in the middle of the pack, which i figured wasn't too shabby considering i had at least twice as many reloads as everyone else
     
  18. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    As referenced above, there are some games where dropping magazines is effectively mandatory. Trying to avoid dropping magazines freely in USPSA would be like trying to win a car race while keeping the eco-meter in the 35+mpg range the whole time. Grossly counterproductive to the point of the competition.
     
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  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Most service-grade guns (polymer striker fired guns, for example) will be extremely tolerant of dirt. If you get into guns that are much more tightly fit, a small amount of foreign material can start to cause binding or even wear that changes the super-tight clearances.

    The easy solution is to pay attention to the ground where you are dropping the mags and then look at the retrieved mags themselves. On any relatively firm surface, including concrete or gravel or wood decking, you're extremely unlikely to pick up any significant amount of dirt. On grass or pine straw, there's the possibility of a magazine lip landing with enough force and the right angle to "dig" a small amount of dirt into the top of the magazine... so it's worth a momentary inspection before you put that mag back on your belt or in the gun. You should slightly depress the follower (or the top round if there are rounds left in it) just to see if there's any dirt that has gotten inside past the lip that is "hidden" by the follower at full extension. Takes about 1-2 seconds.

    If you're dropping magazines in fine silt or sand, or into serious mud, just assume that junk is getting into the mag. Disassemble and run a brush or rag up the tube, then reassemble before reloading the mags.
     
  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    If you actually need to perform a tactical reload, it is during a dramatic event indeed. It's very common practice with competitive shooters to my understanding, but I am not one of them. It isn't a bad practice during range sessions, if in an appropriate place, to shoot a magazine as accurately and quickly as possible, drop the magazine to the ground, and load another magazine and begin firing again. I do it almost every outdoor range session to practice quick reloads.

    There's two bits of good news. Most modern magazines I've used are quite robust and can be dropped many times without significant damage. Exceptions may exist. The other bit of good news is $20 magazines are on the cheapest side of magazine purchases you will find, short of just an awesome sale. Buy lots at that price.

    Magazines are consumable items. Parts can be replaced to extend the life of the magazine, but eventually you'll want to replace them. I typically keep 2 or 3 magazines in regular use, and another 5 or 6 new in a box. If I was a competitive shooter that number would likely be like 12 in regular use and another 20 new ones in a box.
     
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  21. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I think this is definitely one of those "level of participation" things. For some people, 3 magazines for a gun is gracious plenty. Even if one eventually breaks, they still have twice as many as they need for standing at the range and punching paper or sticking in an IWB holster. For others, 8-12 tubes would be the bare minimum, and they'd anticipate regular replacement. For some people, it's an affront to their financial honor if the manufacturer doesn't include "enough" magazines with the gun, and others might have $500+ worth of magazines and magazine components on hand for one particular gun.

    You can find this in almost any gear-involved endeavor. If you're buying a starter drum kit for your kid, paying $200 for a pack of "all the cymbals he needs" might seem a little steep but fair. A serious musician might spend $800 on one cymbal alone out of a dozen or more they use. A commute-to-work driver might weigh carefully the extra cost of the 60k-rated tires versus the 45k rated ones and try to figure out which has the lower total cost of ownership by $100; the guy who takes his car to track days might spend $1k+ on a set of tires that he plans to use a handful of times.
     
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  22. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Absolutely. For my current ability to actually get out and shoot, what I currently own is plenty. I have brand new magazines I bought several years ago. My work schedule is pretty restrictive in my current job, and I only get to shoot 7000-8000 rounds per year now. Which is nothing when you consider it's spread between multiple guns, and multiple magazines. I honestly feel it's the minimum to even maintain my competency for self defense.

    I still buy more magazines when sales happen though, and my stockpile of new mags per gun will likely increase to 10 or more in the new future.
     
  23. mcb

    mcb Member

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    ALTDave sort has this all covered.

    I started shooting USPSA in 2005 and since that start I have busted 3 or 4 base pads dropping magazines on concrete. That was a quick and easy fix, if slightly costly. I have had a couple mag bodies dented or bent by being dropped or step on by myself, RO's or squad-mates resetting stages. Most of the time it was non-issue and in the few it wasn't a few minutes with a piece of bar stock in my bench vice and a dead blow hammer and the dents got ironed out.

    Magazine are going to get dirty if you drop them. Come prepared to clean them. I have a brush and a rag and rod in my range bag for just that reason. I have shot matches that were so wet and muddy that we would assign one or two people to watch where competitor's dropped magazines because mud puddles would swallow them up and they would not be easy to find. I have had to wash the bulk of the mud out of magazines in standing water puddles in a few really bad cases.

    The advantage of moonclips shoot'em, let em drop in the mud, and clean them at home. :D Speed-loaders are the worst though cause once you get mud into the inter-workings of the release its a pain to get them clean at a match as they don't come apart easily like a magazine does.

    And come to think of it I am pretty sure I have broken or witness another competitor break just about every picece of kit commonly worn at a USPSA or IPDA match at one time or another. Holster break, mag pouches fail, gun break, etc, etc, etc. If you run it hard your very likely going to eventually break it. Better to break it in competition, practice, or training then on the streets I guess...
     
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  24. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    I have at least one gun with only one magazine (box mag for a milsurp bolt-action rifle). Which is fine for how I use that gun (not much, and pretty much always loading the mag through the top of the gun). I've got other guns with 10-20 magazines, which is, IMO, reasonable for how I use those particular guns.

    Guns that get run hard need a lot more support than those that don't.
     
  25. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yep. On the downside, anything you run hard will likely break. On the upside, you'll actually know how to use that thing!
     
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