Letter Re: Some Points About Pistol and Rifle Magazines and Their Springs

Recently had a few realizations about magazines (the weakest link in any semi-auto firearm):

Even though I regularly rotate my magazines, I have discovered that the Glock G30 [compact .45 ACP] magazines have taken a set. [Their springs became weakened, under compression.] They are 10 round magazines, which I was only loading to 9 rounds and rotating every 30 days. While I ALWAYS download magazines to preclude the maximum compression of the spring from overwhelming the loading energy of the slide/bolt going forward, the extreme compactness of the G30 magazines is apparently more than the springs can take. I have stretched all of them back out and now only load them to 8 rounds.

Now for the realization that really made me feel like a moron. G21 magazines work in the G30 frame. I was carrying two G30 magazines with the pistol. If I had to draw and use the G30, then I have no need/concern for the compact concealment parameters of the G30 magazine upon reload. Why not carry the 2nd magazine as a G21 magazine? This way I don’t have to purchase so many G30 magazines to be able to rotate them (and only be able to use them in one G30 pistol I have). This stretches the cycle time on the G30 magazines from once every months to once every 12 months. It also gives more purchase for grip on the G21 magazine being used in the G30 frame.

Of course, the 10 round G21 magazines are only loaded to 9 rounds; 13 round magazines to 12 rounds.; M14 20 round magazines loaded to 18 rounds. When I had a mouse gun, 28 rounds in a 30 round magazine. As I have been reading entries about sidearms, the capacities are always given for the magazines with no mention of downloading them for better reliability and newbies might not know the accepted rules on this topic. – D.B.

JWR Replies: If heard from various “authorities” on the subject (in firearms trade publications) that magazine springs cannot “take a set.”  But from personal experience, I know that this can and does happenYMMV, but my personal approach is to keep only 20% of my magazines fully loaded at any given time, but I rotate them once every four months.  I unload them in the course of target practice. Thus, this also serves two extra purposes: 1.) It confirms that each and every magazine is functionally tested with live ammo, and 2.) It serves as an inducement to log regular “trigger time” out at the Back 40 at the Rawles Ranch. Practice, practice, practice…