Extra Capacity Pistol Magazines, by Pat Cascio

As we all know, not only the FedGov, but many state governments are attempting to limit magazine capacities to no more than 10 rounds. And even my state of Oregon will probably get it done this year, since we have a Democrat-controlled house, senate, and governor’s seat. That has already happened in neighboring Washington. So, I keep telling everyone who will listen, to get more magazines – NOW! Some folks say: “Oh, I have five spare magazines for my gun…” Sorry, that’s not going to be enough!

At the Federal level, H.R. 1808 — which includes a ban on any newly-manufactured magazine holding more than 10 cartridges (or perhaps 15 rounds, if they modify the bill, as they are debating) — is now pending before congress. And that bill has no sunset clause. If it becomes law, then it will be permanent! So stock up, heavily.

The governments – all of them – simply want to control everything we do. Everything! Plus, let’s not forget that, “they” are afraid of gun owners. They know as long as we have unregistered firearms, we will not be ruled! And, they sure hate the nasty “assault weapons” that we own – truth be told, few of us own real $200 Federal tax stamp full-auto assault weapons – at best, we have look-a-like weapons, that are semiautomatic. Still, they are afraid of us. Good!  The government should fear the citizenry, not the other way around.

Not everyone wants, or can even afford an AR-15 or other similar firearms. However, we still want to have the best protection that we can afford. So we should at least consider buying extra capacity magazines for our handguns. With these magazines, it turns them into a force to be reckoned with. Many firefights in the military have taken place at under a hundred yards. Given a little bit of practice, we can hit man-sized targets out to 100 yards with a handgun, and with a bit more practice, out to 150 yards. That’s good enough to make the bad guys wish they were someplace else. And, with an extra capacity magazine, we can really make them wish they were someplace else.

I’m going to cover several brands of extra capacity magazines that I have personally used and tested. First up are the ProMag Industries magazines. In the not-too-distant past, all their magazines were just junk – they didn’t work. That was true of their standard capacity and especially of their extra capacity magazines. Of course, they came with a warranty. On many occasions, I returned those magazines that malfunctioned. I don’t know what was causing the problems – usually a failure to feed. But within about three weeks, replacements arrived and those worked perfectly. I’m happy to report that over the past few years, ProMag magazines have stepped-up their game. I’ve found that their recent production magazines work, right out of the package. And best of all, they are priced affordably. If you shop for ProMag brand magazines, then only buy ones that come in their latest-style company packaging. That way you’ll know that you’ll be getting ones from recent production.

Magazines for Springfield Armory XD Pistols

I recently purchase half a dozen ProMag extra capacity mags for a Springfield Armory XD 9mm pistol – they were a steal of a deal, and they hold 30 rounds of 9mm ammo. The factory magazines hold 16 rounds, so you are almost doubling the amount of ammo you can carry in your XD 9mm – that’s a lot of firepower, without having to change magazines. I had one failure to feed, in one of the magazines, it was halfway through the mag, and a round didn’t push up so the slide could pick it up and chamber it. After that, the magazine worked just fine. Depending on the circumstance, that causes you to be armed, and how you are carrying spare magazines, I would have a 16-round mag in the XD 9mm, and two spare 30-round mags in a mag pouch on my belt. And, depending on circumstances, I would even have 3 or 4 spare 30-round magazines in a tactical thigh holster on my left leg, and the XD 9mm nestled in a tactical thigh holster on my right leg – that is a tremendous amount of extra ammo for whatever may come your way.

Magazines for Smith & Wesson M&P Pistols

Next up is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm handguns, and I have used the ETS brand extended magazines in that gun. Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) makes magazines that are made of high-density clear plastic. These have a good reputation for quality and reliability. The ETS mags for the M&P 9mm hold 30 rounds, or their longer mags, that hold 40 rounds. Some hold one or two more rounds for some reason. Again, no problems at all with the 9mm ETS M&P 9mm pistols and these magazines. I picked up half a dozen of the ETS magazines for under $20 each. I love it when I run across a deal. If I were back in law enforcement these days, I would carry those extra ETS magazines on my off-side leg – and I’ve never heard anyone complain that they had too much ammo, when they engaged someone in a firefight. When you have extra ammo in a tactical leg pouch, you don’t feel the weight, like you do when extra mags are carried on the hip. I’ve had zero malfunctions with the ETS magazines and I’ve fired a lot of 9mm ammo through them.

Magazines for Glock 9mm Pistols

Not to be left out, we have the Glock factory-made 33-round 9mm magazines, for their double stack 9mm handguns. I’ve used these magazines for a lot of years, and they work – just hard to stuff in those last few rounds by hand, so I use an UpLula mag loader – makes the job a lot easier on your thumb. Here is what I’ve learned with the Glock brand 33-round 9mm magazines. Load them to capacity – 33 rounds – and let them sit for several weeks – then, remove one or two rounds, and the magazine will function better. Otherwise, it is really hard to chamber a round if the magazines are fully loaded with 33 rounds.

Now, we have the Glock 33-round magazines that come from overseas. These latest mags are made in South  Korea by a company called KCI.  They are almost identical to the Glock-brand magazines, but are only about half the price. The first batches of these 33-rd mags that came from overseas just didn’t work well at all. But the more recent ones have earned a better reputation.  Again, like the real Glock mags, load the mags to full-capacity and let them sit for a few weeks, and remove a couple rounds and the mags will work better and are easier to insert into your 9mm Glock.

Glock is also making 22-round magazines for their double-stack .40 S&W handguns. Why 22 rounds? I assume that they found that a magazine holding more .40 S&W rounds had feeding problems. The standard mag for a Glock 22 hold 15 rounds, even though 22 rounds doesn’t seem like that much more ammo – it is! Of course, they stick out of the bottom of your Glock 22 or 23 .40 S&W handguns, they don’t stick out all that much more. So, load your Glock 22 with the factory mags that hold 15 rounds, And on your belt you can carry the 22-round magazines, as your spares.

Word leaked to me some time ago, that Springfield Armory, was going to produce some 35-round mags for their XDm line of handguns, and they are here. They are in plastic wrap, and the wrapper and mags say they are from Springfield Armory. But the packaging and magazine markings give no clue as to who actually makes them for Springfield Armory. However, I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that MecGar in Italy might be the maker – they produce magazines for around 50 gun companies, so they know what they are doing.

Hands down, these are the best extra capacity magazines that I’ve ever run across for handguns. I have an XDm Elite and XDm Elite compact – and love them to death. The XDm Elite holds 22 rounds of 9mm ammo, and the XDm Elite Compact holds 14-rds of 9mm ammo. The XDm Elite can easily be an “end of the world” gun, if that is all you have on-hand – it is that good. Granted 22 rounds is nothing to sneeze at, but 35 rounds are better. If you are in the market for a one and only 9mm handgun for the end of the world, then you could do a lot worse than the full-sized XDm. On my XDm Compact, I have a red dot sight on it – great little gun – however, while 14-rounds of 9mm should do the job, several more 35-round magazines are better to have on your hip as reloads.

There are several companies producing 50-round drum magazines for 9mm Glock handguns, and I’ve tested them. With their jamming problems, none of those gave me the confidence that I would want to carry them as spares, for self-defense. Besides, they are bulky. They are fine for fun and target practice, but not reliable enough that I’d carry them for self-defense work.

It used to be that my choice for a one and only “end of the world” 9mm handgun was the Glock 19X, and it is still right up there as my first choice. However, the Springfield XDm full-sized 9mm pistol, is now also right up there as my one and only. Thankfully, I don’t have to make a choice as to one or the other. I do like that the XDm can take 22-round magazines – that’s a big plus, and now that Springfield has their new 35-mag – that’s a great choice if you lean towards the XDm. I might send my XDm back to Springfield and have night sights installed – just because!

So, if you lean towards a handgun for the end of the world, or you shy away from something like the AR-15 style of rifles, you have some great choices in 9mm handguns, if you add some extra capacity magazines to the mix.

Once again, as I mentioned at the beginning, the legislators at both state and Federal level are trying to outlaw magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. So get some extra capacity magazines while you still can – if you can!