This is a special edition of a regularly-posted column, by JWR. (Now posted on Mondays and Fridays.) Today, in lieu of the normal column items, I’ll only be discussing investing in rifle and pistol magazines, here in the United States.
Tangibles Investing (Magazines):
There are now several “high capacity” magazine ban bills pending at the local, state, and Federal level. Although the proposed Federal ban (H.R. 1186) may be passed by the U.S. House, it probably won’t pass in the U.S. Senate. At the state level, New Jersey’s ban on magazine over 15-round capacity was amplified to now restrict any magazine over 10-round capacity. And Colorado now has a ban on any magazine over 15-round capacity. Currently pending is a ban on any magazine over 5 rounds, in Oregon. And a similar law has been proposed in Washington. Both are sadly expected to be enacted. Last week, the Maine legislature adjourned, after defeating a bill that would have banned magazines holding more than 10 cartridges.
There are also some well-established bans that will probably be permanent–unless the Supreme Court eventually renders them null and void, as it should:
- In California, the limit is 10 round–although that is now pending an appeals court challenge.
- In Connecticut, the limit is 10 rounds.
- Massachiusetts also has a 11+ round magazine ban, but just as in California, there is a Grandfather Clause.
- Maryland has a 10-round limit.
- The District of Columbia has a 10-round limit.
- Hawaii, has a limit is 10 rounds for pistols, but no limit for rifles. But, since may guns such as the AR-15 are also made in pistol form, those magazines are also banned there.
- New Jersey has a 10-round limit.
- The City of Chicago has a 10-round limit.
- New York, beginning on April 15, 2013, with passage of the “SAFE” Act, only magazines with a capacity of seven rounds could legally be sold. The ban allowed ten-round magazines purchased before that date, but made it illegal to load more than seven rounds of ammunition into a ten-round magazine, except “at an incorporated firing range or competition…”
- Inside the city of Pittsburgh, the limit is 10 rounds.
Given the onslaught of magazine ban legislation, I strongly recommend that SurvivalBlog readers stock up on magazines this year, while prices are low, and while supplies are plentiful. If a new Federal ban is enacted–either by congress or an import ban by executive order, then prices will again skyrocket. If DJT’s chances of re-election to a second term in the White House start to dim, then there could be another rush to buy magazines, and a price spike.
Only Buy Quality
I suggest that you buy original factory-made or military contract magazines. Most aftermarket magazines should generally be avoided. Often, with “no name” aftermarket magazines, you will be buying grief.
Some aftermarket magazines brands such as Federal Ordnance, Triple K, and Pro-Mag reportedly had poor quality control at various times over the years, thus making all of their production suspect–since most of their magazines are not lot-marked or date-stamped. The only way to be sure is to not buy them.
However, there are some notable exceptions to my “don’t buy aftermarket” rule. These particular brands all seem to have the same reliability as original factory magazines. They include:
- Beta Company (maker of the C-MAG drums)
- Daniel Defense
- Elite Tactical System (ETS)
- KRISS-USA (Converts factory Glock magazines to greater capacity)
- MagPul (Makers of the very popular MagPul PMAGs. They also make drum magazines–pictured)
- Mec-Gar (the main subcontractor for Beretta.)
- Metalform (the main subcontractor for Colt.)
- Wilson Combat
A Few Bad Apples
As I mentioned in my AR-15/M16 Magazine FAQ, all of the original G.I. contract 30-round M16 magazines work fine, with two exceptions: Cooper Industries magazines and the early-production Sanchez (DSI) magazines with the black followers. Do not buy any Sanchez-marked magazines unless they have the later style light green followers and are in sealed original GI contract wrappers or have date-stamped bodies marked “02” (2002) or later.
If you find that you have any magazines that are suspect or that display feeding problems, then I recommend that you give them a wrap of red electrical tape or a blast of red spray paint at the bottom, and relegate them to your “target practice only” bag or bin.
Reliable Military Contractors
Many of the U.S. military contract magazine makers have also done some commercial production with their military tooling. A few of these companies branched out into all commercial production. Some of the best include:
- C Products
- Center Industries
- Check Mate Industries (M14 / M1A and Beretta M9 magazines)
- Labelle Industries
- Okay Industries (Colt’s main subcontractor for AR-15/M16 magazines)
- Parsons Precision Products
- Simmonds (Colt’s original subcontractor for 20-round M16 magazines)
Where to Buy
There are competitive magazine prices available from a variety of Internet vendors. Some that I know well and can recommend are SurvivalBlog advertisers or prize donors:
- Natchez Shooters Supplies
- Palmetto State Armory
- Sunflower Ammo (one of our Writing Contest sponsors)
Full Disclosure: We earn commissions on sales, with several of these companies.
But of course there are many other Internet companies selling magazines with which we have no affiliation, so be sure to shop around and compare prices. These include: MidwayUSA, Ammunition Depot, Sportsman’s Guide, and CheaperThanDirt.
I also like to mention one other company that has been trapped behind enemy lines in Mission Viejo, California all these years: WhatACountry.com. They specialize in military surplus imported from Israel and Europe.
SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.
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