I was an RO at a rimfire steel match this past weekend. I could not count the number of stoppages that occurred, they were quite common. Double feeds were particularly common, but I also saw a stove-pipe, full-on extraction failure and a couple of magazines not properly seated situations. Now you can say hey it was rimfire and a competition, but there are lessons here for all of us. Most notably, in many cases in resolving the stoppage the shooter left complete rounds on the table and sometimes failed to have enough rounds left in the gun to hit the stop plate. The competitors who quickly swapped magazines after the initial jam clearing attempt failed were the ones who best recovered and hit all targets including the stop plate.
Carrying a spare magazine (or speedloader) isn’t about having enough rounds to fight off the zombie apocalypse, it primarily about failure recovery. It doesn’t matter if your gun holds 6 or 16 rounds, if the magazine or rounds end up on the ground as part of resolving a stoppage the firearm is useless. Carrying spare ammo is a way to recover.
Exactly, its not about an extended fight but to be able to deal with the unexpected. I remember one story told by Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch fame when he talked about how once when he got out of the car, he caught and ripped the baseplate off his gun thus giving him the world’s most expensive single shot pistol.
I carry 3 mags total. I was always trained if I had to shoot, shoot til the threat is stopped, then if safe, find cover put in a fresh mag, and put the partially used one in backward to indicate it had x number of shells, missing.
I worked with someone at the range last week who had 15 - yes 15! - magazines for their carry gun. Two out of the 15 were bad. They wanted to go through each magazine and have me check for the bad ones. Due to time constraints we found 3 that we were comfortable were in good working order and I spent the rest of the lesson working on the person’s grip and misfire drills. Even the best magazines can fail over time or have an ammo malfunction. Know how to clear the malfunction!
(I carry 1 or 2 depending on where I’m going and what I’m wearing. (That’s in addition to what’s in my firearm.))
How did you mark the bad magazines? Whenever I get a failure and I suspect its the magazine (and not ammo or limp-wrist or something) i will mark the magazine and set it aside. I will try the magazine at least twice more, especially if its a new firearm sometimes they just need to break in a little bit. If it fails 3 times, its in the trash or I use it when I know i want to practice malfunction clearing
No spare mag on me. It sits in my car.
I know s**t can happen, but so far I’ve never had any malfunction with carry ammo and grimy mag. (That’s why we practice every possibility to test how does it work in bad situations)
Only 15? I have lots more that would fit my carry gun, the result of owning numerous 1911s and having used some in IPSC competition . Oh, and then people like CMC or Wilson come out with extended magazines and I need more. But I really only have 4 actual carry magazines. And I only normally carry one spare. Not to mention slamming a 10+ round extended magazine meant for a full size 1911 into an Officers ACP is going to cause its own kind of stoppage.
I scratch a number in mine. One of two tricks from when I was competing. The other was I had separate match and practice magazines to reduce wear and tear on the important ones. I haven’t gone that path for carry magazines.
From past experiences in the military.
If you were absolutely stuck with bad mags you can mark them by placing a small tape strip on the bottom with the letters “BU” for back up or Bad unit.
If the spring is distorted somehow it can still be used as a portable storage mag. Just make sure it’s separated from your effective mags.
Doing frequent pressure checks do not always guarantee a solid PMCS ( Post Maintenance Checks Services) before use. Order back up springs to correct the issues and have the parts on hand. If going to range mark the bottom of the mags with the “ BU” identifier and repair after cleaning the firearm.
Good luck out there, be safe.
I number pistol mags 1a, 1b, 1c, etc., on the side (metal portion) with a Sharpie. Once inserted into firearm the lettering/numbers are not seen. When additional mags are purchased they are numbered 2a, 2b, 2b, or 3a, 3b, 3c, etc, to signify/annotate them as not originally purchased with the firearm. If/when a mag failure occurs I can separate it from the good ones, remembering/taking a pic of that particular mag’s number.
Never say never. Never happens when it’s “never” supposed to happen!
I carry or with me at all times is 128 rounds for my EDC, 28 rounds on my body and 100 in car.
Few times when I was younger, I never thought I would have a .38 in my temple for parking in the wrong place, never thought I would eat the wrong end of a shotgun running for my life, never thought Biden would run for President, “never”, happens way too often. Just the past 7 months of “never” has occurred in our lifetime!
Thank you for the insight! I’m rather new to this and hadn’t thought of carrying an extra mag in case of a bad mag, but rather, just for the extra ammo. I do have an extra mag carrier; suppose it offers a dual purpose now.
@Dawn I don’t find 15 mags unusual. That said magazine inspection is a real thing and something that needs to be addressed. If you have a problem magazine that just won’t play nice the correct marking tool is a 16 oz ball peen hammer. That said if one of my 3 LAR Grizzly magazines gave me issues I would bend heaven and he!! to make it right as they got for $250 a copy. Pistol mags not so much but AR-15 mags with a weak spring is a game changer. I used to sit the the armoror’s shack and load 5 rounds into a mag and slam it on the ground HARD. If it caused the boolits to jumble I’d throw it at him/her until I had a full carrier. I started doing the same with M-9 mags after a FTF and I did a tap and rack and two live rounds flew out of the ejection port and the next round was backwards.
Another note for you long gun guys. Different magazines will cause the 1st and 2nd round to impact differently. Discovered this in my High Power days with an M1A and I can only imagine it hold true with AR-10’s and ever AR-15’s. PM me if you want the details it is long and painful, not really but it doesn’t really apply here.
But like I mentioned. If you practice and know the firearm, you KNOW if there will be malfunction or not.
Of course we cannot predict ammo malfunction, but this is also part of the practice. Check, test and KNOW what is reliable.
I’ve got dozen malfunction during range time and regular classes. But learning from those I have never had single malfunction during tactical classes, which I treat as real life scenarios.
Those couldn’t be predicted. So those NEVER could happened.
Knowing your tools and taking care of them cause that NEVER means never.
Unfortunately there is no such thing as “never”. You don’t know when problems will start occurring until they do, and you can’t be sure that will be during a practice session as opposed to a crisis. I once had an extractor fail in the middle of a match. The gun had been 100% reliable for thousands of rounds, including the hundreds shot earlier in the week, and then at the most inopportune time (cost me winning my class) it failed. I’ve had magazines that were 100% reliable over a long period of time become unreliable, during a match. I have seen people under stress accidently hit the magazine release and drop a magazine into the mud, despite years of experience and practice. I’ve seen stoppages in matches that would never happen in practice because under stress, trying to shoot around barriers, people may limp wrist. @Brian139 posted Clint Smith’s example of his baseplate getting caught and ripped off while getting out of the car. There was an article in Concealed Carry Magazine recently where a police officer talked about an incident where something external pressed on his magazine release and, like Smith, he ended up with a one shot gun.
The problem is that practice, both for you and your gun, is a backwards looking indicator. It informs and prepares you for what will happen in the future, but it can’t predict it. As it turns out having a spare magazine is a contingency that works for a large percentage of the more common bad things that could happen.
Retired LEO … An officer friend of mine was in a gun battle, under stress he dropped his only spare magazine in a sewer grate while he was ducked behind cover. Though unable to fight back he survived. We both at the time started carrying 3 magazines after that incident.
Like any machine, parts will break at the worst times. Always carry an extra and 2 in my truck. Just my two cents. Oh I found that touch up paint for cars is a great way to mark the magazines. Usually it has both the paint on oneside and clear coat on the other. So it really locks the paint in. I have had many training/teaching sessions with this method and holds up very well.
Hope this helps
I carry a standard 15 rnd mag 1 in the chamber and a spare 20 rnd mag I was in a firefight actual so I have the habit of conserving rounds and doing tactical reloads from cover tap rack assess be ready to engage but if you don’t need to keep the lil guys asleep until a threat pops up then shake awake a couple of hollow heads they know how to crash a party
In a similar thread talking about mags. The guys we’re talking about installing a magnetic plate under the dash. Big enough for two mags. I am looking into that myself. Because you never know when your mag will malfunction.