Thought I’d pass along a question and an observation. The question concerns whether to “top off” the magazine after chambering that first round. Especially when relatively new, the dimensions and stiff magazine springs on some firearms seem to push hard enough on the bottom of the slide to sometimes cause a failure to properly load that second round. It can also mean you have to bump extra hard to make sure the magazine is seated properly. Talking to old Vietnam era vets I’ve heard they often left the last cartridge out when loading magazines to make sure everything functioned well, A few thousand rounds seems to have smoothed things out but I’m still leery of betting my life on having the magazine stuffed full. Thoughts? Observation: Even a well cleaned gun can have issues if it sits around for months and the lubricant gums up.
Do whatever works for you.
… you’re not helping at all…
For the magazine in the gun, topped off makes sense because you should be ‘administratively’ loading that mag and have essentially infinite time to make sure it’s squared away. If it doesn’t function properly in that condition, get a new magazine or an entirely new gun because it sucks (serious).
For spare magazine, downloading makes sense because you may not have any time at all to make sure it is properly seated. The chances of needing a spare are incredibly tiny to begin with, let alone needing literally every single round the mag holds (as in, say a 15+1 gun, round #31 in total will save you but if you only had 30 it wouldn’t and you don’t need 32 you need exactly 31. Nah. Much more likely, I think, that in the extremely unlikely even you insert the spare mag and then need to shoot again, you’ll have a failure to fully insert the additional magazine due to spring tension on a closed action.
Just my thoughts
Oh yeah, when unloading the gun, if you have a downloaded mag somewhere (in the gun or spare), that gives you a very nice place to put the round that came out of the chamber
I’m not sure. I’d defer to experts, those experienced with your exact same model.
Heard some models work better with one less round in the mag, than full. However, I’ve also heard some suggest that when it’s newer, to have spares stored completely full, so that the mag springs get used to it, loosen up.
Your point might touch upon the topic of “carrying one in the chamber or not”. There are a couple of other strings in this community which discuss that in depth. I wouldn’t say chambered is right/wrong or best or not. It’s a personal decision. If not here, where else on earth will anyone ever talk about it; rare that a friend or family carries too.
In that respect, we here, are all friends.
“Owning” is a big responsibility, “carrying”, even bigger; “chambered” – does it get any more serious? I know of accidents having happened. It’s not funny.
Making the move from chambered, to DA/SA models, to using a safety. Just learned about what DA/SA semi’s are; opened up a new world to me in terms of hobby and safety/self-defense. I could go on, but this post was mainly about “spring” tensions. My bad.
The only pistol I don’t top off is my Springfield Armory XDM .45acp. it has 13rnd. mags and on a
closed slide/loaded chamber it is very hard to seat the mag.
I keep one mag with 13rnds. to load first on an open slide and the rest with 12rnds.
Seems to be the best for the pistol.
@Burdo You can go on about whatever you like.
My thanks to everyone. Seems like there’s a variety of opinions on the minus one question. As for having one in the chamber, my normal carry is a Walther PPS M2 with no “manual” safety. I do drills almost every week and am now comfortable that the gun won’t go off if I’m careful putting it back in the holster. Two things there though… First, as the trigger is pulled on the Walther the striker extends out the back of the slide. I try and be in the habit of pushing the gun the last little way to seat with a finger over that striker. Second, no appendix carry for me! Have also practiced with cocked and locked guns where, of course, you need to remember to take the safety off. Have also had the safety accidently be pushed “on” and the gun no go bang. Tried double/single action too and with the heavy trigger you really have to practice to get that first shot on target.
This topic has come up a many times here and around the web.
The general consensus seems to be keep the pistol mags full but download AR mags and some other rifle mags by one or 2 in order to make reloading easier.
That’s what works for me. I have several pistols and haven’t had reloading or reliability issues with a full mag except for one lemon I needed to send back for repairs. I did have the occasional issue reloading my AR with full mags. Switched to -2 and haven’t had an issue since.
But your mileage may vary depending on the firearm, magazines and personal preference. You have to try it all out to see what works best for you and your setup.
There is a simple rule with top round in the magazine.
If you are able to load the magazine in full by your hands, without any speed loaders - there won’t be any issue with firearm functionality.
If top round doesn’t load easily - use minus one round until you are able to load it by your hand.
It usually takes some time. How long - it depends on firearm and how much rounds you fire from the magazine. Remember - spring becomes weaker only if it’s working (compressing / decompressing). Keeping mag fully loaded for a long time doesn’t change a thing.
I always top off the magazine and have never had a problem because of that with the second round feeding properly or the magazine being seated properly.
This is a good poitn.
I habitually stop using the lula/speed loader and put the last round in by hand…both to make sure it’s not ridiculously tight, and because I get weird/anal about the though to how the loaders compress the spring a little farther than is actually needed to fit the round…because the ‘feed ramp’ of the loader is below the cartridge, and at an angle, so when that last round is first put in there the spring mag spring is compressed even farther than when fully loaded…whereas with a hand load of the last round, I pretty much only compress the absolute minimum amount needed because of reasons anybody who has done this understands without me explaining.
Seems like it.
Topping off not a problem with my ordinary 1911, even with my new 8+1 CMCs
None of 1911/2011 have this problem. It’s usually problem with “new” handgun design, when manufacturers want to make the best firearm for civilian market… there is always something that doesn’t work as suppose to…
Is the -1 issue more frequent in firearms designed for restricted capacity locations? Are they making absolutely sure you don’t get hammered for breaking the capacity restriction laws?
All the mag limit laws I have read only address the capacity of the mag, not how many are loaded in the firearm (chambered + rounds in mag).
It has nothing to do with limitations.
Actually M&P Shield has this issue only with 13 rd mags, not 10 rd.