Magazine Disconnect

posted on September 11, 2015
disconn.jpg

Q: I have just started reading American Rifleman, and I love the technical information in the magazine. But it seems like you guys sometimes assume every reader knows what every gun term you use means. What is a magazine disconnect? Is it the same thing as a safety? 

A: The answer is “yes” and “no.” A common misconception—usually made by those not familiar with semi-automatic pistols—is to assume that when the magazine is withdrawn from the firearm, the gun is empty. There may still be, however, a live round in the chamber. If the slide is in battery with a cartridge chambered, the gun—whether a single-action like the M1911 or a double-action (first shot only) like the Beretta Model 92FS—can be fired, even with the magazine removed. A magazine disconnector, sometimes called a magazine disconnect safety, is designed to prevent this.

Thus, a handgun such as the Browning High Power, which has a magazine disconnect, cannot be fired if the magazine is even partially withdrawn, as the firing pin is mechanically blocked from striking the primer. With the magazine fully reinserted, the handgun becomes operational again. 

For some, the presence of a magazine disconnect is a welcome feature and another layer of mechanical safety—of course, no mechanical device should take the place of common safety practices, including always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and assuming every gun is loaded. 

Nonetheless, the inclusion of a magazine disconnect has some potentially serious drawbacks in a handgun intended for defensive use. For example, if the magazine has not been completely seated in the gun, which can happen, especially under stress, the pistol will not fire. Too, inadvertently depressing the magazine release while drawing the pistol has the same unwanted effect. 

Also, while performing a tactical reload, in which a partially empty magazine is replaced with a fully loaded magazine in a situation where increased capacity might be needed, a magazine disconnect renders the gun useless during the reloading process. This puts the handgunner momentarily in a vulnerable situation with a partially loaded gun that will not operate.

I experienced all of these situations while undergoing the strenuous but comprehensive 250 Pistol Class at Gunsite in Paulden, Ariz. Whether or not you opt for a pistol with a magazine disconnect, it is critical that you understand how your pistol operates (or when it doesn’t) and train to become proficient with whatever handgun you choose.

Latest

Springfield Armory Sa35 Rifleman Review 4
Springfield Armory Sa35 Rifleman Review 4

Rifleman Review: Springfield Armory SA-35

In 2021, Springfield Armory brought out its SA-35, a rendition of the classic Browning Hi Power, one of the iconic handguns of the 20th century.

New For 2024: Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport III

In a crowded AR-15 market, consumers are looking for the best bang for their buck. Most look no further than the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport, and the company has an updated generation out for 2024.

Handloads: A 10 mm Auto Loaded For Bear

The fear of a bear attack has likely sold more 10 mm Auto handguns than all firearm advertising combined. The 10 mm does deliver some impressive ballistics for a cartridge chambered in semi-automatic handguns.

The Rifleman Report: Creative Minds At Work

As all of us who experience this “mortal coil” eventually learn, the days seem more fleeting with each passing year. For those of us who make a living observing and reporting about the firearm industry, they eventually result in a somewhat disorganized pile of memories about companies, products and the people who create them.

Smith & Wesson Issues Safety Alert For Response Carbines

Smith & Wesson has identified a condition in which an out-of-battery discharge can occur when certain Response bolts fail to fully close before the trigger is pulled.

Review: GForce LVR410

With a long and storied history in the United States, lever-action carbines continue to be favorites among modern American shooting sports enthusiasts. This evaluation takes a closer look at the 24"-barreled LVR410, which is being imported by GForce Arms, Inc. of Reno, Nev.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.