Swapping Mags

posted on February 6, 2014

A semi-auto handgun contains a number of parts that require upkeep and care to ensure proper functioning. While most concealed-carry advocates are extremely proactive about caring for their guns, many forget the importance of the item that handles its feeding-the magazine.

If a magazine has a weak spring or an obstruction, then the gun will have problems loading, preventing it from firing. Burrs on the lip can also cause malfunctions at a critical time. As such, it is just as important to maintain the magazines as it is the gun itself.

The first step is to have multiple magazines for your gun so that they can be rotated on a regular basis and so you can still carry the gun if a magazine goes bad. Personally, I have four magazines for my Kimber, which I rotate monthly. Two are always loaded, one in the gun with a spare, while two rest unloaded in the safe.

Next, you need to ensure that the magazines are working properly. Every time that I swap magazines, I check them by loading both with dummy rounds and cycling the slide until the gun is empty and the slide locks. This ensures that rounds will load from the magazine and eject from the gun. Of course, this test can also be conducted at the range, which is more fun and provides additional training, but when life gets busy, using dummy rounds at home will provide the assurance that the magazine will work when needed.

Now if your magazines ever do fail to work, you can either replace them or repair them. Most people should probably find a gunsmith to handle any repairs, but an Internet search could possibly provide some insight, such as this piece located on Brownells' website. Just be prepared to purchase new if the damage becomes worse through your efforts. I’m not a gunsmith so will probably just buy new ones if problems arise. I am also always on the lookout for deals on magazines that fit my various firearms.

Part of being prepared to protect life and family is ensuring that your tools are in working order, including the magazines. If the gun can’t be fed, it won’t work. It’s like trying to drive without tires on the car.


Afghan Jezail Low F
Afghan Jezail Low F

I Have This Old Gun: Afghan Jezail

In the Middle East, a distinctive style of longrifle emerged that is known today as the jezail, a native name that described the arm's extraordinarily long barrel.

New For 2024: Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P Carry Comp Series

Smith & Wesson's Carry Comp series brings Performance Center treatments to a number of the company's carry-ready semi-automatics.

I Have This Old Gun: Webley Metropolitan Police Revolver

Webley Metropolitan Police revolvers were manufactured from 1883 to 1911 and issued at the discretion of division officers to be used by policemen who desired them and had exhibited an aptitude in their use.

Springfield’s Updated Tactical Response Pistol (TRP)

In the late 1990s, Springfield Armory’s Custom Shop gained a legendary reputation after supplying the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team with the company’s Professional Model M1911s. Now, Springfield has a refreshed line of TRP pistols with four new models.

Friends Of NRA Announces 2023 Volunteers Of The Year

For exceptional commitment to a critical mission, your NRA is pleased to announce the 2023 Regional Volunteers of the Year are: Dale Emerick, Jim Kelley, Melinda Pawelek and Jeremy Frisk.

Remington’s Premier CuT: Solid And To The Point

Combining the exceptional weight-retention of Core-Lokt Copper with the enhanced aerodynamic properties of Core-Lokt Tipped, Premier CuT gives Remington Ammunition a potent new lead-free big-game hunting load.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.