Gaming It

So the ATF outlawed bump stocks and FRTs. Now here is the next way that people have figured out how to turn money (quickly) into noise. Paintball enthusiasts have for years used two fingers to pull the trigger.

In response to this, a company called S&T Inc has come up with an attachment for AR pattern rifles that allows shooters to do the same thing.

They are illegal in Florida, so there is that.

790.222 Bump-fire stocks prohibited.—A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump-fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, the term “bump-fire stock” means a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.

Mailbag: Magazine Questions

Oldvet50 asks:

How long can you safely store a loaded mag before the spring weakens and causes misfires?

The answer to that depends on the magazine manufacturer. Cheaper magazine manufacturers, especially ones with polymer feed lips, are more prone to failure. Not of the spring, but of the magazine itself. Scorpion had a well documented issue with that. It turns out that the factory Scorpion magazines would dry out when left in a dehumidified safe for long periods. That’s why the Scorpion PMAG is a better choice than the factory one.

With a quality magazine, the answer to that is decades. Magpul themselves claim that they have had magazines fully loaded for eight years, and they still function.

The damage is done by compression and decompression of the spring. The more cycles that a spring goes through, the more it weakens it. I wouldn’t worry, however. It takes thousands of cycles to wear out a spring. Still, I think of magazines as consumable items, which is why I have so many of them.

SmileyFtW asks:

Why the waste of space with the foam? Load the cans tight for maximum capacity I would think. Same stuff in one can; label the can and move on. If one can is to be an assortment, say so on the can and ID the contents so it is obvious to what each one is

That was actually what I was doing up until now. What I got was cans that either contained a bunch of different mags in the same can, or the can wasn’t full. Example. Let’s say that I have a bunch of Smith and Wesson magazines:

  • 12 magazines for a Shield 9mm
  • 8 magazines for a Shield 40S&W
  • 6 magazines for a Shield Plus
  • 30 magazines for an M&P9 9mm
  • 12 magazines for an M&P9C 9mm compact
  • 12 Magazines for an M&P40 .40S&W

That’s 80 magazines. They will likely fit into one caliber can, but they aren’t cross compatible. The worst part is that some will fit in the handgun, but not function. For example, an M&P9 magazine will fit in the M&P40, but you don’t want to attempt to fire it like that. So with this system, good luck finding the right magazine in a hurry.

Another reason for padding them is preventing damage. One of the biggest reasons for malfunctions in a quality handgun (that isn’t a 1911) is a damaged magazine. My carry guns are life saving equipment, as far as I am concerned. The number one quality that I need in a carry gun is reliability. I need to know that it will go ‘bang’ every time I squeeze the trigger. Since quality handgun magazines cost anywhere from $35 to $60 each, having 100 magazines is a significant investment. By padding my magazines, I am protecting them and my investment. I lower the chances of malfunction which will, at best cost me some range time and money replacing it, and at worst will cause a malfunction during a firefight.

That’s also why I number my magazines. I know which ones have malfunctions. Note that number 2 and 5 are both missing in this picture. It’s because they are currently loaded and ‘in use’ by one of my handguns.

It’s a simple numbering system. If it starts with a 9, it’s a magazine that will fit the S&W9. If it ends in a “c” it’s for the M&P9C. This makes sense in my mind, because the compact can accept the full sized mags (but not vice-versa). The magazine numbers that start with a ‘G’ are for the Glock 19. (That’s the only model of Glock that I have, thanks to Project Gaston)

A similar code works, with the M&PShield Plus mag numbers all starting with ‘P’, the 45 magazines starting with ’45’, etc. I have a spreadsheet* that I use to track magazines, ammo, firearms, and firearm spare parts.

*I also keep a list of spare parts on hand: springs, firing pins, sights, and other fiddly bits. That’s why I have so many M&Ps: common spares, and the best spare part is simply having a spare pistol. Not only that, but I also know how to detail strip and troubleshoot the M&P series very well, which simplifies repairs. The Glock is easy to do the same with, but I generally don’t like the way that the Glock fits my hand. I’m still learning all of the ins and outs of the AR system.

Reloads

Bad Dancer asks for my thoughts on using reloads for defense. This comes up from time to time, and I don’t do it. Not because of the gun lore of a prosecutor using reloads against you, but because it just doesn’t make financial sense to me.

Let’s say that I wanted to roll my own ammo. What does it cost to roll your own? (all prices from Brownell’s, because I am doing a blog post, not writing a novel)

So call it $735 to load 1200 rounds, or about 61 cents per round. Winchester white box currently costs 26 cents per round and JHP costs 40 cents per round. Now I already know what the reloaders are going to say. They are going to claim that they can reuse the brass. (We aren’t going to be reusing used brass if we are making war shots, because you are either saving them for later, or you don’t have time to police a battlefield for your brass) But OK, let’s play that game. Let’s assume that you can load each brass case 10 times before it gets lost, damaged, whatever. That lowers your cost per round to 34 cents per round, which is still more than buying cheap factory ammo. Even if the brass is free, it still costs 32 cents per round.

However, if we are going to do that, let’s also consider that I have to buy the tools, so let’s call it $300 or so. Then there is also my time, which is worth something. It takes over an hour to load 1200 rounds. Then there is the chance that you will make a mistake and destroy one of your firearms with a double charge, which has a much higher probability of happening with a reload than with quality factory ammo.

So that’s why I have never really wanted to get into reloading. Hey, if you like sitting at the reloading bench and rolling your own, I support that. Don’t think that I am attacking reloaders. Shoot sports is filled with all kinds, and if you enjoy loading ammo, knock yourself out. Just don’t say that you are doing it to save money.

Spring Carry Handgun Ammo Purchase

My regular carry ammo has been hard to come by for the past couple of years. I try to replenish my carry ammo every year, and I also try to standardize it across all of my carry pieces. I want high quality, effective ammo that functions well with what I carry. I buy it as if my life depends on it, because it just may. I buy it all at once, so it is the same bullet and loading.

For 9mm, I switched to Critical Defense 135gr FTX back in 2019. For the PDW, I use the Critical Duty +P version of the same 135gr FTX bullet. Both of them have started getting expensive at more than $1 a round.

In .45ACP: I just switched to the Speer Gold Dot G2 230gr +P. I got a good deal on it from Lucky Gunner at $27 per 20 round box. Thanks to those of you who pointed me to the Youtube video of the gelatin testing. It looks to be every bit as good as the original Gold Dot. I got a few boxes.

I still have plenty of .40S&W and .357Sig. I don’t shoot or carry them a lot, so I don’t need to buy any this year. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I shot either caliber. That’s odd, because when I was competing in IDPA, .357Sig was my ammo. I really liked the way that it recoiled straight back and gave no real muzzle flip in the pair of black Stainless Sig229s I was competing with.

Next up: revolver ammo. I am critically low on both .38 Special and .357 Magnum. I have less than 200 rounds of each. I just don’t want to pay a dollar a round to replace it at this moment. Maybe later this summer.

Magazine Storage

One of the big downsides to having a few firearms is that you tend to accumulate various items: holsters and magazines being the two that take up the most room. I literally have hundreds of magazines in the house, all for various firearm makes and models. Some are compatible with more than one firearm. (.40S&W magazines are compatible with .357Sig, S&P 9mm magazines are compatible 9mm Compact magazines, etc.)

I was keeping the unloaded ones in large Rubber Maid totes, but looking for the magazine you need is a large pain in the, well Rubber Maid tote. So I began looking for an answer, and it didn’t take me long to find one. I bought some foam rubber holders that fit into a .50cal ammo can for handgun magazines . I decided to try them out. Four of them cost me $62.

You number your mags too, right?

These holders allow you to store 24 magazines in each ammo can. That means I can have a can with just Smith and Wesson full sized 9mm magazines, another with .40 and .357 magazines, etc. Now four ammo cans take up the same amount of room as one Rubber Maid tote, and hold 96 magazines in a way that makes it easy to find the one you are looking for. The cans that I have are lockable, so that allows me an extra layer of security.

The downside is that the things aren’t as rugged as I would like, and lots of use will probably tear them up. Still, it’s better than what I had. If I didn’t already have the cans, I would look at buying cans that come with the pluck n’ pick foam already in them. It’s cheaper that way.

Now I need some storage for rifle magazines and for the large number of holsters that are sitting around here.

Now, the disclaimer: I don’t advertise, and receive nothing for my reviews or articles. I have no relationship with any products, companies, or vendors that I review here, other than being a customer. If I ever *DO* have a financial interest, I will disclose it. Otherwise, I pay what you would pay. No discounts or other incentives here. I only post these things because I think that my readers would be interested.