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.

Categories: FirearmsGuns


nick flandrey · May 19, 2023 at 7:51 am

I have an early model G17. I left it fully loaded for over 10 years, in a drawer. Spare mag too. Both mags functioned perfectly, in that every round fed and went bang. What didn’t happen, the slide didn’t lock back on empty.

I replaces all the mag springs, and the springs in the pistol, and haven’t had an issue since.

I’m comfortable storing and using fully loaded mags.


SmileyFtW · May 19, 2023 at 8:31 am

Thank you for taking the time to respond and explain your approach. I’m sorta new at the ammo storage game. I am working on an Excel solution too. Be happy to share when I get it closer to “done”

    Divemedic · May 19, 2023 at 9:06 am

    Once I close the cans, I drop a couple of desiccant packs in there. Two of them should do fine. Can’t have anything rusting.

Frisky Friday · May 19, 2023 at 9:08 am

I rotate mags every few months with some unloading.
Also don’t fill them up to capacity and if I need that many rounds then its rifle time.
Factory mags are now around $50.
Heckler and Cocksucker are not welcome after that “gun bunny” we support rump ranger tranny penis puffer horseshit.
Overrated and overpriced anyway.

    Divemedic · May 19, 2023 at 9:12 am

    That isn’t necessary. Magazine springs don’t wear out like that. See above.

D · May 19, 2023 at 9:35 am

I’m fortunate enough to have over 100×30-round magpul magazines fully loaded with 556. If SHTF, I doubt I would survive enough to even go through half of them. But then again, my state just banned the import and sale of new magazines with more than 10 round capacities and grandfathered in existing 30-round magazines…so…

I wish I had gone out and done the same for my 9 and 45 pistols. I only have ~10x 16-round mags for each of those calibers. Oh well.

Gryphon · May 19, 2023 at 3:40 pm

I have about 50 Magpul 30-Rounders, I load 29 and then put one of Magpul’s Storage Clips on it. They keep the Dirt out, and push the Top Round down off of the Feed Lips.
Didn’t keep it, but a few Years ago saw an Article that showed how someone found at an Estate Sale an Ammo Can of Original, Mil-Spec .45 Mags Loaded and Dated 1942 form the Arsenal. 70-Year-Old Mags and Ammo functioned Normally in a standard 1911. Since then, I have kept All of my 1911 and M-1A Mags fully Loaded, both in the House and in Sealed Cans.

Craig · May 19, 2023 at 9:47 pm

I held a Glock once. Once. I did not like the way it felt in my hand.

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