Clips & Magazines
[DEBUNKED] Dispelling The Mag Spring Myth
Many people believe in what is called the “mag spring myth,” which states that keeping a magazine loaded can cause severe damage to the spring itself and cause misfeeds. There has been good evidence that this myth is purely just a myth. Here we debunk the magazine spring compression myth once and for all.
Exposing the Mag Spring Myth!
1. Keep Your Magazines Loaded
The mag spring myth is based on the idea that if you keep magazines loaded, they will suffer from damage and become unreliable. Why would someone think that? What is the actual process and science behind this theory?
The theory assumes that if you keep the magazine springs compressed it will set and will fail to feed the rounds properly. Why is it not true? The spring is designed for this. It is designed to be compressed and hold its strength to feed the rounds up through the magazine. A spring of the machine compressed will take a set but it will find an equilibrium.
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It's not a piece of steel where you bend it and it stays bent. They will compress then spring back and eventually find where it is supposed to be and stay that way. If you took the spring and either stretched it or compressed it past what it was designed to be then, of course, it won't work properly. As long as it stays within the body of the magazine it will maintain its usability. Damaging of the spring can be through excessive heat or cold.
2. Stretching Your Springs
Do magazine springs wear out? Some people think they need to stretch their springs for being in compression for so long. You don't need to do this. It has settled into its natural position and you will hurt it if you are stretching it out. The reason you don't is the stack of rounds may need 10 pounds to feed properly. Your spring might have started at 20 pounds of pressure then settled to 18 pounds.
As it gets towards the top of the stack the spring is extending putting out less force, possibly now at 15 pounds of pressure. Any way you look at it you still have more than enough pressure to feed your rounds properly. People often say you do more damage to the spring, unloading and loading it and cycling it.
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In theory, cycling a spring is what causes some wear and tear, but if it's operating within the perimeters of its design then you won't have any issues. The spring is longer than the body of the magazine and will always be somewhat compressed when inside.
3. Magazine Followers
A lot of the mag spring myth starts with the follower. The older follower is no longer helpful in any magazine and should be thrown away if you still have any. The new followers are anti-tilt so the rounds feed properly. With the old design, the follower would tilt in the magazine and get stuck. People would think there isn't enough tension from the spring thus creating the myth.
4. Reliable Magazines
Where can you go wrong with US GI issue mags, Mag pulls, and c products? If you can get the army mags, awesome, and if you can get your hands on Magpuls great! I would not recommend using the c products. It's not a good idea to buy low-quality magazines. The quality of the spring may be lower and storing over time can develop rust. This will decrease the strength of the spring and potentially fail. Not all springs are equal. Some use a smaller gauged sized spring or a smaller follower. Just be sure to know what you are getting and what works for you.
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Check out this video by landshark22 about dispelling the mag spring myth:
There goes your mag spring myth, gun folks! Don't stretch your springs, leave them alone. Use the new followers so you don't run into jams or magazine failure. Buy quality magazines and stay away from the inexpensive parts. You can leave your magazines loaded, they were designed to handle it that way.
Did you learn anything of value about the mag spring myth? Let us know in the comments section below!
Up Next: Modern Self-Defense: .357 Magnum
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on October 18, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
January 18, 2018 at 2:40 PM
Despite what you’ve been told by mag spring manufacturers, police officers have told me that they are taught not to fill their mags because it causes too much tension on the spring and may cause feeding problems that could endanger the life of the officer. And, I’ve also been told that at the range those that do fill their mags sometimes have a feeding problem. So, if the spring doesn’t cause the feeding problems, then what does- elves?
January 16, 2018 at 9:27 PM
Excellent article. I am not only a gun owner and certified gunsmith, but a certified high school Physics teacher. This article accurately and concisely summarizes “spring theory” (yes, its actually a subject covered in basic Physics courses). This is a valuable and useful article for entry level gun owners. Good job.
January 16, 2018 at 1:43 PM
Myths like these were born out of fact during the Vietnam Era. All we had were 20 round mags. When loading them with 20 rounds, over time, they did compress just enough that the last couple of rounds “might” hang. This may have been because the metal used was not on par with today. We began loading with 18 rounds and the rate of hangs fell. Some new troops complained about the loss of a couple of rounds in a firefight. It was impressed upon them that if they couldn’t hit a target with 18 rounds, 2 more wouldn’t make a difference. This being especially true in dense vegetation where we rarely had a definite target, but, rather, sprayed and prayed. We wasted a lot of ammo, so a couple of rounds made little difference.
John J Redmond
January 16, 2018 at 10:43 AM
Like aircraft- it is the number of cycles,landings and other variables that determines life of component.
Mags need to be cleaned too!