Can You Leave Glock Mags Loaded?

Can You Leave Glock Mags Loaded?

22nd May 2024

It’s one of the most common questions on the internet, to the point that the first page of Google is littered with videos, blogs, articles, Quora responses, and People Also Ask entries offering insight and answers.

Can you leave Glock mags loaded?

The answer is a basic yes, but in case you want the reasoning, keep on reading.

About Spring Fatigue

To understand the reason why you can leave gun magazines loaded, you have to know a thing or two about spring mechanics.

Here’s what you probably know about springs. They are the most failure prone parts on pretty much any firearm, because after a certain amount of use and abuse, they fatigue and snap.

Some people believe that putting the spring under a load is what causes fatigue. For instance, if you load a Glock mag and leave it loaded, you’ll be compressing the spring. In their minds, this will hasten failure. They are only half right.

The full picture is this: it is not just compression that fatigues a spring. It is the number of compression and decompression cycles. A compressed and stationary spring will maintain its memory just as well as one that is not under any tension, torsion, compression or any other sort of load. In that respect, a loaded mag spring is, for all intents and purposes, in the same basic state as one that is extended.

Now, to go a little further, we need to look at the cause of fatigue. Spring material fatigue is a phenomenon that occurs when any flexible material undergoes a series of compression and decompression cycles. When the spring flexes, small cracks begin to form in the material; truly microscopic cracks.

Over time, the stresses culminate in (literally) a breaking point, and the spring will snap. Then, you need to replace the spring. This unfortunately occurs even when the pulsated stress load is well beneath the yield strength of the steel from which the spring is made. That is, no matter what, all springs will fail over time, no matter how strong the steel is

The Short Answer: Yes

The short answer here is that you can load magazines, even load them fully, and leave them loaded for as long as you like. In fact, even if you keep the thing loaded for a year or longer, it’ll be in the same shape it was when you take it to the range again.

Leave your mags loaded as long as you like, they will not fatigue until they’ve gone through a number of cycles. Some mags last several thousand, even tens of thousands, before the mag spring needs to be replaced.

Does Leaving Them Loaded Break Them in?

Another separate question, and one that also merits a short investigation, has to do with whether or not leaving the magazines loaded will break them in. The answer is no.

The roughness or tightness that some magazines exhibit when new is a product of not being worn down slightly - just like the action of a gun.

There are two components to this: the loading and unloading of rounds from the mag itself, and the charging and dropping of the magazine from the gun.

Loading and leaving the magazine loaded will unfortunately not break it in. For this, you will also need to subject the magazine to several load and unload cycles. You can break the magazine in simply by taking it to the range and shooting through it a few times. One way to speed up the process is to load and unload the mag fully a few times with a speedloader.

However, this “hack” (if you can call it that) will only impact one aspect of magazine break-in. The other aspect has to do with the fit of the mag to the gun.

The mag chute, catch, and release are all made to precise specifications to fit specific models of magazines. Sometimes, the specifications are, shall we say, too precise, and some new mags are a little tough to charge and drop smoothly.

To break in this aspect of the magazine, simply charge the magazine and drop it free a few times. Then again, you can also break in the mag simply by shooting it at the range as indicated; that will also accomplish the same ends.

Restock Your Ammo Bag with Glock Mags

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