Storing Glock Mags Loaded: What You Need to Know

Storing Glock Mags Loaded: What You Need to Know

16th Jan 2024

Have you ever been browsing the web and seen some ruthlessly uninvited comment about how “storing loaded mags destroys them?”

Or perhaps you heard some banter about it at the range, or something like that.

The source matters not, only the conviction. But is it true?

We’re unpacking the details here, specifically about Glock mags. So, does storing them loaded ruin them?

Does Storing Glock Mags Loaded Ruin Them?

To break this down, we need to be specific about what we mean. So let’s talk about Glock mags with respect to the main moving part that most people are probably addressing when they hoot and holler that storing loaded mags is no good: the spring.

The mag spring, which sits inside the mag body, underneath the follower, and is responsible for feeding ammo safely through the mag, is the part that takes most of the brunt of a load when you press rounds into it.

Probably, what a lot of people think is that, since, when you store a mag loaded, the spring stays compressed, it will fatigue.

Fatigued springs lose a lot of their power and ability to store energy, and a badly fatigued spring will not feed any rounds at all. More often, a fatigued mag spring will feed a few rounds and then start jamming.

But we have to unpack this further so we can get to the root cause of spring fatigue.

Springs are made from special alloys of metal (usually steel) that heat treated in such a fashion that they have memory. When you place them under a load, they resist the load and want to maintain their shape. All springs in some manner or other work like this, be they leaf springs, torsion springs, or the compression springs found in Glock magazines.

At first thought, it might make sense that a magazine would lose “power” if a force were applied to it for a given period of time, but in application, this is not the case.

Holding everything equal for metallurgical chemistry, temperature, and corrosion, the primary driver of spring fatigue is the number of pulsation cycles below the yield strength of the spring.

The keyword there is cycles. Springs don’t fatigue from being compressed - basically at all. They fatigue after being subjected to compression cycles. That is, every time you shoot through a mag, you’ll lose a little bit of life off the spring. In other words, they fatigue from being compressed and released.

But, it also means that storing a Glock mag loaded will not damage the spring. So the next time you hear someone going off the deep end about storing mags loaded and how you’ll destroy them, send them to this post.

Glock, specifically, makes some of the highest quality magazines in the industry, with high-strength springs that can withstand many thousands of compression cycles before they start to weaken, especially when they are properly cleaned and cared for. So you should be good to store them loaded if you want to.

Now, in the spirit of fairness, we have to address all potential concerns here, and it is conceivably possible that the people concerned about magazine stresses are not talking about the spring.

Which means, in this case, we need to say a word on the feed lips. Some magazines may have fragile plastic feed lips. When you fully load a mag, the rounds at the top will press outward on the feed lips and can damage them.

But, Glock mags are pretty solidly built and this is unlikely to happen with them. If you’re worried about it but still want to store your mags loaded, load the mags fully and then take a few rounds out to take a little bit of pressure off the feed lips.

So, since you can do it, here are a few instances in which it might make sense to store some of your Glock mags loaded.

                  Glock mags

Why Storing Them Loaded May Actually Make Sense

One good reason to keep some Glock mags loaded is to cut back on clutter. Think about how many ammo boxes you have in the closet, or on the shelves. Every loaded mag is one less box to hold onto. Just make sure when you load mags, you store them in a cool, dry location - the same as you would with any ammo.

Another reason to store some mags loaded is emergency preparedness. If you keep your Glock for home defense, you’re not going to have time to load 15 loose rounds into a mag in the middle of the night. You get the picture.

Storing mags loaded can also save you a little bit of time and money if you shoot at ranges that require you to rent a lane by the minute or hour. If you roll up to the range ready to shoot, with loaded mags, you can waste less of your range time loading. Get a speedloader, too - there’s another pro tip for you.

How to Store Them Loaded (and How Long Does Ammo Last?)

One final suggestion about storing your Glock mags loaded, if you’re going to. It’s a good practice to rotate through them. That is, if you always use one or a few mags, those are going to wear out sooner.

Instead, cycle through all of your mags so they all get even use, that way you won’t run out of some before others, and you’ll always theoretically have a full set of mags that work reliably, and as intended.

Similarly, your ammo will last a long time as long as it is protected against extreme temperatures and exposure to high humidity. High heat will damage the primer and propellant, and high humidity will cause corrosion that can weaken the brass case and damage the bullet, resulting in a combination of poor performance and accuracy.

                      Glock mags

Need Some New Glock Mags?

Here because you need new Glock mags? At least now you know you can store them loaded!

We carry a wide range of replacement mags and you can even buy sets to save on per unit costs. Stock up here today and keep some spares in your range bag.