Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Spare Magazine Loop-hole

One of the proposed infringements on rights that has followed the tragedy in Arizona is Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s proposal to restrict magazine sizes to 10 rounds. The argument is that there is no “legitimate need” to have so many rounds in a single magazine, that the only use for such a large magazine is mass murder, and so on…

A magazine is a handy way of containing ammunition. a detachable magazine is a handy way of being able to rapidly replace an empty magazine with a full one. There’s a youtube clip floating around of a pair of shooters going through 30-odd rounds of ammo, one with a single large-capacity magazine and one with a pair of normal-capacity magazines. The shooter with the pair of magazines clocks in at all of 2 seconds slower than the shooter with one magazine.

Say this restriction passes. In reaction, everyone who used to carry 1 15-round magazine in their double-stack 9mm handgun (for a total load-out of 16 rounds when you include the one in the chamber) as their personal protective weapon change to carrying 3 10-round magazines (for a total loadout of 31 round when you include the one in the chamber). Has this law made anyone safer? And if so, how? A magazine change with reliable magazines (which the AZ Shooter’s were evidently not) is a very short event, and smaller magazines are harder for someone else to interfere with the handling of.

Because magazines of smaller capacity are smaller, it’s easier to reload them in the heat. I’d be hard-pressed to carry and conceal more than one spare 30+round magazine for my handgun, but I can very easily carry and conceal 3-5 10-round magazines in a jacket pocket. Reloading speed is a muscle-memory action (as I once found to my sorrow until I rewrote the muscle-memory), a little practice goes a long way.

To the forces of freedom: we’re fighting this because to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need” in a magazine is to allow them to define the number of bullets you “need”, period. Because after they pass the magazine ban, they’ll be coming for the “spare magazine loop-hole”. After all, the AZ shooter couldn’t have shot 14 people if he had been legally prohibited from having more than 10 rounds on his person. No more than he could have shot them if only the law prohibited him from injuring them…

(edited to correct a brainfart concerning magazine capacity)


  1. Ya know this *spare magazine* loophole, was actually addressed by the brady bunch in California a few years ago. I read about it on some gun blog, and the brady's argued this very point. Since people can have multiple magazines, and they can be quickly swapped out, and taped together for even faster reloading, that in and of themselves, these are the very reasons magazine feed firearms need to be banned.

  2. Cho, at Virginia Tech, like Loughner, also had a Glock 19, but Cho had only 15-round magazines. Cho killed 32 people, wounded 17 others and fired 174 rounds during his main attack. By the false reasoning of the anti-gun rights mob, he should have only been able to fire 15 rounds at most, and only 10 rounds if that had been the legal limit on magazines. They use junk reasoning in support of their junk gun control.

  3. The spare mag loophole, the spare gun loophole, the spare ammo loophole. Ultimately, they regard the Second Amendment as a loophole.

  4. The tactical assumption beneath this infringement is that one should wait till an active shooter is reloading before initiating a counter attack. Thus instead of waiting for 33 people to be shot with a G18 mag, its better to wait for 10 people to be shot, then counter attack.

    Of course, this strategy is counter to Active Shooter training in LE. What has been learned is most active shooters fold/capitulate at first contact with resistance. Columbine and Virgina Tech were bad because Law Enforcement sat outside organizing a safe plan for 1.5 hours and 10 mins, respectfully. Contrast that with the Salt Lake City Mall shooting where an off-duty officer engaged the shooter immediately. Totally different outcomes, ie much less loss of life.

    Mike From Philly

  5. First to correct Chris, Cho had 2 15s, and about a half-dozen 10s, because Ebay at the time only sold "Ban Compliant" mags.

    I'm personally a single-stack man because its more comfortable to carry and conceal my gun and reloads. My total ammo payload is 25.

    Of course just because I don’t carry a double-stack, doesn't mean they aren't good guns and good choices. There is no reason to pass stupid laws that do nothing.


Please keep it civil