How to Maintain and Store Your Firearm Magazines

The magazine stores and feeds the ammunition to the firearm. These critical components of your firearm do not last forever. From dented metal exteriors to cracked plastic or a worn-out spring, your magazines deserve just as much attention as the rest of your firearm.

Keeping them well maintained is paramount because it prevents unauthorized use and potential harm to yourself or others. Fortunately, there are options available for maintaining and storing firearm magazines.

Maintaining Your Firearm Magazines

There are two types of magazines used with firearms.

  1. Detachable Magazines – This type of magazine allows the person to remove extra ammunition from the firearm by removing the magazine.  
  2. Fixed Magazines – This type of magazine requires the manual removal of the ammunition from the gun.

The magazine consists of a box that holds a spring and a follower.

  • Spring – The spring provides the energy required to lift the next round of ammunition.
  • Follower – The follower is located on top of the spring and provides a stable platform to raise the ammunition into the chamber for firing

Over time, magazines can wear out, regardless of whether it is a handgun or a PCP air rifle, which is why maintenance is essential. Maintaining these crucial parts of the magazine include a few do’s and don’ts.

Do’s of Maintaining Your Firearm Magazine

  • DO make sure to clear your firearm before performing any maintenance, even if all maintenance will be limited to the magazine.
  • DO wear eye protection just in case the spring or follower accidentally ejects from the magazine.
  • DO use proper magazine cleaning products and have plenty of clean paper towels or disposable fabric cloth on hand.
  • DO utilize care when disassembling the magazine.
  • DO carefully inspect and clean all components staying diligent in observing any dirt, rust, wear and tear issues, and tension on the spring.
  • DO reassemble the magazine in the reverse order of disassembly, and make sure to replace all worn-out components.

Don’ts of Maintaining Your Firearm Magazine

  • DON’T attempt to clean without disassembling the magazine first as the cleaning tools may get stuck or cause damage to the magazine itself.
  • DON’T disassemble a loaded magazine!
  • DON’T wait more than six months to relieve the spring part of the magazine. Over time, the spring can lose its ability to push the rounds up into the chamber.
  • DON’T use the wrong cleaning products, such as Simply Green, on aluminum magazines or magazines that have non-steel parts. This mistake could cause corrosion or damage to the metal.
  • DON’T lube polymer magazines — they are self-lubricating.

Magazine springs compress as bullets are added, creating a progressive tension on the springs causing the spring to wear out over time. However, if too much time passes regarding maintenance, you can purchase a magazine rebuild kit.

Using a firearm that relies on magazines requires regular care and storage in rapidly accessible locations.

Storing Your Firearm Magazine

The storage of firearm magazines can be done either loaded or unloaded, but if for any reason the firearm is needed in a hurry, it is best to have your magazine ready and loaded.

This process will also save time and money when going to the shooting range because many facilities enforce a pay-by-the-hour policy, and contingent on the firearm, it could take time for the reloading process.

Depending on the reason for use, for example, if the firearm is going to be used for home defense, it should be easily accessible in an emergency (but also in a safe location from children). Or, maybe your firearms will be used for hunting, in which case storage time could be longer.

A few options are available for the safe storage of your firearm magazine.

  1. Ammo Boxes – If you’re looking for a way to store a number of magazines separately from your firearm, you can keep them in ammo cans or boxes. These metal boxes are typically used to carry loose ammo, but since they’re just metal boxes, you could put anything in them.
  2. Trigger Locks – These simple and affordable locks, also known as cable locks, help prevent a gun from being loaded or fired by an unapproved user. These locks are in direct contact with the trigger, so they should never be installed on loaded firearms. They are also a very affordable option, often costing less than $20.00.
  3. Strong Boxes and Security Cases – For those who want the best storage option for quick access, these storage units provide gun owners with a locking anti-theft cabinet while maintaining easy portability. The prices also start relatively low at $50.00.
  4. Locking Steel Gun Cabinets – These lighter-weight cabinets increase storage capacity compared to strong boxes and security cases. Also, due to their weight, they can easily be moved safely into various locations such as apartment buildings and up and down stairwells, which is not the case with gun safes. The price range is lower, starting at $150.00 due to the thinner gauge of steel, the absence of fire-resistant insulation, and a more straightforward locking mechanism.
  5. Gun Safes – Keeping your firearm magazine locked up safely can be done through different locking mechanisms. Gun safes provide the most secure firearm storage and help protect the gun finish due to the lined interior and dedicated racks inside. These safes also render protection against flooding and fire disasters with a price range starting at approximately $500.00.

Choosing the Best Option

If you choose to go with a safe, it is essential to determine the size of the safe needed to safeguard all your firearms and magazines. Start by taking a tally of the guns and gear you currently have and make sure to include future purchases.

Add that total to all the non-shooting valuables that will also be stored, such as documents, jewelry, and computer hard drives. The safe size should be one size bigger than the total space needed. Doing this will allow for a little extra room to maneuver if necessary.

When making the final pick for storage, a few considerations should include the thickness of the steel, the fire rating, and if you want electronic or manual locks.

  • The thicker the steel, the higher the cost, but better overall protection.
  • The fire rating should be a minimum of one hour of fire safety. If it is less than one hour, it will not provide enough protection during a fire.
  • Electronic locks are faster and easier than manual locks, but they are also more expensive. Both choices are reasonable; it all depends on personal preference.

Regardless of what your firearm will be used for, your firearm magazine’s safe storage and maintenance are essential. When properly cared for and securely stored, your firearm magazines will provide protection and service when most needed.

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