How Many Gun Magazines Do You Really Need? ~ VIDEO

AmmoLand Video Editor, Jim Grant wades into the eye of the storm and lays down video testimony to make his case for How Many Gun Magazines Do You Really Need…!?

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- “How many mags do you need?” is an often-asked, albeit somewhat pointed, question by wives to their husbands when a gun collection is seemingly growing out of control. And to the non-gun-person, it seems like a straightforward one – but it’s definitely not.

Why? Because the answer is, “it depends” and if you’re already imagining your wife’s furrowed brow, read on. I’ve got the perfect answer, and a rule of thumb to abide by when trying to answer that imponderable question to the most important person of all – yourself.

How Many Mags Do You Need?

All of them! OK, no, not all of them, but that often feels like the right answer. But like I said before, the proper response to that question depends on a number of factors as well as the gun itself, the role that gun serves, and the manufacturer and age of the gun. So let’s dive right in.

Most Basic Answer ~ 3-to-5

For those of you reading who have the attention span on a gnat, buy between three and five magazines, and you should be solid. Three magazines means you’ll have enough to shove in a bugout bag without having to worry about having enough ammo on you for a life-or-death scenario, while five ensures that plinking sessions on the range are spent shooting and not loading magazines.

Personally, I’m not happy when I buy a new gun if I don’t at least have three magazines for it. And this is a rule I followed even when I was a poor college kid literally eating instant noodles to save up enough cash to buy ammo and magazines for my favorite guns. And before you tell me that inflation has made this infeasible, I did so in a ban-state, Massachusetts. So I was paying $30 for AR-15 and AKM magazines that the free parts of the country only had to spend 10 bucks on.

But there are vastly more factors to take into account, so read on.

Arsenal SGL-21 Russian AKM
For shooting sessions on the range, I recommend a minimum of three magazines with a capacity greater than 15 rounds, like this 30-round Romanian AK magazine in my Arsenal SGL-21 AKM carbine. IMG Jim Grant

1st Exception – Magazine Capacity

The aforementioned rule isn’t a hard one at all. More of a basic guiding principle. In fact, I normally suggest new shooters go with a minimum of three magazines for magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. This just helps with extending shooting range sessions and preventing them from having to fight sore fingers from loading magazines when learning the basics of shooting.

For guns like the M1911 that only hold between seven and 10 rounds, I recommend a minimum of five magazines. That allows a shooter to load an entire box of pistol ammo in magazines which makes transportation easier with the benefit of not having to constantly load magazines at the range. One exception to this exception (exception inception?) is concealed carry and home defense guns. For these guns, I always recommend a minimum of five mags.

Yes, this can be expensive, but as I mentioned previously, spend your time wisely practicing, not loading magazines. This is doubly so for shooters who don’t have access to a private range or have to drive a long distance to one. After all, do you really want to drive 90 minutes to the range only have enough time to shoot 50 rounds of 9mm before driving another 90 minutes back?

9mm Mauser P08 Luger
Some guns have very limited availability for magazines and parts, like this 1936 Mauser-made S/42 Luger. For these sorts of guns, buy as many magazines as you can find whenever they’re available at a good price – since they likely won’t get any cheaper. IMG Jim Grant

2nd Exception – Firearms Mag’s Availability

While your favorite gun may have cheap, plentiful magazines available for it right now, who knows what the future may hold? This is why when surplus AKs and accessories were coming in from overseas at very affordable prices, I told friends to buy as many magazines as they could afford because they’ll only become more expensive. Ask guys who bought FALs 20 years ago, or M1 carbines in the 1970’s – ammo and magazines have gone up exponentially in price since then. An older shooter once told me, “Today’s high prices are tomorrow’s deals.” and his advice continues to prove itself true.

So how many magazines should you buy for a gun whose magazines are currently affordable? Ideally, a minimum of 10. But if you see them for an insanely low price, buy more. I own several dozen firearms and hundreds of magazines, and not once have I ever said, “I wish I hadn’t bought so many magazines!”

PTR 9CT 9mm Holosun 503 gun magazines
While the PTR 9CT roller-delayed 9mm pistol is fairly affordable, the same can’t be said of its MP5-pattern gun magazines. So if you see any on sale for a good price, buy’m up! But don’t break the bank buying a dozen or so at full retail. IMG Jim Grant

3rd Exception – Budget Gun Magazines

While I’m sure most of you know this, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t bring it up. Stay within your budgetary constraints. Don’t prioritize magazines, ammo, or guns (unless things are looking very dire, and you don’t have anything to defend your family and yourself with) over any essentials. Yes, it would be very cool to own a Barret 50 with enough ammo to keep it fed for years, but if doing so results in your family living in rags,  it probably wasn’t the right choice.

How Many Gun Magazines Do You Need for Your Sniper Rifle? Savage 110 Tactical
How Many Gun Magazines Do You Need for Your Sniper Rifle? Precision rifles like the Savage 110 Tactical featuring a Saker ASR suppressor from SilencerShop.com don’t really need many magazines, because shooters tend to take their time engaging targets. IMG Jim Grant

4th Exception – Role, How Many Gun Magazines Do You Need for Your Sniper Rifle?

I already touched on this early with the concealed carry guns, but some guns don’t really need many magazines. For example, a PRS rifle probably doesn’t need five magazines, since you’ll be taking your time firing the rifle at long distances, and basically never doing a tactical reload. Another example would be a British SMLE or a SWISS K31 – yes, both of these guns take detachable magazines, but they can just as easily be reloaded with stripper clips, and spare mags for them are prohibitively expensive.

Final Answer of How Many Gun Mags You Need is…?

Again, while the exceptions above still apply, if I’m buying a gun for hard, serious, or competitive use, I like to have five magazines. To me, this strikes the balance between efficient use of time at the gun range and minimizing the monetary impact on my bank account. But maybe I’m crazy, and I actually need 50. Tell me how many magazines you think a shooter needs in the comment section below.


The Magazines Seen in this Video.

Check Sale Inventory at the Top Magazine Retailers:


About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

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ExGob
ExGob
1 month ago

How many magazines do you need? How many tubes of lipstick does a person need? The United States currently has no requirement to prove a ‘need’ for something that is legal to possess. We already have a plethora of restrictive laws pertaining to firearms, ammunition and accessories; we need to keep this can of worms tightly closed. Once opened, we will be inundated with the overflow, because the antigun crowd will be on it like a sparrow on a hot horse turd.

Last edited 1 month ago by ExGob
JimmyS
JimmyS
1 month ago

In this Republic, founded by free men, who asserted their free nature as created beings of a benevolent God, my answer is two-fold: first of all, it’s none of your fucking business, and second, get off my lawn.

SEMPAI
SEMPAI
1 month ago
Reply to  JimmyS

Now that’s the right answer.

DonP
DonP
1 month ago

“How Many Gun Magazines Do You Really Need?”

The only correct answer is always:
…Just a few more.

Ed
Ed
1 month ago

None of your business.

hippybiker
hippybiker
1 month ago

How many gun mags do I need? You ask. As man6 as I want and can afford. Same for guns and ammo! I’m glad we got that straightened out!

BillK-STL
BillK-STL
1 month ago

My bare minimum for a pistol is 3 – two for the mag carrier, one in the pistol. This is the typical load-out for the type of training I do. For my AR, 4 – three in the chest rig, one in the rifle.
One point that no one has brought up is that mags break. They get dropped, stepped on, slammed into the weapon, etc. Mag springs and lips eventually, wear out too! Springs can be replaced, the lips cannot.

Riomedinamike
Riomedinamike
1 month ago
Reply to  BillK-STL

One is none, two is one, so a minimum of go-bang mags is 6 for me per pistol. Rifles, even more. And spare springs and followers and base plates if applicable. And as BillK states – mags break, not so often, but often enough, so I include an additional amount of mags designated for range practice so I don’t ding up my go-bang mags.

Mike11C
Mike11C
1 month ago

I’m going to say, you need hundreds or even thousands of magazines. You never know what’s going to happen and, if the SHTF, magazines can be used as currency.

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
1 month ago

I need all the mags I can get, because you know full well that the Dems will ban std-cap mags, then limit ammo purchases, as they have ALREADY done in the People’s Soviet Socialist Republik of Commiefornia.

100 round drum PO a libtard.png
DonP
DonP
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Bowman

I never thought of that as a reason… now I have an even better reason to get one.

Henry Bowman
Henry Bowman
1 month ago
Reply to  DonP

Several 100rd drums and a forced reset trigger are golden. Four (20rd) boxes M855/SS109 to one box XM856 tracer.

Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago

Had no idea K31 took detachable magazines. I ‘only’ have a K1911 and have yet Tom see a stripper clip for it. Given my use for it and the ever increasing cost for its specialty ammo, same as K31, I’m OK with slowing down to load individual rounds. Don’t remember what I paid for case of GP11, but lower quality commercial ammo is in multiple dollar per round range if one can find it. So very fun, but expensive to shoot. this gun may well be my motivation to start reloading.

Glocktarded
Glocktarded
1 month ago

I lived through the Assault Weapon Ban, so I’ve been stocking up for years. I have 90 high cap Glock mags and 131 rifle mags. AR-15, AR-10, and Mini-14.

buzzsaw
buzzsaw
1 month ago
Reply to  Glocktarded

I became a “gun person” during the AWB, and remember paying $75-80 each for three well-used Glock 17 standard capacity mags at the gun show at which I bought my G17. In the absence of the ban, these mags wouldn’t have been worth more than $10-12 (in 2002). Now, I have mags for several popular guns I don’t even own. I figure I might wind up with one in the future. If there’s a ban, I already have a few standard cap mags. If I don’t get one, I have some trading stock. Magazines are a wear item. If you… Read more »

WI Patriot
WI Patriot
1 month ago

I’m set, thanks for your concern…

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago

I’m magazine poor. 1 ten round for my 350 Legend AR, 2 twenty round for my 300BLK (1 for pistol, 1 for rifle), 3 ten round for my 458 SOCOM, 3 twenty round for my 308/7.62X51 AR10, 6 thirty round for my 5.56 AR and 1 25 round .22LR for my CMMG conversion AR.
2 12 round and 3 17 round for my PT111 Millennium G2 9mm. EDC.
Forgot. 12 en bloc clips for the M1 Garand and 1 ten round magazine for the 1918 Enfield SMLE MKIII*. 1 ten round .22LR for the Savage 64F.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ryben Flynn
Russn8r
Russn8r
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

Me too. Twenty 30-round 223 mags stolen & some other burned in a fire.

DonP
DonP
1 month ago
Reply to  Russn8r

Is that because you have never owned a boat to have had an accident in?

Arizona
Arizona
1 month ago

Seven is a standard battle load-out. Then you have training mags. Then there are fresh in bag back-ups. How many firearms use the same mags? Think it is time to hit up botach for more…

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago
Reply to  Arizona

Good idea. I should get more magazines for my 300BLK and maybe a few more for the 5.56.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryben Flynn

Hey there, if you don’t mind me asking since I’ve never shot a 300 Blackout, could you give me your personal View on the differences in recoil between your 556 AR and your 300 Blackout AR?

I’m considering a 300 Blackout upper but I’m just not sure. I have some serious neck vertebrae issues that’s the reason for asking.

Thank you for your time.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
1 month ago
Reply to  Neanderthal75

My thought is it’s pretty much a wash on felt recoil between the two, with slightly more felt recoil to the mid weight supersonics in the Blackout.

I have 4 herniated disc’s and it docent bother me more than 5.56 or any of the other mid sized cartridges do but remember felt recoil is a very subjective thing.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
1 month ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

Thank you for getting back to me I truly do appreciate it! The reason I asked was because Bear Creek often run specials on side charging 16-in heavy barrel complete uppers for between $240 and $300 in 300 Blackout and I was definitely interested. The only thing that really gets my attention is that cost per round for the 300 Blackout. The problem I’m facing is that the complete upper from Bear Creek would only be an interim on the way to getting what I really want concerning recoil, ballistics, and all around shoot ability, which is an AK-74 from… Read more »

Mike11C
Mike11C
1 month ago
Reply to  Arizona

It’s time to buy more mags but, I’ll never buy from Botach again. I ordered a set of level IV SAPI plates and, they just threw them in a box with no padding whatsoever. They arrived all dented and cut up around the edges. Then, they wouldn’t answer their phone or respond to emails. I tried for two weeks and then resorted to disputing the charge on my card. That’s when they finally reached out. It took three more attempts to get a return shipping label. Nope, I’m done with them.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike11C

I’ve read so many horror stories that I shy away from anything Botach.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
1 month ago

No such thing as too many magazines or ammunition.

DDS
DDS
1 month ago
Reply to  Green Mtn. Boy

I remember seeing someone post two exceptions to that rule. One was if you’re trying to swim to shore. Don’t remember what the second one was.

Finnky
Finnky
1 month ago
Reply to  DDS

Exceptions are swimming or on fire.

Tionico
Tionico
1 month ago
Reply to  Finnky

how about moving cross country and yuo have to PACK and LOAD all your gun stuff to securely tramsport……. but that is a shortt erm temporary issue.

Duane
Duane
1 month ago

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