What About Magazine Counts?

Reader 'S' wonders if one magazine in a 9mm subcompact article held the listed amounts. No, it did not, as we and others found out.


Re “Subcompact High-Capacity 9mm Pistols Shoot It Out,”

September 2023

Hi Todd, great publication as always. I’ve been a subscriber for so long, I don’t even remember how many years it’s been, and I still look forward to the next issue every month. Please keep up the great work! I have a question about the “High Capacity Subcompact 9mm” article and a response to another reader’s Firing Line comment from the September 2023 issue.

First, the question. In your review of the Glock 43X with Shield S15 magazines, are you aware that those magazines are designed to hold 15 rounds? You mention they are 14-round magazines, but right on the Shield Arms site they state they hold 15, and I happen to have some and mine hold 15. Just curious why the discrepancy?

Now on to the comment. In the Firing Line column in the same issue, reader Joe Friday recommends readers, “NEVER, EVER, leave your firearm unattended in your vehicle, period, end of story.” While I am in no way taking anything away from or doubting Joe’s experience, I have to wonder if Joe has forgotten what it’s like to be non-law enforcement. I suspect Joe can carry his firearm anywhere he goes. Unfortunately, for most of us law-abiding CCW holders, we cannot.  

So, if we can’t leave them in our vehicle when we inevitably end up somewhere we are not allowed to carry them, what are we to do? Should we spend the entire duration of our trip not carrying simply because one place we need to go doesn’t allow concealed carry? Or should we ignore the concealed-carry rules and risk that offense? For me, I am and will continue to be law-abiding. Personally, I would rather risk my gun being stolen from my car than to go unarmed.

While I understand and agree with Joe’s concern that many of the products are not that secure, nothing is infallible — even large “fireproof” safes can be defeated without too much difficulty if the thief has the right tools and enough time. Security containers simply provide a delay and a deterrent. Suggesting readers NEVER, EVER, leave them in their vehicles is not a realistic option, in my opinion. Instead, I think they should be hidden out of sight, locked in some fashion, the vehicle should be locked, and the alarm set (if equipped). In addition, whenever possible, the firearm should be left unloaded. When I have to leave mine, I almost always remove the magazine and take it with me — leaving no ammo in the vehicle.  

Many of the locations that prohibit firearms have no restriction on ammunition, so I typically carry my loaded magazine with me so the gun is at least not being left in the car loaded. When I can’t take the magazine with me, I remove it from the firearm and hide it in the vehicle so a prospective thief would have to find both the gun and the ammo to be instantly dangerous with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand Joe’s concern and respect his experience, but saying NEVER (or ALWAYS) to any problem is rarely a realistic solution. — S


Hey S: We agree that having a storage option in your auto is a smart alternative. We didn’t say the in-car safes were foolproof. Deterrence, as you said. 

Our rule on magazine counts is to actually count the rounds that will fit with normal effort. If we had been able to get 15 in the Shield magazines, shown far  left, but with a lot of effort or perhaps misfeeds, we’d have mentioned that. I did contact Contributing Editor Bob Campbell, who wrote the piece, for a further explanation. He said, “For my part, the magazines held only 14 rounds despite my best efforts. Another held only 13, although it was reliable. I did some research and found I am not alone. Once I received the reader’s note, I found similar magazine problems in a discussion on a Glock forum.” 

— Todd Woodard


More On Magazines

Todd, love the magazine, articles, and reader emails. Have you compared magazines yet, speed loaders, versus strips, etc.? I’ve bought Ed Brown and Wilson Combat for my 45 ACP, and while I’m not in any combat courses any more, they both have held up well with repeated use in my Springfield Armory Ronin. I have both stainless and black-coated mags, noting no difference between them. All load eight rounds flawlessly; more important, they run through the pistol even with me deliberately trying to limp-wrist it. I purposely load different ammunition manufacturers and loads, including my handloads (230-grain ball, 185 JHPs, lead bullets) as well, and all, including my original Springfield Armory mag, do well. The gun would not shoot more than one to three rounds of the Federal 230-grain aluminum-cased ammo I used to break it in with, but now, with about 500 rounds through it, it runs so sweet and smooth. Haven’t had use for a rail, but wish Springfield had included some checkering on the front of the grip. A little sticky tape will be added there at a later date. Thanks, and I look forward to your magazine every month.

— Frank

Hey Frank: We’ve done extensive magazine testing in the past. On point to your question, in the October 2016 issue, we tested 1911 magazines from 16 makers, with a Grade A Mec-Gar unit (shown right) earning a Best Buy, selling at the time for $24. We said of them, “The Mec-Gar magazines fit as designed, functioned with all loads, passed the drop test without failure, and also passed the 12-month storage test. This magazine was tied with the Brownells for best value, but there are times then the Mec-Gar is found on sale for an even better price.” Other magazines that earned Grade A ratings included (2016 prices) Brownells 1911 8-Round Magazine, $24; Cobra 8-Round Magazine, $37 (made by Tripp Research); D&L Sports 8-Round Magazine, $50; Kimber KimPro Tac-Mag Factory Magazine, $33; and Wilson Combat 1911 Elite Tactical Magazine Full-Size, 8 Round, $33. Other products that earned an A- grade were Ed Brown 8-Pack Magazine with Base Pad, $37; Remington R1 1911 Magazine, $21.70; Colt Brand 8-Round Stainless Steel Magazine, $24; and the Gun Pro Sure Fire, $35.

 We reviewed speed loaders in the May 2019 issue. HKS Speedloaders were Grade A, Best Buy. Other top-tested units included Safariland Six-Shot Speedloader (A, Our Pick), Pachmayr Competition Speedloader (A), and 5 Star K6 (A-). There were also some good reader comments about speedloaders in the July 2019 issue and mentions of several speedloaders in the January 2021 article, “Colt Reboots The Classic Snake: We Test Four Pythons.” 

If you’re looking instead for a comprehensive test of AR-15 magazines, check the May 2014 issue. They were grouped into polymer and metal bodies. 

We tested non-1911 mags in March 2018 (Tokarevs, Browning Hi-Power 9mms, CZ-75 9mms, Glock G17 and G22, Taurus PT92 AF, 1911 9mms, 1911 38 Supers, and SIG P220). — tw


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here