Using mag extensions — how and why you should use them, in today’s Just The Tip. Breach-Bang-Clear
Just The Tip: Using Mag Extensions
Fifty Shades of FDE
Modern pistols with standard capacity magazines carry more rounds than ever before. They still don’t carry as much as a rifle, but you won’t always have access to your long gun as a LEO and especially as an armed citizen with a CCW.
Magazine extensions are an easy fix to fill that gap and give you more firepower without adding too much bulk. When you do have to use your pistol in a defensive situation, the more rounds you have on you the better. I use mag extensions any chance I get.
Here are some tips from my experience with them.
¡Have experience with these? LEO, military, competitor, whatever — we appreciate your input too!
Before you do anything, research the companies you’re interested in buying from. Make sure they’re reputable and have a good track record. Adding more capacity to your magazine shouldn’t hinder reliability; what’s the point of having more rounds if your extension causes malfunctions and is unreliable?
If you’re adding more than one round to your mag, an upgraded spring should come with it (most mag extensions come with a spring upgrade). If not, you should consider purchasing one. The stock spring was designed for the capacity of the standard mag so if you use that same spring, expect it to fail somewhere down the line.
You’re dealing with springs and small parts, so make sure you have your eye pro on! Most extensions are very easy to install without tools. Glock mags, specifically Glock 43 mags, were a pain in the ass to remove the stock floor plate. I found using pliers to squeeze the sides of the mag helped with the removal process. The actual installation isn’t much different from reassembling a regular mag, with the exception of a few that require a locking mechanism to secure the floor plate.
Now that you have your mag extensions installed, how should you put them to use? Here’s how you should carry them in these applications:
Have all mags with extensions in your pistol and on your belt (if you’re in a class that allows extended mags).
Flush magazine in pistol, extended mag as a spare.
If you can effectively conceal your pistol with a mag extension, use it. If not, concealment should be your priority. I carry my Glock 43 with a Taran Tactical Innovations plus-one mag extension in the pistol and a spare mag with TTI plus-two mag extension in my mag holder.
Stock or flush mag in duty pistol, extended mags in mag holders. Initially, I carried my HK VP9 with Xtech Tactical plus -five mag extensions in the pistol and on my belt. I was thinking that if I were to get into a gunfight, I should start off with an advantageous amount of rounds. That wasn’t a wrong assessment, but a friend in the department gave me a solid tip: keep the mag in the pistol flush and put the extended mags in the holders. A mag extension in your duty gun will bump into almost everything, so you run the risk of breaking the floor plate and sending your rounds all over the place.
Keep a mag extension on your pistol at all times. In most cases, the pistol is probably all that you will have on your person as you respond to that bump in the night. The gun’s out, you’re not worried about concealment or bumping into things while it’s holstered, so it’s best to have more rounds on board.
There are plenty of manufacturers out there that make reliable and durable mag extensions. If you’re not legally restricted from carrying more rounds, do some research and start carrying more firepower!
Now, questions for the crowd:
What mag extensions have you used?
What experiences have you had?
What would you add to this advice?
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