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Gun Magazine Maintenance 101

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In February 1980, the Austrian army was looking to replace their outdated Walther P-38 handguns with a new more modern pistol.

At the time, Gaston Glock, an Austrian citizen who operated a small business manufacturing knives and blades for the Austrian Army, overheard a conversation between two Austrian Army Colonels and learned the Army was in the process of searching for a new pistol.

Supposedly, Gaston Glock knew very little about handguns.

So, he went out and purchased a number of competing pistols, including the Italian Beretta 92F, the Swiss-German Sig Sauer P220, the Czech CZ75 and a modern version of the Walther P-38.

Glock took the weapons home and studied them, how they worked and how they were constructed.

He also tracked down firearms enthusiasts and asked them for ideas on what they would like to see in a modern handgun.

Glock learned that the Austrian army wanted a pistol with large ammunition capacity, a light trigger pull, and no more than 40 parts to the entire gun.

Roughly a year later, Glock delivered his four test pistols to the Austrian Army, with his Glock 17 winning the army’s handgun testing trials.

The Glock 17 was a pistol unlike any other handgun ever before. But, as we all know now, the lower half of the pistol is a polymer frame, housing a steel fire control group.

The upper half of the pistol is made from a single block of steel.

The use of plastics allowed Glock to keep the handgun’s weight down to twenty-three ounces, a quarter pound less than the army requirement.

Other competitors such as the Beretta 92F and the CZ75 used a steel frame.

Glock simplified the design to just thirty-four parts, compared to Beretta’s 92F pistol, which had more than seventy parts.

Glock focused on making his weapon reliable over everything else and in a competition that allowed for twenty jams in ten thousand shots, his pistol only failed once.

Glock has become one of the most dominant handgun manufacturers in the world.

Glocks have been carried by armies and law enforcement worldwide, including the U.S. Army Rangers and Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command – thanks to the gun’s reliability and durability.

For instance, there have been torture tests done to Glocks where the guns have been buried in sand, dirt, or even submerged in water, yet they still fired without issue.

Some tests have reportedly put 250,000 rounds through a Glock without the gun failing.

Importantly, Glock magazines are just as durable as the gun itself.

I’ve seen them dropped in dirt, mud, water and been “beaten up,” but they still operate as they should.

My point is, you can have an amazing handgun, but if it’s got crappy magazines, it doesn’t matter how good the gun is.

So, whether you have a Glock or any other gun, there are certain things you can do to help make your magazines last just as long as the firearm itself.

Here some things to do and a few things you should never do, to get the most out of your gun’s magazine.

Things to do:

Watch for springs. Anytime you are cleaning or taking apart a magazine, you need to be mindful of the springs inside the magazine.

Make sure they still look good, don’t lose them and see if there are any issues with them where you might need a new one.

Be careful what chemicals you use. When cleaning your magazine never use any household chemicals or cleaning solutions.

Only use cleaning solutions that are specifically designed for firearms.

Also, be sure to remove any cleaning product and apply a light coat of oil to metal mags and apply dry lube to spring components.

Carefully clean and inspect all components. When you take apart your gun magazine, check for dirt, rust or any wear issues.

They make gun magazine cleaning brushes that are designed for magazines, but you can also use a toothbrush or something similar.

As I mentioned, look at the spring and replace any worn out components.

Some companies such as Glock and Magpul sell factory replacement magazine parts, so you know you will be getting a top-quality replacement part.

Things to never do:

Don’t submerge in cleaner. Even though a magazine such as a Glock won’t be harmed by submerging it in water, you never want to do this with cleaning solutions.

The problem is, some chemicals may remove the paint and plastic mags may get damaged by the chemicals.

The fact is, you won’t actually get the grit and grime off the magazine unless you use a brush. So, don’t be fooled by just soaking the mag.

Don’t attempt to half clean. After a long day of shooting, I know a lot of folks will simply wipe down their mag and call it good.

While this isn’t bad, it doesn’t really clean the dirt and grime from inner workings of the magazine.

Plus, you really need to get a brush on the magazine and this is difficult to do if you don’t take it completely apart.

So, take the time to clean it right, just like you would with your gun.

Never lube polymer mags. Polymer mags are designed to work without lubricant, so once you clean them you want to make sure they are dry before putting the magazine back together.

The reality is, you should clean your magazine just as often as you clean your gun.

For some people, this may be after every shooting excursion, but no matter what, take your time just like you would with your firearm and function check the magazine after you’ve put it back together.

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