Properly maintained magazines will last a lifetime; however, neglect and a lack of cleaning will lead to malfunctions that unnecessarily render the firearm useless at a potentially critical moment. On most outdoor ranges your magazines get dropped in the dirt and gravel every time you perform an emergency reload (and you should be letting them fall to the ground – retention is good habit, but not at slide-lock). Few people ever take the time to really inspect and clean the source of the ammunition you are shooting. Dirty or bad magazines are the leading cause of malfunctions on AR platform weapons, and certainly high on the list with pistols. Wiping down the outside of the magazines before they go back in their range bag is a good place to start, but the working parts are on the inside!
After you clean your weapon and perform a function check, take an extra five minutes to clean your magazines by carefully removing the floor plate, inspecting the magazine follower and spring for damage, and inspecting the magazine feed lip for dents, cracks, and deformations. Spray the inside of the magazine tube and the springs and followers with solvent (WD-40 is what we use). Clean off any residue or debris and simply lubricate all metal parts with a preservative (CLP). Then, wipe any visible preservative off the magazine – you want magazines to be pretty dry. Reassemble the magazine. A little preventative magazine maintenance and/or replacement parts are far more cost effective than buying new magazines. Performing these basic steps a few times a year will save you countless headaches trying to figure out why your weapon is not performing correctly.
Train hard and shoot straight!
~ Chris White