4 Signs It’s Time For A New Magazine – How Often Should You Change Gun Magazine

how often should you change gun magazines

The magazine in your gun is one component that takes quite a lot of abuse throughout its lifetime. A magazine that has reached the end of its life can cause a few problems for your firearm. What signs or faults should you be watching out for to know when it is time for a new gun magazine?

If your firearm is for self-defense, it is recommended that you change out your magazine once a year. For other magazines, you can check for the following signs.

  1. The magazine is difficult to load.
  2. Your magazine is causing feeding problems.
  3. Double feeding problems.
  4. You need a higher capacity magazine.

The magazine is an important part of the firearm, and if it is not working in tip-top condition, it can cause malfunction problems for your gun. While this is not a crucial problem if you are just plinking at targets, it could become a life-threatening problem when you need to use your firearm for self-defense. Should you be paying more attention to your gun magazines and replacing them more frequently?

Do Gun Magazines Wear Out?

There is some controversy among gun owners and on many forums about gun magazines, and in particular, the springs enclosed the magazines. The big debate is whether keeping a magazine loaded with rounds will cause the spring to wear out and potentially cause issues for the firearm.

Gun magazines do wear out, but it takes many years for them to reach the point that they no longer perform acceptably or if they are subjected to regular abuse. A magazine that is rarely used can last for decades, while a regularly used magazine may need replacement after a year.

Older magazines that have been around for many years and which have old springs and are made from older materials may pose more problems than modern magazines that are made from modern, more robust materials.

There are some signs that you can be on the lookout for with your gun magazine that could mean that you should look at replacing the magazine, especially if you have had the magazine for a long time.

4 Signs It's Time For A New Magazine - How Often Should You Change Gun Magazine 1

Signs That You Need A New Gun Magazine

If you have had a magazine for some time and you are starting to experience problems with your gun, the problem could lie with the magazine rather than the gun itself.

1. The Magazine Is Difficult To Load

If you are finding it difficult to load rounds into the magazine, the magazine spring may not be working correctly. The magazine could be dented on one of its sides, which is preventing the rounds from going down inside the body of the magazine smoothly.

The lips at the opening of the magazine could have been dented, which is also making the loading of ammunition into the magazine difficult.

These kinds of issues can be caused by the magazine being dropped, which can compromise the shape and structure of the magazine, causing loading issues. If you do competition shooting, magazines are often dropped on the ground when reloading the firearm in multiple target jungle alley style shoots, which can result in these issues with the magazine.

While you could try to straighten out bends and dents, it is unlikely that the magazine will operate as well as it should once it has been damaged and may not be reliable. It would be a better option to replace the magazine with a new one.

2. Your Magazine Is Causing Feeding Problems

If your firearm is experiencing periodic feeding problems when chambering a round, the problem may not be with the firearm or the bolt not picking up the round correctly; the problem could be the magazine.

If the action of the gun tries to pick up a round and push it into the chamber, and the magazine does not allow for a smooth action, the gun can misfeed and fail to pick the round up, or only partially pick the round up. This will jam the gun and result in the round not entering the chamber correctly.

This feeding problem can be caused by a worn spring, a bent magazine lip, or even something as simple as dirt in the magazine. The dirt problem can easily be fixed by stripping the magazine and giving it a thorough clean. If the problem is not dirt, however, trying to figure out the cause of the misfeed could be problematic.

To make sure it is the magazine and not the firearm, you should try a different magazine or a couple of different magazines in the gun and see if the problem continues to occur. If the problem is limited to a single magazine, then the problem will most likely lie with the magazine. This would be a clear indicator for a gun owner that the magazine in question should be replaced.

3. Double Feeding Problems

A double feeding problem occurs when two rounds are picked up from the magazine, and both rounds are attempted to be sent not the chamber at the same time. This results in a jam which could be potentially hazardous.

The cause of this fault could be a problem with the recoil spring, but the most likely culprit of causing this problem is a bad or damaged magazine. The magazine should be the first item that you should investigate to solve the problem.

It is easy enough to test; simply try another magazine. If the problem is the recoil spring, it will persist with any magazine. If, however, the magazine is the problem, changing the mag will sort out the problem.

4. You Need A Higher Capacity Magazine.

The final sign that you need a new magazine for your gun is not because of a problem, but simply that you would like to carry your gun with a higher capacity magazine. Most guns that use magazines will have extended magazines available for them.

Changing to a larger capacity magazine will give you more rounds on hand and can be very handy, particularly in handguns where the standard magazines are low capacity.

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Don’t Buy Cheap Magazines For Your Gun

If you are going to be replacing a magazine, it is important to buy quality magazines. As we have discussed, a poor magazine or damaged magazine can cause a host of problems for your firearm.

Buying a sub-par magazine can cause many problems for your firearm as an old or damaged magazine. It is generally good practice to buy a magazine that I made by a reputable supplier with a proven reputation for quality products. There are some potential issues that could arise from using cheaply manufactured magazines.

  • Poor seating. Improperly made magazines can result in poor seating of the magazine in the firearm. It could be tight or scraping inside the channel of the firearm. This can make the magazine difficult to extract from the gun and difficult to insert in the gun. If you participate in competition shoots, these magazines will result in time lost during magazine changes.
  • The magazine release is tight. A poorly made magazine can cause the magazine release button to be tight if the grooves made to keep the magazine in place are not machined correctly. This will make it difficult to change the magazine, especially if you need to do it in a hurry.
  • Feeding problems. Cheap magazines can cause as many feeding problems as an old or damaged magazine. They can cause misfeeds, double feeds, and jams due to the poor construction of cheap magazines.

To avoid any of these problems, always buy quality magazines for your gun and don’t compromise by being tempted to buy cheap magazines.


The magazine for your gun is a component that takes a hammering. They get left in the bottom of gun bags, dropped on the ground, and generally abused. As a result, magazine problems are the major cause of many feeding problems for firearms.

While magazines can last a long time, they do wear out and get damaged, even if they are regularly maintained. Clean your magazines regularly, but don’t hesitate to change them if you persistently have problems with any of your magazines.