Catch the mag

Catch the mag

This is a discussion on Catch the mag within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is about the reloading process for a magazine-fed pistol. Quick terminology rundown first: Speed reload: Magazine goes to ground. Sometimes called 'emergency reload'. (I'm ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    Catch the mag

    This is about the reloading process for a magazine-fed pistol. Quick terminology rundown first:

    Speed reload: Magazine goes to ground. Sometimes called 'emergency reload'. (I'm going to start calling it an emergency reload from here out, in fact. I think that term applies better to gunfighting.)

    Retention reload/reload with retention: Empty magazine is put away somewhere for reuse. Recommended default.

    Tactical reload: Partially empty magazine removed from gun and stowed away for reuse/reloading. Full magazine replaces it in gun. Two variations I am aware of. (Of the two, I favor and recommend the one that mimics the retention reload process. I don't favor or recommend the variant that requires you to at some point be working with two mags in one hand.)

    This suggestion applies to the speed/emergency reload: School yourself to grab/catch the magazine instead of just letting it fall. Here is why:

    Even drop-free magazines don't always drop free. And if you're not using drop-free magazines you have to rip it out no matter what you're doing with the mag that was in the gun anyway. This way, if there is a fault or malfunction that stalls the magazine, you can make sure it gets out and clears the way for the incoming one.

    The majority of reload variants require you to get a hand on the magazine coming out of the gun. With actions such as this, consistency of action is both beneficial and desirable. You don't want to be puzzled momentarily by having a magazine in your hand when you didn't expect to and you don't want to be confused momentarily by not having the magazine you thought you were going to have in your hand. Doing the same thing each time helps to eliminate a potentially problematical hesitation of thought and action in a fight.

    (Shorter version of above: Because I believe in Murphy and do not wish to tempt the demon any more than I have to.)

    So what I recommend is (assuming usual two-hand grip), when beginning a reload, move the non-trigger-hand to where it can catch or grab the outgoing magazine. If it's a speed reload, the mag is simply released/thrown down as the 'mag hand' moves to where the new mag is in the carrier or pocket. In practice this is only marginally slower than moving a hand directly to the reload as you release the empty. If it's a retention or tactical reload, the mag hand takes it down and puts it away on the way to the new magazine as normal.

    Catching the magazine as a default gives you consistency that reduces if not eliminates the potential for confusion and hesitancy, insures that the gun is going to have an empty magwell to reload, and eliminates a possible surprise situation that you just don't need in the middle of a gunfight. For that reason, I recommend it as a default part of the reload process.
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    "Oh, bother," said Pooh as he rocked another mag into the 556R...

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    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Instead of catching the magazine - providing that it's empty - I simply train to rip out the magazine proactively if I have two hands in-play. This would be just ike the empty magazine scenario that you played out above.

    It's a trade of a couple of seconds here for a couple of seconds there - it's hard to say what's going to be better given any one situation, but at least I know for sure that the spent mag will be out of the gun before I bring up the incoming.

    It's just my personal preference, and it's a personal preference based on how my EDC sometimes unreliably decides to not drop free its drop-free magazine - something that's no fault of the gun or the mag, but rather, with how my dominant hand interacts with the gun/mag.

    The bonus to having this primacy is better ingrained physical memory for double-feed stoppage reduction.

    YMMV, of-course.

    Oh, and as for those who prefer the one-handed method?

    With drop-free magazines, it's always worth remembering that it's intended to work with gravity, not against it - at least initiating the drop while the magazine is still perpendicular to the ground will help its successful ejection from the gun. Sometimes, a quick flick of the wrist can also help eject the magazine via centrifugal force, as can a quick downward (towards the ground) "hammer-punch" motion via inertia.

    If/When one finds that the spent magazine is still in the gun, there's no need to panic, simply use the incoming magazine body to "strike out" the resident mag, and carry on. Here's where I'm trying to save that second or so - for me, it's worth knowing that my incoming has a home to go to, but again, that's just IMHO and my preference...YMMV.
    Last edited by TSiWRX; October 29th, 2013 at 01:38 PM.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Makes perfectly good sense to me.
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    Member Array N.M. Edmands's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CR Williams View Post
    Even drop-free magazines don't always drop free. And if you're not using drop-free magazines you have to rip it out no matter what you're doing with the mag that was in the gun anyway. This way, if there is a fault or malfunction that stalls the magazine, you can make sure it gets out and clears the way for the incoming one.

    .
    I carried Glocks [22+23] for the better part of 2 decades and even with "drop free" magazines ,sometimes had problems. I took D.R. Middlebrooks [and I'm sure others] method to heart and it's never failed me. Support hand thumb punches release and drags empty/malfunctioning mag out as your hand comes back for the replacement. With my P7s heel release, this method became even dearer to me.
    Also of benefit, your firing grip is maintained if you use your support hand to release the slide[or come over the top, as I do].
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    Senior Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSiWRX View Post
    Instead of catching the magazine - providing that it's empty - I simply train to rip out the magazine proactively if I have two hands in-play. This would be just ike the empty magazine scenario that you played out above.
    In practice it's a toss-up as to whether I catch he mag coming out or grab and rip it. A little of both, I'd say, since the hand is actually very close to the magazine as it starts to come loose.
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    "Oh, bother," said Pooh as he rocked another mag into the 556R...

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    I like N.M. Edmands version best. If you perform a tactical reload the gun can still be fired once with no mag if need be.(1911) I also don't like the idea of dropping the mag to the ground even if it is empty.
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    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    I am violent during my reloads. That mag whether or not if falls free is ripped out of the gun, and replaced with a new one. (emergency reload of course) Everything else is the same as the OP mentioned...I do not worry about my mags hitting the ground, if they are empty......
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    I'm a "release and rip" kind of guy.

    One time, I was shooting a match and ripped a mag out so violently, it hit the cement floor, took an odd bounce and went back and hit the RO in the knee. He was a little surprised.

    Good post.
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    I am sure most don't remember the newhal shooting that left a lot of lives ruined. Newhall Massacre Isegoria
    The Highway patrol practiced on a range where they had to pick up the brass. They were using revolvers back then and started putting the spent rounds in their pocket during a reload. It is the belief this cost them their life. Later photos showed this story was not true but other fights showed officers with pockets full of spent brass when it was all over and Bill Jordan tells of this happening in the 60's.

    With this training over the years I am very careful not to create any training scars. I choose to practice just as if I am fighting for my life. The older I get the more I realize we continue to loop our training once considered gospel is replaced with other gospel then after a generation or two comes along another gospel.

    Just pointing out one thought.

    I wonder if the people killed by an officer using the cup and saucer grip would smile knowing that is no longer considered a good grip.

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    Both of my CC guns shoot out the empty mag. Reloading is quick and EZ.
    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.
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    VIP Member Array NONAME762's Avatar
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    The gospel according to Bill. Whatever works and floats your boat bro.

    I agree. As I get older I find myself tweaking this and that. What works for one may not work for the other. We all need to find that balance that works for the individual.

    Listen to me the philosopher.
    I'm just a spoke in the wheel but not a big deal.
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    Senior Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NONAME762 View Post
    Both of my CC guns shoot out the empty mag. Reloading is quick and EZ.
    That will work fine until they don't. The tweak to the procedure I suggest reduces the possibility of unpleasant surprises is all. I don't remember one not coming out yet myself, but I'm not prepared to rely on it 100%. Whatever we build, it breaks sooner or later. There is also the possibility of malfunction--double-feed comes to mind--that locks the magazine in. The automatic grab gives me a leg up on fixing that as well. Reloading is still quick and EZ the way I do it. What I want first of all is a reliable reload process that is consistent across the board. This is why I do it and suggest doing it the way I do.
    "Oh, bother," said Pooh as he rocked another mag into the 556R...

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    Senior Member Array CR Williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    I am sure most don't remember the newhal shooting that left a lot of lives ruined. Newhall Massacre Isegoria
    I remember that. The issue there was being trained to automatically perform an administrative procedure to the point where they did it in combat. I don't believe that applies to what I'm suggesting because I'm not suggesting any administrative procedures here. (If I misinterpreted the point of your post, please tell me. I've read things wrong before.) The mag is discarded if it has to be, retained if it can be, or swapped out for a full one if you find space and time for it. What I'm looking for is a reliable and consistent method that provides the most positive control and the least chance of unpleasant surprises to someone when they're doing it in a fight.
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    "Oh, bother," said Pooh as he rocked another mag into the 556R...

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    http://inshadowinlight.wordpress.com

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    I am violent during my reloads....I do not worry about my mags hitting the ground
    ^ For newer shooters, I try to take the time to let them know that magazines are consumables - they are not meant to last the life of the gun, nor are they some precious magical trinket to be babied.

    I tell them that they're like tires or brakes: you consume it during the course of your use of the device, and you have to replace it eventually.

    I encourage them to number or otherwise uniquely mark each magazine in a permanent manner so that they can both keep separated "range/training" magazines (magazines which will see the most abuse: repeated cycling of the spring/follower, ejections to the ground which may, even with an empty magazine, result in damaged feed lips, base pads, or even the body of the magazine itself, etc.) and "social" magazines (magazine that are intended for defensive-use and thus should see considerably less operational cycles as well as be much better cared for after initially proving their capability to properly feed the selected defensive ammo through the gun), as well as so that they can keep track of potentially troublesome magazines in a definitive manner (given that a significant portion of immediately fixable feed problems with modern autoloaders stem from the magazine itself), to ease troubleshooting of their firearm.

    Should the shooters intend to attend training classes, I also encourage them to put a larger unique identifier on those range magazines, particularly if they shoot popular guns such as the S&W M&P series or Glocks. I've yet to ever see any fellow students intentionally steal someone else's magazine, but I've definitely seen instances of 2+ guys trying to figure out which magazine belongs to whom.
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    I strip empty mags out and let them drop.
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