You’re Doing it Wrong: the 31-round magazine

Overloading a magazine will prevent a mag to seat on a closed bolt.

Yes, it seems obvious. Yes, we know many viewers will laugh it off as an FNG error, boot mistake, or derp move. Do you have too many rounds in that loaded magazine?

We also know that many of the ones scoffing the loudest have made this mistake (or will do so in the future at some point).

Simple mistakes happen, even to experienced people. Some folks who tend to reload from slide-lock or an open bolt may not even be aware they’ve made the mistake – and they’ll continue to get by until the time they don’t.

AR15 magazine filled with too many rounds

How man bullets you got there in that loaded magazine?

Take a moment (or in this case a Mag Life Minute) to keep from embarrassing yourself on the range. After you’re watching the video, feel free to weigh in with your manicure suggestions for Daniel Shaw. That topic isn’t really much in our wheelhouse.

And now, the latest episode of You’re Doing It Wrong.


Go subscribe to the Mag Life YouTube Channel – don’t miss another Mag Life Minute. They’re good. You’ll learn. It’ll be great. You could…

Learn how to set up a double feed for training…

Set up a double feed for training with a properly (for training) loaded magazine.

Set up a double feed for training with a properly (for training) loaded magazine.


Get some advice on the best mags to use…

Anti-tilt followers in a gun magazine

Thanks for readin’. Check back frequently why don’t ya.

AR15 magazine filled with too many rounds

Just so we’re ready for the next Mag Life Minute, what would go best with that AR15 magazine…paraffin? Gel? Shellac?


30 Round Magazine Q&A for the Crowd

Is it bad to keep magazines loaded?

We don’t think so. Well unless you overfill ’em, but that’s more because of what’ll happen when you go loud. But what do our readers think?

Keeping magazines loaded. Should you?

See above. But yes, though there’s nothing wrong with keeping some mags segregated from the others (i.e, keep a bad mag you know will occasionally induce a malfunction for training purposes, but make sure it goes nowhere near the gear you might have to use defensively.

Does keeping a magazine loaded weaken the spring?

That’s a topic that always sparks up a debate. All things being equal, you can leave your mags loaded. That said, the frequency of loading and unloading will impact spring fatigue (if we can call it that).


What other topics do we need to address in future episodes? 

Looking for more on this sorta thing? Check out Lucky Gunner on the subject of ammo cycling


Shoot Gooder: some of our thoughts on improving skills.

Watch and Learn: videos we’ve curated for some online learning.

Grab a gun: but hone your skills; there’s more to it than just pulling the trigger.

Rifle Magazines: keep it fueled.


GunMag TV: the GunMag Warehouse YouTube channel

Subscribe now.



Originally published: July 10, 2019.

Updated: March 10, 2020.

  • Cole Johnson

    28 rounds in all my Pmags and Colt mags because they care 60 in all my Surefire box mags and Pmag drums because they don’t care. 30 in my Lancers because they don’t care. That covers AR mags in my house.

    • George S Young

      Colt mags seem to care a bit more than my Pmags, but most of my Colt mags are Vietnam era.. some bought as used, some still new in plastic 10 round multi pouches – all green followers but maybe they all were…

      • Hu FlungDung

        My dad had around 15 of the colt 20rd mags from the early 80’s, they are still running good.

        • George S Young

          Yep… mine too, I’ve had a new Brownell’s start to be weird and I’ve only had it for 4 or so years. The mags from my dad are so well used they look like brass, there is almost no parkerizing or anodizing or whatever gave them the dark color.

  • Josephinebarry

    Carried 30 in all of my moe and m3 pmags since they were introduced. Never had a single misfeed in thousands and thousands of rounds.

    • George S Young

      Same here. You can do 31 if you must, just lock the bolt back, insert mag and be sure to slingshot the thing. I don’t do that for the obvious reasons of fucking up in an emergency but it can be done, there is plenty of spring strength to strip that 31st round – but again… why?

  • 500c

    I use a LULA magazine loader never a problem. My Thumb feels much better after loading three dozen P mags, same with the D60 drums

    • Hu FlungDung

      I need to get a LULA for my uzi & mp5, loading the uzi mags is brutal on thumbs from about 1/2 loaded to full.

      • George S Young

        I can easily load straight and curved MP5 mags by hand as long as they are real German mags… the amber plastic 30 and 40 round mags are pure crap and I ended up sticking mine in the dirt and shooting them with my MP5. The real German MP5 loader/unloaded is the best… find just the loader at HKPARTS.HKPARTS.NET or hkSpecialist.something. You will be happier than the others.

      • 500c

        I have eleven 33 round glock magazines and use a LULA and it saves my thumb.

  • Albert Brooks

    Never more than 28 in the crap Uncle gave us. Got am M1A when I retired because…you know, accuracy, range and doesn’t need help to seat the bolt.

  • simpleman

    NO shit, only put 30 rounds in a 30 round mag, you are a genius…

    • George S Young

      Well.. to be fair to him… some kids today spent too much time learning about guns from video games and never became real riflemen or pistoleros… and an awful lot of people don’t reload. I think I could get rich selling clean once fired brass from a medium sized range in Alaska… people leave so much 10mm, Blackout, 458 Socom on the cement that I just have to grab it… all clean, all once fired – that empty brass is expensive in 50 and 100 unit bags at Cabala’s and other places up here…

      • ^^ike

        Send some of that 10mm brass my way!

  • AvatarMan

    I do not know of a single ex-SOCOM vet who would ever tell people to load their mags to 31 rounds. This is idiotic.

    • Daniel Shaw

      Someone didn’t read the article or watch the video. No one suggested such a thing. Unless you are referring to the dude on YT who said his SOCOM friend recommends it along with always loading/reloading on an open bolt. If so, I agree with you that “It is idiotic.

  • will

    My mags can stay loaded for years. I used to rotate 5 full 5 empty the swap in January. But when Americans started putting Islamist sympathizers into office. :):):):):):):):) For other reasons I decided on 10, 5 Lancers 5 Mag. 6 in the vest 1 in the well and 3 in the drop bag. I put 25 rounds in each mag 250 I hope will do it. God forbid the day I have to use a vest. It means gangs are running the streets. MS13 has control of my agricultural community. They are already here selling drugs and stealing, paying off LE. I hear they ran their flag up in S Cali last week and stomped the stars and stripes for a time.

    • Hu FlungDung

      My dad had 20rd aluminum GI mags loaded since the 1980’s. I tried a few at the range a couple months ago and they ran flawless.

  • George S Young

    26 years ago I loaded some Vietnam era 20 and 30 round Colt and mil issue other brand CT mags with their full capacity with older mil ammo from the ’70’s my dad “found somewhere on base” and left them alone in a box in my shop. Every couple of years I would take one of each and shoot them in a good clean gun. Never a failure of ammo or magazine after all these years. 10 years ago I took two of each of them and put them in a bucket of water for the whole summer and only took them out and drained them, but did not unload them, and let them dry upside down on a towel. Not a single failure of any kind when fired. Crimped, lacquer sealed primers and I think some sort of sealant on the case necks.

  • Capt.Steve Thompson

    29+1. Or 29 still still and cold. NEVER an issue.

  • Hu FlungDung

    Just pack 29 in those mags

  • Mark Fergerson

    I clicked the video and saw it ran for 1 minute and figured “aw crap, I have to mute a commercial” but no, the whole video was a minute long and covered what needed to be covered.
    I REALLY like that.

  • Michael Palm

    when I read the title of the story I thought…..31 round mag must be some new mag from Glock!
    Kinda like a G18 33 rounder for the 9MM………so 31 must be a new 380acp mag for the Glock42?

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