Magazine extensions…people usually love them, or hate them. In this article we will look at the pros and cons, then let you decide if they work for you.
After reading around the web for a bit about using magazine extensions when you carry, this is definitely a topic that needs to be covered from a comprehensive view.
Too many people get the wrong idea or maybe I was just looking in the wrong place. Anyway, no time to beat around the bush. Let’s just dive in!
When we talk about concealed carry extensions, we are talking about those that add a single round or perhaps as many as 3 rounds. No huge magazines, just that little bit extra. There are many that argue that the increase in size is not worth the addition of a single round or even a couple of rounds.
For those unaware, many studies done by the military and law enforcement have found one conclusive fact: Ammo in Gun = Time in Fight. This segues into: The Last One in the Fight Wins. This may be simplified somewhat, but it holds true in every military encounter in history.
When the Army went to the 1911 from the Colt New Army revolver series, it was as much for the extra round as it was for the larger bullet. Even then, they understood the difference a single round could make in a fight.
But let’s say you ignore that. There is another benefit to having an extended magazine. The shooting guru Paul Gomez talked extensively about contact with the firearm. The reason a rifle is inherently better than a pistol is because we have more control. This comes from having more points of contact from the shoulder and both hands.
I think of this as skin on the gun. The more skin you have touching the gun, the more control you are going to have. The addition of a pinky is good, but that little extra contact with the palm seals the deal. EVERYONE shoots better with more contact.
Are there cons? Yes, there is one definite con and that is size. If we could carry a pistol that held a full box of ammo, we would all do it. But we can’t. It’s just not feasible. To put this in real terms, why carry a compact pistol and then make it as big as a mid-sized pistol.
The length of the magazine is often what makes a gun print the most. Why carry a Glock 43 if the grip is going to be the same size as a Glock 19? There is zero reason.
You have to think of the overall advantage of those extra rounds vs concealability. Usually you can add a couple of rounds to a sub-compact gun before it becomes problematic.
Magazine extensions can occasionally cause issues with feeding by applying too much or too little pressure on the rounds. A mag extension that won’t feed the last two rounds because it’s too weak is a big problem. One that jams the second round from a tight spring is an even worse issue.
If you go with a magazine extension for your carry gun…make sure you test it out with many rounds.
Selecting Magazine Extensions
Many people tend to go with magazine extensions sold by the gun manufacturer. There are a couple of problems with this. First, they can be hard to find in some locations. They may even have legal issues as they are a manufactured magazine and not just an extension. Secondly, they can be very expensive.
The alternative is to buy aftermarket base plates. These are often very affordable and readily available. Just be cautious where you purchase them. Not all are tooled correctly and with the tolerances needed to have reliable function.
Some brands that seem to work best are Taran Tactical Innovations and Hyve Technologies. Just make sure you test them with your firearm before you trust your life to them.
Taran Tactical offers a wide selection of magazine extensions for many of the most common pistol brands. The most useful are those that add 1 to 3 rounds. The single round extension often adds between 1/8th inch and 1/4th inch while the +3 round extensions are somewhere between 1/2 inch and 1 inch depending on your make and caliber.
I carry my Glock 43 with the +1 and there is almost no difference in length from the factory magazine. I carry a +2 as a backup.
Taran Extensions are expertly CNC machined and weighted to help them drop free from the mag. They are easier to attach than most brands, especially if you have tricky mags like a Glock.
Hyve offers similar quality CNC machining, but for fewer makes of firearms. Their mag extensions are slimmer and more streamlined, but often no smaller than those by Taran. Expect them to be similarly sized to other brands.
One thing notable about Hyve is their complete magazines. These are designed from the ground up to function well and are quite nice. They do weigh more than most factory mags, but not significantly. These mag prices are comparable to perhaps a little more expensive than a factory mag.
These are by far not the only brands, but they are trusted brands that I have personally used. Whatever you do, avoid cheap mag extensions. They cause far more problems than they could ever remedy. Do your due diligence and research what you buy.
How we carry, is just as much of a personal choice, as what we carry. There are ample benefits to adding mag extensions to your carry pistol as there are spare mags.
If you decide to use them, I recommend the Taran Tactical extensions…they are the brand that I trust my life with daily.
Just remember that Ammo in Gun = Time in Fight, and More Contact = More control when you are deciding whether to carry extended magazines.
This is not a matter of aesthetics or being tacti-cool, but is a real-world question about what is best suited to save your life should something unfortunate happen.