The spring of a magazine is pretty much the hear and soul of the mag. It is what makes it work. Without it, it is just an empty box.

Atlas Gunworks showed a picture testing some .40s&w 2011 magazines. Just look at how twisted the mag spring is! To help show this issue, they cut windows into the 2011 magazine. That is not what I was expecting to see.


  • Juggernaut

    So- leave mags loaded- or not?

    • Audie Bakerson

      Springs lose power through repeated action, not being kept in a compressed state. There’s an argument for feed lip durability, but any decent magazine shouldn’t have an issue unless you’re leaving it like that for years.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Especially a properly made steel mag; the feed lips should last long enough that the brass will corrode long before there is a problem.

        • Michael Boudreaux

          polymer feed lips should actually last longer because of the inherent non memory of polymers. the metal ones will bend and not return to original shape unlike polymer which inherently has no memory.

          • iksnilol

            Do guns dream of polymer sheep?

          • ostiariusalpha

            “…unlike polymer which inherently has no memory.”

            Wow. That statement has absolutely no scientific basis whatsoever, and in fact, polymer is employed as a spring material quite often; it is termed an elastomer when used as such. You are also 100% incorrect about it lasting longer; there is no polymer in existence that has the elastic yield strength of either carbon or stainless steels. The more advanced polymers that Magpul currently uses on its M3 PMags will last long enough while fully loaded that the difference is mostly academic, but their first gen mags had very good reason for the dust covers to relieve tension off the feed lips.

          • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

            First off, all that depends heavily on what composition of polymer you are dealing with. Most polymers used in magazines however have a much larger elastic zone than plastic zone meaning once it reaches its yield strength (the maximum stress it can handle and still return to original shape) it will almost immediately fracture. Metals on the other hand have a large plastic zone after the elastic zone which is why they bend and stay bent instead of just breaking. So you are correct in that polymers (again specifically those commonly used in magazines) have no “memory” but in the case of metal or polymer, once you reach yield strength both have already failed as a magazine so the point is moot.

            Regardless of what the relative yield strengths and young’s Moduli of the different materials are, the manufacturer will (hopefully) use enough material so that elastic deformation is kept to an acceptable level and plastic deformation is never reached. In the end either material is acceptable in sufficient quantities. Its just that you need a lot more volume of polymer (at least the polymers usually used in magazines) to equal the abilities of steel. And all that is happening in a magazine well where space is at a premium.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Very well put. I should say though, all steels and all plastics have a certain degree of viscoelasticity, whether they have a low Young’s modulus like spring steels and elastomers, or a high modulus like thermosets and tool steels, there’s always some flexion. If you had a bar of ZDP-189 steel a mile long, you could get it to visibly bounce.

        • ostiariusalpha
      • French Balloon

        That’s a myth that’s been promulgated by morons like Hickok45. Springs do indeed lose power over time, even if they’re just being stored compressed.

        • Risky

          So you’re saying they lose power over time whether or not they are compressed?

        • 10x25mm

          Both you and Audie Bakerson could be completely correct, sporadically correct, or entirely wrong, depending upon the specific magazine spring’s design and its manufacturing steps.

          Pistol magazine springs can be designed and manufactured which will not lose force over geologic time regardless of compression state, and endure millions of cycles, by careful design and taking advantage of the Bauschinger effect. Magazine springs can also be designed and manufactured according to most current practices which ensure a healthy market for replacement springs. The truly gifted can even create springs which will deteriorate after being kept fully compressed, or after being cycled extensively, but not both.

          The devil is in the details.

        • iksnilol

          You lost credibility by calling Hickok45 a moron.

        • Baggy270

          Wrong. I left my service pistol magazines for my 5946 loaded all the time from 1996 to my retirement in 2015. Zero malfunctions ever.

  • Disarmed in CA

    It’s because you used them dangerous “High Capacity” mags! Down-load it to a safe number like 10 or 6 or 1 and see how purty that spring looks in your death power-stick. 🙂

  • Bigg Bunyon

    Some things are just better not known. Especially if there is no “solution” offered, the “condition” has been in effect for decades and the thing just works. I don’t know about other people, but I replace the spring when it needs it and as long as the magazine performs as expected I don’t question how the innards work. A bit like a successful marriage: the quickest way to muck one up is to ask too many questions and over analyze everything.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Sometimes when our expectations don’t match up with reality, it can be quite jarring. I find it fascinating 🙂

      • Edeco

        It never got weird enough for me. -Hunter S. Thompson

    • Keknian Nationalist


    • Risky

      Yep, ignorance is why I still eat hotdogs and bologna.

      • Baggy270

        Snouts and annuses

  • SGT Fish

    reminds me of when my buddy saw one of my loaded clear ETS glock mags for the first time. he was like “whats up with the rounds being jammed like that?” It took him a bit to realize that all glock mags do that, he has just never actually seen it before in 10 years of being a full time cop carrying glocks

  • Vincent

    Well, time to bring back the flat springs that was used in the SPIW magazines.×770.jpg

    Isn’t there another company that did something similar?

    • CS

      Torqmag is trying to sell the same concept for the AR15

    • Gregory

      Magguts has a 7 round conversion kits for the Glock 43 and an 8 or 9 round kit for the S&W shield that uses a flat spring bent in a zigzag pattern.

    • Risky

      I believe the ruger BX25 magazines for the 10/22 use flat springs like that.

  • Heartbreaker

    I wonder if flat wire springs would do better. They are already used as recoil springs to great effect.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      What does ‘better’ mean? I’m assuming that the mag in the pics operates perfectly fine, since nothing was mentioned about this not being a normal magazine.

      • Atlas has mentioned in other Facebook posts that they are trying to debug magazines for the STI 2011. The cutouts are being used to visibly diagnose the issues.

    • Wilson Combat is already offering that in its ETM-series M1911 magazines.

  • Edeco

    It doesn’t look orderly, but it migh be. They should paint the coils different colors and see if they fold up the same way each time. Even if not, might be fine; controlled chaos.

  • marine6680

    This is why some 9mm service pistols, like the Sig 226, M9, and some HKs have 15rd mags in a full size grip.

    • Bradley

      I’m not sure where you got that information, but how would that make sense given that higher capacity ones work just fine.

      • marine6680

        It was a few years ago, in a forum discussion with an engineer from Sig I believe.

        It was to maximize the service life and reliability of the mag springs, by ensuring they were not pushed to their elastic limit, where damage can happen, and limit the bunching, which can cause issues.

  • CS

    No need to make a special cutout mag like the one in the post, when you can simply buy or use an ETS Clear Glock Mag

    • Raptor Fred

      The 30 rounder springs look crazy. Was Totally thinking of this.

    • Nicholas C

      That is a Glock magazine. The one pictured is a 2011 magazine. Totally different design. This test is to see what is going on in this particular mag and spring setup.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    The spring is simply filling as much of the space as possible. Its not pretty, but nothing mechanically wrong is happening here. When you compress a spring, it can flex as much sideways as it can along the compression axis. In a magazine that is a lot of sideways motion. Most of it is contained by the mag body, but it will still zig zag along the inside to take up all the space it is given. All there is space in there for is one back and forth, but if you did this to a 200 or 300 round magazine (assuming one existed), there would be a (not perfect, but noticeable) zig zag pattern in the way the spring compressed.

    • Mystick

      Properly designed and fitted, it only compresses in one axis.

  • Keknian Nationalist

    Your ammo doesnt have any primers

  • 10x25mm

    This kind of coil jumbling is properly called spring buckling. It occurs when the slenderness ratio (ratio of spring free length to mean coil diameter, [L/D]) of an unguided compression coil spring exceeds a threshold value, typically 2 to 5. The exact buckling threshold of an unguided compression coil spring depends upon overall spring alignment and the parallelism of its ends through its stroke.

    The geometry of small arms magazines, and the slant of pistol grips, are such that it is difficult to design an unguided pistol magazine coil spring which will not buckle as it is compressed. Whether buckling interferes with performance or diminishes durability depends upon design and manufacturing competence. There are a lot of little design tweaks and manufacturing increments which can both reduce buckling and diminish spring damage due to buckling.

    Firearms manufacturers are not noted for their spring designs, nor for specifying premium coil spring manufacturing steps.

    Caveat emptor

  • Renov8

    That is pretty twisted!