My maternal grandparents were of the generation that lived through the Great Depression. One thing I remember about their house was all the rubber bands.
See, every morning the newspaper would get delivered, wrapped in a rubber band. They would take the rubber band off the paper and save it by putting it on the axle of a doorknob. Their house had some beautiful cut-glass, Edwardian-era doorknobs and nearly all of them were festooned with dozens of rubber bands, because living through the Depression meant you were conditioned to never throw useful things away. Never mind that you could buy a whole bag of new rubber bands at the corner drug store for 49 cents; waste not, want not.
Similarly, I had barely started working in gun stores when the 1994 Clinton-promoted ban on scary-looking guns hit. Living through the ban years made me look at standard-capacity magazines the way my grandparents looked at rubber bands.
We’re long past the era of artificial magazine scarcity in most of the nation, yet I still can’t walk past some tired, scuffed ex-G.I. 30-round AR mag on the bargain table at the local gun store without reflexively buying it to rehab with a new spring and Magpul follower. Then I just throw it on the giant pile of AR magazines, most of which will probably never get used, like most of the rubber bands on the doorknobs. Having lived through scarcity will do that.
The 1994 ban didn’t mark me as much with handgun magazines as it did with long gun magazines—or at least I thought it hadn’t. When the ban went into effect, I was a .40-caliber fan, carrying a Glock G23. I had my little stash of horribly expensive “pre-ban” magazines for carry and used 10-round mags for practice. By the time the ban had sunset, I was deep in the throes of 1911 addiction and so I hadn’t really paid attention to capacity restrictions on handguns.
Then, I switched to carrying double-stack nines and now I’m addicted to the capacity. Which means I find myself hoarding magazines again. Why am I addicted? Let me count the ways…
For starters, I have been the lone 1911 shooter in fast-paced pistol classes where the class handout instructed “Bring enough magazines so that when it’s your relay’s turn to shoot, you can step up to the line with 50 rounds in loaded magazines.” That’s a clue that you’re in for a lot of magazine shuffling if you happen to be of the single-stack persuasion.
One of my favorite shooting drills is called Dot Torture, and it’s a fun way to spend exactly 50 rounds and test a variety of shooting skills. Dots six and seven are engaged with pairs of shots in four strings. That’s 16 shots. While it didn’t used to bother me back in my 1911 days, now it feels like an affront to have to change magazines in the middle of that.
Oh, and shooting chronograph strings. With a double-stack gun you don’t have to reload like some low-capacity pleb just to complete a 10-round string over the chrony. These days, when I’m shooting a chronograph string with a revolver, I get to the click and sigh and roll my eyes like a teenager told to clean her room. I’m just getting into the swing of things here and it’s already time to put more ammo in the gun? Ugh.
So this means that the pistol magazine hoarding has started, something I didn’t used to worry about. With fun guns and range toys, I tend to feel itchy until I have four or five, but with my carry guns (9 mm Glocks these days) I’m as bad as I am with AR magazines. I have a mag carrier for my range bag with all my currently used magazines all lined up and numbered. I have more magazines in the safe, still in the factory packaging in case one of those goes down. There’s a GL15 PMag still in the plastic baggie sliding around on the passenger floorboard of my car for some reason.
If I see a sale on Glock magazines, it’s almost impossible to not reflexively throw one in the basket. You know, just in case. My hindbrain remembers when those things were scarce, and it doesn’t intend to get caught short again.