Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thinking ahead

AK-74 Rifle in 5.45x39
For years I've been a fan of the AK rifle.  I started with the 7.62x39 then moved to the 5.45x39 a couple of years ago.  The AK is simple, reliable, and in the case of Arsenal rifles they're also well made.  It's why I have chosen the AK as my "go to" rifle.

Fast forward to the events of July 20th, 2012.  A madman stormed a packed movie theater where he indiscriminately shot 70 people, killing 12 of them.  He used a S&W AR-15 rifle with a 100 round drum magazine, a Remington 870 pump shotgun and a Glock .40 pistol (two were recovered).

The media and several politicians are now focused on two aspects of this tragedy hoping to enact future anti-gun laws to heavily restrict both semi-automatic firearms and "high capacity" magazines.  Take a look at the recent Cyber Security Bill which carries an interesting proposed amendment -- a magazine ban reminiscent of the 1994 Crime Bill passed under President Clinton.  The goal is to ban magazines over 10 rounds making it illegal to manufacture or sell them (or transfer grandfathered magazines) after the ban goes into effect.

Even if this bill goes down in flames future bills are certain to be proposed after the November elections.  Once the elections are out of the way, stand by.  We'll see a flurry of new bills being proposed and it only takes one to stick.

Thinking forward, how would a new magazine ban affect my choice of "go to" rifles?  How might it affect future rifle purchases that took place after such a ban were enacted?

A few of my long gun magazines
If you're like me, you have a number of different rifles and handguns, most of which require proprietary magazines.  Right now I'm stocking up on my most used magazines just in case such a bill were to pass Congress.  I'm quickly realizing I don't have the financial resources to buy 50 of every magazine type necessary to feed all of my different firearms.  I need to prioritize.

Let's take a look at my "go to" rifle.  It uses AK74 magazines that at one time were cheap and plentiful.  I have quite a few, but now I'm looking to buy for a lifetime.  I need more.  The price has jumped up considerably and the availability is very limited.  I will also mention that ammunition import bans may be enacted as an incremental measure which would render my 5.45x39 AK74's mostly useless.  Without imported ammo, the 5.45x39 loses its luster as a cheap blaster and affordable stockpiling alternative to 5.56mm.

I have a couple of options here.  One, I can convert back over to 7.62x39.  Magazines are still readily available and even if imported ammo ceases is cut off there are domestic producers of the ammo.  Or two, I can switch over to 5.56mm and STANAG magazines.

I'm leaning towards a platform shift for my "go to" rifle.  Right now the STANAG option seems to be the most viable given the situation we currently face.

NATO standard STANAG magazines
The STANAG magazine is a NATO standard.  Almost every new 5.56mm rifle that's coming out uses it.  This includes the SCAR 16S, ACR, FS2000, AR's, XCR, etc.  It's reasonable to expect future rifles that are released will also use the STANAG magazines -- at least for the foreseeable future.  That means if I am going to stockpile magazines the STANAG magazine makes the most sense, by far.  Adopting the STANAG will assure compatibility with the widest possible selection of current and future rifles.  I can invest in 100 of them, have enough for a lifetime under a new magazine ban, and reasonably expect that if a rifle released 10 years from now tickles my fancy I'll have 30 round magazines for it.

I highly recommend that you set a few bucks aside every month to buy magazines for your favorite firearms now, focusing on those that have magazine capacities of more than 10 rounds.  I also recommend you take a look at your "go to" firearms and think about a platform shift if your rifle doesn't use STANAG magazines.


  1. This way you can also take magazines off the bodies of dead NATO troops.

  2. I was debating getting an AR-15 for my SHTF rifle. I do not have one yet, and funds are tight as is. I think I am much better served getting 7.62x39 ammo and stripper clips for my Norinco Sks. It won't win any beauty contests, but it will do the job for me if I ever need it to.

  3. I Think both those bills are DOA and there is no political stomach for Gun Control in congress right now.

    1. Right now is the keyword to your statement. Think foreward to after the election. If Obama has a second term he we won't fear any political fallout from new gun control laws, if you knew Obama from his political career in Chicago you would know that he is all for any restrictions to firearm ownership. Once he gets re-elected all bets will be off.

    2. 1st point I would mak - In order for something to become Law it need to pass the House, the Senate, and POTUS. It is politically impossible that any bill such as those that we are discussing here would pass the house in its current configuration.

      2nd point - the assault weapons band was a death wish to those that voted for it in 94. That is not forgotten in the halls of congress and that mistake will not be made again for some time.

      Can it be passed again, yes, but not any time soon and I'm not going to let hypothetical fears cloud my judgment.

    3. I remember the discussions vividly around the 1994 Crime Bill. Back then there were those who weren't worried about it actually passing, they believed Congress didn't have the stomach for it.

      Then it passed. Everyone in the gun community was shocked.

      All it takes is one high profile shooting to get traction and you have no idea what Congress will do - especially when their seats aren't guaranteed. If the left gets even the thinnest majority and re-takes the White House, you can bet they will try to pass something.

      Who here didn't think the Obama Care bill would pass? It did. Not only that, the SCOTUS upheld it. Now we have Scalia going on television telling the world reasonable restrictions on firearms is Constitutional and the SCOTUS would likely uphold such reasonable restrictions. A magazine ban or even an import ban is reasonable to many, hence the passage of the 1994 bill.

  4. I see a Sterling magazine, you mean to tell me you have a Sterling and don't have a video on it!!!

  5. A good supply of AR-15 Mags is the way to go. I began accumulating them when the AWB sunset. I too have a 74 and 47. I only have 8 Russian Bakelite mags for it. (got them when they were cheap) I also have a good supply of HK 91 / G-3 Mags for my HK clone. They are dirt cheap. In the final analysis the is still America. If they pass such a ban I believe most Americans will choose to be outlaws, and a thriving black market will ensue.

  6. These bans aren't going anywhere. Panic buying is fine, if you wish.

    Personally? You don't need more than a thousand rounds for a "go to" rifle. If it hits the proverbial fan, that's all you need. A thousand rounds, and 8 magazines.

    As far as practice and "wearing out" magazines goes, there will never be a ban on magazine internals. Springs and floorplates will always be available. If you limit your "throw on the ground mags" to 8 of your collection, you will always have reliable magazines around.

    A ban on imported ammunition? I don't see it happening either, but the solution will be that domestic manufacturers will tool up and start making bank. That is all hypothetical and also not going to happen, imho.

    I will stick with my AK-74/SGL-31 and red dot + essentials stocked up (mags/ammo) - and leave one case of 7n6 unopened indefinitely.

  7. On your YouTube channel on your SHF video I made the case for STANAG on the fact that NATO ammo is more readily available in the US. You made quite the case for the 74 then, it sucks that one mad man's actions can change things for the law abiding citizen. At any rate I have a 74 and would be interested in mags and ammo if the price were right.

    1. The case for the STANAG has hinged upon picking mags and ammo up from dead soldiers and fellow citizens who have standardized on it (perhaps not for you but in general this has been what I've seen). I still don't believe that's justification for me to switch.

      You're right, one mans actions have now drawn the ire of Congress and the activists so there is a very good chance we'll see a magazine ban. That changes things for me. While I might have plenty of mags for my AK74, and I have enough to last, that doesn't address the major issue I raise in my post. If I buy STANAG mags now they will likely be compatible with future rifles I buy. That's never been an issue before in the discussion until now due to recent events.

      Some call this thinking "panic" behavior, which I chuckle at. If you lived through the 1994 ban you know all too well just how real such laws can be. I posted a picture of a $109.99 Glock 17 magazine I bought during the Clinton ban. Before 1994 they sold for about $18. After the ban they went as high as $130. Being prepared for any eventuality isn't "panicking", it's called being prudent.

      The difference between the 1994 ban and a future ban will likely be a clause making the transfer of grandfathered magazines a crime. Under the 1994 ban we could trade in pre-ban mags. The anti's learned their lesson and will make sure that won't happen a second time. The proposed amendment to the Cyber Crimes bill bares this out.

      I am not getting rid of my AK's, it will be a cold day in Hell before I do that. But I may now focus on stockpiling STANAG mags only so I can build a cache of high quality, modern rifle mags to carry me through the future should the unfortunate need arise.

  8. I have an AR, but my go to rifle is still an AK. My AK is 7.62x39 so I won't have any ammo issues. I also focused on that particular rifle when it came to buying mags, so I have more than enough mags to supply me for the rest of my life. I think the key is to focus your mag purchases on your go to rifle. On any other rifles you won't need a lot of mags, maybe just a few more than you'll use in a range outing. I personally think this is the best way to handle it. 5.45x39 does present it's own problem with the lack of domestic manufacturers. I think buying a handful of crates of ammo and putting them in storage would be the best solution to that problem.

  9. I found nothing on a bill 2575 but instead a cyber security bill Senate bill 2105. Searching the bill 2105 for keywords: high, capacity, magazines and firearm produced no results. I don't know who to believe. Is the gun community fear mongering and creating urban legends? Or am I searching the wrong bill? Any .gov sources would be a great help, thanks.

  10. The magazine ban is a proposed amendment to the bill. You only need to search recent news articles to find out the details.