Why do firearm owners "need" high capacity magazines?

(Mods - no factual answer so not GQ, not sure if more IMHO or Great Debates, but it’s kinda like religion so I’m going with GD)

Not quite sure how to frame this spin off from this thread. Trying to understand the “need” under common scenarios for high capacity magazines. I’m having difficulty imagining a responsible gun owner with a reasonable skill level that would need 30 rounds in a single clip when out hunting or for home defense. I’m not even sure how to define high capacity for various firearm types such as handguns, shotguns and rifles. My understanding is that 30 round is standard for an AR-15 type long gun (who some will refer to as an assault weapon)? Correct me if I’m mistaken but seems like 6 shot revolvers were standard for decades if not longer.

I would appreciate gun owners actually inputting to make this into a more technically relevant debate as I’m not up to speed on standard magazine sizes nor what might be sensible to a firearm owner? For example, 3 10 shot magazines versus 1 30 shot magazine, or 2 13 round magazines. Please also help from the debate derailing into hair splitting rat holes over whether a 13 round magazine for a Glock makes sense but a 12 round magazine doesn’t if you would? Let’s at least try to sketch out the broad strokes. Note: all numbers pulled out of my ass since I’m not a firearm enthusiast at this time.

Why would a hunter would need a 30 round magazine (or greater capacity)? If a deer hunter is such a bad shot that it takes 30 tries to bag a deer, I have concerns about collateral damage and accidents. I can see a convenience factor if you’re out hunting feral hogs by helicopter in Texas or taking out a prairie dog colony (if in fact these actions are legal). But also think that having a couple of smaller magazines would pretty much accomplish the same task, and these are not mainstream scenarios.

Castle defense as well. What’s a good number of rounds in a single magazine to adequately defend your home against armed intruders? Add in a safety factor. Is it 6, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50? Again, can we use reasonable scenarios instead of The Hells Angels and the Banditos joined forces to burgle your hi dev TV to watch the Super Bowl or the zombie apocalypse actually is here. :smack:

Thisis the first Bing search engine video hit for a “why do you need a 30 round magazine”. For those that don’t want to watch the couple minute video, his message is basically “you want to have more firepower than the bad guy.” Would appreciate firearm enthusiasts views on whether this guy is in the ballpark or a raging loon? He’s just the first video that came up in the search and I watched and not cherry picked to push an agenda.

Is it also agreed that a ban on high capacity magazines is not a 2nd amendment issue? For example, if the AR-15 type long gun has a 10 round magazine, it’s still an effective weapon for hunting and/or home defense, correct? It’s limiting the bullets in a magazine rather than anything to do with the right to buy and/or own the firearm?

And, there isn’t any magic number that will satisfy all people and all cases for magazine limits. That said, I would like to at least get to a broad consensus if there is any logic to a magazine limitation, and if it does in fact make sense to try limit magazine capacity what would be a “tolerable” limit. I do fear that this debate is akin to how many cats in a house moves you from cat lover to crazy cat lady to public health hazard…1 round is probably too limited, 100 unnecessary and where is the middle ground if there is one? Thanks for playing.

More is Better.

Only for firearms designed for a high volume of fire. There’s no sense in putting a 10-round magazine on a Ruger 77 bolt action hunting rifle, right?

With regard to handguns, it’s been long recognized that anything below a 44-40 revolver round might not kill one’s opponent straightaway so a bigger capacity magazine for rounds like the 9mm or .380, etc. make sense since you could have a situation that calls for more than a couple shots. Of course, any firearm would have a “minimum” number of rounds as a design requisite.

There are handgun sporting events that make additional ammo capacity over standard a desirable feature. These include various combat shooting format, second chance “bowling pin” events, and rapid fire formats.

Pump shotguns? There was a time when sliders with magazine extensions were the overwhelming favorite of SWAT and other LEO’s. But the need for an extra three rounds from normal capacity was never questioned. Some stations in the 1970’s even issued Ithaca pump actions that have a metal stud on the end of the standard 5-round tubular magazine, so no extension was possible.

Used responsibly there is no harm in having a larger capacity so why not?

Understand that nobody owes you an explanation any more than you need to explain why you have a newspaper or bible in your home. Magazine capacity IS a 2nd Amendment issue.

Imagine a home invasion where 4 thugs break in all at one. These things happen. 10 rounds may not be enough to stop the threat. A lot of people who carry aren’t carrying a bunch of extra mags like cops do. The idea of 1 shot 1 stop is pure bullshit. In an actual firefight where subjects are moving and you are moving it is remarkably easy to miss or not hit a vital area of your target. Come to some of the training I’ve been to and you’ll see what I mean. Instead of sitting on your ass watching videos and asking these questions of strangers, why don’t you take a good defensive shooting course and learn some things for yourself. I’m not talking about training where an instructor blows a whistle and you shoot a stationary target. I’m talking about live and simunition training where you’re in a shoot house in home invasion and public active shooter situations. I know of nobody that has come out of scenario based training thinking they didn’t need more than 10 rounds when forced to use lethal force.

In a country of 320 million your odds of getting gunned down by someone with a high capacity firearm are incredibly low. Do the math and then worry about something that’s actually a risk to you.

The M1911 pistol has a standard magazine capacity of 7; because of the way semi-automatic pistols work, that means that a fully loaded M1911 pistol can hold up to 8 rounds. (Load a full magazine into the gun, chamber a round, eject the magazine–which will now have 6 bullets in it–“top up” the magazine and re-insert it into the pistol = 8 rounds in the gun.) The very popular Glock 17 comes standard with a 17-round magazine (and the gun, fully loaded, will therefore hold 17+1 or 18 rounds). The M1911 is a .45 ACP (11.43 mm) caliber pistol, while the Glock 17 is a 9 mm pistol, so the Glock holds more bullets but those bullets are smaller than the ones in the M1911. (Though the 9 mm is also faster than the .45 ACP, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole we probably don’t need to go down.)

The OP asks that we not derail the debate into “hair splitting rat holes”, but really, magazine limitations are inherently kind of hair-splitting. I am at something of a loss trying to imagine a situation where I would say “I would trust that guy with a 9 mm handgun with a 10-round magazine, but a 17-round magazine?!? No way!” New York state attempted to impose a 7-round limit; then, because there basically just aren’t a lot of 7-round magazines out there (M1911s maybe, but 10-round magazines really became pretty standard during the Clinton-era federal Assault Weapon Ban), wound up passing a law that you could have a 10-round magazine as long as you didn’t actually load more than 7 bullets in it; and then a federal appeals court struck that part of the law down (while upholding an overall magazine capacity limit), on the grounds that…I’m not really sure. That saying people can have 10-round magazines, as long as they only load 7 rounds in them, is just too blatantly absurd even for federal judges in New York state, I guess.

At some point, limiting ammunition capacity presumably would violate the Second Amendment. (“You can have all the guns you want–you just can’t have any bullets!”) The Heller decision talks about weapons “in common use” but does not define this concept, beyond striking down an absolute ban on handguns as unconstitutional (even if other firearms–rifles or shotguns–are still legal). Presumably limiting ownership of firearms to single-shot weapons would conflict with that decision. Presumably even outlawing all semi-automatic weapons (while still allowing revolvers–at least some of which have a higher capacity than the classic six rounds) would also conflict with Heller (and the subsequent McDonald v. City of Chicago decision which ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment and applicable to state and local governments), since semi-automatic weapons are clearly “in common use” in the United States and have been for at least a century.

So again it comes down to, who exactly cannot be trusted with a 20-round magazine, but can be trusted with a 10-round magazine–or even for that matter with two 10-round magazines? I think supporters of the right to keep and bear arms tend to look at the logic of magazine limits with a fundamental suspicion that deep down that logic would lead to a limit of zero rounds–in a way that the logic of (for example) prohibiting convicted felons from owning firearms does not necessarily logically lead to prohibiting all citizens from owning firearms. (We typically put convicted felons in prison; that doesn’t mean we should just lock up everyone, just to be on the safe side.)

They’re not high capacity, they’re standard capacity.

You know, as I assume you are wondering where the difference between 1 30 round magazine vs reloading, twice there really isn’t a difference time wise. Yes, the best can even reload a revolver within milliseconds (not me though).

Using a rifle for home defense is generally a bad idea unless you have thick walls or no neighbors.

A magazine is a box with a spring in it. A law forbidding boxes that are too big is not enforceable and serves no legitimate purpose. For comparison, a law restricting access to fully automatic firearms does serve a legitimate purpose, as a firearm that fires multiple times in succession without the user’s direct intervention creates a unique safety hazard to enable the use of the firearm in a manner which is inappropriate outside of a war zone.

An auto pistol with 11-round mag (+1) will be deadlier than two fully loaded six shooters. The argument makes sense only on the macro level. If you produce and sell as many 12-round autos as six-shooters, you’re really putting more firepower into the hands of the populace.

It’s probably also worth noting that a lot of arms are mostly or entirely used at a gun range, for fun, rather than to hunt dear or protect the home. And while I have only been to a gun range twice, I feel safe to say that the fun part is the shooting, not the reloading. So it makes sense that people would want more round capacity, if available.

:rolleyes: Sigh

I don’t wish for this to happen but I wonder how the antis would react if a guy armed with a 5 shot snubby revolver and a bunch of moon clips or speed loaders walked through a mall shooting people and reloading. Or someone assassinated people on a busy street from out the window of his apartment using a single shot shotgun loaded with rifled slugs? And someone could injure/kill a lot of folks with such guns before anyone was able to stop them.

No high capacity mags, no “assault” weap:rolleyes:ns, no semi automatic involved. Just low capacity guns, one being a common hunting gun. How could the left ever exploit those scenarios without exposing their true definition of “reasonable” gun control is absolute, total, and complete disarmament of everyone of any form of gun whatsoever?
Except for them, of course.

To expand on what pkbites mentioned and WADR, you are asking the wrong question.

The OP mentions “magazine limitations” and asks the gun owner to justify not limiting magazine capacity. Under the Second Amendment, what needs to be justified is the imposition of limits on magazine size. Any effort by the government to limit the ability to keep and bear arms has to be justified, not vice versa. That is not to say it can never be done, but it is like limits on free speech or freedom of the press or any of the other rights enumerated in the Constitution. The burden of proof lies with those suggesting the limitation.

IOW the question is not “why do you need that” but “what compelling justification can you offer that I should not have it”. By default, the answer to any request by the government to justify the exercise of a Constitutional right is “none of your business”. At which point, unless the government can show clearly that the exercise of that right is outweighed by some compelling public interest, that cannot be achieved in any other way except the way suggested, the discussion is at an end and the government can go pound sand. That’s how it works in a Constitutional republic.

Thus if the government wants to impose limits on magazine size, they must show that [list=A][li]Limiting magazine size will clearly reduce the number of mass shootings, or the number of victims of mass shootings, or whatever the justification is suggested to be[/li][li]That the number of mass shootings is directly related to magazine size, and there is no inherent way to reduce mass shootings except to reduce magazine size, and[/li][li]That limits on magazine size will effectively reduce the number of victims in a mass shooting, or the number of mass shootings, or gun violence overall, etc.[/list]It is not necessary to give any reason for the desire to have “large-capacity” magazines. It is necessary to give a reason - a compelling reason - that this desire ought to be overruled. [/li]
“I don’t think you need that” is not a good enough justification when it comes to the Constitution.


I would ask the OP to explain why he needs any book over 200 pages. If you truly have some complicated plot or content that just won’t fit in 200 pages, you can just print a Part 1 and Part 2, or even a Part 3 if we can imagine some hopelessly complex plot for the eggheads among us.

If books over 200 pages were frequently used in spree killings, I would gladly have my “freedoms” limited and endure the terrible hardship of having them split into multiple parts. I would also really like to meet the person who was able to use a 201 page book to kill a bunch of people out of sheer curiosity.

Why does one “need” a high performance engine in a sports car? Truth is, as with gun mags, they don’t.

Larger magazines for rifles are about convenience for target practice, and nothing more. Same with handguns when at the range. For actual handgun “use,” larger magazines are an attempt to make up for the fact that handguns are a terrible method of self defense. If you’re trying to incapacitate multiple bad guys by flinging bits of metal at them and hoping you manage to hit something vital, then having more bits of metal will increase your odds from “really very terrible” to “very terrible.”

For me, it comes more down to whether or not the gun was designed for that size magazine or not.

For example, my 9mm pistol was designed to use a 15 round magazine. A 10 round magazine literally requires engineering the stock magazine to be smaller, which seems kind of dumb to me. As in, the manufacturers literally have to redesign the magazine to hold less.

I think it’s more or less stupid to go for a larger-than-designed magazine, as those likely have feed problems and/or ergonomic issues. To use my 9mm again, I could go buy a 30 round magazine, but it would stick out the bottom something like 3-4", which would get in the way. The only reason to get one would be for the “MOAR!!&#!” factor, not a practical self-defense or target shooting reason.

That said, the argument against larger capacity magazines is very similar to the one of “Why do you need a 300 hp engine in your car? The highway speed limit is 70, and you mostly drive in the city.”

You could just as easily ask why someone eats steaks or fish when they could get all the calories they need from beans and rice. Or why someone has a 40+ inch TV when people used to get by with a 24" TV not 20 years ago. Or why anyone does anything beyond the barest of minimums, really.

The answer to all of these is basically “It’s none of your business”, since they’re not breaking any laws or infringing on anyone else’s life or property.

That’s interesting.

But I am not prepared to subject my civil rights to your decisions about what you would, or would not, gladly hand over.

I would, however, point out that plenty of deaths have ensued as the result of books, even books less than 200 pages. “The Hitman,” of course, is an example of someone following instructions about how to commit a murder. But that pesky Koran is inspiring all sorts of murder and mayhem. “I would gladly have my freedoms limited to the extent of banning it.” I assume you’re on board? Or is it only you who gets to craft social policy based on what you’re “glad” to surrender?

To the OP: how much target shooting have you done?

It should be obvious, but just in case: this is not a genuine position on my part.