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Everything You Should Know About Maintaining Your AR-15 Magazines

Photo from Phantom Tactical USA


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The first recorded use of a firearm took place in 1364. Rudimentary guns existed before that, but from this point on, firearms became very important and reliable weapons. An AR-15 is one of the most efficient and powerful guns on the market.

It is important to take care of your AR-15 magazines, or they might not work properly. But what can you do to take care of your gun magazine? Keep reading and learn more about it below.

The Basics of Cleaning Your Magazines

Many people don’t know how important it is to keep gun magazines clean. A high-capacity AR magazine can take a lot of wear and tear. Never maintaining or cleaning your magazines will leave them in bad shape.

They may eventually sustain damage. A damaged magazine can cause all sorts of problems. It might be difficult to load ammo into the AR-15 mag if it is damaged or clogged with dirt and grime.

The springs in the magazine might not be as firm as before. Old and dirty magazines are also more likely to jam. A jam can be a dangerous problem.

Some magazines might crack if they aren’t cared for. This can lead to more dangerous problems. But where should you start with AR magazine cleaning?

You first need to understand what kind of magazine you have. There are polymer magazines and metal magazines which may be aluminum or steel. Many people argue whether polymer or metal magazines are better.

The truth is that they’re both good and they have their pros and cons. Polymer magazines are more prone to cracking but they’re also more lightweight. Metal magazines are heavier but they are less prone to cracking.

Always wear safety glasses when cleaning a gun magazine. You never know when a piece of debris might fly up and hit you in the eye. Cleaning both types of magazines is very simple.

The Details

For a polymer magazine, start by emptying the magazine and turning it upside down. Take care in sliding off the end plate, as the spring underneath is compressed.  Slide the end plate slightly to expose part of the spring, and retainer, and then place your finger on them to keep them compressed as you slide the end plate off.  Then gently release the compression spring.

This will release the spring inside the magazine. Get a soft rag such as a microfiber cloth and wipe down the outside and inside of the magazine. Take this time to inspect the magazine for any signs of wear and tear.

There may be scratches, cracks, and other forms of damage. If you can’t see very well inside the magazine, get a small flashlight to help you. Use the tip of your finger to feel along the sides and edges of the magazine.

This will help you detect small cracks, chips, and other forms of damage. Pay special attention to the feed lips. This area should not have any dents or chips.

If everything looks good, give the magazine a final wipe-down with your rag. Then reassemble it.

Cleaning metal magazines is a very similar task. Start by lifting the tab of the floor plate. Remove it with the help of a small, thin tool like a screwdriver.

Then remove the spring inside the magazine. If the spring is dirty, you might have to wiggle it before it comes loose. Take a soft rag and wipe down the magazine.

Check for any signs of damage during this time. Double-check the feeder lips to make sure they’re in good shape. They should be straight and not have any chips or cracks.

Do not use anything to lubricate the magazine while you clean it. This will cause dirt and other debris to stick to the magazine. This will only make cleaning the mag more difficult next time.

Once you’re done cleaning, reassemble the magazine.

Other Ways to Maintain AR-15 Magazines

The frequency at which you clean your magazines will depend on how often you use them. If you rarely use your gun and store it in a clean, dry location, you will not need to clean it very often. Inspecting them and cleaning them may only need to happen as little as once every year . If you use your gun very often, you should clean the magazines more often, too.

Some people clean them after each time they go shooting. While this may seem tedious, it is a sure way to keep your magazines in good shape. It will also reduce the risk of problems occurring with your magazines.

You should also make sure that the room you clean your magazines in is prepared. There should be no distractions. Distractions may keep you from noticing important signs of damage in the magazines.

You should also make sure the room is clean and well-ventilated. This will minimize the presence of dust in the air. Dust easily settles on magazines whether they’re dirty or clean.

Some people use oil on their magazines to give them a nice shine, but this is not a good idea. A lubricated magazine will act as a magnet for dirt, grime, and dust. It is better to use a dry rag to do the cleaning.

If you see any signs of damage like dents or cracks, you should throw the magazine away. This kind of damage can be dangerous when using the magazine. It is better to get a new magazine to replace the old, damaged one.

All About Maintaining AR-15 Magazines

While AR-15 magazines are durable, they won’t last very long if you don’t maintain them. You can maintain them by cleaning them regularly. Disassemble the magazines and wipe them down with a dry cloth while checking for signs of damage. If your magazine has any cracks or dents, throw it away and get a new one. To learn more about AR-15 magazines, check out our products.

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