Drop Free Mags: What Are They, and Should You Use Them?

The term “drop free magazine” can be confusing, and that’s if you’ve ever even heard of them. This being said, knowing what you have is vital to your training. So, what is a drop free magazine?

A drop free magazine is a magazine that will drop away from your gun on its own when you press the magazine release. This removes the need to pull down your magazine with your support hand and keeps you able to do and hold other things.

There’s a lot to know about drop free mags. While that covered the basics, I’ll go over everything else you need to know down below.

What Are Drop Free Magazines

As I mentioned earlier, drop free mags are magazines that drop from your gun without you having to manually remove it with your other hand.

This is great for most shooters, especially competitive ones because it allows you to reload much faster than if you had to manually take the mag out.

It’s also great for recreational shooting and almost every other situation because it frees up your other hand and allows you to reach for your next magazine without having to grab the empty one right away.

This is especially good for self-defense situations, and while incredibly rarely would anyone have to use two mags in one, it could potentially save your life.

Next, I’ll go over whether or not you’d actually want to use drop free mags yourself.

Should I Use Drop Free Magazines?

Personally, I think drop free magazines are great. While they allow you to remove your mag without pulling it out, they don’t make doing so impossible. Even using a drop free mag, you can still use your support hand to remove and control the empty mag if you’d like to. This makes them very versatile.

I would recommend drop free mags to anybody that asks me. Mainly because with a non drop free mag, you don’t have the ability and freedom to use it both ways.

While they’re great for reloading quickly, you might be surprised to find out that many militaries actually don’t use them. Next, I’ll tell you why they don’t

Why Some Militaries Don’t Use Drop Free Mags

In some scenarios, like if you’re on a mission with a limited number of mags, you might not want to have a drop free mag and risk losing your ammo and magazine itself when you press the release.

In fact, the Austrian army, which was the catalyst for the creation of the original Glock required that the magazines not be drop free for this very reason.

The original Glock, designed for the Austrian army

I also read that the Soviets did the same thing with their service weapons, but I was unable to fully confirm that.

In a military environment, if you are running/training/engaging in battle, you don’t want to lose your mags. In a situation like this where you only have a certain number of supplies and when you’re out, you’re out, you can’t afford to lose anything.

For this reason, many militaries prefer and require their magazines to not be drop free.

Again, unless you’re in the military or a militia, this probably won’t be a problem for you, but you never know. It couldn’t hurt to have a few of each.

Always Test Your Magazines to Be Sure

Regardless of which type you pick, you should know what you have and what you’re using. If you decide to use both types of magazines, this is even more important.

For recreational shooting, this isn’t a big deal. However if you’re carrying for self-defense and you assume you have a drop free mag in your gun but you really don’t, you could get yourself into an even worse situation.

As with all things, it’s vital that you understand your gear and know what you have. You don’t want to get tripped up in a situation where seconds can decide between life and death.

The Bottom Line

Just to rehash it one more time, a drop free magazine is a mag that falls from the gun on its own when the magazine release is pressed. This is in contrast to non drop free mags, where you have to manually extract the magazine with your support hand.

Drop free mags especially help competition shooters who need to shave off a few seconds from their times wherever they can. They’re also good for self-defense situations, and nice for recreational shooters too.

At the end of the day, there’s likely not a huge difference for you. The most important aspect is to know what you have, and how to use it.

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