If we may make so bold, we’ve found a fine if modest example in Mag Storage Solutions.
Any sort of auto-loader fan can immediately sympathize with an annoying plight of long duration for us. Unless you’re using strictly rotary types (Ruger 10/22, for instance), it means you have a bunch of those oh-so-essential “sticks” lying around in varied lengths, thickness and materials. The operative word there is “varied.” Really, really varied.
It gets worse: Some of these are surprisingly delicate (feed lips), others made of “unreplacabilium,” and no variety from any era seems to stack or stand with accessible grace. (And if you do manage to get close, the one you want is certain to be on the bottom.)
Five manufacturers and four lengths equal no problems, though the stupid Thermold (left) had to go in upside down. Photo by A1F Staff
We concede this particular hell—for which Dante did not adequately account (to say nothing of Niven and Pournelle)—is hard to imagine without experiencing it. But if you’ve finally had enough of clattering tumbles and your significant other’s intemperate, unimaginative imprecations, a gander at the MSS system may prove rewarding.
These mundane-looking 11.5-by-9.5-by-4-inch racks are an impressive combination of regularity, versatility and ingenuity. The pistol version holds nine double–stack mags, and you can easily mix and match small- and large-bore calibers with the moveable dividers (16 provided, with extras available separately). Mag Storage makes a good case for using two between each magazine for easy in/out, but one works fine: You give up a little of the stowing and removal simplicity, but gain horizontal space. (Our main image above shows a whopping 12 mags from eight different pistols in secure, side-by-side harmony. Try that in pouches or stacked Tupperware.)
Note also that width and height aren’t the only accommodations. Three “non-standard” base pads/plates/mag extensions are just plain handled. Best of all, however, is the identification and easy retrieval of just the mag you need, with no disturbance of any others. Load status is also immaterial—empty or topped up makes no difference (though remember it’s hard on magazine springs to leave them loaded, especially fully loaded, for long periods).
Rifle magazines get more than a little MSS love too. The modern sporting rifle/AR version is a pure treat: Almost any remotely modern mag snaps in with delectable ease and security. They snap out too—perhaps even better. We especially like this one at the office, as we want a sample of manufacturers and lengths for testing. We can see in a moment what is available (or missing!), and proceed accordingly. Not quite genius, but …
You .30-cal. ladies and gentlemen aren’t out in the cold with the MSS system, either. A fixed-six, like the AR/MSR version, will handle these big magazines with aplomb. We tried AK variants among several others, and the worst hitch we could find was with the original Magpul “loop.” The fix? Duh—just flip the mag over. More than adequate tension will still keep even a loaded 20-rounder in place.
Mag Solutions cleverness isn’t exhausted yet, however. Obvious screw holes will have the racks up on ordinary household surfaces in a jiffy, but what if you’ve got on- or in-safe storage needs? Neodymium rare-earth magnets get the job done here, and MSS has a kit tuned for their racks, though some fire-proofing may be thick enough to defeat even these.
We think there are a couple of classes of shooters who may dismiss Mag Storage racks, but shouldn’t—competitors and “duty” pros (MIL/LE). You likely (and wisely) work out of a much larger count of magazines than regular folks may, and for very practical, obvious reasons, you shoot more, and more often. You may not have the wall space for “racking” all your mags MSS-style. For slightly different reasons, we have the same problem. But in putting a couple of these to use, some advantageous strategies became evident.
Mag Storage MSR/AR rack handled different base configs with ease. Photo by A1F Staff
First (though we’ve never done it, of course—bwahahahaha), we found it a good measure to prevent setting out on a fire mission without the mags we need. By keeping two for each firearm we’re “working” in test/review racked, we only have one place to check before we embark. Hasn’t saved our keister yet, but is still a lot simpler than checking every case, every time, or having an “oh-oh” moment halfway to the range. It also reminds us to store them in this easy, prominent, common location when we return.
The second benefit is as a surprisingly consequential time saver—we don’t have to disturb our “bulk” storage for half a dozen models of unneeded mags for each we do need, and on every darn outing.
Last is a money-saver and reliability enhancer that some folks just don’t know and therefore haven’t even considered, MSS racks or not: It’s been our repeated experience that “lots” of magazines last markedly longer than “sequences” of magazines. Look at it this way: If your normal drills, training, etc. require three mags, rotating two sets of three will generally last much longer than using A, B or C until they are unservicable, and then replacing from D, E and F. (We’re sure a real mag expert or materials guy could account for this in precise terms, but our anecdotal version hasn’t let us down.) It’s also more complex to keep this sort of swapping/repair straight, which in turn may have reliability “costs.”
The point, vis a vis Mag Storage Solutions, is that it’s hard to think of a better rotation “aid” than a couple of MSS racks. Divvied up by weeks or months, they’ll practically shout at you, “Time to switch.” Old set in for a thorough check and cleaning, and fresh set right to hand. Brilliant!
.30-caliber mag holder works fine as overflow 5.56 space, too. Loaded mags were plenty secure and protect feed lips from banging about, and welds from falls. Photo by A1F Staff
We know we said “not quite genius,” but as we think the MSS storage system through, we’re reconsidering.
Mag Storage Solutions products can be ordered direct or purchased from dealers. Contact Mag Storage Solutions at www.magstoragesolutions.com.
Frank Winn has been studying arms and their relationship to tyranny, meaningful liberty and personal security all his adult life. He has also been a competitive shooter and firearms safety/shooting instructor for more than 20 years, though he won’t admit how many more than 20.