Language, magazines and capacity. This matters

18 July 2016 – It looks like the British shooting community has already rolled over and given in to the EU’s proposed ban on fullbore magazines that hold more than 21 rounds.

Don’t fall for the trap of talking about your bog standard 30rd STANAG-compatible magazines as “high capacity”. They are “standard” magazines. By talking about them as “high capacity” you implicitly admit to the uninformed, and the antis, that your magazines hold more rounds than is necessary, desirable… or safe. You definitely don’t mean that, but your words will be seized upon by the unscrupulous and twisted against you.

Language is important. Impressions given about shooting are very important. Why do we have DP versions of military figure targets? Why is the Hun’s Head now a series of geometric shapes rather than the Fritz we all know and love to perforate? Think about it.

Talk about standard capacity magazines. Talk about how the EU is banning basic equipment and forcing you to adopt inferior products – and putting you at a disadvantage against sporting shooters in the rest of the world. Talk about how your standard capacity magazines are being banned by the ignorant to make themselves feel better about unrelated problems they don’t have the guts to tackle.

But please don’t talk about high capacity magazines.

6 thoughts on “Language, magazines and capacity. This matters

  1. ColinJ

    very well said Gaz – the magazine that comes with your rifle or pistol is the standard magazine, in the case of my 15-22 – that’s 25 rounds as standard!

    The IPSC pistol world championships are coming to France in 2017, can you imagine the farce that will ensue when 100’s of shooters from 80 countries around the world arrive without “sporting exemptions” for their magazines? Or worse, Frenchman Eric Grauffel, one of the worlds best IPSC Pistol shots, unable to compete in his own country if they don’t sort this out!


  2. Nick Harman

    ‘Why is the Hun’s Head now a series of geometric shapes rather than the Fritz we all know and love to perforate? Think about it.’

    I’ve had a think and I presume it’s because it’s not good psychologically to shoot at ‘people’ even if they are only Germans. It only leads to desensitisation (‘love to perforate’) to the idea of shooting a living, human being and that is not a good thing unless you are training soldiers.

    High and standard size magazines is really semantics. 21+ bullets may be standard or less for military use, where it’s desirable to be able to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, but for sporting/target purposes it could be regarded as unnecessary and such things in private hands, kept at home, could be seen as a hostage to fortune.

    Of course I appreciate few of you wish to see the subject from the unarmed citizen’s point of view but as Gaz says, ‘think about it’.


    1. Joachim

      I expect it is possible to do shooting in a way that desensitises, as you describe. But are the Hun’s Head, Figure 11 etc really enough to desensitize in an otherwise formal range setting? They’re not photorealistic, don’t jump out at you and don’t react to being shot, so already you’re a long way from an enemy combatant. I don’t know the answer conclusively – and I doubt anyone else does for sure. They were removed out of fears of bad press, not hard evidence from psychological professionals.

      But more importantly, you’re assuming a link between desensitisation and active aggression. It’s my understanding that the military has to train both these things separately – one is a reduced negative response to the stress of combat, including that caused by having inflicted violence, while the other is increased willingness to inflict violence in the first place. Civvies get limited desensitisation (enough not to flinch etc), and get no aggression training at all.

      As for magazines, you need to get some better rhetoric. When you push shooters to prove that what they have is ‘necessary’ then you’ve already biased the argument. There is not a scrap of evidence that magazine capacity limits improve public safety. Just look at Canada, where their 5-round cap is a bad joke. The limited magazines are trivial to reconvert, there are unavoidable legal loopholes and magazines are in any case perhaps the simplest moving part of a firearm to make from scratch. It’s a box and a spring, for crying out loud. This country showed unexpected wisdom in not bothering to control them.

      “Such things, in private hands, kept at home, could be seen as a hostage to fortune.”
      Ooh er, a vague implication of unquantified risk from civilian ownership of something. Scary stuff!


  3. Ed McBain

    I try not to think from “the unarmed citizen’s point of view” unless I really must as it leaves me feeling like my head is full of snot and a craving for greasy junk food washed down with cheap lager as I flip through the Daily Mail on my lunch break.

    However, at Nick’s suggestion, I’ve had a bit of a think on it and decided even one bullet is one too many, that all guns should be banned, and that all gun owners, despite evidence to the contrary, are dangerous and should be arrested for something.
    If they want to swagger around with big guns why can’t they join the army and kill lots of ISIS scumbag paedos. Innit.

    Yes, definitely the sort of viewpoint we should take on board when discussing firearm legislation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. commonlycalledcosmin

    This is whenever I make a comment, I always talk about “high capacity magazines”. The quotation marks are specifically in order to ridicule the language that the anti-gunner uses. They are just standard capacity, but if I talk about standard capacity most people won’t know what I am talking about, so very important to use “high capacity magazines” in quotation marks when writing in a comments section or a forum then explaining that in reality they are really standard capacity magazines. True high capacity magazines would be over 50 or so rounds, think helical mags, calico mags, drum mags, etc. Not many people use drum magazines even in countries where they are legal due to reliability issues, encouraging to waste ammo (therefore cost) and practicality.

    PS. I am not trashing drum mags or magazines with a higher capacity whatsoever, it is important to point out to regular joes or to people on the fence that most people don’t use true high capacity magazines.


  5. Adrian

    Actually Cosmin, if you own a Calico then a 100 round magazine is a standard capacity magazine as there aren’t any other capacities available.



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