MAY 18, 2017

Skill Set: Revolver Magazine

"Revolver" and "magazine" are an oxymoron; you never see them used together. But, I've been doing some experimenting and may have come across another way to carry revolver ammo using a semi-auto magazine.
This first started when I acquired a S&W Model 547, a 9mm revolver built by S&W that didn't use moon clips – written up here. I couldn't find any of the rare HKS speed loaders for this revolver so I used Glock 19 magazines to carry extra ammo. This actually worked pretty well, and allowed me to comfortably carry much more ammo than loaders, strips or pouches. So I got to thinking, what about using a .357 magazine to carry ammo for my "normal" revolvers. I found a nice used .357 magazine from Magnum Research that holds nine rounds. After getting it and looking it over I decided to modify it a little to fit my unusual application. The slide lock in the follower is removable. It's held in place by a small spring, so I removed the slide lock, which makes it easier for the follower to slide up and down in the magazine. In my mind I'm holding the mag in a "beer-can" grip and using the thumb to feed rounds out. Feeding rounds into the revolver's cylinder with the thumb doesn't require an exact fit between the rear of the mag and the slide of the semi-auto, so I cut a small amount of material off the back of the feed lips – reshaping the top back of the mag - allowing me to get more thumb on the back of the round to push it out. I also hammered the back of the feed lips inward slightly. It looked a little loose back there. Don't know if this makes any difference or not but it made me feel better. The Magnum Research magazine has an extended section on the front of the base-plate. Since I didn't need that, and wanted as slim a profile as possible, I cut that off too. After cutting, filing and sanding I re-blued the metal with 44/40 cold blue from Brownell's to make everything look good. The initial testing my new "revolver mag" has been favorable. I can hold the mag in either hand, keeping the revolver in the right hand or transitioning it to the support hand, and quickly fill the entire cylinder – an empty reload - or replace two or three spent rounds – tactically reloading a few fired rounds. I think with a little more modifications, cutting down the follower and installing a spacer in the rear of the mag, it will also work with .38 Special ammo. I'm also going to shorten the mag spring a little to take some tension off the rounds, which should make it easier to strip them out. Next is determining how to carry the mag. It can be carried vertical, horizontal or in a pocket pouch. I also experimented with leave the mag "clamped" in place between my belt and pants with the rounds up, stripping off one round at a time to load the cylinder. This would also work well with a lever action rifle. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. Discovering what gear and techniques work best for you will require some experimenting. And, if you can't find what you want don't be afraid to modify an existing product. Even if it doesn't work out like you thought I guarantee you'll still learn something in the process. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - McKee's new book, AR-15 Skills and Drills, is available off Shootrite's website: