How to Properly Load Gun Magazines

Last year, the United States saw near-record numbers of gun sales. Many of these gun purchases were made by people who were buying firearms for the first time.

While this is exciting news for the gun industry, it also means that there are a lot of gun owners out there who don’t have much experience. If you’re a new gun owner, then you might not be sure how to properly load a gun magazine.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about gun magazines so you can spend less time fiddling with your firearm and more time out on the range. So keep on reading to learn more!

Difference Between a Magazine and a Clip

A magazine holds individual rounds in a tube. It automatically moves the rounds through spring tension. 

A clip, on the other hand, holds multiple rounds together like a unit. That unit is manually moved into the gun.

Pistols tend to use magazines, and revolvers use clips. 

The Procedure

First and foremost, you want to ensure you’re using the correct ammo. You’ll then need to find the front of the magazine. You can do this by identifying the feed lips, which are located at the back of the magazine.


When you load the first round, you want to hold the round in line with the follower on the magazine. Push the rear part of the round onto the follower.

Hold down the follower until you can slide the cartridge fully into the magazine. For the rest of the rounds, you want to use the thumb of the hand that’s holding in the magazine to push down on the top of the cartridge.

While you use your thumb to push down, use the rear end of the next round to push down on the top of the cartridge.

After the round pushes down far enough, you’ll have to seat it by sliding it to the back.

.22 LR

There are different types of magazines depending on the caliber you use.

For example, if you’re using a cartridge like a .22 LR semi-auto, then you might have a tab on the side of the magazine. The steps to fill these kinds of magazines are basically the same.

However, the tab here is used to help you pull the follower down so that you won’t need to push on the cartridge for every round.

Filling the Magazine

As you fill the magazine, the spring will depress. It will become more difficult to fill more rounds.

New magazine springs can be stiff, especially when it comes to small guns. As time goes on, the springs will get broken in, and your hands will get used to loading the magazine. 

Inserting the Magazine

The easiest way to insert a magazine is to hold the firearm in your dominant hand. Point the gun in a safe direction and turn it so that your palm faces up.

Insert the magazine until it’s completely seated. You might hear a click when you do this, but you also might not.

Don’t be afraid to use some force when you’re doing this. You won’t break the gun, and a firm smack at the base of the magazine will help you make sure that it’s properly engaged. 

Chambering a Round

There are three main ways that you can chamber a round. No matter which method you go with, you need to make sure that the gun is being pointed in a safe direction.

First Method

Turn the gun so that your palm faces down. Pinch the slide using your index finger and thumb.

Pull the slide to the back fully and then let it go like a slingshot. You don’t want to ease the slide forward because this won’t let the slide go fully forward.

It needs to go all the way into the battery and chamber the round.

Second Method

If the slide is locked open already, you can use the slide stop to release it and chamber the round. The main reason why you won’t normally do this is that some slides won’t fully go into the battery.

It might have been caused by the kind of ammo/gun combo or some other reason.

Third Method

Hold the slide over the top using your weaker hand. Pull to the rear with that hand and push it forward with your dominant hand.

Let the slide go so that it can move forward by itself.

Emptying a Magazine

If you want to take rounds out of the magazine, then you just need to strip each one off toward the tip of the magazine.

You can use the backside of another cartridge or your thumb to do this. Every time you take out a round, the next one will move up, and you can take each one out the same way.

Make Sure You Load Gun Magazines the Right Way

When you’re dealing with something as dangerous as a gun, it’s essential that you know how to do everything the proper way. One mistake could lead to severe and tragic consequences. 

By knowing how to properly load gun magazines, you’ll be a responsible gun owner and will be able to more quickly and efficiently work your way around a gun. You’ll also keep yourself and your family safe. And remember, your gun should only ever be pointed at something you’re willing to shoot.

Are you interested in buying magazines for your firearm? If so, then make sure to contact us today and see what we can do for you!