Magazine Capacity Restrictions

The final word on what flys and what doesn't in competition. What do you think we need to do to make each and every match fair and safe for all shooters.
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medphys
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Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by medphys » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:23 pm

I've been thinking about this since the 2011 Michigan State match.

Do restrictions on magazine capacity really balance the playing field? I know there are certain times where it makes sense (for instance, knock down 10 plates using burst fire, using only 20 rounds), but I wonder if it really does make a difference.

If you look at the scores from subgun matches, there doesn't seem to be a correlation between mag capacity and time... a good shooter is a good shooter regardless...

Thoughts?

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by todd » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:45 pm

At first I didn't like the idea. The first time I had to download was at the IN state match in 2008 or 2009. But... if you are a guy with coffin magazines in a swedish K that hold 50 rounds versus someone with 30 rounds in an MP5 then you have an obvious advantage. Or someone with a beta mag vs someone without if both shooters are at the same level of skill then the guy with the higher capacity in theory should have to do less magazine changes.... reality is often different.

With that being said.. I think the top shooters have shown that even in open classes like at KCR it's the competitor not the equipment that is most important. However... Lage now has his Max31 and forum member chili17 kicked some ass with it at last Oct KCR and I think capacity was a definite helper to his cause.

I'm in favor of the round limitation because it does make the contest about SKILL not about accessories and capacity.

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by Ulwembu » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:28 am

Todd, in a way I agree but, the thing is that everyone has the option to get the same gun with the same accessoires. It's the choice of the shooter to get the material he wants.

We see it here a lot in for example the IPSC Rifle circuit. Starters use all kinds of weapons, incl. AK47's and CZ858's. Eventually they will evolve towards the AR15 as they see that the top shooters use them and actually get better times and scores. Does that mean that everyone with an AR is a winner? Certainly not but the choice of material does help.

Drums do help of course but are also more difficult in mag changes. It all adds up.

Regarding the M31: be afraid, be very afraid MWUHAHAHAHAHA!

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by sillycon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:20 pm

So at what arbitrary number would one decide to set the limit at? 30? 32? 36? 40?

I think practically speaking that it wouldn't have much impact. If someone wants to lug around a 100rd beta drum, let them. Having to hoist that much weight repeatedly is going to tire them out and cause them to shoot worse which is likely to eat up just as much time as doing a mag change (and less if you're really smart about the mag changes and do them on the move!)

Plus, the only instance I can think of where they would really be of true advantage is in the event one has a lightweight high-ROF gun, and you're trying to hit a substantial number (say 5+) of targets on a single trigger pull.

Not to mention that the enforcement of such a rule is also problematic. Is it the RO's responsibility to do a round check on each persons mags before a stage? Is it up to the competitors to lodge a complaint? If so, does the offending shooter get a DNF, DQ, or a reshoot? If a reshoot, what if it was a blind stage?

I think as a practical matter, the creation of a "universal" mag size-limit is generally going to cause more trouble than it's worth. Especially so since it's not like you have most folks stuck shooting 16rd mags and at the bottom of the scoreboard, and everyone at the top of the score list is shooting 70rd mags.

Besides, who do you think you are? Bill Clinton or Mitt Romney? :mrgreen:
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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by todd » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:24 pm

sillycon wrote:So at what arbitrary number would one decide to set the limit at? 30? 32? 36? 40?

I think practically speaking that it wouldn't have much impact. If someone wants to lug around a 100rd beta drum, let them. Having to hoist that much weight repeatedly is going to tire them out and cause them to shoot worse which is likely to eat up just as much time as doing a mag change (and less if you're really smart about the mag changes and do them on the move!)

Plus, the only instance I can think of where they would really be of true advantage is in the event one has a lightweight high-ROF gun, and you're trying to hit a substantial number (say 5+) of targets on a single trigger pull.

Not to mention that the enforcement of such a rule is also problematic. Is it the RO's responsibility to do a round check on each persons mags before a stage? Is it up to the competitors to lodge a complaint? If so, does the offending shooter get a DNF, DQ, or a reshoot? If a reshoot, what if it was a blind stage?

I think as a practical matter, the creation of a "universal" mag size-limit is generally going to cause more trouble than it's worth. Especially so since it's not like you have most folks stuck shooting 16rd mags and at the bottom of the scoreboard, and everyone at the top of the score list is shooting 70rd mags.

Besides, who do you think you are? Bill Clinton or Mitt Romney? :mrgreen:

The number has been 30 at the matches who implement it. Enforcement isn't much of an issue as long as the RO's are on their game. It's pretty obvious when there's more than the set number in the magazine since you get a feel for what can and can not be done with that much ammo. Never had anyone break the rule to my knowledge but the consequences were either a match DQ if I remember right or some ungodly penalty like 50 seconds.

The magazine limits already exist so it's not the "creation" of it.. it's in practice as we speak and there are no problems with it at all from the 4-5 matches I've attended that had it in play. It's a good thing if anything since it is a definitive rule that is easy to enforce and it makes the playing field a level.. don't forget many guns can't use drums or large magazines and to tell a guy with a sten that he has to to head to head with a beta drum makes the though of subgun matches less appealing to some people...

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by medphys » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:06 pm

I've been thinking about this since the original post and ultimately, I've come to believe that it will come down to each match having it's own rule set. As an example, the Michigan State match has a round limit. However, the match is set up in such a way that having mega-mags would be an advantage. Matches like Knob Creek, have a mandatory mag change rule, so mega-mags probably aren't as much of an advantage.

I think keeping the variety of match styles is a good thing.

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by sillycon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:55 pm

Perhaps I should have noted that I'm in part thinking of the Mac series with 32-36rd mags.

From the sound of it, it seems like it's mainly on the honor system though (at least from the perspective of having ~35rd mags).

I guess I'm just more of a "run what you brung" kinda guy. It doesn't upset me to step up to the line with a 32rd mag in an 1100rpm gun after watching a guy with a 700rpm gun do a run with a 100rd beta (or the guy with the 72rd drums in the 500rpm gun).

Plus, the mag limits are also very "high ROF" unfriendly. If the mag limits were stepped based on ROF (lower ROF == lower mag limit) then it would make more sense to me. A single universal limit is would most likely favor experienced shooters running slower ROF guns.

If the honest goal of the "rule" is to promote fairness regardless of gear and skill, I don't think a blanket rule is the most appropriate means.

1000rpm @ 30rds = 1.8secs "shoot time"
600rpm @ 30rds = 3.0secs "shoot time"

The slower gun has 60% more available "shoot time" per magazine; that's a HUGE advantage.

If the rule were say 1000rpm gets 50rd max (3secs "shoot time") and 600rpm gets 30rd max (also 3sec "shoot time") then that would make a lot more sense.

Perhaps a dividing line of 750-800rpm would be most reasonable. Above you get 50, below you get 30.
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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by todd » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:02 am

you just discovered why many of those same matches also have a buzz gun classification...

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by Paul Winters » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:55 am

Interestingly, there are very few players in the high rate or buzz gun class to actually compete. In the Old NFA and AC3A days, I don't think i ever saw more than a couple players, even in the National events play in this group. I even gathered 21 parts for my Thompson to compete, but nobody would play with me :-(#

Ideally, a subgun match should be as even as it can be. Magazine capacity has an advantage in certain applications, but drums are, IMHO, 80% reliable overall and that adds the gamble to playing with them. If they get dropped they are beter left on the ground than picked up and used. The drum neutral rule at the KCR National match was an attempt to keep technology even handed by removing the advantage of fewer mag changes. Drums are also more difficult to change, especially on a closed bolt. I really cannot say I have seen mag capacity as a determining factor in the results for whatever reason.

For those matches that play with limited capacity, 30 rounds is the common denominator. Yes it is a trust issue, but I really cannot concieve any competitor who gets DQ'd for cheating ever coming back. That is a heavy price.

We keep revisiting the 'what is the best subgun for competition' and the answer changes with the times. There is no way to make all subguns equal. I really think as we have concluded before that it is the indian and not the arrow. I think this may apply to the mag issue as well.

Paul : -)#

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by todd » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:36 am

well said Paul. This isn't your first Rodeo eh :p

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by Ulwembu » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:02 am

Magazine restrictions are actually not normal in the kind of shooting games I play on this side of the pond. Wether it's IPSC Rifle, IPSC Handgun, IPSC Shotgun or Dynamic Service Rifle.

The only capacity restrictions that I know of in Europe are in Germany where semi automatic rifles aren't allowed to have more then 10 rounds in the magazine. Magazines are even blocked for more then 10 rounds.

Any competition will see magazines with less or more capacity. Just take the AR15's... You got 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 90, 100 and even upto 150 round magazines. It's up to the shooter what he wants to use and what he's comfortable with.

If you want to make the competition fair, you need to only allowed one type of weapon system. Only then you are sure that all shooters are equal.

All in all: if you think you have a dissadvantage over someone else due to magazine capacity, get larger magazines or train train train on mag changes. I know some of the competitiors I see at the Knob Creek matches train regularly but I can also see that a lot of the competitors probably shoot the match, clean and oil the gun when getting back home and only grab it again the week before the Shoot. The problem is then not that your gun is more difficult to handle, or the capacity of the magazines. It's the lack of training that is setting you back.

For example: although I shoot dynamic matches the year round in Holland, I only shoot the guns I shoot during the subgun matches twice a year, sometimes I even get to shoot a gun for the first or maybe the second time in a life time for a run. The weapon systems (yeah I got a Magpul DVD running right now LOL!) that I get to use are often totally different from what I'm used to so training on the specific weapon system is impossible for me. Still, my training for and shooting dynamic matches helps a whole lot in movement (which is rusty with me), target aquisition and generally knowing what you are doing.

The proof in this? Last fall: 9th place in CBOS with an M16 in 9mm (different magazine release then the normal AR15) with 30 and 60 round mags and 6th place in OBOS with a Sterling (2nd time I shot a Sterling in my life) with only 34 round mags.

So, train train train! I know IPSC handgunners that spend an hour every other day just training mag changes at home. Make sure you know where your magazines are on your body and where the magwell is to stick them into. It should become second nature!

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by ktwm » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:21 pm

todd wrote: I'm in favor of the round limitation because it does make the contest about SKILL not about accessories and capacity.
Part of skill, is picking the best equipment and accessories for the job after all.

Don't kid yourself....this IS a contest that is directly related to equipment. If not, then semi-auto shooters would be allowed in. Frankly, one of the main design aspects of a subgun is a high capacity magazine. Without a high cap mag, a subgun is kind of pointless. If you restrict mag capacity as a general rule, then you are no-longer a true subgun-match.


The one thing that drew me to subgun competitions is that there were no real restrictions....if you had a silencer, shoot with it. if you had a red-dot, use it......Subgun competition is the formula 1* of firearms competitions. LETS KEEP IT THAT WAY.

BTW, you can easily tune a competition to benefit one mag capacity over the other. Just make each engagement able to fit in one 30 round burst, with a decent run between engagements and then the 30 round mags can easily keep up with the 50-100 round mags. No need to actually restrict mag capacity if you simply design the courses to not favor a high-cap mag.



* at least what formula 1 started as, now it has become more restrictive, due to driver safety.

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by todd » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:21 pm

ktwm wrote:
todd wrote: I'm in favor of the round limitation because it does make the contest about SKILL not about accessories and capacity.
Part of skill, is picking the best equipment and accessories for the job after all.

Don't kid yourself....this IS a contest that is directly related to equipment. If not, then semi-auto shooters would be allowed in. Frankly, one of the main design aspects of a subgun is a high capacity magazine. Without a high cap mag, a subgun is kind of pointless. If you restrict mag capacity as a general rule, then you are no-longer a true subgun-match.


The one thing that drew me to subgun competitions is that there were no real restrictions....if you had a silencer, shoot with it. if you had a red-dot, use it......Subgun competition is the formula 1* of firearms competitions. LETS KEEP IT THAT WAY.

BTW, you can easily tune a competition to benefit one mag capacity over the other. Just make each engagement able to fit in one 30 round burst, with a decent run between engagements and then the 30 round mags can easily keep up with the 50-100 round mags. No need to actually restrict mag capacity if you simply design the courses to not favor a high-cap mag.



* at least what formula 1 started as, now it has become more restrictive, due to driver safety.
Kid myself? I'm a realist and last I checked I have an above average understanding of this sport. You did notice you can't just "pick" full auto equipment off the shelf of your local gun shop. You do realize that you can't just go buy any gun you want.. Some you can't find because there are only a handful in the NFA registry and others are post or predealer samples that are more modern and only people who are dealers can posses. There is a barrier to entry in the sport. All things are NOT equal in factory config. The point of these competitions is to derive the most skill possible from each and every competitor and see how things line up at the end.

There are no "high cap" magazines with sub-machine guns.They are magazines plain and simple.. There is big and bigger and design seems to be based more on practicality than maximum capacity. I think almost all of the subguns have magazines that can take 30 rounds. Not all guns can take drums or larger magazines. I think to truly understand this you have to get your hands and eyes on the many wonderful guns in the NFA registry. There is so much mechanical beauty that by design or by detriment only take one type of magazine because they were eclipsed by subsequent designs. I'm talking about some guns older than your parents and maybe even your grand parents all the way to guns that came out only a few years ago that are post samples. They too show up in matches and they too should be afforded a fighting chance to compete.

And last I checked Semi-Auto shooters such as yourself at one time are allowed into the sport just in their own class since again... it's about apples to apples as much as possible and skill not equipment.

Perhaps if you get the chance to compete in a match that has the round restrictions and see if your opinion is the same at the end. As Paul mentioned, KCR allows drums and has a "drum neutral" rule which forces competitors to show daylight between the magazine and magwell between each shooting position. I think it's a good rule but as someone who can shoot 32 round magazines or 68 round drums it doesn't effect me. I would not want to win a competition because I had more capacity than the 2nd place guy and I beat him out by less than the time of a mag change.

The sport is still evolving and anything that allows more people to be competitive the better. Lage slowfire, TASK conversions did amazing things for the sport allowing the one scoffed at M10/M11 family to be competitive guns.

So far so good in my book. Onward and upward.

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by ktwm » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 pm

drum neutral rules are not the same as a "magazine capacity restriction", which is the OP's question.

I am all for the "drum neutral" rules since they are effectively stage design rules, Not a restriction on equiptment. and it does not artificially restrict the original design of the gun, or pick some arbitrary number to restrict mags to.


One of the classic transferable that comes to mind is the Thompson SMG, which had factory 20, 30, 50 or 100 round mags.

you are right about availability of these SMG's for public competition though. But I think we can both agree that the M-10/ M-11 platform is one of the most available to the public. Even today you can get a Mac setup for 32 rnd stick mags, or 36 round suomi stick mags, or 50 round coffin mags, or 72 round suomi drums, or even 50 or 100 round calico helical drums. I know the rate of fire is not the greatest on the macs, but some of the high cap uppers do slow it down to a better rate more suitable to competition.

If you want to pick a number for the max mag capacity, perhaps a non-arbitrary number should be picked from the most available to the public platform (macs) and since you can get between 32 and 100 round mags in that platform, maybe something closer to the average of this would be more appropriate (66 rounds is the average)....I vote for 50 rounds if you absolutely have to choose a max mag capacity, not 30.

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Re: Magazine Capacity Restrictions

Post by ktwm » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:00 pm

To answer the original questions
medphys wrote:Do restrictions on magazine capacity really balance the playing field?
depends on the design of the match.

if other stage design mechanisms are used, such as drum neutral rules, or built in reloading times (long distances to move between shooting groups), then the answer is certainly NO.

But if the stage design will clearly favor a high cap mag, such as a group of 30+ targets shot from one station, then the answer is likelly YES.


So the real question is, is it worth implementing a magazine capacity restriction in subgun matches?....Probably more trouble than it is worth IMO, since stage design mechanisms can be used instead. But, in certain stages, they may be usefull.

I personally enjoy the matches not just because they are competitive, but because it is fun to shoot the gun like it was intended to be shot, and no other competitions alow that. restricting the mag capacity to bellow what a standard mag can hold may increase competitiveness in some instances, but it would decrease the fun in all instances.....restrictions are never much fun IMO, even if they only affect a minority of people with larger than 30 round mags.

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