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Standard Capacity Magazines are the Overwhelming Choice for Gun Owners

The results from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Detachable Magazine Report (1990-2021) released in April this year show that the overwhelming majority of all detachable magazines shipped in the United States between 1990 and 2021 had a capacity greater than 10 cartridges. The study covers more than 30 years of production and conservatively estimates that, of the 963,772,000 detachable magazines supplied by manufacturers during that period, 717,900,000 held more than 10 rounds. 

“The data establishes that law-abiding gun owners overwhelmingly choose magazines that have a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds for lawful purposes including self-defense, target shooting and hunting,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.

Roughly 46 percent of the rifle magazines in the study period had a capacity of 30 rounds or greater. Fifty-five percent of detachable pistol magazines had a capacity of 11 or more rounds. Rifle magazines on the consumer market with 30-round capacity or greater are more than 30 times more available than those with a capacity of 10 or below.

The report also dissects the 717,900,000 detachable magazines with a capacity greater than 10 cartridges by firearm type. A total of 209,145,000 pistol magazines were put into circulation in the three-decade-study period from the combined sales of firearm manufacturers (those magazines included with the firearm) and through aftermarket purchases. Rifle magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds accounted for 508,755,000. The vast majority of those, 448,369,000, had a capacity of 30 rounds or more. Only 245,872,000 pistol and rifle magazines with a capacity of 10 rounds or less were put into circulation, a figure that includes those magazines included with a firearm and on the aftermarket.

An average of 2.1 magazines were included in the box with new pistols. Forty-four percent of them had a capacity of 10 rounds or less. In rifles, gunmakers included an average of 1.8 magazines with each firearm, and half of them could hold more than 10 cartridges.

Results were compiled using independent research, government information and direct surveys of manufacturers. 

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