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Glock’s 33-Round 9mm Magazine — Practical and Tactical

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As I opened the simple, gray and white blister pack holding a single magazine, I took time to read the company blurb on the back of the blister pack. Much of the words were devoted to the history of Glock firearms. These quotes stuck out:

Glock 34 with 33-round magazine and TruGlo combat light
The Glock 34, high-capacity magazine, TruGlo combat light, and Gold Dot ammo also make for a good combination.

Moving forward, our commitment to Perfection remains steadfast; we will never compromise quality.

We will continue to invest tremendous resources in the technology and talent necessary to improve our products wherever possible and we will always strive to deliver maximum custom satisfaction.

These are bold claims that no one—Glock fan or not—is able to dispute. I have often stated that Glock is a baseline in firearms. Its reliability is established and unassailable. The Glock is reliable beyond any question and this is proven in dozens of military, police, and institutional tests. If you spend less than the Glock, then the question is, “What corners have been cut?” If you pay more than the Glock, then the question is, “What is the advantage?”

Among the proven Glock accessories is the Glock 33-round 9mm magazine. While there are floor plates and such that add up to a 19-round magazine, in the Glock 9mm, the 33-round magazine is the granddaddy of them all. This magazine was developed for use in the Glock 18, a fully automatic version of the Glock 17 9mm pistol. Unlike most competitors and cheap imitations, the Glock magazine features a steel insert that promotes both strength and feeding.

Glock 33-round magazines
The Glock 33-round magazine is rugged and reliable, all we may ask.

The magazine is well finished with good quality control evident. The base pad is strong enough to withstand multiple drops and makes for good stabilization when performing a speed load. I own several that have been dropped during magazine changes and hard practice, and they run just fine. On the back of the magazine are witness holes that are marked from 5 to 31.

The magazines provide a tactical advantage in home defense—especially if the firearm is a modern 9mm carbine such as the Glock magazine-compatible Kel-Tec Sub 2000. The balance doesn’t materially alter the balance of the Glock 9mm. If anything, the piece is steadier with the magazine inserted.

The magazine weighs 20 ounces with a load of 124-grain ammunition. The proper sequence to load any high capacity magazine is to load three to four cartridges, tap the back of the magazine to fully seat the cartridge case against the back of the magazine, and to continue until the magazine is loaded. When loading the Glock magazine there is strong spring pressure at first as it should be. Junk magazines are weak at first and get harder.

Glock pistol with 33-round magazine inserted on a blue and red target
That’s a lot of holes in the target from one gun load!

The Glock is hard and gets harder. I am able to load the magazine to about 29 rounds before I need the Blackhawk! magazine loader. Fact is, the magazine loader makes it easier from the get go, but most of us— especially those younger than I—will experience little difficulty in loading the magazine to full capacity.

I tested the Glock 33-round magazine in several Glock pistols, firing at an angle and even upside down. The magazine never failed to feed and the pistols never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Ammunition used was the Federal Syntech 124-grain load—a new loading I find exceptional for practice use. I practice a lot with the Glock and enjoy firing these pistols.

The 33-round magazines have been left loaded for months at a time and they come up shooting, even though they were loaded to full capacity. If you wish to use the traditional method of downloading a round or two, that’s fine for long-term use. However, with this magazine, I do not see the need.

Bob Campbell shooting a Glock pistol with 33-round magazine
The 33-round magazine is well balanced. It weighs about 20 ounces with a full load of 124-grain ammunition.

I often keep this magazine in the Glock at home ready. A long slide Glock 9mm loaded with Speer Dot bullets offering a 33-round payload is a formidable home defender. Few, if any of us, will have time to grab a flashlight and spare magazine when alerted at night and home invasion teams come in pairs. The Glock 33-round magazine is an excellent option for home defense. It is also a lot of fun at the range and this means a lot of practice.

Do you keep a 33-round magazine for training of home defense? What experience do you have with the Kel-Tec Sub 2000? Share your answers in the comment section.

Article by Bob Campbell, who is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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