What about MAGAZINES?

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Frequently Asked Questions: What about MAGAZINES?

California defines ‘large-capacity magazines’ as those which hold more than 10 rounds.


POSSESSION of a large-capacity magazine is NOT illegal, no matter how you got it or when you got it. This includes magazines issued to military.

You do not have to prove magazines are legal.

New (to the state) large-capacity magazines were banned, effective January 1, 2000.

If you possessed such magazines in California before that date, they are legal.

If you bought them, manufactured them, or brought them into California for the first time after that date, they are illegal.

It is illegal to transfer large-capacity magazines inside California, except to law enforcement.

Repair and Rebuild

It is not illegal to possess all of the parts to manufacture a new large capacity magazine, as long as you do not manufacture the magazine in the state of California.

  • Existing (old) magazines may be repaired with new parts.
  • The parts can also be used to create new magazines when out of state, provided that before they return to the state, they are disassembled.
  • It is legal to repair/rebuild your preexisting large capacity magazines of any capacity into larger or smaller capacity magazines (i.e. a 20 round mag can be rebuilt into a 30 round mag and vice versa), so long as they still work for the firearm and caliber intended. The general consensus is that if the parts are interchangeable, is it legal (whether a 30 round USGI magazine can be built into a 100 round Beta C Mag, since the two share no common parts, is a topic of debate).
  • It is also legal to use the parts from a large capacity magazine to manufacture a magazine that holds ten rounds or less. This modification must be permanent to be legal. A rivet or epoxy is generally considered permanent in the eyes of the law.


It is not illegal to convert a large-capacity magazine to a 10-round or smaller magazine.

Some magazines designed for 10 rounds of one caliber can accept more than ten rounds of a different caliber, and function in some guns. This is not illegal.

A magazine with ammunition in it is NOT a ‘loaded gun’. It does not meet the Penal Code definition of a firearm.

When transporting a firearm, magazines MAY contain ammunition, so long as the magazines are not inserted in the magazine well of a firearm.


You CAN lend a large-capacity magazine to a friend, if you stay together, as at a range.

You cannot loan a large capacity magazine to anyone, including family members, outside of your immediate presence.

Use of Large Capacity Magazines in "Bullet Buttoned" firearms

Rifles or pistols equipped with "evil features" and a bullet button cannot use large capacity magazines. Large capacity magazine laws are different from assault weapons laws.

The use of a bullet button with a large capacity magazine creates a Category 3 assault weapon.


Large-capacity magazine restrictions

Large-capacity magazines in California

Legality of "hi-cap" mags

Calguns Post on 10/30 magazines

Mag Extensions On Preban Mags