Updated: Jul 30, 2020
The Origin of Glock Pre-ban Magazines
Back on September 13, 1994, President Clinton signed into law the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which was a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Encompassed within the Act was the prohibition of large-capacity magazines, which would last 10 long years.
So, any large-capacity magazine produced (usually anything over 10 rounds) after September 13, 1994, are considered post-ban and the magazines made before that date are called pre-ban. Because of this, the ability to differentiate between a pre-ban and a post ban magazine is very important. I foun
Properly Identifying Pre-ban Magazines
The easiest way to properly identify a Glock Pre-ban magazine is by looking for the "U" notch or the "Square" notch located at the top of the magazine above the witness holes. Here is a great thread on Glock Talk that both explains how to differentiate between pre-ban and post-ban Glock magazines. It also has photos to help show the differences.
There are 2 reasons why correctly identifying pre-ban from the post-ban Glock magazines is important. One would be for those residents that reside in a state that allows people legally to possess and use high capacity pre-ban magazines, with a special license. Massachusetts is one such state that this would apply. Massachusetts citizens can own high capacity pre-ban magazines IF they have an LTC-A license. But that license does not allow ownership of post-ban high capacity magazines. Another reason would be for the collectors to know which magazines they need to bring their Glock pistol package back to the original pre-ban condition.
2 Roles for the Glock Pre-ban Magazines
Glock pre-ban magazines serve 2 important roles. The first is for the Collector who wants to bring his/her old Glock Gen 1 or 2 back to the original condition, to include the old pre-ban magazines. Or for the collector who wants to upgrade their old used and beat up pre-ban magazines for some nicer, newer looking pre-ban magazines. And the second roll is for the Shooters. These would be the Massachusetts citizens that hold an LTC-A license and for any Law Enforcement Officer that is exempt from high capacity magazine prohibitions in their state. Also for any exceptions or Grandfathering each state has placed into their laws.
2 types of Glock Pre-Ban Magazines
In the following paragraphs, I will be referring to the 2 most commonly known Glock pre-ban magazine types that are collected and used in the United States.
Glock pre-ban magazines were made in two different categories. The "U" notch, which is non-full metal lined (NFML) and are non drop free. And the Square notch, which is full metal lined (FML) and are drop free. The "U" notch magazines were the first magazine imported into the United States with the Glock pistols, followed by the square notch. Any Glock magazine that is marked, RESTRICTED LE/GOVT ONLY", are post-ban magazines. I know there was another very early magazine that Glock made that had a small square notch. I believe these were made for the European countries. Because I no little or nothing more about this magazine, I will not mention it any further. If you know more about this rare magazine, please contact me with your information.
Pre-ban Magazine Calibers, capacity and models
Glock pre-ban magazines were made in these calibers: 9mm, .40, 45 ACP and 10mm. The first caliber magazines that Glock made was for the 9mm because that was the only caliber pistol Glock was making at the time. The very early "U" notch 9mm magazines did not have any caliber markings on the magazine tube. The magazine capacity ranges from 13 rounds to a whopping 33 rounds, depending on the caliber. Glock made these pre-ban magazines for these models: G17, G18, G19, G20, G21, G22, and G23.
Pre-ban Magazine Compatibility
All Glock Pre-ban magazines will fit in the same pistol caliber models in ALL Generations. So, the same caliber pre-ban magazines,"U" notch or Square notch, will fit in ALL generation Glock pistols in that same caliber. If you had a G17 in all 5 generations, and you took the pre-ban magazine from the Gen 1 pistol, that Gen 1 pre-ban magazine would fit and function in the other 4 G17 generation pistols. But there are a few caveats you should know.
The "U" notch pre-ban magazines will not drop free when loaded with ammo in ALL generations.
The magazine catch/release has to be configured for a right handed shooter in the pistol, because pre-ban magazines only had the mag catch/release notch on the one side of the magazine tube, which was configured for right handed shooters at the time they were being made. This would mean that the magazine catch/release would be sticking out on the left side of the frame to be the proper configuration for right handed shooters.
Falling Numbers of Glock Pre-ban Magazines
Unfortunately, like the old Glock manuals, magazine loaders, Tupperware boxes and the old Gen 1 and Gen 2 pistols themselves, the pre-ban magazines are becoming harder to find in any condition, but even harder to find in original and "like new" condition. This is due to breakage, loss, theft, fire, these being collected and put away by Glock collectors and these being scooped up by the residents in the states that can use pre-ban Glock pistols and magazines.
These old pre-ban magazines are getting older by the day and they are not being made anymore. My advice to anyone who thinks they may want to bring their old Glock Gen 1 or Gen 2 pistol package back to pre-ban condition and they need pre-ban magazines to make it happen, I would get them as soon as you find the ones you want. I have added some photos of both the "U" notch and the Square notch magazines below.
I like the pre-ban magazines for nostalgic reasons. My Grandmother was an Antique Dealer, what can I say?! I do like my Gen 1 and Gen 2 Glock pistols to be paired with pre-ban magazines. The way they originally came from the factory. :)
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