An in-depth look at why shooters choose aftermarket base pads, how to choose the right one for you and what makes a magazine Base Pad optimal for competition use.
Base pads increase the handling utility while adding a personal touch.
What are Aftermarket Base Pads Intended For?
Base Pads (interchangeably referred to as Floor Plates) increase capacity of a magazine, but this may not be the primary purpose for most sports shooters to want to use use them. Rather, Magazine Base Pads augment the surface area of the pouched magazine so that it is easier to grab and handle magazines with speed and precision.
In all IPSC shooting divisions, the ergonomics and ease of use for quick magazine reloading are primary considerations when choosing Base Pads. Some other benefits of aftermarket Base Pads are:
- More gripping surface on the magazine when reloading. The added surface of the Base Pad is of benefit for fast reloads in competition. The added texture with some brands makes them ‘sticky’ in a good way. This makes magazines easier to grab from the magazine pouch with greater control. The extra surface area of the Base Pad makes the loaded magazine shape resemble a car gear shift… bad analogy but illustrates the point for newcomers to the sport.
- Some extra length to facilitate easier loading of the magazine once in hand. Once pulled from the pouch, the magazine is inserted into the gun with one hand, while holding the gun in the other hand. With some factory Base Pads this area can be a bit flat, and the extra length of an aftermarket Base Pad makes it more comfortable during fast operation.
- Adds additional weight on the bottom of the magazine, helping it free-fall from the gun more easily when reloading. This isn’t really an issue with most modern guns, and usually not in IPSC where there are almost always some rounds left in the magazine after a stage. (A single cartridge can be heavier than most Base Pads.) But if the magazine is empty or if the gun has unpredictable ejection mechanics, an aftermarket Base Pad might help with that.
Check out this well summed up video from Guns.com on what we covered so far:
There is also a potential benefit with easier maintenance which we will cover at the end of this article (where we explain how Armanov Base Pads improve on maintenance concerns). But on a general note in regard to aftermarket base pads, here are some other things to consider:
Pulling the magazine from the magazine pouch
- Will I use the Base Pads in competition eventually? For hobbyist use you can use whatever you like, but for competition you really want to invest a bit more in the highest quality Base Pads which also fit into the sports’ measuring box. Some shooting sports divisions have limitations on the size of handguns with inserted magazines. (consult the rules of the shooting sport in question). Most Armanov base pads are IPSC legal for Standard divison.
- Will the Base Pads fit my magazine? With such a wide variety of magazines out there you should check the manufacturers label on compatibility. Armanov, for instance, assures our Base Pads fit the factory and aftermarket magazines of respective guns perfectly.
- Ease of assembly. Base Pads of some manufacturers are fitted with screws, pins, or clips, while other manufacturers have clever solutions for easy disassembly. Armanov Base Pads feature true tool-less disassembly using our own locking plates.
- Quality craftsmanship. Base pads come in a variety of materials each of which has some pros and cons. The snugness of the fit matters too. You can’t know the fit precision unless you try it on your gun of course, but you can read up on reviews to see what brands people trust.
On the last note of quality Base Pads, you should expect your magazines to be dropped to the floor a lot (especially in competition), so the material used is important for long term durability. Our 7075 aircraft grade aluminum Base Pads are made to withstand being dropped on concrete, so you don’t have to worry about where your magazines land.
Another thing to note is that with Base Pads which are designed to add more than about two extra rounds, the magazine spring may become too lose to adequately push the spring follower. This can result in a failed lockback of the gun’s slide stop. A non issue with more compact Base Pads.
Check out this thread on 1911 forum detailing users experience with poorly made Base Pads: https://www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=931514
How to choose the right Armanov Base Pad?
Our premium Aluminum Base Pads are a culmination of many years of IPSC experience. We offer a range of different base pads models, here is a graph illustrating the key differences in our line-up for easy reference:
- Speed line Base Pads are the ultimate for performance efficiency in competition environments.
- MaXXXgrip line are the same shape as elegance, but with added gripping tape for increased utility.
- Elegance line are the sleek looking of the bunch with premium-feel brushed aluminum bottom surface.
MaXXXgrip ‘taped’ version in a variety of anodized finishes
Base Pads for Competitive Sports Shooters
If you’ve seen our video on ‘How to clean your magazine’ then you’ve seen Armanov base pads in action. Our Base Pads are designed for lighting fast use that IPSC calls for.
There is some context to this video though, which illustrates a tremendous benefit of true tool-less disassembly.
Competitive shooters will know that often, ejecting your magazines onto gravel or sand is unavoidable. This not only forces one to clean the inside of the magazines after stages, but also poses the risk of gun malfunction if left uncleaned.
Tool-less disassembly is the way to go to save time and hassle in between stages.
The custom Armanov steel plate enables tool-less disassembly in conjunction with our Base Pad design.
For experienced sports shooters, we recommend our Speed line Base Pads. Decades of in-house IPSC experience drove our design decisions on these to be the top choice of the demanding shooter.
From the cleverly placed side ridges, the unique gripping tape texture, to our own design locking plate, our Base Pads are made for competition.
The gripping tape significantly improves the magazine handling, but also offers additional protection when dropped. You can easily replace the tape if it gets too worn over time. (You get an extra tape supplied with your base pad purchase)
IPSC competition gear is our area of expertise and we hope more professional shooters give Armanov Base Pads a try. We believe we designed the best competition Base Pads for shooting sports. Every piece is manufactured in our EU factory and inspected by hand to ensure consistent quality. We use the gear that we produce ourselves, and sports shooters deserve the highest and consistent quality.
As for anyone just getting into shooting sports, we hope this post cleared up some questions regarding aftermarket Base Pads.
It really helps us to know what questions shooters have out there, so please ask and comment on what you like about your current base pads and what you’d like to see in the future.