How Come Yours Is Bigger Than Mine? Magazine Capacity, and Canadian Firearms Law

Apr 22, 2013
The purpose of this blog is to provide clarification on the maximum legal magazine capacity for different firearms under Canadian law.

As a general rule, under the Firearms Act of Canada, the maximum magazine capacity is limited to a specific number of rounds, depending on the type of firearm and the caliber the firearm uses. Magazines need to be modified or manufactured for a maximum capacity limit for the firearm in which they were intended to be used. Magazines holding more than the prescribed limit are prohibited devices.

All Pistols

Pistols are limited to a 10 round maximum capacity regardless of action type or caliber.

Semi-Auto Centerfire Rifles & Shotguns

Semi-auto centerfire rifles and shotguns are limited to a maximum of 5 rounds.

Rimfire Rifles

Rimfire rifles have no magazine limitations, providing the magazine used was intended for a rifle.

Lever-Action, Pump-Action or Bolt Action Rifles and Shotguns

Lever, pump and bolt action centerfire rifles and shotguns have no limitations on their magazine capacities.


Under Canadian law it’s not what firearm the magazine is used in but what firearm the magazine was designed for, that determines legal capacity. For example, the 10 round capacity magazine designed for the RRA LAR-15 pistol is permitted in use in any firearm, including rifles, that accepts AR-15 type magazines. Another example would be the Thureon Defense carbines using 10 round GLOCK handgun magazines. As these magazines were designed specifically for pistols, which have a 10 round legal capacity, it is not relevant that they can be used in other firearm types.

The Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 can legally only hold 10 rounds as the magazine was originally designed for the M&P15-22 handgun. Even though it is a 22 rimfire rifle, the magazine was designed for use in a pistol and therefore is limited to 10 rounds.

The same goes for the factory Ruger 10/22 25 round magazines. These magazines are limited to 10 rounds as they are also for the Ruger Charger pistol. However, after market 10/22 mags such as the Butler Creek models have no such restriction placed on them, as they are not marketed as pistol magazines. This makes them legal to use in both rifles and the Charger pistol.

The M1 Garand is allowed to have 8 rounds even though it is a semi-automatic centerfire rifle. This is because the Garand falls into the category of specific exemptions, along with the Lewis Gun and the Luger snail drum magazines etc.

Handgun magazines are manufactured to hold 10 rounds of the specific round they were chambered for. These magazines may hold more rounds of a different caliber and function in a different model of handgun. For example, a Beretta 96 .40 S&W magazine will hold 12 rounds of 9mm and function fine in a model 92 Beretta. This is perfectly legal under Canadian firearms law.

At the end of the day magazine capacity restrictions are dependent what the Canadian Firearms Center classifies as pistol or rifle magazines. The onus is upon you to make sure your magazines fall within the legal guidelines of the law. If you have any concerns, please contact us for clarification.

Questions for this blog that have previously been answered:

If I got a bolt action rifle (like a Weatherby Vanguard which has a 5 round internal magazine) and upgraded it to take external box magazines could I then use 20 round magazines for it?
07/05/2015 7:06:13 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies

As long as the magazine isn't designed for a semi auto yes you can.
11/05/2015 9:09:37 AM

Is it ok to use the 10end pistol mag (which I do) in the Robinson arms xcr?
20/03/2015 11:40:51 AM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
It is fine to use the XCR pistols mags in your AR or your regular XCR
23/03/2015 9:26:11 AM

Where does the jr carbine fall in this. I'm wondering about the 9mm model that takes glock 17 magazines. Can you legally load 9 rounds into it and shoot it out of this gun. It comes with magazine not pinned at 5. Thanks for any help
21/10/2014 7:20:34 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
The JR Carbine is perfectly fine with the 10 round Glock magazines are the magazines hold the legal requirement for the firearm they are designed for. The fact that they can be used in a different firearm doesn't matter, so yes the 10 rounds is perfectly legal under the Canadian system.
23/10/2014 8:18:47 AM

... But the RCMP states:
The Ruger BX-25 magazine, chambered for 22 LR calibre, is designed and manufactured for use in the Ruger SR22 rifle, the 10/22 family of rifles/carbines and the 22 Charger handgun. As a result, this magazine is a prohibited device unless modified so its capacity is 10 cartridges or less. (*This in
formation was not included in the original version of this bulletin, but was added on 2013-09-05.)

....But the butler creek 25 round magazine was designed, marketed, and intended to be used in all ruger 10/22 models? So how is it any different than the Ruger 10/22 factory 25 round magazine limits due to the intended design use in the Ruger charger pistol?
13/01/2015 12:28:55 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
The difference is the Butler Creek mags are not marketed or advertised as being for use in a pistol (the charger). I know that makes absolutely no sense but this is the way it is.
13/01/2015 1:08:10 PM


just got off the phone with the Canadian Firearms Center and was told that the Butler Creek mags over 10 rds are prohib. unless pinned to 10. There was some discussion but no decision has been made. Since they are an aftermarket replacement for the BX-25 they are handled the same way. whoah!
04/03/2015 1:56:18 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
The CFC does not make the laws and those mags have not be made prohibited under the criminal code.
04/03/2015 2:08:00 PM

Adam Lawrence
Can i use an lar-15 pistol mag in a tavor?
18/02/2015 7:36:53 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
Yes the AR-15 style pistol mags will function in the Tavors and other rifles.
Bear in mind magazines can be selective in certain rifles and not all mags may function the same in all rifles.
I personally have some mags that will work flawlessly in a couple of my AR's but constently jam in another.
19/02/2015 10:34:47 AM

Does anyone make a rifle designed Glock .22 caliber magazine that I could use in my Glock 22?
02/02/2015 11:17:28 AM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
NO Rifle mags for the G22
02/02/2015 11:32:20 AM

Hi, I'm confused, so you can have only 5 rounds in a Semi-Auto Mag, but unlimited in a Manual action gun?
Please clearify
29/01/2015 9:08:01 AM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
Under Canadian law, semi-automatic, centerfire long guns are limited to 5 rounds under the law. A bolt action, pump action or lever action centerfire has no limited on the amount of rounds they can hold.
29/01/2015 9:30:12 AM

Would it be legal to drill a Tapco SKS magazine for disassembly and cleaning as in this video as long as you left the 5 round limiting floor plate? Also, if you have a Tapco magazine with the rivet at the bottom would it be ok to drill the rivet as long as you left in the 5 round limiting floor plate as in the previous question?

21/01/2015 7:25:52 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
Hi James,
This question would be answered best by your Chief Firearms Officer. We cannot give legal advice I am afraid.
22/01/2015 9:32:28 AM

Would these 10 round magazines be legal in canada with a weatherby vanguard rifle?

04/10/2014 3:56:05 PM

(Reply) Wolverine Supplies
Those would be legal as they are designed for a bolt action firearm and not a semi-automatic centerfire.
06/10/2014 9:00:54 AM