This is more of a summary, because each weapon has its own issues and I'm not testing all of them lmao.
-> With standard & speed reloads, the magazine is actually removed slightly after the animation to remove the mag. If you interrupt the reload between these times, you'll visibly take the magazine out of the gun, but the mag won't actually be removed.
- Specifically with Speed Reloads, interrupting the reload during those times will result in the magazine being visibly taken out of the gun and falling to the ground, but the weapon will still have the magazine in the gun. You can continue dropping these magazines on the ground indefinitely.
-> For Staged Reloads (reloads initiated after a reload cancel where the mag is no longer in the firearm), the magazine is actually put into the firearm earlier than the animation suggests.
- For Staged Reloads where a bullet is still in the chamber, the mag is seated into the gun slightly before the animation itself.
- For Staged Reloads where the chamber is empty, the mag is seated in the gun long before the animation itself. I mean, the mag will just be touching the firearm and the game registers the mag as fully inserted in the weapon.
-> Chambering a round often, if not always, happens far faster than the animation itself. Try interrupting a reload (via switching weapons) where there's no round chambered right after a new mag is loaded and you'll see what I mean.
All of this seems to make reloading much less punishing:
-> The delayed mag eject helps if you have to cancel a reload, as you may still have a mag loaded even if you took it out entirely.
-> The sped-up mag loading on a staged reload helps you to get back in the fight faster, which can save your life.
-> The drastically sped up chambering means you probably won't have to play the animation again if the reload is interrupted during that time.
IMO, staged reloading exists mostly so that players have to pick good times to reload, and shouldn't just run through an uncleared building while switching magazines. The current system makes doing this considerably less punishing than I think it should be, and gives players more "leeway" than I think should be acceptable.