I served in the military as a Marine infantryman and carried my M16/M4 around the world. In addition to that, I’ve shot thousands of rounds through AR-15 rifles since.
After shooting that many rounds myself, and witnessing my fellow Marines and others outside the military, means I’ve seen my fair share of malfunctions.
What were those malfunctions caused by most of the time?
Faulty magazines. Some magazines had simply seen their time and needed to retire, some had bent feed lips, others had damaged followers or tired springs.
Whenever a malfunction occurred more than once, we would change mags. Guess what? It almost always fixed the problem.
A reliable AR-15 magazine is worth its weight in gold when it comes time to drop the hammer. The best AR 15 magazines won’t just feed your rifle reliably, they’ll do it under harsh and demanding conditions.
That’s why you want the absolute best AR-15 magazines you can get your hands on.
When it comes to AR-15 magazine reliability, good ole fashioned craftsmanship always wins out. AR-15 Magazines are very simple pieces of gear, composed of a magazine body, a spring, a floor plate and a follower.
One of the most important components of the AR 15 magazine is going to be the follower.
The follower is the portion of the magazine that the ammunition rests on and feeds from. The spring is putting constant tension on the follower and pushing rounds upwards.
The magazine spring is important for a variety of different reasons. Springs are pretty simple and in many ways identical. The difference is in the spring material.
Stainless steel is the material that the best AR 15 magazines use. It’s highly resistant to corrosion and its slick nature ensures smooth reliable operation.
Polymer Mags vs. Metal Mags
The magazine body needs to be tough, and durable. It’s likely going to be dropped, exposed to heat, gun oil, and more. Polymer is highly durable and has become the most popular material used to manufacture AR magazines.
Additionally, polymer AR-15 magazines are lighter and less expensive.
Lower quality polymer plastics will often split at the spine, and the feed lips will break off very easily. It’s hard to find out exactly what polymer material companies use to manufacture magazines, so you have to go by reputation.
Both styles of magazines will generally be very reliable, last a long time, and serve you well on the range, in the field, and on duty.
Whether you choose polymer or metal, there are a few function tests you can perform to ensure the AR-15 magazine you’re using is within industry specs.
This sounds obvious, but take a look at each of your magazines and ensure they are in good structural shape.
Visually check for any cracks or dents to the body. Also check the feed lips to ensure they are not bent, chipped, or deformed in any way.
Fully load your magazine and tap the bottom sharply against a hard surface.
You’re looking to see if a round ejects out of the magazine. If it does, then there is a good chance that the feed lips are out of spec.
This isn’t what it really sounds like. We’re not actually dropping the magazine. What we are checking for here is how well the magazine drops from the AR when you press the magazine release.
The magazine should drop freely without any assistance from you. Whether the magazine is empty or fully topped off, it should drop freely from the magazine well.
If they do not drop freely from the magazine well, then the body of the magazine may be out of spec.
Finally, ensure that your bolt locks to the rear on an empty magazine. The easiest way to do this is to perform a mag dump and see if the bolt locks back on an empty magazine.
Elite Tactical Systems magazines are some of the most interesting mags on the market. You never just buy one. One of the big draws of the ETS Magazine is that it comes equipped with a coupler system.
The ETS Magazines can be connected together for quick and easy reloads. The ETS Magazines are also clear so you can easily identify how many rounds you have left. The magazines are also ribbed for a positive grip.
ETS Magazines are overbuilt to a degree. Although the overbuilt design increases their weight, it also makes them capable of taking some serious abuse. The oversized floorplates make them easy to remove from your mag pouch and strip from the AR magazine well.
Over the past 10 years, Duramag has built a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality, trustworthy magazines. The Duramag stainless steel magazine is no exception with its heavy-duty body, bright orange follower, and tough EVERFLEX spring.
Duramag put some serious time and money into research and development to come up with their LIPLOCK technology and Advanced Geometry Followers. It’s that dedication and design that makes it possible for them to promise 100% reliability.
Duramag magazines won’t crack or swell like some polymer magazines are prone to doing. The company’s T-360 coating is used on these magazines in tandem with improved internal geometry to promote consistent feeding.
The PMAG D-60 stands as an example of innovation in ammunition storage and delivery. Manufactured with meticulous precision, this drum magazine is made for those who seek durability, reliability, and higher capacity. It is constructed to accommodate 60 rounds of 5.56×45 NATO/.223 ammunition. This enhanced storage effectively doubles the usual capacity of standard 30-round magazines, thus, giving the shooter the luxury of focusing on the target without the interruption of frequent reloading.
What sets the PMAG D-60 apart is its unique drum design. Unlike other high-capacity magazines, its compact configuration doesn’t compromise the shooter’s ability to fire in the prone position. Furthermore, its design ensures that the magazine doesn’t become too cumbersome, making it more comfortable for the shooter and facilitating easier storage.
Functionality is beautifully coupled with user-friendly features. The magazine boasts an intuitive loading lever which simplifies the reloading process. For those who like to personalize or categorize their magazines, the paint pen dot matrix comes in handy for effortless marking. Moreover, with its transparent rear window, users can swiftly gauge the number of remaining rounds, ensuring that they’re always battle-ready.
Surefire AR-15 60-Round Magazine
Introducing the Surefire 60-round extended magazine, a game-changer for AR-15 owners who demand superior firepower and reliability. Designed for AR-15 rifles chambered in .223 Rem/5.56x45mm, this high-capacity magazine elevates your shooting experience.
Constructed from high-quality anodized aluminum, this magazine promises longevity and resilience. The inclusion of cadmium-coated springs ensures consistent feeding, while the special nesting followers offer smooth operation and enhanced durability. These combined features ensure that this extended magazine is not just an accessory, but a valuable upgrade for your AR-15 rifle.
With a legacy backed by the US military’s trust for decades, the AR-15 rifle stands out as a symbol of reliability and power. When paired with Surefire’s extended magazine, the results are astounding: an unprecedented blend of firepower and unwavering reliability.
Widening its usability, these magazines are compatible with any STANAG 4179-designated rifle. They seamlessly fit in standard MOLLE pouches, ensuring convenience in carrying. Remarkably, these magazines are designed to be stored and loaded for prolonged durations without compromising their performance.
Invest in a few Surefire 60-round magazines for your AR-15 and witness unparalleled firepower at your fingertips.
AR-15 Magazine Accessories
When you’ve invested in a top-of-the-line AR-15, enhancing its functionality with the right accessories is the next logical step. Among the plethora of add-ons available in the market, two that stand out particularly for magazines are the AR-15 magazine coupler and the Magpul PMAG Ranger Plate.
The AR-15 magazine coupler is a simple yet effective accessory, primarily designed to facilitate quicker reloads. Holding two magazines side by side, it ensures that the shooter has a fresh magazine at the ready after the first one is emptied. This not only saves precious seconds in a high-intensity situation but also reduces the need to reach for a new magazine from a pouch or pocket. They are made of durable materials, ensuring longevity even with rough use.
On the other hand, the Magpul PMAG Ranger Plate is an accessory tailor-made for the Magpul PMAG magazines. The Ranger Plate replaces the standard floorplate and provides an integral loop, which serves multiple purposes. It allows for faster extraction and handling from pouches, ensures better control while handling the magazine, and offers improved drop protection. A slight tug on the loop ensures you have a firm grip on your magazine, making operations smooth and fumble-free.
Both these accessories, while small, can significantly upgrade your AR-15’s magazine utility, ensuring better performance when it counts.
Wrapping It Up
Magazines seem like they should be a simple purchase.
After all, they don’t need to do anything more than hold ammunition and feed it to the gun.
An out-of-spec magazine will make even the best AR-15 nothing more than a metal club. Stick with magazines like those mentioned above, and you’ll have a much better day at the range, out in the field, or more importantly, on duty.
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