Rifle Magwells--Pro & Cons of Rock-in vs. Pistol Style?


July 10, 2006, 12:09 PM
I am wondering what the scuttlebut is on why the U.S. or anybody else has switched from the AK/M14 style rock-in/rock-out magwells to the AR-style of sliding it in like a pistol mag.

Has any military or manufacturer switched the OTHER way?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

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Evil Monkey
July 10, 2006, 12:27 PM
I think becuase when you're in combat, it would be easier to jab the magazine in place rather than to carefully rock it in/out.

July 10, 2006, 02:40 PM
Rock and lock is more secure because the mag is held in the well by both the lip and the mag catch. Many implementations are also ambidextrous which is nice.

But it's generally considered slower than the AR system. If you are changing mags without retention, dropping the empty mag can be as easy as a simple button press.

I'm six of one-half dozen on the other with this issue.

July 10, 2006, 02:43 PM
I concur with MrAcheson.

July 10, 2006, 08:19 PM
With the slide in style such as with the AR, you can drop the mag with your right finger at the same time as you are retrieving a new mag with your left hand. Push the new mag in and either slap the bolt hold open or cycle the action with the charging handle, all with the same hand while the right hand stays on the pistol grip ready to fire. It's motion efficient. The AR unloads and loads like a pistol, nice and simple.

With the tilt style such as with the AK, you need to hold the rifle with one hand, thumb the release with your other as you grab the mag and tip it out. Only then is your hand free to grab a new mag.

There are methods figured out by necessity as work arounds though. With the AK you can grab a new mag first then use it to hit the mag release and jam it it pushing the old mag out of the way, but that's awkward, a crutch for poor ergonomics and inefficient motion.

Not to mention the slide lever is on the wrong side on the AK. With the FAL at least you can perform all the operations from mag change to cycling the action with your left hand while your right hand stays on the pistol grip. With the AK, you have to switch the rifle to your left hand to allow your right to cycle or reach over the top with your left hand while tilting the rifle with your right on the pistol grip, another awkward set of movments. (And cycling the action is required on an empty mag because there's also no last round bolt hold open on the AK).

Wow, it sounds like I'm slamming the AK. I'm not. I'm just using the AK, FAL and AR as examples of why some designs are more efficient than others.

July 10, 2006, 09:09 PM
With a little practice, the AK's are "almost" as fast as the AR's. Not quite as fast, but pretty close.

You dont have to take your hand off the grip to release the mag, just hit the release with your middle finger. 99% of all my AK mags will drop free, in all my guns. You can also swap them out with little trouble. With the AK, you ALWAYS work the charging handle after every mag swap. This guarantees a loaded rifle. To do so, you simply slip your left hand under the gun, palm flat to the receiver and stoke the handle back with your thumb. You can easily do this with the rifle in your shoulder too.

There is one thing you need to watch with the AK's though. This mostly happens if your a "hand swapper" with the rifle to do the reload. It rarely happens if you keep a hold of the grip and use your left hand to do the change. Actually, I have yet to have it happen using my left hand.

If you dont get the front of the mag engaged into the well properly before you rock it rearward, the rear lug will lock and lock the mag into the gun tight, and to low. It wont strip a round out of the mag, and you wount be able to use the release to remove the mag. The only real way to get it out quick is to put the butt on the ground while holding the barrel and stomp it out from front to back. Sounds harsh, but it works.

The AR's arent immune to mag problems either. I've seen them inserted backwards before and that can be a treat.

July 10, 2006, 10:58 PM
On my AK, I grip the mag with my left hand and use the left thumb to release the mag when I squeeze it. On my FAL I use the right trigger finger to jab the release when removing the mag with my left hand.

It is true however that the release and refresh of mags is a two step process versus a parallel path like with the AR system

July 11, 2006, 03:28 PM
Having had the unpleasant experience of dealing with a stomped mag that was jammed into an AR's magwell, I tend to value the more generous clearances and better leverage to remove mags from the AK and M14 type systems.

I can only imagine how tough it would be if your magwell got dented.:eek:

The Swiss AKs are now (SIG 556) all using the AR type magwell, aren't they? No front hole on those AR mags to make some system use the existing catch cutout!

So it looks like the trend is one-way to the pistol-style, eh?

As far as missing the front lock and rocking into the rear lock only, THAT's why the M14's front catch in the rifle is spring-loaded. I've always been able to rock 'em back forward and get them to latch properly, in an instant.:cool:

the naked prophet
July 11, 2006, 04:21 PM
I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for a conversion kit to convert my AK to AR-style mags, and then probably having to buy new mags (or convert the old ones - maybe dremel off the locking lip in the front and the tab in the back, then drilling a hole in the right spot?)

Doesn't sound too awful difficult to do... anybody want to donate an old or broken AK and a couple of mags? I've got some sheet steel that could serve as a mag well.

July 11, 2006, 09:10 PM
Does this have anything to do with the general US military doctrine that magazines are "disposable" items, whereas European armies generally try and re-use magazines? Thus our mags are easier to drop free. Or so I hear, anyway.

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