AR 15 mags


August 25, 2010, 08:14 AM
Need to get some mags. Are these better than getting Magpuls?:,22_30/osCsid,t0qnu73lti8mujgeu3jhogbqq2

Where is the cheapest place to get Magpuls - and which version should I get??? (I hear stuff about some that were hard to fit in some rifles).


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August 25, 2010, 08:20 AM
If you are just getting started with AR's, I recommend you get a few mags of different types, and try them in YOUR gun.

I love PMAG's.
Too bad they mis-feed from a closed bolt in MY rifle (Colt H-BAR Sporter).

August 25, 2010, 09:05 AM
C Products are good enough for me. I have seen PMags as low as $12 at some of the gun shows.

August 25, 2010, 09:11 AM
AIM Surplus has PMAGs for $14.20, but with free shipping. I just ordered a few and love them.

August 25, 2010, 09:11 AM
Get Pmags, Lancer L5, or USGI mags from either D&H or Brownell's. All those work reliably.

C-Products is inconsistent. Some of their mags work well, some fail constantly, some only fail a little bit. Back when they were a lot cheaper they made more sense. Right now they aren't significantly cheaper than real USGI mags from D&H or Brownell's, both of which are made better.

August 25, 2010, 10:19 AM
I have two C-Products magazines. One is fine and has been 100% reliable. The other had a weld split on the back just below the feed lips, rendering it a 9 on my "Is it safe" scale (a pool noodle is a 1, a block of C4 and a stun gun is a 10).

I have seven PMAGs. No trouble with them at all, and they were actually less expensive.

August 25, 2010, 10:30 AM
Thanks folks;

What are the advantages and disadvantages of metal/plastic?

Al Thompson
August 25, 2010, 10:31 AM
Shop around for Pmags. Bravo Company usually has decent prices. AIM's sales are usually very good sales..

August 25, 2010, 10:38 AM
I don't know the advantages to metal (I dislike mine), but the advantages to the Pmags is it has a dust cover, is pretty tough, and isn't unusable if you bend it in (run over, step on it wrong, etc.). My only beef with Pmags is I can't stick my 30 rounders in on a closed bolt if loaded with thirty?

August 25, 2010, 10:52 AM
It's funny how the AR with a BOLT HOLD OPEN can't be loaded to suit some users. The procedure I used was to charge the bolt, hold it open, load magazine, push the bolt release and let it slam home. Simple and quick enough on the first magazine. It what I was taught and is still taught.

After that, it automatically holds open for the next mag change - unless you're doing tac mag changes or in some competitive range event. The Army has an answer to that too, load them down two rounds. That directive came out in 1968.

The answer has been around almost as long as the M16. If you're loading full mags against the bolt, it's an arbitrary decision. You don't have to.

GI mags are aluminum, which will bend the feed lips if dropped fully loaded on them. Bad magazines are often surplused out of the military and show up at gun shows, buyer beware. Steel mags are often aftermarket, quality may be spotty, most new ones have a nice return policy. Just keep mailing them back until all of them are gtg.

PMags don't bend the feed lips, although when really stressed, they may crack. It probably would have ruined a metal mag with that much stress. Some lowers are broached a bit tight in the magwell, a Pmag can be lightly sanded and relieved, although most new ones don't have the problem. It's something found and fixed years ago.

As for loading a full 30 rounder against a closed bolt, that's mandatory with the AK. Just don't do it with the AR, it's very cooperative, and a significant reason for it's superior ergos and sustaining higher firepower.

August 25, 2010, 11:09 AM
Well, I haven't had very many problems with GI mags over the years...maybe one or two out of several dozen.

This must have been a bad batch of Pmags:

August 25, 2010, 11:27 AM
Inspecting the PMAG that was sitting 3' away from me, it looks like the ones you have are from an older design. The notch about 1/2" down from the top on yours was changed to a shallower, double notch (like this: - -) on more recent models, for one.

The first AR I ever owned, I had one Master Molder 20rd magazine :barf: and three USGI mags that looked beat to &%$#, but were 100% reliable and cost like $9.00 each. Kinda funny when the magazine looks like it's been through four separate wars and the rifle is brand-spanking-new.

August 25, 2010, 11:32 AM

So to the drop test. I wanted to see what they could do in the cold. I dropped it from the same table (3′ high) I have dropped metal mags from on the range. If you drop a metal mag on concrete from the same height it will damage the feed lips as to be unuseable-but you can bend them back. I was planning on dropping them on all sides but it broke before I could try it. From the table, fully loaded, no cover, both feed lips shattered when they hit the concrete. I expected it to break/crack but these things shot off and rounds went everywhere. I stopped the test right there as didnít want to try it with any others on the other sides. You can see in the AK HTF that if empty they do fine in the cold.

So what does this mean.

IF you drop ANY mag loaded on the feed lips it will be useless. The Pmags might survive during the summer but all metal mags will bent hot/or cold. The metal mags can be bent back.

The plastic shatters when cold (duh) it doesnít just crack.

I finally got a answer as to what these can do.

This test was dropping on concrete in cold weather. I had to clean off a spot to get down to the concrete. If the mags are dropped in the snow vs just concrete they do just fine. So the possibility of hitting on the feed lips in cold weather on a hard surface-very unlikely

The covers are great to keep out the snow Ė huge plus.

Overall they do just fine. I was surprised at the complete breaking vs. cracking buts thatís what cold can do.

August 25, 2010, 12:02 PM
That test was done a year and a half ago--I think MagPul may have modified them to be more resistant to damage in cold environments, too. Not sure, though.

August 25, 2010, 03:12 PM
I don't like the C-Products steel mags. My LULA doesn't work well with them. I do have a mess of P-Mags and haven't had any problems inserting them on a close bolt. If fact, with mine, if I don't watch it, I can fairly easily put 31 into a mag, so there's plenty of room to insert it on a closed bolt.

Check out They have good prices on P-Mags and mil spec aluminum mags. I like the mil spec aluminum mags too. Never had any problems with those either. I do believe that you are less likely to have compatibility issues with the aluminum mil spec mags. Although I really like the P-Mags because they don't get bent up, no matter how I throw them into the ammo box, they are more bulky than aluminum mags are.

August 25, 2010, 03:19 PM
C Products makes good aluminum and stainless mags. PMags are good quality overall but have proven themselves to be troublesome in some lowers. My Superior Arms lower will not drop an empty PMag. I've worked and worked on one, sanding here, carving there to try to get it to drop to no avail.

I agree with the suggestion to buy one each of several brands until you find the ones that work for you.

August 25, 2010, 03:21 PM
I use the Lancers and here is a thread from another forum where the person testing really knows his stuff. He is pretty hard on equipment and gives a fair evaluation from his experience.

August 25, 2010, 04:25 PM
After that, it automatically holds open for the next mag change - unless you're doing tac mag changes or in some competitive range event. The Army has an answer to that too, load them down two rounds. That directive came out in 1968.

Or just use your man hands on them. That fixes almost any difficulty seating a magazine on a closed bolt.

August 25, 2010, 05:44 PM
Magpul P mags are the best mags I've ever used.

I'm looking to build a .308 AR, and actually won't look at a Armalite or DPMS because they don't accept the big .308 Pmags like LMT, KAC etc.

August 25, 2010, 06:03 PM
The answer has been around almost as long as the M16. If you're loading full mags against the bolt, it's an arbitrary decision. You don't have to.

Not true.

Apparently you have never participated in the "board matches" at Camp Perry or any Excellence in Competition match.


Rule 8.1.5(2) Loading and Reloading Rifles
Rapid-Fire Loading. After the command ON THE FIRING LINE STAND…
with M16/M14 type rifles must close the actions on their rifles and insert
a magazine loaded with two rounds... When the
targets rise or the command TARGETS is given, competitors must drop
down into position and then cycle the bolt to chamber the first round.

Hope you'll give it a try some time,... but leave the P-MAGS at home unless you feel like dealing with bolt-over-base malfunctions.

August 25, 2010, 06:10 PM
must close the actions on their rifles and insert
a magazine loaded with two rounds..
Unless it's a two round magazine, it's not full.

August 25, 2010, 06:21 PM
Cproduct Mags are not viewed well by many people. I have a few that have been fine at the range but they stay home when I attend class. Magpul is the only way to go honestly. Yes some had that cracking issue however they also still functioned just fine, crack or no crack. There is also a video out there of a frozen pmag being abused and not breaking.

August 25, 2010, 06:23 PM
Unless it's a two round magazine, it's not full.

You misunderstand my point, and my concern.

I'm saying the P-MAG's cause a bolt-over-base malfunction when the bolt is cycled on a magazine containing just two rounds.

I honestly don't know whether the same malfunction would occur with a completely full mag, or a mag loaded with some other number of rounds than the amount required by the rules for EIC matches.

August 25, 2010, 06:34 PM
Mine works fine. 6920 with Pmags. And a BCM Mk12 Mod3x with Pmags.

Closed bolt, insert Pmag with 2 rounds loaded, charged, shoot.

Is that what you mean??? Mine works fine at this. I usually test a new rifle with only two rounds in the mag in case it busts and goes FA. Every time I make a change in tune, 2 rounds only.

i'm not sure what a bolt over base malf is?

August 25, 2010, 06:48 PM
I'm looking to build a .308 AR, and actually won't look at a Armalite or DPMS because they don't accept the big .308 Pmags like LMT, KAC etc.

The DPMS does accept PMAGs

August 25, 2010, 06:49 PM
I love PMAG's.
Too bad they mis-feed from a closed bolt in MY rifle

and mine as well - a ground up custom competition rifle.

It's funny how the AR with a BOLT HOLD OPEN can't be loaded to suit some users.

funny or not, makes sense or not, its the rules of competition. but, speaking to your point, if i load the mag w/ the bolt open and release the bolt, p-mags work just fine.

i have one c-products mag. works fine most of the time, but once in awhile it fails to lock the bolt back on an empty mag - which leads us right into why you would load the rifle from a closed bolt...

zero - bolt over base malf is exactly that: the bolt rides over the base of the cartridge failing to pick up and chamber the next cartridge in the mag. in my p-mags the bolt will try to load the cartridge from about halfway up the body. what has to happen is i have to retract the bolt, and then release the handle, and it will chamber and function fine - but that first cartridge doesn't pick up.

also, i run p-mags in my remington r-25, which is a dpms mag system. p-mags most assuredly work in the dpms pattern rifles (and work very well).

August 25, 2010, 07:25 PM
i'm not sure what a bolt over base malf is?

That's when you trip the bolt...

The bolt moves forward a bit...

The bolt engages the BASE of a cartridge...

The bolt pushes the cartridge forward some...

The nose of the cartridge does not enter the chamber...

The bolt OVERRIDES the base of the cartridge...

The cartridge becomes mashed between the bolt and the breechface...

The bolt comes to rest short of full battery...

The mashed cartridge prevents operation of the charging mechanism...

The magazine must be stripped from the rifle...

The mashed cartridge (hopefully) falls out of the mag well...

The magazine can be re-inserted into the rifle...

To repeat the same malfunction unless the bolt is locked back before inserting the magazine.

It pretty much sucks, and is impossible to clear, while one hand is wrapped up in a sling and shooting glove.

August 25, 2010, 07:26 PM
P Mags for me!

August 25, 2010, 07:27 PM
My P-MAG's will load from a closed bolt if the muzzle is pointed significantly downward during the operation.

...which is impossible to do while in the sitting or prone positions required for EIC matches.

August 25, 2010, 08:20 PM
WEG, pardon, I did misread your concern. I should have been more careful reading, as I have never used a PMag .
On the USMC rifle range, you do indeed load a magazine against a closed bolt, then pull back the charging handle.

August 25, 2010, 08:48 PM
To everyone who thinks Pmags are "the best," you really owe it to yourself to try out:
Lancer L5
Fusil USA steel mag
TangoDown ARC mag

Not saying Pmags are bad, I have and use a couple dozen of them, but my experience, my assessment, and my talks with professional trainers all tell me that the three above are in the same league, and in some ways possibly better.

As for .308, I have a DPMS .308 and some .308 Pmags, they are OK but I don't think they're as good as the .223 Pmags. I actually prefer the C-Products .308 mags, even though I'm not a fan of CP for .223 mags.

Although this is true with many companies, I have personally been an unintended beta-tester for Pmags in both .223 and .308 flavors. If you want some of the early .223 Pmags that don't work reliably, I'll be happy to sell one or more to you. (Yes, I know Magpul will replace them for free, I just haven't gotten around to it.) I don't know of specific changes they've made to the .308 mag yet, but I can say that its follower isn't much in the anti-tilt department.

August 25, 2010, 08:57 PM
Pmags are the best IMO.

I'm not a big fan of CProducts mags. If you get Aluminum USGI mags, try D&H.

August 25, 2010, 09:12 PM
I've never had a problem with loading 30 round PMAGs on a closed bolt. They have been absolutely perfect so far, but I only have about 500 rounds down the pipe since I build my AR. That's with a Charles Daley lower & BCM upper and bolt. Your mileage may vary.

August 26, 2010, 01:02 PM
i have switched to using pmags exclusivly. with my mil discount at dsgarms i get the standard pmags for $11, and $13 for the maglevel pmags (with the windows) . I have been using them for about 2 years, i have went through 3 training courses with them and this deployment so far without issues. i am just looking foward to the quad stack p mags to come out.

Ike R
August 26, 2010, 02:20 PM
I use Pmags and have no problems, I do load from an open bolt at all times as its easier for me to chamber a round being that I am righthanded shooting lefty do to eye dominance.

Cheapest I ever found them was on and I paid 10 bucks a mag, they where the countdown mags and you couldn't select the color of them, at that price though Its hard to care what color you get.

August 26, 2010, 07:42 PM
I like the pmags.

August 26, 2010, 08:03 PM
I hate PMags. Like others have said, they don't work when you load it against a closed bolt.

Argument for GI mags: You can load it with the bolt open or closed and you can always bend feed lips back.

August 26, 2010, 08:28 PM
Ok I went out and tested various Pmags on 3 guns loading them from a Closed bolt. Not a single one had an issue. What the heck are you all talking about.

Guns and more
August 26, 2010, 08:37 PM
I came across a deal a while back. 10 PMags for $97, free shipping. Needless to say I jumped on it. The deals are out there just be patient, the zombies aren't on your street, yet.

I watched the PMag torture test on YouTube and I was sold.

August 26, 2010, 08:40 PM
Ok I went out and tested various Pmags on 3 guns loading them from a Closed bolt. Not a single one had an issue. What the heck are you all talking about.

Describe your test.

August 26, 2010, 10:03 PM
W.E.G. - I don't know how Azziza tested it, but I load my 30 rd PMags with a closed bolt all the time. In fact I did it several times tonight while at the range. Bolt closed on an empty chamber, slide the mag in until it clicks, pull the charging handle back, let it slam forward, disengage safety, pull the bang switch. Works every time for me.

I also have tried several times seating the mag with a healthy smack on the bottom, and it still works 100%. That's not to say some people don't have problems, but the PMags have been superb for me.

August 26, 2010, 10:42 PM
this is the first place that i have ever heard of anyone having issues with pmags and loading them from a closed bolt.

August 27, 2010, 12:23 AM
I used my own PMags when going through my last unit's two week Special Forces Basic Combat Course which included a whole lot of range time and a whole lot of tactical reloads on a closed bolt and had exactly zero issues making PMags with 30 rounds loaded work consistently and reliably.

Ike R
August 27, 2010, 12:39 AM
I believe the issue was Pmags loading on a closed bolt with only 1 to 3 rounds left. I do it on occasion in Weapon drills to increase my reload time

IE: load 3 rounds in mag,
fire 2 to chest 1 to head
insert fresh mag (with 3 rounds)

Rinse repeat till out of mags, pull pistol and repeat..blah blah blah

I would say my rifles are custom built like the gents with the issue above but some " AR enthusiasts" consider a complete DMPS Lower on a complete Stag upper with a duracoat paint job a "custom built AR".

I however do not.

August 27, 2010, 08:56 AM
Never had any issues with pmags on a closed bolt either. As I understand it, any initial problems with pmags were ironed out with the newer 'm' revision mags. I never had any of the earlier ones.

August 27, 2010, 09:04 AM
I prefer the 20rd Brownells.

August 27, 2010, 12:37 PM
I believe the issue was Pmags loading on a closed bolt with only 1 to 3 rounds left. I do it on occasion in Weapon drills to increase my reload time

I do that frequently with my Pmags and have no problems either.

August 27, 2010, 01:21 PM
Another vote for "never had a problem loading from a closed or open bolt with a p-mag".

August 27, 2010, 04:04 PM
I don't own an AR, and I prefer 20rnd magazines for most tasks, but I own a rifle that takes AR type magazines and have tried just about every available magazine, my conclusions are as follows:

Lancer L-5s: Excellent magazines that are very rugged, reliable, and allow you to monitor the capacity because they are smoked translucent polymer. The steel feed lips allow you to keep the magazines loaded and prevent damage, the rubber base plate also prevents damage when dropped. Bar none my favorite magazine, I keep these around for serious use (defense, et al.). Available in 20 and 30rnd variants, they are priced at about $15.00USD/ea.

Magpul PMags: Another great magazine. Very durable, but feed lips can crack if dropped on a hard surface, though the have a great warranty against damage. A version is available with a window for monitoring the capacity. They have become the new standard, I use these for general range use. Also available in 20rnd version, they cost about $12.00USD/ea.

USGI Aluminum Magazines: The standard AR magazine, they are durable, but the feed lips can deform if dropped (thus causing malfunctions). The feed lips are also subject to fatigue, but have a moderately long service life. Likely the lightest and certainly the most available magazine available for the AR-15 platform. From my experience the best USGI magazines were made by Labelle, Sterling, Adventure Line, and Okay Ind. 20rnd magazines are available (NHMTG make decent 20s), but the 30s usually exhibit better quality (as do 40s but they are rare, bulky, and costly). I use these for most of my 30rnd magazines. They can be found for $8-10.00USD though some more rare examples (collectors items) can cost several hundred.

Brownell's Brand Magazines: Available in both 20 and 30 round capacities, these appear to be the same as USGI aluminum magazines and exhibit the same flawless function IME. I prefer genuine USGI if only because it is made for and/or used by our armed forces, but I wouldn't turn down one of these if I needed one. They average about $8-12.00USD.

Israeli Orlite Magazines: Another polymer magazine, these are fairly durable, but not quite as good as PMags and nowhere near as good as L5s IMO. I sold all of these after the switch to PMags, but they aren't bad. To my knowledge 30rnd magazines are the only version available. Prices range from $5-10.00USD depending upon condition (most are surplus).

Thermold Magazines: Similar to Orlite magazines, but lacking the steel reinforcement and having a lower melting point (best not to be used in FA applications), they are a bit weaker than the Orlite but afford similar performance (though some folks report problems with them). 20 and 30rnd variants are available; they are most often priced at $4-8.00USD.

C-Products Magazines: They produce both Al. and SS magazines in both 20 and 30rnd versions. They seem to be hit or miss, I have had some issues with feeding using some of these magazines and would avoid them altogether. Typically cost $8-15.00USD.

Pro-Mags: They manufacture Al. and polymer magazines in 20 and 30rnd capacity. The Al. ones can be decent, but are hit or miss. I have never seen one of their polymer magazines that would feed properly. I would avoid both, and forget the polymer ones exist. They vary in cost from about $5-10.00USD.

"USA-Brand" Magazines: Al. magazines made to the absolute lowest standards, avoid all of these at all cost. The culprit of a great number of AR malfunctions. Found at most gunshows for $5-10.00USD.

There are a few that I haven't tried, or haven't much experience with, like the HK mags, Cammenga, Korean steel magazines, or Fusil, but honestly I see little benefit in trying more because the top 4 work so well (especially the Lancer mags) and many of the "specialty" magazines are very costly.


August 27, 2010, 11:09 PM
Maverick - Brownell's has or had a government contract for 30rd aluminum USGI mags, so they are also true USGI.

I'll flesh out your list a bit based on personal use:

HK Maritime mag - not worth the cost. It works OK, doesn't do anything that the better $15 mags won't to.

Fusil USA - one of my favorites now that they are available for only $10 from CDNN and other places. So far 100% reliable in my use.

Cammenga Easymag - the slide-open front doesn't actually speed loading. It does speed unloading if that's a regular need. Otherwise it's a good solid mag, but a bit heavy and more complicated than conventional mags. I have and use some but probably won't buy more. Now available for $15 from CDNN.

Korean steel mags - these are a knockoff of the HK "Maritime" mag and are roughly equivalent, with two differences: they only cost $10 or so, and their follower doesn't extend the mag catch tab all the way to the back, so it does NOT reliably lock the bolt back in a standard AR-15. These were designed for the Daewoo military rifle which, I believe, has a longer bolt hold-open finger. They have fed reliably in my use but, due to the unreliable (usually not) bolt catch, I can't recommend them.

And I'll add:

TangoDown ARC mag - this is a new polymer mag somewhat similar to a Pmag. It cannot be disassembled and doesn't have a dust cover like the Pmag. I like the shape better, and the follower is slick and as anti-tilt as they come. 100% reliable in use so far. They fit into standard mag pouches (the ones designed for USGI aluminum mags) much better than Pmags. I prefer these over Pmags.

August 28, 2010, 12:43 PM
Thanks for the information, Z-Michigan. I am not surprised that the Brownell's are mil. spec with a GI contract, they are good stuff. I might have to try one of the Fusil mags, had no idea you could find them so cheap, however I do wish they were available in 20rnd version.


August 28, 2010, 12:52 PM
i have two PMAGS with dust covers, they are the only ones i take to the range with me when i shoot my Bushmaster- i dont have to slap the bottm of the p mag like i do to the USGI mags. PMAGs that come with dust covers and window on the mag ar ethe best i ever used ,i have 4-30 round mags- 2 PMags , 1 bushmaster mag ans 1 brownell.

August 28, 2010, 02:36 PM
Maverick - glad to help. I laughed at Fusil when they were introduced at $30 or more, but at $10 they are a good deal.

For quality 20's, your main options are Pmags, Lancer L5, and TangoDown ARC - they all have 20's, they all work fine (I have used all). The Lancer is lightest and probably smallest of those three, the ARC is probably toughest, and the Pmag is easiest to find.

August 28, 2010, 02:52 PM
No experience with the ARC and you are correct that the Lancer is lighter than the PMag, but it is also longer (due to the rubber "bumper" on the baseplate); I haven't measured/compared the width, but most everything will fit in my mag well. I can't say for certain (not having used/abused the ARC) but I believe the Lancers would be stronger due to the steel feed lips. Overall, if I am going with a polymer mag (and there is little reason not to), I think the L-5s are the way i'll go. Easily the best mag I have ever used, especially with the addition of CMMG stainless followers (something most poly mags won't accept).


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