PMAGS tested in cold conditions

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TaylorWSO @ ar15.com dropped a loaded Magpul polymer PMAGS onto concrete in -30 degrees, feed lip first:

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 didn’t 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 doesn’t 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 – huge plus.

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

The result: cracked/split feed lips:

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Picture 19-9

uafgrad tried a simular experiment in even colder weather:

Ok Back to tougher in Alaska

Here is where it set for a period of about 18 hours. This was the “hi” temp for the period

The mag was fully loaded and dropped from a height of 36″ directly onto the feedlips (as previously requested) striking bare concrete.

Once it hit the ground, all but 6 of the rounds exited the magazine on to the ground.

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Some plastics becomes become brittle in cold conditions, so this is not surprising. The good news is that Magpul are not sitting on their laurels. Their latest version of the PMAG can survive a drop from 5 feet onto concrete feed lip first, fully loaded in -30 F. See this video shot with a high speed camera:

A big thanks to Jay for the link.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.



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  • jdun1911

    You have to admit Magpul understand the internet and AR15.com. Their damage control team is second to none. They never mentioned how long it was store at -30F nor did the video show the height of the magazine being dropped. Until independent testers do their own tests take it as a grain of salt.

    It is always fun to see fanboys going their way to defended favorite product. It’s also fun to see fanboys from another completing product declaring their favorite product is better.

    Don’t get me wrong I own over 10 30 rounds magpul mag and 10 of their 20 rounds version. I have around 40 GI magazine (30 and 20 rounders) and 10 L5 lancer (30 rounds).

    I don’t have a problem with Magpul’s mags breaking up at those temperatures. It was expected because plastic become brittle in extreme cold and I treat all magazines as disposable items. What I have a problem is when people tries to hype a product that has known limitations.

    Remember that plastic start deteriorating at the get go. The more it is exposed to the environment (UV) the faster it will deteriorate.

    BTW don’t think about buying those $50 HK mags. Save your money because at those prices you expected more from it.
    http://hkpro.com/forum/showthread.php?t=91413&page=2
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=17&t=401646

    Here is another thread on Pmag and cold:
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=17&t=416124

    Lancer L5 testing:
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=17&t=409288

    Off topic: The Smoking Bank Robber. Look like it came out of a movie.
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=811123&page=1

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      yes they do understand neo-marketing. You cannot believe how backward some of PR firms for firearm manufactures are. I was recently told by one PR firm, after requesting some info, that because I was not a “writer” they would give me access to press releases.

  • http://kaiservontexas.blogspot.com/ Jennersen

    Bakelite magazines take the cold. I believe they are thermoldplastics? I know they are not metal, but I do not know what plastic they are made out of specifically. I would not make a statement saying plastics cannot handle x, y, or z. MagPul PMAGs may not stand up to it to well, but then again a PMAG is not a Soviet/Russian Bakelite, which is one of the reasons some AK fans do not think MagPul will ever make AK-47/74 magazines.

  • Stan

    I’m pretty sure if I were to drop a steel AK mag feedlips first onto the ground it’d be just fine, might damage the concrete though.

  • subase

    Eh nothing is perfect, obviously Magpuls polymers are inferior to Russian and European polymers.

    That just means you use Magpuls in the desert and Aluminum mags in the cold.

    For military people though I would be more concerned with throwing away magazines in an intense firefight, than dropping them accidentally on their feed lips onto concrete in minus 30 weather.

    Still pretty lame AR magazines are susceptible to this though.

  • subase

    To be honest I think it’s not so much the polymer but the design of the magazine with exposed feed lips. I can’t see any wonder material that would be able to sustain that type of specific shock on such a small but critical area under extremely cold conditions and not succumb to some type of deformation.

  • charles222

    Yeah, TBH your weapon is probably going to be frozen shut at such temperatures anyway after exposure for an extended period of time-we spent a single night at about 13,000 feet AGL in Afghanistan on my first deployment and in the morning all of the weapons (M4, M249, M14, M240) had ice formed in them.

    Kinda pointless if your mags work in that weather at that point.

  • SleepyDave

    You know, I think this is why I prefer old-school metal mags and magpulls made out of duct tape, paracord, and zipties. They’re pretty much disposable, they’re cheap to start off with, easy to repair, and if the magazine becomes failure prone or too damaged to function, I can always replace it with another one.

    Good on Magpul for becoming aware of this and doing something about it. I’m sure we’re all familiar with marketing and R&D departments whose response to a statement of damage is “well, don’t do whatever it is you did, stupid.”

  • C Roberts

    I have been telling people about P-Mags cracking in Afghanistan and the Magpul fans will slam anyone for even mentioning it saying it was a fluke or how great Magpul’s warrantee is. Doesn’t do much good when you are in the mountains in enemy territory.

  • http://TheFirearmBlog Big D.

    The pmags that i have are a very not worth the money. Three out of six have broken on me and not from abuse. The other three i sold at a gun show with a warning to the person just to let him know.

  • KAH

    Don’t get me wrong, Magpul Pmags are awesome magazines. Rarely do I get Failure to feed with them, but they do crack in Afghanistan. And unlike most, I have been there and had it happen to me. The reason why most believe it is because its happened on our patrols where we’d pull a mag out of our rig and our rounds would fall into our mag pouch.
    Some think its the extreme fluctuations of hot during the day and freezing at night. Regardless, when it’s freezing at night and you have a man who weighs 200+ with his full kit on going prone on his gear, shit’s gonna happen. there’s always that one little rock to hit it jussssttttt right.