CAA Tactical MAG17 and MAG20

CAA Tactical has developed a new range of AR-15 magazines. The MAG17 features a popup pin on the base plate that indicates if the magazine is full. This allows operators to easily feel which magazines in their mag pounces are full. The magazines also have a clear polymer window with round count indicator.

Also new is the MAG20, a 20 round magazine with the popup pin but no window or round count indicator.

[ Many thanks to John for emailing us the link. ]

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.


  • looks like a rethink of an magpul EMAG..

    meh, not feeling it

  • charles222

    …People are unsure of whether or not magazines in their racks are fully loaded?

    • Joe Schmoe

      When in middle of a firefight you might forget which magazine in your double-mag pouch was used and which was not. I can even show you dozens of videos from Afghanistan where you see soldiers pull out the magazines from their pouches to see which are loaded, thus wasting precious time during reloading.

      The IDF is right now trialing the CAA Mag Counter version for mass fielding.:

      • Charles222

        …dont put empty mags back in your pouches like a retard. Seriously. Those either a) get ditched and replaced when you go back to your patrol base, or b )put ANYWHERE ON YOU BESIDES YOUR MAGAZINE POUCHES. Sticking empty magazines back in your rack is both slow and setting yourself up for failure. Incredibly stupid idea.

      • Joe Schmoe

        You may be right, but when I was in the army (and still am in Reserves) we had no place to put empty magazines other than back into the pouches or into the space between your chest and vest.

        Here for example is a similar vest to the one I used, you tell me where the magazine should go?

        Of course, if the firefight was close range I would just let the magazine drop to the floor and not waste time returning it to the pouch for later use. Unfortunately when you are extended periods in the field you aren’t likely to get spare magazines as much as spare ammo containers, so you save the magazines if at all possible.

      • David/Sharpie

        Dump pouch, gas mask bag, down your shirt, in a cargo pocket.

        All of those would keep at least a few empties.

      • Joe Schmoe

        @ David –

        Dump pouch – If I was issued one I would’ve used it.
        Gas mask bag – filled with gas mask
        Down your shirt – Covered in when I mentioned underneath the vest
        Cargo Pocket – Yes, but it is usually filled with maps and some of my other sniper equipment.

        The dump pouch is really the only way to go (other than the underneath vest) but unfortunately they aren’t issued enough.

      • David/Sharpie

        Can’t request an extra pouch for canteen or mask?

        Also, couldn’t you get “Gucci Kit” (Personally bought kit that matches your needs) and just buy your own?

      • Joe Schmoe

        OK, granted that I’ve gotten to the point of knickpicking and most of your points are very valid.

        While your points are probably on the money for the American military, many other armed forces soldiers are not issued and can’t afford their own gear. When I was in the army I was making around $185 a month that was spent on cigs, food, phone, etc. I already shelled out what I could spare for eye protection, gloves and other equipment, getting a drop pouch (which I was never issued) was low on my list of priorities.

        Though I should have thought about digging up a spare gas mask bag, I’ll keep this in mind for the future; thanks!

      • David/Sharpie

        Yeah, as far as I know, soldiers don’t make all that much, and aren’t issued the highest quality gear.

        Haha no problem

      • Matt G.

        And what a out half empty mags you kept during tactical reloads charles?

      • David/Sharpie

        Matt: Whatever you’re using as a dump pouch.

        I was taught by my firearms instructor to never put anything other than full mags into a mag pouch, if you do a tac reload, dump it until you can consolidate

      • Riceball

        Back when I was in the Reserves we were always taught to keep our mags although during rifle qual we were allowed to put empties down our blouses but that only works on the range since in the field we would have had our flaks on and there was no way of putting a mag down it very quickly or easily. When we had to put empty mags back in our pouches we had a very simple way of telling an empty from a full, you put the full mags in right side up and the empty the upside down; you feel or see a round you know you have a full mag if you see or feel a mag plate you have an empty.

      • David/Sharpie

        IMHO I think the opposite would be better, full mags floorplate UP, if I ever used the kit soldiers did (Chest rig/tac vest etc) I’d use the reload technique used in CoD, seems pretty easy and fast, at least to the untrained me (The grabbing the bottom of mag under floorplate and inserting that way, admittedly my only “experience” with speed loading anything other than a Glock, what do you expect? I’m 19, almost 20 and I don’t own an AR, yet)

        If you feel follower it’s empty, floorplate, full

        I’d probably practice other ways as well

  • 032125

    This is going to make me sound like an elitist jerk, but anyone who shoots regularly ought to know if they need a top-off just by popping the current mag out and giving it a wiggle. If it feels light or top-heavy, change it. Obviously not down to the exact round, but within five or six rounds, and close enough for Uncle Sugar’s social workers.

  • Corsair8X

    That’s a neat idea for the indicator, but wouldn’t it be better seen if they could incorporate it near the rear of the mag rather than the front? I’m thinking it would be a more accessible view.

  • Lance

    CAA making a knock off of a PMAG depend if its cheap and functions OK than its worth it PMAGs are over rated and priced. But a cheap mag with all the good Pmag features may be worth it.

    • JM

      I suppose you purchase military surplus mags for $6 apiece less than a PMAG. Hope you’re good at fixing feed jams.

      • mosinman

        he must be a pro at fixing feed jams ;D
        but in all seriousness i think it’d be a good idea to have some nasty ragged out mags on hand to practice clearing those jams so when your using your good mags and it happens you’ll know what to do

  • Kyle

    I don’t load my mags with a full 30 rounds anyway to prevent malfunctions caused by spring wear so this would be useless. Neat idea though

    • JM

      Spring wear is caused by repetitive compression and expansion. Storing a full mag will not affect the spring.

      • Not The Same Kyle

        This is correct.

  • Nadnerbus

    I think Pmags are the gold standard of polymer mags right now, but if CAA can bring in a product that is 90% as good or better, and bring it down to the ten dollar price point or so, that would be great competition. The more options the better.

    • The problem is, I don’t think anyone can beat Magpul pricing, unless the stuff was made in china and then we wouldn’t want it.

  • Norm WAlker

    I would buy some of these in a heart beat they are really cool. I think this would be a nice addition to any kit.

  • Matt G.

    I like the indicator. The magpul one is too small. But I’ll be sticking with plays until CAA gets a better reputation.

  • Kyle

    @JM seems to me like being in country for 6 months and having your mags loaded constantly might pose a bit of risk to wearing out your mags, and unless you’re willing to spend your own money on pmags , the military issue isn’t exactly the greatest

    • David/Sharpie

      With modern mag springs, what wears them out is repeated use (Loading and unloading mags) NOT being constantly loaded.

      Many people do spend their own money to buy better mags than Mil. Issue

  • Some of you might want to take the advice of other people that might know something you do not. Yes, you can use a gas mask pouch for empties. Here is a pic of some Green Berets that use it for that very task. With that said, a proper mindset always stays the student…

    • Scroll down, second photo…

    • David/Sharpie

      That’s originally what were used as dump pouchs, other than stuffing the mags down your shirt

    • Geodkyt

      And if you look further down, you’ll see a wonderful Vietnam era photo of another improvisation that (AFAIK), Special Forces introduced:

      That SF Sergeant isn’t wearing a bunch of special “rigger-made” pouches — those are standard canteen pouches, being used as ammo pouches (works really well with M16 20-rounders).

  • Geodkyt

    Um, this may be “Old School” and all, but I was taught a simple solution. . .

    LOADED magazines go into your pouches floorplate up. ONLY fully loaded magazines.

    Anything less than fully loaded magazines go in floorplate down.

    Magazines have 550 cord loops on them. Extra carabiner mounted on web gear somewhere handy.

    Can be done by touch, without loss of time —

    Grab loop, and yank. Congratulations! You are now holding a FULLY loaded magazine! No questions.

    Looking to sort partials and empties, perhaps because that’s all you have left? If you feel a round, it’s a partial magazine. If you do not feel a round, it’s an empty.

    Trying to segregate an ejected magazine, and you don’t want it in your pouch right now, for whatever reason? Use the 550 cord loop to clip it on the spring loaded carabiner. Sure, two or more mags will clank together, but you’re in the middle of a firefight. . . it’s not real quiet right now. (However, please do something with the “dangle-mags” before you consolidate, reorganize, and move on out. {grin})

    We also used to use 20-rounders to distinguish ammo (straight tracer mags for small unit leaders, for target designation).

    I’m not opposed to round counter windows (especially the newer polymer mags, where it ISN’T a row of holes drilled in the mag to let sand in) — but I’d probably use some paint or something on the edge of the window to color code the range for instant evaluation (something like — 25+ green, 11-24 yellow, 1-10 red)

    • SleepyDave

      Okay, yes, but how the hell do you plan to sell plastic magazines to people? Never mind that magazines should be cheap and disposable (but not unreliable). Bend the feedlips on your STANAG? Fix it with your leatherman! Break the feedlips on your plastic mags? Buy a new mag! A lot of these muscle skills we’re teaching people seem increasingly silly. And some of them seem designed to justify buying a product.

    • Riceball

      That’s exactly what I was taught back when I was in during the ’90s, it was quick, simple, and effective. The best part about it was that it worked by both sight and touch.