Will The Real PMAG Please Stand Up

Take a look at the photo below. Which one is the real PMAG?

If you spotted an “OA-MAG” at a distance of a few yards, would you give it a second glance? Or would you walk past thinking it was a PMAG?

The magazine on the left in the top photo, and both magazines in the photo directly above are OA-MAG 30′s manufactured by German firm Oberland Arms. They look almost identical to a PMAG 30 Maglevel. Oberland clearly went to great lengths to make it imitate the Magpul original.

It really frustrates me to see a company so blatantly trying to make money by confusing customers with what is probably an inferior product (if it were a good product they would have spent time branding it and making it look unique).

When Glock sued the Austrian firm GSG over their Glock-style .22 pistol, I sided with GSG. I would never have mistaken a GSG pistol with a Glock. They looked different and also functioned different. If GSG had cloned a Glock frame, cloned its action,called it a GSG-LOCK and then added similar markings to the slide, I would have been just as angry with them as I am with Oberland Arms.

I asked Magpul if they plan on taking legal action. They responded by saying that they have no licensing agreement with BA, but that they said they don’t plan on taking legal action against them. My guess is that the court costs of fighting a legal battle overseas would be expensive. I have no doubt that if Oberland Arms ever establishes a legal presence in the USA, Magpul would be all over them in an instant!





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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  • There was another German company that had a license agreement to make “G-Mags” if I remember… the first photo looks like it may be that one.

    • josh

      How many cloned magpul mags do you see at gun shows. How do we know the real deal?

    • skullworks

      I believe you are referring to Cerberus GmbH; which is actually Oberland Defense now. Oberland Arms is the civilian side of the company and Oberland Defense is the LE/MIL side of the house.

  • Daniel

    Quote from the Oberland Arms Email-Newsletter in 2009:
    “Die Firma Magpul hat uns freundlicherweise gestattet dieses geniale Design zu verwenden – thanks Magpul!”

    Translation: “The company Magpul permittet us to use this ingenious design – thanks Magpul!”

    And by the way, we [AR15 owners in Europe] would buy original Magpul mags if we could but because of the ITAR regulations we can’t.

    Oberland Arms is definitely not trying to “confusing customers”. Everyone knows that these mags are mags “Made in Germany” with the Magpul design.

    Question: Why do companies in Germany produce Magpul clones, Surefire brake clones, AR15 handguards, etc.?
    Answer: ITAR

    So blame Obama and your state department not companies that produce what the customers want.

  • hs

    The magazines from Oberland were label G-Mag earlier. Afaik, OA has/had an agreement with Magpul – these magazines are only distributed in Europe. In my opinion this situation is caused by the stupid ITAR and state department regulations – I’d happily buy dozens of original American made products, but your government won’t let me. So I have to resort to copies or machine my own stuff.

    I don’t know which magazine is better in terms of quality – both run fine in my rifle. I own 2 G-Mags and 5 P-Mags.

    • Nadnerbus

      I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I am sorry for the stance my government has towards your rights as a firearm consumer. It is not how I would do things if it were up to me.

  • Soren

    G-mags have been on the market here in Europe for at least two years. They work and look exactly like P-mags which we, as Daniel pointed out, are not allowed to buy.
    As long as ITAR is being used as a tool to circumvent trade agreements, you will have products like this.
    G-mags are made a company called Cerberus.

  • Andrew

    The ITAR explanation could make sense – I tried to buy the Magpul Dynamics DVDs a while back, but even they couldn’t be exported. It’s a very silly law.

    So yeah – if they really do have permission from Magpul (which under the circumstances isn’t entirely implausible) I don’t see a problem with it. If they don’t, then they really are too close with the design.

    By the way, you folks in America – please do what you can to get ITAR modified. As it is, I’m half expecting GI Joe figures to be export-limited…

    • gose

      That’s bs. Of course the DVDs can be exported.
      However, a lot of US companies dont know squat about export laws, so instead of figuring things out they say that this and that cant be exported. Not the first time I’ve seen this.

      Yes, US export policies and regulations suck, they arent really much worse than those of many countries in Europe. Heck, a lot countries in the EU are even worse.

      Also, I’m guessing there are about the same # of ARs sold / day in the US as / year in Europe and I doubt that would be very different even if ARs were easier to export for the US? With the European market being so small, I doubt that too many US companies would bother even if the export regulations were different. The hassles with shipping and customer support arent worth a few $ extra in sales.

      • skullworks

        Actually, if Andrew is referring to the Magpul Dynamics Art of the Precision Rifle it starts with a few minutes of text explaining that the material presented in the video is ITAR restricted and cannot be exported without permission.

        This is probably because Accuracy 1st (Todd Hodnett’s company) performs military training for select units, and (per recent expansions of ITAR) even training falls under ITAR restrictions. Larry Vickers and a few other trainers have explained that they are no longer able to lecture/teach outside the U.S. without State Department approval – and even having foreign students attend their training seminars in the U.S. is complicated.

      • Gergely

        Hello,
        It is possible to import even
        firearms to EU. I’m Hungarian and a friend of mine has imported a Kris Super V directly from the States. Of course it.. took him 9-11 months to get it as a reult of buerockacy on both US and HUNGARIAN sides.
        I own an Oberland Arms M4. Pretty much satisfied with it. I think AR
        rifles are maybe the most beautiful rifles ever made. Thanks Mr. Stoner.
        OA mags. I have those. I did not care about their resemblance to Magpul I knew they are German made and that was enough. On OA’s webpage they are stating it that itnot licensed by Magpul and that they are distributing it in EU. Outside EU only with the rifle. http://www.oberlandarms.com/produkte-infos-mags–de-artnr=100-OA+MAG+30+Schuss+223+Rem+Magazine+Mags.html#produkte

  • Ben

    I agree with all of these posters. ITAR regulations are idiotic. They actually destroy the US firearms and accessories markets ability to make any money overseas. Why would the US government limit our ability to sell american made products around the globe? What moron puts trade sanctions *on themselves*?!

    We can’t sell magazines to sane allies like most of Europe but the government can sell a few F16s to countries like Pakistan. Yup, that makes complete sense.

    • PT

      “They actually destroy the US firearms and accessories markets ability to make any money overseas. Why would the US government limit our ability to sell american made products around the globe? ”

      Think about that for a second. This law is actually stopping US firearm companies from making money, and putting a lid on their growth. There is a certain segment of American society that sees this as a really good thing.

  • Thomas

    OA’s website states:
    “The OA-Mag is not a Magpul-Product, nor is it licensed by Magpul Ind. in any way or did Magpul Ind. provide any help and assistance in developing this magazine. The OA-Mag will only be distributed to civilian customers in Germany and Europe. Worldwide distribution is limited as an OEM product, only together with an Oberland Arms rifle”

    http://www.oberlandarms.com/produkte-infos-mags–de-artnr=100-OA+MAG+30+Schuss+223+Rem+Magazine+Mags.html#produkte

    Copying other companies’ products would be against the law in Germany, so I assume there must be an explanation for this.

  • Mike

    It’ll be a cold day in Hell before I do business with a company that does something like this.

    • Nadnerbus

      Looks like the Germans are monitoring your comments. Ok, who’s going to be the first one to Godwin this thing!

  • LJK

    I’m not going to comment on the actual issue here, but this is just silly logic:

    “It really frustrates me to see a company so blatantly trying to make money by confusing customers with what is probably an inferior product (if it were a good product they would have spent time branding it and making it look unique).”

    1. It is unique in Europe, since Magpul can’t export vast quantities of their magazines overseas (as many have pointed out)
    2. It’s not trying to confuse anyone since, again, Magpul stuff isn’t that common
    3. It is branded as an Oberland Arms magazine. And in case you don’t know, OA is regarded as one of the premier makers of AR-15 and AR-10 type rifles in Europe. It’s the JP Rifles of this continent.

    Bottom line is, I would bet money that it is anything but an inferior product.

  • Slim934

    “It really frustrates me to see a company so blatantly trying to make money by confusing customers with what is probably an inferior product (if it were a good product they would have spent time branding it and making it look unique).”

    Really Steve, really? You you post a story on how Oberland Arms is making HIGH-END rifles, and immediately following it you post a story saying (with no proof to back it up) that they are selling likely inferior magazines? Jeez louize a bit of due diligence goes a long way.

  • Lew

    When Magpul decide to open a facility outside of the US I’ll be glad to buy their magazines. Before that (or the sunset of ITAR) I will procure items from Oberland who are without a doubt an upstanding corporation.

    The strangest thing is that you can’t even buy back euro-surplus from the US. G3-magazines from Germany are on sale in the USA för 3 dollars but I can’t buy them myself nor can I have my local dealer buy a crate due to ITAR. Fix that, then we can talk about branding and copying.

  • chucky888

    ITAR is not just regulated by State Dept. Certain firearm accessory and parts are regulated by Commerce Dept. Which make sell American make product very difficult and more expensive.

    I got into some hassle with ITAR try to sent my friend a couple of CMMG .22 conversion kits. Export violation to Canada!

  • Jeff Smith

    Steve, Glock sued ISSC over their handguns. GSG was sued by H&K.

  • David/Sharpie

    I don’t know man, you seem to praise them for thier ARs, then condemn them for their mags?

    I would think if they made high quality rifles, they’d make high quality mags

    • Leonard

      They do. These GMAGs came with my OA-15 and work superbly well.

      • David/Sharpie

        That’s good, so yeah I think Steves comment about being inferior was unwarranted

  • Burkefett

    On the one hand, ITAR sucks and should be modified. But that does not excuse a company blatantly copying a product with only minor differences. I’d probably be a bit more accepting of the OA-Mag if the manufacturer had not taken great pains to make it look exactly like a PMAG. If they’re just copying, say, the internal geometry and the design of the follower, that’s one thing. But Oberland went to great lengths to make this magazine a PMAG in all but name.

    • David/Sharpie

      See comment above yours, I thought I replied to yours, guess not

  • David/Sharpie

    “Daniel wrote on April 05th, 2012 at 7:59 pm” “Die Firma Magpul hat uns freundlicherweise gestattet dieses geniale Design zu verwenden – thanks Magpul!”

    Translation: “The company Magpul permittet us to use this ingenious design – thanks Magpul!”

    The firearms Blog said “I asked Magpul if they plan on taking legal action. They responded by saying that they have no licensing agreement with BA, but that they said they don’t plan on taking legal action against them.”

    There may be no licencing agreement, but there may be a handshake agreement between them allowing OA to sell in Germany, but I think if OA started expanding to other countries, they would sue

  • ty

    Oh, it would be really terrible if dozens of firearms manufacturers made 1911 clones and had to compete on quality instead of looks…

    Oh, wait!

    • Vhyrus

      The massive and fundamental difference between a 1911 and a Pmag is that the patent on the 1911 design has expired, whereas the patent on the Pmag design has not.

      • AMX

        Exactly.
        And in case anyone’s wondering:
        Yes, there is a European patent on the PMAG

      • skullworks

        Also, when the U.S. Government adopted the 1911 they actually purchased (or reserved) the manufacturing rights for all government production, which meant that when they procured additional pistols dozens of manufacturers were able to produce the 1911 under government contract without ever having had the blue prints to begin with. This is still common practice for government contracts all over the world. Here’s a list of known manufacturers: http://www.sightm1911.com/1911Production.htm

  • the_swede

    It’s not competly true that original PMAGs can’t be obtained in Europe. At least here in Sweden they’re are sold and even cost less then the OA GMAGs.

    • Likvid

      Here (cze) we had pmags available for some time, but importing was so complicated, that once gmags appeared, no one wanted to bother with US import obstructions anymore and everyone simply switched to gmags, as importing stuff from another EU country is obviously much easier, even if still expensive (gmags are a bit cheaper than pmags were, but not that much).

  • Esh325

    A copy doesn’t always mean an inferior product. I won’t say it’s good or bad, but you should try one out before you pass judgment.

  • the_swede

    No doubt the GMAGs work very well.

    • Leonard

      Yes they do. I own 3 20-shot ones and one 30 shot one and neither had any problems ever.

  • Lance

    Well the same goes not just for Magpul or Oberman arms mags even the CAA Pmag like mag its good it makes competition for a quality and yet affordable mag for not just AR shooters but for solders who want lighter mags for there M-4 or M-16s same for cops and security personnel. I hope they make a $10 mag that’s works great and has PMAG features.

  • robert

    yet, the very next article says:

    “I recently heard about a German company called Oberland Arms who are manufacturing high-end AR-15 and AR-10 rifles “

  • jd

    Rich Fitzpatrick had said in public forum that he has no issues with the GMAG as they do not conflict with eachother’s markets. In fact he applauded them for copying his product to help European shooting enthusiasts. This is also why it’s not licensed as he did not even care to receive profit for it.

    • John

      Source?

  • jd
  • ThomasD

    “…if it were a good product they would have spent time branding it and making it look unique…”

    Why go to all that trouble an expense? Making it look unique would also mean proving to an unknowing public that it was of high fit and finish. Which leads to that major expense of branding known as advertising costs.

    So, tell me again why they would bother to re-invent the wheel, as opposed to selling a -presumably- equal product at a lower price.

    It’s called competition and it is GOOD.

    But hopefully, they don’t suck.

  • ThomasD

    One other thing. You could ‘guess’ that Magpul doesn’t want a fight over the design patent due to the expense, or you could ‘guess’ that they doubt the strength of that patent would stand up under the strain of a court case.

    Obtaining a design patent is as easy as filing, defending a design patent is not nearly so easy. Ask Gibson guitars.

  • Fura

    For your info,

    In 2009 I bought a G-MAG from CERBERUS-GMBH. Inmediately I realised that was a “P-MAG copycat” I reported that to MAGPUL, the answer was the same that today with OA-MAG.

    By chance….I think that P-MAG is made of a plastic called MACROLON, that stuff is trade marked by a GERMAN chemical company called BAYER…

    Think about this…

  • OA-Shooter

    I’m an German OA customer and bought a couple of these “copycat” mags together with my OA-15. They work excellent.

    OEM-arrangements are very common in other industries such as electronics.

    You can bet that the original design patent holder is making money by “licensing” his design to third part manufacturers in other places who can put their name on, manufacture it in their factory and and sell it as their home-brand.
    This avoids paiful export regulations. So by far this is not “copying” but another form of license agreement with mutual benefit for both parties.

    • 18D

      How is this a mutual benefit? Magpul has NO agreement with OA. Magpul gets nothing out of OA making a copycat mag. The OA mag CLEARLY isn’t a PMag, yet looks very similar. Therefore, it’s a pretty good bet that OA is counting on consumers not knowing the difference. That’s pretty shady business!

      • David/Sharpie

        If your state department would allow firearms and their accessories to be exported without significant cost I’m sure MagPul would have a market in Europe, but they don’t allow it so Magpul doesn’t have a market. Also, according to OA site, they have been allowed by magpul to sell these, it’s probably just a handshake agreement and not a true licencing agreement, OA is providing a product similar to magpul because magpul can’t, seems like good business to me.

  • Donw & Out in CA

    I thought Magpul made the EMAG (Export MAG) that was STANAG compatible for the SA80s and FAMASs and other European STANAG arms though. Wouldn’t the OA-MAG conflict with sales and markets or is the EMAG Mil/LEA only?

    • Calimero

      Making EMAGs technically compatible with non-AR STANAG magwells is one thing, probably a trivial one for polymer industry guys.

      Getting a State Dpt stamp on the paperwork to send them to non-LE/non-Military customers abroad is a completely different and much more complicated challenge.

      As I understand it, Magpul cannot license its technology to non-US makers without State Dept approval (as licensing is considered ‘exporting’).

      The whole problem here is ITAR. I assume it’s not that big of an issue for US firearms/accessories manufacturers, as the US market is very strong compared to our weak ass Euro market.

      I can understand export restrictions on sensitive technologies (satellites, inertial missile navigation systems & stuff) but on a frigging magazine ?

  • Mike Knox

    Wow, another long lost twins in the firearms realm..

  • Mike

    Has anyone seen the US Patent for the PMAG? I’ve looked, and can’t seem to find it. This argument over similar and look alike products is ridiculous.

    I like MagPul but it’s absurd to think or assume that another company couldn’t make a similar weapon accessory, that was durable, reliable, light weight, and looks cool at the same time…;-)

    Not to mention, many of their products are extremely difficult to obtain. I am a product creator and manufacturer. I own a patented product and would be pissed if someone illegally used my design. IF Magpul actually has patent protection then only the items in the patent should be the point of discussion here, not the aesthetics of the product.

    As end users, we should encourage innovation and those willing to spend their own money to make products we use more available. Every product should be judged on its quality, not whether it pisses you off that it looks and feels like a product someone else is producing as well.

    On a side note, where is Magpul? In my opinion they are not servicing the market very well. I know what it takes to manufacture a product like the PMAG. There is no excuse for not having their products more readily available.

  • skullworks

    Btw, the G-MAG with Cerberus GmbH markings (which are the most common one) is a copy of the first generation PMAG. So Magpul kept perfecting the PMAG whilst us poor Europeans had to settle for a first generation copy from Oberland/Cerberus. 😉

    I’ve been told that the new G-MAGs with Oberland Defence markings are copies of the latest version of the PMAG – though not of the yet-to-be released PMAG 30 M3.