[ Written by Nathan B ]
When I first saw the announcement of the MagPod, the thought that ran through my head was, “Oh great, another gimmick product for the AR that won’t really provide much benefit.” Recently, I got the chance to put that thought under fire, so to speak, as I was sent a prototype model of the MagPod to test.
The MagPod is a small, lightweight (about 1 oz) floorplate for the Magpul Pmag 30, with a small, overmolded foot on the bottom to be used as a stable platform for supporting the rifle in prone, or on cover in other shooting positions. It has a stippled texture on the sides of the foot, and the foot itself is hollow, so it can be utilized as a loop for pulling the magazine out of stubborn pouches.
Installation is caveman simple, no more complicated than disassembling and reassembling the magazine for cleaning or maintenance. Simply press in on the retainer plate, slide the existing floorplate off of the magazine (while taking care so that the spring does not go flying), and slide the MagPod on the bottom of the magazine until the retainer plate clicks into place.
The unit came to me after beta-testing by the folks at MagPod, and it was in pretty rough shape. The rubber sole of the foot was scuffed, but intact, and the rear of the unit, where it mates with the mag body was cracked, partially on one side, and completely broken off on the other. Despite this damage, it performed without failing in the time it was here for testing.
The magpod, especially in conjunction with my lightweight, uncompensated AR, eliminated virtually all vertical bounce of the barrel after the initial recoil impulse, making it much easier to get back on target and fire a follow up shot faster than using a magazine without a magpod on it.
On my shooting mate’s BattleComped Sig 556, weighed down by a set of Troy rails and the fact that it’s a Sig 556, the difference was much less pronounced, as there was nearly no muzzle rise to begin with, but the effect of the MagPod was still there, although only barely noticeable.
There were no issues with feeding (other than a round of Tula stuck in the chamber, unrelated to magazine function) when using the MagPod. Some people have voiced concerns about this aspect of using the magazine as a support, even before the MagPod was announced. Personally, I slam and dig my mags into the surface when I’m shooting prone or from a table, and have only had feed errors with old worn out mags. Those get marked with a big ‘T’ and tossed into a range bag, only used when I really need them, or if I want to practice malfunction clearing. My batch of regular use mags get rested on all the time and feed flawlessly, and the Pmag I used to test this product performed no differently than it ever has.
An interesting side-effect of the MagPod was that it allowed my rifle, which is balanced right at the magwell, to stand free on the magazine floorplate, with no external support, which was a plus when I was snapping photos.
My concerns about the product mostly came from the cracks at the rear of it. This prototype had been used and abused before I got my hands on it and the folks over at MagPod tell me that a different polymer is being chosen to make it stronger and less prone to cracking. Another change for the next prototype being considered is overmolding the entire foot area, much like an MOE+ grip.
I’ve also heard concerns that this product will not be useful outside of a flat range, shooting at targets level to you. The MagPod is designed with a slight forward bias, so that it can be loaded like a traditional bipod, and allows the shooter to elevate and depress the barrel more than what might be expected.
MSRP is estimated to be $21 for a 3-pack, the folks over at MagPod are working hard on the next version of the prototype, and launch of the product is expected in October 2012 at the earliest. At only $2 per unit more than Magpul’s Ranger Plate, I expect the final version of this product to be an good addition to the Pmag, especially for lightweight rifles, or rifles which muzzle rise is more pronounced than normal, and where the added weight and bulk of a traditional bipod is unwanted or impossible to mount.