Transparent Glock Magazines by ETS

Elite glock mags 2

With the news of Magpul’s Glock magazines, the Elite Tactical Systems Group magazines got drowned out. ETS is making transparent polymer Glock Magazines. They are expected to be released in April and they are making different size magazines for 9mm.

tn_3 Mags Profile

 

Unlike the Magpul magazines, the ETS mags will be compatible with any aftermarket glock base plate, so you could use round extenders if you wanted.

Elite glock mags

The obvious benefit over the Magpul Glock mags is that the ETS mags are transparent thereby allowing you to count your rounds in the mag. The Magpul mags only have a hole for the 17th round in the Glock 17 compatible magazines. Why is counting your rounds important? Options. Not everyone shoots their pistols like everyone else. Some people dont care how many rounds are left in a magazine and will just go to a fresh one. That is one way to shoot. Another is a competitive aspect. IDPA and USPSA in particular. There are divisions that only allow 10 rds or less in a magazine. After a course of fire in USPSA, you may end up with rounds still in your magazines. It is much easier to top back up to 10 with the ETS magazine than the Magpul magazine. It is a preference and does not detract from either product.

One thing the Magpul Glock mags beats the ETS mags is in price. The ETS mags are estimated to be $20 MSRP.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Andrew

    Do they look cool? Sure.

    But would I trust them…after hearing Magpul and other polymer pioneers repeatedly say the reason their companies will never produce translucent magazines is because it’s brittle and cannot be made to be anywhere as durable as even the least durable opaque color? NOPE.

    • KestrelBike

      Not until Scotty comes up with Transparent Aluminum! “Hello, Computer!”

      • Tim U

        Shame that nearly 30 years after giving the formula to a man of the present, it still hasn’t come to market.

        • KestrelBike

          ^^^^ Only one other nerd in this forum lol

      • TechnoTriticale

        Transparent aluminum has been around forever – it’s called sapphire, and is too brittle, not to mention too expensive.

        In the present case, it would seem that using fiberglass reinforcement would maintain translucency, if not transparency, and amp up the durability.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Technically Aluminum Oxide, but you are mostly correct.

          • Don

            Don’t you mean “Aluminum Oxynitride”…

      • Phillip Cooper

        Actually, pretty certain this has been done, and is being used in armored windows.

    • Gordon J Davis Jr

      The translucent Lancer L5AWMs and L7AWMs seem to hold up well.

      • Ben

        Not to mention mags for HK G36, Sig 55x and Steyr AUG.

        (Although to play Devils advocate, these mag designs are all larger in every dimension than AR-15 mags, and rifle mags =/= pistol mags when it comes to stresses and geometry).

    • Nicholas Chen

      You seem a bit biased. Sig contracted Lancer to make their mags for their MPX. They are transparent. CZ Scorpion Evo 3 mags are transparent. Have not heard anything negative about either one.

      • Andrew

        First, auto glass is “transparent”…these mags, along with Lancer mags, Steyr mags, and others are “translucent.”

        Yes, Lancer and Steyr mags seem to hold up just fine, I’ll give you that, but the material is noticeably more brittle and will crack before a similarly constructed black polymer magazine will. And that’s not a fair comparison anyway, as Lancer and Steyr mags are MUCH darker – a lot closer to gray than clear…while these look *almost* transparent, which is what makes me question their durability.

        I’m not qualified to even attempt to explain the chemistry behind it, but there are plenty of online posts from longtime industry experts detailing the production process and how black is the strongest color due to there being no limits on what ingredients can be used, while certain ingredients have to be removed or substituted in order to achieve lighter colors.

        • Ethan

          Every decision has trade-offs. If the round visibility its not worth it to you, don’t buy it.

        • lonestarlizard

          You need to check your definitions. Transparent means one can see detail through the material. Translucent means one can see light transmitted through the material but not detailed images. We can see the rounds in these mags; they are transparent.

          • Andrew

            Transparent means it can be seen through CLEARLY and WITHOUT DISTORTION. Although these mags look a lot closer to transparent than anything else on the market, they’re not. As the last stock photo shows, they are translucent, because everything on the other side is most certainly distorted. The loaded rounds look a lot clearer because they’re pressed right up against the side of the mag. Hold the mag up to your eyes and try to read the head stamp of a round on the other side…bet you can’t.

            Thanks for the inaccurate English lesson though. BTW inaccurate means “not accurate.”

          • the ammo addict

            I don’t notice any distortion at all and I can even clearly see the extractor groove on the casings. Someone just can’t admit when they are wrong *cough* Andrew.

          • lonestarlizard

            From Oxford: ”
            ADJECTIVE
            adjective: transparent

            (of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen: “transparent blue water”
            I can distinctly see the rounds in the magazine.
            ADJECTIVE
            adjective: translucent
            (of a substance) allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semitransparent:

            Thanks for the inaccurate English lesson.

        • polyglock

          Black has nothing to do with being the strongest color, period.
          The strength has everything to do with the type of material being used ie ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon etc. The strength of a plastic material is determined by izod impact. Under each grade of material there are different izod impact strengths for multiple applications along with various tensile strengths.
          Do you know why Black is used? It is the cheapest color in polymerization. Plastics in its natural form is opaque / clear, and comes in various quality of grades ie Prime Virgin, Off Grade, Wide spec, Reprocessed, etc.
          When a color is added to plastics it must be in a color concentrate or liquid color, and once you get into any other color than Black it can be very expensive in price. That is why you see a lot of Black in Gun mfg. Black is used a lot in Off Grade, Wide Spec and Reprocessed materials to cover up the imperfections of the material/

    • Phillip Cooper

      Then how do they make canopies for fighter planes?

      • Andrew

        You have a Glock mag made out of fighter plane canopies? Cool! Can you make me a coffee mug out of army tank turrets?

        • Phillip Cooper

          It’s called “polycarbonate”, genius.

          • Andrew

            And what are polycarbonates? They’re thermoplastic polymers. Wait, what did I say? I said polymer. Polycarbonates are polymers, so…good try, Phil Nye the Science Guy.

          • Phillip Cooper

            My point is, if polymers (of several different stripes) can withstand frozen poultry launched at them at relatively great speed (granted, not Mach numbers, but a hell of a lot faster than any future McNugget has any business going), as well as vibration and frictional heating from atmospheric effect at higher speed in service, then holding a stack of 18 9mm rounds in a relatively low-stress environment (pistol/rifle lower receiver) is a non-issue.
            Are we ready to use polycarbonate barrels and uppers (weight issues aside), I’d probably say hell no. But then if you look at your history you’ll see there have been very unusual materials used to make cannon and firearms through history- highly questionable brass in the old flintlocks being one example that springs to mind.
            Given enough material and wall thickness, you can make a firearm out of anything. But that’s not the question here. I can’t see any sense in questioning the use of transparent plastic vs colored plastic “just because Magpul said they won’t make it”. Especially asa the market shows us several instances where it works just fine (Lancer, et al mentioned in the other comments in this story).

          • Phillip Cooper

            Additionally- I don’t see any problem with manufacturing a composite barrel- I’m thinking smoothbore, high-temp plastic with a carbon fiber overwrap. Pressure vessels are regularly being made out of this sort of tech- of course, they’re not subject to that sort of heat. I’m no materials scientist, but if there’s a high-temp capable plastic out there I don’t see any issues with this sort of service. That’s not my field, however, and I’m too busy working on my next certification in my field to chase down an answer on Google. Maybe someone will pipe up that knows plastics.

    • ETSgroup

      ETS AR mags can survive a drop fully loaded from 20 feet on the feedlips on concrete. The Magpul mags, yes even the gen 3, will crack from a 6 foot drop. Our material is many times tougher than typical glass reinforced plastics most mag makers use. It is literally the opposite of brittle.

      • spotr

        20 foot drop on the feed-lips? Nice!
        For me, the urge to stick to metal magazines has been because of the perception that “plastic is not going to hold up”. I think that the modern polymers have beaten that factor, but the mind-set is still there because I occasionally see broken plastic magazines. I suspect a lot of other people have similar perceptions.
        It’s probably going to take a lot to shake the “weak” plastic image. Perhaps a video demo of abuse on the magazines would be a good marketing tool.

      • gyrfalcon

        So you’re saying your magazines are elastic and malleable? 🙂

      • Joshua

        Would be interested to see a video of how your mags hold up in arctic -45F temps.

        Most super strong polymers fail in arctic temps. Magpuls Gen 3’s are tested down to -60.

        • ETSgroup

          That is a very good point. We have tested our AR15 mags down to -60 in a Thermatron. We dropped them from 6 feet fully loaded on the feedlips and they did not break. Our glock mags will be made out of the same material. One of the reasons we chose our material is because of it’s thermal stability. It won’t melt until over 700F (so no need to worry about storing mags fully loaded in hot places) and it doesn’t get too brittle in the extreme cold.

          • Joshua

            Any chance of a video? If you can have some video proof I may just have to buy some mags.

            Not saying I don’t believe you, I just prefer actual proof I can see.

          • ETSgroup

            I completely understand. We are actually working on a video that shows everything from high and low temp testing, to drop testing, to a 10,000lb truck running over it. We have a home made video on youtube showing a 20ft drop on concrete but a much better video is coming.

          • Phillip Cooper

            I’ll worry about Arctic temps when they apply in Charleston.
            Which, if you listen to the greenies, ought to be in about 3 months…
            I’m not gonna sweat it. (Hah… see what I did there? I kid… I am a kidder…) 😉

    • Vitsaus

      No one who would want this would use it hard enough to break it.

  • Nicks87

    No thanks, I can see the holes just fine and I trust MagPul’s quality over ETS.

    • Nicholas Chen

      You missed the crucial detail that the Magpul glock mags do not have holes, plural, but only just one hole.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Point being?

        Either I have no rounds or I have full rounds. The immediate action for none is pretty well understood. If I shoot some and want to tac reload that’s what I’ll do. The idea that ANYONE would teach a method where you pull the mag and look at the holes to see how many rounds you have or in this case, approximate how many you see is outright stupid.

        No one should do that. This is a stupid product filling a non-existent problem.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Sounds rather similar to what folks must have said about the first repeating firearms…

          • JumpIf NotZero

            ffs… Yes. Clear magazines which serve no function to someone actually trained to manipulate handguns are JUST LIKE the invention of repeating arms.

        • Nicholas Chen

          Your method of shooting is not how others shoot. My point was a competitor’s point of view. Some people have needs beyond your little world. If it is not for you then move along. But to assume no one would need to count rounds is narrow and small minded.

        • Tassiebush

          He mentioned in the article there are competitions where mag capacity is limited. Seems a good way to easily verify that the correct amount are in there. Also imagine a situation where you run out of full mags but have some partially loaded ones left. It gives you the option to pick the next fullest mag.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            “It gives you the option to pick the next fullest mag.”

            Range World Problems.

          • Tassiebush

            Haha hear me out Mr Sceptic. It could actually have a benefit for fighting use too if things were going badly and you’d changed mags to top things off a few times. Admittedly that’d probably be rare though.

          • Tassiebush

            What I like more than anything is it’s just plain interesting seeing how the rounds are placed in the mag especially where they transition from double to single stack up towards the feed lips.

          • Hardwood83

            Thanks for taking time out of your busy gun-fighting schedule to enlighten the rest of us.

          • zac

            You learn real quick which regulars on here are blowhards due to how frequently they are able preach their gospel throughout the day.

          • Ethan

            True that. He lives in a world where there are two kinds of people –
            1. People who are JumpIfNotZero, and
            2. People who need yelled at until they fall into category 1

        • Nicks87

          Thats correct. MagPuls theory, that you only need to know when the mag is full, is sound. In reality you should know which mags are full and which ones are partial by where they are stored on your person. If you are reaching for partial mags you’ve got bigger problems than knowing exactly how many rounds you have.

          • Ethan

            Which is why if like to know in advance if my I’m going to go to slide lock in 2 rounds from now or 11.

            The “you’ve got bigger problems” argument only affirms that if that were the case is want every advantage I could get – this is decidedly an advantage.

      • Nicks87

        I ment the holes in the glock factory mags but I will pick up a few of the magpul mags just to have for the range and storage. For training and concealed carry glock factory mags are a must.

  • Nicholas Chen

    I think tiu missed the point. Magpul Glock mags don’t have holes, plural. They have one single hole.

    • Andrew

      Nice guest ghost post, Chen.

      • Nicholas Chen

        I meant to reply. But it posted as a comment. So I tried to delete it and reply to Nicks87 comment.

        • Ethan

          Disqus: 1
          Nicholas Chen: 0

          It happens to the best of us. 😛

    • gyrfalcon

      If the magazine didn’t have a hole, loading ammunition could be difficult.

  • mosinman

    i think it’d be really neat if glocks had a window running down both sides of the grip so you could use mags like this and see how much ammo you have, similar to this ASP-9

    • Ethan

      That’s freaking brilliant! Someone needs to epoxy little lexan windows into a glock frame. That would be an AWESOME project.

    • ColaBox

      Ever forced to watch Romeo and Juliet in high school?

      • patrickiv

        Forced? That was one of DiCaprio’s best performances haha.

        • antiliberalcryptonite

          I know Shakespeare and I know Romeo, but who is DiCaprio?

          • Yellow Devil

            Some overblown actor with terrible accents that somehow keeps getting roles to play characters with accents.

        • DaveP.

          Sad but true.
          OTOH, it was one of the few R&J’s where the main characters were even close to the age Shakespear’s R&J were, instead of being thirtysomething or more; and John Leguzamo chewed scenery like a big ol’ dog as Tybalt.

        • ColaBox

          Id say it was his best, but I was forced too. Didn’t say I didn’t enjoy the move though. *sigh* if only one could randomly discharge their handgun in real life and not be arrested.

      • Tassiebush

        Haha flashbacks ensuing from your post! We even had that here in Tasmania back in the 90s!

  • MR

    Now who’s gonna come up with the transparent Glock frame/handgrip so we can use these to their full potential?

    • MR

      Misread Mosinman’s post to begin with, I guess that’s basically the same idea.
      Anyway, I picked up a couple of their AR mags, and they “feel” slightly more brittle than Magpuls, especially the dustcaps. But that may be more due to the design than the material. Haven’t had a chance to get them to the range, yet, that’s where the answers are.

    • Ethan

      YES!! Or at least a Lexan window molded into the frame.

      I would pay big money for that.

  • Bal256

    For what purpose? If it is inserted in the gun you cant count the rounds. If it is not in the gun the original mags already have view holes, and not only that, simply handling a loaded mag feels significantly heavier than an unloaded one. Window mags on rifles only make sense because you can actually see them while theyre loaded into the gun.

    • Ethan

      You can see it when loading and unloading and know at a glance from any angle whether the magazine is worth retaining. Speaking from lengthy experience, view holes are nearly worthless in combat or competition. To small to see quickly, far too slow to use. They are really only useful in an administrative capacity when first loading your magazines. Translucent mags can give you useful information while in combat.

      Beyond that it is visible in an extended capacity (33rnd mags, 17rnd in smaller frames, etc..)

  • Ethan

    I would totally buy a 33 rounder.

  • Phillip Cooper

    I’d love to see the Magpul Glock mags- the link in the article takes us to an extended mag on Cabela’s.

  • dan citizen

    Tactical operator types evrywhere need this so when they’re dual wielding their 10mm select fire glocks they can do round checks during parkour float time.

    • Yellow Devil

  • patrickiv

    Neat! Not a Glock owner but I’m glad we’re getting options for aftermarket mags.

  • NikonMikon

    No metal liner or feed lips :/

  • Nicholas Chen

    Less expensive and made in USA.

  • noguncontrol

    someone do a torture test!!

  • MrApple

    I’m more interesting in the Magpul Glock mag but will certainly give one of these a try.