Most of the time, we at TFB get to test products. Typically, they are evolutions on top of one another, with new features that push the envelope of accuracy, durability, usability, and/or aesthetics. I enjoy them, but is not often that we are asked to review a new idea or novel approach turned into product form.
The NeoMag is a new approach to retaining your every-day carry spare magazine. Designed to look like a common clip, the NeoMag stores a magazine close to the lip of your pocket via a strong rare-earth magnet. There is no retention on the clip other than the magnet.
Conventional thought is that magnets and firearms tend to not mix, often due to magnets being shocked, banged, and abused which is not conducive to retaining magnetism. While the NeoMag is not intended to be used on a firearm, it compensates with the use of neodymium, a rare-earth magnet that is common to speakers, hard-drives, and other shock-prone applications. In short, the magnet is not losing its magnetism and it will retain its coupling force under duress.
Outside of the magnetic retention, the NeoMag is a rather simplistic clip. Using a clip, magnet, two sheets of metal, and four screws, the entire clip weighs in under two ounces. Its about as low-profile as you can get for a magazine “pouch”.
The NeoMag is available in three sizes, based primarily off of Glock magazines:
- Small for .380
- Medium for 9mm/.40
- Large for .45 ACP
The “Medium” clip sent for review was a nearly perfect fit for the .40 magazines I carry on a daily basis and the 9mm used for competition. Using calipers, there was only about .05″ of difference between the magazine depth and the clip which made for a nearly rotation-free experience. Long story short, the magazine will not rock when in the clip.
The magnet itself starts to exert force on the magazine about a 1/2″ away with the magnetic force getting progressive stronger as the magazine gets closer. When attached to the clip, I estimate that it takes about 12-15 lbs of force to directly pull the magazine off the magnet, which encourages its primary design usage – a vertical stroke upwards from the clip, which only takes a few ounces of force to move.
Everything was as I would expect, but I have to counter the claim that it “never rusts.” While true, if the powder-coat stayed attached, powder-coat by its very nature is not ready to handle pockets and their contents (like keys, knives, flashlights, etc). In one corner the powder-coat chipped and corrosion is visible. NeoMag should finish the steel in a more permanent coating like Salt Bath Nitride or explore a tougher coating like Cerakote.
Using the NeoMag
For the purposes of the review, I used the NeoMag in my EDC for about three weeks, wearing it daily with my common EDC firearm, a Glock 23 carried IWB under a loose shirt. The NeoMag was in my left-front pocket with the magazine. Keys were typically in the pocket under the magazine (hooray deep 5.11 pockets!) or when wearing jeans, carried.
The titanium clip can be difficult to get over soft material due to its strength and I found that attempting to mount the NeoMag to the pocket with the magazine attached invariably meant the magazine was going to fall off into my pocket as I attempted to get the clip over the lip. Having learned better, the clip was slipped on first with the magazine mounted later without issue.
Wearing the NeoMag daily was a non-issue. It feels natural (or at least as natural as a boxy magazine can feel like), but what I appreciated most was the magazine was not in the bottom of the pocket, jumbling around. Being a heavier-set guy, it was nice to know I did not have to root around a pocket while sitting to get at the magazine in case it was needed.
Retention on a daily basis was good. The magazine never fell off or moved once and was always in the same position. Thank goodness I never had to use it for real, but at the range it was easy to draw the magazine from the pocket (due to the lips of the magazine on the Glock). The wings of the NeoMag kept the draw stroke straight and the limited linear resistance of the magnet was smooth.
Despite the NeoMag’s definitive positives, I did come across some real quirks of the system. Stainless steel and non-magnetically based magazines will not be retained. So M&P users will be disappointed with stock magazines. That eliminates most Beretta carriers too as Mec-Gar typically uses a stainless in its magazine construction.
I also ran into an issue when I went to use the NeoMag when carrying in deep-cover, like going to work. The placement of the top of the magazine is right at the lip of the pocket so with Glocks, it was very easy to see that I was carrying, especially if someone recognizes a common logo. Those carrying non-descript base plates or single-stacks will find it easier to hide in plain site. After two days of trying to carry publicly with the base plate and being recognized for carrying twice, I called it quits and only carried with an un-tucked shirt. (Note- I did not attempt to carry in deep-cover using a single-stack magazine, so cannot comment on if I was discovered. I do not own a single-stack easily concealable firearm).
As such, I would like to see the clip longer. That would allow me to carry a double-stack magazine easily if the magazine set a bit lower relative to the lip of the pocket and some could fold over the magazine. I don’t see any issues with entanglement during the draw if the depth is set right and would have experimented with the NeoMag, but the clip is screwed right at the end of the plate, so there is no way to move it. A longer plate with various screw depths would be a welcome addition.
This would be especially fantastic for usage in 5.11 or similar “tactical” pants with specifically built-magazine pockets that are all-to-often too deep. Being able to carry there without having to “fish” for the magazine would add considerable value to the NeoMag.
Finally, considering the speed by which I was able to access a magazine, I wanted to see how it would handle competition. Unfortunately, the clip could not handle a solidly thick belt easily like my duty belt used to carry my comp rig. After finagling it on, the NeoMag did exactly what it should have done. Run in a single stage (that’s the only reload I needed last match), the draw was nice and smooth and the magazine did not fall off in the prone. To me, the immediate future of this technology would not be concealed carry, but competition. The longer clip would be welcome, but a compatible mount for the ELS/QLS or even duty belt system with variable angles is an absolute must.
- Securely retains the magazine
- The “medium” size which I was sent is a perfect fit for both 9mm and .40 magazines.
- The wings on either side retain the magazine nicely and force the user to slide it up vertically in a perfect draw stroke.
- Black powder-coated finish started chipping off in the few weeks used during testing.
- This needs to be Anodized & Nitride Finished for maximum durability/longevity. For $44.95, I expect better finishes, especially knowing they are inexpensive for these size parts.
- Does not work with non-magnetic metals. Sorry M&P shooters!
- Fantastic idea, especially for competition, but the clip is too small to fit over most competition belts. I tried it during one run, and it worked well.
- PLEASE MAKE ONE OF THESE FOR COMPETITION!
- $44.95 is high, but rare-earths are not cheap.
He’res my take on this. Its a great first-run idea and a fantastic proof of concept. Considering it was designed for concealed carry, it does not conceal the magazine to my deep-cover comfort level, but works well for casual un-tucked dress. The base plate, especially for Glocks, is obvious (although for single-stack magazines, its pretty good, but not fantastic).
I firmly believe magnets and their style of retention are very much in the general shooting future and this product has some real legs on it. For this product, my recommendation is to consider how you carry and what you are carrying. Obvious double-stack magazines while attempting deep-cover is not easy, but those shooting single-stack or having an untucked shirt that covers your pockets, its a boon to efficiency.
For those looking at the bottom-dollar, at $44.99 NeoMag will not be attractive, in fact some will contend its a gimmick. For those looking ahead, and with the right carry combination that can take advantage of the magnet, this will be step forward.