Making AK-47 Magazines – Matra in Bosnia

Its incredible to see the differences between the construction of the AR-15 and the AK-47. The AR relies on extensive use of forgings, extrusions, and machining (like those seen in 2A’s video). On the other hand, the AK uses as little of that as possible, using stamping wherever possible.

The same can be said for modern magazines. Injection-molded high-fiber polymers rule the day versus the AK which continues to sport stamped magazines (yes, there are injection-molded polymer magazines, but they come at higher cost and typically at the cost of some durability/reliability.

Matra Group, a company out of Bosnia and Herzgovina, has released a video showcasing just about the entirety of manufacturing AK magazines. Using sheet metal, stampings, and basic welds, the magazines come together quickly and easily with only the most basic of milling requirements.

Interestingly, there is some real hand-work involved making the magazine where I would have expected some automation. All the welds on the magazine are placed by hand (though nothing to the extend of Holland and Holland.)

For those interested in magazines made by the Matra Group, they are available in the United States from Gibbs Rifle Company. Gibbs offers them for wholesale or retail customers can pick them up from Old Western Scrounger at $11.95 per magazine. The magazines come with an “unlimited 5-year warranty.”

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Zugunder

    „Injection-molded high-fiber polymers rule the day”„but they come at higher cost and typically at the cost of some durability/reliability.” what does „rule the day” means here? My English suck, and i’m confused

    • Anton Gray Basson

      It means they are more popular with users and manufacturers than traditional steel magazines.

      • Zugunder

        ah, got it, thanks! I thought it meant to say that polimer mags are superior to steel ones, but was confused when autor pointed out to its disadvantages rather than advantages.

        • FarmerB

          That’s exactly what it does mean. They are much more popular BUT they have a few problems.

  • cons2p8ted

    Did they sub the springs out since I didn’t see them making it in-house?

    • Twilight sparkle

      That’s probably the one thing you can’t stamp on an Ak mag, they more than likely have somebody that can do it cheaper than they can

  • iksnilol

    I’m from Bosnia, nice to see my country mentioned in a positive manner. Yay!

    But seriously, they are AK mags. Like, it’s a chunk of steel which feeds your AK… and does double duty as a bunch of other things. Other than that it isn’t really special. Still, it’s nice.

    • Riot

      Mainly as a hammer

      • iksnilol

        Screwdriver too 🙂

        • Riot

          Brummie screwdriver

    • Ken

      It’s a bottle opener too.

    • M.M.D.C.

  • Nicholas Chen
  • ASterisk

    That was really cool. I wonder what they do with the scrap…seems like they were really carefully stacking it up after the pieces were cut out

    • Matti Peippo

      Thay carry scrap to recycling station. Carefully stacking means you can fit much more scrap into same scrap box. And same time while worker stacking scrap he also watching machine make everything as it should.

      But,,,none using safety glasses. Not even side of milling machine. Baaaad thing.

  • LT

    So is the point being made here that, while AKs eschew complicated manufacturing techniques, their magazines make up for the difference? Holy cow.

    • UCSPanther

      In general, metal stamped parts are quick, cheap and easy to produce, but you need an extensive array of punches and dies for the various processes required to produce the parts.

      Setting up the tooling is not cheap.

      • Giolli Joker

        Injection molded polymers are actually obtained from a much cheaper process… tooling and proper process set up are very expensive.

        • Rick5555

          Polymer molds are not cheap. And when mass producing. You’re not going to get just a few molds. A mold for a magazine cost in the area of $20k to $25k. Then you have to have the injection machines. And not all polymers are equal when it comes to quality. A high quality polymer is a lot more than low grade. Some companies will reuse the polymer chips or shavings after an item was made. By using those shavings, chips you end up with a crappy item. And good manufactures know this. Hence, they purchase more of the product.

          • Giolli Joker

            That is what I meant with expensive tooling and set up… to put it in business terms: high fixed costs with low unit cost.

  • Bal256

    **$18.95 for 1 magazine with price breaks for higher quantity purchases down to $11.11 per magazine at 9+ magazines

  • Mike Price

    They need to go back to the smooth back style AK mags if any of you manufactures are reading this. I hate the rib back mags. Cut into your hand when using them. None of them are worth more than $5 for stamped out metal mag.

  • Twilight sparkle

    I feel like I’ve seen this here before?

  • Rick5555

    Metal magazines are much cheaper to generate. Than a polymer mag. A mold for polymer is probably $25k for an AR/AK magazine. And automation is not cheap initially, due to the purchase of an expensive machine(s).

  • Rick5555

    I don’t know how people can do that for a living. Doing the same thing over and over. For 8 hours, 5-6 days per week. That would drive me to go brain dead. I understand people need to make a living. However, I have to engage my brain.

    • L O

      I had an assembly line job making light fixtures, I did it for 4 yrs..When I quit and walked out the door for the last time, It felt like I just got out of prison.

  • L O

    I believe OSHA would be having a fit with regards to safety.