Why I Don’t Use PMAGs

The Magpul PMAG is a great, well designed magazine that many people like and use in various rifles around the world, but over the years I have discovered that they are not the best option for me personally. It isn’t that they are bad (in fact they feed and run very well in certain firearms) but in my years of shooting I have simply found that other products may better suit a myriad of shooters.

Transcript …

– Hey, everyone. It’s Alex C. with TFBTV.

I get asked a lot why, in almost all of my reviews or videos, I use good old-fashioned U.S. GI steel magazines in lieu of Magpul PMAGs, a popular alternative that most shooters these days are familiar with.

Well, there are several reasons for this.

First and foremost, I will readily acknowledge that PMAGs are a great magazine.

They are reliable, well-constructed, and produced by a company that has a great reputation.

That said, there is a reason that there are generations of these magazines.

New firearms are designed around common Colt-pattern mags, and Magpul has to keep accommodating new designs with generational changes, or new offerings altogether, like they did with the EMAG.

Problems I have run into in the past include, firstly, that they won’t drop free in a lot of firearms.

I like the idea that I can accomplish a speedy reload by pressing a button and kicking a magazine out.

This is not the case with PMAGs in many platforms.

Seen here is a few examples of when a PMAG has to be manually removed: a problem that isn’t present most of the time with plain old aluminum magazines.

Next up is damage to the SCAR.

Using PMAGs can actually do irreparable damage to an FN SCAR rifle.

The mags cause the bolt catch to rise ever so slightly and drag on the bolt lugs, which results in significant damage over time.

I realized you can fix this by filing or dremeling off some material on the rear of the mag body, or by using whatever generation of magazine they implemented to fix this, or you could just arrive at my next point and save four or five dollars more by purchasing a GI mag.

New production Colt-pattern U.S. GI mags are four to five dollars cheaper than generation three PMAGs.

I personally don’t see why I would spend an extra five bucks for magazines that won’t drop free in all my guns, may or may not be compatible with new and upcoming guns, and my next point: won’t fit in all my guns.

PMAGs are pretty notorious for not wanting to work in various platforms, including guns like the HK-416 and M27-IAR.

Note here that this PMAG will not insert into this civilian version of the HK-416, due to the odd body geometry.

Also, PMAGs had trouble fitting in firearms like the British SA-80/L-85, and will not fit in the FN FS-2000 without the user modifying the weapon by removing a component that serves to seal the weapon from dirt and debris.

To my knowledge, no PMAGs will work in the FS-2000 to this day without modification.

Lastly, not only are PMAGs more expensive than the alternative, but also heavier.

While the weight difference may not seem like much to a civilian shooter who packs up his shiny, clean competition rifle into his Pelican case and totes it to and from the range in the family truckster, you hear about things like guys cutting toothbrushes in half to save weight in the military.

Like you hear military folk say, “Ounces equal pounds.” And in the case of the PMAG, a full loadout saves the user a bit of weight.

Not a back-breaking amount, mind you, but not insignificant.

So, for people who only have AR-15s and only shoot AR-15s, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and just assume that PMAGs are the greatest, and the end-all, be-all answer for all shooters, while overlooking the needs of other people.

I liken this to a person who lives in an urban area with an office job, assuming that nobody needs anything more than a Toyota Camry, while overlooking the fact that some people need things such as towing capacity, off-road capability, or more seats for a larger family.

We are all guilty of doing this, in one way or another.

But with firearms, there really is seldom a “one size fits all” option for, well, anything.

Magazines are no different.

Because of the cost difference, weight, compatibility issues, and not dropping free in many platforms, I’ll stick with what I know works.

Of course, this is just my opinion, based on my personal experiences, and your mileage may vary.

Again, though, I would like to recognize that PMAGs are a quality product and Magpul is very receptive to user feedback.

This is Alex C. With TFB TV.

Special thanks to Ventura Munitions for helping us out with the cost of ammo, and a special thank you to you all for watching.

We hope to see you next time.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Said steel instead of aluminum at the beginning. Of course these are only things you notice after the video goes live.

    • TVOrZ6dw

      Yup, caught that. I own 1 steel 20rd mag and it’s the least reliable magazine I own.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Who made it?

        • TVOrZ6dw

          I don’t remember who made the mag, and I have all my ‘scary’ black rifle stuff in storage while I’m out in Chicago on a job. I do remember that the follower was very hard to push down compared to any other AR mag I’ve ever used.

          • Cymond

            I have one steel 30 round mag by _____ that came with a metal follower and proprietary spring. I had to buy a Wolff spring just to install a Magpul follower.

    • Gary Kirk

      I have 2 steel 30 rounders, both English manufactured?? SA80 I guess.. Neither would work at first, had to file the feed lips to clear the bottom of the bolt carrier. Other than that I have all G.I. aluminums and they work fine. Various manufacturers, but mostly Okay industries which are USGI with the NSN on the plastic wrapping. Make sure they have the later model followers, and gtg

      • Sam

        I have two 30rnd HK steel mags. Never had any problems with them, but they are noticeable heavier. I’ve heard their springs wear out considerably faster, though, than GI-spec aluminum mags.

        I also have a Sig 716, and it came with a few steel DPMS 7.62 ProMags. Feed lips bent on one, and no matter how many times I’d try to reform it with pliers, it’s bend back out of shape upon first use. Ended up destroying it by shooting it about 10 times πŸ˜€

  • Lloyd

    I did not know that about PMAGs. What is the draw for the customer if they’re more expensive and heavier, as well?

    • They are very durable and run well in most rifles.

      • Rick O’Shay

        Not to mention they’re often easier to find in brick-and-mortar stores like Cabelas, Academy, and Bass Pro. I’m a lazy shopper, which is why almost all of my magazines are PMAGs.

        • K-Gunner

          PMags are well made, priced attractively (if you pay more than $10 each you didn’t shop around), look cool (admit it, that is a factor for most things), some come with a dust cover, and they are marketed very well. I’ve got a mix of both PMags and GI mags with my PMags working in all of my AR rifles.
          I’ve heard some critics say that the PMag feed lips don’t hold up and the Gen1 versions melting with prolonged use. I don’t have the pleasure of owning a full auto AR so I’m not too worried. I also believe that having as many magazines as possible is a good thing and PMags are priced where I can have a good number of them, possibly for another stupid ban to come down on us.

          • Justin Beard

            No worries, you won’t have any issues with your feed lips or with melting.

  • Roy G Bunting

    The PMAG is probably the best choice for 10 round magazines. No argument with LE about capacity, reliable, comfortable (having cut my fingers on a metal 10 round mag) and almost always cheaper then any other 10 round magazine.

    That GI option isn’t available to millions of people in states that restrict magazines of greater then 10 rounds.

    • TVOrZ6dw

      That is an excellent point.
      I never had a problem with GI mags when I was on active duty, and I’ve not had a problem with PMAGs in my 1 AR platform rifle I own.

    • Valid point on the ten rounders for sure. Very solid offering for folks in ban states or people wanting a near flush-fit mag.

    • Don

      Try the Lancer 10 rounder and your opinion will change. I think Lancer got it perfect with their design. They’re not as bulky as the PMAGs and they are a hybrid so they have the best of both worlds.

      • LG

        The Lancers also are the best choice for 458 SOCOM.

        • RCOH

          I see he is using the older Gen Magpul mags. He should try to use the current gen mags and see what works and doesn’t.

      • Steve Skubinna

        I use Lancer 10 round mags in my 556 DMR, because that rifle almost always is fired from a bipod.

  • Creepermoss

    IDK about the rest of you, but my mag release happens to be right where I can grab a mag while I’m pushing the release. The tug to remove one is no slower than letting it drop free. Most of these sound like training issues, rather than equipment issues.

    • I dont think training will help make them cheaper or fit properly in guns that Magpul says they wont fit in.

      • Darkpr0

        You just need to insert it more tactically :}

        • JumpIf NotZero

          With a tactical happy tapper.

      • iksnilol

        Ah, Comrade Alexey, you have yet to learn the ways of the glorious dremel of motherland.

      • Joshua

        Well they make a 3rd gen that fixes this.

    • Kevin Harron

      LOL, I read that and heard your voice creep. πŸ˜›

  • Lt M

    Re: functionality in HK416 and SA80
    The EMAG is designed as a strictly STANAG 4179-compliant magazine, meaning it will work in virtually rifle that a GI mag will. Also, the Gen 3 PMAGs fixed the issues with the HK416 and function fine.

    • iksnilol

      Yeah, but the Emag isn’t a Pmag.

      • Joshua


    • Ron

      4179 was a draft and never ratified.

      • Lt M

        Yet many, many modern firearms are designed to take the M16/USGI/’STANAG’ magazine, and quite a lot of those follow 4179 for the magwells.

        • Ron

          Very well could be, but there is no STANAG for magazines. Everyone just decided to make them close to what we use since we are the major partner in NATO and often provide gear to our poorer cousins in war zones.

  • Big Daddy

    Use the mag that works best in your rifle. In all my ARs the PMAG works fine including 40 rounders. I do have one tight Noveske lower I use but the mags will fall out easily, that’s why I do the little flip thing. I hit the mag release and flip the rifle in my work space over a little for a reload all in one motion. I never had an issue with one even with .300 blackout ammo. Other than the PMAG I use Lancers which I like better actually and GI mags with Magpul followers and pads. I do want to try the DD 32 rounders and the Magpul 60 round drum. It all boils down to the same equation, use what works.

    • Don

      I picked up two of the DD32’s at the NRA meeting in Louisville. I have been trying them out in all my AR’s and they work great so far with no issues.

      • Big Daddy

        Thanks, good info. I am maybe putting together another .300 blackout I sold off the other barrel. So I am looking for an AR magazine that works well with the .300 but looks different than the regular AR mags. It’s fairly easy to mix it up and shoot the wrong ammo in the gun. Maybe the DD mags are the way to go so there is never any confusion. Although I may just use my Lancer mags.

        • Don

          I love the Lancer mags. I have been slowly migrating to mostly Lancer mags myself, but I still have and use a bunch of PMAG’s. I am using the Lancers in my .458 Socom, my 300 BO and my .223 Wylde three gunner. I like them for the fact that they aren’t as bulky as the PMAG’s. That and they are a hybrid, the best of both the metal mags and the poly mags. A win win in my book πŸ™‚

  • Vitsaus

    You just cyber bullied a whole bunch of mall ninjas.

    • The world

      it’s ok, Alex C is the king of mall ninjas.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Yeah, but there’s a deadly rivalry between the hipster mall ninjas and the booger-eater mall ninjas.

      • Alex is the least mall-ninja’ish person I know!

        • The world

          mall ninja
          A term used in forums to mean an unexperienced and enthusiastic weapon(usually a firearm)owner who pretends to be a seasoned operator.

          Couldn’t find a definition for hipster mall ninja though…

          • Don

            It’s geek speak for people who think they are better than others. The term sounds just as childish when used by adults.

          • I dont think I have ever fronted myself as a “seasoned operator”. I’m a 27 year old redneck with a camera who thinks the Mauser 98 is the greatest gun ever made.

          • Gecko9mm

            Alex, you seem like a switched on guy. You can always roll with my quick reaction force at, well, don’t want to drop any hints, but one of the largest retail complexes this side of the Missouri. We can talk about SBR’s because it’s too difficult to dismount from our pursuit Segways with anything longer than a 10.5-inch Mk 18.

          • SirOliverHumperdink

            Your profile pic screams ‘redneck’- at a Princeton debate club meeting.

          • David G

            Truth ^^!! Haha. I do love Alex’s videos more than almost any other out there though!

          • NDS

            Not sure about any of this other business but the Mauser 98 is indeed an incredible rifle

          • Billy Jack

            Redneck is murican for ninja
            (I’d wear that on a shirt)

          • Redneck is ‘Murican for drunken moron.
            At your service.

          • Billy Jack

            If you were really a Redneck you would know that being a drunk moron and a ninja aren’t mutually exclusive. Rednecks do their best ninjaing when they are drunk. Ninjaing is like kung fu.

          • iksnilol

            Well, I’m kinda sober and kinda moron. Does that mean I am kinda redneck?

          • Jtompson

            So you admit to both being a drunk and being a moron?

          • Well I’m not drunk at the moment.

          • Jthompson

            Just a moron then?

          • Absolutely, until 5:00 tomorrow.

          • AirborneSoldier

            Alex, never run yourself down. Others will happily do it for you. Screw them, you have more practical knowledge than those who write snide bs here. Keep moving forward kid.

          • jcitizen

            Nothing wrong with self deprecation – I find it refreshing for a change!

          • Core

            To me redneck is a proud albeit socioeconomic labeling term that I self designate with. The liberal school would say don’t use labels that stratify class status or are rooted in social or racial bigotry, but to me redneck pays homage to the many generations of my family who farmed the land and fought the manys wars since preRevolution. I’m a country boy, and I think redneck is a label I’m proud to associate myself with.

          • David G

            You are about as redneck as Trump is eloquent. However, I do appreciate your passion for firearms and excellence in high quality video production. You seem like a very quality guy.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah… more like Ivy League redneck.

          • Phil

            Well the Lee-Enfield #4 Mk 1* is the greatest rifle ever made… (and the fun debate starts!) But you are bang on about PMAGs!

  • hal

    Agree with the authors findings and conclusions. I dont get the Pmag craze, or why Magpul designed them in the first place, other than they can be molded in different colors, or that they can be run over by duce and a half. I have one new Pmag that was given to me by a guy that was throwing it away and the friction between it and the magwell of both my AR’s are excessive preventing a mag drop. One is a Colt SP-1 and the other is a DS Arms.

    • AJ187

      They might of designed them to make money. So you can’t drop a mag freely that your buddy gave to you because he was going to throw away anyway? Amazing!

    • Cal S.

      The Pmag ‘craze’ was mainly because they were the first ones to introduce the anti-tilt followers to the market, iirc. When I first started buying magazines in 2012, then they were the only ones available in large quantities in stores and I knew basically nothing about buying gun stuff online. Then my state went full ret*rd and now it’s pretty much impossible to get anything.

      • iksnilol

        And AKs never had an aftermarket magazine craze because we kinda had constant curve geometry and anti-tilt thingamajigs about 70 years ago.

        • Cal S.

          And yet I never really know how much of that was actually a problem? I mean, the military just got around to fixing that within the last decade (I think?) so how bad could it have been?

        • Joshua

          AK mags were designed to be retained.

          When Eugene Stoner designed the magazines for the AR he meant for them to be a one and done thing.

          However the Army being the Army decided to reuse them over and over. They just weren’t designed or that, it’s why theyre made of thin aluminum.

          • iksnilol

            True, I remember something about that. That was one of the reasons for the last shot bolt hold open. Wasn’t meant to retain mags, so might as well reload quickly.

  • LG

    OUTSTANDING. The emperor has no clothes!!!

  • Cal S.

    I was unaware of the cross-platform problems. Since I’m a cheapskate and don’t go for $1,500 guns, then ARs are the only modern semi-autos I have experience with. Makes sense. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. How can you get mad about that?

    • JumpIf NotZero

      All of my guns regardless of price happily take pmags… If I had a gun that didn’t – I’d sell that gun, not use metal mags.

  • AJ187

    Alums are retro cool, so no one is surprised you would like them.

  • 22winmag

    Without commenting on the authors points, Pmags are the best thing to ever happen to .308 ARs and Tapcos are the best thing to ever happen to AKs especially in 5.56.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Hell yes on Tacos. But not just for AK, I roll those with AR, AI, AUG, and AK mags. Nothing better.

      • iksnilol

        Are you really the JINZ I grew up with?

        I mean, I thought they called them crapcos for a reason?

        • Otm Shooter

          He read Taco, not Tapcos. 22winmag means magazines, jump means pouches.

          • iksnilol

            I am so confused right now.

            I’mma just evac out of this comment thread real sneaky beaky like.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Sure did

  • Evan

    Excellent points Alex. OIF/OEF vets I’ve talked to said that when things “were nasty” their combat load out was up to 20 mags per man, plus extra M249 belts spread around. The weight savings alone would be well worth it.

    That being said, LANCER mags are far superior to Magpul’s offerings, in all but price, in my humble opinion.

  • Otm Shooter

    So who wants to order a bunch of OKAY mags now??? *raises hand*

    • Gary Kirk

      Me too.. Okay industries makes great mags

    • derpmaster

      I like their 20s. They are $14, function flawlessly, are great off the bench, and have that retro look.

      • Otm Shooter

        44mag has them for 12.50, brother. Git em!

  • Justin Beard

    The PMAGs in the vid all look like gen 1 mags which were replaced by gen 2 ‘M-rev’ in 2009 (still in production as the GEN M2 MOE, and work flawlessly with any Colt-spec AR15.)
    The GEN M3 PMAGs are the latest generation and have been out for a few years now too. Along with an expanded feature set and compatibility, the GEN M3 models incorporate new material technology and manufacturing processes for enhanced strength, durability, and reliability. They also have modified internal and external geometry to permit operation with a range of additional weapons such as the HK 416/MR556A1/M27 IAR, British SA-80, FN SCAR MK 16/16S, and others.
    Give the GEN M3 a try, I’m sure they will solve all your issues (with the exception of the FS200- not much of anything works well in that platform other than USGI…)

    • Gary Kirk

      Yep, magpul went to new inner/outer dimensions with the gen 3s.. Back to stanag dims, and not their “improved” curve mags.. That indeed were only made for the AR magwell, Magpul has come a long way.. And here’s to everyone that wants to use them, but I’m still good with my USGIs..

      • Justin Beard

        Actually, the constant-curvature internal geometry stayed the same. Also, all PMAG generations were within the Colt magwell spec range, but the GEN M3 are on the smaller end of the tolerance and so tend to drop free better with tighter magwells.

        • Gary Kirk

          The constant curvature stayed the same, they just moved it down slightly to reform the upper dimensions

    • Don

      They added those crummy tabs on the outside of the mags to keep dolts from shoving their mags too far up the magwell, this has caused fitment issues with a lot of the custom rifles out there.

      • Jon

        Custom rifle does not always equal quality!!!!

        • Don

          Easy now Jon, some of those custom AR’s are ones that I made and they are definitely quality firearms πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ But you are right, there are some bad custom AR’s out there that have lots of problems. It’s always fun watching people at the range trying to shoot new AR’s for the first time that they just finished putting together. They need to come out with a video/photo series called “Newbies and their AR’s”, make them like the “People of Wal-Mart” pics. It would make for hours of laughter πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • Lance

    I prefer GI mags like Alex C. But makes no sense to make one a must have or nothing else. I’ve seen mags of all types work. Even the IDF used orlites for years with success. Even old black follower mags work fine if you take care of them overall both GI and Pmags are just fine.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Something went wrong while trying to block this user. Please try again later.

      Damn. So close.

  • YZAS

    yeah, yeah… chalk me up in the ‘suburban with an office job category’. Not a FS200 fan, HK thinks I suck and they hate me and I’m not gonna drop the coin on a SCAR anytime soon. So I’m fine with my Pmags. ….having said that, I of course also keep a small cache of GI mags just in case πŸ˜‰

  • Lawbob

    You said steel mags, then aluminum.

    Do you use aluminum GI mags, or FN steel

    • J Garcia Sampedro

      H&K and CETME L mags are steel, too.

      But I don’t recommend using the CETME ones in an AR pattern rifle without modifying them first. I don’t recommend using them AT ALL without modifying them first πŸ˜›

  • JumpIf NotZero

    How often do people call you a hipster? Because I have a feeling you’re a hipster.

    “The EVO is popular – i don’t like it” … “I carry an HK P7 because!” … “PMAGs… I only use raw vegan clips”

    I mean… it’s cool, if you want to be a hipster, go for it, but for identification purposes it would be nice if you had a bun or a gross mustache. Ya know? πŸ™‚

    • tb556

      I said they were crap before it was cool

    • Steve

      I really like Alex’s posts, but occasionally I feel like an article gets written that injects his personal opinion, then attempts to defend it by exaggerating [non-]issues. One thing to ask yourself before posting your opinion on something… “is there something really wrong with it, or do I just not like it because I just don’t like it?”

      Personally, I hate the SIG P226/228. It doesn’t fit my hand and I have difficulty reaching the controls well. There is nothing wrong with the pistol… I just don’t like it. I’m not going to make up reasons to try to make others think the same way.

      My opinion on the P226/228 is how I felt listening to Alex’s CZ Scorpion review, and to some extent, this PMAG article. I have owned an HK94 as well as a (less relevant) C93 (Century HK93 clone)… yes, the H&K platforms are *better* but at a cost of 5x or more than the CZ Scorpion… I would hope to hell they would be!

      I have fired a good deal of real-deal SMGs (at least a dozen) in both SA and burst/FA, and I will have to say the MP5, the Scorpion, and the Sterling are the ONLY three that didn’t sound like they were one round away from puking their entire operating system out the mag-well.

      The Scorpion is a solid platform, but if you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to buy it. At least CZ is plowing new ground in streamlining the process of getting SBRs into civilian hands… and despite what Alex said in the review, I’ve never spoken to a firearm manufacturer with as good of customer service as CZ. Ever.

      PMAGs are a mixed thing for me… 20 rd PMAGs have been horribly unreliable in my AR rifles, so I use USGI aluminum (generally for rifles I shoot off a bipod).

      Gen2 and Gen3 PMAGs and the Magpul AICS-pattern 5/6 rd and 10 rd mags have been top-notch, with absolutely zero complaints. I do have a *slight* preference for Lancer magazines due to the metal feed lips, but I would be completely happy with either one. USGI stuff is fine too!

      To bring this rant back to the beginning, I think your preference against PMAGs boils down to you – you have a considerably diverse collection of firearms. People reading probably have their own collection, but likely not as diverse in that they probably don’t have 10+ different platforms that are all designed around the NATO standard magazine.

      If you have a standard AR-pattern rifle, PMAGs are awesome. You can drop them without messing up the feed lips – that alone makes them superior to NATO magazines, in my opinion. For other rifles (SCAR, AUG, FS2000, etc.) I’d probably stick to the firearm specific magazine, as well. Even though they *may* accept the NATO-standard magazine, there are often benefits in using the manufacturers application-specific magazine, such as integral magazine clamps, polymer construction, or otherwise.

      • Well… Yeah. This is an opinion piece so of course it’s my opinion. I think I made that pretty clear and raised some legitimate points here about why the product in question isnt the best option for me personally.

      • plingr2

        You have lucky. In Czech Republic you must pay 1160 dollars for EVO and 1440 for MP5 clone (original HK sp5k cost 2600). I do not think that MP5 is cheap here, I think EVO is overpriced. Customer servise is not good to.

  • I notice that no one points out that ALL plastics pretty much degrade due to UV light even if they have inhibitors or stabilizers. This may not be an issue with those that go through mags like underwear but if you have to consider that you might get caught behind the enemy lines and your state becomes an occupied mag size limited state with only grandfathered normal cap magazines then you would be better off with something that does not get brittle from just UV light. Besides when its time to strap on the assless chaps, shave your head into a mohawk and raid the desert wastelands in your retro VW pipe abortion, do you want to rely on a magazine that could turn into dust on you at the wrong time?

    Full disclosure I have several first gen P-mags and they work just fine and are holding up well.

    • Don

      You’ll be dead before any PMAG starts to rot due to atmospheric conditions. I have some plastic AR mags that I have been using since the early 90’s and they are showing no signs of atmospheric rot.

    • Malthrak

      Unless you’re keeping your mags in direct sunlight for years on end while abusing the everloving snot out of them, it’s probably not something I’d worry about. They’ll probably break down for a host of other reasons before UV damage causes any major problems.

    • Jon

      All metal magazine will rust given enough time. The fact is nothing man make will last forever!!!!

      • iksnilol

        Uh, aluminium doesn’t rust.

        • Curious_G

          Aluminum oxidizes as well.

          • Dchil

            But that oxidation protects against further oxidation.

          • FarmerB

            Only if there is no manual manipulation which quickly rubs the protective oxide off. Check out aluminum windows at a seaside house. They corrode amazingly.

    • n0truscotsman

      I swear some of my PMAGs are a decade old and they’re still going strong.

      I hear a bunch of stories about them, particularly, in extreme cold, yet i’ve never noticed any issues with them.

      Of course, USGI, lancer, tango down, and pmags seem to work very well. I dont like the AK mags yet, and dont know anything about the glock ones.

    • Jayste

      worried about UV light on your Pmags? Well get the new improved Tac Black Magic protectant for all your black Tac guns! PAT Pend. :-p

    • Jack

      All chaps are assles. If they had an ass they’d be pants.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      On cheap plastics, yes. I have Russian AGS-4 (Bakelite) mags that were produced in the early 60’s that have seen good use and are perfectly fine. If 50+ years of life isn’t enough for you, then I don’t know what to say. Beyond that, thermoset Polyamide and the like, which is what most modern plastics are, are way more durable and have an even better life. I have a few heavily used plum AK-74 mags that are from the early 80’s that have no visible degradation.

      That being said, I don’t use Pmags either. I prefer the Brownell’s GI mags or Lancer mags. I have a few guns that Pmags cause issues with and like the video said, the FS2000 will not work with anything but GI mags.

    • garymac66

      Point of order… chaps are front leg coverings. They are not pants therefore are “assless” by definition. Just saying

    • carlcasino

      I suspect if you live to be 500 years old not worrying about UV deterioration. Matter of fact most processors now add additives to accelerate the breakdown of Polymers. Man’s contribution to the environment is using Planet Earth as his personal garbage can. This is a MAN MADE something that can be corrected. Man Changing the World Climate is a Fairy Tale.

  • Pistolero

    I’ve seen two different PMAGS’ feed lips break after being dropped on the range. Anyone else ever seen that?

    • MattCFII

      I haven’t seen that yet but would not surprise me. You can still break any mag, and Gen1 IIRC had problems with lips and spines. On the other hand, I had an AK Combloc mag that had a bent feedlip that I didn’t realize for awhile that was causing misfeeds. I then tried to rebend the lip but could never get it right. The cost of ammo (and not to mention time) figuring out it was just I that mag and then attempting to fix it was probably equal to the cost of another mag. With plastic I would have said that is broke, buy a new one. Also I believe older AR aluminium mags are known for the feedlips spreading over time and something you can miss that will cause misfeeds. Also long as you can buy replacements, I would rather know when the mag has failed and replace it instead of chasing the malfunction cause to the mag and then possibly trying to fix them.

      • Gary Kirk

        If you truly know the “AR” series of firearms, then you know that with the current generation of them, magazines are and pretty much always have been the root cause of failure.. The “military” has, and continues to test and evaluate new designs in magazine materials and construction. Yet, they still use the aluminum 30 round mags.. Yes, they’ve updated followers, internal/external coatings, and springs.. But.. Still the same body

  • IndyToddrick

    Great video! I only use AR-15’s so I was blissfully unaware of the compatibility issues (asides from the issues with the 416 requiring Magpul gen 3). Did not know they weighed more! I am starting to wonder why I use Pmags at all?

  • Martin M

    I’m still using 20rd mags from the VIETNAM era! They work great.

    • You lie! Everyone knows you need the latest gear with the most advertising.

      • Martin M

        I admit, Alex, that I am not Mall Ninja Certified.

        • Billy Jack

          Just get a pile of knives and flashlights and put paracord on everything and they have to give you your certificate.

          • Martin M

            Do kitchen knives count? I keep $1 LED flashlights everywhere, because they’re just $1. I’m fresh out of paracord, though.

          • Billy Jack

            125% of being an operator is gear. The other 27% is eating a really good heavy breakfast so you have the energy to go into battle!
            Without paracord you put yourself and your team at risk. Say you trip and fall on one of those knives, do you want to bleed out? Without paracord that’s the risk you run. Until you can save up ten bucks for paracord make sure all your pockets are full of tampons and maxipads you can use to stop a bleed. Search your wife, daughter, mom or grandma’s purse and drawers for tampons and pads so you don’t have to hit your paracord budget.
            Kitchen knives are awesome and can lull your enemy into a false sense of superiority! Test how sharp they are on a house pet. You have to know what they can do to flesh. If you don’t have a pet try an animal shelter.
            Crazy glue a bunch of those LEDs to a steak knife and you’re ready to roll out on neighborhood watch during a blackout.

            Melon labia brother

    • Klaus Von Schmitto

      Ha! I too still have a butt load of Colt 20 rounders that somehow didn’t get turned in.

      • jcitizen

        We couldn’t wait to ditch all our Colt 20 rounders, they were always stove-piping, and double feeding – we tried to turn them all in to MATES, and keep every Parsons KS mag we could find.

    • FloridaFits

      We were told NEVER to load 20 rounds, or suffer the consequence of the solar system being swallowed by the mother of all black holes…

    • AirborneSoldier

      Ditto. And 30 rounders. You can buy new springs, baseplates, and followers. When the bodies get dented, replace.

    • John Redman

      You beat me to it. I have a dozen Viet Nam era Colt 20 rounders that are flawless. Also like Brownell’s 20 rounders and Bushmaster 10 rounders from the bench. Never had an issue with PMags, or any other 30 rounders but then again I seldom use them.

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    ” I use good old-fashioned U.S. GI steel magazines”
    I’m a bit confused..when did the US military switch from aluminum AR mags?

    • ostiariusalpha

      Ha ha! Alex is going to be kicking himself for that freudian slip for months.

  • Blake
    • Joshua

      His was a link for the British military which solely issues emags for the L85.

      Also the Army quickly reversed that “ban”.

  • Brett

    I prefer GI mags. It is what I trained with most and are easier to fit into kit personally.

  • APDT66

    But but but you can run P mags over!!!one! Cause that comes up all the time

  • nova3930

    i can understand that. platform compatibility is certainly an issue to consider.

  • None

    Seriously, who cares? I will use what I like and what works for my guns. You will do the same. Me? I hate the sounds of metal mags rubbing against each other.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      That’s the sound of Freedom. πŸ˜‰

  • thedonn007

    I need to sell all of my PMAGs now. And my Lancer mags.

  • datimes

    There AK mag doesn’t fit in my SIG 556R.

    • Gary Kirk


  • ryan

    yeah not even all ARs will fit pmags case in point my bushmaster. it will take GI Aluminum and steel but any kind of plastic gives it conniption fits. And yes those cheap cheap GI mags…..ah….. and my hyper expensive HK battle mags but that’s a anther story

  • Don

    Come on now, I have some plastic AR mags that I have been using since the early 90’s and they are still running nice. Show me any PMAG that has been destroyed by the atmospheric conditions. PMAGs would have to be left in the desert sun 24/7 for decades for them to even have a hint of atmospheric decay. PMAGs are good mags, but… When they came out with the Gen III mags they did/do not work in all my AR’s without having to file down the two tabs they added to prevent the mag from being pushed too far up the magwell. I have found the best all around mags to be Lancers, they are the best of both worlds. They are metal up top where it counts and then the rest of the mag is poly like the PMAG. And the Lancers feed my 458 Socom rounds beautifully with no modifications what so ever.

  • Kivaari

    I guess I’m lucky. I only have ARs and the Pmags and GI mags work well in all of them. If it wasn’t for having a pile of the others, the Lancer’s have been getting good reviews. I’d try them, but even I know when I have excess.

    • Gary Kirk

      No such thing as excess.. especially when it comes to mags.. Or ammo

  • Jeff Smith

    Thanks for expressing your opinion without bashing a product. It’s always nice to see a well formed, well articulated opinion.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Lancer or GTFO.

  • Ron Walsh

    “Lastly, not only are PMAGs more expensive than the alternative, but also heavier”

    I would be very interested to know where you are getting USGI mags for less than a PMag. Currently in all the catalogs I get, as well as the sites I visit, most USGI mags sell for around $25. I have purchased PMags for around $15 or less. Please let me know where I can get some USGI mags for less than $15.

    My family has more than a couple of AR platform rifles, and I have not had any issue with mag drops using any of the range of mags that I have, such as PMag 30 Gen 2 and Gen 3. I have a number of 20 round mags from Magpul as well. I will say that I have several aluminum USGI pattern mags that run very well. I only have a single mag that hangs up on a couple of rifles, and that is a Hexmag.

    Thanks for the article, and while I do not agree with your opinions, it is always nice to read something that has a different opinion. Semper Fi.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      PMAG’s go on sale pretty regularly for about $13.
      I’ve seen aluminum (Not sure why he mentioned steel in the video, USGI mags are not steel) USGI mags for as low as $8-9 on sale.

    • I just camp Brownell’s website until 30 and 20 round USGIs go on sale for $6.99 each; most online sellers have occasional sales on steel/aluminum/plastic mags, although that’s already starting to fall away thanks to PANIC BUY!!1! increasingly becoming the New Normal.

      • Sam

        That, or Palmetto State has sales all the time.

    • Don

      Bravo Co. sells them for $9.95… The Armory sells them for $9.99… Surplus Ammo dot com has them for $9.99… Just to mention a few… But just like all the other mags out there, there are several manufactures that make the USGI aluminum mags. Brownells make their own version according to their website. So are you talking buying surplus “Military” USGI mags or any of the various aluminum mags that are identical to or resemble the USGI aluminum mags??

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    You say “Colt Pattern” a lot.

    Do you mean STANAG?

  • Dean Carpenter

    Pmags work for me and my only rifle which is an AR10 platform. Love them 25 round .308’s. L Iet the free market work as it should. Nothing wrong with metal but Pmag works very hard to make products that people want.

  • The main reason I keep my PMAGs loaded for immediate use and my USGI mags in the Just In Case Drawer is that PMAGs are a lot less likely to get dented and bent from rough handling and accidental banging around.

    Ultimately, it falls under the same rule as darn near everything else: use what works for you under the conditions you work it.

  • Chris laliberte

    Didn’t see anyone mention another particularly innovative feature of the PMAG (and EMAG) which is the dust cover, which allows you to store a mag fully loaded and keep pressure off the feed lips. This means the feed lips don’t deform over prolonged storage. This is pretty valuable. I have retired 4 or 5 metal GI mags (steel and aluminum) because of feeding issues due to feed lips deforming over time–and that was just during the short time when I was using them primarily. I have yet to retire one PMAG, after 100x the use.

    I once heard Vickers (I think it was him) say that the original GI design was disposable–it wasn’t designed to be reloaded more than 8 times, something like that, and it was the feed lips in particular that would wear out. That’s been true big time in my experience. I oiled and stored all my metal mags for the next ban, when I hope to convert them into CASH. I’m very sold on the polymer mags.

    That said, every TAPCO polymer mag I’ve tried has misfed horribly, in multiple guns/different manufacturers, as have the few Promags I’ve tried, so they’re not ALL good. Some do suck horribly.

    • J.K.

      Pmag feedlips have been tested to not deform when kept fully loaded and stored long term. That’s why the dust cover is now an optional accessory rather than part of the package.

      And all magazines are consumables. Some designs tend to last longer than others.

      • NoDakNative

        Magazines are NOT consumables. Magazines are an integral part of the gun. Without it you are left with a really crappy single shot.

        By your standard of “Some designs tend to last longer than others”, the barrel of a gun is a “consumable”. So is the bolt, firing pin, heck, the whole gun is a “consumable”.

        • Sam

          Uh… you can drop a magazine in a firefight and continue on. Can’t do that with literally anything else on the gun.

        • J.K.

          Hey, you can believe what you want. Reality will continue without you.

          On an ar platform the magazine, barrel, bolt, firing pin, gas key and buffer spring are consumables. They all have their respective maintenance intervals to be replaced.

          While you can extend the useful life of a magazine by replacing the spring after a certain compression/decompression cycles, the whole magazine should be disposed of if it causes mafunctions or becomes damaged.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    According to Battlefield Vegas, PMAGs break relatively frequently and the aluminum mags are the most durable.

  • thedarkknightreturns

    Lancer L5 is best mag. (or the HK Maritime mags, but they are just a bit more pricey)

  • mazkact

    Just don’t buy any ROTOMOLD(“The choice of Canadian Military”) AR mags. I suckered into a duffle bag full of them years ago because of the price. These mags are great for chucking in a vice to work on a lower, that is all. These days I stick with SS Stoner,C-Products and issue Stanag mags. Sonter stainless steel ten rounders are my favorite for CMP match shooting.

  • THE_manBEar

    Very interesting watch! Only sticking point – where can you the GI mags for $4-5 cheaper? I really need to know …

    • Sam

      Palmetto State Armory dot com has sales all the time on D&H aluminum mags.

  • stephen

    Hmmm… never had any problems with any PMAGS or the old G.I. issued mags.

    Oh well.

  • Joshua

    There’s a reason so many in the Military use Pmags.

    They’re pretty much proven to be 300-400% more reliable than USGI mags across many trials.

    Even the Army is trying to replicate the feed geometry of the Pmag in their new USGI mag.

    Also you can get 10 packs of Gen3 Pmags for $90…where are you getting USGI mags for $5/ea

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      That’s odd, because I’ve tried a dozen from different generations and they’ve proven to be 100% crap.

      The factory mag works fine, and even side by side tests with PMags have proven so.

    • Sam

      Palmetto State has regular sales on D&H aluminum mags that range anywhere from $6-9 per. Pmags seems to go from $12-15 regularly anywhere I’ve seen.

  • GhostTrain81

    I don’t either, PMAGs are just too mainstream.

    [ Insert meme of hipster with retro coke bottle glasses ]

  • Theo Braunohler

    I just use USGI mags because they are as reliable as anything else, as far as my guns so, they are cheaper, easier to paint, take up less space and you can stack them.

  • DIR911911 .

    should have titled it “how to properly stir the hornets nest” haha

  • Sid Collins

    Alex, good review and fairly balanced. I appreciate that you just expressed an opinion without bashing the product. I have served in various capacities since 1986. Magazines are always the weak point of the system. Just about every unit I have served with would crush a bad magazine. Kept it out of circulation. New magazines are issued each time we deployed. Also, the Army and USMC have modified the standard issue magazine fairly often. Followers are color coded for that very reason. That is what lead to the popularity of the PMAG with soldiers.

    • AirborneSoldier

      Yes. We would toss any mags with bad bodies.

  • Justin Roney

    #guncollectorproblems πŸ™‚

  • SD

    Let’s be lazy and not make a distinction between the different Pmag generations.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      I shouldn’t have to. If it says it fits the AR, it should be STANAG and shouldn’t matter what number is printed on it.

      Let’s be fanboi-ish and find a way to excuse a failure.

  • Don’t Tread On Me

    Dang Alex… You have a lot of rifles, little bro! Ha!
    Seriously… which rifle “platform” do you have where you’ve encountered one of these problems? I’m curious to know.
    Magpul is no different than any other manufacturer.
    Glock for instance, had first generation non-drop free magazines. It didnt stop many law enforcement officers or private owners from buying a Glock in those days.
    Rifle, shotgun, revolver, semi-auto pistols, ammuntion and all accessories go thru generational changes.
    Just like “all” products in our lives, its the narural progression of things.
    Ease up and enjoy a Magpul that’s virtually indestructible!

  • Justin

    In Afghanistan I used the stock steel mags my first tour. I had no problems with them except that due to their placement on my kit A few mags got dented to the point of stopping the follower when I would dive on to the ground. The pmags I was issued later on were better for that. I was a medic in a light infantry unit and did a lot of walking in the northern extremes of RC east (kunar and nuristan). I worked really hard to lighten my kit but never cut any toothbrushes in half. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but in my experience it is not typical. The metal mags fit the pouches in the rifleman kit better but are in my experience less reliable and durable. whether I am driving the family pickup to the range toting the pelican cases I don’t have; or on patrol oversees, convincing me to carry metal mags rather than pmags would be a hard sell. Furthermore under filthy conditions many mags won’t reliably drop free, the pmag actually stands a better chance because it is heavier. For what it’s worth this is Just my 2 cents, I’m not a gun writer.

    • AirborneSoldier

      There have never been “stock” steel mags. Perhaps unit purchase. The aluminum magazine from various manufacturers was standard nsn issue. The problem most of us had which gave rise to the Pmag,etc, was the old follower. Not the other components of the mag.

      • Justin

        Steel mags or metal mags are just what I call them. I actually never experienced a magazine related failure except from denting the mag body. We had the mags with tan or green followers. Which I guess are better than the old ones. I wasn’t dumping mags in combat all the time like some guys did. When I did have occasion to utilize my weapon to engage AAF I generally would shoot very little to be honest. I carried the minimum 7 mags and frankly even under the worst of circumstances I ended up passing my mags to a grunt who went black on ammo. I’m only saying I trust pmags more because if I land on them they won’t get dented

        • Justin

          It was pretty Rocky

      • Sam

        It seems a lot of people think standard issue/USGI magazines are steel.

        I have two HK steel mags… they are f’ing heavy.

  • Justin

    The 98 Mauser is the finest rifle ever made, you’re correct about that.

  • mazkact

    C-products stainless steel 30 rounders get them while you can.

  • int19h

    In terms of being up to STANAG spec, and actually fitting a wide range of rifles designed for the same, Lancers seem to have a very good reputation. For example, Czechpoint-USA, on their page dedicated to 5.56 Vz 58 mag adapter, specifically lists A5WM as a compatible, in-spec mag, while PMAG requires “fitting”.

    For bonus points, Lancers are also about 15g lighter than gen3 PMAGs, despite the steel feed lips.

    • Sam

      I just found some Lancer L5 smoke mags for super cheap. Bought 10 of them, and I’m super excited to start using them (it’s the small things). I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about them.

  • Ranger Rick

    Original P Mags would not fit into the FN SAW, I think P Mag may have fixed this. Anyone know?

  • Richard Chelvan

    None of this means anything to the average “mall ninja” and so your article is specious at best.

  • MichaelZWilliamson

    Oh, man, you questioned the Holy P-Mag. You gonna burn in hail!

    I’ll go one further:

    Plastic mags for the AR are invariably crap. It was designed for a mag with a thin aluminum or steel shell, and there’s no plastic yet available that can be that thin. I’ve tried variations of generations of every major brand of plastic mag. They’re all crap.

  • Marvin

    Well own all kind of magazines ,but while serving with some S.F. guys noticed they all had PMags.They actually gave me a few, telling me to carry those on patrol. If it’s good enough for our bad ass who’re out there doing the deed, it’s good enough for me.

    • uisconfruzed

      I practice with an E8 SF friend. He will not use a Pmag in battle because he’s seen them break, bottom plate and ammo drop in combat.
      He has no problems with them at the range.

  • machgman

    Decent article and he is correct that PMAGs are not ideal for every application.

    It is our individual responsibility to determine from actual practice and use what works for each of us and what doesn’t.

    Isn’t that a part of what being FREE and Freedom is all about? Afterall, who but a demented, fantasy world, brain-dead Liberal would want Obama, Clinton, and Biden looking over their shoulder and dictating what we can use, how we can shoot, and when we are allowed to shoot.

    As for me, PMAGs work great in everything I shoot. They are far superior than metal mags in every single one of my applications.

  • uisconfruzed

    I picked up 10rnd P-mags for hunting with my 300BLK. They’re great for this use, almost flush, quiet if tapped/touched compared to the metal mags.
    I’d pick up a couple of them if they made them for a 6.5 Grendel.

  • John Davis

    I have tried PMAGS for my Sig P-220 and they did not work well at all! FTF, FTE and mag ejection. I now only buy manufacturer mags.

  • AirborneSoldier

    Good job Alex. My aluminum mags dont fall out like a pmag may. I still like and use mine, but my tried and true usgi aluminum mags are my go to. Thanks for an honest assessment.

  • Trapman

    Let’s face it. Magpul stuff is very good. Owners of firearms with problems with Magpul stuff are most likely already aware of it.. And HK? How many folks who work for a living can afford an HK rifle? And the FS2000? Who cares. And GI mags for the M4? I probably have 50 or more that I’ve been hoarding since Y2K. Black followers, the green followers, then PMAG anti-tilt followers. Some work. Those that don’t are in a box for further work for whatever reason. So GI mags aren’t perfect, either. I have Thermolds (“Thermelts”) that have always worked, but ammo is too dear to just dump mag after mag to see if you can destroy something. The Lancer mags are good for long storage of fully loaded mags. So there’s plus and minus with everything

  • dlh0

    off hand, i only know of a few usgi mags that are steel. m16/m4 are not one of them.

  • It’s all true…

    Often with my AR15 the PMAGs won’t trigger the bolt catch when empty. Put in a USGI magazine, it works every time.

  • NoDakNative

    If I had a time machine, I would go back to when Eugene Stoner was designing the AR. I would tell him, “Making the magazine disposable like a stripper clip didn’t work out.” I would then give him an AK-47 magazine and a Mini-14 magazine and say, “Make your mag be somewhere between these two as far as durability.”

    The AR mag is the biggest cancer that has been foisted on the small arms industry. Undeniably the weakest link in the AR system, designers continue building their guns for a magazine design that should have gone the way of the 8-track.

    Anyone remember back during the AWB how much AR magazines cost vs AK magazines? it was insane. Then all the little tools, trinkets, and rebuild kits to keep AR magazines running. AK mags? New springs and followers was all that was needed.

  • buzzman1

    PMAGs will not fall free from my AR-10 and are a tight fit. I have a SCAR17 with an aftermarket aluminum lower and PMAGs will not even lock in to it. I have to use steel mags or Lancers.
    PMAGs do have an advantage over aluminum crap as the retaining lips don’t spread and they don’t make a lot of noise when you bang them against something. However, do to their loose production specs guys in the 101st, did report to me that they would over insert into their 249s and when the bolt was released it would rip the retainers off the mag and jam the weapon. Some of the guys also told me they has some shatter in extreme cold in Afghanistan.
    REAL STEEL mags always work best. My opinion of course.

  • George Dean

    Super review. I have a lot of Pmags, but also purchase GI mags–especially ten & twenty cap. versions, which I find more practical for zeroing new scopes at the range.

  • Jon

    In your video, you show the Pmags not dropping freely from two different rifles, but you don’t demonstrate showing USGI mags dropping freely from those same two guns. I would have shown a comparison.
    BTW, all my Magpul mags Gen 2 and Gen 3, drop freely from every one of my AR platform guns perfectly, along with all my USGI mags.

  • Jim Halberson

    I always figure you run what you brung….. if steel floats your boat go for it. Any full magazine is better than no magazine…… as long as it works for you.

  • BigFED

    “I get asked a lot why, in almost all of my reviews or videos, I use good old-fashioned U.S. GI steel magazines…” You are NOT helping your case by using the word “steel” in lieu of “METAL”!!! The most common magazine in use today is THE aluminum bodied magazine. It is NOT STEEL! About the only true QUALITY STEEL magazines I have are HK and the are EXPENSIVE!!!

  • BigFED

    Just a minor point, magazines are considered DISPOSABLE for all intents and purpose. The only time you pickup your mags and brass is AT THE RANGE!

  • cawpin

    “a problem that isn’t present most of the time with plain old aluminum magazines.”

    It isn’t present most of the time with PMags either, so what’s your point?

  • Uniontown One

    Alex, you missed the whole point..you can’t use Rit dye to change the magazine’s color, with standard mags!Β‘

  • Core

    When you say good ol fashioned steel mags you mean usgi aluminum mags?