Review: Elite Tactical Systems Glock 31 round transparent magazine

Eric B
by Eric B

The transparent ETS magazines for Glock have been around for a few years.

I visited the ETS booth at SHOT Show earlier this year and decided I should try them. However they are not readily available in Europe where I live, but at last I managed to find them at a local dealer who had a limited stock.

The magazine I found has part number GLK-18, and fits the Glock 17, 18, 26 and 34 with a 9×19 mm 31 round capacity. I bought it at list price for my own money, and ETS have no knowledge of this review (until now).

Below: Unboxing the Elite Tactical Systems translucent Glock magazine.

The magazine is Made in the USA, by ETS Group out of Knoxville, TN. and the note on the packaging tells me it’s 8 feet (2.4 meters) impact resistant, chemical and extreme temperature and UV resistant.

Furthermore ETS says their magazine is compatible with aftermarket floor plates for Glock magazines, a claim I have not been able to verify but don’t doubt either.

Below: The magazine unboxed. The “knife” is a Marfione Custom UTX-85 Tactical Beard Comb from PVK Vegas, and it’s a really cool thing to have.

Some close-up photos of the magazine.

It certainly looks a lot nicer than the standard Glock or Magpul magazines.

There are also colored base pads and followers if you want to mark your magazine (Rapid Recognition System).

Below: I didn’t really think of them during the testing, but there are grip ribs on the ETS floor plate to aid extraction. The magazine fell smooth every time I tried, and no issues with inserting it either. This feature is more helpful when trying to get the magazine up from a tight pouch.

Testing the ETS Glock Magazine

I have fired several hundred rounds of various types through the ETS magazine pictured. Not close enough to come to any sort of final conclusion, as I would presume my magazines to have a much longer life than that. Time and the cost of ammunition limit my testing for obvious reasons, but after a few month’s use, I feel I’m ready to conclude my thoughts.

I had zero malfunctions during my testing – which included light 93 gr bullets, heavy subsonic, and hollow points – and I haven’t found anything to complain about really.

Glock to Glock may be different so I let a friend of mine try the magazine as well in his Gen 4, also zero issues.

However, I do have some concerns that the ETS translucent magazine is not going to withstand as much beating as a Glock original magazine. I base this on nothing else than that they feel more brittle in the material. I also think that the ETS base pad would be more fragile than Glock.

Let’s also consider the fact that the Glock original magazines are made out of impact-resistant polymer with full-length steel inserts, so yes I think they would last longer in a torture test.

This is a drop test made by MadPick to give you an idea.

However, most of our shooting is recreational after all and magazines are, to me, a consumable.

We’re all different, and local legislation here forbids carrying of firearms for self-defense, but I don’t think I would use any sort of transparent magazines for carrying anyway.

From the ETS Group homepage, the manufacturer’s words:

Mag Features

  • Fits the Glock 17, 18, 19, 26, and 34
  • Compatible with Gen 1 through Gen 5 Glocks
  • Standard 31-round capacity
  • Compatible with Glock and aftermarket floorplates
  • Easy disassembly with our specially designed baseplate
  • Ergonomically designed floorplate makes it easy to grab from mag pouches
  • Lifetime Warranty


  • Extreme Impact Resistance—won’t crack or break when dropped.

    Very resistant to harsh chemicals

    Superior heat, cold and UV resistance—won’t become brittle over time even when exposed to harsh environments or extreme cold

    Translucent body—allowing you to see your ammo count and type

    Creep resistant—the feed lips and body won’t spread when being stored long term even when fully loaded

Below: The magazine doing its thing, storing 9 mm rounds.

With a translucent magazine like this, you can easily spot what kind of ammunition you’re about to shoot.

If you’re a competitive shooter it also looks way cooler, there’s no denying that. Imagine a few of these in your pouches.

Below: to my surprise, you could actually use the Glock magazine loader with the ETS version, thanks for that!

Below: You can see the spring working, as it’s trying to push the 9 mm rounds out of the magazine. You also see how the rounds align and stack up. The sunglasses are actually 3D printed in an HP printer, and have, as the ETS magazine, been a great companion at the shooting range this summer.

Below: The translucent magazine side-by-side with the Glock original 33 rounder. The Glock is a Gen 4 model 17 with a Shield sight. I use a Shield with 8 MOA for IPSC Production competition, which I think is a great solution.

Here’s the GLK-18 magazine loaded into the Glock 17.

ETS has a long list of magazines for the Glock, check here for more details. The one I tested is this one.

I paid a lot more, as the local dealer in Europe added shipping, customs, profit etc. as usual to the price, but the list price in the US is $21.99.

Magpul charges more or less exactly the same for their PMAG 27 GL9, with a more traditional design, color, and a few rounds less capacity. Stock magazines from Glock are more expensive, but unless you’re buying loads of them I think few people are going to take price into consideration.

There are certainly a few more products I would consider from ETS. If my dealer had had the ETS Glock 43 magazine I would have bought it straight away. Not that I have an MP5, but if I did I would try their translucent magazines.

They also have some competition legal Glock magazines that would make sense to some shooters, not to mention their products for AR rifles and their coupling system.

Stateside, you can find ETS magazines here.

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Eric B
Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6x6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.

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  • APismoClam APismoClam on Sep 16, 2018

    Note to the article’s author and editor: The mags would appear to be more accurately descibed as being transparent, as you can see through them. On the other hand, if something is translucent, light is able to pass through, but you can’t actually see through it, like the fogged up windows of a car at a drive in. I think it’s important for modesty’s sake for everyone to understand the difference. :)

  • USMC03Vet USMC03Vet on Sep 16, 2018

    Why no after picture? How does the clear hold up with use? Yeah it looks pretty neat when new but does it look like garbage after the first mag dump?