Aftermarket Magazines vs Factory Magazines

    When picking magazines, it doesn’t always seem like an important piece of the puzzle and most people just buy a few to have back up magazines for their gun either at the range or at home. Now I know this isn’t everyone but some people think of magazines as an afterthought to the actual gun. Usually, new shooters will go into a shop and purchase a firearm without considering buying extra magazines for training.

    Factory Magazines

    Factory magazines are usually a safe bet when purchasing spare magazines. Typically, the factory magazine was designed for a specific model of a firearm and will have factory tolerances for the guns so there won’t be fitment issues when running them at the range. Personally, I’ve had great luck with a number of companies running standard factory magazines. The magazines for the SIG Sauer P226 have been beaten and abused over the years with none failing. I know in time all things like that will fail but they are extremely tough. I’ve also had great luck with Glock’s factory magazines over the years. They are lightweight and usually fairly economical to buy extras when you need them.

    Aftermarket Magazines

    I’ll be honest and say that buying aftermarket magazines from various places can be like walking through a minefield. There are some fantastic magazine companies out there who do OEM and it’s a cheaper version of the factory models. Other companies will be significantly cheaper on various products and this is where things can get tricky. We all know there are super cheap handgun magazine manufacturers out there who will cut quality for a lower bottom line. I’m not saying they will fail you, but when testing out various magazines for my Glocks, I picked up a few of the cheaper magazines and had a couple failure to feed malfunctions along with other malfunctions. I will sometimes run my bad magazines at the range to work on malfunctions, but that’s it.

    On the left is CZ’s Factory SP-01 Magazine, On the right is a Mec-Gar 17RD flush fitting magazine

    How to Decide What Magazine Is For You

    It’s important to look at the spare magazines by make and model to determine where you want to purchase from. Often on the larger firearm retailers, they will have ratings and reviews of various magazines they sell. I would take a look at those as a last ditch effort but its always good to do a little research before putting a good amount of money down on spare magazines for your guns. One company I’ve had great luck with in the past is Mec-Gar. I have had great luck running their magazines in both my CZ SP-01 Tactical and my SIG Sauer P226.

    In both cases, the Mec-Gar magazines are cheaper than factory magazines and both fit better for me in an EDC role. The SIG Sauer P226 magazines hold 18 rounds flush fitting instead of the factory 15 rounds from SIG. So the aftermarket Mec-Gar magazines are cheaper to buy and hold more ammo while being really reliable for me. To find a number of quality aftermarket magazines, I would say check out some of the larger firearm retailers like Brownells or GunMag Warehouse.

    I think no matter what magazine you run, at the end of the day, you should test them out at the range thoroughly before putting them into use as an EDC role. I will typically put a minimum 250-500 rounds through magazines to make sure they function properly. The biggest thing when looking at new magazines is the build quality and overall fit and function in the gun. Let me know if you prefer factory or aftermarket magazines in the comments below. If you have specific questions about magazines or anything else gun related just shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

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    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions
    .I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator @just_pistols @thedailyrifle.