Most people overlook mags when building AR15 rifles. However, quality mag is equally important as all other parts. Why? Because the magazine is the same as a gas tank in your car.
You need mag to feed ammo to the chamber and shoot rounds.
Why Buy More Mags?
The counter question is, why not?
Let’s start from the beginning. When you deliver follow-up shots or end up in scenarios where you have to fire lots of rounds, you’ll soon notice that ammo goes faster than you initially thought.
In this case, you’ll be thankful to yourself that you earlier bought a few more mags for your rifle. And what’s even better, you don’t have to spend lots of money. Mags are quite cheap compared to many other rifles.
But now, the question is which magazine should you buy? Should you go with traditional ones, get a polymer magazine, or something with over 30 rounds?
Let’s compare each option.
Metal vs. Polymer Mags
When you take a look at online offerings, you’ll notice there are two most common magazines aluminum and polymer magazines.
Of course, both are great, you won’t miss anything. However, there are still certain differences between them you should know before making a purchase.
First, let’s start with metal magazines. These are more like traditional magazines out there. Because of the materials, the aluminum mag may be a little heavier compared to those polymer mags. If you prefer a lighter build, go with polymer, but keep in mind that heavier mag may result in better weight balance and recoil control.
On the other hand, despite both of them being able to withstand rigorous use, polymer mags are less likely to deform on impact.
As for the resistance, both are great, however, the polymer is more resistant to environmental conditions while aluminum has better heat resistance.
The polymer also has better design solutions as they can be transparent while aluminum can’t. This can make your rifle look cool. Of course, if you want.
In terms of price, guess what? Polymers are cheaper to produce, hence, they are cheaper in retail stores compared to aluminum mags. However, these are not so huge differences, you still can get quality mag without breaking the bank.
Types of AR15 Mags
There are a few types of magazines and accessories you can choose from. We’ll show you the most common types of mags and which accessories you can use to have a better shooting experience.
Detachable Box Magazines (DBM): these are standard magazines you can find out there. They are usually between 10 to 30 rounds per mag. Also, you can find high-capacity magazines of this type with 40, 60, or even more rounds.
Drum magazines: Compared to standard magazines, these ones have cylindrical designs and are able to store a high number of rounds (at least 50 rounds). They can add more weight to your rifle, but it’s great if you’re engaged in a scenario with continuous fire.
Mag couplers: This is an accessory that allows you to attach two magazines side by side. This will reduce reload time.
This is the most common stuff you can find around, but always keep in mind, that the larger the capacity, the more weight it will add to your rifle.
Although legal, high-capacity magazines are restricted by law in some states so before purchasing, check your state laws to avoid getting in trouble.
Best AR15 Magazines
- Magpul PMAG GEN M3
- KCI USA AR-15 DRUM MAGAZINE
- Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) AR-15 Magazine w/ Coupler
- C Products Defense .223/5.56 DuraMag Aluminum Magazine
- Amend2 MOD 2 AR15 30 Round Magazine
- KCI USA .223 / 5.56x45mm Aluminum Magazine
Magpul PMAG GEN M3
One of the most popular mags out there, Magpuls’ PMAG is made of polymer and includes stainless steel springs. It’s quite lightweight and won’t add too much weight to your rifle.
It’s made for standard 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington rounds) and can store 30 rounds in total. Also, the pop-off impact/dust cover can be used to protect your rifle from potential damage.
Another great feature is an internal and external design which was modified to support various other platforms like HK416, MR556A1, FN Scar MK16, and many others.
Additionally, you can see that a magazine has an over-travel stop on the spine that will make sure you don’t over-insert the magazine and cause damage or malfunctions to your rifle.
KCI USA AR-15 DRUM MAGAZINE
Drum magazines are more expensive compared to regular magazines. However, KCI compared to other brands offers smaller prices. That’s how KCI AR15 Drum mag came to this list.
Its body is made of transparent polymer so you’ll have a look at your mag ammo capacity anytime. However, drum magazines are bulky and the same rule applies to this one too. Despite it sounds good to have 50 rounds available to shoot, in tactical scenarios these mags are not the best choice.
Also, when full, this mag will add more weight to your rifle. This will add more balance and help you with recoil control if these characteristics are what you’re looking for.
We mentioned the price, and starting price for this mag is $79.99 per mag however, compared to others, it’s way cheaper.
Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) AR-15 Magazine w/ Coupler
This is a standard AR15 mag with 30 round capacity. It’s made of polymer and has a transparent look. You’ll have a view of the current ammo status in your mag, and you’ll also make your rifle more stylish.
On the top side of the mag, you can see a dust cover. This will protect your mag from dirt and debris during ammo storage.
What’s more great about this mag is resistance to harsh and environmental conditions. This means your mag won’t look brittle over time and ruin overall mag aesthetics.
The magazine is also compatible with other AR-style rifles, you’re not limited to AR15 only. The price is about $20 at our store, however, we recommend getting a few of them so you’ll always have ammo ready to shoot.
C Products Defense .223/5.56 DuraMag Aluminum Magazine
If you’re into something more classic and things like transparent materials don’t make you happy, then DuraMag may be for you.
It’s a classic mag made of aluminum - strong and durable, yet a little heavier than polymer. It’s made for 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington rounds and works great with the AR15 platform for which it’s made.
You can stack 30 rounds inside this mag.
It’s resistant to wear and tear, more than popular polymer mags. It may add a little bit of weight to your rifle because of the materials, but again, if you like classic mags you won’t even notice this.
For the price, despite the aluminum case, you still don’t have to spend too much money on it as it costs a few bucks - $11.49 at this moment.
Amend2 MOD 2 AR15 30 Round Magazine
This is a pack of 5 mags with a 30-round capacity each which means you can equip 150 rounds in total before going to shoot. It’s made for classic AR15 calibers while the company used high-quality and strong polymer to make these mags.
They are extremely strong and durable compared to similar polymer mags. Drops, wear, and tear are things that won’t concern you, especially in the long run as you get 5 mags at once you can interchangeably use.
KCI USA .223 / 5.56x45mm Aluminum Magazine
What about a pack of aluminum magazines? If this is what you’re looking for, then you should check KCI USA 5-mag pack.
Mags are made of aluminum, but still maintain a lightweight build and are relatively cheap at $42.95 for a whole pack. The mags have a capacity of 30 rounds per mag with a total of 150 rounds you can carry with you if you carry them all.
Also, mags come with a classic design if you’re not looking for something fancy but for something more traditional somehow to say. They are resistant to wear and tear, and you won’t have to worry about feeding problems in the long run.
That’s it for now. You can’t go wrong with any of the magazines from the above. Of course, choose those that fit your needs and taste the most as we listed both polymer and aluminum mags.
Each of them has its pros and cons, but quality is one thing that is common for all of them.