Gear

Which AR-15 Magazines Will Work Best For You?

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Most Americans are allowed to own (actually not buy*) 30+ round magazines for Ar-15s.

Yours truly cannot as I live in beautiful but backwards state of Colorado, and I know other places in the U.S. like NY and California as well as Connecticut restrict their use.

And while I can’t buy a standard 30 rd mag I am allowed to own one.

But I don’t want to get bogged down talking about the confusing legalities of magazines. I’d rather help you figure out what the best one for your gun.

In this article I’ll review 6 of the more popular and more common Ar-15 magazines out there.

The Magpul P-Mag Gen3

I can almost assure you this is the #1 magazine for AR-15s on the planet. There are a myriad reasons this is true.
Everything you’ll read here contribute to why the United States military has started to use this magazine more than traditional metal mags. In fact, the military buys so many of them it even has its own NSN.

The new P-mag Gen3 takes on design imperfections in the previous models and improves upon them to make shooting a joy. Some of these improvements include strengthening the magazines mag catch (so it doesn’t fall out of the mag-well) along with the feed catches and they strengthened the polymer body so it’ll stand up to dropping and crushing.

Also the magazine’s follower (which is the piece inside the magazine that sits on top of the spring and moves the bullets up) has a new 4 way anti-tilt design which helps provide seamless feeding into the gun’s chamber.

All P-mag Gen3s come with a dust cover and the P-mags baseplate removes without tools for easy cleaning and modification.

Hexmag HX30-AR AR-15 Magazine

Another polymer magazine, the Hexmag HX30 is a newer design which produces some serious competition to the P-mag.
Here’s what you’ll appreciate about the HX30. Firstly it’s a lot of fun to shoot. Thanks to a self-lubricating anti-tilt follower shooting is smooth and reliable. As it makes use of a USGI spec magazine spring you don’t have to worry about feed failures interrupting shooting. Whether target shooting or in the line of duty this is an important aspect of its design.

Past that, users will also appreciate the tool-less disassembly which gives you the chance to clean on the fly. Plus the high impact resistant fiber reinforced polymer magazine is as tough as dirt. You can use this thing rather hard and still count on it performing when you need it.

The SureFire High Capacity

The more ammo you can carry the better advantage you have over your enemies. And while 30 rounds is considered “high capacity,” the fact is you can carry 2-3x as much as that thanks to a few new magazines from Surefire.

Check out this YouTube video demonstrating their usefulness and effectiveness.

Brownells AR-15 30Rd Magazine CS 223/5.56


If you’re on a budget and want something that’s both reliable and durable, then the Brownell’s magazine is a good choice.

These are the same kind of magazines troops in the field have been using for years. However, even though they’re an older model, a few new retools on the original design has brought this magazine to the 21st century. One of the most important modern shooters will appreciate is the self-lubricating fiberglass anti-tilt followers. Far improved from the older, “sticky” aluminum followers, these help deliver rounds with great urgency as your AR-15 is cycling away.

Then there’s the durability. One of the downsides to polymer designs is they can crack and become misshapen in certain circumstances. The metallic design is a little more durable. On top of that, if it is dinged or misshapen it’s not impossible to “bang” it all back into place so you can begin shooting again.

Troy BattleMags

Not nearly as popular as the Hexmag HX30 or the Magpul P-mag, the Troy Battlemag is another great polymer magazine.

American Rifleman writes:

The Troy BattleMag is a 30-round box magazine engineered to function with all M4, M16/AR15, HK416 and FN SCAR 5.56/.223 rifles and carbines. Fitted with a green anti-tilt follower, the body is formed from a proprietary military-grade polymer formulated to resist damage caused by impact and chemical or biological agents. The sides are smooth with an aggressive fish scale pattern texturing along the front and back edges for a positive grip in wet or muddy conditions.

The bolstered floor plate is set flush to the body to prevent it from catching on other magazines when riding in multi-mag pouches. The feed lips are reinforced for reliable operation and to prevent them from spreading apart when the magazine is kept in a loaded condition for extended periods of time. Each magazine arrives with a flush floor plate lock installed along with an extended rubber lock (a $5 value). When installed, the extended lock acts as a convenient pull handle and a shock absorber when the magazine is dropped to the ground. BattleMags are available in black, Flat Dark Earth, Coyote Tan and OD Green. 10-round configurations are also available.

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