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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - M-4/M-16/AR-15 Magazines

UrbanMan received an e-mail asking about the differences between and my recommendations on AR magazines.

I only use three different types of AR magazines: P-MAGS, H and K Mags and the standard aluminum AR magazines manufactured by Colt.

Although I have many more aluminum Colt magazines than any others combined, these are primarily my training magazines, although some of stacked in M-4 ready cans with ammunition. This magazine can be usually purchased for less than $15; is usually reliable; but after all is aluminum and subject to more easily applied damage than the P-MAG or the Hecklar and Koch mags. When I have determined that one of these aluminum magazines are causing malfunctions, I stomp on the feed lip and follower end so it is smashed then trash it. I have enough messed up mags already for training purposes (inducing stoppages, etc.) but those are marked with red painted floor plates.


The H and K mags used to be all the rage a few years ago. We had feeding problems with the first edition and now the one's being issued/sold with the black follower have eliminated those early problems. This is a robust magazine as it better be since it is made out of steel and is much heavier than the aluminum magazines. Image that? These are slick magazines as well,..no "scrunch, scrunch, scrunch" of the old aluminum mags, nor follower wobble. Very good magazines, but around $40 a copy, these are expensive as well.


By and large my favorite, and what I recommend are the P-MAG's made by Mag-Pul. At around $15 a copy these are affordable. Made from extremely durable advanced impact resistant polymer, these magazines can take a beating. They are available in various colors: Black, OD green, Flat Dark Earth and Foliage. Hell, I just get mine in OD Green. I guess if you are from San Francisco you can paint them Chartrusse or Teal Blue. These mags come with a pop-off impact cover for storage, and an easy to dis-assemble design (using the pop-off impact cover), and, with a flared floor plate for just a little better magazine extraction from pouches. I have not completed changing out all my M-4 mags for P-MAGS, but I have several dozen and all work well. I have never had a feeding problem with one yet. Now I just jinxed myself.


I run into people from time to time that talk about this "new" 100 round dual drum magazine for the AR. I can't remember the first time I saw the BETA C-MAG,.... could have been as early as 1989, but I know we bought six C-MAGS in 1999 for a test for consideration to be included in our kit. Well, we did not buy any more. They have feed problems, noisy with loose ammunition rattling around, and, easily broken plastic feed lips. I understand there is a new production of these, but we see this as a solution to a non existent problem, and will not buy/test the new ones. I'd say, at $275 or so a copy, buy them at your own risk.

Brownell's is where I get most of my M-4 accessories including magazines, you can pay them a visit by clicking here. Magazines will be the fourth tab from the left.

5 comments:

  1. Whats your opinion on an SKS rifle for a survival weapon? Two of my friends in our loose knit survival group are pushing me to buy an AR type rifle, but I feel comfortable with my SKS.

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    1. As long as your SKS isn't made in China, keep it! I've been on the recieving end of both the AK and the SKS, but I think the SKS is better for "survival". I have a Russian one and it sits right next to my beloved M1A scout and survival AR-15.
      US Army Ret.

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  2. Can you give me an idea on how good I need to be with my guns? How far out I should be able to hit a target and stuff like that? Where would you recommend going to get some weapons training?

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    1. I wouldnt rank my skill with a weapon based on how far out you can hit things. What you want is to be comfortable with your weapons operation. You should be able to perform all combat-necessary actions (Sight picture, firing, managing recoil, reloading, racking the bolt, releasing the bolt when locked back, turning the safety on and off) without looking or really even thinking. Accuracy will follow. If you want training, I went to the Sig Saur Acadamy in Epping, NH and was very impressed with the instruction and the increase in my own skill and knowledge from just one 8-hour period.

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  3. Do you have an opinion on installing a bump stock on a Carbon-15?

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