I have been using Magpul Glock magazines in two different Glock 19s since approximately March of 2017. During that time, I have shot over 10,000 rounds in those guns through those magazines. Additionally, I know that Andy has also been playing with Magpul Glock magazines, as has Nick. What follows are my own observations about those magazines. This article isn’t intended to sway you toward or away from Magpul Glock magazines, only to report my findings.
Firstly, let me mention that I have six Glock 17 factory magazines dating from around 2004 in my range bag right now. Here they are:
Those magazines, collectively, have fed two different Glocks (a 17 and a 34) over 80,000 rounds during their lifetime. They’ve all had their springs replaced at least twice, and in some instances had new followers put in. They also wear different baseplates than what they came with. They’ve been dropped, kicked, soaked in water, mud, and dirt, and otherwise not treated gently. I loaned them to a colleague the other week to run his gun and they were still working. Note that none of them are working in their original configuration, but they are indeed still loading and feeding rounds as flawlessly as I can discern. The failures I’ve seen with factory Glock magazines are or related to:
1. Spring wears out
2. Baseplate cracks or flies off
3. Follower cracks or is otherwise damaged
4. Ford Crown Vic runs over it
Every magazine will fail eventually, given enough time and wear. Those are the main failures I’ve seen with the factory magazines. I will say that I’ve never seen those issues arise in the first 2000 rounds put through any gun, and I’ve seen several thousand guns put through a 2k test at this point.
My experience with Magpul Glock magazines is obviously much shorter, as those magazines haven’t been in existence near as long as Glock factory magazines. I know that the initial run of those magazines had some flawed geometry, and I didn’t get those, I got the updated ones after the problem was identified and fixed. In my opinion the Magpul Glock magazine has some advantages, some disadvantages, and some differences.
Magpul Glock magazines are lighter than Glock factory magazines, if only by a small margin. If you are trying to save every ounce, maybe that matters to you. They are cheaper than factory magazines, usually to the tune of $5-$15 per magazine. In the grand scheme of things, that price savings may or may not matter to you. They don’t have witness holes for every round like the factory magazines do, but as anybody with any experience knows, the witness holes on factory magazines aren’t always perfect either, and it behooves you to count the number of rounds you put in a magazine if you need to load to an amount less than the full capacity. This is especially important if you’re shooting a production or stock service pistol class where you must load to 10 and no more. The baseplates stick out further than factory magazines. If you’re trying to create the smallest concealment package, this is a detriment. If you’re using a magazine well, I’ve found that to be a good thing.
The big problem I have found with Magpul magazines is their inability to feed steel cased ammunition. I tried it out, and initially it worked, but once I started getting closer to the bottom of the magazine, things started choking up. The steel casings just aren’t quite as slick as brass, and coupled with no metal insert, the Magpul magazines just simply do not like steel cased ammunition. Now, if you don’t run steel cased ammunition and don’t believe that steel cased ammo is in your future, that isn’t really a concern.
Every time I mention these magazines online, people come out of the woodwork and tell me that they are garbage, don’t work, fail, etc. I can’t discount what they say, but that is completely foreign to my experience. I continue to shoot with and train with those Magpul magazines every time I go to the range, looking for said failure. If it happens, I’ll come back and report it, but I have yet to see it. I am sure that some of the failure modes I mentioned with factory magazines are also quite possible with Magpul Glock magazines.
I still carry with Glock factory magazines, but my nightstand gun has one of the Magpul 21 round magazines in it. I believe in it enough to trust my home defense to it. If you have any doubts, then stick with the factory magazines. They are available, relatively inexpensive, and obviously durable. But if you want some additional magazines to keep for a rainy day, for training, or for whatever, I believe that the Magpul Glock magazines work well enough.