Friday, December 27, 2013

Extended Magazines

Extended Magazines

This post is an overview of a few extended magazines as well as non-standard capacity magazines for the AR-15, Glock 9/40 and M&P family of weapons.

The most common gripe about these magazines will revolve around two factors. Both factors will have pro’s and cons. Depending on the situation, these are pro’s that outweigh the cons. The first factor is for carry, the second is for shooting.

First, extended magazines can create difficulties in carry, both in the gun as well as in magazine pouches. This will also carry over to where your weapon is stored, i.e. a Rifle in a crowded storage environment like a Patrol Vehicle, Discrete Carry Bag, UC vehicle, etc. Another example is carry of a 22 round Glock magazine at 9 or 3 O’clock will restrict your ability to flex or bend sideways, but at the advantage of 22 rounds in a reload.

Second, shooting. Almost every gripe about any extended magazine and shooting involves shooting with it from the prone position. I hear many arguments against even the USGI/STANAG 30 round magazine – USGI, PMAG, etc. claiming that anything but the 20 round mag is two tall to properly prone shoot. This is a carryover from slick or shooting without kit on a perfect range environment. When shooting with even soft body armor, getting a sight picture behind a rifle with a 20 round magazine will have the 20 round magazine off the ground anyways.  Add rifle plates in a PC, a PC with plates and magazines, etc. and the magazine gets even higher off the ground.

Some of the extended magazines  on the market are to long and as such are not relevant to a “practical tactical” discussion. The Glock 33 round and Surefire 100 being two of them.

To show the difference in standard magazines as well as extended magazines, I took a series of photos with a measuring tape for reference. On the pistols, I included a flush fit magazine (standard) as well as extended. On the rifle, a 20, 30, PMAG 40 and Surefire 60.

Glock 9/40 frames: Starting with a factory "flush" fit magazine. Then a Arredondo extension + 4 rounds of .40 or +5-6 of 9mm. Last is a Glock factory 22 rounds of .40. 

M&P standard frame: First, flush fit standard magazine. Second is a Arredondo +4 .40 or +5/6 9mm. 

AR-15: Starting with a 20 round, 30 round, PMAG 40 and a Surefire 60. 

I attempted to show via photos the difference of the various rifle magazines from the prone position. This may or may not be clear, and if not, it is my fault for not communicating by visual means. The factor that is hard to show without use of high end photo editing software like MS Paint (kidding) is how the angle of your muzzle in proportion to where you are prone out at is dependent on where the bad guy is. If you are behind cover that forces you to shoot up in direction, a raised mag may be very good where a downward firing position, not so much.

You will need to do a full analysis of the cost, height and bulk before deciding to purchase any extended magazines, magazine extensions or even before carrying them. That is up to you.

Extended magazines can induce reliability issues, depending on the magazine, weapon system, environment, etc. That is more for the next post. 

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