Monday, January 6, 2014

Extended Magazine Reliability


I’ve been running extended magazines in some variant for just over two years. First mag was a 2012 manufacture Surefire MAG-60. This was purchased after the initial reports came out of intermittent reliability problems that seemed to be solved after a few tweeks of the mag had taken place.

Next up I picked up extensions for my 9mm Glock magazines. I consulted with end users for duty/carry purposes as I’m not a competition shooter and competition doesn’t have any bearing on my choice in carry weapons or accessories. I was pointed toward three makes of extensions, Dawson, Taylor Freelance and Arredondo. Yes, they are made by companies that make things marketed to the competition crowd as well as some toward the duty crowd. I compared the price/installation reviews and went Arredondo.

I found that the only hard part of installing the Arredondo mag extensions was removal of the factory Glock baseplates. When a year later I put them on M&P magazines, which was not the case as the M&P baseplates came off way easier. Reliability with the Arredondo’s has been spotless, even after I low crawled in a dry sandy creek bed getting my M&P mags full of sand.

Back to the Surefire mag. First two times out, I ran this magazine full to empty over the range session one to three times. No issues. The next few times I ran it, I would load it up at the range in varying round counts and shoot it. No issues. Then I decided to load it for a year and then shoot it to see if the extended magazine compression causes issues. During this time the mag was thrown around in range bags, potentially causing the bullets to shift forward and back in the magazine which could cause issues.

I ran the magazine for the first time in December 2013 after approximately a year of being loaded. The magazine was inserted into the gun and upon insertion, I had Old Faithful shooting 5.56 up and out the magazine. I ejected the magazine and shoot the magazine out, dropping a few rounds out and allowing me to see that the magazine follower/springs had stuck either from time or from the rounds still in the magazine.

The magazine has since been test fired and works fine, causing me to believe that the rounds shifted forward causing the issue.

I have tested the Glock +2 magazine extension on 9mm and 40 magazines (17/19 and 22) without any problems. The PMAG 40 at this time appears to still be functioning 100%, but I’ve only had it for about 1.5 months with 1 opportunity to shoot with it.

I’d maintain the standard rule of thumb in regards to gear, test it before you trust your life to it. I will carry regular magazines with a gun until I have proven in training that extended magazines work reliable. That training will include dropping the magazines on random surfaces, as well as letting it get dirty with the environment – dust, sand, etc.

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