Some gun owners only buy branded or name brand ammunition magazines. Who can blame them? The magazine is a mission critical component of any weapons system, and it’s the most prone-to-failure. Then again, as post-Loughner high capacity magazine defenders have pointed out, high cap mags are often used for range work, where reliability is not a life-or-death issue. In other words, I’m a cheap bastard. Lately the market has become flooded with imported magazines made by KCI in Seoul, South Korea. So when I saw that Cheaper Than Dirt had 33-round KCI mags for $14.97, twenty bucks less than the OEM 33 rounder, I figured it was an “assault clip” match made in heaven.

The moment you open the KCI package it’s clear Toto’s not in Deutch-Wagram, Austria anymore. Asking KCI’s mondo-bullet holder to compare to Gaston’s Glockery is like shopping K-Mart for Chanel chic. The Korean mag was as shiny as a bald man’s pate on a hot day. The factory couldn’t figure out how to trim excess material. YGWYPF. But sometime form trumps function. So I performed a little cosmetic surgery to remove the excess plastic and moved on to the loading part of the program.

Grabbing a box of 9mm and a speed loader, I starting feeding the beast. Many KCI mag reviewers complained of springs so stiff they could only load around 18 rounds. I managed to insert all 33 rounds into mine. That said, two rounds in, the follower started sticking, which allowed the top round to slide out with disconcerting ease. I fiddled around with the follower (all the while cursing myself for buying foreign “junk”). I eventually gave up and moved on loading the rest of the mag. When I got the fifth round, the follower started functioning normally.

Problem solved? Or was this mag only going to function until it hit the fourth round?

I walked up to the firing line and inserted the mag, fully expecting it to live up to its mediocre reputation. Round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after roundafter round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round after round, I waited for a jam.

Like Santa Claus in July, the jam never came. I loaded her up for another go. I put up a fresh target and let loose as fast as I could pull the trigger, for what seemed like an eternity. All the cartridges fired with flawless ease. When the slide locked back I was grinning like Joe Biden at a union hall. Four strings later, I was a believer.

The KCI mag is good to go, nestled in the grip of your favorite Kel-Tec Carbine or sitting in your range bag. If you can get over its cosmetic flaws and initial hang-ups, you should have a faithful accessory for years to come.

Should. As I said, there are plenty of reports of less-than-ideal mag performance. Glock has a rep to protect, at all costs (yes, including G4 hiccups). KCI, not so much. On the other hand, if they can make tens of thousands of mags that work like mine did, for less than $15, they’ll soon have a rep all their own.

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24 Responses to Gear Review: KCI 33 Round 9mm Glock Magazine

  1. If you don’t buy this useless junk, there won’t be a market for it. Then the gun industry won’t make it, and then criminals and maniacs (like Laughner) won’t be able to buy it.

    When the gun racket calls these magazines “happy sticks” and then cons you into buying them just to annoy the gun control crowd, you are the chumps, not the gun controllers. You’re being played. You may as well walk around with an 8/0 hook in your lip.

    • Did you .. read .. the article? He pretty clearly states that it’s not useless (this one anyway).. Or was it the picture of the large magazine that drew you right to the comments section?

      I think you’re still hung up on the “the only purpose of this is to kill lots of people fast!” gobbldy-gook that the Brady Campaign spews..

      Tell me then; what’s the line between a “standard capacity” magazine and a “high capacity” magazine – 10 rounds? 12? 17?

      • 1. By useless I mean for any significant positive purpose, For example, “convenience at the range” doesn’t work for me. I’m just not that lazy a shooter, or that sloppy.

        2. I can’t imagine anything more stupid than debating whether this magazine gives a Glock a significantly larger cartridge capacity. I dunno. It seems as though to be a gun loon, first you must check your brain at the door — the rationalizations you guys can dream up.

        • Magoo,

          For me this has a positive purpose. It’s fun. It’s not convenient in the least, in fact it’s downright time consuming to load it, but unloading it is entertaining and in my mind that is a legitimate reason.

          I don’t think the issue is if it gives the Glock a significantly larger capacity. I agree that doubling what my G19 usually holds would be a significant increase; however, that increase in rounds does not dictate an increase in “lethality”. Shooting 33 rounds that fast tends to wreak havoc on accuracy and I am willing to bet that the difference in time that it takes me to blow through one of these magazines compared to going through two “standard” capacity magazines is not a large amount. Those are the issues with the knee jerk reaction to ban high capacity magazines. When confronted with the realities (i.e. they aren’t just used to blow people away indiscriminantly) where does the line get drawn on magazine capacity?

        • I would concur with Ryan. Mags like these are fun. While I am all for restrictions on gun ownership these restrictions should be for societal wellbeing (most likely stopping bad people from shooting lots of people). I am relatively new to handgun shooting, I shot in my first IDPA match last weekend, but I think I could shoot two 17 round mags just as quick and a ton more accurately then a 33 round behemoth that changes the weight and balance of my gun. A dual mag holder is more dangerous than a 33 round mag.

        • Some gun grabbers are so desperate they troll firearms review sites. How fascinating is that?

    • I’m curious to know what you do for your free time. Are your hobbies any less pointless than target shooting? I, for one, think it’s fun to target shoot. Plus I’ll be ready for the zombie apocalypse, while you’re trying to think of ways to convince the friendly flesh eaters to settle things over a game of chess. Good luck, buddy.

  2. I bought one of these at a show to test. Complete and utter fail. When it was loaded, the magazine itself expanded so much that it wouldn’t feed into the base of the pistol, It wouldn’t fit into the my backup either.

    Complete p.o.s. Can’t understand how anyone would use these mags for any sort of self defense scenario.

    • Same here. Mine load but it’s a tight squeeze. One isn’t as bad as the other. Haven’t tested their functionality yet though.

  3. I have had the Scherer’s with one failing out of the original 3, and 2 of the Glock originals. I see it as a way to practice uninterrupted slow, aimed fire and sight reference fire. If a mag fails and has no ready fix I can it, so it can never fail me again. I am of the opinion of a good magazine is like putting good oil in my truck and motorcycle. I don’t want to encourage failure. That said though, the most expensive isn’t always the best. I only use Brownell’s green follower M16 magazines because they never fail me, and they are usually no more than $19 each. Good post, Ryan…

  4. I have three of the original factory Glock 33 round magazines, but when I saw these KCI / Amercian Tactical mags at the gunshow for 15 bucks, I decided to try one out. I had previously had really positive experiences with AT products, including their very nice MP5 mags. Having said that, their version of the Glock 33 rounder is a mixed bag. Mine would not load more than 16 rounds at first, so I had to take it apart and “de-burr” the inside of the magazine where excess plastic had been left by the factory. Once I found the “right” tool for the job (a fish filet knife), it only took about 5 minutes to fix the problem. I took it to the range today and ran almost 100 rounds through it with no hick-ups. I did not experience the same problem that Abunai describes (see above), and when compared to a factory Glack mag I could see no difference in the overall rigidity of the magazine. Overall, I would say that these mags are good for training or plinking purposes, but I would probably stick to a factory original if you were using them in a real world / CQB situation.

  5. I am willing to bet that the Brady bunch would flip out if they saw my Beta Mag attached to my AR-15. shoot 100 rds with ease. If you let them cut the mag to 10, when the next shooting with a crazy man, you will find calls for 5rds, or 2 rds and then single shot. Its the guy behind the gun not the gun.

  6. Are these the same as the “Khan” Korean Glock mags?

    I’ve got ten of the Khans for G17 and while they are generally problem-free, I’ve had malfunctions with all of them. When you’re shooting serious competitions for prizes, demonstrations for students, or God-forbid, for your life, you don’t want mag-related malfunctions.

    I’ve banished the Khans to the “training” bag and run factory mags for serious work and self-defense.

    The long stick mags do have their place, especially for the Kel-Tec carbines.

    J

  7. Magoo, you evidently believe that any product available for purchase must be subjected to your personal stamp of approval. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. If you see no personal need for a product, you are free to not purchase it. Simple, huh? I, however, may see a personal need for that product and you have no legal or moral standing to determine my ability to purchase and use it. That, my friend, is the difference between living in a free society and an authoritarian tyranny. As I have read your responses to various articles on this site I find it appropriate that your pseudonym appears to come from an animated series of shorts depicting a feeble minded old man who cannot see much past his own nose…cheers.

  8. If you own a Glock 9mm you should own at least one extended magazine. Why? Because its one of the little pluses to owning this brand and caliber. It’s not bank breaking or hard to come by and looks anywhere from badass to ridiculous depending on who you ask. There is limited tactical value in spraying and praying and if you have a defense need that includes a need for that with 33 rounds buy factory. If you’re in it for fun factor and to say you own one go off brand. It’s cheap, silly and can count as educational.

  9. If you don’t want to read this whole review, I’ll skip to the end and say that these are damn close to the effectiveness of the factory mags. That’s at around half the price, so I give these 5/5 stars. Now if you want to know every detail, you can read the rest…
    First, I bought one of these 33 round KCI mags and two of the 15 round mags. It seems to me like they will function well enough for something $20 cheaper than the factory clips… That said, I did have a couple things that were “less than perfect.” These items are mostly nit-picking…
    First, I could only get 14 rounds into the 15 round clips. I may have been able to get 15 in, but I would have had to press down harder than is acceptable. I mean, hard enough to worry about jamming or breaking something in the clip. Next, the 33-round mag had a metal piece in front of the bullet that would catch on the front of the shell casing. I noticed this just pushing the bullets out. I don’t know it would have jammed, but I trimmed it. Also, one of the three mags I couldn’t use the speed loader on; the back of the shell would go down and the bullet part would stick up, getting in the way of the bullet that I’m trying to put in. Not a huge deal, and the other two mags worked fine in this regard. Only a few extra seconds without the speed loader.
    My last problem was with two of the clips; with both of them the top bullet would hit the part of the trigger mechanism housing that sticks out right above the clip on the left. The bullet does of course press down, and the ONLY time this is a factor is after one clip is emptied and you go to put in the next clip. That is to say that you will only notice this while the slide is open; with the slide closed the top hits the slide in all the mags, even with the Glock (it has to, really, otherwise the bullet won’t press up and into the chamber after firing each round). With the glock mags there is no obstruction, clicks right into place. In one of the mags this was pretty noticeable. I could see this *potentially* posing a problem if you do need to reload quickly and you don’t press it in hard enough. It might not click into place and fall out. MAYBE. But if you NEED to get a clip in there in an emergency, I imagine you’ll use plenty of force to get it in properly. I said two mags did this, but only one really does it enough to where it would be even a remote possibility of it causing a problem. The other mag touches by the smallest amount; if you don’t get it in all the way you wouldn’t have got the factory Glock mag in, either.
    The 3rd mag was perfect; no obstructing metal, no problem with the speed loader, and no bullet pressing against the piece of metal on the trigger mechanism housing. Ok, ALMOST perfect; I could only get 14 out of 15 rounds in as easily as I’m comfortable with. I honestly would put these with my Glock mags in a life-or-death situation*. Other than the one that hits the top bullet, but that one will be kept in the pistol, removing the chance of not getting it pressed in hard enough. Less than half the price and no issues I will lose sleep over; yeah, these get five stars from me**.
    *You may wonder why I’d take these that only hold 14, when the factory ones hold 15… Well, in actuality I only keep 13 in the mags (29 in the 33-round clip) when I store them. If I go to a range I add the extras. So no real difference there. Plus, if I *did* store them at full capacity, I have two KCI clips for every one Glock clip I could have bought instead… 15 in the Glock, or 28 in the KCIs… Did I mention 5/5 stars?
    **Ok, ok… They really can only get 5/5 stars if they worked just as good as the factory mags… so 4.957/5 stars. Didn’t want all the decimal places, so I rounded up. Thus the fine print. Had to add it for legal purposes, if you disagree talk to my attorney.

  10. I have many of these. You will get a bad one if you buy enough. Overall really a good value.

  11. I do not think KCI makes 33 rd mags, I went to website where I buy all my KCI’s mags and there is no KCI 33rd mags, I bought 3 I thought were from KCI but when I received them the floorplates do not have a brand name. (I think they are SGM) My regular G19 KCI mags do have KCI floorplates. I searched for a while and cannot find any KCI 33rd mags with KCI’s floorplates. If you think you have a KCI 33rd mag check your floorplates and if you do have one with a KCI floorplate please tell me where you bought it. The site states if you have a KCI magazine it will have a KCI floorplate.

  12. btw KCI magazines come in a brown paper sleeved envelope only and not loose or plastic, if you received a magazine in a plastic sleeve or loose etc it is not KCI.

    • I recently purchased 10 of the glock 19 KCI magazines from kcimags.com and they all came in a little plastic wrapper. not the typical. they are definitely kci magazines

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