Gear Review: Lancer L5 AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazines)

Lancer designs magazines for law enforcement, military, and competition use; Three masters demanding perfection from one product. They have tried to design their magazines to suit all three uses, and in my opinion their previous generation magazines succeeded for all three consumers. But they didn’t stop there. The next generation Lancer magazine is here: the Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine. And it’s better than ever . . .

Magazines for the 5.56x45mm NATO platform were originally made of metal. They were a little heavy and clunky. The shooter couldn’t tell how much ammo they had left. Magpul’s polymer PMAGs were the first polymer AR magazines generally accepted by shooters and designed to address some of the issues metal mags had.

PMAGs had a couple of flaws relating to the all-polymer body. As I know from firsthand experience—JUST when I needed a fresh mag in a competition—the back of the PMAG magazine had a tendency to split. The magazine catch cutout could wear down with use, and the feed lips left something to be desired. The original Lancer magazines fixed the issue with the feed lips, but nothing else.

The new Advanced Warfighter magazines fix everything that the old ones didn’t, and do it well.


The metal feed lips are now a solid “U” shaped band of metal that encircle the top of the magazine, strengthening the rear seam of the magazine to protect against splitting. This metal band practically eliminates any possibility of the metal separating from the magazine due to the pressure of the rounds loaded inside.

The extended feed lips even extend far enough to make the top of the magazine catch. This makes seating the magazine feel a lot more solid than with the other polymer magazines.

The feed lips are still metal as well, completing the trifecta of magazine improvements. But Lancer wanted to build a better mag.

Instead of the standard “slick sided” magazines, Lancer has placed stippling on their magazines to make it easier to grab and hold. They placed the stippling on the front and the top of the side of the magazine, to make it easier to pull out of magazine pouches.

I just used these magazines in a competition this Memorial Day weekend Sunday. They performed perfectly, with not even the slightest hint of trouble. Well, except for the trouble I caused myself (dropping a magazine).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlLr6jjkFHY

Oh, and did I mention that these are going to be made available in two shades of green, brown, and black as well as the standard see-through variety?

The Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter magazines are it. And I’m not just saying that as someone who used them once, I’m saying that as someone who’s just replaced his entire stock of competition magazines with something better.

Specifications: Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazines

Weight: 4.4 oz.
MSRP: $15.75 – $28.84

Ratings (out of five)

Feel & Function * * * * *
With the caveat that it’s still basically a standard 5.56 magazine in shape, this magazine feels a lot better than its Magpul competitor and even its Lancer predecessor. Gripping, seating, and ripping it out during a double feed drill all feel much more solid and easier, thanks to the steel lip and the grippyness.

Overall Rating * * * * *
Your best buy.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

7 Responses to Gear Review: Lancer L5 AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazines)

  1. avatarJason says:

    And it only took 50 years!

  2. avatarTexas Deputy says:

    Are these available for a Ruger Mini-14 5.56/.223?

  3. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    It’s about time someone got it right. My previous experience with civilian polymer mags for my AK’s, RPK and PLR 16 was not good. Steel feed lips-who would have thought. I remember somebody made a good polymer 30 rd mag for mini 14′s, but that was before the Brady Bunch ban and many trades ago. I do remember it had flat steel springs that rolled down as the mag was loaded with rounds-I want to say it was Eagle brand. That was back when you couldn’t steal a high capacity Ruger embossed magazine w/o a government purchase order. How are these new mags as far as being crush resistant?

    • Magpul is sending us some of their PMAGs to test (you should have seen the face on that sales rep when I told him how one of his mags split in the middle of a competition!), and I’m going to try and get a couple other brands to throw in the mix. We will have a full report on magazine durability fairly soon, stay tuned.

  4. avatarchris says:

    any updates on these? how have they held up over the past 18 months?

  5. avatarg says:

    Rainier Arms has some translucent smoke ones in stock right now.

    http://www.rainierarms.com/?page=shop/detail&product_id=1195

  6. avatarDJ9 says:

    I’d like an update as well, if possible. I’ve been using 3 of these mags for the last year or so with no problems, but it was fairly light-duty use due to the ammo shortage. Now a local shop has the black and translucent smoke models on sale for $10 each (new in package), and if they’re still go-to-go, I’ll pick up a bunch more.

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