Glock handguns are quite possibly the most popular brand in the United States. Maybe around the world, too. And with that many handguns in circulation, there’s an obviously insatiable demand for spare magazines and replacement parts. Naturally, Glock offers an abundance of spare mags for sale in various sizes, but now there’s another option that’s only half the price. The question, though, is are you actually getting a working magazine, or just a pile of crap? . . .


PW Arms, a Korean manufacturer, makes replacement magazines for a number of firearms. I had previously purchased and used their 30 round magazines for the M1 carbine and never had a single problem, so I figured I’d give these magazines a spin, too.

Being a cheap bastard, I’m always looking for ways to cut costs. Sometimes you find a real bargain, but other times you find something that makes you curse the world and everyone in it. Unfortunately, these things fall in the latter category.

The first impressions were promising. The thing looked just like the genuine article, down to the font of the markings on the back of the magazine. In fact, side-by-side with a real Glock magazine, I couldn’t tell the two apart, except for the fact that the real mag was stamped with the GLOCK logo every three inches. The only difference I could feel right away was that the follower felt a little flimsy, but I thought nothing of it and proceeded to try and load the magazine.

It was at this point that I realized the error of my ways.

A standard Glock mag will easily let me load it to full capacity, not complaining one bit as the follower smoothly makes its way down the metal innards of the body. This magazine, on the other hand, complained vehemently as each new round was inserted and failed to budge after the fifth one. Yes, despite this being listed as a 17 round magazine I could only load five rounds. After that, the follower refused to budge any further.

Trust me, the failure to load wasn’t due to an inadequate application of force. I tried everything from using the Glock magazine loading assistant thingy to force the rounds down the mag’s throat to bashing at it with a punch. All to no avail. The only thing I accomplished was turning my hands into a rough and bloody mess.

And that’s when I noticed the…issues.

Quality apparently isn’t very high on the list of PW’s priorities. I could show you any number of areas on the magazine that highlight that, but this one probably does it best: on a true Glock magazine, the edges of the are relatively crisp. There’s no excess material to get in the way. PW Arms, on the other hand, seems to take a laissez-faire approach to excess material. In order to get more than one round in the magazine, I actually had to whip out my Benchmade and slice off a little sliver of plastic that was getting in the way on the feed lips.

Sometimes you can get away with buying cheap, off-label stuff. In this case, you’ll wind up throwing it out and buying a real Glock magazine anyway about five minutes after you open the packaging.

This thing DOES NOT work. Not even a little.

Specifications: PW Arms (Korean) Glock Magazine

MSRP: $11.79

Ratings (out of five)

Overall Rating 
That’s right, zero stars. Save your money and run the other way.

31 Responses to Gear Review: PW Arms Glock Magazine

  1. Pretty much spot on. I never had loading or feeding issues with mine. However, it had a nasty habit of spitting out the baseplate. The second time it happened, don’t ask me why I kept it after the first time, I was awakened to a loud crash next to my bed in the middle of the night. I instantly reached for my Glock and my flashlight. As I grabbed my gun, I heard click, click, clickclickclick as the last few remaining rounds fell out of the body of the magazine. Carried my Sig until I made it up the gun store.

  2. I have had excellent results with their 33 rounders.

    You might need to work on your hand strength. Or buy yourself a Maglula.

  3. The South Koreans made them because there Police adopted the Glock17/19 but Glock was going to rip them off on prices for mags. So they made there own mags for them. May not be as pretty but they do there job well from what ive read and heard.

  4. i’ve been using KCI mags from CDNN, packaging looks the sames as above. tho the mags aren’t up to OEM standards they’ve always worked for me. i’ve probably have 10 of these 9mm 15rds. i strictly use them for training. the only problems i’ve have while using these where 2 base plates cracked/broke apart, after i dropped them partially loaded. The mag spring is alot weaker then OEM. I’ve had ftf while using these mags but I also shoot my own handloads and i’m also using a wolf conversion 40-9 barrel.

    bottom line, ftf = more clearing reps, and for the price, 4.99 -7.00 that i paid for them i can’t complain. again, i only use these at the range.

    • I have two of these I got during the shortage for extra range mags. I had some FTF’s but no other issues, so I just replaced the springs with some extra ones from Wolff I had. After that I have had no FTF’s and have put about 500 rounds thru them.

  5. Nick,

    This is completely unrelated but I read one of your AR National Match reviews and you mentioned you shot at Quantico. Are you a Marine stationed there? I was until 2008 and am just curious.

  6. I use the KCI mags also for range sessions, but only the Glock mags for carry and actual defense ammo. Cheap magazines + MagLula = far more fun at the range.

    • I also use the Korean made KCI mags in my G-19 for range sessions (and backup for the apocalypse, of course). I’ve never had a single issue in several hundred rounds from each of my four KCI mags. And yes, I also use the MagLula to fill ’em (mostly due to hand weakness following surgery). Typical price was $10.95 each (1/3rd the price of the Glock mag).
      And as Rob stated, my three genuine Glock mag are filled with hollow-point defense rounds.

  7. After reading many reviews of after market Glock mags, some good and some bad, I’ve come to the conclusion that none are consistently good. At least not as consistent as the real deal. For my pistols with harder to find mags, if I can’t find NOS, I’d rather buy (and pay more for) a used original than a new knock-off.
    As long as we buy and settle for cheap copies, they’ll never improve. It’s amazing how long some companies can survive selling junk that doesn’t work.

  8. Bad mags are definitely a recipe for cursing. Was this a sample sent by the manufacturer or one bought off the shelf?

    I once tried to save money buying some cheap ProMags for my SIG P226… both of them turned out to be crap. Loading them was fine, but they would DROP out of my SIG after shooting 1-2 rounds. Scary.

    I have a couple of 18 round Mec-Gar magazines that work fine for my SIG P226, though. Lesson learned.

  9. So you tested 1 magazine and that’s it? Well, what about those 5 rounds that you managed to load into the mag, did you fire them? Any issues at that point?

  10. You can catch a sale at CDNN SPorts and stock up. I have something like 15-20 glock 19 mags. All original. why even chance a bad mag gets mixed in and you need it. like now. ???

  11. I’d like to ask what is the consensus for how many mags one should possess for each pistol? I currently have 6, all flawless factory mags, working towards 10.

    • Depends on the pistol and what you use it for and how many others you have.

      Some sports/gun games/activities require more than others. For carrying for defense I’d have at least 2 in case you have a magazine malfunction. If you are worried about SHTF I’d go with a few good rifle mags and strip loaded ammo since for the weight that is your best bet, and still only a few pistol mags.

      -D

  12. Thanks for the warning Nick.
    I dropped a fully-loaded G19 mag in the snow once. It was found in a ditch a month later after two more snows and much rain. My cousin dried it all out,and I picked it up three months later. The spring was a tad rusty.I took that off. On test firing the mag and the Federal hollowpoints as fast as I could, there wasn’t a bobble! The mag is still in my rotation today(13 years later).
    Glock(and Federal) prefection.

  13. There is another reason to purchase an aftermarket magazine. My nephew wanted a high capacity for is Glock 45 cal. The only one available with decent reviews on YouTube was the KCI 27 round for $19.97 at Cheaper Than Dirt. He has since used it at the range several times with NO problems. He did take it apart and lightly oil it and used an Exacto knife to remove a few tiny bits of plastic from inside the magazine, just in case. It has performed like a Glock mag. and since I just typed this, the god of the perverse will probably hex the magazine and it will crap out in a week. But so far, so good (about 350 rounds).

  14. To me, buying cheap imitation mags is akin to buying cheap tires for my car. When it comes to things upon which my very life may depend… I don’t go cheap.

    Sure… you could reserve them for range fun only… if you don’t mind being frustrated at the range. But, I’d make sure not to mix them up with my good magazines.

  15. Was this finding based off of a single magazine? I’ve had 15 round Glock mags which have had issues, and a crappy 29 round Korean mag which would load about 20 rounds. I’m not sure if they are the same brand as this, but both of them are impossible to load more than 20 or 21 rounds.

    I would a least try more than one before damning all of them.

  16. I have four of the original factory Glock 33 round magazines, but when I saw the KCI 33 rd mags at the gunshow for 15 bucks, I decided to try one out. I had previously had really positive experiences with the very nice Korean MP5 mags imported for a while by ATI. The Korean 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 and ran almost 100 rounds through it with no hick-ups. When compared to a factory Glock 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.

  17. There are things worth saving a few bucks on and there are things that are not. I don’t buy cheap cigars. I’d rather smoke one good cigar a week than smoke seven bad ones. I don’t buy cheap bourbon, better to have one Maker’s Mark (neat of course) a week, than a whole bottle of Old Granddad. Pistol magazines also fall into that category, through the difference is Old Granddad or a cheap cigar aren’t likely to kill me.

    • Cheap cigars and bourbon will kill you!

      I agree about the good stuff, though. You gotta keep life worth living before you die, and good booze and stogies definitely help.

  18. The Korean ones I’ve got are marked “KHAN” or something like that on the bottom.

    They make great range/practice mags – and in my case, the mags I give to students to use with loaner guns in our NRA Personal Protection classes and other courses where we use loaner guns.

    Personally, I think the KHAN mags are a good value. Don’t think the Korean KHAN and these are the same, but they could be…

    As for “duty” use in a personal protection category, or serious competition (where there’s money or prizes on the line), I shoot ONLY factory Glock mags that have been fired through a dozen or more cycles to ensure reliability.

    I don’t use KHAN mags in this role because I’ve had five or six malfunctions that were not intentionally induced (usually feed related) over the years (out of maybe 10k rounds fired), where the Glock factory mags have been FLAWLESS for as long as I’ve owned them.

  19. i picked up a few of the glock 22 korean mags when cdnn had them on sale for 4.99 a pop. one had some feeding issues and cdnn took that one back and sent me another. i wont use them to carry or even competition, but as some extras for just going to the range i would say they are acceptable

  20. Early 70s I bought 8 “after market” 1911 mags at a gun show. One (1) of them worked…the others were shit. Haven’t purchased anything but Factory magazines since…’course…’cept for PMags for my ARs.

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