When H&K announced a couple weeks ago that they would be selling a transparent polymer 30-round 5.56 magazine for the AR-15 I wasn’t too impressed. Other companies like Lancer have been making transparent polymer AR mags for ages and have become quite good at it. I wasn’t convinced that H&K, even with their legendary design team behind them, could top the existing products. So as soon as they were available on their online store I plunked down my credit card and bought one to see if they were any good. And after testing the magazine for a bit, I think one word sums it up best: meh…
For the H&K magazine, the standard features are all present. It feeds reliably using an anti-tilt follower. It fits into every firearm I own that’s designed to take AR-15 magazines, including the FN SCAR and the Tavor SAR. And it fits in standard magazine pouches without much complaining. In other words, it meets all the basic requirements.
The only real issue I have with the magazine is that the bottom half is much thicker than the top half. This added material makes the cartridges harder to see from the outside which defeats the purpose of a transparent magazine. Or so you’d think.
These days, in order for a magazine to stand out, it needs to go above and beyond the standard checklist. It has to have some sort of “killer feature,” and in my mind this magazine doesn’t have one.
The design, while conforming to H&K’s traditional magazine look and feel, seems out of place.
The current style that’s in vogue now is a textured magazine, one that provides the shooter with a better grip. Lancer’s AWM magazines started the trend back in 2011 and Magpul followed by releasing a new texture on their M3 magazines last year. H&K, on the other hand, continues with their tradition of making a slick-sided feeder that’s very smooth to the touch with gently contoured ridges. The ridges give some grippitude to the magazine, but not nearly as much as Magpul and Lancer. It makes me feel like I’m holding a stick of butter instead of a mag.
The new magazine reminds me of the ones designed for the old H&K SL-8 that came out in 1998, but a more waffle-like texture than the ’98 era magazines. It’s more or less the same style that H&K produced for its recently released HK417 rifle line. I’m not sure if that indicates that H&K is staying true to its long-lived design scheme, or that they haven’t come up with anything new in almost 20 years.
For the H&K fans, this magazine will suit them just fine. It has all of the traditional design features of an H&K product, it functions well, and it has a big H&K logo stamped right into the side of the thing. But when you realize that this magazine costs 30% more than the standard Magpul PMAG and about on par with Lancer’s AWM magazines (which have a strengthened magazine catch cutout and metal spine support for added durability), there really isn’t anything to justify the higher price tag.
H&K Polymer 30 Round 5.56 Magazine
Ratings (out of five stars):
Feel & Function * * * *
It works, but it’s a little on the slippery side.
Overall Rating * * *
Expensive, slick and hard(er than it should be) to see the bullets. But it has the H&K logo stamped on the side, so they’ll sell by the crateload.