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…

H&K Mag, c Nick Leghorn

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.

H&K Mag, c Nick Leghorn

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.

H&K Mag, c Nick Leghorn

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
Price: $19.95

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.

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34 Responses to Gear Review: H&K 30 Round Polymer 5.56 Magazines

    • I don’t own a single Magpul, but I currently have four Troy mags, which I am pretty crazy about. I own maybe 7-8 other 30-rounders, this, that, the other, that would only come into rotation in certain dire circumstances, but are “probably” pretty reliable; it’s just that I don’t test them.

      I really like these H&K clear mags. Who is retailing them presently, Nick?

  1. If I owned (not that I can ever) a G36 I would definitely buy a few to keep the stock HK look. Otherwise, meh is right. I will stick with the Pmag for my ARs and Sig 556.

    • You all sound like a bunch of fags…”like, ew. This magazine totally doesn’t match my rifle.” Are you kidding me? He didn’t even torture test the damn thing….stupid waste of time.

    • Gee, that’s hysterical. I NEVER heard that one before. Did you just now make that up, or are you a non-HK owner who repeats idiocy from all the other “web experts”.

      • Unoriginal perhaps, but not unfounded.

        Until you can show me some form of evidence to prove how they are somehow that much superior. They’re not.

        • I’ll assume that you are one of the “experts” that I previously referenced. I don’t need to show you jack-sh!t. Mine work for me…everytime. And unlike most firearms that are currently deified, they do so in bone stock factory configuration.

          I don’t need to search for AR fixes, nor Glock “perfection” enhancers. Feel free to spend your money as you wish, but denegrating the manufacturer of fine firearms makes “web experts” sound like idiots. (or in the case of the “we hate you, you suck crowd…ignorant parrots)

  2. This sounds about right for what I figured.

    It looks like a Lancer but doesn’t have any of the other useful features. Polymer feed lips which can break (as so often happens with Magpul PMAGs) as they’re not designed to flex under stress, versus the hardened steel lips and upper body of the Lancer AWMs.

    The AWM has a MUCH more aggressive texturing to it (compared to a wide variety of other magazines I’ve handled), with stippling in each ‘pocket’ between each raised line.

    Plus yeah, the AWM’s smoke body makes seeing rounds available dead-easy and very clear (no pun intended) the first time you look at it.

  3. Just got home from testing four of my own and I’ll second the “meh” factor.

    Two additional gripes; the spring seems somewhat stout so weaker-thumbed individuals may have trouble loading thirty, and the feed lips are very flexible. Not sure if this indicates “weaker” by any means. When it comes to long-term durability, I was just surprised when loading how much flex there was.

    That being said four magazines fed two carbines flawlessly. They do in fact fit my Noveske Gen2 lower.

    Since I store 12 loaded pmags at a time, which come with dust covers, better profile, better grip, seemingly stronger construction, all at a cheaper price, I will not be adding these to my rotation.

  4. Checked one out the other day,don’t care for them.To me the Tapco mags feed lips appear to be more sturdy,plus the Tapco mags have a somewhat textured feel to them,at less than half the price.The H&K mags look to be out of date,and not strong.H&K is way behind the curve on these,but with their arrogant attitude about their products,and the fact that they are on the verge of bankruptcy,they are just trying to bring in what cash they can.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  5. Thanks for the review. I almost bought a few, but I decided I just did not need more 5.56 AR mags. Lately I’ve been using good old fashioned plain Jane USGI mags from Brownells and they have been performing flawlessly, plus, in the various tactical and combat carbine and CQB classes I’ve been taken I don’t think twice about dumping them out, or stripping them and throwing them on: dirt, mud, sand, gravel, loose rock….

  6. Thanks for the review, but I’ll stick to buying magazines from companies that do not hate freedom. I just picked up a couple of aluminum GI style mags with stainless steel springs and anti-tilt followers for $14 apiece out the door in AZ. They work like a champ in my new Magpul MOE build with DSA M4 upper.

  7. Its doesnt cost $1k or more like the rest of their products? And its a 30 round baby killing machine AVAILABLE to the people? Surley this cant be HK approved?

    • Magpul makes consumer (some would say prosumer) products for gun owners and users. I don’t owe them a spoon of tomato soup.

      You’ve got it bass-ackwards; it Magpul that owes US.

    • Right, so that’s why during the fears of the ban they had deals with any police who wanted to buy up to 10 could get in front of the line and pay far less. Whereas average Joes like you and me had to wait and pay higher prices.

      That’s some open support all right.

    • It’s a brand identification, thing, I’m thinking. You know, like when a certain brand of gas makes you feel more in command of your car? Is that it?

  8. I’ll sum up the review in a way H&K can understand:

    Null-acht-fünfzehn

    or

    08/15

    Which even today as an adjective to denote something totally ordinary and lacking in originality or specialness.

    (Note: it comes from the MG 08/15 which was an attempt to make a light machinegun from a standard Maxim MG08: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_08/15#MG_08.2F15 )

  9. Going to stick with my pmags and USGI mags thanks. No interest in HK’s overpriced under-delivering offering.

  10. “because you suck, and we hate you”

    Hate to break it to the “expert” but…its sadly true. Even
    had an almost fanatical former H&K dealer relate this
    sadly to me as he sold me his last few USP mag’s.
    Love my H&K91 but…H&K has utterly
    lost its way.

  11. Ill stick with my traditional STANAGs thank you, I don’t trust plastic in general, be it Glock, Magpul, or this piece of German shaizen.

  12. I see plenty of comments here ripping HK apart…

    First, if you don’t own an HK firearm, you can hardly judge. When you own several and can attest to the quality, the design, and the accuracy out of box…you have wasta.

    All things considered, I have have plenty of G2 and G3 Pmags, they are great and work fine. I have Troys which fit sloppily in my Sig556, so these will be a great replacement. The HK steel marine mags work perfect in the FN FS2000, avoiding the need to use sub-par USGI mags with horrible followers. I guess what I’m getting to folks is that you should not judge a product because of price, or because you feel a company like HK is overpriced with hype. Rather you should evaluate what will work best for each platform you own, asking yourself what you want to do with that platform…and if the ‘ideal’ products will cover down for everything. HK gives you options, just like Magpul, Lancer, Troy, etc.

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