I may be roasted in the comments for this, but you don’t always need a 30-round magazine. There are circumstances where 10 rounds is sufficient, and anything more is just extra weight. When I went deer hunting last year I used the smallest magazine I had on hand, a 20-round magazine, and never went beyond the first pull of the trigger. Having some extra buffer room is nice if you need to take an extra shot, but when you’re lugging your rifle all over God’s creation, then every ounce you can shed makes your life that much easier. Enter Magpul’s latest creation: the 10-round PMAG . . .
Having hunted for a couple years now, I finally understand why people prefer lightweight hunting rifles. The recoil sucks, but compared to lugging a boat anchor up and down every hill in Texas, it’s definitely preferable. So when Magpul announced their 10-round magazines at the NRA Annual Meetings this year, I understood why.
Having put the finishing touches on my 300 AAC Blackout SBR, the final thing on my list of weight-saving modifications was getting a smaller magazine. There’s a distinct difference in the weight of a 300 BLK round compared to a 5.56 NATO cartridge. Namely, the bullet weighs three times as much. So having extra rounds in the gun for 300 BLK means significantly more unwelcome weight.
While I could load only ten rounds in a 30-round magazine, that still leaves a rather large object protruding from my gun that doesn’t need to be there. Having just spent many months and many thousands of dollars on making my gun as small as possible, it only made sense that the magazine should follow suit. A slimmer profile gun would let me get in and out of vehicles easier, something essential for hog hunting in the hill country of central Texas.
With the 10-round PMAG, the bottom of the magazine is about as flush as you can get with the bottom of the mag well in a polymer magazine design. It makes the gun much more “low profile,” and, again, keeps the weight down.
The 10-rounder will also fit in every gun that I tried that accepts standard 5.56 magazine, like that TAVOR SAR. But while it fits everywhere, it doesn’t always fully work. For example, it fits in my SCAR 16S, but it fails to lock the bolt back on an empty magazine. The spring in the magazine just isn’t strong enough to flip up the (admittedly quite hefty) bolt catch.
The lack of heft in the spring leaves me feeling a little uneasy about the ability for the magazine to hold up to repeated usage. I’ll test it out and report back in a year or so, but for now that uneasiness translates to a hit in the ratings.
Despite the spring’s shortcomings, this is still a fine magazine. If you’re hunting or doing some benchrest shooting, this magazine makes the gun much lighter and slimmer than even the best 20-round magazines could achieve. Then again, sometimes you really do need that 30-round “standard” magazine for everything to work right.
Specifications: Magpul PMAG 10 M3
Ratings (out of five):
Feel & Function * * *
It works just fine in my AR-15-based rifles, but pop it into something with a more substantial bolt catch and it won’t always lock the gun open.
Overall Rating * * * 1/2
If you have an AR-15, I would recommend getting at least one of these. It makes benchrest shooting a lot easier, and works like a charm. But be aware that it might not always work perfectly. Definitely a range toy, and not something to trust your life to.