Mec-Gar is undoubtedly my favorite aftermarket pistol magazine maker. Among others, I run them in my Sigs P-229s, Beretta 92s and especially on my CZ-75, because they’re high quality and are typically cheaper than OEM mags.
So when Mec-Gar said they needed some beta testers to air out their new 10-round commie state-compliant mags for the Berretta 84 and Browning BDA, I volunteered.
Many firearm manufacturers including Browning, Remington, SIG SAUER, Steyr and Walther have Mec-Gar build magazines under their brand names. But when they aren’t filling OEM orders, they crank out a pretty good selection of mags for old-school guns like the Beretta 84 double-stack .380 Auto.
Beretta 84, you say? Yeah, Ok, I’ll admit that I usually carry a compact 9mm such as a Smith & Wesson Shield, but I have a soft spot for the venerable steel and aluminum Beretta .380s that were so popular in the 1980s and 1990s. I’ve unwittingly managed to acquire a small collection of new and lightly used Berettas over the years, most of which are shown below:
A year ago I purchased three 13-round Mec-Gars from Midway USA for about $22 a pop. They run flawlessly. Luckily, I can still get the 13-rounders; the anti-gunners haven’t ruined my home state of Oregon (yet), but they’re working on it.
Many states aren’t as lucky, and I think we’ll continue to see more and more political pressure to limit magazines to ten rounds or less.
For those of you unlucky souls living in states with “high-capacity” magazine bans, running 10-round mags in a compact .380 is still a reasonable EDC choice. This is especially true since advances in ammunition technology have resulted in much better .380 auto than back in the 1970s and 80s.
I tested two 10-round mags that Mec-Gar sent me, and – no big surprise – they ran flawlessly. I put 300 rounds through them with a hiccup.
There’s one little quirk I need to mention: the way that Mec-Gar limits the mag capacity is to add a dimple in both sides of the magazine roughly 2/3 of the way down (see image above). This limits the follower travel and prevents more than 10 rounds from being inserted into the mag.
As you load rounds, the springs rack over the dimples with an audible “clicking” sound. If you aren’t used to hearing that, it might sound like something’s wrong. Don’t worry – it’s part of the design. Again, my magazines ran flawlessly.
Buy the way, if any of you are running the excellent Lionheart LH-9, Mec-Gar now makes the OEM mag for that pistol as well. I recently bought three 15-round mags for my LH-9, and they have been flawless as well after 500 rounds or so.
Here’s Mec-Gar’s press release:
Mec-Gar® USA is proud to announce the addition of Blued and Nickel 10-round Browning BDA magazines to their product line. Due to changes in several states, many shooters will not be able to use or possess any magazine in excess of ten rounds. Mec-Gar’s position is that they disagree with these restrictive laws and their proposed effectiveness, however they want shooters in those states to be able to continue to use their firearms.
According to Mec-Gar USA Vice-President David Kochol, the magazines have the high quality and attention to detail expected of Mec-Gar magazines, with the following attributes:
New dimpling technique allows for full size Mec-Gar followers, magazine springs, and floor plates
Body manufactured from carbon steel
Polished, blued or nickel finish to ensure easy loading and feeding into the pistol
Spring manufactured from Type D music wire
High-impact polymer baseplate
Numbered witness holes for remaining-round calculation
The blued magazines have a retail price of $31.10 and the nickel magazines have a retail price of $33.85. These magazines are now available.
Mec-Gar® Srl is a privately held, family-run business located in Brescia, Italy. Since opening in 1965, the company has been proud of its fully in-house engineering, design and manufacturing process, positioning Mec-Gar Srl as an industry leader in quality and innovation. Mec-Gar® USA is owned and operated by the same family and functions as the sole U.S. importer and distributor for Mec-Gar Srl products in North America. To learn more, visit www.mec-gar.com.
And Connecticut rejoiced.
Looks as though one could take some needle nose vice grips and flatten out that dimple and have proper magazine back.
Probably. Then again most people could also just drive an hour out of state and buy whatever they want. Which almost makes me think these laws are stupid…
And then we get to Columbine where the Hi Point Carbine used was fired 96 times from 10 shot magazines…
I have a friend with a Jericho 941 and he has hobbled magazines just like that. His solution was to drill out those dimples, I don’t think he had a reasonable chance of flattening them out. I believe he said there was a sort of tab below the follower that he had to trim also.
“Looks as though one could take some needle nose vice grips and flatten out that dimple and have proper magazine back.”
I was thinking along the lines of a small hole on the opposite side of the mag, and with a punch with the mag on a flat surface like a vise flat, ‘massaging’ the dimple flat.
Or just drill the dimple out entirely with about a 1/4 inch drill bit…
Good review. Nice gun pics, especially the up close mag ones. Doesn’t Mec-Gar also makes many of the OEM mags too?
One of my favorite pistols of all time. Wish I could justify dropping $700+ on a new one right now.
The 84 was very nice, but that 86 in the group photo really rings my bell. Sometimes a pity Beretta discontinued it, it was an excellent piece for folks with arthritis, hand injuries, weak flabby arms, whomever wants a pistol but just can’t work a slide.
And they’re beautiful to boot.
I agree with your assessment of the Beretta model 86. They are starting to get interest from collectors, so expect prices to increase. Too bad it wasn’t featured in any James Bond movies
Wish they made mags for the Makarov.
Or Kahr in .45 (they make 9mm, IIRC). Factory Kahr magazines are not really awesome in .45.
Thought I read somewhere that 1911 mags work in Kahr .45’s?
yes good review, and nice pics, and I too have a m84 and love it. and that Lionheart pistol looks a lot like a Daewoo DP51 that is ( or was) the standard pistol of South Korea. and the review was no surprise since Mec-Gar seems to know what they are doing and have plenty of experience at it.
It is a upgrade of the DP 51. The Mec-Gar mags work great.
“the review was no surprise since Mec-Gar seems to know what they are doing and have plenty of experience at it.”
Yep, Mec-Gar is an excellent example of a ‘stick to your knitting’ manufacturer.
Do *one* thing and one thing only, and focus all your effort on making it exceptional.
A Daewoo DP51 was the first gun I ever bought.
If memory serves, (since I sold it about 15 years back), it was designed to use stock magazines from a Smith or a Colt (or another major brand). There are *zero* problems finding mags for it.
The 51 was a neat little gun. It had a funky action where you can push the hammer down while it was cocked. ‘Fast Action’, I think they called it.
If I ever run across one used with the right price, I’ll probably snag it…
Yes, the Daewoo DP51 used S&W 59 series magazines. That pistol is a modified version of the S&W 39 /59 series. The Lionheart LH-9 is an improved version of the Daewoo. Original versions of the LH-9 were made in The ROK, but I think they are being made in the US now if memory serves me. They are excellent, first quality pistols.