Magpul’s PMAG 30 is the shooting industry and military magazine standard for AR15 rifles. I’d imagine they’re as ubiquitous as the Colt aluminum magazines issued to me while in the Marines. Why choose a Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 Gen M3 magazine though?

Overview of the product

Let’s unpack your triple magazine pouches and discuss the name first.

Magpul PMAG is pretty standard across all Magpul magazines. The 30 refers to the magazine being 30 rounds. Magpul offers reduced capacities as well as a 40 round magazine.

The AR/M4 refers to the rifle platform it goes with. The M3 refers to the generation of magazine. Gen 2 magazines are still available for sale.

We’ll review the overall parts and features that we feel make the Magpul Gen M3 magazine better than other polymer magazines.


The high material quality magazine is made from an impact resistant polymer construction, which features a spring that will last you through thousands of rounds.

The M3 features a simple tool-less disassembly, increased bolt catch clearance, and a resilient stainless steel spring – making the smooth feeding anti tilt follower do its thing..

The dimensions of the magazine were modified from Gen M2 to Gen M3 to allow for use in other rifles, such as the Marine Corp’s HK416, MR556A1, and M27.

The magazine is also compatible with other rifle models like the British SA-80, FN SCAR MK 16/16S, and others.

Anti-Tilt Self Lubricating Follower and design

Like the M2, the Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 Magazine also features an anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower for easy feed and reliability.

Easy individual magazine identification

The lower area on the magazine’s side features a paint pen dot matrix. If you have issues with that magazine, you’ll easily be able to identify it, make your note, and dispose.


The Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 Magazine features a windowed and windowless version.

The windowed version includes markings on its side to tell you how many rounds are left in the magazine.


The PMAG 30 Gen M3 is a 30 round magazine. Magpul also sells a PMAG 10/30 magazine . The 10/30 magazine is a 10 round capacity magazine in a 30 round sized magazine.

In layman’s terms – It is a full sized shell but can only hold 10 rounds.

There are may different round capacity PMAG’s available for rifle platforms. It really just depends on the caliber of the ammunition.


You might think, “What could they have possibly added to make the magazine better? It’s a basic gun part.” This isn’t like the Colt aluminum magazines. There are many additional attributes to these magazines that make them superior.

One attribute is that they’re configurable to your needs.

Dust covers

All Magpul PMAG 30 Gen M2 and Gen M3 magazines include a dust cover. This helps keep the magazine free of dust and dirt.

Dust and dirt may interfere with the self lubricating follower. That may cause a gritty and delayed reload – aka, not a smooth feeding process. Your rifle wouldn’t chamber the next round because the spring didn’t do it’s job fast enough.

These are easily lost. I have a few magazines that don’t have them. You can buy extras at your favorite gun shop.

Magpul also offers the couple accessory that attaches two Magpul magazines together. Video game enthsiasts will easily recognize this from their favorite Call of Duty game.

With the magazines side by side, the shooter reloads faster and more efficiently.

Capacity limiter

The capacity limiter allows recreational shooters and hunters to TEMPORARILY limit the capacity of their magazine.

These DO NOT limit the magazine’s capacity in terms of magazine capacity bans – in states like California. We suggest looking at the PMAG 10/30 magazine if you’re in a state with these laws.

Ranger plate

The ranger plate easily replaces the PMAG’s floorplate, giving you an easy to grab touch point on the magazine from your kit or mags.

Imagine having to pull a magazine out from a tightly packed ammo can or enclosed space? The ranger plate takes care of that.

PMAG M2 vs M3

The major differences between the Magpul PMAG Gen M2 and Gen M3 is the range of weapons it can fit in.

Rifle fit

The M2 is primarily made to fit AR15 and M4 rifles. It will not work in SA80, HK416, or similar platforms.

The Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 magazine was primarily made to fit the AR15 and M4 rifles. However, it’s update gives the Gen M3 better compatibility to fit HK 416/MR556A1/M27 IAR, British SA-80, FN SCAR MK 16/16S, and others rifle platforms.

Dot matrix

The Gen M3 magazine has a paint pen dot matrix to easily identify your magazine. The M2 does not features this.

Floorplate height

The height of the floorplate is shorter on the Gen M3, which makes it easier to pack into pouches and bags.

With the M2’s floorplate being a bit taller, it makes for an easier to grab,positive magazine extraction point. Especially when wearing gloves.

But you won’t need to worry about that – because you’ll be using a Ranger Plate, right?

PMAG M3 vs Hexmag Series 2

There are small differences that might make a big difference for you downrange. Let’s talk about Hexmag.


Hexmag’s website states the Series 2 magazines are designed for a wide array of calibers, from .223/5.56x45mm to .300AAC Blackout, .458 SOCOM, .50 Beowulf and more.

The Magpul PMAG 30 M3 is really only designed to be used for .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO ammunition.

Magpul has a 300 blackout magazine, which has some differences from the .223/5.56 magazines.

Rifle compatibility

Hexmag’s website says it’s compatible with a wide range of rifles. Hexmag’s Series 2 magazine will also work (per their website) with AR-15’s, SCAR 16, IWI Tavor, CZ Bren, Beretta ARX 100 and more.

The difference between Hexmag and Magpul’s specs are probably to blame. Magpul specifically states it’s magazines are made to fit Colt AR-15/M4 specifications. Magpul did change the Gen M3 specifications to allow for more rifles but still claim it’s built for an AR-15/M4 rifle.


Hexmag somehow has a big multitude of color combinations. You’re able to customize the outer polymer shell’s color and the follower color – mixing and matching a wide range of colors.

For the PMAG 30 M3, I only see black and FDE.

Can I shoot 300 Blackout in a Magpul PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 Magazine?

You can! Should you? Maybe?

You can definitely shoot 300 blacokout in an PMAG M3 magazine for .223/5.56. You may not have issues. But why not purchase Magpul’s 300 blackout magazine?

The 300 blackout magazine has some of the same features the .223/5.56 M3 magazine does. Plus it’ll help when identifying ammunition if you keep your magazines loaded.

Is PMAG the same as Magpul?

Yes. Magpul is the brand. PMAG is the model.

In fact, Magpul’s first major product was called, “The Magpul”. Much like the ranger plate, it allows the shooter to grab the magazine easier through a loop.

The PMAG is synonymous with value and quality though – bringing high performance shooting magazines to the civilian market for a smaller comparative cost.

Are Magpul magazines good?

Magpul PMAG magazines are trusted in all branches of the US Military. It’s also used by competitive shooters. They’re REALLY good. And affordable.

What does PMAG stand for?

The P in PMAG stands for Polymer. The rest of it is short for magazine. Polymer Magazine.

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