The AR-15 is an incredibly versatile firearm, but what can truly make or break its performance is the magazine you choose. With so many options available, how can you be sure you’re selecting the best AR-15 magazines? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of AR-15 magazines, their features, and the top choices in each category. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes a great AR-15 magazine and how to find the perfect one for your needs.

Short Summary

  • Understanding AR-15 magazines is essential for selecting the right one.

  • Different types, capacities and compatibility must be considered when choosing an AR-15 magazine.

  • Testing and evaluating are key to ensure optimal performance of your chosen magazine.

Understanding AR-15 Magazines

The world of AR-15 magazines is vast, with options ranging from polymer to metal, and even hybrid designs that combine the best of both worlds. Understanding the differences between these types, as well as their various capacities and compatibility with different firearms, is key to finding the best magazine for your needs.

Let’s dive deeper into the types of AR-15 magazines and the factors you should consider when making your choice.

Types of AR-15 Magazines

Polymer, metal, and hybrid AR-15 magazines each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Polymer magazines are generally lighter in weight and may feature additional elements such as window cutouts, enabling you to easily see how many rounds are left. However, they may not be as resilient as those constructed from steel, metal, or aluminum. On the other hand, metal AR-15 magazines offer greater durability but are heavier, making them less suitable for certain applications.

Some popular examples of polymer AR-15 magazines include the Hexmag, which features a unique hexagon pattern for grip, and the Strike Industries polymer AR-15 magazine, which has a proprietary design that allows two extra rounds. Metal AR-15 magazines, such as the Brownells USGI Metal Mag and the Duramag USGI Style Magazines, boast durable materials like steel bodies and chrome silicon springs.

Hybrid AR-15 magazines, like the Lancer Systems L5AWM and the Amend2 AR Magazines, combine a polymer body with steel feed lips for the best of both worlds.

Capacities and Compatibility

When choosing an AR-15 magazine, it’s important to consider not only the type of magazine, but also its capacity and compatibility with your firearm. Most polymer and metal AR-15 magazines come in capacities ranging from 10 to 30 rounds, with some high-capacity options like the Magpul D-60 Drum and the SureFire 60-Round Magazine offering even greater capacity.

Compatibility is essential. The Magpul M3 PMAG has been designed to fit any STANAG 5.56 firearm, like the AR-15, M4, SCAR-L, SA-80, HK416, M27 AIR, and some AUG models.

Top Polymer AR-15 Magazines

Polymer AR-15 magazines have become increasingly popular due to their lightweight and durable construction. The Magpul PMAG is widely regarded as the most popular polymer AR-15 magazine, known for its affordability, reliability, and high-quality polymer material.

Other noteworthy options include the Hexmag Series 2 and Mission First Tactical Magazines. Let’s take a closer look at each of these top polymer AR-15 magazines and their unique features.

Magpul PMAG Series

The Magpul PMAG Series has earned its reputation as the go-to choice for many AR-15 owners. The PMAG Gen 3, in particular, is praised for its crush-resistance, modified dimensions to fit various firearms, and a stainless steel spring with a long service life. The PMAG also features an anti-tilt insertion stop on the spine and a self-lubricating follower to ensure reliable feeding.

Customization options for Magpul PMAGs include interchangeable floorplates, such as the Ranger floorplate, and an attachable coupler called the Maglink, which allows for quick magazine reloads. With a wide range of capacities available, from 10 to 60 rounds, the Magpul PMAG Series offers a reliable and versatile option for any AR-15 owner.

Shooting a .300 BLACKOUT? Magpul also offers a 300 Blackout PMAG specific for that type of ammo.

Hexmag Series 2

The Hexmag Series 2 is another excellent option for those seeking a high-quality polymer AR-15 magazine. This magazine stands out with its unique hexagon pattern, providing enhanced grip and durability. The Hexmag Series 2 also boasts a patented True Riser system, redesigned feed lip geometry, and a black PolyHex2 advanced composite construction.

Additionally, it features dual leg tilt-proof multi-color coded HexID magazine followers and base plate latch plate/identifiers, as well as a patented Tool-Less Design for fast and easy floorplate removal, enabling field cleaning and HexID color customization.

Mission First Tactical Magazines

Mission First Tactical Magazines are designed with the AR15/M4 platform in mind, but also compatible with a wide range of non-AR15/M4 platforms. These magazines boast a 30-round capacity for 5.56 NATO rounds and feature a slimmer profile than other magazines. Constructed with a long glass fiber polymer, they offer unparalleled durability and reliability in high-intensity situations.

Mission First Tactical’s Extreme Duty windowed magazines also feature numbered markers for a quick assessment of ammunition and anti-glare windows, making them a top choice for those seeking a dependable polymer AR-15 magazine.

Leading Metal AR-15 Magazines

While polymer AR-15 magazines offer many benefits, metal magazines provide a level of durability that is hard to match. Two of the top metal AR-15 magazines are the Brownells USGI Metal Mag and the Duramag USGI Style Magazines. Both of these options offer the toughness and reliability that many shooters desire in a magazine.

Let’s delve deeper into the features and advantages of these leading metal AR-15 magazines.

Brownells USGI Metal Mag

The Brownells USGI Metal Mag is a reliable and cost-effective option for those who prefer metal AR-15 magazines. Its steel body and chrome silicon spring construction ensure durability and longevity. With a capacity of 20 rounds, the Brownells USGI Metal Mag is slightly lighter and thinner than some other metal magazines, making it easy to transport or store in ammunition boxes.

As a USGI-style magazine, it meets or exceeds current military standards in terms of construction and specifications.

Duramag USGI Style Magazines

Duramag USGI Style Magazines are another top choice for those seeking a metal AR-15 magazine. These magazines feature a stainless steel body and chrome silicon spring, offering exceptional durability. Boasting advanced LipLock technology, Duramag USGI Style Magazines provide a secure lock to the magazine and prevent it from slipping out of the gun during use.

With a capacity of 30 rounds and available in a variety of colors, these magazines are a dependable and versatile option for AR-15 owners.

Best Hybrid AR-15 Magazines

Hybrid AR-15 magazines combine the advantages of both polymer and metal magazines, offering a lightweight yet durable option for shooters. The Lancer Systems L5AWM and Amend2 AR Magazines are two of the leading hybrid AR-15 magazines available on the market.

Let’s take a closer look at the features and benefits of these top hybrid AR-15 magazines.

Lancer Systems L5AWM

The Lancer Systems L5AWM is a popular hybrid AR-15 magazine that features a polymer body with metal components, such as the feed lips, for added durability. Its translucent design allows for easy assessment of the number of rounds remaining, as well as the type and condition of the ammunition.

With a capacity of 30 rounds and available in a variety of colors, the Lancer Systems L5AWM is a top choice for those seeking a hybrid AR-15 magazine that combines the best of both polymer and metal magazines.

Amend2 AR Magazines

Amend2 AR magazines are another great option for those looking for a hybrid AR-15 magazine. These magazines feature a polymer body with steel feed lips for increased durability and reliability. With a capacity of 30 rounds and available in a range of colors, Amend2 AR Magazines offer a simple yet effective design that caters to the needs of a wide range of AR-15 owners.

The magazines are designed to be lightweight and easy to handle, making them ideal for those who need to carry multiple magazines. They are also designed to be compatible with most AR-15 platforms.

High-Capacity AR-15 Magazine Options

For those requiring a higher capacity AR-15 magazine, options such as the Magpul D-60 Drum and the SureFire 60-Round Magazine are available. These high-capacity magazines allow shooters to carry more ammunition without the need for multiple magazine changes, ensuring they are always ready for action.

Let’s explore the features and benefits of these high-capacity AR-15 magazine options.

Magpul D-60 Drum

The Magpul D-60 Drum is a high-capacity drum magazine designed for rifles that utilize AR-15 pattern magazines. With a 60-round capacity and constructed from lightweight polymer, the D-60 Drum is perfect for those seeking a high-capacity AR-15 magazine without the added weight of traditional drum magazines.

However, it is important to note that the Magpul D-60 Drum is heavier than other polymer magazines and can be more challenging to load.

SureFire 60-Round Magazine

The SureFire 60-Round Magazine is another option for those in search of a high-capacity AR-15 magazine. Designed to be thinner and lighter than two standard 30-round magazines clipped together, this magazine is constructed from Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum with a nylon follower for added durability.

While not as lightweight as the Magpul D-60 Drum, the SureFire 60-Round Magazine offers a more convenient and easy-to-carry option for those seeking a high-capacity AR-15 magazine.

AR-15 Magazine Accessories and Enhancements

In addition to selecting the right AR-15 magazine, there are various accessories and enhancements available to improve the overall performance and usability of your magazines. These include magazine couplers and extensions, as well as customization and personalization options.

Let’s take a closer look at these AR-15 magazine accessories and enhancements.

Magazine Couplers and Extensions

Magazine couplers and extensions are designed to connect two magazines, allowing for faster reloads and increased stability when shooting. These accessories are typically constructed from robust materials such as aluminum or polymer and come in various sizes to accommodate different magazine capacities. Some popular options include the Lancer Systems AR-15 Magazine Coupler and the Taran Tactical AR-15 PMAG Extension.

Customization and personalization options are also available for those looking to make their AR-15 magazines stand out. Options such as custom engraving, stippling, and painting can help distinguish your magazines from others and add a personal touch to your firearm.

Customization and Personalization Options

Customization and personalization options for AR-15 magazines include custom engraving, stippling, and painting. These options allow you to not only make your magazines more visually appealing, but also help you identify your magazines easily among others.

Some popular customization options include the Magpul Ranger Floor Plate and the Taran Tactical AR-15 PMAG Extension. By customizing your AR-15 magazines, you can truly make them your own and ensure they meet your specific needs and preferences.

Testing and Evaluating AR-15 Magazines

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your AR-15 magazines, it’s essential to test and evaluate them before and during use. This can involve visual inspection and functional tests, as well as field testing and long-term use.

By conducting these tests, you can identify any potential issues and ensure your magazines perform at their best when you need them most.

Visual Inspection and Functionality Tests

Visual inspection and functional tests are crucial steps in evaluating your AR-15 magazines. This includes checking for any visible signs of wear or damage, as well as testing the magazine’s performance through drop tests and bump tests.

Drop tests involve pressing the magazine release to see how well the magazine drops from the AR, while bump tests involve tapping a fully loaded magazine against a hard surface to see if a round ejects. These tests can help you identify any potential issues with your magazine and ensure it is functioning properly.

Field Testing and Long-Term Use

Field testing and long-term use are essential components of evaluating your AR-15 magazines. This includes assessing the performance of your magazines in various environments and under different conditions. Features such as anti-fatigue springs, advanced LipLock technology, and steel reinforced feed lips can all contribute to the longevity and reliability of your AR-15 magazines.

By regularly testing your magazines in the field and monitoring their long-term performance, you can ensure they continue to meet your needs and expectations.


In conclusion, selecting the right AR-15 magazine is crucial for the overall performance and reliability of your firearm. By understanding the differences between polymer, metal, and hybrid AR-15 magazines, considering capacities and compatibility, and exploring customization options and accessories, you can ensure you choose the best magazine for your needs. From the popular Magpul PMAG. From high-capacity options like the Magpul D-60 Drum, there is an AR-15 magazine out there for every shooter. Remember to test and evaluate your magazines regularly to ensure they continue to perform at their best and serve you well in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best AR-15 magazine for 2023?

For the best AR-15 magazine in 2023, Magpul and Hexmag are the top contenders. Duramag AR Metal Magazines, Mission First Tactical AR Magazines, UTG AR Magazines, Lancer AR Magazines, and Amend2 AR Magazines are also strong contenders.

Ultimately, personal preference should be taken into account when deciding which AR-15 magazine to buy.

What is the best 30 round magazine for an AR-15?

For reliable and durable AR-15 performance, the Hexmag AR-15 Series 2 30 Round Magazine is an excellent choice. This magazine has a polymer construction which is resistant to warping, offers superior performance and value for the price, making it a great option.

So, if you’re looking for the best 30 round magazine for an AR-15, this one should be at the top of your list.

What is the best polymer magazine for an AR-15?

For an AR-15, the most popular and widely used magazine is Magpul’s PMAG, renowned for its robust construction and reliability. Duramag is also a reliable choice if you prefer metal magazines, while Amend2 is a newer brand offering affordability and quality.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which type best suits their needs.

The AR-15 was designed to have a maximum legal magazine capacity of 30 rounds, making it the largest legal magazine capacity for this type of firearm.

This makes it an ideal choice for those who need a firearm with a large magazine capacity for self-defense or hunting.

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