Are you looking for the best AR-15 magazine? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Having the right kind of magazine for your rifle is key for any application. You may settle for 30 rounds in one magazine or you can go for fewer (or even more).
Regardless of how many you need, there’s a reliable magazine that will hold all kinds of rounds you’ll be dying to fire off at the range or in a hunting situation.
To get you started on the search, we’ve handpicked eight of the best AR-15 magazines currently on the market. Before we get to our list, we’ll be discussing why you can never have too many magazines. And we’ll also discuss what sets a great AR-15 magazine apart from one that is considered crappy and low-quality.
Comparison of the Best AR-15 Magazines
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Why You Can Never Have Too Many Magazines
In our point of view, it’s not always a bad thing to have a lot of magazines. In fact, there is no such thing as having too many. There are a few good reasons why you should have extras handy. Here are a few advantages you might enjoy if you keep additional magazines on hand:
When One Jams, You Have Extras
Things happen, especially when you’re a seasoned AR-15 user. There will come a time when your magazine won’t be as reliable as you think. It can be due to a wide variety of reasons. It might jam easily and won’t allow you to fire a single shot.
At this point, you’ll need to release it quickly and replace it with another. You’ll have a fresh magazine that’s fully loaded and ready to go just in case the original decided to jam and freeze up on you. Just press the mag release button and quickly reload.
This might come in handy in a handful of applications. If you have additional magazines, have them all ready to go for quick reloading. It’s a lot better than having to rely on just one option. Plus, it saves you a lot of time and headaches you would otherwise suffer from reloading manually. Once it is empty and time is not on your side, you can simply drop it and add in a new one in a matter of seconds.
Different Capacities to Test Out
What if you feel like 30-rounds just isn’t enough? What if you want to carry fewer rounds? While it might sound a little crazy, you should try and use magazines with different capacities. For example, you should have a few with have capacities of 20 rounds. Or, if you want more, consider one with a capacity of 40. Either way, find an increment that’s slightly more or less than your magazine’s original capacity.
What Makes a Great AR-15 Magazine
The question that often gets asked is: what distinguishes a great AR-15 magazine from one that is considered ineffective and crappy in quality? There are a few distinctions that make most of these stand head and shoulders above the rest currently flooding the market.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or someone looking for an upgrade, you should follow this list to help you along with your search to find a better magazine. Here’s what you need to look out for:
How Many Rounds Do You Need?
The standard AR-15 magazine has 30 rounds. However, you might be able to get one with lower or even higher capacities. Either way, it all comes down to your personal needs and preferences. Another thing to note is that it can also depend on your intent and purpose. Sometimes, having more than 30 rounds would be ideal for one application while it can be overkill for another.
Of course, the material matters when looking for a great magazine. There will come a time when you’ll need to release a magazine due to it being empty or perhaps jamming. You’ll want it to be made from an impact-resistant material.
In other words, you’ll be faced with situations where magazines fall freely to the ground, onto a hard surface like concrete or pavement. One of the best materials to take on these elements is polymer. So, if you want one that won’t break easily, this material will be your best bet. Other materials may include aluminum, which is available in some types that have been battle-tested to take on hard surface impact.
As is the case with all budget shoppers, there is a good chance you may consider price as one of your deciding factors. While looking for an affordable price tag on your next magazine, it’s important to find some secondary qualities that will be a driving force toward your decision.
For example, take note of the material it’s made from. If it’s made of high-quality material, there’s a good chance it will last you a long time. Yes, affordable, high-quality magazines do exist. The only difference is, the price will be on a higher but affordable scale compared to others that are actually cheaply made.
Review of the Best AR-15 Magazines
The following is a list of eight of the best AR-15 magazines currently on the market. As you go through each one, you’ll want to pay special attention to what its particular features and functions are. These were chosen as the best in a certain subcategory (most of them are best in a certain round count).
Regardless of what you’re looking for, give each of these magazines a chance by looking carefully at each of them. You might find one which may be much better than the one you were previously considering. With that said, let’s begin with the “best overall” choice:
Magpul - AR-15 30-Round PMAG Gen M3 Magazine 223/5.56
First up, we’ll be taking a look at the Magpul AR-15 30-Round PMAG Gen M3 Magazine. If you’re looking for a product that works with either .223 caliber or 5.56 NATO rounds, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. The body is made from high-quality polymer, making it resistant to all kinds of hard surface impacts.
It’s also crush-proof, so you’ll be dealing with a tough customer of a magazine. It’s a tool-less assembly that you can easily take apart in case you want to clean it from the inside out. There is nothing that will make a magazine last longer than taking good care of it.
This has a feed lip designed to give you a reliable feed each time. So it won’t easily jam on you whenever you have a shooting session at the range or when you need to get a shot off quickly while bearing down on a big game target. Either way, it’s going to be reliable when you need it most.
This holds the standard 30 rounds that you can use for almost any application. And it’s probably one of the best PMAG-style magazines currently on the market. If you fancy yourself to be a fan of PMAGs, the Magpul could just be exactly what you’re looking for.
This is tough as nails and much better than standard 30-round options. It takes the best overall spot because of its ability to take on 5.56 and .223 rounds.
Magpul has long been considered one of the best brands when it comes to accessories. If you’re willing to give this brand a try, start by getting this magazine for your AR-15 rifle.
Best Drum Magazine:
Magpul - AR-15 D60 60-Round Drum W/ 2 30-RD PMAGS
Now, we’ll be taking a look at the best drum magazine for an AR-15 rifle. Once again, the Magpul brand will be the focus. The drum magazine itself can hold up to 60 rounds. Aside from that, you get two standard magazines, each with a 30 round capacity.
So with all that, you get a total of 120 rounds in one complete package. Pretty nice to have some extras handy along with the one you’re initially buying, right? The drum magazine is best used for those who are more apt to shoot their AR-15 rifle from the prone position.
Plus, it’s the product you’ll want if planning on spending an extended day at the range. If you’re looking for something that’s best-designed for those kinds of days, this drum magazine will be your best friend.
Each piece is made from high-quality polymer that is impact-proof and crush-proof. So these will be tougher than anything else you might find on the market. Best of all, they are resistant to all kinds of corrosion. For added reliability, all each is self-lubricated, so you won’t have to deal with a single jam, even when you’re going through hundreds or even thousands of rounds.
The design itself is great if you want to make loading much easier. The anti-tilt followers included in each magazine will allow for even more ease in terms of the loading/reloading process. If you’re looking for simplicity in reloading, these Magpul PMAGs (and the drum magazine) will be your best possible options.
Don’t you love getting package deals? We do. But if you’re looking for something that will give you as many rounds as a drum magazine can give you, this Magpul product will be your best bet. Especially if you want something that will be your go-to magazine for extended shooting sessions at the range.
Plus, the addition of two PMAGs is always good to have, especially when you want spare magazines handy in case one of them goes south.
Best 10-Round Magazine:
Magpul - AR-15 10RD PMAG Gen M3 Magazine223/5.56
Yet another Magpul brand magazine makes our list as we take a look at the best ten-round product currently available. This PMAG can contain .223 or 5.56 NATO rounds. Either way, you’ll be able to use a product that won’t give you any grief with either caliber round.
This is an ultra-compact magazine that will be excellent for hunting or self-defense. Like all other Magpul magazines out there, they are made from high-quality polymer designed to take on all kinds of damage. If you’re dropping this freely on a hard surface, it won’t shatter.
If that’s what you look for in a magazine, then at this point you know that Magpul is a good brand to go with. Even for a ten-round option like this, you still get the same reliability and smooth shooting that you can get from just about any other out there.
The curved design makes loading and reloading easier. If you’re tired of struggling with the loading or reloading process, you’ll love this Magpul magazine. Then again, since you’re dealing with a ten-round capacity, the reloading will be a little quicker than reloading a 30-rounder. Not bad at all, we think.
If you don’t fancy yourself a fan of the 30-round or higher magazines, then maybe ten rounds will be your cup of coffee. In that case, this Magpul will probably be your best choice. If you’re a hunter, odds are you don’t really need so many rounds to land a big game target.
Most hunters will agree that ten rounds will be sufficient. If you plan on using your AR-15 rifle for hunting applications, you’ll need a reliable magazine just for that purpose. So why not get the Magpul PMAG ten-round magazine and put it to the test the next time you’re out in the field?
Best 25-Round Magazine:
Brownells - AR-15 25-RD Straight Body Steel Magazine
So, ten rounds might be too few for you. But 30 rounds might be too much, as well. Why not go with a happy medium, like 25 rounds? If you’re looking for that many rounds, the Brownells AR-15 25-round, straight-body steel magazine could be exactly what you’re looking for. This product works exclusively with .223 caliber rounds.
So if you happen to have some of those rounds laying around, this product will accommodate them. This is made of high-quality steel. It’s the closest you can get to a classic AR-15-style magazine. If you’re a sucker for a classic design, this Brownells brand could just be what you’re looking for.
It’s been said that due to reliability issues, 25-round magazines are lesser in existence. But now, they are making a comeback, only this time with more reliable shooting than ever before. So if you want to go back to the golden age of AR-15 shooting with the reliability that apparently was a miss beforehand, this is your opportunity to grab this for your own use.
If you’re a long time AR-15 shooter, you’re probably happy to see these 25-round magazines make a comeback. For something that might be considered a “blast from the past”, this product from Brownells might just fit the bill. It doesn’t matter what kind of application you’re using it for, if you really want to know what it was like firing an AR-15 rifle back in the day, you’ll have the magazine for it.
5. D&H 5.56 30-Round Aluminum Magazine
Next on the agenda, we’ll be taking a look at the D&H 5.56 30-Round Aluminum Magazine. One thing we notice right off the bat is that it’s made from high-quality, 6061-T6 aluminum. This will be a durable product that won’t easily bust apart if you decide to drop it freely and it hits a hard surface.
Before any of these hit the market, they are heat-treated and battle-tested to ensure they are fully functional and free from any reliability issues. Once they pass with flying colors, they're set and ready to rock, just for you. This contains 30 rounds, which is the standard count for most AR-15 magazines.
The follower is available in either a foliage green or anti-tilt yellow. Either way, it’s bright enough to give you an easier load each time. This has a Teflon coating on the inside and out. So in plain English, this is basically the toughest, most durable product you can possibly find on the market.
If you’re looking for a product that’s the best of the best and will stand the test of time, the D&H 5.56 aluminum magazine might be the product you’ll want to have on hand. These are so good, you may want to buy extras just to be on the safe side.
If you’re looking for a great AR-15 magazine, you will be quite happy with the D&H brand product. They are tough all over and do pretty good for your standard AR-15 magazines.
Whether you’re using it for target practice or hunting, you have a reliable magazine that will hold your usual 30 rounds. If you don’t want to settle for anything more or less than that, this might be the magazine you choose as your go-to.
Best 60-Round Magazine:
SureFire High-Capacity Magazine, 60-Rd
Finally, we’ll be taking a look at the best 60-round magazine on the market. For our choice, we’ll be taking a look at the SureFire High-Capacity Magazine with the ability to hold 60 rounds at a time. What’s more interesting is that this is not a drum-like design.
So if you’re not a fan of drum magazines but still want the same amount of rounds, this will be the solution. This is made from high-quality aluminum. It is designed to last you a long time and won’t easily break if they somehow hit a hard surface. You’ll want to have this puppy handy, if you’re planning on making it a long day at the range.
You can have a lot of rounds for a shooting session with magazines like this. Other than that, they are reliable and will always provide you with smooth feeding and shooting. Don’t be shocked if you don’t encounter a single jam after hundreds or thousands of rounds.
Maybe 60 rounds are more your speed? If so, then you’ll want a high-capacity magazine like this. These will take your standard AR-15 caliber rounds and be perfect for target shooting or even competitive target shooting.
You can have a lot of rounds just for the sake of these applications. However, it might be a little bit of overkill if you’re considering using this many rounds for hunting or self-defense.
7. 200 Rounds Federal 5.56mm NATO 55GR FMJ-BT Ammunition & Ten Magpul PMAG 30 5.56x45mm Magazines
Now, we’ll be taking a look at our choice for those who want to buy a magazine, but have a certain budget set in place. The honor for “best for the money” is given to the Magpul PMAG 30 5.56x45mm magazine. Actually, you’ll be getting quite a package deal out of this. You’ll get ten magazines, each filled with 20 rounds of Federal 5.56mm NATO 55 Grain FMJ bullets.
If that isn’t impressive for those on a budget, then we can’t tell you what is. These are Magpul brand magazines made from high-quality, impact-resistant, and crush-proof polymer.
Here’s where these take the cake: they are self-lubricated. This will make your shooting smooth and reliable. So it won’t jam or get stuck in the magazine itself. Plus, you won’t have to lubricate them manually (which might be a major pain for some shooters).
The design is slightly curved, making the loading process a little easier for those who find it a challenge with other magazines. If you’re looking for a design that promotes better ergonomics, this product might be right up your alley. Of course, let’s not forget that this product is the best for your money, especially for a budget shopper like yourself (assuming you are one).
For someone on a budget, you can know for sure that you’re getting a dang good deal out of this. Think about it: ten magazines with rounds loaded and ready to go. Plus, you have some spare mags handy that are compatible with 5.56 rounds. So it’s a win-win for you, especially when you want spare mags on hand should one of them jam on you in the future.
All of these are reliable and designed to last you a long time. In fact, we won’t be surprised if you have all ten still functioning after a few years. If you’re looking for a product that will last you for as long as possible, the Magpul PMAG magazines are your best possible option. Why get one, when you can get ten?
8. D&H 7.62x39mm 10-Rd AR-15 Magazine
For another AR-15 magazine on our list, we’ll be taking a look at the D&H 7.62x39mm 10-Round AR-15 Magazine. This product will contain up to ten rounds of 7.62x39mm caliber bullets. If your rifle is chambered to handle these types of ammo, you’ll probably want this to be your go-to in almost any application. At ten rounds, this will definitely be your product of choice if you’re more of an AR-15 hunter.
The body is made from high-quality aluminum designed to be durable from the inside, out. So in essence, it will last you a long period of time, as long as you take good care of it. If you’re no fan of magazines with more than ten rounds, you can probably settle for the D&H AR-15 magazine for 7.62x39mm caliber rounds.
It’s not uncommon for people to fire off 7.62x39mm rounds. But we think it’s only fair to include a magazine that would best fit these kinds of shooters. The D&H is reliable and will deliver superb performance for those who want smooth, accurate shooting in many applications, including hunting. Since it’s durable, don’t be surprised if it ends up lasting you a year or beyond.
The best AR-15 magazine is out there. But it comes down to some of your personal preferences and needs. What are your intents and purposes? How many rounds do you actually need? No matter how you answer these questions, there is a magazine with your name on it. Consider the eight AR-15 products above and make your decision.
People Also Ask
As a way to help you find the best AR-15 magazine, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few frequently asked questions that will pertain to your search. Use these questions and answers as a guide so you can make the decision process a lot easier. Here are the following questions:
How to Load an AR-15 magazine?
To load an AR-15 magazine manually, you’ll need to press the bullet downward. Use the follower to load a magazine. Line the bullet up with the imprint seen on the follower. Press down and keep loading until you reach the capacity limit.
How Many Rounds Does an AR-15 Magazine Hold?
A standard AR-15 magazine will hold up to 30 rounds. However, there are other products that have a lower capacity like ten rounds and higher capacities up to 60 rounds.
What Calibers Fit in an AR-15 Magazine?
The most popular rounds that will fit in AR-15 rifles are 5.56 NATO and .223 calibers. Other calibers include .308 and .300 AAC Blackout.
How Much Does a Full AR-15 Magazine Weigh?
Since the average unloaded AR-15 rifle weighs roughly six pounds, a fully loaded, 30-round magazine can bump up the weight to seven pounds. Therefore, magazines roughly weigh one-pound once fully loaded.