In the world of AR mags, there are two basic types. The first is a cheap, crappy aluminum magazine. (Did I tip my hand to my opinion on those?) The second is a polymer magazine that doesn’t dent, bend or bind unless you REALLY work at messing it up.
The UTG AR-15 magazine we’ll be reviewing today most definitively falls in the second category.
Look and Feel
The black (charcoal) polymer is slick, but has reinforcing gussets on the rear of the magazine that also create a texture/grip area. The front edge has similar (but smaller) reinforcing strips that provide solid purchase.
The sides have a polymer window for round count, which indicates every five rounds from 15-30. The area is less than 15 rounds is inside the magwell, so that isn’t a design fault. The edges of the magazine have additional texture bumps to add to the tactile/grip effect.
I am a little confused by the hemispherical bumps at the front edge. The magazine bevels at that point and the hemispherical bumps are quite large. Due to the shape, they are somewhat slick, but do provide for a deep finger recess—especially with gloves.
Durability and Construction
The polymer is tough. My Dodge Ram 2500 diesel did not squish it! The exterior of the magazine had some scratches from the gravel of my driveway and was a bit dusty, but did not look like it was abused. The clear polymer round count window did not pop out, either.
More importantly, the mag still worked after its date with a rather large tire.
The follower is a bright “patriot” blue anti-tilt variant and seems to be made of a self-lubricating polymer. I was unable to bind the magazine, even when intentionally stuffing it incorrectly.
The follower compensated for my intentionally ham-fisted loading, as well as the debris from the truck crush test. I have only owned the mags for a few days, so I cannot comment on the effects of leaving them loaded for months.
Considering my five-ton truck did not squish the mag, I don’t think having 28-30 rounds compacting the spring is going to bow the side walls any time soon.
Function and Performance
The mags require a significant seating force to lock into the magwell. This is pretty standard with all polymer mags I have ever used. This is especially true when loaded with 30 rounds of ammo. Once seated, they are in solidly and have zero shake or wiggle in any of my ARs.
I did not have any feed issues with mags loaded to 30 rounds, but my habit is 28, just in case. The mags drop this way with ease, whether loaded or empty. Dropping partially loaded mags did not cause bullets to spill out or any other shenanigans.
These mags also come with a very compact version of the ranger tabs. I have never seen the use for ranger tabs, even in 3-Gun. But that may just be a lack of awesomeness on my part.
Considering they add less than ¼” to the overall length of the mag, they aren’t in the way at all. For those who use that feature, it is there at no extra cost.
Let’s talk cost. As of this review, the UTG mags are selling for less than $10. The M brand of P magazines runs several dollars more for non-window mags. The window mags are yet a few dollars more, add the ranger tab floor plates and the price is pretty close to double.
These seem like a quality mag at a very fair price, especially considering for a similarly equipped mag, the same $50 gets five of the UTG mags (or more, depending on a good sale) vs. three of the other brand.
What do you think of the UTG polymer windowed mag? Do you have a favorite AR-15 magazine? Let us know in the comments below.