Reviews

Review: UTG 30-Round Polymer Windowed AR-15 Magazine

UTG 30-round magazine

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.

UTG durability test
UTG mags can withstand the weight of a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel truck, as our writer found out.

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.

UTG AR-15 mag
Once seated, these mags don’t have much shake or wiggle room in AR-15s.

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.

Affordability

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.

UTG durability
At a price point under $10, UTG magazines are affordable.

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.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. I have no idea what Secundius is talking about. Magazines are not intended to be waterproof. If anything, you would want accumulated moisture to drain out of them. No magazine with a floorplate will be waterproof as the floorplates do not seal. Please do not do something stupid (like immerse your magazines and expect them to be waterproof) based on what some mall ninja said in the comments section of a post on the internet.

  2. First I will profess to be a Steel Mag fan bit they are expensive and hard to find at times. I also love the Lancer hybrid mags. Light but strong with a steel upper for reliability.

    Aluminum mags are garbage.

    The military found out early on after they went to aluminum 30 rd mags that they were the #1 reason for failure to feed/jamming problems in the M-16. The aluminum feed lips wear out extremely fast and using the mag only once physically distorts the mag itself. Both are reasons why aluminum mags cant be used in the M-249 Machine Gun. Steel mags work just fine. BTW Polymer Mags didnt fare to well either in the 249.

    Its a common misconception that mags that have been loaded and left for any length of time destroys the springs. It doesn’t and in fact its the using of the mag over and over is what wears the springs out. I have mags that I left fully loaded with 30 rds for about 3 years that I took to the range and they functioned perfectly. Also, you must have had some bad mags in the past or you are older than I am as the full 30 mag not feeding problem was fixed about 40 yrs ago. But if it gives you confidence your mag will function properly then please continue leaving the 2 rounds out.

    Another Mag test you might try is put it in a freezer (preferably a sub zero freeezer) for a few days and then take it out and immediately throw it against a hard object to see if it breaks. The 101st AAD took a lot of Pmags to Afghanistan on their first deployment and they had a problem with them shattering in the winter when they dropped them or bumped into a rock. Might have been a bad production lot but still a valid test.

  3. Seal off the top with Saran Wrap and Duct Tape for a secure seal and ten immerse it in water for ~30-minutes. Then unseal and turn over, if water pores out, then there’s a Hairline Crack large enogh to allow water in weakening the integrity of Magazines Polymer Structure…

  4. Well I don’t drive over magazines with trucks normally. I prefer different drop tests with mag’s that’s a more realistic scenario I think. I was speaking with a friend who was in the 75th Ranger’s he was indifferent when it came to the little windows. So I think I’ll stick with P mags of USGI mags.

  5. The bumps and curves on the front are for those who use it as a fore grip. There are also mw3 mags
    Then the surefire witch are coated in nickle boron inside and out no friction no rust .
    My test for a good mag is true field test load it the dummy rounds and throw it as you would to another soldier but let it hit concrete. While people do a truck tire often it’s one 4th of the weight of the truck minus the angle spread out over the surface area and if you ran over it or slowly stopped on it. For 308 I use m118lr mags because my rifle are chambered for it . The neck is slighty longer and projectile is unique as xrays show. Then you have hybrids high carbon steel nickle boron coated at top for feeding . The rounds slide easily and dont build up heat like they would with polymer witch cause it to to tacky ir deform at high rates of fire or temperature near 110. But all in all some mags work better with certain rifles while others tend to need a slap.

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