10 Popular AR-15 Magazines: Drop/Full Auto Test

Today we’ve got a treat for ya. GunMag’s very own resident Wrestlemania fan is bringing out a full-auto AR-15 to do a little testing on ten different AR-15 magazines, “from the internet’s most favorite to the internet’s least favorite.” Who doesn’t love a full-auto mag dump?

So exactly how is he going to run this test? First, he’s going to drop test each magazine, twice. Once for impact to the baseplate and once to the feedlips. After the drop test, he’s going to run each magazine through the full-auto AR-15. He’s checking for a couple of things.

  • Fully loaded, do the magazines break or lose any rounds when dropped?
  • Can these mags feed as fast as the gun can cycle?

We’re going to let the results speak for themselves. 

AR-15 mag drop full auto test. Ten magazines for testing on the table.
Jeremy is testing ten AR-15 magazines, from the internet’s most favorite to least favorite. Who doesn’t love a full-auto mag dump? 

Here’s the list of mags included in the test, and how they perform.

1. Magpul PMAG Gen 3 M3 Window 

Remember, we’re going from the internet’s most favorite to least favorite. So Jeremy starts with a Magpul, because, it’s a Magpul, duh. This is one of the most prolific, most common magazines out there. These mags have polymer feed lips, so they’re supposedly weaker than steel feed lips would be. Do they suffer any damage from the drop test?

Magpul PM Gen M3 Windowed AR-15 30-round mangazine full auto mag dump
Nope. Not a problem at all. And they feed the full auto beautifully.

2. Okay Surefeed E2 

This Okay Surefeed magazine is made with aluminum and has dot-textured walls. It handles the drop test, easy peasy, with no dents or deformations. (Not that Jeremy expected any.) 

full auto mag dump with Okay Surefeed E2 AR-15 30-round aluminum magazine
The Okay aluminum magazine handles the mag dump just fine. “These mags are OK.” 

3. HK Sand-Resistant Steel Mag

Made in Germany, the HK mag has all-steel construction: steel baseplate, steel body, steel feed lips, and steel follower. There shouldn’t be any issues with all-steel construction, right? Surprisingly, the HK mag loses a round with the first drop. “Once again, what you expect ain’t always what it is.”

full auto mag dump with HK Sand-Resistant steel AR-15 magazine
Look at that brass fly.

4. Colt Sporter Aluminum Mag

Since the Colt Sporter magazine isn’t made of steel, it’s a little less strong but it is lighter in weight. It doesn’t have a problem with the first drop but loses a round with the second one. “Shoulda had a dirty thirty. Now it’s just 29. Just not the same.” How does it handle the full auto mag dump? 

full auto mag dump with Colt Sporter Aluminum AR-15 magazine
Just fine.

5. Duramag Stainless Steel AR-15 Magazines

Switching back to another steel magazine, the Duramag is obviously a little heavier. After the first drop test, Jeremy notices that the baseplate came up a little bit. The magazine also loses a round with the second drop. Jeremy asks, “Am I being unfair to expect it not to eject?”

Duramag drop test and full auto mag dump
As you can see in the middle image, the baseplate came up from the body of the magazine a little after the drop test. It handled the mag dump just fine, though.

At this point in the test, the AR is starting to heat up and smoke. Well, it’s to be expected, right?

6. ASC Aluminum Mag

ASC stands for Ammo Storage Component, which is kind of a genius name for a magazine since, technically, it does store your ammo. Until you do your ammo dump, that is. This particular ASC magazine is in the Flat Dark Earth color and has a high-visibility orange polymer follower. It loses one round with the first drop but none with the second. 

full auto mag dump with ASC Aluminum AR-15 magazine
The ASC does just fine with the full auto mag dump and Jeremy says he’s starting to feel the heat in his hand.

Jeremy says the gun is getting so hot he can feel the heat now. 

7. KCI Polymer AR-15 Magazines

This is a very inexpensive polymer magazine. It comes with a dust cover and is windowed on both sides. Noticing that the baseplate is polymer, Jeremy wonders if polymer is better than metal at absorbing the impact of the drop test. Nope. The mag loses one round in the first drop and then loses three more with the second drop. So much for that theory!

KCI Polymer 30-round AR-15 magazine.
The KCI mag has no problems with the full auto mag dump.

8. ETS AR-15 Magazines 

ETS mags rank high in cool factor. Since they’re made of translucent polymer, they kees no secrets. The magazine loses one round with the first drop, none with the second, and performs just fine  with the mag dump.

drop test and full auto mag dump with ETS magazine
The ETS magazine loses one round with the first drop but handles full auto just fine.

Now, the AR-15 is getting so hot that Jeremy tries to waft some air over it to cool it off a little.

9. Hexmag Series Carbon Fiber Magazine

Is the Hexmag really made of carbon fiber? The paperwork says so. 

Hexmag Series Carbon Fiber AR-15 magazine drop test and full auto magazine dump
The Hexmag handles both drops just fine and feeds the full auto like a champ. It also has a high visibility red polymer follower.

10. Promag AR-15/M16 Polymer Mag

The Promag handles the first drop just fine but loses two rounds with the second drop on the feed lips. 

Promag AR15/M16 polymer magazine full auto mag dump
The Promag feeds full auto without issue.

The Takeaways

Hopefully, this test gives you some insight into these AR-15 magazines. The internet has its opinions on what’s the best and worst, but don’t take it as the gospel truth. Like Jeremy says, “Go out there and run it. Use your stuff. Get behind the wheel and drive. You’ll get better. You’ll see what works. And all the talkers on the internet can keep talking.”

Since the video ran on the GunMag TV channel in March, we’ve gotten some suggestions on other brands to add to the test. There were also a couple of suggestions on what to add to the test, like doing a stepped-on test and letting the magazines drop free after the mag dump.

All of the AR-15 magazines tested performed well for the full auto mag dump. Several of the magazines lost some rounds with the drop test, which Jeremy says is unacceptable under any circumstances. What do you think? Is he wrong?

Do you have more suggestions for future tests? Let us know in the comments below.

Stephanie Kimmell is the firstborn daughter of Missouri's Pecan King, worthy scion of a Vietnam veteran sailor turned mad engineer-orchardist-inventor-genius. With a BA in technical writing, she freelances as a writer and editor. A Zymurgist greatly interested in the decoction of fermented barley and hops, she is in many ways a modern amalgam of Esther Hobart Morris, Rebecca Boone, and Nellie Bly. She hunts, fishes, butchers, and cooks most anything. When not editing or writing, she makes soaps and salves, spins wool, and occasionally makes cheese from cows she milked herself. Kimmell is a driven epistemophilic who loves live music and all sorts of beer.

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