An Ode to “the Extendo”: In Praise of the Extended Magazine

“Glocks with extendos, Chucking up the hood then throw like 80 out that window,” Wise words from Warrior Poet the Game. What’s an extendo? It’s a colloquial term used by young people to describe an extended magazine. What exactly counts as an extended magazine? I define an extendo as any magazine that holds more rounds than the original designer was priginally able to build the gun to hold, or a magazine that exists outside the norm in terms of capacity. This can change as time passes. The AR-15, for example, was designed with a 20 round magazine, but 30-rounders are now the norm.

Drum magazines
Allow me to Drum the song of my people.

An extendo can be a 40 round PMAG or PROMAG for the AR 15 or a 75 round drum for an AK series rifle. They come in all shapes, and for most guns. Even the 1911 has its share of ridiculous  (but awesome) 15, 16, even 19 round stick mags out there. While the extendo is are most prevalent in popular guns like the Glock, AK, and AR series, but if you are willing to look hard enough you can find them for most guns.

What’s the Point of Extendos?

Admittedly I have a bias when it comes to ammo. I served 5 years as a machine gunner, so I believe that more ammo is always better. The fellas in my squad with rifles each carried seven 30 round magazines. I carried 500 rounds for my M240 with another 500 spread out throughout the squad.

I like my ammo, people.

Drum mag for the Draco AK.
Extendo in the Draco? Why Not?

Most of us aren’t bangin’ around the Helmand province, but extended magazines remain popular, nonetheless. They actually serve a wide variety of purposes. A quality extended magazine is just as reliable as a stock configuration magazine, it just holds more ammo.

So why should you love extendos as much as me?

Glock 33 round mag versus 17 round mag.

Home Defense

Shotguns, rifles, and pistols all have options for extended magazines. In a home defense scenario, you are unlikely to be wearing a plate carrier or war belt. Reloading will likely be a pipe dream, so you have to fight with what’s in (or on) your gun. Responding to a bump in the night? Having as many rounds as possible in reputable magazines is the way to go.

Mags for days.

For the AR you have the always affordable 40 round PMAGs, or you can go big with the D-60 drum that can be stored loaded. (Side Note: the D-60 doesn’t work with 300 Blackout, so put that new 300 Blackout Upper Away.) Both are reliable and proven systems that are relatively affordable. The magazines more so than the drum. Two 40 round magazines a Magpul mag coupler gives you lots of lead at a low price.

AR mags ranging from 30 to 50 rounds.

If you are rocking a Glock you’ll have plenty of reliable, extended options from Glock, Magpul, and ETS. KCI even makes a 50 round drum, but I’m not sure if I’d trust it for home defense.

Extended mags for shotguns? Why not!

Shotguns are necessarily limited due to mag-fed weapon options, but we can’t ignore the fact Mossberg allows you to pack 15 or even 20 rounds of 12 gauge in their famed 590 series of shotguns. Whoever said shotguns have low capacity didn’t see this coming.


Modern shooting competitions are often won by fractions of a second, and fractions of a second is what it takes to reload a gun. This makes extended magazines a much-desired item. Gun in more ‘open’ class competitions will often be ridiculous in length and capacity.

The KCI magazine is a full inch shorter than the Kriss extension kit, yet offers an extra round.
These KCI magazines are a full inch shorter than those modified by the Kriss extension kit, yet offers an extra round.

Other companies produce magazines with odd capacities like 27 rounds to fit within the rules of certain competitions. ETS and Magpul both produce magazines with odd capacities to fit within certain length limitations.

The PCC Market

One market that extendos virtually own is the PCC market. Rifles using Glock magazines are quite common from ARs to the unique SUB 2K. The PCC market is huge and it makes little sense to use a 17 round magazine in a rifle when 33- and 40-round stick mags or even 50 round drums exist.

Sub 2000
Does it take Glock mags? That’s becoming an increasingly ubiquitous question in the PCC world.

In this situation, an extendo pistol mag is basically a standard capacity rifle magazine.

Cause They Are Fun

This is America right! (Applies in most States, but not all.) Why not have more rounds. AR and AK drums designed for fun are cheap and easy to find online, as are magazines of varying capacities. It’s also wise to observe who is making the magazine and their reputation. Some can induce failures and that can be frustrating.

Extendos, in general, are more than useful in practical rules, but I have a feeling most of us love them because:

  1. They are fun.
  2. They thumb their nose at anti-gunners.
  3. Their heavy presence in rap lyrics (?).
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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