Although they produce magazines for an array of weapons, Elite Tactical Systems is probably best known for the ETS Glock mag lineup. They produce magazines for just about every type of Glock that takes one ∞ and that’s all of them except for the WM25 (which of course pulses in the 40-watt range). Read on and learn about different kinds of ETS Glock mags.
Gen 2 High Capacity ETS Glock Mags
In late September 2021, Elite Tactical Systems released a Gen II 32 round magazine for the Glock 18. This means, of course, they’ve released a magazine that will fit the G17, G19, G19X, G26, G34, and G45 too.
There are a number of reasons this is referred to as the Gen 2, and not just because of the +1 (it went from 31 round capacity to 32, see what we did there?). In addition to increasing capacity, they’ve modified the mag’s shape to make it more compatible with Pistol Caliber Carbines.
Coinciding with that external geometry, they tell us, the internal geometry has been updated as well, an improvement intended to increase feeding reliability across a wide range of ammunition types (including steel and aluminum casings). There’s a newer base plate attached as well, something they assure us will “improve plate retention and eliminate potential separation on extreme impact”.
Here’s the rundown of specs and deets.
“The ETS Gen 2 Glock 18 9mm 32-Round Magazine features a durable, impact-resistant, advanced clear polymer body, designed to deliver superior strength and durability, as well as quick, visual round counts for enhanced reliability in the field. The floor plate is easily removed for quick disassembly, while the creep-resistant body holds its shape during prolonged storage, even when fully loaded. Plus, this magazine boasts a high-tensile steel spring and an anti-tilt polymer follower for smooth, reliable feeding performance.”
GEN 2 MAG FEATURES
- Fits the Glock 17, 18, 19, 19x, 26, 34, and 45
- New and improved internal geometry; increased feeding reliability across all ammo types including steel and aluminum casings
- Small changes in the external geometry allow better compatibility with 9mm AR and PCC
- Increased round capacity 32rd instead of 31rd
- Uses our new GEN 2 Base Plate that improves plate retention and eliminates potential separation with extreme impact
- Compatible with most floor plates that fit Glock magazine
- Compatible with Gen 1 through Gen 5 Glocks
- Ergonomically designed floorplate makes it easy to grab from mag pouches
- Lifetime Warranty
ADVANCED POLYMER BENEFITS
- Extreme Impact Resistance—won’t crack or break when dropped
- Very resistant to harsh chemicals
- Superior heat, cold, and UV resistance—won’t become brittle over time even when exposed to harsh environments or extreme cold
- Translucent body—allowing you to see your ammo count and type
- Creep resistant—the feed lips and body won’t spread when being stored long term even when fully loaded
G43X ETS Mags — (And Why Extendos Work)
Another day, another Glock and another aftermarket company popping out Glock magazines. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. I think more mags and more Glocks are better than fewer Glocks and fewer mags. The late series of centerfire Glocks includes the G43X and G48 single stack firearms. The latest magazine to hit the streets is the G48 and G43X ETS Mags.
ETS made its name by producing affordable magazines for various platforms. They often provided extended magazine options for firearms that don’t traditionally have extendos as options. My G43X ETS Mags are just that, extended magazines for a single stack concealed carry piece.
Today we will be talking about G43X ETS magazines and why an extendo magazine makes sense for even the smallest of carry guns.
Breaking Down the G43X ETS Mags
The G48 slash G43X ETS Mags deliver 19 rounds of 9mm in a very curious and interesting magazine design. At the top, we get the single stack design we know and love from the G43X and G48 pistols, as the magazine reaches the portion where it extends from the grip. From there, it becomes more like a traditional double stack.
This single stack to double stack model isn’t that rare; it’s the same way Sig Sauer and Springfield Armory fit so many rounds in their compact magazines. It’s a bit odd to see the same thing applied to an extendo, but we know it’s effective.
From tip to butt, the G43X magazines measure out to 6 and 3/4s inches. The magazine extends 2 and 7/8 inches below the grip itself. The design allows capacity to nearly be doubled without having to double the length of the magazine itself. ETS designed the magazine with great efficiency.
As always, the magazines are made from an advanced polymer blend that’s resistant to cracking and breaking. It’s also resistant to chemicals and UV light. Unlike Glock OEM magazines, the ETS mags lack an internal layer of metal. This makes them non-magnetic in general, so they won’t work with NeoMag devices.
Oh, and they are clearly translucent. (Get it?) They come in clear and party time red.
Durability Testing —Do these things work?
That’s the big question most of you have. If you plan to use the G48 and G43X ETS magazines for anything beyond plinking, they need to be reliable and durable. I set out to find how much abuse one could take.
First, I dropped it unloaded—just let it clack to the ground from shoulder height on a variety of surfaces. This included hard limestone ground, sand, and concrete bricks. I let it fall from the gun and dropped it on its sides and on its feed lips.
From there, I loaded the G43X ETS magazine with 19 rounds of brass-cased 9mm and repeated the tests with a loaded magazine. I remember some of the first-generation Glock ETS magazines would eject a ton if not all their rounds when dropped.
Luckily that issue has been seemingly solved with the latest generations of ETS magazines, including these G48 and G43X ETS mags. I dropped it on its side, bottom, and tip, and only a single round would eject when the fully loaded mag hit the deck.
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
After I dropped it, exposed it to sand, and generally beat the hell out of it, I figured it was time to see if the dang thing still cycled without issue. I popped it in the G43X, held my breath, and proceeded to squeeze the trigger as fast as possible.
Each and every round cycled without a single issue. The magazine-fed, so I decided to start the entire durability test over again. I dropped it, and dropped it, and loaded it, then dropped it again. By now, enough sand had squeezed itself in the magazine that it rattled around, and I felt the friction as I slid round after round into the gun.
The follower ground along, and admittedly I felt more resistance as I loaded it. However, it loaded the 19 rounds without issue, and I let it loose once more. 18 of the 19 rounds fed, fired, and ejected without issue. The 19th didn’t raise quite high enough for the slide to catch it.
I gave the mag a healthy slap, the follower slammed upwards, and the final round fed and fired.
Is This Realistic?
My durability testing is a bit atypical and not necessarily realistic, but it proves the magazine can take some abuse and still function rather well. Like most things, it can’t eat a healthy diet of sand and limestone and be expected to function.
I stripped the magazine down and gave it a good wash with water to clean the sand out and let it dry. Unlike Glock OEM magazines, it’s not a hassle to take apart by any means. After it was cleaned and dried, I loaded it up with 19 rounds and fired a final string. It fled flawlessly once the sand was liberated like an oil-bearing middle eastern country.
Why an extendo for a concealed carry gun?
Here is the big question. What’s the practical purpose of an extendo like these G43X ETS magazines? There are lots of reasons for extendos. Number one, this is America, so if I want, I should have it. Second, extendos are just fun to shoot with. Neither of those reasons is necessarily practical, though.
You don’t need a practical reason to own a G48 or G43X ETS magazine, but I can give you some. As always, more bullets are better than fewer bullets, especially when your firearm has tasks beyond concealed carry. For some people, one gun is all they have. It pulls double duty for concealed carry, home defense, and beyond.
In the home defense role, the 19 round G43X ETS magazine offers a heckuva lot of rounds for defensive purposes. The more you have in the gun, the better for home defense. Packing a reload isn’t likely when something goes bump in the night and a 19 round magazine grants you a good bit more firepower.
Beyond home defense, an extended magazine like the G43X ETS magazine packs a punch for traveling. A long road trip will have you packing your G43X with its standard 10 round magazine but having an extended option for emergencies is far from crazy. When you spend the night in hotels and such a 19 round magazine opens up your defensive capabilities.
Packing on the Rounds
The G48 and G43X ETS magazine is an awesome option for topping off your mag with a few extra rounds. A few extra being 9, or almost double the OEM magazine capacity. These mags can take a healthy amount of abuse and keep click-clacking, although be aware everything might need a little TLC here and there.
If you want to exercise your freedom, packing a few extra rounds for defensive purposes, or just reduce the need to reload, then G43X ETS mags keep you covered. Literally, they allow you to lay down cover fire if necessary.
Four Reasons ETS Rule the Extendo Aftermarket
Have you ever noticed that gun folks have a few strong opinions? Or that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west?
Yeah, same answer.
On the one hand, this is a great thing. We need strong people in the gun community to stand up for us and do what is right. Thank you to all the folks who do that. You know who you are, and we appreciate every one of you.
On the other hand, sometimes a strong opinion can get in the way of looking at the totality of the situation, and we can develop tunnel vision, not allowing us to see the whole picture. I’m not just talking about a self-defense shooting situation where you need to look for additional threats. This same principle applies to selecting gear.
We all have our favorite brands – just ask diehard Glock fans and they’ll tell you all about why Glock is the preferred firearm choice of God Almighty Himself. As a gear reviewer, I get to try out a ton of different goodies from a wide assortment of brands. Some of them are outstanding, while others are pure crap. Most fall in between.
One area where most gun guys (and gals) have a strong opinion is aftermarket magazines, especially extended magazines. You love them or hate them. And everyone has a story to tell about the time aftermarket mag brand X failed them on the range or crapped out under stress. Yep, it happens.
Elite Tactical Systems
A Company with Tons of Disciples and Detractors
ETS is known for its signature smoky mags. You can spot one a mile away. As a guy who has spent most of his professional career in marketing, I appreciate this iconic look. It does its job: standing out among the crowd. You know when you see an ETS mag.
But aside from marketing, how well do ETS mags work?
Ask ten people and you might get ten different answers. Some will love them while others hate them. So before we get into why ETS mags are pretty awesome, let’s establish some criteria.
First, understand that magazines are wear items. Just like tires on a car, eventually, mags wear out. They can last for years and years, through thousands of rounds put downrange, but at some point, they will die, either through attrition or abuse. It happens to the best of them. Second, don’t judge any product by its price. While it’s often true that you get what you pay for, sometimes an inexpensive product is exactly what you need. (Exception: High Point. But we won’t go there today.)
All that being said, let’s look at why ETS rocks the mag world.
If you’ve priced magazines recently, you know they aren’t cheap.
It’s kind of like buying a printer for your computer. The printer itself may be relatively inexpensive, but try refilling the ink on a budget. Mags are the same way. If you get the factory mag/ink, you’ll pay high manufacturer prices. But if you buy aftermarket mags/ink, you’ll save a ton of money and get just as good performance.
Typically, ETS sells their compatible mags for 20-25% less than manufacturer prices, sometimes even lower. Assuming the quality is the same (more on that in a minute), why pay higher prices for something that doesn’t need to be more expensive?
2. Specialized Selection
ETS carries a limited selection of pistol magazines for four of the top gunmakers: Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and HK. Sig selection is limited to the P320, HK is VP9 only, Smith & Wesson is M&P and Shield, and Glock, with its ridiculous compatibility with itself and so many other brands, is a full-line offering for pretty much anything Glock on the market.
What this means to you is ETS isn’t trying to do too much at once. They have resisted the temptation to be all things to all people, cranking out mags for every gun and its brother on the market. Instead, they smartly figured out their niche: well-made mags for the most popular guns.
Now, the “specialized selection” comment only applies to their handgun mags and two rifles: the MP5 and CZ Scorpion. If you want the more universal AR mags, you’re in luck. ETS offers those mags in a variety of options, from single mags to interlocking mags to mags with colored followers and base plate fill indicators.
3. Awesome Colors
Speaking of colors, while most of us are familiar with the clear or smoky mags ETS is known for, did you know they also make mags in other colors? Yep, you can get them in blue and orange for Glocks, but not for the other three brands. Not sure why, since the mold is the same for all colors. How awesome would a blue VP9 mag look?
This is more than just an aesthetic advantage.
Clear and colored mags let you see what’s inside. One criticism of many aftermarket mags for Glocks, especially, is they don’t have the signature Glock Dots on the back to show how many rounds are inside. Instead, you have to do the math, often involving counting on your fingers to remember how many rounds you have left to load.
With clear or colored mags, you can see exactly what you have in the mag.
For M4/AR mags, you can opt for a color package that includes matching follower and base plate loaded indicator. When the cartridge-shaped indicator sticks through the bottom, you know you have all 30 rounds loaded.
The bright follower makes chamber press checks easy, too, because you’ll see the color sitting right on top of the empty mag.
Speaking of colors, ETS is big on the red, white, and blue because every mag they sell is made right here in the USA.
Remember way back near the top when I mentioned magazines are like car tires?
If you wear a set out after a few years, the manufacturer will happily sell you a new set but won’t replace them for free. Most magazine companies are the same. You get a year warranty against manufacturer defects and that’s about it. Unless you can show the mag fouled up because it was poorly made, you’re on your own to replace it.
Not with ETS.
They offer a full lifetime warranty, no questions asked, on every magazine they sell. So even if you are one of those few people who has a bad experience with one of their mags, you can get a new one, at no charge.
One of the only criticisms I have heard about ETS is that “they’re junk.” (Actual quote, but I cleaned up the language.)
This is hard to believe because of ETS’s warranty. They seem to stand behind their products to an extra degree not found often in the mag biz. Also, if you Google articles or videos about ETS mags, it’s hard to find any real complaints. Many of the reviews even mention that while ETS has a reputation for being “junk,” the reviewers themselves hardly found any reason to complain and instead were extremely impressed with how well the mags performed.
So much for internet rumors being true – as if that ever happens, right?
If you’re looking for outstanding extended or replacement mags for one of these guns, it’s hard to beat the value that Elite Tactical Systems offers.
Seeing (See-Through) Red
Transparent and Translucent Mags from ETS
ETS Glock Magazines are probably the most eye-catching handgun mags on the market. Their transparent design does catch the eye, especially when they are loaded. ETS makes a ton of Glock magazines in a variety of different calibers.
They focus on the 9mm, 40 S&W, and even a few 380 ACP models. Glock magazines go beyond the Glock handgun design and have found their way into rifles of all kinds. This has made the Glock aftermarket quite populous, so how do the ETS Glock magazines stack up? I have a few 31 rounders and a Glock 17 to find out.
These are extendos, completely transparent, and as I mentioned hold 31 rounds of 9mm. They can use standard Glock baseplates and are compatible with most aftermarket options. These specific magazines are one of many. They make magazines in a variety of capacities to accommodate more discrete carry with standard capacities as well as length limitations for competition. There are even extended models for the Glock 43 and 42, which I’m both fascinated and confused by.
Down and Dirty with the ETS Glock magazines
The ETS Glock Magazines are easy to load and the transparent nature makes the follower, spring, and ammo relationship front and center. Honestly, things get really odd once you start seeing the rounds compress the spring. I never knew just how crazy and disorganized a loaded mag looks.
The ETS Glock magazines accommodate ambidextrous releases and are basically Gen 4 magazines in design. They lock in with ease and there is no play in the magazine. They function like a champ with both Glock pistols and my Kel Tec rifle.
Once triggers start being pulled the mags work like a dream. I’ve used these mags for well over a year, mostly with carbines, and have yet to have an issue. A few rifle companies are even packaging ETS magazines with their Glock based lowers.
They work with brass, aluminum, and even steel ammo. Steel ammo, especially Winchester Forged, is dry and can make magazines hang up. However, the ETS Glock magazines run like a champ.
The little lip on the base pad makes it easier to pull the magazine from an SMG pouch, and on normal ETS magazines, it makes them easier to draw from a standard mag pouch. It’s a simple design, but the little refinements like that make them stand out.
The ETS Glock magazines are well made, they look great, and they function brilliantly. They have a lifetime warranty to boot and seem to be willing to rapidly replace magazines when there are issues. I haven’t had those issues, and I’ve used and abused these magazines for some time. This includes leaving them loaded for extended periods of time. I’ve yet to run into a reason not to love them.
ETS Glock Magazine Round Counter Modification
The high-capacity ETS Glock magazine has a transparent mag body. It looks cool when it is full of ammo and you can clearly see how many rounds are in the magazine. Even though the ETS high cap mags are transparent, once the magazine is inserted into a Glock 17, you can’t see how many rounds are hidden under the magazine. It can be anything from 0-17 rounds. Once you start shooting those last 17 rounds you don’t know how many rounds you have left unless you keep count or remove the magazine to see how many you have left.
We will take a page out of Magpul’s book and mark one of the coils as an indicator that your mag is running out of ammo. Below you can see a close up of a windowed PMAG.
The modification is rather simple, all you need is a paint pen.
Here is how you add a round counter to your ETS high cap mag.
- 1. Insert the empty magazine into your gun.
- 2. Note which spring coil is closest to the bottom of the grip.
- 3. Dissassemble the magazine
- 4. Mark the coil from step 2
- 5. Reassemble the magazine
The modification is rather easy and adds a feature to your high cap mags.
By having that coil marked with a light color, you can easily see it. Once that coil gets close to the bottom of the grip, you know you are running low on ammo. You could take this an extra step and make marks along the outside of the mag. Load 20 rounds into the mag. Mark the outside where the colored coil rests. Do this again for 25 and 30 rounds. You can then quickly see how many rounds are in the gun without taking the magazine out and counting them.
ETS Mags: Glock 9mm, 170mm 27-Round Competition
As both competition shooting and Glock handguns increase in popularity it makes sense that new accessories are being developed to help pistols like the practical tactical Glock 34 compete with other handguns in the action shooting sports.
Elite Tactical Systems has paid attention to the trends in competition and as a result has developed a new competition legal, 9mm, 27 round, 170mm magazine from its translucent polymer.
ETS has a solid reputation designing and building a wide range Glock handgun magazines and mags for AR-15 rifles and it would make sense that this new mag will follow in the footsteps of previous magazines in that it is expected to be both reliable and durable.
The ETS magazine fits perfectly in gun games like United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Open Division and serves as a nice compliment to the ETS 22 round, 140mm, USPSA Limited Division legal mag.
The ETS mags, which are compatible with all 9mm Glocks generation 1-4, feature polymer that won’t stretch, crack or break when dropped—even in extreme heat or cold. The feed lips will hold their dimensions even when stored loaded for long periods of time. The easy-to-remove base pads make cleaning the mags easy as well and like other Elite Tactical Systems magazines, the polymer is resistant to harsh chemicals.
The nearly clear body of the ETS mags looks interesting and at the same time has some unique benefits. The clear body makes it easy to see exactly how many rounds are in the magazine, what specific ammunition is loaded in the mag and the overall cleanliness of your magazine.
If you are looking for higher capacity in your Glock 17, 19, 26, or 34, or if you need a “big stick” to be more competitive in gun games, ETS now has a legal, reliable, and cost-effective solution for you.