Glock Magazines: Some Other Options (and why)

Glock magazine options

Since my retirement from the Marine Corps, my job has largely consisted of training law enforcement personnel, responsible armed citizens, and the occasional military unit. I see a lot of Glocks in classes. In fact, at least half or more of any given class will be running Glocks (and thus of course Glock magazines). The range of mags used in all those Glocks is wide and diverse, so I am able to get a pretty good picture of what works well and what doesn’t.

One of the most common questions asked about any non-OEM magazine, much as with any new firearm or firearm accessory is – is it reliable? This is obviously a valid question, particularly when we are talking about concealed carry, duty use, or a military application. For these uses, I recommend and use factory Glock mags (scroll down to see list by model). I and many others have found that factory (OEM) Glock mags are flat out more reliable.

But reliability is not always a requirement. 

Glock magazines.

OEM Glock clipazines. The author prefers them for serious use like duty or concealed carry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at “off-brand” versions.

And that’s why so many other mag options still have their place in your range bag.

Glock Magazine Options

Mags for the Range, Training, and Practice

Let’s say I am going to go take a high round count handgun class. Maybe I’m just planning a long trip to the range. Having numerous mags filled beforehand makes the time much more enjoyable because I’ve decreased the time spent filling magazines — though, like the water cooler or coffee pot at the office, many good conversations have been had while thumbing bullets into clipazines.

I usually carry a Glock 19 magazine in my Glock 19 and have a spare Glock 17 magazine in a pocket to serve as a reload or, as is more likely to be needed, for problem-solving a stoppage. Most of the time I also use Glock 17 during training or while instructing. You may do the same. However, for every couple Glock 17 magazines you buy, you could have purchased several so-called “off-brand” (non-OEM) mags and put them to good use. And given that your supply of the more expensive mags will eventually suffer the attrition of loss, breakage, or eternal loan, it just makes sense to rotate less expensive magazines into your lineup.

Plus, there are training benefits to be gained by using the less expensive, often less reliable, magazines — handling stoppages in particular. None of the after-market mags I’ve used have been so bad they constantly cause malfunctions but cause them they mostly do. This gives the shooter a periodic, unpredictable opportunity to practice solving those problems.

Some brands you might consider include the following. Remember that even with this the extent of reliability (or lack thereof) varies widely. One may never cause a problem. Another may make you want to smash it with a hammer. YMMV.

ETS Glock Mags


KCI Glock Mags

Magpul Glock Magazines

Pro Mag Glock Magazines

SGM Tactical Glock Mags

One day I will invent a magazine that causes random stoppages. Or that can be remote-controlled to cause specific problems.

Until then, however, I see absolutely zero downside to having segregated magazines. Use factory Glock mags that you have tested and confirmed for reliability on duty and in your concealed carry weapon, but use the ones that are a heck of a lot less expensive for at least part of your training and practice.

Save money and keep your factory mags fresh for work and defense. Use the leftover $$$ to take a class or buy ammo.

Next up: what should you have in your range bag? 

non-OEM Glock mags have their place in your range bag

Glock Factory Mags

G17 magazines

G18 magazines

G19 magazines 

G21 magazines 

G22 magazines

G23 magazines

G26 Magazines

G27 magazines

G33 magazines

G34 magazines

G35 magazines

G36 magazines

G37 magazines

G38 magazines

G39 magazines

G42 magazines

G43 magazines

G43X magazines

G44 magazines

G48 magazines

Glock PMAG magazines with base plates.


Gunmag Warehouse’s own Director of Marketing, Daniel Shaw is a retired US Marine Infantry Unit Leader with multiple combat tours and instructor titles.  Since retirement from the Marine Corps, Daniel teaches Armed Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers weapons, tactics and use of force.

Daniel takes his life of training and combat experience and develops as well as presents curriculum and creates digital media content to help Law Enforcement, US Military and Responsible Armed Citizens prepare for a deadly force encounter.  When he isn’t directing marketing for Gunmag Warehouse, Daniel travels the US teaching and training under his company, Shaw Strategies, and discusses all things hoplological and self-defense related on The MagLife Podcast.

  • thespaceghost

    This small amount of info- an idea surrounded by couple of paragraphs almost amounts to clickbait. Use Glock OEM mags- anything else will eventually cause problems and are not as efficient as Original Glock. Period. End of message.

    • Leon Amer

      Indeed ! My experience with ETS clear in G19 has been so-so, with the red G43 model (and clear) eh as new but ok with mods. I had trouble getting the claimed round count into the ETS’s without a little spring tweeking, and forget it with the 43, until I saw a product called Magguts, which replaces the spring and follower with a design that compacts to a smaller volume, thereby allowing that last round or 2 more room and saving pain on your thumb. Also the round-adding base plates that give the pinky finger a place to join the others help a lot in recoil control. ETS mags are hit and miss, tho, (pun intended) when it comes to inserting a full one under a closed slide – you need at least a half-round’s worth of room for the round stack to depress to get the mag locked in with a closed slide, and this is something Glock OEM mags never give me a problem with. Magpul – luv the company, great design, wish they had witness holes. Other brands mentioned – no experience.

      • Daniel Shaw

        Sounds like we need to check out Magguts. Thanks for the info. You observations with ETS are certainly similar to my own.

    • Daniel Shaw

      Agreed that this is essentially the message for the reliability question, but less reliable magazines also have a place. We get ten to twenty customer service emails each week on the reliability, fitment and capacity issues associated with aftermarket Glock magazines. When we see a trend, we often try to answer the questions people are searching for on our blog. Not everyone is able to purchase Glock factory mags and we want people to have realistic expectations for what they do purchase and to help them make the choice that is right for them.

      • Clark Kent

        Yup; they have a place. In the GARBAGE CAN! What’s next; claiming dud ammo is OK?

  • El Cid

    Interesting training idea to use poor quality mags to induce stoppages that you then have to clear. I have tried aftermarket for practice only and have been seriously disappointed. I would never use anything but Glock manufactured mags in my guns.

  • Docglock

    Surprisingly, I have had issues with the Magpul G19 and G17 mags. I only use Glock OEM mags since. Maybe I will try the Magpuls again, JUST for the clearing stoppages practice!

  • Regis

    I’ve owned all of the brands you’ve listed and Glock is number one but Magpul isn’t a slouch either. I’ve shot more ammo than I could have kept track of with them and no hiccups ever. Used in several different versions of Glock 9mm and I wouldn’t and haven’t sweated using these for carry. Just run a few hundred rounds first to make sure, that’s it!

  • Adam

    Used magpul in my g19 for a year or so, just came back from a 2 day competition in TX where they ran flawlessly (about 300 rds) Was going to get some ETS for my new new 43x for range stuff as they are cheaper. Havent yet tho!

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  • American Patriot

    Original Glock mags all the time……But that’s just me!

  • powerman1955

    Huh, I guess the G30 I carry everyday must be a fluke since it didn’t make the list…..

  • fyrcapn

    i agree. glock factory mags for anything important. shot glock 34 (as many do) in ssp, idpa and never had a problem with glock mags. that’s all i have ever used . back then glocks were only about 15 bucks. sounds like your advice is right and plinking use whatever. and yes stoppages are great training. i once shot the glock without cleaning. it failed at 2400 rounds…downside is, it was at a local match i would have taken 1st overall. turns out it was my fault i used to grease places on the 34. carbon stuck to the grease and built up. further checks… grease on a glock and oil sparingly. live and learn. have a good one.

  • John

    I only use Glock OEM and Magpul. I have a ton of both and I’ve never once had an issue with either in the 20+ Glocks I’ve had and tens of thousands of rounds I’ve put through both kinds. I have about half and half of oem and magpul. Literally not one malfunction or failure from either. I take care of my gear though. Follow the old saying, “take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you.” Then again, I could just be lucky, who knows.

  • zedirich7

    What are the base plate on the magpul magazines in the thumbnail?