Magpul Glock 17 Mags: As Good as the OEM?

The Glock aftermarket space is packed with magazines, grips, sights, triggers, recoil springs, barrels—even entire guns that have no official affiliation with Glock but are spittin’ images of the original. (Looking at you, Shadow Systems, and a handful of others.) The effort makes sense. After all, Glock is the bestselling polymer pistol brand on the market and has been for many years. If you’re going to pick one brand to support, choose the one that will likely make you the most money. It’s just smart business.

Well, the folks at Magpul have never been called stupid, so it makes sense they would make magazines for one of the most popular guns in the world, the Glock 17. Magpul has been known for outstanding magazines for a variety of guns for a very long time. From AR and AK mags to pistol mags, Magpul has been knocking it out of the park like they know what they’re doing for decades, which is good since it’s kind of in their name.

Until a few years ago, I wasn’t a big Glock guy. I didn’t hate Glocks. I was Glock agnostic. I had shot a few here and there but didn’t own one. That is until I won one in a charity shooting match. Ironically, I won it by beating everyone else with an outdated Walther PPX. What can I say? Walther makes excellent guns. And it proves that you still have to be able to shoot, no matter what gun you use. But I digress…

Glock 17
The Glock 17 was from a private collection and came with a Magpul magazine the original owner had purchased a couple of years back. He had run a few boxes through it but wasn’t a big Glock fan, so he put the 17 up for a prize. Lucky me.

Over the past five years, I’ve taken the gun to the range many times, added a red dot (it’s a Gen 4 MOS), and upgraded the trigger (yay for all the aforementioned aftermarket support). I also swapped out the Walther as my competition gun and replaced it with the more modern firearm. The Glock also lives in the safe under the bed as my home defense gun. It’s very versatile. But this article isn’t about the Glock 17; it’s about the Magpul G17 magazine.

Let’s start with the tech specs straight from the Magpul website:

  • Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum
  • Platform: Glock
  • Capacity: 17 rounds
  • Compatibility: The PMAG 17 GL9 is compatible with all full-size 9mm Glock handguns, as well as compact and sub-compact variants with some protrusion below the grip.

In a nutshell, the Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 is compatible with anything that accepts Glock magazines, both original Glock equipment and other brands such as the Ruger PC Charger and anything else with the Glock adapter collar.

But how well does it compare to original Glock mags? In some ways, it’s not as good, while in other ways it’s at least as good, if not better.

Durability

Thanks to Glock’s stellar reputation for rugged dependability, one of the first questions almost everyone asks regarding any aftermarket part, not just magazines, is “Is it reliable?” Rephrased, will it take the sort of beating and abuse that Glock OEM parts will stand up to? It’s a reasonable question, especially if you bought a Glock mainly for its reliability. Why swap out the known quality of genuine Glock parts for questionable replacements? The substitute should be as good as the original.

The Magpul magazine is just as easy to take apart and clean as the original Glock magazine.

Having now put a few thousand rounds through the Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 in both easy conditions and tough conditions, I can attest that the Magpul version is at least as reliable as the original Glock mags. Not only is the spring still stiff enough to reliably deliver rounds consistently into the chamber (I’ve never had a single misfeed or failure to feed), the follower has zero wobble and keeps the rounds perfectly in line inside the sleeve.

I have dropped the mag on concrete, rock, gravel, dirt, wood, you name it, both empty and full, with absolutely no cracking or chipping. The baseplate and feeder lips are in the same shape they were the day I got the magazine. The baseplate does not wiggle, even a bit, instead remaining as tight as before it went through all the abuse.

Insertion

While it’s great that the magazine stands up to the force of falling onto hard surfaces, an oft-overlooked character of mags is how well they slide into the mag well. One legitimate criticism of polymer magazines of any brand is that they don’t slide into mag wells as easily as steel or other metal magazines, which are smoother and slicker. Polymer, no matter how smooth, can cause sliding issues.

The Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 did not cause any more problems with loads and mag changes than the Glock OEM mags. “Smooth” might be the best way to describe them. No hiccups. The mag seated correctly every time, on both an open and closed slide.

 

What I Don’t Like

While there are many reasons to recommend the Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 magazines, there are two issues I found annoying. These are not necessarily reasons not to buy these mags. Judge for yourself if you think they are deal killers for you. They aren’t for me.

The first is the absence of witness holes on the back. Glock has their famous Glock Dots, the tiny round windows that fill with brass as each round is inserted into the magazine. These holes are super helpful to know if you’re done loading or how many rounds you have left during a quick capacity check. The Magpul mag only has one tiny slit at the 17-round level that tells you when the magazine is full, but there is no way to figure out how many rounds are left under 17. It would be nice to have some sort of mid-magazine visual reference to know how much ammo is left.

Magpul and Glock magazine comparison
The absence of Glock Dots on the Magpul mag makes it hard to see how many rounds you have.

The second annoyance is an incompatibility issue with aftermarket baseplates. If you want to add an extended baseplate, you can’t use anything designed for the original Glock magazines. So, turning a 17-rounder into a 19-rounder with the addition of a baseplate extension is a bit more challenging. In fact, it may be impossible, as I am not aware of any companies that make extended baseplates compatible with the Magpul magazine. If you know of any, let us know in the comments below. This issue is likely caused by Magpul’s desire not to get sued by Glock for design infringement, which is understandable, but it’s still annoying.

Magpul and Glock magazines
Due to the difference in baseplates, traditional extenders that work on Glock mags cannot be added to the Magpul mag.

Reload

If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative to the original Glock 17 magazines, the Magpul PMAG 17 GL9 is a fantastic choice at only $14.95. It has the durability and reliability you’re used to with Glock OEM but costs less. Is it perfection? Nope, but then only Glock only makes that claim.

David Workman is an avid gun guy, a contributing writer to several major gun publications, and the author of Absolute Authority. A logophile since way back, Workman is a quickdraw punslinger and NRA RSO and Certified Pistol Instructor. He helps train new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as practicable. "Real-world shootouts don't happen at a box range."

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One thought on “Magpul Glock 17 Mags: As Good as the OEM?

  1. The reason the baseplates arent the same is because the glock design sucks. Magpul made it infinitely easier to get the baseplates off in order to clean the mags.

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