Putting The Hexmag Glock Magazine To The Test

My introduction to the oddly patterned Hexmag line came in 2014. It may have actually been earlier—circa 2013—but the production mags didn’t go on sale until 2014. At that point, there were many polymer AR-15 mag makers producing magazines, but the scene was still dominated by Magpul.

There were very few good polymer mags, though. It seemed like the Magpul line set the standard. Lancer was there, too. All of the others, though, were a noticeable step behind and most of those were trying to compete on price alone.

Hexmag brought a few legit features that made them stand out. We’ll dig into those shortly. The brand had a vision for how they were different, though, and it caught on.

As the company expanded, the brand gained the kind of recognition that often results in acquisition. Some former Blackhawk execs had formed a new company, Sentry Products Group, and they bought Hexmag and brought the economy of scale to their production process.

The Hexmag 9mm 17-Round Carbon Fiber Magazine with a much older Hexmag AR mag.
The Hexmag 9mm 17-Round Carbon Fiber Magazine with a much older Hexmag AR mag.

Hexmag differences

Hexture. Weird word, huh? Hexture is the trade name for the hexagonal pattern that dominates these magazines. So what does it do?

Hexture provides a grip surface. These fine lines stand off of the polymer like sharply defined ridges. Even with gloved hands, they catch easily and allow for a really good grip surface. Of all of the polymer mags I have for the AR platform, these are the most tactile.

The Hexture also adds strength, allowing Hexmag to build mag bodies with increased rigidity. I suspect there’s a slight weight-saving aspect to this, too, but I can’t confirm that. And even so, it would be marginal.

The original Hexmags had grip-tape sticker options that were shaped like the hex pattern. Peel and stick. This option provided even more surface texture and the option of adding more color to the magazines.

Texture abounds on the Hexmag design. It is built into the look and feel.
Texture abounds on the Hexmag design. It is built into the look and feel.

The design is also legitimately toolless. While maintaining your magazines is hardly a sexy proposition, it is necessary. We don’t preach that enough, honestly. With the Hexmag design, you can remove the baseplate without the use of any punches.

After that, the plastic parts can be washed with soap and water. The stainless steel spring needs a coat of oil after a wipe-down. Reassemble and get back to work.

Color Coding with HexID

I have my own system for Glock mags. Because I have many G17 and G19 mags, I—very early on—used a paint pen to differentiate the two. For my G17 mags, I block in the 9mm marking on the back.

It is easy enough, though it wears off. It also marks them as mine so there’s no confusion at classes or competitions.

The GLOCK mags from Hexmag are all red, but the AR mags have color options for the followers, so there's hope there for more to come.
The Glock mags from Hexmag are all red, but the AR mags have color options for the followers, so there’s hope there for more to come.

Hexmag stickers allow you to color code things, but so do their end pins and covers (at least for the AR mags). On the AR side, you can keep the 300 BLK separate from the .223 and 5.56 all by picking a dedicated color for each caliber. Match the follower and the plate latch to a single caliber and scratch that OCD itch without markers or paint pens.

But what about the polymer?

What about it? If you are not yet sold on plastics, there’s little I might say that would convince you. At least with the AR mags and the AK mags, you still have a choice. That’s not the case with Glock mags, though. They all have some element of plastic involved. The Hexmag Glock mag goes all-in on the polymer, though, in a way Glock does not.

The traditional Glock mag has stainless steel lurking beneath the polymer. The steel provides exceptional rigidity and strength. Glock can keep the steel thin, though, because they encase it in plastic. This, in many people’s minds, is the best of both worlds: a strong design that is lightweight and all but indestructible.

This design, though, originated in an era when mags were made of steel. All-plastic was completely out of the question. Glock pioneered the use of polymer in magazines and in the guns themselves, but it wasn’t without significant controversy.

Hexmag announced a clear plastic Glock mag with a stainless liner and stainless feed lips, but I have yet to see one out in the wild.

The back of the Hexmag is the only part that doesn't have exceptional texture built in.
The back of the Hexmag is the only part that doesn’t have exceptional texture built in.

Now, though, we have enough data to judge the lifespan of plastics and they’re holding up exceptionally well. Hexmag dropped the steel liner. The only place where you might ever notice this omission would be at the feed lips.

And Hexmag is adding an extra element to their polymer to improve the strength even more: carbon fiber. This makes the bodies even lighter and stronger.

How do they hold up?

When I got these Hexmag Glock mags in for review, I went back to my bin of mags and looked for my other AR Hexmags. I have lots of mags and they stay in regular circulation. I do keep some topped-off all the time and I don’t baby any of them. When I clear a mag, it goes down in the dirt. Spoiler alert: Glock mags rarely fail.

I don’t shoot 5.56 as often as I do 9mm, but these have seen several years of regular use. And they’re none the worse for wear. Not even the ones I keep loaded. The springs are still stout.

The feed lips on these are not marred, dented, or scratched. The bodies are true to shape. While they don’t look like I’ve just unwrapped them, they are functional.

The front of the mag has ridges that help hold it in place in a mag pouch.
The front of the mag has ridges that help hold it in place in a mag pouch.

My Glock mags, though, take more of a beating. I tend to clear them more violently. I like to move while I shoot, so I often stomp them pretty good without realizing it.

There’s no reason I can find to anticipate failure with the design. If anything, the Glock mag will be more rugged than the AR-15 design because of the dimensions. The decreased width of a 9mm mag means the polymer body is more rigid.

How does it run?

I’ve been working with a Glock 45, so I’ve shelved all of my G19 mags and switched over to the longer 17-round mags. I have a few from Magpul, a bucket of factory G17 mags, and now these Hexmags. I’ve yet to have a failure with any of these.

Is this due to the genius of the Glock mag design or a mark of quality from what I’d consider to be the top-three brands for polymer magazine production? I can’t say.

I’ve read some user reviews that detail problems with the follower jamming, but I’ve yet to have this experience or talk to anyone who has and I can’t replicate the issue, no matter how hard I try.

The Hexmag does have a couple of design elements that give it an edge, though. As discussed earlier, the texture on the mag body is crazy easy to grip. This is a win in the retrieval of a magazine from a mag pouch. Even with wet, cold hands, I find the Hexmag design to be the easiest to use in a fast reload.

This texture is a bonus in mag pouches, too—at least fabric ones, as it wants to stick on Cordura. It doesn’t seem to add much friction in a Kydex mag holder.

G17 with magazines
After three months of use in a G19, G45, and G17, I’ve yet to run into a problem with loading, feeding, or anything with the Hexmags.

Final thoughts on the Hexmag?

Hardly. I’ve been working with these now for three months. So far, so good. Great, even.

I’ll be back, though, with a long-term look at how they stand up. I have no hesitation in recommending them now, though, as my experience with the original Hexmags remains completely free of Hexsnags.

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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