Upgrade Your Magazines with SMARTMAG SMART-FOLLOWER

Glock shared this video on their Facebook page. It is the Glock compatible SmartMag. The SmartMag locks the slide back (or in the case of a semi auto rifle, the bolt) while there is one round left in the magazine.

Here is the promo video of the R6 SmartMag.

Here is the simple instruction from their website:

WHENEVER you have a bolt lock, you will have one round left. Then,

Drop Bolt on the last round in your mag.
Drop the now-empty mag.
Find and insert a new mag.

I feel like this is just shifting the order of a reload. Here is a traditional reload:

  • WHENEVER you have a bolt lock
  • Drop the empty mag.
  • Find and insert a new mag.
  • Drop Bolt.

One issue I have with the SmartMag is that it does not take the closed bolt into consideration. I dislike inserting a full mag on a closed bolt or slide. Sure you can download a round or two in your magazine to aid this but that defeats the purpose of a full mag.

So besides their own R6 SmartMag, they have SMART-FOLLOWERS that you can get soon if you wanted this premature slide/bolt lock feature for your Glock magazines, PMAGs, and USGI mags.

Below is the Glock SMART-FOLLOWER. It is a modified follower with a taller shelf that activates the slide lock on the second to last round.


The USGI SMART-FOLLOWER shows a little more of how they work. Simply making the tab, that pushes the bolt lock, taller is not the answer. The follower has to push the bolt lock while there is still a round in the chamber. But then it has to be able to move back down so the bolt lock can be released, thus chambering the last round.

SmartMag states that you no longer need to look into the chamber when the bolt locks back. Rather use their SmartMag and you don’t need to bother looking anymore.

Magazine feedback

Another advantage, and the reason it has been called a “SmartMag”, is the active feedback the weapon gives you when you hit the bolt release. If you hear the snap of the bolt drop, you now know that it was the last round being chambered. If, on the other hand, you do not get any sound-feedback from the bolt, then it can only be a malfunction and not a bolt lock. When this occurs, your hand will be at the bolt release/bolt stop. Right where you need it to be in order to take care of the problem. Meaning, with SmartMags you will able to start problem solving faster, without having to visually identify why the stoppage has occurred.

I do not feel like this is any faster than looking into the chamber. You are simple trading one off one action for the other. While I tend to look into my chamber after every last round or dead trigger, it is just something I do on habit. You can always skip that process and continue reloading.  According to SmartMag’s statement above, you can problem solve faster without identifying the problem. However therein lies the problem. How can you solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is since you didn’t look to identify the problem? Remember the saying about assumptions? You will waste more time problem solving a problem that doesn’t exist because you assumed what the problem is. Better to take the time to look and know the problem so you can star problem solving correctly.

Right now the SMART-FOLLOWERS are on preorder. The Glock followers are $12.95 while The PMAG and USGI followers are $14.95 each.  I am not sure this is a great product. For the price of these followers you could buy more magazines and you would not have to retrain your reload.

Nicholas Chen is a firearm aficionado. Growing up in California, He learned about firearms and hunted with his father growing up in Southern California. Once he moved out to Pennsylvania and then spent a few years in New York State, he learned to truly appreciate firearms and the second amendment. It was in New York State where he became a USPSA competitive shooter and learned about 3Gun. He is an avid fan of running and gunning. Nicholas is a fan of pretty much anything that shoots although the slicked-up race guns are what interests him the most. Having spent time with FFLs and other friends with NFA items he has begun his collection of NFA items and has learned that everything should be suppressed and full auto where possible and legal.

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7 thoughts on “Upgrade Your Magazines with SMARTMAG SMART-FOLLOWER

  1. That last round could be the difference between life and death… I rather have the bolt lock when I’m empty

  2. This is going to result in too many negligent discharges (ie: injury or death), this fine motor skill will take too much training to accomplish success in a critical encounter. Bolt lock back is an emergency, reload & drop slide, truly and quickly, your back to working, Many will drop the mag and lose the supposed gain of one extra round. “bolt lock when empty” is the best practice for shot process work.

  3. After training for the last 40 years to drop the magazine on an open chamber and reload, it would be damn near impossible to rewire my brain to have to manually drop the slide then change out the magazine. I honestly don’t see the benefit, especially since with practice you can reload in about a second and a half.

  4. Not a good idea. I have noticed that a lot of AR style and other types of firearms are way more easy to load with the bolt open and ready to home. I might add it creates one more step instead of a speedy transition back into firing mode.

  5. This is a solution in search of a problem. I’d rather put a mag with the bolt locked backed all day long.

  6. I looked more into these and found on SmartMag.com the PMAG/USGI followers are priced @ $14.95 for a set of followers technically making them $7.475 each. The Glock followers are pre-order and did not say they were a set or each for $12.95

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