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Sometimes overlooked, the lowly magazine can truly make or break a gun in the field. Bad magazines can introduce reliability problems, forcing you to clear malfunctions rather than put rounds on target. For AR-platform rifles, this is as true as it is for any other weapon system. Fortunately, there is a plethora of magazines on the market that combine reliability with a broad spectrum of enhancements. Modern AR magazines are made from a variety of materials, are available in a range of finishes, and can be had with all kinds of internals.

One of the most basic distinctions among AR magazines is the body material. Stainless steel, aluminum and polymer are all available, and each has its own benefits and limitations. Likewise, the follower and spring vary from magazine to magazine. While nearly all AR magazines use a follower that claims to be “tilt resistant,” not all are equally good. Some companies offer reliability enhancement kits that allow you to upgrade the floorplate, follower and spring in your existing magazines.

Magazine finishes rarely impact the reliability of the magazine, but an improperly applied finish can cause the magazine to hang in the well instead of dropping free. Also, certain colors or patterns may be more appropriate for your uses. A street cop, for example, is probably not going to use a non-standard gray or black color for uniform reasons. Likewise, a tactical unit may opt for a green or
brown magazine to offer better concealment for their typical operating environments.

There are a great many choices in AR magazines, and this is a list to get you started in your search for the best mags to meet your needs.

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