I have been using the Suarez International (SI) Combat Magazine Guide for almost 1 year now on one of my Generation 3 Glock 19s and I like it quite a bit. It may seem strange to use a magwell on a carry gun to some but I may have some unique perspective for those who think that way.
The Combat Magazine Guide is a drop-in magazine well enhancement that is available for a number of different Glock models. It is machined from “aircraft grade” aluminum and hard anodized. Installation is easy and similar to every other magwell that I have ever used.
I will say up front that the marketing for the Combat Magazine Guide is a bit over the top. I have come to expect that from SI but I have also come to expect that the quality and function of the product will be very good at a reasonable price. That has been true for this and all the other Glock parts I have used from them.
SI states in their marketing materials that the Combat Magazine Guide gives a 3% edge is reload speed. I have never really found that to be the case with ANY magazine well intended for use with double stack magazines. I have generally found that reloads are more forgiving of not-so-perfect technique but, averaged out over several reloads, not necessarily faster.
At this point, you may be wondering why I still like magwells on Glocks if I haven’t really found them to be faster. Most people have a pretty narrow view of what a magwell does. I don’t discount their ability to clean up a slight miss during a reload and their potential to speed some reloads but I see them as a grip enhancer as much as a reload enhancer.
The grip enhancing aspects of a well designed magwell are especially apparent on short gripped handguns like the Glock 19. My hands are wide enough that they can cause two issues (I usually wear a medium or, occasionally, a large glove so we aren’t talking about especially meaty hands here). The first is that magazine may fail to drop free due to contact with the meat of my palm. The second (and more painful issue) is that the meat of my palm can be pinched between the Glock frame and magazine base plate. This can cause a painful blood blister which is less than pleasant when you are part way through a long training session. The Combat Magazine Guide prevents this from happening by effectively holding back the meat of my palm.
Additionally, the wedge shape of the Combat Magazine Guide serves to drive the hand higher on the gun and lock it in against the beaver tail area at the back of the grip. The shape at the front of the Combat Magazine Guide creates a sort of shelf that drives your finger high into the trigger guard. It really helps lock your grip into place.
The design of the Combat Magazine Guide doesn’t really alter the concealability of the Glock 19. It fits so close to the Glock frame that base plate of your magazine is still the longest part of the gun. This is key for three reasons. One, it is the butt of the gun that has the biggest effect on concealment. Two, you can still get finger tips on the baseplate for malfunction clearances. Three, it works with a wider variety of aftermarket baseplates than magazine wells that encompass more of the baseplate.
Is the marketing for this item over the top? Yes. However, I think SI is actually selling themselves short with the “3% edge in speed” claim. Speed is quantifiable but it is harder to quantify how well the Combat Magazine Guide works to enhance the grip. It is well shaped and thoughtfully designed in a broader context beyond just speeding reloads.
Disclosure: The Combat Magazine Guide was provided to me for review, free of charge, by a marketing professional for SI.