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Review: Magpul PMAG 40

I have heard that, internally, Magpul is saying that the PMAG 40 is the best magazine that they have made yet. That is really saying something considering the success of the entire PMAG line. I have now put just over 1000 rounds through a group of three PMAG 40s that I purchased when they were released and I haven’t seen anything that would cause me to disagree with Magpul’s assessment.

Magpul PMAG 40

Magazine reviews are generally pretty boring – especially when the magazines that are being reviewed work as intended which is the case with the PMAG 40s. The PMAG 40 is a 40 round capacity version of the venerable PMAG that is just over 2″ longer than a 30 round capacity PMAG. I had zero feeding issues. They always locked the bolt back. They fit every receiver I tried. They have been durable enough for me. That is the boring stuff that has already been talked about in just about every review. So, in this review, I intend to go a little bit off the beaten path because, while reliability is essential in a magazine, it isn’t what makes the PMAG 40 special.

One of the first things that I noticed when using the PMAG 40s is how nice it is to be able to stuff them with two full boxes of ammo. Sure, that may be a small thing, but it is nice to not have to put a box and a half into each magazine like you do with a 30 round magazine. Those left over half empty boxes bother me. Again, this is a small thing. On to more notable details…

Magpul PMAG 40 Compare

You can’t help but notice how well these magazines handle. You would think that magazine might become ungainly as the length increases but that really isn’t the case with these. They have a ton of surface area to grip so moving them around is easy. They aren’t so much heavier than a 30 round magazine that they feel burdensome. One of the better attributes of these magazines may be that they really just don’t merit much extra consideration than a 30 round magazine.

Those of you who plant the magazine on the deck when you go prone (which is hopefully all of you) will be pleased to note that you can still get quite low with the PMAG 40s. You can get lower than you would with a tradition elbows-under-the-rifle style prone, though obviously not as low as with a 30 round magazine. Several people that I shoot with have noted that they actually prefer the PMAG 40 to 30 round magazines for use as a monopod. I think I can notice that it is slightly less stable to use the PMAG 40 as a monopod versus a shorter 30 rounds magazine, but it may be in my head. Suffice it to say, they work extremely well as a monopod.

I was initially worried about finding pouches that would fit the PMAG 40s. It turns out that those fears were largely unfounded because several of my current pouches adapted well to use with the PMAG 40. The HSGI Taco pouches hold them surprisingly well. I used them on my belt in multiple training days that had me shooting from awkward positions and on VTAC barricades. The Tacos never dropped a PMAG 40 in spite of some pretty sketchy shooting positions. Esstac’s KYWI and regular adjustable magazine pouches all work well with them. UW Gear’s deep mag pouches work great if you tuck the top flap in behind the magazine (obviously, the flap won’t close over the magazine). I haven’t had any reason to go out and purchase a pouch specific to the PMAG 40s yet though it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Magpul PMAG 40 Compare Stack

Finally and perhaps most subtly, the best thing about the PMAG 40s is that you can get same amount of ammo into three of them, that you can in four 30 round magazines. If you are used to using a “battle belt” you may understand why that is significant. I have generally found that placing any more than two primary magazines on a battle belt is unwieldy. The mag pouches take up too much space, the weight causes the belt to shift in strange ways, and movement generally becomes hindered. I cap my battle belt at two primary magazine reloads. That means that with two PMAG 40s on my belt and one in the gun, I can have 120 rounds on tap with fewer reloads, less weight, and less bulk than carrying the same amount of rounds in 30 round magazines. This alone makes the PMAG 40s notable for me.

PMAG 40s are reliable. They seem to be durable or at least durable enough for me. Yes, they hold 10 more rounds than most magazines and all that makes them a good magazine. However, it is all of the little ancillary details that make them a great magazine. Excuse me while I go order a few more.

Check out the PMAG 40 at Brownells!

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