About AR-15 Magazines
Introduced by ArmaLite in 1956 and sold to Colt in 1959, the AR15 rifle has gone from humble beginnings to the most popular modern sporting rifle worldwide. From an operational standpoint, the AR15 is a gas-operated rifle that fires from a locked bolt, meaning that when a cartridge is chambered, the bolt closes behind the case and rotates 15 degrees.
When it comes to essential components, magazines are easily ranked among the most critical, and having the right magazines for your AR15 is incredibly important. Thanks to the AR's infinite modularity, there's no shortage of magazine options to meet the demands of your usage and personal taste.
Ammunition Depot is proud to offer high-quality AR15 mags in various capacities and finishes from the brands you trust. So whether you're looking for a single 30-round magazine like the Magpul PMAG Gen 2, or a 6-pack of Amend2 MOD-2 magazines, we'll have the mag you're looking for to fit your needs.
AR-15 Magazine Features
Although individual magazines can slightly differ according to the manufacturer, there are generally four main components to an AR15 mag.
- The Follower: The follower is the tray that lifts the cartridges into position.
- The Spring: The spring powers the follower, generating the force needed to push the rounds upward.
- The Base Plate: The base plate secures the spring in place and can be swapped out for additional customization.
- The Body: The body houses all internal components of the magazine in place and is typically composed of metal or polymer.
Steel AR15 Mags tend to be very durable and often have reliable tensile strength springs and precision machined feed lips to aid in feeding rounds. These mags also tend to have a polymer follower, which will help keep the magazine's spring from binding inside the body.
The standard magazine capacity for an AR15 is 30 rounds. However, many magazines are available with much higher capacities, such as Drum Magazines, which can hold 50+ rounds.
Additionally, some state laws have created regulations limiting the number of rounds a magazine can legally hold, generally to ten rounds or less.
Polymer AR15 Mags tend to be built exceptionally well and are extremely durable. Over the years, the advancements in polymer have led to numerous development in magazines like witness holes so you can keep an eye on your round count. In addition, many come standard with a wire spring and polymer anti-tilt follower to keep the rounds from binding in the body.
AR-15 Magazine FAQ
Which are the best AR15 Magazines?
Many manufacturers currently produce quality and reliable AR15 magazines in today's market. Although the standards are measured differently according to the owner's needs, a quality AR15 magazine is measured by how durable it is, how smoothly it feeds rounds, and its price.
In the United States, popular AR15 magazines include:
- Magpul PMAG
- Promag AR15 mags
- Amend2 AR15 Mod2 magazine
What calibers fit in an AR15 Magazine?
The vast majority of AR15 rifles use the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) magazine, which is designed to be interchangeable with multiple shooting platforms.
Almost all AR15/M16 platforms run STANAG magazines with no issues, including modern sporting rifles. In addition, several manually operated rifles, such as the bolt-action Mossberg MVP Predator, also work with the standard AR15 magazine.
Are all AR15 Magazines compatible?
Generally, most AR-style and modern sporting rifles accept STANAG magazines from reputable manufacturers. Some manufacturers, like Bushmaster, are known to have trouble operating with older AR15 Orlite magazines.
However, this is rare and shouldn't hinder your rifle's performance. Owners should be cautious of discount magazines from unfamiliar brands (generally made overseas). These AR15 mags are sometimes made to different standards than brand-name AR15 mags and may not feed properly in every rifle.
Are 223 and 5.56 Magazines the same?
The most significant difference between 223 and 5.56 rifles is in the freebore spacing of the chamber. Because the two cartridges have nearly identical dimensions, almost all AR15 magazines for this caliber can feed both cartridges without noticeable issues.
While all 5.56 NATO rifles can run 223, it may be unsafe to shoot the 5.56 in a rifle chambered just for 223 because of the elevated pressures. Firearm owners should always check the head stamping on their ammunition to know which type they're shooting.
Can you keep AR15 Magazines loaded?
Generally, yes. Although it's a much-debated topic, many manufacturers state that leaving magazines fully loaded won't weaken their springs. Most firearm experts agree that creating a steady rotation can help avoid compromising the springs and will prolong the life of your AR15 mags.
Another helpful practice is underloading your AR magazines by two or three rounds. Doing so will help reduce spring compression for short-term storage.
How should you store AR15 Magazines?
Most AR15 magazines are durable and rugged enough to be stored for short periods under reasonable conditions. However, if you plan on storing your magazines for an extended period of time, the best practice is to keep them unloaded to preserve spring compression.
For storage periods longer than a few months, you can stack polymer magazines in a sealed container without further preparation. All-metal magazines can corrode with time, so applying a thin layer of oil before storage can help prevent rust for decades.
How many AR15 Magazines should you have?
Objectively, there is no required number of AR15 magazines that an owner should have. Instead, the number depends on the needs of each individual shooter.
Most AR15 rifles come standard with at least one or two magazines, but most shooters add more to their collection over time.
Can I purchase an AR-15 Magazine in my state?
Nearly all retail gun stores will have AR15 magazines in stock since they're one of the most popular platforms for modern sport shooting. Additionally, almost all online retailers also offer magazines from several different manufacturers.
The key takeaway is understanding various jurisdictions based on your residence. Some states have banned online sales or home shipments of firearm accessories, so be sure to know your local and state laws before ordering your AR15 magazine online.