In any industry there may be multiple products that can work well with very minor differences. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback in recent years about various products being used in Military, Law Enforcement and competition sports. There are some really good shows on 3 Gun Nation and even Personal Defense TV, and one of my favorites, Larry Vicker’s Tac-TV where you get product reviews and see what and how things are being used. Things like Maglinks and Couplers can make your gun very heavy and for personal defense a bit too bulk but it will speed up your reloading time and for entry personnel cutting a second in half means living, cutting a second in half in competition means winning. One suggestion I have is to not do too much mixing and matching with firearm magazines and accessories. Most magazines can be fixed but magazine rotation is very important even if you aren’t shooting a lot. I first learned of this with a 1911 where I noticed my recoil spring was getting very sluggish and after I replaced it some of the magazines I owned didn’t cycle so well because the timing was off between the older magazines and the brand new recoil spring.
I’ve been on firing ranges enough to know that you gotta test ALL of your magazines out before you rely on them. Recently I was at a competition event where I used my Magpul Pmags in a friends suppressed M4 and the gun jammed on me, it was also a royal pain to get the magazine out because the magwell was not in the same specs that my AR15 rifles were in. He was running Lancer Magazines so I ended up using his to complete the training. There are so many manufacturers of AR15s out there that even if it’s a well made firearm, the magazines you run in it could be made in different factories, different years, different material or design changes and you should expect perfectly accurate manufacturing from year to year. It’s just a reality about manufacturing and why products have time stamps on them. When I wear out the magazines I own I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on the Lancer magazines but I’m going to still test run them all on all of My AR15’s before I rely on them.
Lancer Products are products are magazines we didn’t know much about until we started getting into the competition shooter market and lots of sponsored 3 gun shooters told us that they are pretty popular amongst them. Usually when we hear something about a product, watching YouTube reviews is where we go to and get first hand reviews from people that have done various tests or comparisons and it’s really a great resource to learn about tactical gear, firearm accessories and certain features that you might not know about. There are pros and cons of AR15 Magazines like USGI and Polymer Magazines like Magpul PMAGs and from what I gather, the biggest negative about PMAGS VS USGI is the life of the magazines due to material breakdowns over the course of several decades. This is a reality with things like Glock firearms because you won’t be able to shoot those 100years later like you could with a Colt 1911 and metal magazines won’t break down like plastic and the likes.
Well, that might not be an issue for most of us because we can expect to wear things out in a matter of years if we shoot enough but it is something to consider. Back to Lancer AR15 Magazines though, they are not as common in gun shops and you might be the first one in your group to own them but they have enough of a track record for being in the same league for durability as Magpul. You can weigh the need for having translucent magazines vs needing windows on an AR15 but if you want magazines with reliability and durable magazine followers, these are something to put in your stockpile. They have AR15 10rd Magazines, AR15 20rd Magazines and AR15 30rd magazines. The Advanced War Fighter magazines have been used by the Military and check out Youtube for more reviews and info about them because you’ll get a lot more there than from me.
If we could offer an alternative to Magpul PMAGS, off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything but Lancer Magazines. These seem to be extremely popular with competition shooters because the Translucent body helps them know what they have left in a magazine but in the real world, I don’t think counting bullets matters that much. There are considerable differences between something like the Magpul window 30rd AR15 magazines and the Lancer, though. Lancer magazines have steel feed lips and the PMAGS do not. This is something that was somewhat of an issue with the Gen 2 PMAGS in extreme cold in Afghanistan because the plastic feed lips, at high altitudes and sub zero temperatures were cracking. The Lancer claims their magazines hold up below ZERO and up to 150 Fahrenheit so that should prevent anyone from thinking they are “plastic” magazines.
One thing you have to consider if you are looking to add to your collection is whether or not a certain brand is going to work in your gun and the mags will drop free. There are plenty of guns out there that are setup for USGI Magazines that may have issues with other brands, Lancer Magazines, Magpul, Thermolds, but you have to think about what AR15 magazines are being used out there and is your firearm up to modern specs and should you modify your magazine release or just change brands? There is some truth to “out of spec” magazines not dropping free, but you really need to do some testing in each of your firearms to know for sure if it works for you. There are 556 and 7.62 magazines from Lancer with the clear mags. The ability to count bullets on a magazine may not mean something to you but it “may” help you to know if you got plenty left or if you need to do a tactical reload.
This year was a very successful year for us in the Delaware County area in launching our tactical store and we double the size of our business in the first 6 months. People are still finding out about us via word of mouth whenever they need a new holster, police boots or even just Ambulance companies hiring and people needing to get a pair of pants. Much of the product line we stock in our store is for people to checkout instead of buying it online. Duty gear like handcuff keys and various police belts are things that people in the Law Enforcement industry lose or wear out over time and are always in need of. Police vests, tactical pants, uniform pants, belts, hydration unites, SWAT team bags are things that are always wearing out and need to be replaced.
We’ve learned there are so many types of handcuffs, swivel and hinged doesn’t always narrow it down, some are different weights and types of metal. The items we have brought in this year are the Safariland lightweight handcuffs and in our region there are no Philadelphia Police Supplies shops around here and many of our Law Enforcement Officers are very happy to see a business like this open up. Tactical vests, body armor are all things people need to be sized up on and this is something that has to be done right so that there are fewer returns. We stock a large number of Blackhawk serpa holsters, safariland products, pepper spray, mace, tasers, batons, police badge holders and more and more duty gear.
It seems that there are other manufacturers that are putting out really good magazines and usually we find this out from the guys that a running 3 gun matches. Competition shooting is not only a competition between shooters, but also a place to test out gear, firearms and everything you can put in them. We hear feedback from our customers about various scope mounts, iron sights and sometimes about various brands of ammunition. Every once in awhile we hear people mention products from Larue Tactical and it’s on our “things to do” to get setup as a dealer for them. There have very well price rifle scope mounts and lots of guns run aimpoints ect on them.
When it comes to reliability of firearm magazines, you pretty much have to stick with factory magazines but in the case of the AR15, factory magazines are probable what USGI mags are and they are inferior to the commercial market. One name we’ve been hearing more and more lately are the Lancer magazines that are made in Allentown Pennsylvania. These magazines have a unique look to them and instead of having windows like the magpul pmags, they are translucent and you can see what you have in your round count. Not everyone cares about these but the Lancer 30rd magazines seem to be run by the 3 gun guys more so than Magpul Pmags.