A Look Inside Thermold Magazines – Factory Tour

Thermold Magazines

Thermold, makers of a wide variety of economically priced nylon magazines, is moving production from Wilson, North Carolina to Fort Smith, Arkansas. This move is just the beginning of a new push from Thermold, a company intent on raising their status with American shooters.

Before we get started, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Thermold has been dogged by a litany pf pervasive misconceptions. Back a year or so ago, when Brownell’s had some issues with the shipping of their PMAG back orders, the viral sensation below swept the internet firearms community. The funniest part of the much abused meme is when Hitler refers to Thermolds as “melted Pringles lids.” Even though it was meant to mock Brownell’s, it did so at Thermold’s expense.

The Canadian Thermelt rumor seems to have originated from Canadian troops firing high volumes of blanks, heating up their rifles past the melting point of cheap Canadian plastics. Thermold had leased their patent to Canada, but the Canadians chose to make them out of crap plastic, not Zytle.  As a result, the mags got a bit melty. When they weren’t melting, they were brittle. The reputation the catastrophic Canadian magazines deserved has been haunting Thermold ever since.

Thermold

Thermold makes mags in a variety of colors, all out of Zytel. All are made in the USA.

The American made Thermolds still play second fiddle to industry leader Magpul and a handful of other polymer magazine manufacturers. But Thermold is intent on challenging the misconceptions and taking a bigger share of the market. They’ve been making Zytel magazines longer than anyone else in the industry. They patented their AR mag back in 1977, 30 years before PMags. And Thermold still backs every one of their mags with a lifetime warranty.

The pictures below will tell their current story. Their Fort Smith move is going well, and the new location allows for much more timely shipping than their previous location in Wilson, NC. They’ve got manufacturing up and running and they’re taking their mags to the streets, starting with the LEOs in Arkansas and surrounding states.

Thermold

Their GLOCK mags are not steel lined, but they still have a lifetime guarantee.

And that’s where I come in, on site, and I’ll tell you this.   After taking a tour of their new manufacturing facility, I didn’t find a single Pringles lid. I’ve used Thermolds for several years now. They’ve never been my go-to mags, but I have several 30 round AR mags, and a handful of AK mags. When the last rumors of potential bans got everybody stirred up, I started testing any mags I could find, including Thermolds. I’ve yet to see one melt, or come apart. I’ve got samples of their most recent mags coming, and will put them through hell–I guarantee you that.   And I’ll let you know what I find.

If you have bonafide first hand experience with Thermolds, tell us about it.   Good, bad, both?   Tell us.   Keep your comments civil and constructive and we’ll post them.

Thermold

As the parts come off the line, they’re boxed and stored while they await assembly.

Thermold

The new mags destined for Canada are made in the USA. Note the pins at the 5 round mark.

Thermold

Polymer colors can be combined to make any shade, or mix, as needed.

Thermold

The coyote tan mags come from a mix of white and tan pellets.

Thermold

This is how the springs for their AR mags arrive.

Thermold

Each mold has a corresponding number and can be put into production as needed.

Thermold

Molds, ready to go on line.

Thermold

GLOCK, M9, FAL, AR, AK…

Thermold

All of the scrap is reground and used again.

Raw polymer, no Pringles lids.

Raw polymer, no Pringles lids.

Thermold

In addition to their finished mags, Thermold has scores of parts ready for assembly.

Thermold

They have a fair number of mags ready to be shipped.

Thermold

Not all of the technology looks high-tech. This cooling system for M9 mags works perfectly.

Thermold

The mold block for an AR mag follower.

Thermold

The molds are still being uncrated in Arkansas, but component parts for mags are rolling off the line.

Thermold

Sinlge stack, double stack, and extended double stack M9 mags.

Thermold

The blocks are steel, but were originally carved out of wood.

Thermold

An single stack mold for a 92FS or M9.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • 5960630 July 24, 2017, 1:05 am

    I purchased four Thermold AR mags sometime back in the early ’90’s to go along with some other mags for my Robinson Arms M96 (if anyone knows that is/was). The rifle didn’t get much use and I never used the Thermold mags. I boxed them up years ago and thought they had been lost over time. Well, I found them a week ago decided to run them in my Bushmaster AR. Sadly, I was disappointed. All failed to feed. It didn’t matter how many or few rounds were loaded, they just didn’t feed. I tried them in a S&W M&P, no go for all four.

    So, I’m guessing these were from a bad run or they are an early iteration of hopefully a better mag design. I’ll keep my using my current supply of PMAG and USGI mags, but I’m uncertain of going back to Thermold.

    I do wish Thermold every success in their new plant and I hope they become as common place as PMAG’s. The US can use more rather than fewer mag producers.

    Very best of luck to Thermold.

  • Michael Siverling November 7, 2015, 10:57 am

    Bought a Mossberg with a Pmag as standard equipment. Pmag had very serious feeding issues. Very bad fit. Replaced with a Thermold and now have a very fine shooting rifle with absolutely no feeding issues.

  • Robert June 22, 2015, 3:35 pm

    Thermold mags have always performed flawlessly in all of my glock’s!!! Keep up the good work!!! Laughed my tail off watching the hitler video!!! Thanks for the laugh!!!

  • Eric Bragg August 24, 2014, 12:37 am

    I live in Fort Smith. This news is GREAT news! Looking forward to stocking up!

  • Kenneth R. Caplin July 22, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I find the SPOOF about Brownell’s Hitler Theermold back order video very disturbing and request you remove this video as soon as possible. Six million men/women/children were murdered during the Holocaust and using the likes of Hitler for this video is unconscionable.

    I have called Pete Brownell and left word for his secretary to return my call regarding this video. I doubt Brownell’s is aware of this video and would not like to be associated with it. I haven’t seen this video on YouTube yet and hopefully it won’t prior to this video being removed from this site.

    • GET THAT July 22, 2014, 4:14 pm

      GET A S SENSE OF HUMOR CAPLIN

  • mike wellington July 22, 2014, 9:35 am

    I have used Thermold M14M1A magazines. No melting, No problem in feeding. Great performance.

  • Gary Zweimueller July 22, 2014, 7:29 am

    The thermold HK 91 mags are the absolute best.

  • Cecil Sharps July 16, 2014, 5:18 pm

    I’ve never had a thermold melt. I’ve also never had a thermold function 100%. They are great if you want to practise remidial action. Double feeds are my biggest complaint.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend