Let me start this out by saying that I’m a Magpul Pmag fan when it comes to AR-style magazines. They’re cheap, they work, there are tons of options, and there are lots of aftermarket accessories like couplers and basepads. I’ve been using them for years and I have well over 250,000 rounds of 5.56 through PMags. My experience with PMags has been that eventually the plastic lips crack and separate at the mold line and that at that point you replace them. If you don’t replace them, you’ll get malfunctions. Nothing else on my Pmags has ever worn out. Some of my friends that instruct military units weekly use Pmags and replace them yearly. They consider them disposable.
Due to the current political climate and a future that nobody can accurately predict I’m concerned that we could see a magazine ban like we had with the last assault rifle ban, where what you have is grandfathered in, and going forward all you can buy are ten round magazines. I lived through this in the 90’s and remember grandfathered 25 round Ruger 10/22 magazines costing up to $100.
The goal was to find an AR magazine that might last longer or be more durable. The idea being that you couldn’t replace them during a ban if they quit working.
I bought and tested numerous brands of magazines and ended up with the Lancer Systems L5AWM30 magazines as my favorite. (FYI, I bought these with my own money – they weren’t sent for testing.)
The Lancer Hybrid magazines use a polymer body but have hardened steel feed lips. Essentially you get all the benefits of a modern polymer magazine but without the weak point of polymer feed lips. The steel feed lips are not supposed to bend, crack, or deform under hard use or extended storage.
The translucent option is great because you can tell at a glance what the status of your magazine is, i.e. if it’s loaded or empty. I prefer the tinted translucent because I don’t want other people to see how many rounds remain and with the tinted you’d have to be fairly close to see (They make a completely clear translucent).
I’ve been using the Lancer Hybrids for about a year and a half now without a single malfunction of any kind. I’ve run the 5.56/223 Translucent Smoke and Translucent Dark Earth in both 30 round and 20 round capacities. I always download one round below what the magazine will take (regardless of brand) and I’ve done that here. Interestingly the Lancer will hold 31 rounds pretty easily so I download them to 30. I download my Pmags to 29.
I’ve now used them for teaching courses, shooting competitions, and hunting coyotes in extremely cold temperatures.
I’ve tested them on AR pistols and rifles of different manufactures and used them on a SIG MCX.
I haven’t run over them with a tractor but maybe we can test that in the next review.
I have had zero issues. I don’t have even close to the rounds through them that I have through Pmags but so far they’re looking good and working 100%.
The steel feed lips are very stiff and I’m not strong enough to bend them with my fingers. It would require pliers to make them move and I’m not even sure you could then.
There is decent texture on the magazines that make handling them easy or that would hold paint for marking. There are molded-in marks that show 20 and 30 rounds so you can estimate what’s left at a glance.
My only complaint about the Lancer Systems AWML5 is that sometimes it’s nice having the options that other brands have available like 40 round magazines or aftermarket coupling options.
I’d really like it if Lancer would make a reliable 6.5 Grendal/6mm ARC magazine as I still haven’t found one that works without issues.
They work. I have yet to have one fail. I’ll update this review if that happens but in the meantime, they appear to be a very durable and reliable magazine that can be left loaded without worrying about the feed lips and that still maintains the benefits of polymer magazines.
The 30 round translucent magazines on Lancers site MSRP at $21.99 and the opaque (you can’t see through them) are $16.30.