There are a multitude of options available for the AR-15 platform rifle these days, and a large amount of those options are very reliable. The popularity of 3Gun has inspired the industry to update magazines and magazine accessories to enhance the shooter’s competitive edge. In this blog we’re going to take a quick look at some of the current market options available to expand your 3Gun kit. Most of what will be discussed are Pmags and the SureFire 60, due partly to their popularity and partly because those are the only mags I currently own. Lancer and many other companies’ products are great, reliable and competitive, but I just don’t own any to show in this article. If you browse our photo gallery, you will see APDMT members shooting a variety of mags.
On the right are pictured some different mags I currently run in 3Gun. From left to right, SureFire 60, 2 Pmag 30s coupled with Taccom extensions, Pmag 40, Pmag 30 with Ranger Plate and a plain Pmag 30. All of the mags pictured are readily available (pending gun control panics), reliable and really give the shooter options depending on the stage or match they will be shooting.
The Pmag 30s are fantastic mags. The non-windowed Pmag 30s can be found for $10-14 at most vendors, making them cheap enough to have numerous on-hand for practice sessions and matches. In addition, you can easily mark them to keep track of each mag and they are easily stippled for a better grip. In addition, Magpul has a large amount of accessories for their mags, such as the Ranger plate on the mag pictured 2nd from the right or the coupler, pictured in the mag 2nd from the left. I typically use the plain Pmag 30 as a backup mag on my belt in matches and as a main starting mag for any stages with low rifle round counts.
The Pmag 40, pictured center, is relatively new; however, just like the Pmag 30s, they are extremely reliable, affordable and readily available to purchase. They do a great job of bridging the gap between the SureFire 60s and the Pmag 30s. While they net you an extra 10 rounds stock, they do add significant length as you can see in the pictures below.
On the far left I have a Pmag 30 with a Ranger plate laid on top of the Pmag 40. In the picture just left, you can observe how far the Pmag 40 extends from the rifle. What is really exciting about the new Pmag 40s is that the mag extensions made by Taccom, pictured on the coupled mags, are made for these mags. With the Taccom Extension, you get an extra +5 rounds in the mag, for a total of 45 rounds in the mag. The cost for the Pmag 40 and the Taccom extension comes to roughly $40, making this 45 round mag affordable for everyone.
The Taccom extensions I have pictured on the coupled mag are in the white. Timothy with Taccom sent them to me to try out. Taccom’s extensions available for purchase come in black. The white ones I have were an experiment that ended up not going into production. When I spoke with Timothy about his extensions, he advised these were specifically designed for the Pmag 40s; however, they will also work with any of the current Gen3 and Gen2 Pmags. The two I have pictured are used on Gen2 Pmag 30s. Timothy also advised that if you use the Taccom extensions on anything other than the Pmag 40, to NOT use the locking plate as this will net you an extra round in the mag as well. One thing that really surprised me about these extensions is that they are extremely light. The only noticeable weight they will add to your mag is the extra rounds. Lastly, the Taccom extensions fit the Pmags extremely well. They come on and off easily, but are secure.
For long range stages I have evolved into just using my Pmag 30s coupled, now with Taccom extensions. I do this for several reasons. First, I use a 69grn BTHP reload for my long range, but commercial 55grn ammo for everything else to save cost. Using coupled mags, I can separate my rifle ammo. Frequently with a lot of 3Gun stages involving long range rifle, there are typically targets closer in that will also need to be engaged with your rifle. This gives me the ability to use my commercial ammo on the targets closer in and then switch to my precision ammo for the targets far out. I also frequently monopod off the coupled mags for support. As you can see in the picture above, the coupled Pmags with extensions give a very wide base to rest on for added support. This, in addition to the added security and extra rounds in the mag is why I prefer to use the Taccom extensions on my coupled Pmag 30s. Prior to getting these extensions, I was using the Ranger Plates from Magpul. While they are a great product, I found them to be too malleable when monopoding off the mags, thus not giving me as solid of a base. I have also seen numerous shooters use Arredondo’s Pmag extensions solely for this purpose with success. In addition, a growing number of shooters are using the SureFire 60s (SF60) for long range shooting. Due to the quad stack design, the wideness of the SF60s are great for getting a solid shooting platform. You can see a comparison of them in the pictures below.
For most stages with medium to large rifle round counts, the SF60 is a great option. I currently have 3 and have not experienced issues in my rifles with any of them. Due to the huge capacity, they are a great way to approach a stage and not have to worry about changing mags. While this doesn’t sound like a big deal, most major matches are won by just fractions of a second and every second you can save by not having the gun down to feed more ammo into is a big deal. The huge advantage of capacity does come with extra cost. The SF60s are more expensive than the other mag options pictured. In addition, 60 rounds weighs twice as much as 30! Joking aside, these are great mags and a great advantage in a lot of 3Gun stages. If you have the means to get your hands on one of these mags, they are a great tool to take with you to matches.
If you would like to see any of these mags, feel free to say hello at the next match, or if you see me at the range practicing.