Glock Mags Versus The World By: Travis Pike

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When you work at GunMag Warehouse, the phrase, “Does it take Glock mag?” makes your want to beat your head into the wall. At the same time, we are more than happy to sell you those Glock magazines. The PCC and Subgun world as a whole has embraced the idea of Glock mags for a number of platforms. Why not? 

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Glock mags are easy to find, affordable, and seemingly very reliable. If your handgun already takes Glock magazines, then it makes a lot of sense to have a rifle and subgun that can do the same. Admittedly I have a number of PCCs and Subguns that take Glock mags. I’m saying Glock mags because they are the most common choice, but this article could refer to really any pistol magazine adopted for subgun or PCC use. 

TheSP9A3G model Stribog accepts 9mm Glock mags.
TheSP9A3G model Stribog accepts 9mm Glock mags.

The big question you have to ask is, are Glock mags the best choice for your PCC? Today we explore that concept. To be clear, this is a PCC and Subgun problem, with the exception of guns that use the pistol grip to retain the magazine like the CX4 and SUB 2000. The alternative to Glock mags and pistol mags, in general, is dedicated submachine gun magazines. 

Glock Mags Vs. SMG Mags — Which is Better? 

That’s not an easy question to answer without context. Obviously, the best magazines are the ones you can find. It’s sweet to have the Kalashnikov KP-9, but the magazines are expensive and admittedly tough to find. 

Draco 9S 9mm AK pistol
Interested in an AK-platform pistol that’s chambered in 9mm? Look no further than the Draco 9S AK. (Photo credit: Century Arms)

I can say that both options are good. Neither is crap, but there are some real advantages to using a true SMG magazine in a PCC or subgun, and we’ll explore that today. 

Price and Availability 

In normal times you can walk into any gun store and purchase a Glock mag in varying capacities. If I had to choose a PCC that used a pistol magazine, it would very likely be a Glock magazine due to the massive availability. Glock mags can be quite affordable, especially compared to other pistol magazines. The aftermarket, in general, also offers very affordable magazines for the Glock platform. 

The MD9 pistol is compatible with Glock 19 magazines
The MD9 pistol is compatible with Glock 19 magazines, leaving you with all sorts of possibilities for capacity and magazine styles. (Photo credit: Maxim Defense)

Glock OEM magazines are without a doubt the most reliable magazines in the Glock mag area. With all that said, are Glock mags the superior choice in terms of price and availability? In some cases, yes. The Glock OEM mags cost about 39.99 for a 33-round magazine. That makes them cheaper than SIG MPX and B&T APC magazines. 

However, that also makes them twice the price of Scorpion magazines and more than twice the price of well-made ASC Colt SMG magazines. Gaston’s mags are admittedly the easiest to find, but Scorpion magazines are becoming more and more popular and, therefore, more common. 

APC 4 with Scorpion magazine
Scorpion magazines have become pretty universal.

Reliability 

This is the big issue. Everything Glock designs are pretty well known for reliability. Their mags aren’t much different…when used in a Glock. In a PCC, there can be issues because they are designed to feed pistols, not rifles. A pistol has a feed ramp and a little stop to keep the round from overshooting the chamber. Most subguns and rifles don’t have that but some do, namely guns like the Ruger PC Carbine. 

Single-feed magazines are more likely to lose control of the top round and have it pop out of place, especially in a straight blowback gun. Glock mags tend to be more sensitive to dirt, debris, and fouling at the top of the magazine. Again, direct blowback guns tend to run dirty, and this can become an issue with inadequate maintenance. 

Glock OEM mags wisely use a metal liner, but most aftermarket magazines do not. This makes them more prone to breakage due to the stress placed at that pronounced single feed point. These non-Glock mags can be broken or bent, especially if used with a direct blowback gun. 

It’s also worth noting that Glock mags, and lots of pistol mags, have great big holes in the back. Okay, they are tiny holes, but it’s worth mentioning because they do allow for the ingress of the world into your magazine. 

45 ACP Glock magazines
Glock mags got holes in the rear…

Your dedicated SMG magazines use a double feed design, and these magazines are designed specifically to work with a long gun. This means they are designed to function with long gun feed ramps, not pistol feed ramps. 

Ergonomics 

There are a few notable ergonomic advantages to a double feed magazine versus a Glock magazine. A double feed magazine can be slightly shorter than a double to single feed magazine. Double feed magazines are much easier to load to capacities of 20 rounds or more. Getting those last three rounds in a 33-round Glock mag is not fun. 

Outside of magazine design, there are ergonomic differences that affect the firearm. Using a Glock mag or other pistol mag can make ergonomics awkward for some guns. Notably, the magazine release and the lack of a last-round bolt hold open device. This happens mostly with AR-type subguns using Glock or pistol mags. Exceptions do exist with guns like the Aero Precision EPC and the CMMG Banshee series. They’ve both developed awesome options when using single-feed magazines. 

A Navy SEAL employs the MP5K-PDW.
A Navy SEAL employs the MP5K-PDW.

Dedicated SMG mags often fit in guns that feature better ergonomics that are more natural. Guns like the Scorpion, MPX, and similar can offer ambidextrous controls in regards to releasing magazines and swapping mags into the gun. 

Additionally, the straight or curved design of SMG magazines often makes them easier and more intuitive to reload. Glock mags have an odd rearward rake to them, and this just feels less intuitive to me. 

Professional Users 

If you were to look at a military or police force and use what they use, then you’ll notice their SMGs use SMG magazines. This means double-feed magazines outside of very few exceptions. I’ve yet to see any serious police or military force using single-feed pistol magazines outside of the Beretta CX4/MX4 series guns. 

With that said, the pro shooters of the world do tend to use Glock magazines in their PCCs. Oftentimes they are expanded to a crazy long length to hold even more rounds. Guns like the JP5 make use of Glock mags and provide a top-tier rifle for PCC competition. 

Magpul drum magazine
Have Magpul drum magazine, will mag dump. (Photo credit: Magpul)

Ultimately as an average Joe, I use my PCCs for fun more than anything else. I don’t mind Glock mags or single-feed magazines. One of my favorite guns in my Mk17 Banshee, and it uses SIG P320 magazines. If I relied on one for home defense, it would probably be a double-feed design. 

That’s just me. I want to hear from you. What would you use? Hit us up below.