ETS magazines are pretty cool. If you’ve never heard of them you’ve probably seen them. They make clear polymer magazines for Glock pistols and AR 15s. Today we are looking at the ETS AR 15 magazines. These polymer magazines have a unique design that allows them to latch together. I’m sure you’ve seen magazine couplers, ETS AR 15 magazines do the same thing, minus the coupler.
ETS AR 15 Magazines
Both sides of the ETS AR 15 magazines are outfitted with a series of half circles. These half circles allow you to snap the magazines together. ETS didn’t create this design, HK G-36 magazines were the first I’ve seen to do this. (I.E. Chuck Norris in Expendables 3)
However, bringing it to the AR platform in an affordable and easy to use package. These magazines are made entirely in the United States and are translucent. The bottom is outfitted with a pretty robust magazine take down button that looks pretty awesome to boot. The magazine is textured with ribbing, and the interlocking circles add some texture as well.
The lock in place pretty easily and do it projectile upwards. The whole jungle taped thing with projectiles facing downwards looks cool in pics with Malcolm X but isn’t the wise way to go. Conventional wisdom says the less dirt in your magazine the better it works. With the jungle taped magazines whenever you get in the prone position one of your mags will be face down in the dirt.
Theoretically, you can just keep attaching ETS AR 15 magazines to each other into absurdity. However, two mags in the common sense limit, anything more and the weapons gets heavier and heavier.
On the range, the ETS AR 15 magazines proved two things. First off, they are reliable. (So far, subject to change.) The second thing they proved is they are truly only designed for the AR 15. Due to the design of firearms like the Scar and Tavor the magazines will not lock into place when paired together.
For example, on the Scar there is a nub on the left side of the receiver that blocks the mag from locking when paired. On the right side, the magazine release is covered and pressed by paired magazines. Without being paired the magazines work fine in any weapon that accepts AR 15 magazines. I’d imagine AR 15s with flared mag wells would also be an issue with these magazines.
The ETS AR 15 magazines were tested alongside the Hexmag Advanced Tactical grip. Both have seen a hundred rounds each and have worked so far. A hundred rounds isn’t much, but typically it’s enough to know if its crap or not. I plan to do a large scale torture and durability test with a variety of mags in the coming future so stay tuned.
They also do not drop free by any stretch of the imagination. Hit the release button and they hardly budge. At first, I was like this is bull. I’ve been using Lancer mags and they drop free without issue so maybe I’m spoiled? However, upon consideration, it makes sense they don’t drop free.
If they dropped free you may hit that button when you’ve tethered two magazines and send your full extra mag to the ground with your empty mag. That roughly 1.5 pounds of loaded magazine would be gone before you even realized your mistake. Instead, when you hit the button the magazine basically stays put and allows you to grip, rip, and reload with your tethered ETS AR 15 magazine.
The entire idea of tethering two magazines together can be divisive if you look at it in one way or another. In general, it makes the weapon heavier, and weight can be an issue. It’s also impossible to find a magazine pouch short of a SAW drum pouch to store them. Also, some clamps are complete garbage and the magazine can be fly loose when jumping, climbing, or even running.
The ETS AR 15 magazines solve one and a half of these problems. There is no clamp to fail. If the magazines fail they have been twisted to an extreme and it will be noticeable. That or the ETS AR 15 magazines have broken.
The lack of a clamp means these magazines can be divided easily enough to store in pouches and combined, or separated when convenient. This half solves that problem.
Where they Shine
These magazines shine is being used for home defense. If you choose to use a rifle for home defense a reload may not ever be needed, but it’s comforting to have. Especially when you consider that magazines do fail and having an extra on hand is handy Most of us don’t have load bearing gear ready to go, so an extra mag attached to our weapon gives a ready and convenient reload.
Alternatively, from a Marine’s perspective, they could be pretty useful for the IAR gunner in a squad. One their duties is to help the squad gain fire superiority. As a machine gunner by trade, I preferred the belt fed weapon’s system to do so. Since Marine rifle squads are now replacing belt fed LMGs with automatic rifles they need a little boost for fire superiority. The ETS AR 15 magazines give the IAR gunner 30 extra rounds on tap that can be used after their first thirty is fired.
Overall the design is unique and seems well thought out when you consider how the magazines work. Are they for everything? No. But in a few roles they shine well, ad they work well, so what else can be said? If you are interested ETS AR 15 magazines retail for around 15 bucks and their website is here.
Special thank you to HD Targets and HDTargets.com for providing the targets for this article’s range day