Released circa 2013, the L5AWM is a 30-round capacity rifle magazine by Lancer Systems for a variety of Colt-patterned ARs. The L5AWM gives users a blended design with stainless steel feed lips for strength, and a polymer body for minimal weight.
As a whole, the L5AWM body is made from impact/stain resistant polymer rated to perform in extreme environmental conditions (40F to +180F).
Starting at the top, the L5AWM’s hybrid body begins with a hardened steel feed lip assembly. This assembly is molded to the upper magazine and not removable. It also greatly strengthens the upper tower of the magazine’s body from excessive impacts from the bolt in full-auto or when running suppressors. The L5AWM also features an anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower and stainless steel spring that ensure consistent feeding of ammunition. Slots at the rear of the steel lip assembly help seat stripper clips guides to speed in the loading of ammunition.
The L5AWM has a consistent curve throughout the length of the magazine to aid in reliable function. The bottom half of the magazine has a raised magazine stop line and ribbed grip surface along the exterior surfaces for tactile improved control. The L5AWM comes in a variety of clear and translucent options, each with 20- and 30-round count markings that enable for full-length and immediate visual recognition of ammo count.
At the bottom, the removable polymer floorplate is separated from the interior base plate using a round or similar pointed object to release the locking mechanism. The floorplates also include optional drain holes for those working in maritime operations.
The L5AWM magazine is only available in a Translucent Smoke (featured), Translucent Clear, Translucent Dark Earth, Opaque Black, and Opaque FDE.
- Compatible with M4/M16/AR15, SCAR16, HK416, ARX160, SIG556, ARC, SIG MCX, IWI Tavor, IWI X95, SA80, chambered in 5.56x45mm / .223 Remington.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): Priced between $16.30 – $21.99 (color dependent), the cost of the L5AWM reflects not only the materials, but uniqueness of its optional clear or translucent body. In addition, the L5AWM is one of the few hybrid polymer magazines with a stainless steel feed lip that brings forward the best of both magazine types. When placed in comparison to other market magazines; the Series 2 ($14.99 – $16.99) by Hexmag, or the Gen2 MOE ($15.95) and Gen3 ($17.95) by Magpul Industries, appear on the higher scale of cost against straight polymer magazines. But in relation to full stainless steel magazines, the price (depending on vendor and quality) can run approx. $16/per with no option for a clear or translucent body. So, it becomes a balancing decision on the part of the consumer where the materials and function of the L5AWM is appropriate (or average) in relation to its cost.
- Comfort – Excellent (5/5): The L5AWM was used for a period of 30 days in various training iterations, and what stood out the most for its comfort was the notable stainless-steel spring, which felt stiffer and held more potential energy than other magazines. This gave the follower a positive and consistent pressure against the ammunition and thus, a solid feeding into the chamber. The translucent sidewalls allowed for immediate recognition of ammo count in light environments or outdoors, and was aesthetically appealing as well. As an AR magazine in general, the L5AWM magazine was as comfortable in the hand as other polymer-based magazine on the market. The robust contour features gave a solid tactile feel over the entire bottom half of the magazine regardless if the shooter was wearing gloves or not. This helped in stripping the magazine out, driving it home into the magwell, or with manipulation in/out of pouches.
- Durability – Good (4/5): The biggest positive aspect to the durability to the L5AWM magazines laid in the polymer’s resiliency (or the ability of the polymer to flex and then return to its pre-determined shape). The sidewalls appeared to be slightly thinner in comparison to Magpul’s Gen3 magazines, but the reinforced gripping surface of the L5AWM added additional thickness along key areas. Three drop tests to several fully-loaded L5AWM magazines were conducted from a height of approx. six feet, with the feed ramps down in an attempt to get a direct strike. In each iteration, despite striking a concrete surface, only 1-2 rounds were typically ejected and the feed lips or follower were never compromised beyond simple surface marring. Internet research did find at least one example in 2016 of the L5AWM’s polymer follower being damaged during drop testing due to the front end shearing off—and it would be recommended to Lancer to consider bolstering the follower. Other examples demonstrated people driving over the L5AWM with no adverse effects. It should be noted, much like many other polymer-based products, users should avoid prolonged direct UV exposure to the L5AWM in that it may affect the molecular resiliency of the product (i.e. becomes brittle).
- Functionality – Excellent (5/5): From a functional aspect, the biggest positive feature of the L5AWM was its hardened steel feed lip assembly. There was plenty of documented examples of use in the field and on the range, of dropped polymer magazines striking the upper tower, or on full-auto/suppressed, cracking the feed lips. This problem appeared exacerbated by the mass of cartridges once the magazine was fully loaded. Lancer Systems attempted to resolve this concern by making three of the four sides to the feed lip assembly molded steel for added strength. It was noted during evaluations that a fully loaded L5AWM magazine did appropriately seat and lock in the magwell with the bolt closed/forward. The sidewalls of the magazine while thinner, did not bulge and they remained parallel under the spring’s tension of a full 30-rounds. Another added function of the L5AWM was the anti-tilt follower filled up the space inside the magazine more than other brands, leaving less room for potential debris.
- Weight – Average (3/5): With its weight of 4.8 ounces (empty), the L5AWM has a mass appropriate (or average) for its hybrid design—bringing together its polymer body and stainless steel feed lip assembly. The next alternative would be full stainless steel magazines, such as by ASC, which have an average weight of up to 6.4 ounces. In comparison to other polymer-based magazines; Magpul Industries Gen2 MOE (4.6 ounces) or Gen3 (5 ounces), as well as Hexmag’s Series 2 (4.6 ounces), or Daniel Defense’s DD Magazine (7 ounces) all demonstrate the variance in weight due to differences in magazine design and material. This placed the L5AWM within the average weight of the competitors noted.
Overall Rating – Good (20/25)
Product Link: https://lancer-systems.com/product/l5awm-30-magazine/
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.