Since the first introduction of its polymer magazines in 2007, Magpul has continued to innovate and lead the accessory market with its unique blend of magazines, stocks, and handguards. Today Magpul is as synonymous with the firearms industry as the firearms themselves. The current model of polymer magazines (or PMags) is divided between Generation M2 (Gen2) and Generation M3 (Gen3) PMags with each offering something unique.
Gen M2 MOE (Window)
Introduced in 2009; the 30-round Gen M2 (seen as Revision-“M”) first was available in a standard non-window variant, then by 2013 was re-designated the “MOE” with an improved polymer blend and a new side window option. The Gen M2 MOE (or Gen2 MOE) continued Magpul’s legacy from its first generation of polymer, crush and impact-resistant magazines by improving its design and function to make a superior product.
From the top, the Gen2 MOE features an anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower and stainless steel spring ensure consistent feeding of ammunition. Slots at the rear help seat stripper clips guides to speed in the loading of ammunition.
The Gen2 MOE has a consistent curve throughout the length of the magazine to aid in reliable function. Its overtravel stop ensures the Gen2 MOE cannot be forced past the magazine catch and into an open chamber for both shooter and weapon safety. Along the bottom half the ribbed grip surface includes a front and rear textured surface for tactile control. Windows on both sides provide immediate visual recognition of ammo count.
At the bottom the removable floorplate is flared to enable positive control during magazine handling. Dust covers for the Gen2 MOE are sold separately in packs of three and will clip to the bottom of the floorplate.
The Gen M2 MOE is only available in a flat black (featured).
- For use with Colt-spec AR15/M4 firearms
- Rated for 5.56 x 45 ammunition
- Not compatible with SA80 and HK416, or similar platforms
Gen M3 Window
Coinciding with the evolution of the Gen2 MOE, in 2012 Magpul released its 30-round Gen M3 (or Gen3). This release included design additions that give the shooter improved function during handling as well as improved ergonomics. These features aided Magpul’s Gen3 to be selected as an acceptable magazine for combat use by the USMC in a public announcement 2016.
Again, starting at the top the Gen3 features many of the same aspects of the Gen2 MOE with some improvements. The anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower is of a somewhat reduced design, yet the stainless steel spring and stripper clips guides remain the same as the Gen2 MOE. The Gen3 features thicker side walls and modified magazine dimensions for greater compatibility with non-Colt-spec rifles.
The Gen3 has the same consistent curve throughout the length of the magazine that accounts for the tapered case of the .223/5.56 cartridge, and aids in reliable function. One notable change in the Gen3 is the overtravel stop on the spine has been significantly bolstered to prevent any accidental/forceful overriding of the magwell. In addition, the Gen3 now features a more pronounced magazine latch catch and “ramp” on the side to improve compatibility.
The ribbed grip surface is more pronounced on the Gen3, and has aggressive front and rear textured surfaces not included on the Gen2 MOE. Translucent windows on both sides are the same anti-glare material as the Gen2 MOE, and still provide immediate visual recognition of ammo count.
One new inclusion on the Gen3 is a paint pen matrix on the bottom sides of the magazine’s body. This allows for easy and clear visual recognition of markings based on the user’s needs.
The removable floorplate is also significantly redesigned for a slimmer profile while ensuring proper magazine handling. This helps ensure stacking of multiple magazines is possible in all pouch manufacturers. Dust covers for the Gen3 are included with the magazine but will not attach to the base of the floorplate
The Gen M3 is available in a flat black (featured) and medium coyote tan.
- Compatible with Colt-spec AR15/M4 platforms, HK416/MR556A1/M27 IAR, British SA-80, FN SCARN MK 16/16S, and others
- For use with Colt-spec AR15/M4 firearms
- Rated for 5.56 x 45 ammunition
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): With a minimal price difference, the Gen2 MOE ($15.95) and Gen3 ($17.95) both offer the Magpul legacy in resilience and durability. In many aspects both magazines are fundamentally identical, with only minor differences meant to improve more non-essential elements to the function of the Gen3 product. That said, the price of the Gen3 reflects those elements such as; the paint pen matrix, enhanced external control elements, and a re-designed floorplate and follower. In comparison, other magazines include Lancer’s L5AWM ($16.30), Hexmag’s Series 2 ($16.99), and Daniel Defense’s DD Magazine ($21.00) that would put the Gen2 MOE at a good cost, and the Gen3 in an appropriate (or average) price point among its competitors.
- Comfort – Excellent (5/5): From a comfort aspect, the Gen3 clearly had the more tactile feel to it over the Gen2 MOE, due in part to its enhanced grip and textured surfaces. This provided for some additional control, particularly in the front of the magazine as it was driven into the magwell. The translucent window and round marking indicators in both the Gen2 MOE and Gen3 offered the same level of clarity to visually track round count within the magazine. The feed springs to both magazines also had the same approximate level of potential energy that ensured consistent feeding. Disassembly in the Gen2 MOE was a little more challenging then the Gen3, likely attributed to the additional bulk of the floorplate around the edges. Overall for their handling and feel, both the Gen2 MOE and Gen3 felt excellent in the hand and was not restrictive in any sense.
- Durability – Good (4/5): The biggest positive aspect to the durability of Magpul’s Gen2 MOE and Gen3 magazines laid in the polymer’s resiliency (or the ability of the polymer to flex and then return to its pre-determined shape). It’s a careful balance between finding a polymer blend that was flexible enough to sustain the magazine’s shape and integrity, while being neither too pliable or brittle. Three drop tests to each fully-loaded Gen2 MOE and Gen3 magazine 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 were never compromised beyond simple surface marring. Internet research found plenty of examples of those who were able to crack/compromise the polymer magazines in various drop tests, but this was often done by manipulating the material’s resiliency aspect (typically by freezing or lowering the ability of the polymer to flex) or by exerting extensive force over time (i.e. repetitive/extensive full auto) beyond normal usage. Magpul magazines have passed the NATO Rough Handling Tests to include droppages from 5 feet from all manner of orientations. It should be noted, much like many other polymer-based products, users should avoid prolonged direct UV exposure to the Gen2 MOE or Gen3 in that it may affect the molecular resiliency of the product (i.e. becomes brittle).
- Functionality – Average (3/5): There was (and remains) some platform compatibility concerns within the applicable range of non-milspec AR lowers for the Gen2 MOE magazine. This often included unique or otherwise non-traditional designs that merge skulls, helms, or warthog designs to the magazine wells and thus had some conflicts with the magazine’s exterior design. Both the Gen2 MOE and Gen3 did fully seat a 30-round magazine with the bolt forward, but it was noted the Gen3 felt slightly tighter against the bolt and may be indicative of minute tolerance differences in the magazine sidewalls. Because of the differences between the Gen2 MOE and Gen3 floorplate geometry, Magpul accessories like Ranger Plates were not interchangeable. Similarly, while the Gen3 had an included dust cover, it did not attach to the floorplate and left the question of “why”? Not many people utilize the cover and those that do I’m sure would have apricated the ability to attach it when not in use. One positive aspect of the Gen3 was its added space for the “31st round” which wasn’t actually intended for another round, but rather to enable the magazine to be fully loaded with sufficient flex in the spring to fully seat the first round. Aside from that, the paint pen matrix was a nice inclusion as it could allow for easy compatibilization of rounds (like for .223 and 300 BKO) via magazines, though that feature was not tested.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Generally, the weight of the Gen2 MOE and Gen3 magazines were approximate given they both are made from the same polymer material. The Gen2 MOE weighed in at 4.6 ounces (empty) while the Gen3 weighed 5 ounces (empty). Perhaps the heaviest aspect of both magazines was its overall body and the slight weight difference could be explained by the added external features to the Gen3. In comparison, Lancer’s L5AWM (4.8 ounces), Hexmag’s Series 2 (4.6 ounces), and Daniel Defense’s DD Magazine (7 ounces) all demonstrate the variance in weight due to differences in magazine design and material. This placed the Gen2 MOE and the Gen3 within the average weight of the competitors noted.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
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.
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