One of the notable advantages afforded to aftermarket manufacturers is the wondrous gift of hind sight. Once a product’s flaws or inconsistencies are revealed in the marketplace, they have a momentary opportunity to improve upon its weaknesses. But success in this marketing niche is predicated upon the aftermarketer’s ability to first correctly diagnose and then remedy the specific product’s flaws.
One company that has not only competed successfully in this niche, but has gone on to produce many of its own new and innovative products is Magpul Industries. Best known for their extensive lines of reinforced polymer AR magazines (hence the name P mags), magazine enhancements, buttstocks, handguards, accessory rails, grips, and sights, Magpul recently set its sights upon industry giant, Glock International.
In this instance, Magpul targeted Glock’s fabulously reliable double stack 9mm magazines. Realizing that they could, at best, merely equal the reliability of the Austrian superstar’s magazine, they set out instead to create a Glock-compatible mag that would be lighter, substantially less expensive, and easier to disassemble for routine cleaning and maintenance. Sadly their first attempt, the PMAG GL9 was not a complete success.
True, the GL9 was lighter, less expensive, and easier to disassemble, but it did not possess the Glock’s vaunted reliability when loaded into all of the Glock double stack 9mm iterations: the Glock 17, 19, and 26’s.
With typical Magpul resolve, the company’s founder, Marine Sergeant Richard M. Fitzpatrick announced, “So as I said before, we screwed up and here’s what we’re going to do about it.” Richard went on to state that his engineers had carefully tweaked the GL 9’s body geometry and it now provided flawless feeding in all of the aforementioned Glock 9mm models. If you, like I, purchased a GL 9 date coded prior to 5/15 (date stamp is found on the right side of the magazine), notify Magpul and they’ll mail you a ‘new’ mag body free of charge. When it arrives, snap in the original spring and follower and you’re good to go; problem corrected! Note: all of Magpul’s U.S. manufactured products are backed by their 60 day ‘No Questions Asked’ refund policy.
To address the weight issue, Magpul constructed the GL9 entirely of their proprietary reinforced polymer material. Notably lacking is Glock’s chromed steel magazine feed lip and body insert. But not to worry, the GL 9’s lightened body has proven itself to be tough enough to shrug off the effects of both laboratory and real world use and abuse. This past year, my range buddies and I pounded hundreds of rounds through our Glock 17’s, 19’s, and 26’s with nary a bobble.
Conspicuously lacking on the GL are the Glock’s rear panel ‘round count windows.’ In their place are two ‘full capacity’ indicator ports on its side panels. Many consider this a non-issue, but are thrilled by the relief cuts on both sides of the GL9. This allows the Magpul to be used in all Glock 9mm models, including the latest Gen IV’s; a genuine money saver.
A real selling point for many veteran handgunners is the GL 9’s easy release floorplate. Here’s how you do it:
With the GL in hand, simply depress the metal plunger in the center of the floorplate with a rounded object, like a bullet tip. Next, slide the floorplate rearward and out pops the spring with its captured follower and base plate. You’re now ready to whisk your heavily used GL 9 clean; no fuss-no muss.
To the contrary, Glock magazines are a bear to disassemble. Want to really test your endurance? Try removing the Glock’s floorplate without a pair of Brownell’s specialty pliers. If you’re able to accomplish that onerous task without first cursing all of creation, then a multitude of your many sins will be immediately forgiven; it’s that frustratingly difficult!
The 17 and 19 round capacity GL’s retail for around $15 locally and online. The soon-to-be released 21 and 27 round versions will retail around the $25 dollar mark offering meaningful savings over the factory high capacity Glocks.
There you have it: a Glock-compatible magazine that weighs less, costs less, and is proving itself to be every bit as reliable as a Glock original; what’s not to love?