What AR-15 magazines would you stockpile for a complete SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation? Lets think about this for a minute. The quick answer might be pmags. But how long do pmags last? Will they last 10, 20, 30, 40,,, or more years?
We know that aluminum magazines will last just about forever, unless they are abused or smashed with a hammer. From time to time a feed lip might become bent. Or an ear might break off while taking the baseplate off. But for the most part aluminum magazines are pretty solid.
If you are stockpiling survival gear for a long term SHTF situation, do you want to put all of your eggs in one basket?
Best AR-15 Magazines On the Market
Pmag M2 – about the lowest priced pmags (and magazines for that fact) on the market at this time. Non-windowed are selling for around $10, while windowed are selling for around $12 – $13.
At this time non-windowed Gen 2 are selling for less than aluminum mags. If you wanted to buy cheap and stack deep this would be the magazine.
Pmags M3 – Magpuls latest offering in the magazine market. They are supposed to be stronger than the generation 2 magazines, and are supposed to fix some issues with tighter fitting rifles.
I have read some issues with the gen 2 pmags not falling free from some rifles. The 3rd generation pmags are supposed to fix this problem.
D&H – comes in either black or gray, teflon coated, magpul anti-tilt follower are an option, selling for around $10.50 – $12.99 at this time.
A good reputation seems to follow D&H.
If I wanted to buy cheap and stack deep, this would be my second choice.
Lancer L5 AWM (advanced warfighter mags) – I have never used a Lancer L5 magazine, but they seem to have a loyal following.
The price is right for these magazines with 3 packs selling for around the $30 mark.
If I wanted to buy cheap, this would be another one of my options.
NHMTG – another aluminum magazine, seems a little more difficult to find than D&H, reported to be a good quality magazine.
Price point for the NHMTG seems to be a little higher than the D&H.
Okay industries – aluminum magazine, the only place I have been able to find Okay magazines has been at gun shows, and only then in second hand condition.
Troy BattleMag – for the price I can not justify buying a Troy BattleMag.
With a price mark of around $28 – $30 a magazine, I could buy 3 of the pmags gen 2 non-windowed for the same price as a single Troy BattleMag.
C Products – military supplier, can be found cheap at gun shows, some people like them, others do not.
My personal experience with GI surplus C Products magazines has been less than favorable. Some of my C Products magazines have had bent feed lips, followers sticking while moving through the magazine body and will sometimes double feed.
I have started pulling all of my C Products magazines out of my working inventory and retiring them to the top shelf of a closet.
My current plan – is to rotate purchases between pmags and D&H. I might throw in a few NHMTG or Okay industries in there from time to time.
The goal is to have a range of magazines so that if a family member or friend has to bug out to my farm, hopefully I will have some magazines that will function in his rifles.
Secondary goal is to have at least 10 brand new unopened magazines for every rifle, plus 10 working magazines. So that is a total of at “least” 20 magazines per rifle.
Storing AR-15 Magazines
A buddy of mine kept a lot of his gear stored in plastic ammo cans. Then Hurricane Ike came along and his house was flooded with a couple of feet of storm surge. After returning home he found out the plastic ammo cans are not as water tight as he thought, or I thought for that matter.
Storage option 1 – If you want to store stuff for the long term there is only on real choice, and that is military grade ammo cans.
Military ammo cans are to be found just about anywhere – ebay, gun shows, pawn shops,,,, just all over the place. They can get a little pricey, but you get what you pay for.
Storage option 2 – Some of my pmags are stored in a rubbermaid container that is sitting in the closet of a bedroom. The pmags are still in their original packaging, and the rubbermaid container is not air tight.
Option 2 is a grab and go solution. Around 25 magazines can be stored in the container, along with a couple of boxes of 223 Remington.
This makes it easy for someone to walk into the closet, see the magazines in the container, grab the container, open it, open the magazines, open the boxes of ammo, and start loading magazines.
Storage option 3 – Is to store AR-15 magazines in ALICE of MOLLE pouches.
ALICE pouches are cheap and readily available through ebay, gun shows or military surplus stores.
Why store magazines in ammo pouches? Because they are an easy grab and go solution, and the magazines can be attached to a wide range of gear.
Need to put someone on guard duty, or go hog hunting? Grab a 3 magazine ALICE pouch, hand it to the person and tell them to attach it to their belt. Give them a 4th magazine to the person and they are ready to go.
Going on a scouting party? Just add some pouches to your pack.
10, 20 or 30 Round Magazines
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have limitations on the capacity of your magazines.
If you live in an area where certain magazines are restricted, please abide by the law.
If you live where magazines are not restricted, lets talk about the virtues of each.
10 round magazines – Are compact, make good training/range magazines easy to carry, a 20 round box of ammo splits into two 10 round magazines.
If you live in an area where magazines are restricted, chances are you are only going to be able to buy the 10 round version.
10 round magazines make good range mags because they can be used with a bench rest and not hit the table.
I can see 10 round magazines being a viable option for hunting during SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event. How many rounds do you need to bring down a deer or a hog? Probably no more than 1 or 2.
20 round magazines – There are people out there who prefer 20 round magazines over 30 round mags.
A box of ammo fits a 20 round magazines with no left over rounds loose rounds.
Shooting from the prone position a 20 round magazine does not hit the ground.
Shooting from a bench rest a 20 round magazine does not hit the table.
The 20 round magazine is a nice, compact solution for the AR platform.
30 round magazines – My personal favorite. When buying 223 Remington over the counter at a local sporting goods store I always buy in factors of 3.
3 boxes of ammo = two 30 round magazines.
Buying in factors of 3 helps me remember how many full 30 round magazines of ammo I am buying.
There we have it
We have talked about brand names, storage and capacity.
Did we miss anything?