Key point: The kind of magazine you use with your Glock can make a big difference in how well your gun works.
Is there seriously anything that you can do to improve the reliability or functionality of your Glock pistol?
Glock pistols, such as the Glock 17 or 19, are among the most popular in the United States as well as across the world. They are commonly used by civilians and law enforcement alike for concealed carry, home defense, tactical training, or just normal range use. In fact, around two thirds of all law enforcement departments in the United States issue a Glock as one of their issued sidearms.
Glocks are reliable, accurate, durable, and can sustain a lot of abuse. And the same holds true for their factory magazines as well.
There are few things that affect the reliability of a semi-automatic firearm as much as the magazines. Even if you’re using the highest quality firearm imaginable, if there’s anything wrong with the magazine you’re going to run into problems.
It’s also important that you buy several magazines for your firearm, and not just the two or three magazines that it ships with. That’s because anything can happen to your magazines (they can become lost, stolen, damage, springs worn out, etc.) and it will be essential to have spares in your possession.
So when it comes to buying extra magazines for your Glock pistol, you may think that just stocking up on several factory magazines is the right way to go.
There’s no denying that Glock factory magazines are excellent, as we will discuss here in a bit, But there are also a lot of other high quality aftermarket Glock magazine options as well that we’ll be taking a look at as well.
The reason why there are so many aftermarket magazine options for the Glock is because Glock is one of the most popular firearms in America, and you can find aftermarket parts of all sorts designed to (at least theoretically) improve the functionality of the pistol. The magazines are no exception.
With that said, here are the top three best Glock magazines that you can buy on the market right now:
Glock Factory OEM Magazines
In all honesty, if you want to buy extra magazines for your Glock right now you could just buy factory OEM (original equipment manufacturer) magazines and you would be all set. That’s because the factory magazines from Glock are well known for their reliability and quality (along with the Glock pistol itself), so if anything they are the safest bet.
And not only that, but there are factory magazines made for every kind of Glock pistol (obviously), but the same is not necessarily true for all manufacturers of aftermarket magazines (who may only make magazines for a few select models or calibers of Glock).
OEM Glock magazines also come with witness holes on the back of the magazine so you can quickly and easily tell how many rounds you have loaded, and not all aftermarket magazines will have the same feature.
So with all that said, why would you even consider buying aftermarket magazines if the factory magazines? The reason is price. The factory Glock magazines are the most expensive kinds of magazines that you can currently buy for your Glock. A Glock 19 OEM magazine will cost around $25, for instance. That may not sound like a lot of money, but if you’re going to be buying a lot of spare magazines it adds up quickly, especially for those of you who are on a budget.
All in all, you just can’t go wrong with factory magazines for your Glock pistol. After all, these are the magazines that will ship in the box with your gun when you first buy it.
However, Glock OEM magazine are not the only quality magazine option for your Glock. Another choice you have are…
Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) Clear Glock Magazines
The Elite Tactical Systems, or ETS, magazines are notable because they are completely clear and translucent. They are also completely built out of polymer without any metal inserts or reinforcement at all, unlike the Glock factory OEM magazines.
The obvious benefit to having a completely translucent magazine is that it is incredibly easy to tell how many rounds are loaded into the gun. Even though the Glock factory magazines have witness holes for each round as we discussed above, they are admittedly a bit small, and you may have to squint to be able to tell which round the magazine is currently on. This will not be an issue that exists with the ETS magazines.
While you may think that the ETS magazines are not very durable, being built only out of polymer without any metal inserts as well, the reality is that they have performed well in stress tests.
ETS claims that their magazines have survived from being dropped over hard concrete from eight feet, extended exposure to UV rays, and have also functioned flawlessly at temperatures ranging from negative sixty up to a hundred and eighty degrees Fahrenheit.
Also don’t forget that there are many other polymer-only magazines for other guns that are in wide use, such as Magpul magazines for the AR-15.
ETS currently manufacturers both single stack and double stack magazines in .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, and .40 S&W. Unfortunately, they currently do not make a magazine in .45 ACP, but ETS claims that they are coming soon. If you own a Glock 21 or another .45 caliber Glock, you’ll just have to wait.
Another big benefit to ETS Glock magazines are the fact that they are very cheap. Currently, you can buy a Glock 19 ETS magazine for only around $16.
There’s one more high quality polymer magazine option for the Glock that we’re going to discuss next, and that is the…
Yep, you read that right, except this isn’t the AR-15 magazine that you may be more familiar with. The Magpul PMAG is regularly considered to be one of the best magazines that you can get for an AR-15, but how good are they for Glocks?
Magpul currently makes PMAG’s that are designed specifically for Glock 9mm pistols, such as the Glock 43, 26, 17, 19, 34, and so on. Unfortunately, PMAG does not currently make magazines for other calibers, so if you own a .40 caliber Glock 22 or a .45 caliber Glock 21 you’re currently out of luck (although hopefully that will change in the future).
The PMAGs fore the Glocks are designed the exact same way that the AR-15 magazines are designed, being built out of a proprietary heavy duty polymer, making them among the most durable magazines that the market has to offer.
They also have a brightly colored orange follower to signal to you when the weapon is empty, with stainless steel springs and floor plates that are easy to disassemble.
Finally, the PMAG Glock magazines are also incredibly cheap. A Glock 17 PMAG, for instance, will cost you around $12, so it’s even cheaper than the ETS magazines that we just discussed previously.
In conclusion, if you’re going to buy extra magazines for your Glock you have several options. The OEM factory magazines are an excellent option but are also expensive. If you want to save money, you have several alternate aftermarket options available to you.
This article by Alex Joseph originally appeared at Gun News Daily in 2019.
Image: The Load Out Room.