North Korean Helical 150 Round AK Magazine


“North Korea fields a dizzying number of weapons, both small arms and more complex systems like tanks and airplanes. The common thread connecting these weapons together? Almost all of them are copies of other country’s designs. Tanks? Soviet copy. Airplanes? Soviet surplus. Standard issue rifles? Soviet copy. But, one of their own indigenous inventions is a large-capacity magazine.

This helical magazine is intended for use with the North Korean Type 88, an AK-74 copy.

The United States Marine Corps too is reportedly developing a high-capacity magazine option for their new service rifle, the M27. The magazine would significantly increase the individual rifleman’s firepower, perhaps making up for getting rid of the Squad Automatic Weapon.

Still, the high-capacity drawbacks sometimes outweigh the benefits. The most significant drawback is reliability. Unlike traditional magazines which rely on a wire spring to keep usually 30 or so cartridges pressed toward a gun’s chamber, drum magazines have to keep anywhere from 50 or more cartridges pressed towards the chamber. Keeping this many rounds under tension requires a large spring. This increases the tension inside the magazine, and can sometimes result in jams or misfeeds, adversely harming reliability.

The Type 88’s extended magazine may hold as many as 150 rounds, though this is hard to confirm. If 150 is an accurate number, the weight of the cartridges alone, not including the weight of the all-metal magazine would be over 3.5 pounds, or over 1.6 kilograms.

As the magazine is attached to both the magazine port and to the underside of the barrel, the Type 88’s balance would shift forward. Needless to say, the magazine would make handling the Type 88 slower and more unwieldy, though accuracy during fully-automatic fire might actually improve, as the rifle barrel could experience less “climb” upward.

This odd-looking magazine seems to have been originally issued to Kim Jong-un’s personal bodyguards, who carried three magazines, one inserted in the rifle and two in reserve. That gave them an estimated total of 450 rounds of 5.45×39 ammunition, equivalent to 15 regular 30-round capacity magazines. Talk about packing a big punch.”

If you wondered how these work..


  1. How do they rock and lock those suckers? The picture makes it look like the standard “tab” AK Mag release is still in place.

  2. One of the things I heard from the USMC vets of the PTO I knew was how they simply dropped the 50-round drum mags for the Thompsons as soon as they were empty. The guys told me that the drum mags just too way too much time and fiddling to get them loaded again. I can’t imagine the amount of time to fiddle reloading one of these magazines in the field…

    • At least this contraption can just have rounds pushed it looks. The Thompson’s had too have the front face of the drum removed and the rounds stacked in place individually by hand. Although at least the did seem to work reasonably well.
      Never got to test it out though. My buddy had a drum for a while but no Thompson so got rid of it. then later had a Thompson but no drum by then.

  3. The hand-drawn patent illustration above is for a Calico M-950 9mm pistol with 50-rd mag. I used to have one of those. Pretty cool, but absolutely worthless for reliable shooting. No longer have it.

  4. I always admired the Calico firearms for their look and that large magazine. The attachment meant that the gun balanced well, although the sight offset was brutal.
    Too bad they could never correct the feed/jam issues that made them such an nightmare. I’d love it if someone would, someday, resurrect them with the reliability issues solved. Ah, well. Dreams…

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