The really great thing about being passionate about firearms, is that you research and stumble across unique accessories and gear. This is exactly what happened when I stumbled on Bad Element Co. LLC (www.badelementco.com) AK magazines. I have been on an AK fix for a little while now and it has been over a decade since I owned one. I recently purchased a very nice Bulgarian AK74 and have been testing several aftermarket accessories with it. When I ran across Bad-Element I had to get one of their 20 round AK Tanker magazines. I absolutely love 20 round magazines for rifles. As soon as I received the AK74, I started to research 20 round AK magazines. I found original AK 20 round (Tanker) magazines were extremely hard to find or get in 7.62×39. Add in the 5.45×39 AK74 round and I found they were almost impossible to get. I made contact with the owner from Bad-Element about getting a 20 round 5.45×39 Tanker magazine. Since I already had a few Russian Izhmash Plum magazines, I thought a Plum Izhmash 20 round magazine would go very nicely with them.
When I received the Bad-Element custom 20 round Tanker magazine, I quickly started to compare it to my surplus Russian Plum Izhmash magazines. All of the markings on the magazine were identical and I could easily tell it was a quality Izhmash Plum surplus magazine. I’m not really sure what it is, but as soon as you put the 20 round magazine in the rifle, it just looks and feels better in your hands.
Custom Order Magazines:
Bad-Element does all kinds of custom work to all makes and manufactures of AK type magazines. Bad-Element takes existing 30 round AK magazines of all types and custom cuts them down to (20), (15), (10) or (5) round count magazines. In-fact, Bad-Element also does AR15 magazine custom work, for those who live in Communist high capacity band States. So check out their full line of magazine services.
There are several ways you can get your custom magazines from Bad-Element. (1) You send in your AK magazines and Bad-Element cuts them down per your round count specifications. (2) Purchase magazines on-line and have them shipped directly to Bad-Element for custom work, then they will mail them to you when finished or, (3) You can purchase already modified magazines directly from Bad-Element.
I set off to the range after obtaining a decent quantity of ammunition, supplied by (www.ammoman.com), to test out the function and reliability of the Bad-Element magazine. I had 510 rounds to run through the Magazine.
The great thing about 20 round Tanker style magazines, is their ease of use while manipulating your rifle. With a 20 round AK magazine you get the same advantages you get with a 20 round USGI AR15 magazine and more. (1) It’s compact, (2) rifle fits in smaller spaces and cases with a loaded magazine, (3) still has a decent round count and (4) with the AK, it is much easier to manipulate the charging handle from underneath the rifle, with your support hand.
I really did not keep exact track of the round count I put through the Bad-Element Tanker magazine but it was several hundred rounds. The Bad-Element magazine performed flawlessly and I had absolutely no issues with reliability. It loaded and emptied the rounds just as you would expect from any quality military surplus AK magazine.
Takedown/Quality of Work:
Nothing has changed after modification of the magazines. Takedown of the magazine is the same as the original 30 round magazine. Bad-Element has cut the magazine and spring down. The magazine still uses the original surplus follower, spring, locking plate and floor plate.
The quality of work and attention to detail in modifying the magazine is very nice. Bad-Element has really paid attention to the little things to make the magazine look nice. The magazine has a smooth side cut channel at the bottom of the magazine for the floor plate to slide into.
The cut down magazine spring is very nicely done. Looking at just the end of the spring where it locks into the locking plate, you cannot tell which one has been modified. Bad-Element has taken the time to slightly bend and taper the end of the spring, to match it up with the original 30 round design. After talking with Bad-Element, they advised they use to cut down the bottom of the spring, but now cut down the top of the spring, as it was easier and faster to do. I still could not tell the difference.
I am very pleased with the Bad-Element custom magazine. It looks great and has been 100% reliable. If you have an AK of any type, I would highly recommend getting a few 20 round magazines. If you follow Rob Ski of AK Operators Union, you will see he runs Bad-Element Tanker magazines from time to time. He is usually the first to call out “shit” in the AK community. Since he is running them and is more of an expert than I am with the AK, I think this is a very strong sign of Bad-Elements quality. I will be getting a few more of the Bad-Element custom cut magazines in the near future. As soon as the Magpul Pmag 5.45×39 AK magazines get to me, I will be sending them in for 20 round conversion. Bad-Element also has an Instagram page (Bad_Element_Co. Instagram) where you can follow and contact them about magazines.