A few weeks ago Shawn posted some pics of a couple of flat dark earth Magpul Pmags that had developed cracks along the spine of the mag. I just wanted to post a follow up and some thoughts.
Here you can see the cracks in both mags, in identical locations.
I sent an email to Magpul on Sun 04-13-14 about the issue. I received a response the following morning (Mon 04-14-14) stating they would be shipping out two new replacement mags and a return address label with which to send back the damaged mags. I received the replacement mags Mon 04-21-14, so just at a week turnaround from when I informed them of the problem to when replacement mags were in hand.
Just to be clear, the purpose of this post isn’t to bash Magpul. Quite the contrary in fact since I think their mags are some of the best currently on the market and even the two damaged ones still functioned. Their response to the issue was also top notch and hassle free.
The mail goal in this follow up is to reiterate YOU’VE GOT TO INSPECT YOUR GEAR.
Things wear out, even good companies send out lemons, etc. If it’s something you think you could be betting your life on it needs to be checked routinely and consistently. It puts the odds into your favor that things will function as they’re supposed to when you most need them to.
There is no shortage of companies in the AR game producing their own grip and each promise improved ergonomics, control, comfort, handjobs, etc. I’ve fallen for the marketing hype a few times and tried most of them over the years in an attempt to find the one grip “to rule them all.” Each initially showed promise but all have been discarded over time for one reason or another.
A Hogue grip circa 2005. I grew tired of the finger groves and didn’t like the texture of the rubber.
Ergo grip also circa 2005. Too narrow and oddly shaped.
Magpul MOE grips. Too/large bulky, they feel like a 2×4 in comparison to some. I’ve come to feel the same about their front grips.
Most recently I’ve been flirting with the straighter angle grips such as the Magpul K-grip and the BCM Gunfighter.
Magpul K-grip. Too narrow and small. I don’t think they allow for very good control of the weapon.
I thought I had a winner in the BCM Gunfighter Mod 0, but as time went on I found I did not like how the straighter angle seemed to give me less leverage on the weapon when maneuvering it strong hand only.
So what have I settled on as the best solution in a world of no perfect solution?
In another case of the guys that designed the AR15 getting more right than aftermarket parts peddlers (cough piston AR’s cough) would give them credit for, the A1 is still an excellent choice for a grip. While this is completely subjective, to me the A1 strikes an excellent balance of width and angle, and lacks the finger grove of the A2 that many, including myself, despise. Recently I’ve been using a hybrid A1/A2 grip sourced from Accurate Armory that takes the fingergroveless body of an A1 and combines it with the texturing of an A2. It will be my go to grip for the foreseeable future.
Like Adam, I have played around with newer “improved” after market grips for the last few years. I have never had a problem with the A1/A2 grip that a lot of people say, or claim they do, but I am always one to take a look at newer innovation whether it is worthwhile or not. In the past decade I have tried many of the same grips Adam has spoken about as well and found them lacking or jus plain hype and marketing. I despise the Magpul MIAD and the cheaper MOE grip. I also found the rubber Hogue to be more of a pain then any real use and the ergo variants have never held much for me.
When the BCM Gunfighter came out, I took a long look and bought one. BCM has had some real winners with some incremental ( if not necessary ) improvements lately with the obviously nice charging handles. The new grip and its new trendy angle got my interest up so I bought one.
Before I tried this grip, I was using the Tango Down Battle grip. Now the TD grip was something I really did live up to what I wanted. So, to stop using it was not something I did lightly. After months of using the BCM grip and its new angle that is in such high regard I found out I simply did not like it. Yes it does put the trigger finger behind the trigger at a straighter angle. Yes, it does help tuck in the arm a little better. Did it help control recoil or some such? Not that I could tell. But, the major problem with the grip for me was just what Adam touched on. When I operated the carbine with one hand, I had no leverage. This was not a small problem either. Without the traditional A1/A2 angle , I could not use the leverage of the grip on the rear of my hand, to support the gun as well.
This was greatly exaggerated when I used my alternate killing hand as seen in the picture above. With the BCM grip, the carbine felt very, very muzzle heavy. It was like it wanted to flip out of my hand, go muzzle down into the dirt while flipping the stock end over end. No joke. That really was what it felt like I was fighting the gun against. Now I admit this is a training issue, but why get used to it, or fight it when I already had what I needed in the TD grip or the plain old A2 grip. I have always liked the finger bump on the A2 grip unlike a lot of people so that’s not an issue for me. But the TD does not have any finger grove anyway. The TD gives me storage as well so there is not real advantage there either in my mind.
I gave the BCM grip all the attention and effort that it deserves if for no other reason then the popularity and attention it is getting. It just did not pan out. The grip angle could be over come with training I am sure. But the same can be said about those who think ( thanks to marketing and high profile trainers) that the old grip is some how a hindrance to proper technique. The AR15 pattern can have some tweaks to make it easier to use there is not doubt, but they are small tweaks. Despite gun magazines advert, there is not a lot about the AR15 that the inventors did not get right already and Colt Firearms did not damn near perfect.
A few years back I did the whole grip roulette thing my self. Went from the A2 to the A1 to rid my self of the finger bump. Then went from the A1 to the Tango Down grip. The TD is very nice, but I wish it were it bit wider. Then went to Magpul, I used the slick front strap and smallest back strap. When I ended up buying my first suppressor I found that holding up a muzzle heavy firearm with the firing hand was easier with a grip that had that finger bump, so I went back to the A2. So I went full circle. Other grips I tried and didn’t like included the Ergo (too narrow), Hogue (too many finger bumps), and CAA (functional, but ugly, felt cheap).
People have been wanting the Magpul Pmag 40 rounder out for sell ever since seeing the teaser prototypes. The recent foolish attempts by those who think they are our rulers, also exacerbated the desire to get the 40 rounders out. Finally the Pmag is now out in a 40 round capacity in the new 3rd generation of Pmags.
As can be seen in the MK18 above, the mag is of course longer then a 30 round mag but not really by that much.
As a way to compare directly, above is a AWM Lancer, the 40 round Pmag and a Surefire 60 round magazine. As far as length goes, if I was looking at it solely from that point of view. I would certainly take the 60 over the 40 being its more ammo and the length is so close as to not matter. In fact, the Surefire is a bit shorter though it is wider.
While I see the 60 round SF as the kind of mag you keep in the gun for breaking an ambush, or full auto fire like the IAR or a game mag, the Pmag is closer to being something I could see being more of a standard carry item.
The 40 round mag does stick up out of pouches more of course, but its not a absurd amount. I would limit its use for game use at this point though, until purpose made pouches come out. You can see that they are workable though.
This is two 40s crammed into my ten speed pouches on my plate carrier. Not great, but you can do it. When used on a belt for game use, the amount they stick up is nothing I can see worrying about.
I want to mention that while they seem to be weighing down my belt and want to break the FastMags away, the problem is I actually put the belt on over top another belt with a double pistol mag pouch resting under the belt with the Pmags. When the belt is worn properly, everything is nice and snug. It is only 10 more rounds after all.
As a last side by side, here is a 40 rounder in a “krinkov.” The AK mag is 45 rounds, but the 40 round Pmag makes the MK18 a much better choice in every way to the PDW/subcarbine role the krink is excellent at being.
Now, as far as reliability goes, its a Pmag. I can go on and on with pointless filler blather about it, but most know how well a Pmag works. If you have a Pmag those does not work, its your gun, not the Pmag 999 times out of 1000. Sorry if that cause anal discomfort but its the truth. As an aside I think the Lancer AWM is like a perfect Pmag but that is off topic. I do feel strongly enough about the quality of the Lancer AWM that I try to spread the word often.
I purchased 3 of the new forty rounds Pmags and set to abusing them over the weekend. The first testing was done with the help of my friend where we did testing in a few guns to make sure the bolt locks open and the mag drops free. I went on to do my usual testing of resting the gun on the mag as a mono-pod, putting pressure on it front back and side to side etc, to get it to fail. No problems. I and my friend fired mag dump after mag dump as fast as we could work the trigger with no problem
While the lower on the MK18 got so hot that I could not touch it with the bare hands, th emag worked fine. The reason for using the SBR is the common myths of the SBRs not being reliable, so I figured if it would have a problem, the SBR might cause it. OF course the Colt MK18 worked as I fully expected and so did that magazine.
The carbine often got so hot that we had to be careful handling it since we forgot to wear gloves. This resulted in the gun smoking after each mag dump.
The mags all worked in the usual magpul way. Loading the mags are not hard either. I thought the spring would get pretty stiff by the last few rounds, but its not bad at all. I also could not discern any extra effort needed to insert a full mag on a closed bolt. That was a nice surprise for me since I did not expect it, and the follower is nice and smooth.
The mags come with the standard dust cover and have the new floor plate that will not take the older generation adapter sadly. As far as I know, the new mags are in black only.
I am still pleased with the Surefire 60 rounds mags since i have not had a problem with mine nor has any other Looserounds staff had a problem, but I like the idea of the 40s. Its a little more but more compact. It will take a few months before I really trust them for a fight like I do the 30 round Pmag, but I can see no real reason to worry. I just like to let something become proven over time, Magpul is certainly capable of making fine magazine, so I take that into account, but it is a new mag with a new shape so I will wait and make sure. As for now, after a year I tentatively trust the surefire 60s, and after another year , I will feel comfortable with them in use other then training or match use. The 40 round Pmag, not being as drastic is almost surely completely worry free, but I would advise doing thorough testing anyway.
I have been using the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 MOE for several months now. I initially purchased this firearm for my two young boys to start shooting and because of the crazy price on ammunition in recent months. I also wanted a fully functional .22lr AR for supplemental training/trigger time. As I have been shooting this with my boys, I have found it to be useful in several areas. Before getting to technical, I have to say this is one fun rifle to shoot. My boys love it and have had so much fun shooting the M&P15-22, it is worth the money alone for that purpose. Our friends at Herd Tactical hooked me up with the M&P15-22 MOE at a very nice price. When I was able to handle the rifle at home for the first time, I realized the M&P15-22 was going to be very versatile, for me and my boys.
The Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 functions just like an AR15 in 223/5.56mm and is basically the same size as its full power/center fire counterparts. Takedown is almost identical to AR15 variant rifles. Simply push out the takedown pins, pull out the carrier group and charging handle and your done. The charging handle, bolt release, last round lock back, magazine release and fire control function the same as a standard AR15. The M&P15-22 also has a built in 9″ picatinny rails system. With most .22lr conversion kits or dedicated .22lr AR’s, the bolt release and last round bolt lock back do not function. Although the weight of the M&P15-22 is light, once you start adding a few accessories the weight starts to add up, but it will still feel lighter than your 5.56mm AR15.
If you are going to purchase the M&P 15-22 make sure you purchase the MOE version. The MOE version is outfitted with Magpul furniture and sights. This is really the best bang for the buck as you are getting the Magpul accessories at a significant value. In most cases I found you get the Magpul accessories for only 50 to 100 dollars more. If you were to purchase these items separately, they would cost you close to or over 200 dollars. The MOE version also comes with QD sling points on each side of the lower receiver/buffer tube area.
When considering buying the M&P15-22, I was also looking at bolt carrier drop in conversion kits, for my AR15. When I started looking at prices, the Smith & Wesson was only about 100 dollars more. To get a drop in kit to function with all of your AR15 controls, you have to buy additional drop in parts. For example: the CMMG kit with all the functional upgrades was pushing 400 dollars. The S&W made sense, cost wise and it is a dedicated fully functional platform. With a dedicated .22lr rifle, I would not have to deal with changing parts in and out of an AR15 upper. Also, you get better accuracy at longer distances with a barrel twist of 1:16″ on the M&P15-22 . I have not pushed the limits of accuracy on the M&P15-22 but it is very accurate, probably more than I am. I bought it as a plinker for my boys and trainer. I have had very nice groups at 75 yards with el chepo ammo and I will push the accuracy/distance in the future.
The Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 will take all of the same accessories that your AR15 can take. I did some small modifications with a dermal, to small portions of the front and rear rail sections, so the KAC rail panel clips would mount properly. I recently purchased a set of LaRue Index Clips and they also worked on thepicatinny rails. The LaRue Clips were just as secure as on my KAC RAS rails and Colt LE6940 rail systems. I had no problem mounting optic mounts, rail panels/ladders, i.e (KAC,Tango Down, Magpul and LaRue), lights, hand stops, vertical grips and other 1913 picatinny rail accessories to the M&P15-22.
Due to the rail system on the M&P15-22 being polymer, I would suggest adding a rail panel system more robust than the soft ladder covers. This will protect the polymer rail system from being damaged inadvertently during fun range time/training .
I used several different slings (Tactical Link and Gear Sector) with QD swivels, with the M&P15-22 MOE QD point. I had no issues with the QD point, pulling on it as hard as I could. This really should not be an issue at all, as the M&P is very light. Even with numerous accessories on the rifle it is still going to be much lighter than your 5.56mm AR15. From what I understand you can drop in any replacement trigger system you would like as lower is .154 pin compatible. I don’t think spending a lot of money on a nice trigger system is really worth it on a rifle like this.
For Supplemental Training:
While only full power 5.56mm training can give you the real feel, the right .22lr can supplement your training at a substantial lower cost. The Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 does this very well as it functions exactly like your 5.56mm counterpart. I think one big benefit is in movement drills, where you want to improve your moving fundamentals and weapons handling, with some feedback at the lower cost of .22lr. I found that you lose no weapon manipulation skills while running and gunning with the M&P. I transferred all the accessories I use on my defensive 5.56 AR15’s to the M&P15-22. This gave me the feel of my full power counterparts.
I’ve had a few malfunctions with the M&P15-22 but I could not fault the rifle. In every case the firing pin had a good strike on the round, the round just did not fire. This was with Federal Champion Bulk ammo and I’ve only had three (3) that I remember. I had no failures to extract or failures to feed in the M&P. The .22lr rounds is inherently problematic when it comes to reliability. No .22lr is ever 100% reliable and I have never had one that was. I found that the occasional stoppage helped in a training setting, for malfunction drills and sidearm transitions. An actual stoppage in a quality 5.56mm AR15 just does not happen very often. Most of the time you have to set them up with dummy rounds in training. With a .22lr you are just going to have them time to time, no matter what.
The trigger is nothing special. It feels close to a Mil Spec. trigger break. It does have a long spongy pull before it breaks. You are getting a trigger pull the feels close to your AR15 trigger, definitely not better.
One of the best things about the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 is how much fun the little ones have plinking with it. This was my main purpose for purchasing the rifle. I thought a lot about whether to go with a Ruger 10-22 for my boys first firearm. I went with the Smith & Wesson for several of the reasons stated above.
With my supervision, it is easy for my boys to hold and manipulate the controls. They have so much fun with the rifle that is just like, “daddy’s big guns”. The whole family can spend an entire afternoon shooting the M&P15-22. With the low price of .22lr, hundreds of rounds of quality plinking can be had by all. I find we simply lose track of time, we are having so much fun. The kids seem to be picking up the Magpul sights fast and were on target after the first few rounds.
I really like the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 MOE. It has become one of the most enjoyable all around plinking rifles I have every owned. As I said before, this thing is just fun to shoot. I can only remember a few malfunctions (Failures to Fire) with the rifle. All of which I determined to be ammunition related as they had good firing pin strikes. Other than that the rifle has function flawlessly. The M&P15-22 can fill a supplemental training roll to offset the cost of 5.56mm training. When using the M&P15-22 for training, I would suggest starting the training and ending the training with your center fire rounds. Also, make sure you are incorporating the .22lr in the appropriate areas for training. You do not want to rely on the .22lr as a primary training tool.
If you are just looking for a super fun and accurate .22lr plinker in an AR platform, the M&P15-22 more than fills that roll. Pure fun for everyone is what the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 MOE is all about.
I’ve been trying some different AR grips lately and while I had a few on hand I thought I would photo some of the differences in geometry between them to give people an idea of what they will be getting before they drop the cash.
First up is a Magpul K-Grip in comparison to a BCM Gunfighter Grip Mod 0. They share a similar angle however the K-Grip is shorter, thinner, has a smoother surface and lacks the back strap swell of the Gunfighter Mod 0.
Next is the ubiquitous A2 grip in comparison with the BCM Gunfighter Mod 0. While of similar length the A2 has a steeper angle overall and is of uniform angle on the back strap whereas the BCM Mod 0 has the swell. They are also of similar width.
Next we have the A2 in comparison with the Magpul K-Grip. The K-Grip is smaller in almost every dimension, has a smoother surface, and a more straight up and down angle.
Here is the A2 with a Magpul MOE. They share a very similar angle however the MOE is slightly larger in dimension with a somewhat cylindrical feel
Finally we have the Magpul K-Grip next to the Magpul MOE grip. Again the K-Grip is smaller in every dimension with a more straight up and down angle.
While I don’t hate the A2 the finger groove annoys me enough that I’ve tried almost all of the well known AR grips on the market over the years in an attempt to find “the one” that I would standardize on all of my AR’s. Up till now I hadn’t found one that made me say “that’s it” and had more or less settled on the Magpul MOE grip as a good enough but not great solution. I tried the Magpul K-Grip to see if there was any merit to a grip with a relaxed grip angle, and while I did like the angle I found the overall grip to be too small to be really effective.
Unknown to either one of us at the time and in a bit of parallel discovery Shawn and I both ordered BCM Gunfighter Mod 0 grips to try out at the same time. So far I’m liking it quite a bit. The angle is nice for reducing stress on the wrist and the material the grip is made out of strikes a good compromise between too rubbery and too hard. It’s also a nice compromise in size in that it’s larger than the K-Grip but not so big as a MOE grip.
Over the past several years, I have been asked if Magpul Ranger Plates will work on USGI 20 rounds magazines. I asked this question several times myself, with little to no answers. The answer to this question is yes, they will work but some modifications need to be made. I posted a response on how to modify the plates to work, on AR15.com back in 2009, it has since been archived. I pulled the archived text, uploaded my origonal photographs and modified it for this write-up.
Modification of the locking plate for the Ranger Plate is needed for this to work on the magazines. If you are using Colt/NHMTG/USGI 20 round magazines, you need to cut and dremel the Magpul locking plate to fit past the GI magazine locking floor plate tab. It is important to note: you may only be able to put 19 rounds in the magazine to seat it on a closed bolt, after this modification. I mentioned losing a round in the L-Plates article for USGI 30 round magazines (http://looserounds.com/2012/10/14/magpul-l-plates/). You must weigh the benefits of losing a round vs. the gain of a better grip pull from a magazine pouch.
The floor plate lips on USGI 20 round magazines are a little larger compared to 30 round USGI magazines, so sliding the Ranger Plate on will take a little work. Remember to use a small tool to push the floor plate tab down, to slide the ranger plate on, (tough but will work).
Basic Tools Needed:
Dremel, screwdriver or punch and razor blade.
After removing the USGI floorplate from the magazine, line up the Magpul locking plate with the bottom of the magazine. Estimate the location on the Magpul locking plate, behind the USGI locking tab, to score the locking plate with a razor. Score the Magpul locking plate with a razor on both sides and break off the excess.
Dremel down the Magpul locking floor plate to fit behind the magazine locking tab. Dremel a little at a time, making sure the Magpul locking plate won’t touch the magazine locking tab. You may have to dremel the Magpul locking plate down generously to make it work. This allows room to place it in and remove it without touching the magazine locking tab.
Place the Magpul locking plate in magazine. Turn it to the side, the floorplate tabs on the USGI 20’s are larger than USGI 30’s and it may take some work to get it in.
Sliding on the Ranger Plate. This takes some minor elbow grease as the floorplate tabs are large. Once you reach the locking tab, use a tool to push it down into the magazine slightly so the Ranger Plate will pass over it. I used a Glock tool.
Slide the Ranger Plate the rest of the way on and check that the locking plate has locked up into the Ranger Plate.
Now you’re done. Function test the magazine and run rounds through it to confirm it is working properly.
Now that I have been using this combination for over five years, I feel this is a reliable option for those who want to run Ranger Plates on USGI 20 round magazines. This will give you the extra grip to pull the magazine from a pouch. If your running a DMR/SPR or other precision AR style rifle and prefer to use USGI 20 round magazines, the addition of Ranger Plates on your USGI 20’s may be a benefit for you.