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King Arms - "Lancer Systems L5" MidCap Magazines
Written by uscmCorps   

King Arms "Lancer Systems L5" AEG MidCap Review

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Real Steel L5 Magazine background:

From Lancer Systems' Website: Quote:

"Lancer Systems developed the L5 Magazine for the 5.56mm AR15/M4/M16 weapon system. It has an impact resistant translucent polymer body, corrosion resistant steel feed lips and a removable, rubber coated bottom. The L5 was designed to be used with the existing magazine pouches and carriers.

The L5 Advantage for professionals:

Increases Op-Tempo Pre-combat inspections and checks Post contact checks Speeds ammunition consolidation Tactical Magazine Changes The rubber bottom and body texture improve gripping Drops free from lower receivers The magazine is designed to resist damage from rough handling, dropping and abuse Vehicle Storage The L5 can be stored loaded in unconditioned environments; from +180F to -50F Ammunition Carry Policy Rapidly know what’s loaded Shared Resources – expedites shift change Know your round count Translucency allows range or shift personnel to see if their magazine is serviceable Training Safety Visual inspection lets everyone know how many rounds are on the firing line Quickly Identify what’s loaded; live rounds, blanks or marker rounds Features:

Made in the USA Translucent polymer body that is impact resistant through a wide range of temperatures Can be dropped onto the feed lips without damage Withstands 5’ drop, fully loaded onto concrete at -40F and +180F Withstands 5’ drop, fully loaded dropped with rifle Body and component materials that are corrosion and chemical resistant Stainless Steel Spring Steel feed lips with a corrosion resistant coating, permanently molded into the body. Round Count Markers at 20 and 30 rounds Body texture, contour and rubber coated bottom are designed to provide positive gripping and improve retrieval from magazine pouches. Body design incorporates a constant radius geometry that facilitates follower/spring travel. Same basic design envelop as the USGI aluminum magazine, can be used with existing pouches and carriers. Easy to disassemble and maintain"

King Arms Replica L5 Magazine:

Appearance: The Replica L5 Magazine by King Arms is a MidCap magazine designed to hold 130 rounds. Like its Real Steel counterpart *, it's made from polymer albeit not designed to endure the same degree of punishment that the real one can handle (but more than good enough for airsoft I'd say). The plastic KingArms used is relatively matte/non-shiny in appearance (similar to the real deal) however while the surface is slightly textured it still feels somewhat slippery and slick to the touch and if you lay several on top of one another they're liable to slide off each other (which my PMAGs don't do as much). Not sure if that's a good thing or not yet. It is nice in that even though they're wider than most mags, they're slick enough that they slide easily when being pulled out of or inserted into a mag pouch. And aside from being stacked on my shelf when not needed, how often will I be stacking them on top of one another in the field? Not likely I guess. So for now, I'm going to say that being a little slippery is working in the replica L5 Mag's favor.

Comparison with other Common AEG magazines, from left to right, Magpul PTS MidCap PMAG (120 rounds), King Arms Lancer L5 MidCap (130 rounds) Magazine, Tokyo Marui STANAG (68 rounds) AR magazine:

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As you can see, the PMAG and L5 magazine is significantly longer than the TM STANAG. However height wise they won't have any trouble fitting into a pouch designed for AR mags as these are all still marginally shorter than that of a real steel AR magazine. What might be a problem is that the L5 mags are wider than the other mags I had in my possession as the L5 mag features a raised magazine well stop, or supporting rib that on the real steel mag blocks the magazine from being inserted too far into the receiver and solely relying on the magazine catch to stop it. That raised rib serves no purpose for the AEG functionality, but it obviously is part of the magazine design and King Arms copied that detail. Being wider than most other mags, that may make it a little more difficult to put two L5 mags into an AR double mag pouch. I was able to fit both in, but it was certainly a tight fit. After time, the pouches may loosen up a bit though. Also note that the magazine well stop may make the L5 mags incompatible with rifles that don't feature a regular mag well length (such as the HK416).

You'll also notice that the L5 mags have ribbing on the lower half of the mag to assist in gripping and handling the mag. That's the same as it is on the real mags and that feature does help in the handling of them.

Translucent Polymer: One of the biggest draws to both the real L5 mag and the King Arms replica L5 Mag is the ability to estimate how many rounds you have left in the gun. When using regular AEG mags, I often find myself switching mags pretty frequently as I'm unsure approximately how many rounds I have left in them after an engagement. So as not to be caught with a neat empty mag, I swap mags during lulls in the battle. Thanks to the translucent nature of the L5 mags, I'm able to glance at the mag while it's seated in the gun, eyeball approximately how many rounds I have left and quickly deduce whether or not I should swap mags while I have a chance. That's pretty awesome in my book and makes my mags go a lot further in battle.

How do they feed?: Looking pretty doesn't mean anything if the mags don't feed. In the past I've had mixed experiences with the budget-minded plastic MAG Mags. Some were awesome and fed great, some ... didn't. The core design of these King Arms L5 Replica Mags is certainly based on the MAG AR15 Mags (which KingArms has cloned in the past). I've heard mixed reports from other consumers about KingArms' budget plastic mags, so I was more than a little reticent when it came to these new replica L5 Mags. I'm pleased to report that these L5 Replica Mags have fed extremely well in all my AR style guns. I have however, noticed they had a little trouble seating properly in my loaner Jing Gong CQBR's. But all my higher end guns had zero seating issues. Just something to consider.

In both my VFC SR15E3's, the L5 mag fed every last round. In my VFC SR16E3, there was one round left. I guess it varies, but still better than most mags out there that waste 4 or 5 rounds when you should be empty.

Here's a short video demo of the KingArms L5 Magazine:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjKthahiZY

Unfortunately, the closeup shot in the above video doesn't show with much clarity the follower moving through the magazine. You can somewhat make it out though. I blame YouTube compression software and my mediocre lighting setup.

No rubber base plate: One great aspect of the real L5 magazines is that they feature a rubberized base plate so that when ejected/dropped from the gun the impact is cushioned by the rubber. I REALLY wish KingArms replicated that design feature. I understand that doing so would necessitate a redesign of the core MAG Mag philosophy that they copied, and integrating a rubber pad would increase the cost a bit, but it would have been a really useful feature.

No simulated 5.56mm rounds: There are two camps when it comes to the notion of having fake 5.56mm rounds in the magazine to simulate a real magazine. Yes it would definitely look awesome with that just as my SIG 552 mags look badass. That said, without the fake rounds in the mag, the mag simply looks empty (as the BBs aren't that easily seen), and you retain the ability to approximately estimate how many BB you have left ... which from a practical stand point is (IMO) paramount. So I'm okay with it the way it is (though I would still buy a set that had the fake rounds in it even if it changed the mag from a MidCap into a StandardCap mag).

Price: Cost-wise, the replica L5 magazines are very competitively priced at $50 for a box of five magazines (plus S&H) from RedwolfAirsoft and WGCShop.com

* It should be noted that the replica L5 magazine by King Arms is NOT an authorized replica or licensed by Lancer Systems to the best of my knowledge. I am not endorsing the replication of the real product, only reviewing it.

An intrinsic flaw in the replica's design:

  • While the King Arms L5 Mags have a lot going for them, they're not perfect. The design is a little flawed in that at the base of the magazine, the L5 mag has an access point that the manufacturer uses to feed the follower and spring into the mag. The spring assembly is sealed into the mag using a circular plastic twist plug. That is where the flaw exists. The twist plug is highly prone to popping off, especially when the mag is loaded and the spring is under tension. While you can ensure that the twist plug is correctly orientated to be correctly seated, the tabs on the plug that hook into the base of the mag have a tendency to snap off.
  • The very first thing I would recommend to anyone who gets these is to permanently affix those twist plugs in place. And here's how:

Fixing the intrinsic flaw:

  • The tools needed, flathead screwdriver (or small coin), super glue, and optional silver ink Sharpie Marker:

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  • Holding the L5 Mag upside down, using the screwdriver or a small coin, rotate the plastic plug 90°:

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  • Pop the plastic plug out (it should drop out easily). Be careful when removing the plastic plug as the contents of the spring assembly are under tension and could spring out the opening:

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  • As you can see the plug is very simple and in the inset picture you can see the tabs that hook into the opening at the base of the mag. Those tabs often, and easily, break off:

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  • King Arms inserted a length of plastic rod into the base of the mag. It appears the spring's length is the same length as the rest of King Arms' 130 round midcaps. I suspect that if they spent the money on longer springs they could certainly have the mag hold at least another 30 to 40 rounds. However in order to use mag springs they probably already had in plentiful supply for their other mags, they inserted the plastic rod to act as a spacer:

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  • On the opening of the spring access port, add a some drops of super glue on either side of the opening:

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  • Replace the plastic plug and rotate the plug with the screwdriver or small screw to lock it in place:

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Even if the plastic plug's weak tabs have been broken off, the above methodology should still resolve the issue.

  • My last suggestion would be to use the silver ink sharpie marker, and right your initials and a number on the top face of the mag. The benefit is two fold: if you loose it, hopefully someone will return it to you. And secondly, it's always a good idea to number your mags so that if one or more has a problem, you can keep better track of it (them).
  • Once that's done, throw the mags onto the shelf with the rest of your mags :P :

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Final opinion:

So long as you fix the plugs on the bottom, which takes just a few seconds to do each, they're inexpensive, look cool, useful at seeing how many rounds you have left, and appear to be reliable 130 round midcaps.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 10:09