Magpul PTS - EMAG and M-Version PMAG
Written by uscmCorps   

Magpul PTS EMAG and M-Version PMAG AEG Midcap Review


Real Steel PMAG and EMAG background:

Magpul Industries' PMAGs (Polymer MAGazines) have been common place for a few years now. It is arguably the preferred magazine of the average AR15 shooter today thanks to its high reliability, and durability against harsh treatment and conditions. They came in a variety of colors, and the 30 rounders came in a window (to see remaining round count) or windowless format. Within the last year Magpul Industries evolved their PMAG to a new design, similar to the original but enhanced thanks to customer and operator feedback. The old version is now discontinued and has been replaced by this newer version. Though still called a PMAG, it is occasionally referred to as the M-Revision or M-Version PMAG, the "M" standing for "Military" as the majority of the changes were per the US Military's request. The changes in the M-Revision PMAG are subtle: (1) The ribbing on the exterior of the mag (originally designed to enhance grip while handling the PMAG) have been lowered to make them more compatible with mag couplers and to make them easier to get in and out of pouches. There are also fewer grip recesses now (3 vertical panels instead of the older 4 vertical panels). (2) A pop-off Impact Cover was added that can be snapped onto the top of the mag, covering and protecting the feed lips, and to keep dirt out of the mag during storage. When not needed, the impact cover can be removed and reattached to the underside of the mag base for safe keeping. (3) A new follower is used which provides even smoother loading with military stripper clips. Basically, small but significant changes. M-Revision PMAGs still come in the same variety of colors (Black, Flat Dark Earth, Foliage Green, or OD Green) and with or without windows.

Magpul Industries' EMAGs (Export MAGazines) were developed to work in AR15 style 5.56 guns (foreign-made weapons such as the HK 416, FN SCAR, British SA-80, Beretta ARX-160, IMI Tavor, and others) that had compatibility issues with the original PMAGs due to a tighter magazine well (though EMAGs do still work in regular AR15s). Aside from being slightly slimmer than the PMAG, the most notable difference about the EMAG is that Magpul also removed the PMAG's ribs for an anti-snag profile making it easier to get in and out of double and triple mag pouches. EMAG's also come standard with a single window on the left side, however the right side is smooth and windowless (unlike windowed PMAGs that have a window on both sides of the magazine). When designing the EMAG, Magpul added the pop-off Impact Cover featured on the M-Revision PMAGs.

Magpul PTS Replica EMAG and M-Revision PMAGs:

Appearance and Materials used: The Replica M-Version PMAGs and EMAGs by Magpul PTS are MidCap magazines designed to hold 120 rounds. Like its Real Steel counterpart, it's made from polymer albeit not the exact same material (per ITAR guidelines), but you'd be hard pressed to tell a difference. The Dupont polymer Magpul PTS used is fantastic, perfectly mimicking the color and texture of the real deal. It looks and feels indistinguishable from the genuine article. The M-PMAG's are available in Black, FDE, FG and later most likely OD Green. The EMAGs are only available in Black (same as the real EMAGs).

The new line up of PTS Magazines:
From Left to Right: M-PMAG in Flat Dark Earth, Foliage Green, Black, and an EMAG

Comparison to other versions of the PMAG:
From Left to Right: Magpul PTS Gen 1 PMAG, Magpul PTS Gen 2 M-PMAG, Magpul Industries PMAG, Element ACM (Unauthorized) PMAG

Simulated rounds: The M-PMAGs are currently only available in the windowless style, and windowed M-PMAGs with fake rounds probably won't be happening (I know, I know, I'm sad too). The Magpul PTS EMAG's have a window on their left side with fake rounds just as the real EMAG does, and the fake rounds look exceptionally convincing. Placed side by side next to a real steel EMAG or windowed PMAG, you couldn't visually tell the difference once inserted into their respective guns (AEG vs real steel). Some of you may be familiar with Element's somewhat new and very much unlicensed "midcap" PMAGs (designed by Waterloo) that feature fake rounds. I put midcap in "quotes" because although the few websites selling these unauthorized replicas as "120 round midcaps", that 120 round capacity claim is absolutely false as it's more like 81 to 82 rounds. That would categorize it as somewhere between standard and midcap in my book. I'm not reviewing that ACM mag here so I won't go into all the fitment and reliability issues it has, but it is noteworthy for being the first Magpul derived AEG mag design with simulated rounds ... and I got to give it to them, at least it looks cool. However, the authorized Magpul PTS EMAG on the other hand, has unsurprisingly surpassed it's unauthorized competitor on every level. Fake rounds visible through the clear window on the left of the magazine just like the real thing, but Magpul PTS added one detail the ACM one omitted: a fake spring that would be visible in RS EMAGs below the 5.56 rounds. It's this attention to detail that makes me excited by Magpul PTS products. The only aesthetic thing they omitted was adding a length of plastic between the spring and fake rounds to give the illusion of a follower. Still, placed side by side with a RS loaded mag, the PTS EMAG's simulated rounds look a bit more convincing than the ACM's. Coupled with the fact that the PTS M-PMAGs and EMAGs fit and feed perfectly (unlike the ACM one), have a larger capacity, and are overall exceedingly better quality, make the authorized magazines a clear winner even though they cost a few dollars more than the Element ones. It's money well spent.

The EMAG's Simulated Rounds:

EMAG's Simulated Rounds next to a RS Windowed PMAG with 5.56 Rounds

Ranger Plates: Just like the Gen 1 Magpul PTS PMAG, the M-PMAG is fully compatible with both Magpul and Magpul PTS PMAG Ranger Plates. An interesting tidbit, looking over at Stickman's WeaponEvolution web site, I saw his year old announcement about the Magpul Maritime PMAG in which the components of the PMAG have drainage holes. Yesterday was the first time I noticed that the drainage hole on the Maritime base plate was in the same location as the Gen 1 Magpul PTS PMAG's bottom screw. That detail on the PTS Gen 1 PMAG seems a little more apropos after realizing that. The original Magpul PTS PMAG had two design features that held the internal components inside the outer shell: a pin going through the side of the mag and the aforementioned screw through the base plate locking into the inner components. The M-PMAG and EMAG have done away with these features and the locking mechanism that holds the components inside the shell are all internal and not externally visible. The button that holds the base plate in place is also much more realistic looking in the new PTS mags.

Gen 1 PTS Base Plate vs Gen 2 PTS Base Plate vs Gen 2 RS Base Plate

Magpul PTS M-PMAG and EMAG's internal components are attached to the outer shell via a screw which is accessible when the base plate is removed:

Two EMAGs with and without the PMAG Ranger Plate:


Pop-off Impact Cover: New to the EMAG and M-PMAG, they come with Impact Covers designed similar to the real ones. That said the ones that come with the PTS mags are AEG specific, and real steel Impact Covers can't be used on the AEG version and vice versa. The shells of the EMAG and M-PMAG are modified with specific notches at the top and bottom that allow the Impact Covers to snap into place. The absence of these notches on the Gen 1 PMAGs is why the Impact Covers can not be used with them. The function of the Impact Covers was mentioned earlier in the review: to protect the feed lips on the real steel magazine and to keep dirt out. On the AEG version it's mostly to keep dirt out, as the feed port doesn't really need protecting. I expect most players will probably keep them on the bottom of their PMAGs/EMAGs for a unique look. More than anything, Magpul PTS was trying to replicate all the details on the real steel version and felt this was a neat little feature that would be cool to keep. And I wholeheartedly agree. Element's ACM unauthorized windowed PMAG midcaps also had pop-off Impact Covers. They were nice looking, but because of the low end plastic they used, quickly became weakened and don't snap on to the mag as securely as when you first get them. The PTS version on the other hand continue to snap on and off securely.

One thing I did like about the unauthorized version over the PTS version was how the ACM's internal geometry was designed. Let me back up for a second: the real steel Magpul Impact Covers are first clipped onto the front of the mag and then wrap over the feed lips and hook into the back side of the mag. As it wraps over the feed lips, part of the Impact cover sits partially inside the top of the mag between the feed lips, stopping the Impact Cover from moving side to side and sliding off. Now back to the Airsoft versions: unlike the real steel PMAGs, AEG magazines have a mostly flat surface on the top plane of the mag with no recesses. This means that an Impact Cover designed to work with AEG PMAGs can only cover the top of the mag and can't have geometry built into it to sit inside the mag to prevent side to side movement like on a real PMAG. Magpul PTS' Impact Covers can be slipped off the top of the mag, by pushing the cover from the side. This doesn't happen easily however as the Impact Cover is always under tension while snapped on the mag's top or bottom, and you must apply significant force to push it off sideways. It shouldn't come off in general use. However, the Element Impact Cover had a simple solution for this when installed on top of the magazine by using two small tabs on the inside surface of the Impact Cover that sit on either side of the magazine's BB retention spring assembly (that block of plastic at the top of the AEG mag behind the BB port). These tabs prevent any side to side play in the Impact Cover and were a simple solution to the problem. If Magpul PTS gets a chance to revisit their molds in the future, I'd recommend adding this feature as it's the only drawback to the overall design. That said, I much prefer the tension and overall functionality of the PTS Impact Cover. I wouldn't feel comfortable putting the Element Impact Cover on the bottom of the ACM PMAG for a skirmish whereas I would be okay doing that with the Magpul PTS Impact Covers.

The Impact Cover:

The Underside of the Magpul PTS Impact Cover (right) vs the Element Impact Cover (left) and how they relate to the BB retention spring assembly:

How do they feed and fit in lower receivers?: Looking pretty, while important, inevitably takes a back seat to how well a magazine feeds and fits in lower receivers. There was some buyer feedback regarding the original Magpul PTS PMAGs in which users found the PMAG had fitment issues in the gun's magazine well. The culprit of this was almost entirely due to a lack of standards established across the many manufacturers in how they designed their lower receiver. Out of spec (different to Tokyo Marui) lower receivers had issues.

I tested the EMAGs and M-version PMAGs in every gun I could get my hands on. Locked in and fed flawlessly in every gun. No issues sliding in or out of any gun nor was it too tight, including the infamous King Arms magazine wells which have internal ribbing intended to remove wobble from magazines and were well known to have fitment issues with the Gen 1 PMAGs. No longer the case with EMAGs and the new M-PMAGs.

Tested, worked and fed PERFECTLY in the following guns:
King Arms AR15's
King Arms SIG 556
Magpul PTS AR15's
CA older AR15's
G&P AR15's
KWA AR15's
VFC AR15's

Compatibility with RainierArms Enhanced Magazine Grips (EMG)s: For those of you unfamiliar with RainerArms' EMGs, they're adhesive backed 3M rubber pads cut exactly to the shape of the front and side panels (areas between the ribs) of the Gen 1 PMAGs. They were compatible with both the RS and Magpul PTS Gen 1 PMAGs. The front pad EMGs were slightly longer than the side pads as the panels were marginally different. They weren't cheap at US$18.95 for the basic set of 24 side pads, but they did help you get a better grip of the mag ... though they also made inserting and extracting the PMAG from double mag pouches even more difficult. Hong Kong company, Milspex, copied the EMG and sold them for under $5 per set. All of this is moot, of course, as the new PMAGs have a different ribbing layout (3 vertical panels rather than the Gen 1's 4 vertical panels), and because the panels are now taller the EMGs don't fit the same. You could still use EMGs, but it might look odd. RainierArms has said categorically that they won't be releasing a new version of the EMG for the M-PMAGs, so unless Milspex or someone else makes resized updated versions, the EMGs will probably be phased out.

Size comparison between the old vs new panels

Packaging: I like the packaging. In my opinion it's simple and tasteful. The magazines come individually wrapped in a plastic packet, silver opaque on one side and see through on the other with red Magpul logos. The packet is closed with a ziploc style opening.

The Packaging

Price: The MSRP for both the EMAGs and PMAGs are priced at US$22.95. Not the cheapest of mags by today's standard (given the large variety of budget magazine box sets on the market), but you get what you pay for: a good quality midcap magazine, that feeds well, works in every gun I tested, and made to be as aesthetically accurate to the real thing as money can buy.

Why bother make new mags?: Good question. And it's a question I've been hearing somewhat often on the forums. The simple answer: Magpul PTS wants to stay current. Magpul Industries discontinued the original PMAG in favor of the M-Revision PMAG, and Magpul PTS decided it was time to follow suit, after all, they're an airsoft company dedicated to making airsoft replicas of Magpul Industries' products. It makes perfect sense to update their design too, especially in a market that thrives on having accurate replicas of the newest and most contemporary real steel products.

Conclusion: Magpul PTS has produced another collection of great products. Clear improvements were made in these new magazines over the original Magpul PTS PMAGs, which in my opinion were already the best midcap on the market to date. The price is the same as the older version but with more enhancements and an accessory absent from the original. They worked perfectly in every gun I tested it in and the quality was as expected: outstanding. I was provided with samples of the EMAG and M-PMAG (one in each color) during my recent visit to Hong Kong, and I could immediately tell I was going to buy some for my own collection ... and promptly did: 10 FDE M-PMAGs and 10 EMAGs purchased out of my own pocket. I don't expect everyone to do the same and neither does Magpul PTS. Lots of airsofters have already purchased the Magpul PTS Gen 1 PMAGs and the consensus is that they're more than satisfied with those. The expectation isn't that people are going to run out and replace their entire collection of Gen 1 PMAGs with M-PMAGs and EMAGs. Magpul PTS is simply keeping up with the evolution that Magpul Industries' products go through and it was time to update their lineup of magazines. I, for one, am glad they did so. They've certainly made an already great product even better.



Last Updated on Monday, 19 April 2010 22:49