This post only discusses double-stack AK-47 and AK-74 magazines. It does not discuss drum magazines. Look for a AK drum magazines buyer’s guide in the near future.
- Factors To Consider When Choosing Kalashnikov Magazines
- AK Magazines — Country of Origin, Caliber, and Capacity
- Thoughts About Steel Military Surplus
- Russian Steel
- Croatian Steel
- Polish Steel
- Romanian Steel
- Korean Steel
- Chinese Steel
- Russian and East German Bakelite
- Magpul MOE -Gen 3 — Polymer
- Bulgarian Circle 10 — Polymer
- US Palm — Polymer
- Tapco Intrafuse — Polymer
- Polish Circle 11 Radom — Plastic
- Savannah Arsenal’s Related Pages
Factors To Consider When Choosing Kalashnikov Magazines:
Reliability: There isn’t much to say on the subject of reliability except that if the equipment isn’t reliable then it has no place in your prepper inventory.
Capacity: Depending on country of origin or manufacturer, double stack AK magazines are made in several different capacities including 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 45 rounds. The 5 and 10-round magazines are intended for shooting from a bench rest on the range, hunting, or for use in liberal controlled states that don’t allow standard capacity magazines. The 20-round magazines were originally intended for use in tight confines of an armored vehicle while shooting from a port. 30-round magazines are the most popular with 7.62x39mm rifles, while there are 40-round magazines that were intended to be used by RPK machine guns. Most AK-74 magazines have a 30 or 45-round capacity.
Metal vs. Polymer/Plastic: This is going to be a personal preference after weighing the pros and cons of each. Metal magazines are very durable, and depending on the country of origin and the manufacturer, they are extremely reliable. They can take abuse that will destroy most polymer magazines. The downside is that they are much heavier than polymer magazines. Remember: Ounces = pounds, and pounds = pain. Polymer magazines are going to be much lighter. There are polymer magazines that have metal reinforcements built in to strengthen parts that would normally be easy to break or deform, such as feed lips and locking lugs.
AK Magazines — Country of Origin, Caliber, and Capacity:
Thoughts About Steel Military Surplus:
It looks like a lot of these magazines have fitting problems. It is probably best to avoid these.
Refinished Magazines On Sale At Aim Surplus:
These appear to also have fitting problems.
They are cheap and plentiful in the US market, but it is probably best to avoid these as there are too many other options that are much better quality.
I have used these magazines in a Chinese MAK-90, Russian VEPR, and two different Bulgarian SLR-107 rifles.
They have always worked 100% without any malfunctions.
Russian and East German Bakelite:
These are sometimes difficult to find and are relatively expensive, but they are rugged and extremely reliable.
Magpul MOE Gen 3 — Polymer:
Very reliable. Reasonably priced.
The original Magpul AK magazines are all polymer except for the spring. The locking lug can snap off if the rifle is dropped on the magazine.
The new Gen 3 version has a metal locking lug and should be much more durable.
Magpul AK magazines do not have steel reinforced feed lips. Magpul claims that they are not necessary with Magpul’s design.
Magpul magazines are much lighter than steal AK magazines of the same capacity.
Magpul AK-47 (7.62×39 mm) magazines are available in 10, 20, 30, and 40-round versions.
AK-74 (5.45×39 mm) magazines are available only with a 30-round capacity.
Bulgarian Circle 10 — Polymer:
These are considered the “gold standard” with regards to polymer Kalashnikov magazines.
They are pricey, but they are worth it.
Do not confuse Bulgarian made commercial grade polymer magazine for Circle 10 magazines. They look similar, but do not have the steel reinforced feed lips or locking lug.
US Palm — Polymer:
Steel reinforced front and rear locking lugs.
It is not possible to disassemble and individual parts. You can rinse the mud out with a garden hose, but that is about as much maintenance as you can do to these magazines.
There is a “range” version that is a little less expensive and does not have the steel reinforced locking lugs. Don’t be cheap. Go ahead and buy the good ones.
Tapco Intrafuse — Polymer:
People either love Tapco, or they hate Tapco.
Regardless of your feelings about Tapco, you won’t find any private contractors using these magazines in Iraq or Afghanistan. Use that to guide your decision making.
Tapco AK magazines do not have any steel reinforcements in the feed lips or locking lugs.
Polish Circle 11 Radom — Plastic:
Made of plastic, not polymer.
Savannah Arsenal’s Related Pages:
- Savannah Arsenal’s AK47 / AKM / AK-74 Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s AK-47 Buyer’s Guide
- Savannah Arsenal’s How To Zero The AK-47
- Fordy Smith’s AK Operators Union / Center-T Class
- Fordy Smith’s AK Operator’s Union: Class Gear & Kit Review
- Fordy Smith’s AK Philosophy / Takeaways / Personal Opinions
- Savannah Arsenal’s Firearms Essentials Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Ammunition Essentials Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Marksmanship Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Gun Cleaning & Maintenance Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Tactical Rifle Essentials Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Tactical Rifle Accessories Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Tactical Rifle Ammunition Page
- Savannah Arsenal’s Tactical Rifle Optics Page