Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine (L5AWM) AR-15 Magazines

“Serious” rifles: Manufacturers of serious rifles in 5.56×45 (223 Rem) caliber, who are counting on significant non-military sales, know and understand that their rifle needs to accept, and run with standard, STANAG (M4) magazines.

An otherwise wonderful rifle, but one that only functions with proprietary magazines, will not sell well, at least in the USA, as SIG unhappily discovered with its (now discontinued) 550 series of Sig rifles from the 80s/90s.

Thus, the M4 (by several dozen different domestic manufacturers), also the VHS2, CETME, RA/XCR, are all designed to accept and function with STANAG magazines, 20-round and 30-round

Magpul, Lancer, Thril, Okay, Duramag, et al all manufacture very acceptable STANAG magazines.

For “serious purposes,” I recommend the 30-round variety for these reasons:

  • 1) Owing to the 30-round magazine’s inherent curvature, instantly telling front from back (by feel), in the dark is a simple task. The task is much more daunting with straight 20-round magazines.
  • 2) 30-round magazines are long enough so that I can securely grab the bottom third, while there is still plenty of magazine length at the top to easily inert and lock into the rifle. Shorter, 20-round magazines must be grasped in a cup-and-saucer manner (much like a pistol magazine), which is much more precarious.
  • 3) In the prone firing position, the 30-round magazine is just the light length, so it can be effectively used as a monopod for stability. For this same purpose, 20-round magazines are too short, and 40-round magazines too long.
  • 4) Extra 30-round magazines are flat, light, fit within most trouser pockets, and can thus be easily carried without specially designed “load-bearing equipment.”

Several manufacturers have made drum-style magazines for the M4, with a capacity of fifty, even one hundred rounds. They are heavy, maladroit, and really silly!

Plenty of 20-round STANAG magazines are floating around, and they run fine. And many actually prefer them, mostly for the sake of compactness.

Yet, for the foregoing reasons, I prefer 30-rounders when I have the luxury of choice!


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About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc

As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor, John Farnam will urge you, based on your beliefs, to make up your mind about what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to ensure that its students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

John Farnam
John Farnam

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