Written by Greg Ellifritz
I recently purchased one of SureFire’s 60-round AR-15 magazines. SureFire made some big waves when they announced them last year. There have been other companies that have designed higher capacity AR-15 magazines, but most aren’t very reliable. SureFire promised to change that.
I waited until the inevitable bugs in the initial production were worked out and then I bought one. I am pleased so far.
According to SureFire’s website:
“The SureFire high-capacity magazine for 5.56×45 mm (.223 Remington) ammunition, also available in a 100-round version, is compatible with M4/M16/AR-15 variants and other firearms that accept standard STANAG 4179 magazines. Constructed from Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum, they feed smoothly and reliably due to optimal geometry, non-binding coil springs, and ingenious nesting polymer followers. The long-lasting springs are cadmium coated for low friction and excellent corrosion resistance. Magazines require no lubricants and can be easily disassembled without tools for cleaning.
SureFire High-Capacity magazines provide distinct tactical advantages: increased initial firepower in ambush situations; fewer reloads overall, which means less downtime and target distraction in a firefight; fast and easy magazine insertion, even with a closed bolt; less bulk compared to drum mags, enabling a normal weapon grip. The 60-round magazine—slightly thinner than two 30-round magazines clipped together and about the same overall length—fits in most dual magazine pouches, eliminating special carry pouches required for drum magazines. SureFire offers a heavy-duty magazine pouch specifically designed for the MAG5-60 that attaches to a MOLLE system vest.”
They state that the magazine is 1.66 inches wide and weighs 6.4 ounces unloaded. A full compliment of ammunition brings its weight up to 2.2 lbs.
I wanted to give the magazine a good workout before pronouncing it fit for duty. I had the perfect opportunity while conducting a rifle training session with my police department. I handed the new magazine to every shooter who wanted to try it. Over the course of nearly a month, we shot that magazine in a total of 11 rifles including those made by Colt, Smith and Wesson, LMT, Stag Arms, DPMS, Rock River, and Bushmaster. Many of the rifles were Class 3 law enforcement guns, so there was even some full-auto firing.
During the testing period we fired the following rounds from the magazine:
Hornady TAP 55 grn
Hornady TAP Barrier 55 grn
Military Surplus 62 grn Green Tip
Federal 55 grn Bonded SP
Winchester 55 grn lead-free frangible
Winchester 55 grn FMJ
Hornady Steel Case 55 grn FMJ
In total, we fired 1350 rounds. We only experienced ONE malfunction! A single cartridge failed to fully chamber in an LMT rifle. The rifle was pretty dry. We lubed the gun and didn’t have any other problems.
One questionable malfunction in over 1000 rounds through multiple (sometimes poorly cared for) rifles is clear enough proof of reliability for me. The mag is now loaded and I’m carrying it on duty.
I got mine from Brownells and it was around $85. It’s an expensive magazine, but I think it’s worth it. If you are in the market for an ultra-high capacity AR-15 magazine, I think you’ll like this one.
One caution for my readers/students in Ohio…
Ohio law has a unique quirk that many folks don’t know about. Any semi-automatic centerfire weapon capable of firing more than 31 rounds without reloading is considered an automatic weapon under Ohio law. If you insert this loaded magazine in your rifle, you will be violating Ohio law (possession of a dangerous ordnance) unless you have a Class 3 Federal tax stamp for the gun or are using it in the scope of your law enforcement duties.
Possession or purchase of the magazine is not illegal under state law (but may be under some city ordinances). Be cautious of inserting it in the rifle in the state of Ohio unless you are a cop or have the tax stamp. A felony conviction under this statute will likely revoke your CCW license and may bar you from possessing firearms for the rest of your life. Buyer beware!