This post is going to serve as my final opinion and review of the limited capacity Glock 19 magazines offered by Elite Tactical Systems. Readers of the blog may remember my earlier post concerning my frustrations with actually obtaining the magazines. Fortunately, that issue was eventually resolved and with the three additional magazines I ordered from Freedom Munitions, I’ve now had a total of five of the magazines in my possession to test over the past few months.
Without attempting to belabor the points made in my earlier post, I was excited to learn of a limited capacity option for those of us living in states that have draconian firearm restrictions in place. Unfortunately, my experience with the magazines has forced me to conclude that they are really only viable for range practice, and not suitable for duty or concealed carry use. Note that all observations I make in this review are in comparison to an OEM limited capacity Glock magazine.
The ETS Glock 19 magazine appears to be limited to a 10 round capacity by internal ribs that restrict the staggering of cartridges in the magazine body. The magazine body is translucent, allowing the shooter to see at a glance how many rounds are loaded or remain, and the magazine feed lips are the same polymer material. I have found it quite difficult to load the full 10 rounds into the magazines by hand, as the spring tension results in a very tight fit, and I would suggest the use of a magazine loading device to assist in getting the last couple of rounds in the magazine.
When I first received the magazines, I initially loaded them all fully and left them loaded for a couple of weeks before going to the range. My first few trips to the range, I experienced difficulty in loading from slide lock. The slide would hang up while stripping the top round from the magazine. I was using Aguila 124 gr. FMJ ammo, which features an aggressive crimp on the case, so this may have played a minor role. Fundamentally, however, I blame the failure to load on excessive spring tension. I should note that this problem has not resolved itself with continued use of the magazines. I still have at least one failure to feed when loading from slide lock every range session.
The next issue I encountered was discovering that dimensionally, the magazine bodies are just slightly oversized, preventing them from fully seating in my kydex magazine pouches. Granted, this issue does not affect the function of the magazines themselves, but it does require either a dedicated range magazine pouch or repeated loosening and tightening of the magazine pouch retention screw(s).
The third major issue I encountered was isolated to one magazine. While performing the “load one, fire two” drill to test for flinch with dry fire, with two rounds left in the magazine, I inserted the magazine and racked the slide. Upon dropping the magazine to stow it, I discovered that the follower had bound up inside the body of the magazine, exerting no pressure on the last remaining round, allowing it to fall out of the magazine and onto the ground. Now to be fair, this did not cause a malfunction per se, but it is nonetheless troubling from a functional standpoint.
Because of all of these inconsistencies, I cannot trust the ETS magazines for duty or carry. Accordingly, they stay in my range bag for practice sessions to spare my OEM magazines from training abuse. I have also removed the spring and follower from one magazine and dedicated it to dry fire practice.
Please note that my above comments pertain ONLY to the limited capacity magazines offered by ETS. I can not make any comments on their regular capacity magazines. I would also point out that Robert’s experiences with the ETS magazines have been far more positive than mine (although he had some issues with at least one of his and, like me, he noticed that they did not easily fit in his magazine pouches without making adjustments).
My ETS magazines do serve a purpose for me, but unfortunately I have found them to be limited in more ways than one.