SureFire High-Capacity Magazines are available in both 60- (MAG5-60) and 100-round (MAG5-100) versions. 60-round MAG5-60 is in use by U.S. military.
SureFire High-Capacity Magazines can provide the operator with some clear-cut tactical advantages, including increased initial firepower in ambush and active shooter situations, less downtime and target distraction in a firefight, the need for fewer reloads overall, and less bulk compared to drum magazines. Common SOP is to keep a SureFire High-Capacity Magazine in the weapon for initial contact and standard 30-round capacity magazines for reloads.
Studies show that reloading and target reacquisition by an experienced shooter take roughly four seconds—two seconds to reload with a new magazine and an additional two seconds to reacquire the target. Every second is critical.
Clipping two magazines together doesn’t help much in regard to initial firepower. When the magazine runs dry, the empty magazine still must be released, loaded magazine inserted, and the target reacquired before re-engaging. Another thing to consider is that the exposed open top on the second magazine is an invitation to dirt and debris.
SBR with SureFire 60-round MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine. Photo: SureFire
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HOW MANY ROUNDS?
SureFire High-Capacity Magazines were designed in partnership with L. James “Jim” Sullivan and Bob Waterfield of Arm West, LLC. Jim Sullivan is best known for co-developing the AR-15 rifle with Eugene Stoner and Robert Fremont, as well as its original 20-round 5.56mm box magazine.
SureFire High-Capacity Magazines are available in both 60- and 100-round versions. They are compatible with all firearms that accept standard STANAG 4179 magazines. (STANAG 4179 is a dimensional standard for detachable box magazines that was proposed by NATO in 1980 after its adoption of the 5.56x45mm cartridge.)
These magazines were designed specifically for the M4/M16 and AR-15 variants in 5.56x45mm. They may not function with some variants, such as the original HK® 416/M27 IAR/MR556.
The magazines employ an ingenious patent-pending 4×2 quad-stack configuration. Conventional double-stack high-capacity (40-round) magazines don’t provide a substantial increase in firepower, and the longer oval spring may be subject to binding or even breaking.
Author’s SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine has proven 100% reliable.
The magazines are constructed from milspec hard-anodized aluminum and feature a simple design with non-binding coil springs and an innovative nesting polymer follower for reliable function. The magazines are easily seated on a closed bolt, even when fully loaded.
The springs are cadmium coated for a low coefficient of friction and superior corrosion resistance. The magazines can be stored fully loaded for prolonged periods without spring fatigue.
They don’t require any special care. Unlike drum magazines, no lubrication is required (or recommended). Lubricants act like a dirt magnet—not good. SureFire High-Capacity Magazines can be easily disassembled for cleaning in the same manner as standard capacity (30-round) USGI magazines, and are loaded in the same manner as any standard box magazine. Loading is just as easy—they just hold considerably more rounds.
The 60-round SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine is only 8.7 inches long and 1.66 inches wide. It’s thinner than two standard-capacity USGI magazines clipped together and about the same length. It is only slightly longer than a standard 30-round magazine. Unloaded weight is 2.02 pounds. Big pluses.
Another big plus is that the MAG5-60 will fit in most dual-mag pouches. No special carry pouches are necessary. SureFire does offer MOLLE-compatible heavy-duty mag pouches specifically designed for the MAG5-60, as well as for the 100-round capacity MAG5-100.
SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine next to standard 30-round USGI magazine. MAG5-60 fits most pouches designed for dual mags.
There have been some mixed reports about the SureFire High-Capacity Magazines on the Internet. While I can’t speak to other’s experiences, I have had absolutely zero issues with my MAG5-60. It has been 100% reliable.
According to Monty Crain, Gunsmith Technical Supervisor at Brownells, the issues that some have reported “will occur with most any magazine that has the requisite spring rate and rapid feeding and an older blue extractor or bad extractor or springs. Correction could be as simple as replacing the blue colored spring with the black one, cleaning the shellac or polymer deposited from cheap steel shell cases, or replacement of the ejector spring in rare cases. Most often proper cleaning will remedy the extraction/ejection issues.”
Crain adds, “There are a number of other conditions that can cause short stroking and the same type of malfunction. Poor gas pressure or short duration may allow the bolt to extract and eject a fired case, but the bolt doesn’t travel back far enough to pick up the rear of the case head. This is evident when the fired case just barely clears the ejection port and the fresh case has an indent in the case body and the bullet nose is partially forward of the front edge of the magazine or may even be pushed into the feed ramp slightly. Correction for this could be replacement gas rings or replacement of the adjustable gas block/adjustable gas tube. Fired cases should eject forcefully from the ejection port and thoroughly irritate the shooter in the next position to the right.”
SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine is easy to load. While a loader isn’t necessary, it does help speed up the process of loading 60 rounds into the MAG5-60 or a whopping 100 rounds in the MAG5-100.
STOCK UP ON AMMO…YOU’LL NEED IT
I make it a practice not to use steel-cased ammo. To save a few bucks when training, I go with remanufactured ammo, such as the superb Black Hills Remanufactured Ammunition, which is loaded to the same high standards as all its ammunition but uses once-fired Lake City brass to keep costs down.
SureFire High-Capacity Magazines are covered by SureFire’s No Hassle Promise. Most SureFire products are covered by a lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials. They will repair or replace them.
At the request of the U.S. military, the SureFire MAG5-60 has been issued a National/NATO Stock Number: NSN 1005016112183. It identifies the MAG5-60 as a standardized item of supply.
The SureFire MAG5-60 is seeing action with U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. That’s good enough for me.
Black Hills Ammunition