Polymer Magazines (PMAGS) have been a revolution in the AR market because of their dependability & the extent of customizations possible on it. It didn’t take much time after The Magpul industries Corp launched the original PMAG 30 in 2007 for it to become a highly sought-after product in the market.
The Magpul Industries Corp over the years has done several performance upgrades to its PMAGs. Revision M design launched in 2009 was the first one in their upgraded product line-up. Following this, they launched another upgraded PMAG with even better material in 2013 and named it the “PMAG 30 AR/M4 Gen M2 MOE”, a.k.a. the M2 PMAG. As of 2021, the “PMAG 30 AR/M4 Gen M3”, a.k.a, the M3 PMAG is the most recent one in their product lineup.
Figure 1: Evolution of PMAGS
Though Magpul has launched its M3 PMAG, the M2 PMAGs are still produced and are in huge demand in the market.
But why is it so? Why didn’t Magpul stop the production of the M2 variant? Are they the same? If not, what are their differences?
These are some of the common questions we encounter while interacting with our customers. This is why we’ve decided to pen down this article about PMAGs & the difference between the M2 & M3 PMAGS.
Magpul PMAGS – A Brief Overview
Polymer magazines, also known as PMAGS are magazines that are made from a polymer. A polymer is a class of natural or synthetic substances composed of very large molecules, called macromolecules. Because of their chemical structure, polymers are light, durable, and resistant to corrosion making them the ideal candidate to make magazines for Ars.
Among the many players in the industry making polymer magazines, the ones made by Magpul are the market leaders. Over the years their R&D team has constantly made improvements to their flagship Nylon polymer magazines which explains why they remain the favorite of many.
The Advantages of a Polymer Magazine
As said earlier, because these magazines are made from polymers, they are known for being
Ø Rust-resistant: Polymers don’t corrode unlike the Aluminum USGI magazines because polymers are non-metallic. This means that you can use these magazines in even the harshest condition without worrying about rust.
Ø Elastic: Polymers are materials with good elastic deformation which means that during a sudden impact or when force is applied on it these materials would undergo a temporary deformation but will self-reverse after the force is removed.
To give you a practical advantage of this, imagine dropping a loaded metal magazine on the floor. There are high chances of the magazine deforming upon impact, right?
Whereas, if you were to use polymer magazines, you won’t have to worry about this deformation. Adding to the reliability of polymer magazines.
Ø Light Weight: If you use your AR for self-defense, the last thing you need is extra weight on your AR. The heavier your AR is the more difficult it is going to be to move around. Polymers are naturally lightweight and magazines made from polymer means that they are going to be lighter than metal mags.
Ø Easily customizable: Metal mags come in black or gray whereas PMAGs come in different shades and colors. If you are an AR enthusiast and love having a customized AR, PMAGs will give you more customization opportunities than a metal mag.
Now that we’ve discussed PMAGS & its advantages let’s have a look at the M2 & M3 PMAGS and their differences.
Difference between M2 and M3 PMAGs
If you have seen an M2 & M3 PMAG, you would have noticed that they don’t appear different & that they have a lot in common features externally. For instance, they have the same overall style & design, and n they both have slots to accept stripper-clip guides.
Here are some of the prominent differences between M2 & M3 PMAGs.
1. Cross rifle compatibility
The major difference between the M2 & M3 PMAGS lies in their weapon compatibility. When first launched in 2007, Magpul PMAGS were designed to be used in the Colt-spec M16 pattern rifles. The M2 magazines too were a perfect fit for the Colt-spec M16 pattern rifles, but they couldn’t be used in similar rifles with separate geometry.
This is one of the reasons why Magpul launched the upgraded version, M3 PMAG. These magazines could easily be used on similar rifles with varying geometry such as the M27 IAR, HK 416, IAR British SA-80, and SCAR MK 16/16s rifles.
2. Feed Lips
Compared to the feed lips in Gen 2, the one on Gen 3 is more optimized to be used in similar weapons with varying geometry along with making it compatible with the bolt catches in these rifles. Other than an optimized feed lip, M3 PMAGs also has an over-travel insertion stop on the spine to prevent the over-insertion of the magazines.
3. Redesigned exteriors
M3 PMAGs come with a redesigned exterior giving more reliability and compatibility with non-colt-spec rifles than the 2nd Gen PMAGs.
4. Dust Covers
M2 PMAGs don't come out of the box with dust covers whereas, M3 PMAGs come with dust covers. Also, the M3 PMAGs have a slimmer floor plate than the M2 PMAGs.
5. Supported platforms
As said earlier, the M3 PMAGs were designed to be compatible with non-colt spec rifles such as the SCAR MK 16/16S, HK 416, HK MR556A1, M27 IAR, British SA-80, and others as well. Whereas, the M2 magazines were mostly designed for the colt spec rifles.
Now that we’ve discussed PMAGs & their different generations, the obvious question would be is M3 better than M2? The M3 PMAG is more advanced than the M2 PMAGs. But the answer to the question of which is better, M3 or M2 is subjective.
If you were to compare these magazines, the M3 has significant advantages over the M2 starting from being made from a stronger polymer, carefully designed exterior for better stability, supports more rifles than the M2, and more. Choosing between the two is also a subjective process that depends on the rifle that you own, the situation you plan on using the rifle, and your preference.
If you are looking forward to getting your hands on customized PMAGs, please visit our online store for the best deals on custom PMAGs.