Heckler & Koch (HK) is known for being the vanguard of quality in the firearms market, but this is not exclusive to the firearms themselves. HK originally developed a magazine for the British L85 (SA80) and L86 weapon system decades ago, since then the magazine has been used by the British military, and by the U.S. military (Special Operations) in the HK416 platform. These combat proven magazines are considered perhaps the best on the market by elite military and law enforcement units worldwide.
The market has undoubtedly moved in the direction of polymer magazines, and it is hard to question the utility and quality of the Magpul PMAG line-up. HK has maintained this magazine, and in doing so avoiding the cost-effectiveness of manufacture, rather keeping with quality materials – this puts the price of these magazines at approximately $50.00 each.
Made in Germany, they weigh .54 lbs (empty) and have the following dimensions; 7.48”x.94”x2.56”. The magazines feature a very sleek anti-friction surface and HK’s proprietary maritime corrosion-resistant coating. The spring materials are advanced, and the housing, floor plate, and follower are all made of steel.
I initially discovered for myself a HK steel magazine when in Iraq in 2008. I remember thinking how much more robust and downright well made it was compared to the garbage GI magazines that we were being forced to use. I loaded it up, and it was the one I carried in my M4 until the day I left, Today I own several of these magazines in my collection, they are of superior quality, have never caused a failure to feed or have any other magazine derived issues. They fit all AR platforms, but also SIG556s, FS2000s, and HK’s 416/MR556 platforms as well. There is minimal to non-existent rocking, cartridges load very easy, and the magazine ejects with ease. The coating on the magazine is slick in terms of friction when metal to metal, but allows for normal GI magazine grip to eject – something that may be of concern to those who are wondering.
Ultimately the HK steel magazines are more expensive, and they offer certain durability factors beyond that of other metal GI magazines on the market. They pre-date polymer magazines, which I admit have excelled beyond the expectations of metal magazines - though the U.S. military still uses the lowest bidder to supply metal magazines. What the HK steel magazines offer is an option to have a well made, heavy, durable, and long lasting magazine for a multitude of platforms. These are not for the budget shooter, rather the collector or the shooter that wants options in their magazine assortment. I myself would rather have versatility and quality over excessive numbers when it comes to magazines.