Without sounding overly cynical, I'd like to state up front that my experience with the Molon Labe Industries SCAR 17 magazine has been downright painful.
As a SCAR owner and one that survived the 2013 rush on magazines, I'm very mindful of what is offered in the marketplace in this arena. The factory steel magazines are offered in either 10 or 20 capacities, and for the most part the capacity and build hold up very well. When Molon Labe Industries released their own SCAR 17 magazines, it looked promising, as it would fill the void set by the often limited number of factory SCAR magazines on the market, moreover, doing so with polymer alternative. Molon Labe Industries expanded the capacity of ammunition for the SCAR 17 to 30 rounds, a hefty, but demanded option. As promised we decided to work a few magazines into the mix for testing purposes, and did so with the new 30 round versions.
Like any self-respecting gun owner, anytime a box arrives that contains gun goodies, it's a good day. When the Molon Labe Industries magazines arrived, I immediately went over them carefully, reviewing every bit of the design and the craftsmanship. For the most part they are decent in terms of craftsmanship, a few polymer molding marks, but the design is actually nicely done.
The floor plate was my first issue. I popped the tab, and released the floor plate, removed the spring and appreciated the simplicity of the magazine. I inserted the follower and spring and when I attempted to replace the floor plate, the tab would not align correctly. I had to use small needle-nose pliers to pull it back into the correct place. Failure to do this would simply result in the floor plate sliding off and magazine internals dropping from the bottom.
Next I loaded the magazine, first with 5 rounds in each, and then when I loaded 20 rounds, the magazine spring started making sounds, and the chassis of the magazine started to bulge outward. I continued to load rounds until I was able to force the last 5 rounds into the magazine for a total of 30. There is no value to a magazine if the operator has to struggle to load magazines - no excuse!
There was so much upward pressure on the follower that the cartridges - specifically the rim of the brass was gouging into the feed lips and it left some pretty impressive marks considering this was the virgin trial for these magazines. You would think this would be an issue for all polymer magazines; however I've never witnessed this with Magpul or HK polymer magazines. Whatever the issue by design, perhaps the polymer is too soft for feed lips.
During the range test I only ran 5 rounds from each twice (20 rounds), and they performed horribly. I had one fail to feed, and in the same batch another had the brass turned around completely in the chamber. In attempts, the last round in the magazine stayed put - failing to chamber from the magazine each time. I have put quite a few rounds through the SCAR 17 since I purchased it, and I have never had a failure (feed, extract, or eject). Rather than toss these magazines aside in disgust, I’d like to propose a few enhancements to Molon Labe Industries – perhaps our feedback and recommendations can move them into the direction of making a perfect polymer option for the SCAR 17.
1. Reinforced feed lips (embedded metal/harder polymer) 2. Simplified floor plate design (one that aligns correctly for reassembly) 3. True 4-direction anti-tilt follower (adding anti-tilt channels, front and back)
4. Markings to show the capacity of the magazine (20, 25, 30)
5. Correct issue of last round not chambering, may be due to nose of bullet getting stuck inside chassis
6. Clarify if magazines are made and assembled in the USA or elsewhere
Conclusion: Potential is there for these magazines from Molon Labe Industries, however the current 30 round magazine is not something Serpent Tactical can recommend to SCAR 17 owners based on our review and testing. While the factory magazines lack excitement, they still offer the most superb balance of quality, design, and durability for this platform.
QDD Grade: 6.33 / 10.00
Quality – 15/20
-Craftsmanship 8/10 (constructed well, some mold markings but minimal at best)
-Materials 7/10 (polymer seems softer than it should be allowing for immediate wear on the feed lips)
Design – 19/30
-Ingenuity 8/10 (The magazine design is a well conceived polymer alternative to factory magazines, lighter and expanded capacity)
-Function 2/10 (The magazine has a critical flaw that disallows it to feed the final round into the chamber)
-Tolerances 9/10 (The magazine fits near-perfectly in the SCAR 17 and does not wobble with the weight)
Durability - 23/40
-Ruggedness 3/10 (The design is weak in terms of maintaining form – being that it flexes when filled to 30 round maximum and feed lips are substandard)
-Components 8/10 (Internals are of adequate quality, fairly robust)
-Coating/anti-corrosion 9/10 (Chassis is textured for grip, spring is seemingly made for anti-corrosion, follower seems to have a self-lubricating quality)
-Break-down for service 3/10 (Disassembly is easy, however the reassembly is nearly impossible due to the alignment of the floor plate release)
Owning a SCAR 17 was downright painful back in 2012 when the rush for FNH SCAR magazines created a void in the market. The factor SCAR 17 magazines by FNH are outstanding, and like the SCAR itself have many aspects of the FAL within.
One company finally developed a product that offers a polymer alternative to the 20-round factory steel magazines. Molon Labe Industries has developed several magazines from 10 to 30 round capacity. The reviews have been solidly in favor of these magazines thus far, but I will not speak for others, so I'm planning to do a test and review here for Serpent Tactical.