Getting one of the SureFire 60 round magazines for the purpose of truly testing and evaluating came with paying the hefty price that they go for. That leads to the primary question - is it worth it? Without going into a sales pitch as to why SureFire deserves respect, and how they are focused on quality, I will say this; they deliver a solid product all around.
The market for AR style magazines is robust, and surely the most saturated in terms of magazines per platform. For the most part, GI magazines are good at best, if new. Polymer magazines are lighter, more durable, and have color options that match platform uniformity. Companies like Magpul have refined their PMAG design very well, and it is by-far the leading AR magazine on the market both in terms of popularity, and innovation.
So where does SureFire grab market share and offer something that people will buy? Ultra-high capacity magazines are gaining popularity, yet only a few manufacturers are making a respectable product. 60 or 100 rounds magazines offer the ability to carry a decent amount of ammunition to have at the ready in your platform, with that there is bulk, weight, and hopefully reliability.
Let’s talk about the magazine…
Is it worth it? That is a question that you have to consider a few facts before answering, budget, mission task, weight consideration on platform, and standards. The 60/100 round magazine provides the shooter with a very well made option that reduces the requirement to reload – taking what could be a critical pause in the action. Cost vs. Utility - let’s just say the baseline price for a 60 round magazine is $100-$130, that means you have a budget of $50-$65 per 30 round magazine otherwise, which is very high. This ends up being a game of trade-offs and preference rather than trying to justify it from a cost perspective, that’s for sure.
Build quality is outstanding. The magazine chassis is perfectly constructed, with weld marks reduced, and an added reinforced spine that adds to the durability. The coating is decent, but has all the qualities that reduce corrosion, and adds a texture that enables gripping. The coating does mark easily when making contact with other metal objects, but that is superficial at best. The internal mechanism of springs and the follower are very we conceived, and designed, and overall provide uniqueness to the design. Surefire deserves credit for this magazine design, mostly because the beauty is internal to the chassis.
Range test – the magazine performed to the highest degree as I ran 60 rounds of 55gr ammunition through a SIG556. Not only did the magazine load each and every round of the 60 easily and consistently, but when fired in medium pace rapid succession, it was flawless. I simply didn’t know what to expect, what was delivered was an outstanding magazine, and a very warm gas piston system that clearly needed a workout.
Closing comments: the SureFire MAG5-60 is an outstanding magazine. If you had to grab your AR or SIG556 and move out fast with a requirement for firepower and volume, this magazine hits the mark. For those who have several dozen GI magazines, this is an easy way to adopt quality, reduce space, and pick up a very rugged piece of equipment. Serpent Tactical recommends the SureFire MAG5-60 to those who are Law Enforcement Officers, or skilled military/veterans who have know the value of added ammunition capacity in critical situations.
QDD Grade 8.66 / 10.00
QDD Grade Report
Quality – 19/20
-Craftsmanship 10/10 (Perfectly constructed, no observed flaws, built to a great quality control standard)
-Materials 9/10 (Materials appear to be of the best quality, however only longevity test to conclude for sure)
Design – 26/30
-Ingenuity 9/10 (The magazine design is completely revolutionary, not only in concept, but as executed)
-Function 8/10 (The magazine functions flawlessly, however the design is a bulky item and can be limited in some cases)
-Tolerances 9/10 (The magazine fits near-perfectly in the SIG556 and does not wobble with the weight)
Durability - 33/40
-Ruggedness 8/10 (The design and build have incorporated a very strong magazine out of an aluminum chassis)
-Components 9/10 (Internals are strong, hearty and do not apparently lack for the sake of cost/weight)
-Coating/anti-corrosion 8/10 (Chassis is coated similarly to that of GI magazines, and mark accordingly. All parts are coated for anti-corrosion resistance and self-lubrication)
-Break-down for service 8/10 (Disassembly is easy, however the number of parts complicate this to a limited degree)
I must admit, SureFire products are outstanding and they have a passion for offering high end accessories like muzzle devices and obviously flash lights. SureFire jumped into the magazine game later than one might expect, and they did so by offering both 60 and 100 round 5.56x45 NATO AR style (GI) magazines - though more robust than average GI mags. Surefire didn't go for a drum style magazine, rather they went with a couple of super stack monsters. The hard anodized aluminum build and quality coated springs offer long term storage and use, SureFire makes a point by offering that the 60 round magazine is slimmer than two 30 round magazines coupled together, plus the reloading time savings.
I have yet to test the 60 or 100 round SureFire MAG5-60 and MAG5-100 respectively, but I would be interested in seeing how they are in terms of handling the weapon with such a beast below. Sure, you can lay down some serious fire if needed, but I think the relative tactical quality is limited for most cases. The build quality is not in question, rather the how the weapons handling reacts. Perhaps we'll check these out in the future and give a complete review.
MSRP for the 60 round magazine is $130, the 100 round magazine is $180. Fully loaded the 60 round magazine weighs 2.02 lbs, the 100 round magazine weighs 3.30 lbs. This is a significant weight increase given that most AR platforms weigh in at roughly 7-8 lbs empty.
For what it's worth, I think most shooters would be better served by adding 10-15 new Magpul PMAGs or a few HK steel mags to their collection given the utility - we shall see.