While we understand brand loyalty, there is nothing wrong with taking a look around the market to see what else has been developed, conduct some research, and potentially recognize an alternative product. At Serpent Tactical LLC, we focus on development and product performance of magazines without the bias of manufacturers pushing us their products. That being said, we like where we’re going.
Many of you haven’t heard of Hera Arms (Highgrade European Research for Small Arms), let alone the fact that they make polymer STANAG magazines. So what is Hera Arms? It’s a German company that produces aftermarket parts and upgrades for numerous European manufacturers like SIG, HK, and Walther. Much of what Hera Arms is focused on is pistol-to-carbine adaptors and AR furniture and accessories. The company has a very small footprint in the U.S. market and relies on its distributors. For the purpose of this initial review, we’ll focus on their current STANAG magazine, the H3T (Gen 1.5).
There are many polymer magazines on the market that have seen generational upgrades (Lancer, PMAG) as these products evolve. Hera Arms previously released a polymer magazine (H2), which was improved upon with the H3/H3T. Hera Arms was very responsive the feedback from their initial magazine release, improving on many areas of the design, to include; baseplate, follower, and the incorporation of a window, which is exactly what makes the H3T unique. The clear blue(ish) tinted polymer window faces rearward along the spine, allowing the shooter to check the status of loaded cartridges. This can only be found on Magpul PMAGs with the window option or a few select magazine options that offer translucent ‘smoke’ coloring (see ETS, Lancer, HK).
The H3T is by no means, a “radical” design. The rear window is a unique option, but everything else about them remains industry standard. The polymer is quality, the finish is actually pretty decent. The grip to the magazine does not an aggressive grip option, rather there is very conservative stippling along the front, right where the shooter’s fingers would be during the loading/unloading phase.
Serpent Tactical conducted an initial range evaluation on the H3T, focusing on the grip, loading, feeding, and dropping-free attributes. We conducted the evaluation using a CZ 805 Bren S1 pistol which has a magazine well designed to STANAG specifications. In none of these areas did we find any issues with the H3T, there were no failures-to-feed (FTF) and the feed lips maintained the integrity of the magazines. We cycled 120 cartridges through the H3T for this evaluation (4x full magazines).
There are some existing reviews on the internet that suggest the H3T is garbage and actually a safety concern. That being said we’ve analyzed these reviews and took them into account as an area to further focus on. While there are favorable and unfavorable reviews, one notable unfavorable review featured the shooters slapping the magazine upward into the magazine well with the bolt open on an AR. I have personally fired numerous AR platforms and have never needed to slap the magazine upward to engage the magazine catch with an open bolt. A favorable review indicated that the H3T can actually hold 31 cartridges and is slightly longer in profile than typical polymer magazines like the PMAG. This evidently comes into play as the H3T works very well when being loaded into a weapon system with the bolt closed. All we can say is that it is important to be careful when we read by “reviewers” on Youtube who pass themselves off as professionals.
Model: H3T (Gen 1.5) magazine
Cartridges: 5.56x45mm NATO
Color Options: Black, TAN, OD
Weight (Empty): 4.4oz
Pending full Testing and Evaluations (T&E)
Serpent Tactical will be conducting T&E on a second batch of STANAG polymer magazines this year, the H3T will be included. Check our website and Facebook page in late-June 2016 for our T&E parameters and criteria.