Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) is a Tennessee-based company making a concerted effort to become a mainstay in the polymer STANAG magazine market, they’ve even developed polymer magazines for Glock handguns, thus giving them true potential in terms of competition with Magpul. Competition is great for the end user. That being said there is no shortage of STANAG magazine options on the market.
The AR15-30 Magazine
First impression of the magazine is that it looks and feels particularly solid. The no-tilt follower does a great job keeping the magazine running smooth, the components clearly have been developed well as it feels like the follower runs on ball bearings. The overall construction of the magazine body is robust, yet it keeps a good form.
Translucent smoke colored magazines have plenty of appeal and that appeal is important when the goliath of the industry (Magpul) doesn’t produce a translucent magazine to date. Currently, ETS shares this slice of the market with the affordably reliable Heckler & Koch polymer magazine (designed for the MR556) and Lancer Systems ever popular L5AWM magazine.
The AR15-30 employs a proprietary polymer formula for the AR15-30 magazines. This polymer has a melting point of 700 degrees F, meaning when used in the hottest temperatures on earth, the magazine will not become soft or deform. ETS even tested these magazines for 100,000 hours of exposure to high ultra violet (UV) light, which is typically a weakness of polymers, however the ETS magazine was not effected. In the cold, the AR15-30 performed just as well, being frozen to -60 degrees F and dropped 6ft with no damage. During the development of the AR15-30, ETS surpassed all the testing at 6ft so they dropped a fully loaded magazine 20ft to concrete, still with no damage.
Integrated coupler allows multiple magazines to be connected (AR15-30C). A great feature for those who prefer to carry two magazines coupled for quicker reloads. ETS states that more than two can be coupled, however we’re not sure that’s ideal.
Clip-on Dust Cover
This can also be found on the Magpul PMAGs. Overall this is a decent concept when using these magazines in locations where the environment can test equipment, we want to feed out weapons ammunition, not everything else. The clamp device on the cover of the AR15-30 is less than impressive, it lacks the simplicity of Magpul’s PMAG dust cover and certainly doesn’t looks as strong.
In the even you need to break an AR15-30 down for troubleshooting or maintenance, the magazine disassembles easily. Simply depress the 5.56 round molded into the magazine locking plate and it releases the floor plate.
The AR15-30 features a floor plate design makes grabbing the magazine easy for quick loading or unloading. The rib design on the body of the magazine’s exterior provides the shooter with decent control when grabbing the magazine.
The AR15-30 uses a 416 stainless steel spring to ensure reliable feeding of a weapon system. 416 stainless is corrosion resistant and has low-friction properties, both of which are beneficial to a magazine design.
Rapid Recognition System (RRS)
Organizing your magazine loads, being able quickly identifying what you need, and showing a clear chamber all play into ETS developing RSS. RSS is nothing more than a series of magazine followers offered in the multiple colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue) as an alternative to the standard gray colored follower.
The ETS magazine functioned perfectly for 180 rounds of 5.56x45mm NATO from a CZ 805 Bren pistol. There were no issues with the bolt hold open, feeding or dropping of the magazine.
With the AR15-30, ETS boasts some pretty impressive facts on how well made these polymer magazines are. The quality and parameters of the polymer magazine are truly sufficient and the design itself is adequate in terms of how the magazine stacks up to the competition. The MSRP for the AR15-30 is $17.99, the AR-15-30C is $19.99 and ETS includes a lifetime warranty on these magazines.
When it comes to polymer magazines there biggest issues are in how the magazine can hold its form in terms of feed lip integrity and how the polymer components hold up against impacts and chemicals. If ETS is putting forth solid statistical data on the AR15-30 magazine, the only thing holding the AR15-30 back is the fact it’s only offered in translucent smoke color.
The ETS AR15-30 magazine will be featured in Serpent Tactical’s Fall 2016 STANAG Magazine T&E along with other popular brands. We’re cooking up some new testing parameters that should truly test the wits and will of magazines on the market.