Professionally Integrated Solutions - Magazines
Magazines - Our QDD Grade Rule
Serpent Tactical has a simple concept about rifle and pistol magazines, we test and evaluate each magazine based on Quality, Durability, and Design. This can rule out the need for aftermarket products over factory products, ensuring the best magazine for a weapon system. In some cases, as with the AR style weapon systems, there are several top performing magazines that we offer. Each magazine offered by Serpent Tactical undergoes an intensive review and is awarded a QDD grade. The QDD grade is an analysis of every physical aspect of the magazine, however it is not a performance test of the magazine. Serpent Tactical is reviewing criteria for performace testing and will provide those grades in the near future.
Quality is the craftsmanship, manufacturing precision, and materials used to make a magazine. Quality will ultimately impact durability, and durability depends on how much you demand from your magazines in the toughest conditions. Quality also impacts cost, cheaper materials and low quality control of manufacturing allows the magazine to be produced cheaper, but at what expense?
Design is the ingenuity and thoughtfulness that is brought to the table when a magazine enters the manufacturing process. Design also comes into play when considering improvements over previous models or manufacturers original equipment, enhancements when the designer is looking to improve the functionality of the magazine - by improving any of the parts of the magazine that directly impact use and function.
Durability is tested over time, how much time depends on the magazine. Much like the design features, durability can be impacted by magazine components that are sufficient for what some may consider a typical operating life, others demand more either by high use and/or demanding conditions.
Factory vs. Aftermarket Magazines?
Firearms manufacturers all have a magazine they offer, designed around the tolerances and specifications for that platform - it is the baseline in terms of magazines for any firearm. Some manufacturers have magazines that are simply the best on the market for their platforms, and Serpent Tactical views this as an intentional effort by the manufacturer. What does that mean exactly? If a firearm manufacturer makes a concerted effort to produce the best magazine on the market for their platform, it is positioning itself to have not only high share of the magazine market share, but in this case the baseline magazine is actually a factory item, not aftermarket. Where aftermarket magazines have more play is in the arena of platforms such as ARs, AKs, and other semi-auto rifles and carbines. Why? The original factory magazines are based on decades-old military specifications and are mass produced to less than impressive standards. In some cases factory originals or military surplus magazines are all that are available, so concessions must be made. Ultimately, the market has evolved after years of conflict in the Middle East, there are plenty of companies operating manufacturing operations around improving the quality, functionality, and options to those who use a plethora of platforms, ARs and AKs included. It is important to note that some aftermarket magazines manufacturers do not produce a product that exceeds original factory across the board, however the volume of magazines added to the market allows for a representative share. Serpent Tactical uses the QDD grade as a way to filter out market "chaff" and we do so without any kickbacks, commissions, or preferences from the manufacturers we highlight via QDD grades - conversely the products we offer.
Components of the Magazine
Both rifle and handgun magazines are based on the same concept, some components vary, but the main elements are those that come into play when we award a QDD grade, and when deciding between factory vs. aftermarket products.
Chassis - essentially the housing of the magazine, this is the metal or composite shell that requires proper fit into the platform, also durability and weight.
Feed Lips - these act as the interaction between the magazine and the action, where tolerances are key, they also keep stacked ammunition within.
Magazine Spring - one of two moving parts within a magazine, this part must maintain compression and be corrosion resistant.
Follower - the seat for ammunition as it stacks in the magazine, this can be metal or composite and is best designed as "no-tilt".
Floor Plate - the bottom of the magazine, it holds the magazine within, and acts as a barrier for shock when the magazine is dropped.
Locking Plate - connects to the bottom of the magazine spring and engages with the floor plate to disassemble the magazine for cleaning or service.
Locking Tabs/Lugs - found on any side of the chassis next to or below the feed lips - how the magazine locks into the platform.
Spine - located on the rear of the chassis, sometimes on the front and offers a reinforced element to the chassis, sometimes where there is a weld
Window - can be either holes or a open channel in the chassis that allows for a display of the ammunition.
Magazines are typically a fairly simple concept. It is a container that uses a spring to push ammunition upward into the action of the platform. To do so efficiently, this requires consistency with spring and follower alignment, and the spring should maintain a steady state of compression. The magazines needs to be seated into the platform correctly, within prescribed tolerances, and the magazine housing needs to be made of a material that can withstand the tortures that it will face either during use, or during storage. Floor plates come into play as the barrier between the housing and the ground when dropped, as well as the piece that locks the spring into place.