21 Dec 23
“Serious” rifles:
Manufacturers of serious rifles in 5.56×45 (223 Rem) caliber, who are counting on significant non-military sales, know and understand that their rifle needs to accept, and run with, standard, STANAG (M4) magazines.
An otherwise wonderful rifle, but one that only functions with proprietary magazines, will not sell well, at least in the USA, as SIG unhappily discovered with its (now discontinued) 550 series.
Thus, the M4 (by several dozen different domestic manufacturers), also the VHS2, CETME, RA/XCR, all are designed to accept and function with STANAG magazines, 20-round and 30-round
Magpul, Lancer, Thril, Okay, Duramag, et al all manufacture very acceptable STANAG magazines.
For “serious purposes,” I recommend the 30-round variety, for these reasons:
1) Owing to the 30-round magazine’s inherent curvature, instantly telling front from back (by feel), in the dark, is a simple task. The task is much more daunting with straight 20-round magazines.
2) 30-round magazines are long enough so that I can securely grab the bottom third, while there is still plenty of magazine length at the top to easily inert and lock into the rifle. Shorter, 20-round magazines, must be grasped in a cup-and-saucer manner (much like a pistol magazine), which is much more precarious.
3) In the prone firing position, the 30-round magazine is just the light length so that it can be effectively used as a monopod, for stability. For this same purpose, 20-round magazines are too short, and 40-round magazines too long.
4) Extra 30-round magazines are flat, light, fit within most trouser pockets, and can be thus easily carried without specially-designed “load-bearing equipment.”
Several manufacturers have made drum-style magazines for the M4, with capacity of fifty, even one-hundred rounds. They are heavy, maladroit, and really silly!
There are plenty of 20-round STANAG magazines floating around also, and they run fine. And, many actually prefer them, mostly for the sake of compactness.
Yet, for the foregoing reasons, I prefer 30-rounders, when I have the luxury of choice!