This is a special review on the various AK mags that are available on the market today. Although not a complete overview, it is a great way to make yourself familiar with the large variety out there. This review was initiated by TFH-Joncool, with some contributions by Mac. If you would like to contribute to this review, please use the Contact page.
With the growing popularity of the AK-Style AEGs in airsoft today, several manufacturers have begun to design a variety of different magazines to suit the AK variants. Having mixed experiences with different brands and types of magazines in the past, I decided to purchase four different makes and types of magazines to use in my AK Beita Spetsnaz.
Tokyo Marui AK 250 Round Magazine (Hi-Cap)
This first magazine came with the purchase of the AEG. As is obvious in the picture, this mag is relatively shorter than the rest. The build quality is excellent however, and it still holds plenty of ammo and feeds relatively well. As with all hi-capacity magazines, you must wind this magazine every so often to maintain a steady feeding rate. One of the few down sides to this magazine is it's small size and tendency to sit much lower in a standard magazine pouch than it's counterparts.
Tokyo Marui AK 600 Round Magazine (Hi-Cap)
One of the highest capacity magazines out there, the TM AK 600 rounder turns pretty much any AK AEG into a support weapon. The build quality and weight of the magazine is impressive. Although I haven't had the opportunity to use this particular magazine yet, I have used it quite a bit before in the field and have known many fellow airsofters who carry several of these type. Although I'm not a big fan of hi-capacity magazines, these have great durability and excellent ammo capacity for the price.
G&P 150 Round Magazine (Mid-Cap)
Mid-Capacity magazines have always been my favorite due to their middle of the road ammo capacity, and the fact that they didn't rattle or require winding like hi-caps always did. I hoped for the best on ordering my G&P Mid-Cap and was pleasently surprised by not only by the preformance, but the overall build quality of the magazine. The magazine is just as sharp and solid if not more so than the TM Hi-Cap, and plenty heavy to boot. It had a good lock in the magazine well and fed great, only leaving 2-3 rounds in the magazine.
STAR AK 30 Round Magazine (Low-Cap)
The STAR AK 30-rounder is probably the newest of the lot to hit the market, with STAR working to manufacture low-priced low-capacity magazines for the major AEGs on the market (M16/M4, MP5, AK) at a cheap price for a batch of 10. I had the opportunity to purchase a single magazine out of the package to test, and to my relief it worked flawlessly. All 30 rounds loaded were emptied to the last round. The low price of these magazines show with the cheapest and weakest build of all 4, with a lightweight plastic body. Still an excellent way to afford using low-caps as well as filling out your loadout.
STAR AK-74 Magazine (70 rnd Low-Cap)
With several companies producing versions of the AK-47 magazine, STAR was the first manufacturer to produce airsoft copies of the AK-74 magazines. The real-steel version is chambered for the AK-74's 5.45mm round and the original version was in an orange bakelite plastic. The idea was to create a lighter magazine, but also that a plastic magazine suffering a sharp blow in the field might crack but could still feed rounds while a dented metal magazine might not. Later versions of the AK-74 magazine were produced in black plastic, about the time the all black AK-74M came into common usage.
The STAR AK-74 magazines are made of a thick and sturdy plastic with a metal baseplate. Black and orange versions are available, as are 160 rnd mid-caps and 400 rnd hi-caps. I have heard some players complain before of feeding problems with the STAR AK-74 magazines. The interior mechanism of the 70 rnd magazines work fine and I had no problems when using the magazines with my AK74SU. At a recent game I tried using the magazine with an AK47S and noted a feed problem. The problem arises from a fitting problem in the magazine well, the magazine sits a little too losely in the AK47 mag-well and bbs do not always feed reliably into the hop-up chamber. My AK74SU has a snugger fit with the mag release and holds the STAR mags tightly enough to avoid this problem. If you have a AK-74 conversion and want to complete the look with STAR AK-74 magazines, you need to be aware of this problem. If you have a loose fit in your magwell, you'll need to look into a few simple modifications to the magwell or the magazines themselves to ensure a tighter fit for reliable play.
All of the AK Magazines I purchased and reviewed have preformed relatively well, and each is worthy of your loadout depending on your style. The TM AK 250 Round Hi-Cap is great in terms of build quality and low profile useage, but still suffers the disadvantages of the hi-cap magazines and it's small size makes it hard to use with many types of Load-Carrying Equipment. The TM AK 600 Rounder is a beast of a magazine that will ensure you rarely have to reload, but also suffers from the downsides of a hi-capacity magazine. The G&P 150 Round Mid-Cap was probably my favorite of the lot, having some of the best build quality and preformance. The STAR AK 30-Rounder surprised me by not only feeding correctly, but also by emptying out every single round without problem. Although the cheapest and lightest magazine of the bunch, it also provides the most efficiently solution to the expenses of low-cap airsoft play.
Whichever of these you select depends on your style and the requirements of the event.