Longtime readers know that I’m an dyed in the wool AK fan- I don’t think there’s ever been a more revered, and at the same time reviled, weapon in history. The carbine works- plain and simple. But its one that owes much to the simplicity of its design. And it can be said that a weapon is only as reliable as the magazine feeding it. And that was another advantage the AK had over other platforms- an overbuilt magazine that works really, really well.
If you’ve been an AK shooter for a long time you’ve probably got a stack of surplus steel magazines. Damn near indestructible and had anti-tilt followers before it was cool. But all that durability comes at a cost in terms of weight, and a combat load of polymer mags cuts down substantially on that burden. For a long time the gold standard was (and according to the most hardcore of AK guys, still is) the Arsenal Circle 10 waffle mags. For a combat grade AK mag there has to be steel lining on the locking lugs and feed lips. But those Circle 10 mags get pricey ($45 each last time I picked a few up).
I remember back in the day when I was first really getting serious into the AK. Bumming around Bragg Boulevard and Yadkin Road when the first generation US PALM (primary armament and logistics manufacturing) mags came out, there was some good buzz in the gunshops. There was a relationship with Tango Down somewhere in there, and they make great products for the AR. Some folks said they were the second coming, others, especially on the AK forums trashed them with some very real criticisms. I never trash something until I’ve given it a try, so I picked up a few. It wasn’t disappointment, they worked for everything I needed them to do, but they weren’t worth the high price tag they carried back then ($35-40 I think). I sure as hell wasn’t stabbing them with a bayonet or any serious manly death duel combat like how they were being pitched, I was taking them to Afghanistan just to have a few on hand. Still got them, one of them is pictured below. The black one is the original, the tan one is the new production mag.
So in having the first generation ones for about 12 years or so now, I never had any problems with them. Apparently the brand disappeared for a while and then came back, and to be honest I had no idea, but its good to know they’re still making products. I picked up a few more from Gunmag Warehouse just to have some extras…you know, because you never have enough mags. Some people didn’t like not being able to take the floorplate off and I get that- and the gen 1 version was secured via an epoxy. And again, I never had an issue, but this new version made one improvement- four locking tabs reinforcing the bottom floorplate.
Otherwise the mag is pretty much the same. Steel where its required, lightweight but durable.
The mag looks like it works just like the old ones did- fine. At their lower price point that they’re going for now, around $18, I think its a good deal and worth having a few in the cache.