Seven Letters Re: Advice on Magazine Duplexing Systems

Dear Jim,
Some other things to consider with multiple magazines attached together: The AR-15 was designed with a 20 round magazine, which was increased to 30. The magazine catch can chip, break, wear or jam with too much weight.
If one magazine is inverted (“jungle clipped”), the bottom, then one is going to get the feed lips dinged up or full of dirt, as well as preventing one from taking a good prone position.
Having a spare magazine in hand or readily accessible on the gear is just as fast a change as those overpriced and clunky gadgets.
As to pending magazine bans, my wife noted that since it is legal to repair existing magazines, one could, hypothetically, salvage a spring from one, a follower from a second, a base plate from a third and a body from a fourth and repair “all four” magazines with newly purchased parts…just don’t show all four parts together in case someone thinks it’s just one disassembled magazine. – Michael Z. Williamson

Almost every soldier in the IDF uses a duplexed mag setup on their carry weapon made from heavy tape and a piece of wood or plastic as a spacer to make [the shape of] a “V”. The magazine V is either hung upside-down through the belt or kept in the weapon allowing both a quick reload and fulfilling the [IDF constant carry] requirement of two [loaded] magazines with the soldier without having two bulky things to carry in their pockets and their possible loss.
Israeli training requires use of the semiautomatic mode in all engagements, keeping most shots aimed and reducing ammo waste and collateral injuries. Sixty rounds is usually enough to handle most short incidents requiring either dispatching/pinning-in a terrorist or laying cover to make an escape. – David in Israel


For those times when you feel the “need for speed” the Redi-Mag is a better solution that any of the magazine cinching systems. It attaches easily to your AR-15, is ambidextrous, allows you to insert one or two magazines at your option and doesn’t irk the BATF-men by covering up the serial number. The other advantages of not having to bind magazines together are self-evident. – Redmist

Hello James,
In regards to AR-based systems and trying to attach multiple magazines together, a better solution might be the Redi-Mag which holds a second magazine in a system that parallels the magazine
well. I believe they have two systems available, one in which the standard magazine release will drop both the original and the spare at the same time and one in which the second magazine has its own release button. I haven’t tried either of these out (and don’t know anyone offhand who has) but they do look interesting and got a favorable mention in Boston T. Party’s “Boston’s Gun Bible”.
After taking a tactical carbine class at a local range and observing one gentleman repeatedly drop spare magazines and fail to seat them fully with a duplexing system in place (in addition to dropping his Glock’s magazine repeatedly because of an extended magazine release) I definitely agree that any gadgety-style additions should be well thought out, tested and proven before being counted on. Cheers, – Steve H.

In reference to the recent letter about magazine duplexers. These have been around for years, there is always the old standby of taping the mags together each facing the opposite direction. Generally speaking, this is a good way to get yourself into trouble. If they are facing opposite directions you can jam the mag (when you hit the deck) and bend the feed lips, virtually guaranteeing jams on your reload.
The other problem with these, depending on the gun, the added weight can also cause jamming problems (the added weight pulls the magazine down, keeping the ammunition from being stripped off properly). In my opinion, when it comes to duplexing, my advice is don’t. If you really require faster reloads, practice a lot, and if you use a MOLLE rig, or similar, figure out where you should mount your mag pouches to make sure you can load faster. There are also many ways you can make it easier to pull your mags (Mag-Pul, parachute cord loops, etc).
As far as magazine recovery. I took a british gas mask bag, and retrofitted it, so there is a Lycra cover on the top with a hole in the middle. Simply stuff your hand with the magazine into the hole, let go and your mag should stay inside. I experimented with hanging your mags on a carabiner or similar arrangement, and this is by far the noisiest option. Generally speaking, either a pouch or a cargo pocket is the best place for empty mags. Thanks again for the great blog! – AVL

Hi Jim,
As a quick historical note, [U.S. Navy] SEALs were duplexing mags as early as at least 1980. This was by the do-it-yourself method of putting a piece of pencil half way up between two magazines, and then firmly taping the butts of the mags together with green rigger’s or “hundred mile an hour” tape. It worked, and the two mags were in a slight “V” shape. I would not put this concept into the “mall ninja” category. The first shots fired in either an offensive or defensive ambush scenario are critical to achieving fire superiority and then victory or at least survival. The individual or team that can pour out 60 shots per man with hardly a pause will have a great advantage in suppressing the fire of the enemy.

Additionally, the duplexed mags have a handy feature in that for your grab-and-go carbine, you have double the firepower for a quick walk out the door to check a noise, or do some work, without having to jock up in full web gear. A second set of duplexed mags can be shoved upside-down into your belt, where they will remain conveniently at hand. Without pulling on the web gear, a person can have 120 fast shots right at hand, simply by grabbing his carbine, and shoving a second duplexed mag pair over his belt and going out the door. Why do I keep mentioning carbines? The duplexed mag concept works best with 30 round mags for an AR. The concept doesn’t work as well for shorter, fatter 20 round 7.62 NATO magazines, IMO. Just my dos centavos. – Matt Bracken (a former SEAL)


Mr Rawles,
I have limited experience with the “Mag Cinch” system. Because of a unique situation I am in with regard to a threat to my life, (No, I can not move away from the threat) I keep an M4gery as a home defense weapon. The idea of having an extra reload readily available regardless of my state of dress seemed both prudent and comforting. I first tried the Mag Cinch and was sorely disappointed. Under recoil the top round would move forward far enough to require me to either remove it or re-seat it before inserting the magazine into the firearm. This is not a good thing when un-friendlies are in your area! I considered a Ready Mag, but based on experiences with the Mag Cinch (I would occasionally dump both magazines on the ground under stress) decided against it as well.
Recently I found a product called Rail Mag and gave that a try. It works wonderfully for my needs, but I can not recommend it for field use. For grab and go field use I prefer something like Tactical Tailor’s Active Shooter Bag, or Diamondback Tactical’s BattleLab Escape & Evasion Bag–also available with in a MOLLE version, so you can configure it for .308 magazines instead. – Griff