March 1, 2021

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Size comparison Left to RIght. G17 magazine with Shield Arms +5 Extension, Magpul G21 Extended Mag, DAA Dry Fire Practice Mag, OEM G17 Mag

Traditionally with an article we include an announcement that the product being reviewed was given or a discount was provided by the manufacturer. We don’t have to do that for this article because there is no current relationship with Double Alpha and I purchased the product myself. The reason I’m still taking the time to write a review on this product is because I found it useful, extremely affordable, and wanted to share it with anyone that might have an interest.

I’ve learned more about shooting in 2020 than I have in any other year, and that’s mostly due to a fantastic class with Green Ops and a commitment to a daily dry fire schedule. I have dry fired more this year than I have the other 30 years of my life combined, and the difference in what I know now compared to before this year is blatantly obvious. I have learned to be much more efficient, what matters in shooting, what I can get away with, and about fifty other things I thought I knew but have learned far more thoroughly with dedicated dryfire and learning from better shooters.

In terms of dry fire I’ve learned how much consistency pays off, how to manage my schedule, what to focus on, and I’ve also learned what doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. The most significant thing I’ve learned from extremely talented shooters and my own dryfire is how little extra dryfire tools matter. Lasers, trigger reset systems, airsoft, etc., while being useful tools if they motivate you to dryfire, aren’t really necessary for a quality dryfire experience. I’ve learned that practicing between live and dry ammo should have as little difference in the experience as possible. This isn’t groundbreaking news, a quick scan of the vast amount of dry fire advice from professional and nationally ranked shooters demonstrates that they all dryfire without any fancy equipment, the only difference from live fire is the ammo being present.

For Glock the DAA dry fire mag is sized similarly to a G19X mag. Sizes may vary across brands, and for dedicated production shooters the size difference from OEM may be a slight hinderance.

With that realization I had stopped looking for any dry fire specific tools. I paid a friend to load me fifty dummy rounds, thanks again Nate, and other than utilizing some scaled targets from Go Fast Don’t Suck I did nothing differently. The dummy rounds aren’t even necessary, there are many that don’t practice with a weighted gun in their dryfire and they experience no hiccup when live ammo changes the weight for them. Personally I like the weight, my dry to live ratio is also somewhere around 40:1 so I reason that since I go so long without the live experience I want that weight so I have as little variance on live range days as I can get. In the six months or so of daily dryfire I’ve broken maybe half a dozen dummy rounds, the daily abuse of getting dropped on the ground, smashed into the magwell, racked into the chamber, etc., does take a toll. Not a huge issue so I continued using them and the only real complaint I have with using dummy rounds is having to reload the mag after racking the slide or having to chase dummy rounds that eject when the mag smashes into a tree root or some other hard object.

This wasn’t planned, but if you look I actually killed one of my dummy rounds doing these unloaded starts. Not a huge deal, they’ve been through hundreds of chamberings and thousands of reloads so it happens. However, conveniently shows how the dry fire mag won’t experience issues like this.

Quite by accident I stumbled on a video of the dry fire mags being discussed by Max Michel. Max is a National and World Champion shooter, and is also part of the pro staff for Double Alpha. If Max Michel is willing to use a product for such an important part of his training it has to be worthwhile right? At the same time he’s sponsored by Double Alpha so shouldn’t he be saying nice things about their products? This is not meant to insinuate that Max is a dishonest man, from everything I’ve heard he’s a solid dude, but anytime someone promotes a product they’re connected to people will be skeptical and I still was despite my interest. The link to the exact video is here.

The product seemed like it could be useful, but I figured they were going to be far more expensive than the Glock mags I was running at the time, so there was no way it would be worth it. I was shocked that they were even cheaper than OEM Glock mags, and as of this writing in January 2021 they are still a hair under $20. A weighted mag that I didn’t need to feed dummy rounds and was cheaper than my already cheap Glock mags? It seemed to good to be true but I was interested and could afford for it to be a loss.

Size comparison Left to RIght. G17 magazine with Shield Arms +5 Extension, Magpul G21 Extended Mag, DAA Dry Fire Practice Mag, OEM G17 Mag

The package arrived a few days later and I was pretty excited to try it out in my dryfire. Initially I felt slightly disappointed. The finish on the dry fire mag is slicker than my Glock mags, more similar to the ones offered by Magpul but still slicker than those. I didn’t want to practice with something that could be loaded and unloaded significantly easier than the mags I would be using for live fire and was worried these would be. The spring system was pretty unique and while it was not as easy to load as an empty mag, it still took less force than a fully loaded mag took to seat. My final issue was the weight distribution of the mag, with a normal mag loaded with ammo the weight is throughout the mag, with the dryfire mag there was noticeably more weight at the bottom of the mag than the top. I thought this might lead to a weird release on the reload as the weight at the bottom came free and threw the drop of the mag off balance. Three negative impressions out of the box, I thought it might be useful for safe demos for teaching friends but wasn’t going to amount to much otherwise, but I’d wait to see during the next morning’s dry fire session.

Since that day I’ve utilized the dry fire mag from Double Alpha every time I dry fire my G17. Those three issues that I thought existed do not exist during practice. The difference between the Double Alpha and my real mags with dummies is so negligible that it makes no difference which mag I’m grabbing from my belt and which one is dropping free from the gun. Well there is a difference, with the Double Alpha I don’t have to worry about reloading dummy rounds, beating up my real mags, or having to chase dummy rounds that eject when the mag bounces into something unfriendly. The different finish, the weight, and the spring tension are all close enough that there is no perceptible difference at speed. I would almost delete the previous paragraph because of how minute these “issues” truly are, but I wanted to be completely honest with my experiences with the product throughout months of rigorous use.

Front view of mag size comparison.

I can’t accurately guess how many reloads I’ve done with the Double Alpha mag, or how many times its been dropped on a hard surface or I’ve missed the reload and smashed it into the magwell. I get 30-60 minutes of dry fire in almost every morning and in the four months I was using it with my Glock there were thousands, if not tens of thousands of hard impacts on the dry fire mag, and it still functions as it did on day one. I also really enjoy using this magazine when practicing unloaded starts. The design of the mag means there is no slide stop activiation when racking the slide, the spring and weight still give you the feel of racking a live mag, and there is no need to reload a dummy afterward. 

I’m not trying to say this mag will change the way you dryfire or will make you a monumentally better shooter. I’m not trying to sell it to you either, I’m not getting anything from this because again Double Alpha doesn’t know I exist. I found this product extremely useful and wanted to bring attention to it for anyone that could also put it to use. If you still think its not worth the $20 and you can make do with dummies then by all means, do it and just be consistent with your dryfire. But perhaps the next time you do a movement drill and have to drop a mag that doesn’t land so gently, or you realize the cost of dummies and the magazine itself isn’t free either you’ll give these a second look. They’re available at Double Alpha Academy for a great price, they even do bundles to save by buying more, but may be available elsewhere. If you have a Glock, Sig 320, 2011, 1911, or CZ Shadow series mag footprint they may be worthy of an investment.

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

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