Elite Tactical Systems (ETS®) magazines have been around for a few years now. The company currently offers AR15, HK® MP5 and VP9, S&W M&P and Shield, SIG® P320 and GLOCK® mags in its lineup.. ETS mags offer some unique of features that set them apart from the other magazines on the market.
Some time ago, ETS provided me with samples of its 30-round AR-15 mags for evaluation, as well as a Rapid Recognition System kit. The first feature that caught my eye on the ETS AR-15 mags I received was the completely integrated coupling system.. ETS offers mags without the coupling systems as well. The MP5 and obviously the pistol mags do not have the integrated coupling system.
The coupling system allows operators to quickly snap two or more mags together without the use of tools or external components, much like HK G36 and SIG 550 Series mags. The coupling system on ETS mags is more far more robust than the coupling systems employed on G36 and 550 mags, with no easily broken tabs.
The advantage of coupled mags is that it allows mag changes to be completed in a fraction of the time that’s normally required, which translates to less downtime and target distraction in a firefight. The coupled ETS mags are staggered slightly to allow the magazine to clear the ejection port cover on AR-15 rifles. It should be noted that ETS mags are also available in a standard non-coupled version. ETS was able to keep the weight of the mags down and the profiles slim. The mag with coupler is less than 1/8-inch (3.175 mm) wider than the standard version without the coupler
The non-coupled mag should fit in most pouches, pretty much the same as other poly mags. Although the coupled mags will not fit in some pouches, many of the newer pouches are a bit larger for polymer mags and the coupled mags should fit in them without a problem. If your pouches are a tight fit for GI mags, there’s no way that the coupled mags will fit.
Another feature of all ETS mags is their use of an advanced translucent polymer. ETS states that not only is the polymer see-through, allowing you to see your remaining rounds, it also offers a level of impact resistance that is unmatched by the traditional glass-reinforced nylon polymers that are used for most polymer magazines.
The company also states that the polymer also boasts superior thermal stability and UV resistance, exceptional performance in extreme cold, resistance to harsh chemicals and is ultra low creep. The latter means that users won’t have to worry about the feed lips spreading over time, even when stored fully loaded without storage dust covers.
Cyclical stress is an important factor for mag feed lips. Each time a round is stripped off and the subsequent round pops up there is a considerable amount of cyclical stress on the feed lips. According to ETS, its material was tested at 1000 psi and it took 100,000,000 cycles before the plastic failed.
Also according to ETS, during testing by the company, its mags were the only all polymer mags to withstand repeated 6-foot drops onto hard concrete on the feed lips while fully loaded without damage. In fact, the mags proved to be as tough as the hybrid mags with steel feed lips, but without any of the drawbacks. The steel that is employed on the hybrid mags isn’t stainless. It is very prone to rusting and lacks the less chemical resistant of the polymer.
The feed lips on the ETS mags are more than twice as thick as the steel feed lips on the hybrid mags. According to the company, the thicker feed lips in conjunction with the special polymer allows the feed lips to endure more impact (energy) without permanently deforming than the much thinner steel feed lips.
Other key features of the ETS mags include a constant curve body, true no-tilt follower with reliable bolt hold open on the last round, pop-off clip-on dust cover to keep out dirt and debris during storage, captured corrosion-resistant 416 stainless steel spring, over insertion tabs, magazine ribs that provide a very a positive grip, stripper clip guide grooves and a specially designed baseplate designed easy disassembly of the mags without tools for maintenance, as well as to provide an excellent grip when extracting them from pouches.
ETS offers an optional Rapid Recognition System (R.R.S.) for its AR-15 mags that also allows you to easily differentiate your mags to identify the load or caliber to prevent accidentally running the wrong ammo in your AR. The R.R.S. kits includes two followers and two base inserts. They are available in five colors: red, orange, green, blue, and yellow.
The AR-15 mags are also available with the option of a tritium follower for easy identification in the dark, As with tritium night sights, it requires no light source to glow. The tritium follower can also be purchased separately.
ETS AR-15 mags are listed as compatible with the M4/M16/AR-15, HK 416, M27 (IAR) and FN® SCAR® MK 16/16S and with 5.56mm NATO and 7.62x35mm (300 BLK) ammunition.
I have employed the AR-15 mags with numerous STANAG mag comparable firearms and put thousands of rounds downrange with the mags since i have had them without any issues whatsoever. The mags have been loaded to full 30-round capacity. I have loaded the mags individually by hand, using stripper clips and with a variety of mag loaders without any issues. I haven’t tested them with 300 BLK.
The followers are exceptionally smooth functioning, aiding in loading and feeding. The dust covers are well-designed and snap on and lock up securely, but are easily removed with just flick of a finger.
I have found the magazines to be solid performers. The mags seat easily, even on a closed bolt, and lock securely. The coupled magazines didn’t interfere with the dust cover on my ARs or the operation of any of the controls. The mags functioned flawlessly throughout my testing, including reliable last round bolt hold open.
The mags are designed to drop free. The mags provided to me have withstood multiple drops onto concrete both while loaded and unloaded with no damage other than a few minor scratches.
The coupled mags have a circular lock. It’s simple, smooth and secure. You simply press the mags together at a 90-degree position and rotate them into into alignment. To uncouple the mags, you simply press the mags together at the top to unlock the locating tabs and rotate the mags another 90 degrees..
Disassembly of the mags for cleaning is just as easy. To remove the baseplate, you simply push down on the on the recessed cartridge-shaped button on the base insert with your finger and then slide the baseplate off. That’s it. It couldn’t be any easier.
The standard 30-round ETS AR-15 mags with coupler have a MSRP of $19.99. The non-coupled mags have a MSRP of $17.99. The Rapid Recognition System kit 2-pack has a MSRP of $6.99. All ETS Group products are made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer 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.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.