The 60-round SureFire® MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine can provide the operator with some clear-cut tactical advantages over standard capacity magazines. Most civilians and LE will only have what’s on the gun in most probable situations (Home defense and active shooter). Typically both parties aren’t taking the time to kit up or grab mags.

SureFire MAG5-60 High-Capacity Magazine in LMT CQB carbine. MAG5-60 has proven 100% reliable.

Even when kitted up with extra mags, the MAG5-60 provides greater initial firepower, less downtime and target distraction in a firefight, the need for fewer reloads overall. There’s also less bulk compared to drum magazines. Common SOP is to keep a MAG5-60 in the weapon for initial contact and standard 30-round capacity magazines for reloads.

Studies show that reloading and target re-acquisition by an experienced shooter takes roughly four seconds –two seconds to reload with a new magazine and an additional two seconds to reacquire the target. Every second is critical.

Clipping two magazines together doesn’t help much in regards to initial firepower. When the magazine runs dry, the empty magazine still must be released and the loaded magazine still must be inserted, and the target still must be reacquired before re-engaging. Another thing to consider is that exposed open magazine top on the second magazine is an invitation to dirt and debris.

The MAG5-60 was designed in partnership with L. James “Jim” Sullivan and Bob Waterfield. Jim Sullivan is best known for co-developing the AR-15 rifle with Eugene Stoner and Robert Fremont, and its original 20-round 5.56mm box magazine and 5.56x45mm cartridge.

SureFire originally also initially offered a 100-round capacity version, but that has been discontinued. While interesting from a design perspective, the 100-round magazine really wasn’t practical.

MAG5-60 (right) shown next to standard 30-round USGI magazine for comparison. The MAG5-60 fits most pouches designed for dual mags.

The MAG5-60 is compatible with all firearms that accept standard STANAG 4179 magazines. STANAG 4179 is a dimensional standard for detachable box magazines that was proposed by NATO in 1980 after its adoption of the 5.56x45mm cartridge.

The MAG5-60 is designed specifically for the M4/M16 and AR-15 variants in 5.56 NATO. It may not function with some variants such as the original Heckler & Koch416 / M27 IAR / MR556.

The MAG5-60 employs an ingenious patent-pending 4×2 quad-stack configuration. Conventional double-stack high-capacity (40-round) magazines don’t provide a substantial increase in firepower and the longer oval spring may be subject to binding or even breaking.

As a point of interest, the Russians are employing a 60-round Izhmash AK-74 Quad Stack 5.45x39mm Magazine. Although it’s also of 4×2 quad-stack configuration, it differs internally from the SureFire design. The Finnish Suomi M31 9mm submachine gun (SMG) employed a 50-round quad-stack magazine as did the Italian Specter 9mm SMG, so the concept itself is not entirely new.

The MAG5-60 is constructed from Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum and features a simple design with non-binding coil springs and an innovative nesting polymer follower for reliable function. The magazines is easily seated on a closed bolt, even when fully loaded.

The springs are cadmium coated for a low coefficient of friction and superior corrosion resistance. The The MAG5-60 can be stored fully loaded for prolonged periods without spring fatigue.

The MAG5-60 doesn’t require any special care. Unlike most drum magazines, no lubrication is required (or recommended). Lubricants act like a dirt magnet — definitely not good. The MAG5-60 can be easily disassembled for cleaning in the same manner as standard capacity (30 round) USGI magazines.

The MAG5-60 is loaded in the same manner as any standard box magazine. Loading is just as easy. The only difference is that they hold considerably more rounds.

The MAG5-60 is only 8.7 inches (223 cm) long and 1.66 inches (4.2 cm) wide at its widest. It’s thinner than two standard capacity USGI magazines clipped together and about the same length. It’s only slightly longer than a standard 30 round magazine. Unloaded weight is 6.4 ounces (181 g). Big pluses.

Another big plus is that the MAG5-60 will fit in most dual-mag pouches. No special carry pouches are necessary. SureFire does offer its V92 MOLLE-compatible heavy-duty mag pouches specifically designed for the MAG5-60..

There have been some mixed reports about the MAG5-60 on the Internet. While I can’t speak to other’s experiences, I have been running the MAG5-60 with a wide range of 5.56 NATO / .223 ammo for over seven years now with 100% reliability.

MAG5-60 is easy to load. While a loader isn’t necessary it does helps speed up the process of loading 60 rounds

The issues that some have reported will occur with most any magazine that has the requisite spring rate and rapid feeding and an older blue extractor or bad extractor or springs. Correction could be as simple as replacing the blue colored spring with the black one, cleaning the shellac or polymer deposited from all those cheap steel shell cases or replacement of the ejector spring in rare cases. Most often proper cleaning will remedy the extraction ejection issues though.

There are a number of other conditions that can cause short stroking and the same type of jam. Poor gas pressure or short duration may allow the bolt to extract and eject a fired case but the bolt doesn’t travel back far enough to pick up the rear of the case head. This is evident when the fired case just barely clears the ejection port and the fresh case has an indent in the case body and the bullet nose is partially forward of the front edge of the magazine or may even be pushed into the feed ramp slightly. Correction for this could be replacement gas rings, replacement of the adjustable gas block/adjustable gas tube.

Fired cases should eject forcefully from the ejection port and thoroughly irritate the shooter in the next position to the right, (left for a properly built left hand AR).I make it a practice not to use steel-cased ammo. To save a few bucks when training, I would go with re manufactured ammo.

All magazines should be routinely examined for wear or damage. One common test is to half load a magazine and smack the base on hard surface to see if a round pops out in order to determine if the feed lips are spread and/or the magazine spring is weak. This isn’t a good test as all magazines will release tension on the top rounds allowing one or rounds to pop out when tested in this manner.

SureFire V92 Magazine Pouch for MAG5-60. Photo courtesy SureFire.

The correct maximum and minimum clearance tolerances of a magazine’s feed lips are next to impossible to gauge visually with any degree of accuracy without a Go/No-Go gauge. Using a Go/No-Go gauge eliminates all guesswork.

Although I have run the MAG5-60 with a few 300 BLK rounds without issues, I recommend the use of a purpose designed 300BLK magazine for 300 BLK. Although the 300 BLK was developed around standard AR-15/M4 magazines, they were designed for the 5.56 NATO limiting the performance and compatibility.

While some 300 BLK rounds function reliably in 5.56 NATO magazines, others don’t interface correctly with the contact areas of the magazine. Dust and fouling from blow back exacerbate the problem, especially with some of the subsonic and monolithic-bullet rounds, creating side pressure induced friction, slowing stack movement. Given the wide variety of projectile weights and shapes potentially decreasing overall reliability.

The MAG5-60 has been issued a National / NATO Stock Number NSN 1005016112183. The NSN was issued at the request of the US military. It identifies the MAG5-60 as a standardized material item of supply. The SureFire MAG5-60 has seen action with US combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

MSRP for the MAG5-60 is $149.85. It’s made in the USA and is covered by SureFire’s No Hassle Guarantee. They will repair or replace it with no hassle.


SureFire MAG5-60 High Capacity Magazine

Manufacturer: SureFire LLC
Model Number: MAG5-60
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Length: 8.70 in. (22.1 cm)
Maximum Width: 1.66 in. (4.2 cm)
Weight Empty: 6.4 oz. (181 g)
Weight Full: 2.0 lbs. (907 g)
Capacity: 60 rounds
Followers: Nylon
Box Construction: Aluminum
Finish: Mil Spec Hard Anodized
NSN: 1005016112183
CAGE Code: OBJ78
Country of Origin: Made in USA
Warranty: SureFire No Hassle Guarantee
MSRP: $149.95

Material Disclosure

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.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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