Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance and Modern Service Weapons posted a short article the other day on his initial experiences with Korean Glock magazines. I’ve been using the same six KCI brand Korean 9mm magazines for the at least four years now, so I thought I’d share my long-term review of the inexpensive ammo-feeders.
I bought my Korean mags from CDNN over four years ago at a sale price of $6.95. I wish I had bought more. While descriptions of the magazines on retailers’ sites describe them as “exactly” like the OEM magazines, it’s easy to spot some differences just by picking up a Korean mag. First, the metal lining of the magazine has a different, shinier finish–I suspect it’s a completely different alloy than stock mags. Secondly, the finish and texture of the polymer is slightly different–the Korean mags are shinier and a little smoother to the touch than stock. The followers of the Korean mags are very good copies of the Glock mags, but the magazine springs are a bit “crunchy” feeling when new. Mine, after thousands of rounds and four years, have smoothed out considerably. The springs are very strong in mine–except for two, which I’ll get to in a moment. All of my KCI mags drop free and lock the slide open after the last round.
Before buying my KCI mags, I bought two Korean mags from Sportsman’s Guide. Those two turned out to be Khan brand, and they neither drop free nor consistently lock the slide back after the last round. So, they’re basically paperweights for me.
When the KCIs went on sale, though, I thought I’d give them a try, and I’m glad I did.
After my first few range trips with the magazines, I remember being incredibly pleased with them–except for their baseplates. As Hilton Yam notes in his article and photo, the baseplates are pathetically fragile compared to Glock baseplates. After a few good drops on concrete, or several on gravel, they’ll make Humpty Dumpty look like Iron Man. I initially swapped the KCI plates out for Magpul Speedplates, which I still have on two of them. (While the idea of a Magpul for pistol mags sounds cool, I never really used it as a pull and the “loop” eventually pulled off the plate, leaving behind useful and sturdy, regular plates.) I have since put Vickers Tactical extended baseplates on the rest and all of my Glock duty mags. I love those plates–read my review to read more about them.
After switching plates, my KCI mags have ran flawlessly for every range trip, training, and competition I have attended in the past four years. The set of mags have fed a minimum of 5000 rounds to my various 9mm Glocks, and I have never experienced a magazine-related malfunction. The mags have been dropped, thrown, stepped on, and otherwise abused, and they just keep running. Their feedlips are chewed and gnarled, but they keep feeding my Glocks like an all-you-can-eat brass and copper buffet.
While I can’t seem to find Korean mags for $6.95 anymore, I can still find them at J&G Sales for about $16. Occasionally they’ll go on sale at other sites, and I’ll be sure to post any deals I find on them. For the price, they make excellent training mags. Replace the baseplates and abuse them. I still carry my OEM mags when I’m off the range, but my plastic Asian ammo packers have made me a believer.