23 Apr Choosing THE BEST Magazine Pouches for Military & Airsoft
Choosing THE BEST Magazine Pouches for Military & Airsoft
Over the past decades there have been many different magazine pouches that conquered their place on the shooting market. And quite often people ask the question “Which one is the best?”.
The truth is that there’s not one single mag pouch that rules them all. And that’s since they all have advantages and disadvantages, so depending on what you do and personally prefer you will pick a pouch that’s the best one for you.
Today we’re going to make that choice easier for you, because we’ll give you an objective view on the most common designs out there.
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The pouches we’ll be covering are the ones that are applicable to magazines of carbines, rifles, SMGs and pistols. We’ll also start from the most simple versions and build up to the more complex or latest developments.
Our comparison of today is based on a few criteria:
- The retention or how well does the pouch hold a magazine.
- The draw speed by which we mean how fast can you access your magazine.
- The inserting speed, meaning how quickly can you reinsert a magazine into the pouch when doing a tactical reload when you don’t have a dump pouch.
- The noise level, since this might also be important in certain situations.
- The adjustability by which we mean how broad are they applicable for different types of magazines and how well can you adjust the tension on the pouch.
- The build, meaning how big is its profile and does it have any special features.
Now that we know our criteria let’s go off to our first pouch which is the flap mag pouch.
Velcro/Buckle Flap Mag Pouches
These pouches are the most old-school and have a very simple design. The magazines are kept in place by the use of a flap which either uses a buckle closure system or a Velcro closure system.
When it comes to the retention, the flap make sure you don’t lose your magazines even in harsh conditions.
These are rather slow since you have the flap to deal with, but obviously the Velcro closure systems are quicker than the buckle ones. Some people do tend to put a flap behind the magazines for a quick draw, but then you have a high chance of losing your magazines.
When we have a look at the inserting speed, the flap is a hassle to deal with, definitely when you’re doing other stuff as well. Which is why these pouches are mainly used for grenades these days, since you won’t be putting them back after usage.
It is obvious that magazine pouches with a Velcro are not silent at all, so keep that in mind when you have to consider that.
These pouches are created to be applicable to different types of magazines. Also with some the flap is length adjustable which allows you to custom fit them to small or large magazines. They can also be used for other equipments as well besides magazines.
As for the build these can be quite bulky definitely if you decide to put multiple magazines into a single pouch, but considering that they are actually a very slim option if you need to carry lots of magazines.
Now that we’ve talked about these ones, let’s go over to the bungee cords mag pouches.
Bungee cord Mag Pouches
These pouches are the next improvement when it comes to keeping your magazines in place. This by using a simple bungee-cord as fixation.
These pouches are a secure system as long as there’s no damage to the bungee cord. And to give you an idea of the retention, these pouches are also commonly used for units that have to jump out of a plane.
These pouches are pretty quick but not in terms of fast mag pouches, which we’ll cover in a bit, this because you have to remove the retension cord which takes time. Now some do keep them aside to have a quicker draw, but then again you have a chance to loose your magazines since the pouch itself doesn’t retain that very well.
These pouches are quite a hassle to deal with since the bungee cord can get in your way somehow.
As for the noise level these pouches are basically silent in use.
When it comes to adjustability, the retention of the bungee cord can be adjusted and it’s recommended to find a sweet spot. If you make it too loose you risk losing a magazine and if you make the tension too hard it’s basically unpractical in use.
These pouches have a quite universal built, for example an M4 style pouch can also fit an AK magazine and an UMP style pouch can also fit a Scorpion Evo magazine. Furthermore these also come in horizontal versions which allow you to carry more magazines either on your belt or below the plates of your carrier. These are quite slim in built and allow you to attach other pouches onto them due to the PALS. These also come in 2 or 3 side-by-side pouches which make it cheaper, but make your less modular in your setup.
Another good thing to know is that these pouches can be converted into fast mag pouches by using our fast mag mod. You can visit the blog/video by clicking on the image.
Now that was it for these kind of pouches, let’s have a look at a Kydex or polymer pouches.
Thermoplastic Mag Pouches
These pouches are molded out of a thermoplastic material which creates a strong, open top, low-profile and easy accessible pouch.
These are probably the best open top pouches when it comes to retention, since the magazine clicks in and won’t go anywhere.
Access & Inserting Speed
When it comes to the draw and inserting speed these pouches are very quick and easy in use, though they do make a sound whenever you insert a magazine.
Since these pouches are made of a hard solid material, they do make a sound when hitting other hard objects unlike the Nylon or Cordura pouches.
These pouches are mainly created for one specific type of magazine. Though you can adjust the tension by adjusting some screws or repositioning an elastic band (depending on the model).
They are very low in profile, they don’t allow you to attach any other pouches on top of them and they usually take up more MOLLE space then other pouches. Due to their secure fit these can also be mounted upside down, but keep in mind noting beats gravity. Above that, since these pouches are molded they do sometimes come in an uncommon angle which allows for a more ergonomic draw.
Now that we’ve covered those, let’s go over to the retention inserts.
Retention Inserts for mag pouches
Retention inserts are something on their own since they’re not a pouch, but more of a solution for pouches with retention problems. Mostly these can be found in kangaroo pouches on carriers or chest rigs. These are made of a thermoplastic or other hard material. But those made of a thermoplastic material can be remolded again by applying heat to them, giving them a shape, and let them cool down. This creates a custom fit.
The difficulty with the retention is that it relies on two things. Namely, the retention of the insert into the pouch and retention of your magazine into the insert. This sometimes creates more problems than solutions which make you pull out the insert when drawing a magazine. But when it’s well built-in you won’t have that problem and your magazines will sit very securely.
These are quick to reach but sometimes the force needed to draw the magazine is too less or too much and for this you need to fix them by remolding them.
These are very quick but they do require you to give an additional push to keep the magazines well retained which takes up more time then with other pouches.
When it comes to the noise level, these make a sound whenever you insert or draw a magazine, so that’s something you have to keep in mind.
These can be reshaped by adding heat but that’s about it.
As for the build, this is more dependent on the pouch you use them for than the insert itself.
Now that we’ve talked about these inserts, let’s have a look at fast mag pouches.
Fast Mag Pouches
Fast mag pouches are an advanced version of Cordura or Nylon pouches that make use of a bungee cord or other elastic materials to create tension around the magazine. This creates an open-top, easy accessible mag pouch.
Retention wise these are pretty good, but it depends on their design. Though you may lose a magazine when making certain brutal movements.
Access & Inserting Speed
When it comes to the draw and inserting speed these magazine pouches are very quick, because nothing gets in the way. Though this only counts when there is no pressure applied on the magazine pouch.
These are silent in use.
These are created to be as universal as possible and allow you to create tension by using a block hole clip on the para-cord designs and replacing the Velcro on the elastic designs. They also allow you to carry other equipment besides magazines. For example, some radios and grenades will fit the pouch just fine.
These pouches are very low in profile and some come with PALS which allow you to attach other pouches onto them.
Now that we’ve talked about these pouches, let’s go over to a slightly alternate pouch which is called the taco mag pouch.
Taco mag Pouches
This is a system that mainly uses the design of a fast mag pouch, but in addition it also uses polymer brackets. It is also an open-top designed for easy access.
This is about the same as with a full nylon fast mag pouches, but they do need a bit more retention due to the plastic brackets.
Their draw speed is also very quick and even a bit smoother than with the full Nylon ones.
These are very quick and also the polymer lips on the side make it an easy guide to insert the magazine. Also the smooth surface of the plastic make it a bit smoother than with the full Nylon ones. Also note that due to the build and the brackets, the pouch holds its shape very well, even under pressure unlike with the full Nylon ones. This allows you to insert a magazine on places like the inside of the cummerbund.
Noise Level & Adjustability
As for the noise and adjustability, these are about the same as the full Nylon ones with bungee cords. Thus they also allow you to carry other equipment as well.
Their built is about the same as the full Nylon ones with bungee cord and also allow you to attach other pouches onto them.
Now that this has been covered let’s go over to the extreme low-profile mag pouches.
Extreme Low-Profile Pouches
These pouches are made of an elastic material to minimize the weight and profile as much as possible. These also have an open top design for quick access.
These pouches are made of an elastic which grips around the whole magazine. The likelihood of losing a magazine is about the same as with a fast mag pouch, as long as there is a grippy material on the inside. You can also add a bungee cord for over-the-top fixation.
When it comes to drawing a magazine these are very quick in use.
As for reinserting a magazine, these are much more difficult to work with than other fast mag pouches.
Noise Level & Adjustability
They’re also silent in use. The elastic material allows for different types of magazines to be inserted into the pouch but that’s about it for the adjustability.
These are extremely low in profile and don’t allow you to attach any other pouches onto them, but you can also carry other stuff in them.
That said, let’s go over to our last type of pouches the hybrid pouches.
These pouches are constructed by bringing elements of the previous ones together. Obviously, we can’t give a overall view on the criteria since they can differ very much from each other. But because we talked about the previous ones and how they do in these criteria, you should be able to get a good idea of what combining these elements will give.
Now, if you would like to know more about MOLLE and some tips and tricks for them, since it has to do with pouches, go have a look at our “How-to MOLLE” blog/video by clicking on the image.
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“Choosing THE BEST Magazine Pouches for Military & Airsoft”
So guys, that was it for the pouches we wanted to cover today. We hope this blog helped you out in your search for the pouches you need.
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