Magpul sells two PMAG magazines that are designed for .223/5.56×45 rounds. These are the Gen 2 and Gen 3 PMAGs. Both are very solid pieces of equipment that are made in the United States. Generally, the Gen 2 PMAGs can be found cheaper, especially if you catch a sale. If you’re wondering if the extra money is worth spending to get the Gen 3, here are the main differences between the two models.
Comparison Between Gen 2 and Gen 3 PMAG
The Gen 2 PMAG no longer ships with an included dust cover. The Gen 3 does come with a dust cover, which will not fit the Gen 2. For many people, this is not much of an issue. Dust covers are not necessary and so on this issue it is mainly personal preference that will decide for you.
A dust cover will keep debris out of your magazine and protect an unloaded magazine while it is bouncing around in whatever storage box you keep it in. If you do a lot of traveling with your equipment where wear and tear is likely to be an issue, then you might want to consider getting one. Even if you do buy the Gen 2, though, dust covers are still available that fit this model, they just won’t be included in the original purchase.
Changes with the Gen 3
The two major changes that Magpul has made to the Gen 3 compared to the Gen 2 is in the floor plate and the over insertion stop. The butt of the Gen 3 PMAG is slimmer than that of the Gen 2. This makes it easier to slip in and out of mag pouches, particularly ones that may have been a tight fit on the Gen 2.
The over insertion stop is a new feature on the spine of the Gen 3 magazines. This is an especially important feature for quick magazine changes that may prove a little too aggressive. There is no fear of over insertion of the Gen 3 which eliminates some of the danger of malfunctions.
The Gen 3 PMAG will work on all guns that take the Gen 2, but the reverse is not true. The Gen 3 will fit several non-Colt spec platforms that the Gen 2 was not compatible with. Look up a full list of compatible guns for either magazine before you make a purchase in order to avoid the frustration of ending up with equipment that you cannot use.
Many shooters have been using Magpul Gen 2 PMAGs for years now and see no reason to change. On the other hand, the Gen 3 has some additional features that may help prevent problems from arising with your equipment. No matter which PMAG you choose, you can be certain that with Magpul you are getting a quality product.