For an of my regular readers you know that I have a meandering path of interests which lead to my [cough] unique editorial content. As of the end of 2015 and the start of 2016 I seem to have a developing interest in the more traditional origins of the AR15 and by accident discovered the OKAY Industries SureFeed AR15/M16 magazines. Surely you are sick of some stupid editor pitched the virtues of yet “another new AR15 magazine”, but I was surprised to find out that the SureFeed mag was the original and first 30-round magazine every developed and are still considered so good that the remain as the preferred U.S. Government M16/AR15 magazine today. OKAY developed the first 30-round M16/AR15 magazine when the military wanted to bump up capacity from the first twenty round mags. Interested peaked? Read on.
OKAY’s military magazine manufacturing history dates much further back than the company’s 1973 development of the 30-round AR mag we know and love today. The company, previously called B Jahn, actually was one of the manufacturers of the WWI M1 Carbine magazines, which they made in the millions.
Due to the high manufacturing demands of the US military contracts over the years, the OKAY SureFeed mags have been difficult for consumers to obtain due to being tied in part to the now halted Colt Military contract. OKAY had a lot of fans of their SureFeed magazine in the military and made a decision to expand into consumer sales.
WHAT MAKES SUREFEED MAGAZINES SPECIAL
With a longstanding reputation of reliability when lives are on the line, OKAY has made reliability mandatory. All the SureFeed magazines are 100% USA made with all American made components that meet or exceed MilSpec requirements. All SureFeed magazine bodies and floorplates are made from lightweight aluminum which is then heat treated to Mil-Spec requirements for strength and durability. OKAY then hard-coat anodize and finish the mags in either Mil-Spec dry film lube grey or Tactical Black PTFE. A four-way, anti-tilt, self-lubricating, non-hygroscopic resin follower and high performance Mil-Spec stainless steel spring keep rounds properly aligned and tensioned for flawless performance. After running these mags for about a month now through all manner of AR15 rifle and pistol, I am satisfied that they deliver total reliability.
“BUT MY MAGS SUCKED IN THE MILITARY”
Of much debate within the military ranks have been the reliability of issued mags and some of those mags may have been OKAY SureFeed mags. With millions of SureFeed mags issued, re-issued over and over in military service since the mid-1970s there are plenty of their mag components which have been abused to the point of affecting reliability. It should be noted that although a process is in place to remove damaged mags from service, a large portion of damaged mags end up back in circulation. Additionally SureFeed has updated its magazine follower design several times over the years. The net of this background is to note that you should not judge the reliability of any magazine that has potentially had a twenty year old service life and been beat to hell in the process. New factory fresh SureFeed mags are still regarded as the gold standard of reliability of M16/AR15 metal mags.
METAL VS. POLYMER
We all are infatuated with the durability of reliability of polymer mags over the last couple decades, however metal mags still offer a lot in terms of durability in certain situations. Aluminum magazines still deliver the advantages of avoiding the potential for shattering or swelling in extreme temperature conditions and retain compatibility on all US Military STANAG magazine based firearms. Thus the rational the military as a whole still uses metal magazines instead of polymer magazines. Most people would be surprised that aluminum mags are at least in most cases the same weight as polymer mags and are actually lighter than many reinforced polymer magazines. If damaged, the aluminum magazines can be bent back into a useable specification, however once polymer magazines are broken then cannot be easily field repaired to a workable specification which is certainly a consideration.
All OKAY SureFeed magazines are made under strict ISO quality manufacturing standards. Each SureFeed mag, weld, and spec is fully and individually hand and electronically inspected and then function tested before shipment. OKAY calls this non-destructive testing the”magazine scuffing process.” The testing process does scuff the mags and cosmetically mars the finish, but the process in no way impacts performance, durability or reliability. No other manufacturer fully tests every magazines this thoroughly. SureFeed has a well earned reputation for being the most reliable USGI magazine available. Top end quality does not mean unobtainium level prices. Most retailers are selling the SureFeed 30-round magazines for $12.99 which is about the same as most polymer mags.
My perspective on AR magazines are that they must be reliable and I have personally tested many polymer and metal magazines which fit that criteria. I have also tested some me to metal and polymer mags that do not. Thankfully most magazines do deliver very good reliability including polymer magazines like MFT, Magpul, Troy, and HexMag and metal magazines from Brownells, OKAY, Elander, and many others. My only challenge with a polymer magazine was a very old hard used polymer magazine failure during a freezing cold day. On the other hand I have proportionally had many more challenges with metal magazines generally due to often tighter manufacturing spec range of non-milspec receivers favoring the more forgiving design of polymer mags.
I am not going to be the editor who says metal mags are better, because I do not believe that to be true in all cases. Depending on the application and destructive test completed, there may be analytically supportable data to reach for one material over another - both have their place. The SureFeed mags are exceptional quality, arguably one of the highest quality metal magazines, and for only $12.99, why would I choose something other than the original SureFeed if I am buying a metal magazine.
- 30-round, 20-round, & 10-round - $12.99 MSRP each
- 100% USA made with all American MilSpec level components
- Bodies and floorplates are made from heat treated lightweight aluminum
- Hard-coat anodize
- Finished in either Mil-Spec dry film lube grey or Tactical Black PTFE
- Four-way, anti-tilt, self-lubricating, non-hygroscopic resin follower
- High performance Mil-Spec stainless steel spring keep rounds properly aligned and tensioned for flawless performance
OKAY Industries SureFeed Magazines - http://www.surefeedmagazines.com