It’s the golden age of affordable MP5s; Most are perfectly reliable firearms, but they all run terribly with bad magazines – so here are our top 5 MP5 magazines. But to ensure that this article isn’t restricted to one particular example of MP5 clone, I tested all the magazines below in four different clones: a Turner Fabrications MP5A3 SBR clone, an AP5 P Core MP5K clone pistol, a PTR 9CT full-sized MP5 pistol, and a POF MP5 Reverse-Strech pistol.
What Makes for Great MP5 Magazines
While this might seem obvious, reliability is the most important aspect of an MP5 magazine – or any magazine. How well the mag provides a steady supply of ammunition to the host firearm is something that many modern shooters take for granted. But the MP5’s design isn’t modern – its core design dates back to the Second World War. So while some of the older, ‘retro’ straight MP5 mags look great, they don’t run well with modern defensive ammunition.
Other aspects of what constitutes a quality MP5 magazine are durability and how easily the magazine can be inserted into a closed chamber. While this issue is more pressing and common on Saiga-pattern shotguns, it is still something to consider when choosing magazines for your new MP5. We also need to consider the magazines’ longevity, as some designs are built to outlast the shooter, while others are more of a disposable commodity.
And lastly, we have to consider the cost of these magazines. While anything H&K-related is never going to be ‘cheap,’ the economic impact of each magazine certainly must be considered since most shooters don’t simply want to buy a single magazine. In a nutshell, here’s our list of determining factors for our top 5 MP5 magazine picks.
- Ammunition Sensitivity
- Ease of Insertion
Now that you know how we came to the conclusions that we did let’s jump right into our top 5 MP5 magazines list.
5. AC Unity Polymer Magazine
Based in Bosnia, AC-Unity manufactures a wide variety of aftermarket parts and magazines for various firearms. From M249 SAW ammo boxes and Glock magazines to AK rear trunnions and CZ Bren mags, if it’s expensive or difficult to find OEM accessories for a gun, AC-Unity makes a more affordable alternative.
We’re looking at the 30-round polymer AC-Unity MP5 magazines for our purposes. Available in both 40 and 30-round varieties, these polymer magazines lack any steel reinforcements, but given how MP5 magazines lock up in the gun, they don’t necessarily need them.
These magazines feature a black polymer body with a translucent polymer window that shows the shooter how many rounds remain in the mag at a glance. The magazine spring is captured at the bottom by a polymer baseplate with a hole that interfaces with an internal plate that incorporates a matching peg – just like a Glock magazine. The polymer used in the magazines doesn’t feel cheap, but it does have a decent amount of give to it that prevents them from feeling brittle like some of the Turkish MKE HK93 amber magazines or the ETS MP5 magazines on the market today.
In testing, these magazines were not ammunition sensitive at all, fed reliability in three of the four test guns (They didn’t like running in the POF gun when it was equipped with a sound suppressor.), and held up to multiple drops on hard surfaces and are very affordable at about $19 each. The only downside I’ve found to these magazines thus far is how difficult they can be to properly seat in a closed chamber. That, and how the soft polymer of the body prevents you from hearing or feeling a positive ‘click’ when they lock up. On a more subjective note, I’m concerned about the magazine’s longevity because they lack steel feed lips, but at such a low cost, shooters can afford to treat them as disposable and stock up on them.
4. Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) 30-Round Steel Magazine
A few weeks ago, I reviewed a reverse stretch MP5 clone from POF of Pakistan and was very impressed with it mechanically. The finish on the POF gun was a different story, but the gun ran flawlessly through more than 1,000 rounds. But what about magazines made in the same factory?
Built from steel, these 30-round magazines bare more than a passing resemblance to a true H&K MP5 mag. This is because the magazines, like the guns from the same plant, are built using old H&K tooling. Does that mean they are every bit the equal of the genuine article?
Unfortunately, not quite.
In terms of reliability, the POF magazines are fantastic. They function with all types of ammunition tested inserts easily into the host firearm and are very durable. The only issue shooters will likely notice is how their finish is more like a dull matte Parkerization than the glossy black finish found on German, Korean or Turkish magazines. That, and how the mags tend to wobble in MP5 magazine wells more than German examples. As for cost, POF magazines certainly aren’t cheap, with examples online found for around $55.
3. Turkish MKE 30-Round Steel Magazine
If MKE doesn’t sound familiar to you, maybe Century Arms does. MKE is the Turkish arms maker currently exporting their AP5 pistols to Century Arms, which have been dominating the market lately. But the arms maker doesn’t just produce MP5 clones, they also make magazines for various platforms, including the MP5.
But how are these mags?
Aesthetically they’re very similar to legit German magazines and feature a similar fit and finish to the Deutschland mags they seek to emulate. Reliability, too, was fantastic in testing, with the mags running perfectly in all four test guns regardless of ammunition utilized. Durability is solid as well – the all-steel construction prevents them from being functionally damaged from being dropped. These mags are solid, but also not terribly cheap, with examples online selling for around $45. All and all, a solid deal for MP5 enthusiasts in search of solid, non-nonsense steel mags.
2. Magpul D-50 MP 50-Round Drum
Magpul is known for its high-quality, ultra-reliable products, and the new D-50 MP Drum is no exception. If you’re familiar with the AR-15 D-60 drum I reviewed a few months ago, you know exactly what to expect from this new drum. If the question you’re asking is, “does Magpul make MP5 magazines?” or “Are magpul drum magazines reliable?” the answer to both of these questions is yes.
Built primarily from polymer, the D-60 MP is a top-ratchet-assisted-loaded drum for the MP5 family of firearms. And despite the AC Unity magazines not being very positive in lockup, these new drums seat easily and positively.
In terms of reliability, I’ve only had a chance to run 200 rounds through the D-50 MP Drum (50 rounds in each of the four test guns), and I haven’t experienced any malfunctions in that time. The only issue I had with the magazine was how long it took to load. And not just in the sense of how long it takes to place 50 rounds in a magazine, but the fact that the ratcheting loading arm for the D-50 MP only permits loading one or two rounds at a time.
That said, it’s a small price to pay to have 50-rounds at the ready in a compact, lightweight package. The only downside to the D-50 MP drum is the price: around $120.
1. H&K OEM 30-Round Steel Magazine
Hail to the king, baby! Yes, the Germans are very, very good at making MP5s and their components. Yes, real German HK magazines are not cheap, but they meet or exceed every single parameter listed above. Yes, this is extremely reductive, but it’s still accurate. These magazines are flawlessly reliable and extremely durable – not to mention tried and tested. If money is no object, these are my top-pick magazines. If money is an issue and you’re devoting your MP5 pistol or carbine to home defense, buy one of these as your primary magazine.
That said, if your MP5 runs flawlessly with any of the magazines listed above, keep using what works. Now many of you are going to notice there are a few solid magazines currently missing from this article, but fret not, I’ve got that covered below.
Three magazines I wanted to talk about in this article that I didn’t have time or space to cover are those from ETS, KCI, and Overwatch Precision. The short of it is that ETS MP5 magazines aren’t durable or reliable enough for serious work. KCI magazines can be hit or miss depending on the generation. Original (Gen 1) magazines have very spotty reliability, but the later generation models have worked flawlessly for me, and closely resemble those from MKE.
As for the Overwatch Precision Magazines, I have yet to test them, but they certainly look promising.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who can wield a camera with expert finesse in addition to his mastery of prose. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.
My experiences have been a little bit backwards from this. While not having had enough time, (or ammo) to extensively test all the magazines, and only having used them in one test gun (a BAP-9 from the short lived Brethren Arms), I used half a dozen or so KCI (later generation) mags which all ran flawlessly. I also used seven or eight ETS magazines with the only problem coming when I failed to fully seat the magazine and it eventually slipped down enough in the magwell that I had a failure to feed. After fully seating the mag I had… Read more »
The d50 drum sucks on a k gun keep hitting the load lever causing jams works a lot better on a full size. Kci gen 2 are gtg