AR-15 magazines come in many shapes and sizes, but translucent magazines have always been the most aesthetically pleasing, in my opinion. I mean, who doesn’t like seeing their brass all stacked nicely in a magazine? 

And everyone could benefit from knowing how many rounds they have left before a reload is necessary. Well, except for your opponent, but hopefully, you’ll never be in a scenario where you’ll have to worry about that.

Lancer L5AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazine)

The Lancer L5AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazine) has many translucent color options to fit almost any build.

We’ve seen the Lancer L5AWM take the market by storm and thrive in the translucent category. Now, Magpul has recently introduced the TMAG, its first translucent offering. 

SALE Magpul TMAG GEN M3 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Translucent Magazine
Magpul TMAG GEN M3 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Translucent Magazine
$19.99
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The question is, how will they stack up against each other? That’s what we’re going to talk about. 

I’ve had the pleasure of putting thousands of rounds through the Lancer L5AWM and even more through standard PMAGs, so for the sake of the article, we’ll softly assume that the TMAG performs the same as its older sibling.

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Magpul Ar-15 Gen 2 MOE Pmag 10 Pack
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TMAG in a Faxon lower

A beautiful combo; the TMAG in a Faxon lower. Source: magpul

What I Like About The TMAG

My favorite thing about the TMAG is its familiarity. When you compare the two side by side, it’s clear (get it?) that the TMAG and PMAG share many of the same qualities.

In essence, the TMAG is a PMAG. Many shooters have tested millions of PMAGs over the years with great success. You should be able to count on the same PMAG reliability, but it will take some time to verify that through real-world experience. 

From the dot matrix on the bottom of the magazine for keeping track of your mags to the grip texture on the front and back, the only difference is the texture on the side. There are no squares on the TMAG like there are on the PMAG. 

This is kind of a bummer, considering that the L5AWM has grip texture all over. 

But it has a lot of grip, definitely enough to get your hands on it and rip it out if need be.

translucent magazines

The best aesthetics go to translucent magazines. Source: magpul

What I Don’t Like About The TMAG

Finding things I truly didn’t like about the TMAG was hard, but there are areas I’d like to see improved. 

The sides of the magazine lack grip texture and the feed lips are not reinforced. Lancer uses steel feed lips on its magazines, whereas the TMAG uses polymer. 

This isn’t the worst thing on the planet when you consider that aluminum magazines suffer from feedlip issues all the time. I’ve actually had more issues with aluminum magazine feedlips, whereas the polymer ones have been more reliable.

Magpul all around on this build

Magpul all around on this build. Source: magpul

But remember, Lancer uses steel. And I’ve never had an issue with steel feedlips (unless they were from a bad company). I would like to see Magpul offer some reinforcement on those feed lips since it gives the shooter more confidence in their magazine.

Mission First Tactical (MFT) showcased its EXD translucent magazines at Shot Show this year, but I’d mark those with “Range Use Only.” They look cool and seem to function well on the flat range, but I wouldn’t rely on them like I would the L5AWM. 

SALE MFT AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Translucent EXD Magazine
MFT AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Translucent EXD Magazine
$16.99
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My Overall Opinion 

The TMAG is strongly positioned to take a solid chunk of the translucent AR-15 magazine market share. With that said, I definitely wouldn’t start stockpiling them until I’ve seen them experience much of the hard use that PMAGs have. 

Leave that to the tried and true until you’ve seen how these TMAGs perform for yourself.

I also think the TMAG has some stiff competition. The L5AWM magazine is less expensive and has way more support behind it (for now, at least). It also has steel-reinforced feedlips, which gives you a little more confidence in the magazine itself. 

Conclusion

I have to spend some time with the TMAG to determine whether or not they will have my official stamp of approval, but I wouldn’t say I have any reservations at this point. Once you can find some available, I recommend picking one or two of them up so you can put them through your own paces. 

My guess is they’ll function perfectly fine with whatever you plan on using them for. Not all of us will be putting tens of thousands of rounds through them while rolling through sand and dirt, and it would be silly to assume so. Even your MFT magazines could do the trick for most shooters. 

Overall, the TMAG has a lot to prove if it wants to be the king of translucent magazines. For now, we’ll leave the crown to the tried-and-true L5AWM. 

Be good and take care.

Brian Zerbian
Brian is a USMC Veteran and avid gun enthusiast from New Jersey who loves to spend his time shooting, writing, listening to classic rock, and learning new things.
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