If you’re like me, you’ve tried almost every AR-15 magazine under the sun and probably have at least a couple of Lancer Advanced Warfighter Magazines (L5AWM) magazines lying around. 

Like most consumer products, magazines tend to release new and improved versions periodically. Take the Magpul PMAG, for instance, which is now on its Gen M3 models.

While the differences and improvements are not always obvious, they are considered “important enough” by the manufacturer to spend all the time and money on R&D, distribution, and marketing, so it’s worth doing a little bit of research to understand them.

L5AWM GEN 2

The brand new L5AWM GEN 2 offers translucent and opaque body options, the same as the prior model. Source: lancersystems

Today, we’ll take a look at what the L5AWM GEN 2 mags bring to the table vs. the GEN 1s in an effort to help you decide if they are worth upgrading/replacing your current inventory of GEN 1s.

What’s The Difference?

The few L5AWM GEN 1 magazines I currently own have served me well through several hundred rounds a piece and have been tossed around like hot potatoes. 

The hardened steel feed lips strengthen one of the most problematic areas of your standard polymer magazine and help keep your rounds aligned, while the anti-tilt polymer follower keeps the magazine feeding seamlessly. 

In addition, the floorplates can be swapped out with ones that have holes if you plan to shoot in very wet conditions, which is a nice option, even though I’ve never needed them.

L5AWM

You can order the L5AWM in translucent or opaque colors.

From a quick glance, nothing visually seems to have changed between the GEN 1 and GEN 2 L5AWMs. They look to have the same feed lips, the same texturing, and even the same base plate. Thankfully, there is more to the GEN 2 than meets the eye.

L5AWM

Just because you can’t see the improvements doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Source: lancersystems

Lancer took the feed lip design to the next level by changing the geometry slightly, which resulted in enhanced round retention and up to a 22% reduction of insertion force on a closed bolt. In addition, a new floorplate lock helps to optimize feeding performance and overall reliability.

Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
$17.99
Add to Wishlist Added to Wishlist

Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
$17.99
Add to Wishlist Added to Wishlist

Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
Lancer L5AWM GEN 2 AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine
$17.99
Add to Wishlist Added to Wishlist

One additional change that probably won’t matter to many of you reading this is that Lancer decided to stick with the more classic color offerings for the L5AWM GEN 2. Clear, smoke, black, and FDE will be your only options for now. I’m assuming the color variants will follow at some point, but you will have limited choices comparatively for now.  

Future of the GEN 1 L5AWM

If you just stocked up on a variety of GEN 1 L5AWMs, don’t worry; they don’t expire! There is nothing wrong with the GEN 1s, and at the time of writing this, I hadn’t heard of any mention of them being discontinued.

PWS MK114 MOD 1-M rifle with a Lancer L5AWM

My PWS MK114 MOD 1-M rifle came with a Lancer L5AWM from the factory.

In fact, the GEN 1’s future may actually be looking quite bright. We’ll likely see the price drop slightly, so if the GEN 2 doesn’t quite do it for you, you’ll save a few bucks on the GEN 1s. In addition, some manufacturers, such as Primary Weapons Systems (PWS), include Lancer L5AWM magazines with some of its rifles, so you can expect that to continue and maybe to even a great extent if the manufacturer can save money as well. 

Lancer L5AWM AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine (6 Pack)
Lancer L5AWM AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Magazine (6 Pack)
$89.99$114.99
Add to Wishlist Added to Wishlist

The main decision will have to be a personal one, of whether or not it’s worth a few extra bucks to you for the improvements mentioned earlier in the article. 

Parting Thoughts

Before we wrap things up, I’d like to pose a couple of hypothetical questions.

Let’s say you don’t have any L5AWM magazines, regardless of generation. Is the GEN 2 worth a couple of extra dollars? My answer is yes. The small added expense of increasing reliability would be worth it. 

Let’s say you already have some L5AWM GEN 1 magazines. Would the GEN 2 mags be worth purchasing to replace your GEN 1s? My answer is no. To my knowledge, the GEN 1s don’t have any “known issues” that the GEN 2s are remedying. I personally fall into this category and will not be replacing my GEN 1s. 

With all of that said, it’s great to see Lancer continuing to push for improvement, even when there wasn’t necessarily something that needed to be addressed. Every time any manufacturer comes out with something new, it pushes the rest of the competition to step its game up, which ultimately benefits all of us consumers. 

The decision is up to you, but I believe you’ll be perfectly fine with either L5AWM. 

As always, stay safe, train hard, and have fun.