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Airsoft Systems 85-Rd. Polymer AEG Mag

Airsoft Systems 85-Round Polymer AEG Magazine

For quite some time there were only two magazine options for an M4: the regular GI mag and its shorter version. But now everyone is making synthetic mags after Magpul released their polymer mag back in 2007. PTS/Magpul magazines are the most common ones out there but King Arms/CAA and Socom Gear/Troy mags started to show up in magazine pouches recently. It is hard to come up with anything interesting on this field but I guess Airsoft Systems just did it. A number of features will prove that this AR magazine is a smart choice.

I have received a box set (5pcs) of the Airsoft Systems (AS) 85-round magazine and I was excited to try them after seeing the first batch at IWA earlier this year. AS released three colors: black, tan and OD. At first the AS magazine resembles a Magpul PTS mag but only because of the texture of the lower half. The texture is deeper on the AS mag so there is no need for sand tape here. At the top you will find an Airsoft Systems logo on one side and a Dynamic Arms (a company owned by the same person) logo on the other. On the outside there are a couple of things that differ from other magazines.

First of all there is no baseplate, well there is but it's not a separate piece. Other mags have baseplates that you need remove in order to access the spring for maintenance while on the AS mag the spring can be accessed on the top section right behind the feeding port. This function makes the magazine less vulnerable to drops --- there is nothing at the bottom of the magazine that could break or deform and if the magazine's bottom gets dirty you just wipe it off and there is no need disassembling the mag to clean it. The magazine's bottom isn't textured and the main reason for this is to make it look like the baseplate is a separate part. Initially, I thought this feature will be annoying when I tried to do a faster reload wearing gloves but it proved me wrong. These mags got better grip than a CAA mag for example, plus it is easier to install a magpul when the base has no texture.

The second interesting feature is that the top of the mag is tapered and the feeding port won't stick out of the magazine. This feature again makes the magazine more durable since the feeding port can be damaged on normal AEG mags if they are tossed around or if your metal hop up chamber isn't aligned correctly for some reason and you try to force the magazine into its place. Also it is easier and faster to load the magazine into the magwell or a magpouch. Magpul PTS mags have small bumps on their top side and those sometimes can indeed hang up inside a cordura magpouch. My FastMags love these magazines, very easy to pull or insert them because of the top side's geometry is simply more user friendly.

The AS mags can be disassembled without any tool (but to open the top, you still need something pointy like a key or a 50 cal timing gage for example:)), all you have to do is pull on the tab like if it was the baseplate of any other magazine. There is a small paper inside each box of mags which says a couple of things about the product and probably the most important thing is that these mags got stronger, heat-treated springs in them in order to have longer lifetime and more reliable feeding. This also means that you need a bit more force when you use your speed loader and softer BBs could jam into the magazine. The follower of the magazine comes up as high as the top of the feeding port so less BBs go to waste when changing mags.  With this reliable follower and the strong magazine spring it is possible to shoot all the BBs out of the gun when using a high cycle replica (full auto of course). When I was using the magazine in a standard Specna Arms M4 with an ASG Ultimate 4000 there was only one BB that fell out of the Hop-Up chamber after the magazine was removed. This number was reduced to zero when the same motor and magazine were used in my high-cycle replica. Not all my PTS mags will give me this luxury. I do not use full auto too much but it is good know you can use all the BBs in your magazine when your team mate asks for cover fire.

As far as dimensions the AS mags are said to be true to the real steel magazine, they are in fact longer than any steel stamped or polymer magazine I have by a good centimeter, even longer than a PTS magazine and the closest to the AS mag is the CAA mid-cap magazine. The little paper inside the box says that in some cases the mag-lock lip or the magwell needs some filing, but in my case I haven't had any locking issues. Anyway I would rather modify the magazine instead of my magwell especially if I still want to use other brands as well. I have tried the following brand receivers: Aim-Top, JG, G&P, Specna Arms, Guarder, WE and Classic Army with various gearboxes and Hop-Up chambers in them but had no problems locking the mags.

Like any other magazine, the AS mags need some TLC every now and then. Airsoft Systems recommends using some compressed air or warm soapy water when necessary and only to flush out the collected dust. No need for lubrication since the BB channel inside the magazine is shaped in a unique way.

Let's talk about the mag capacity: some say 85 BBs are not enough in today's world and most of the PTS mid-caps will do 120 and the CAA mags carry 140. I am happy with 85 as that's what I load into my other mid-caps regardless their capacity. My Marui SCAR-H uses 90-round magazines so twenty push with my speed loader goes into all my mid-caps. I just hate "sprayers" and I would love to go on 30 round mag limit or only-GBB game once in a while but that's just me. I find it funny when people call it MilSim and using high-cap mags but I guess this is not a debate of whether how many BBs is ethical in an airsoft magazine. One thing is for sure: the lower number of BBs you load into an airsoft mag the longer its spring's lifetime. I am sure Airsoft Systems could come out with a 150 round magazine but for the above mentioned reason this mag only holds 85.

Price. This subject is quite interesting, the AS mag priced at 0.07 GBP per BB while a 120 round PTS mid-cap sells for 0.2 GBP/BB which is almost triple the price but the PTS won't hold three times as much BBs. Only SOCOM Gear polymer mags priced the same as AS mags but only because those carry 190 rounds (e.g. the licensed Lancer L5 Polymer mags). All prices are based on Redwolf Airsoft's UK website. Of course you need to carry more magazines in order to carry the same amount of BBs if you decide to go with AS mags but most tactical vests can hold a trillion plus one M4 mag and at 140 grams you can't say these mags are heavy. We can say that the AS mags are definitively priced well and the price is low mainly because their manufacturing process is simplified. Only 8 components make up an AS mag.  A well thought out design that deserves a bit of attention. Probably you know how annoying it is when you are wearing gloves while trying to get rid of BBs out of your mid-cap. On the AS magazine, the BB retention lip has a quite large bump so it's easy to find and operate it wearing an average glove (tested with Wiley X Combat Gloves).

As you can see on these images, the magazine can withstand the weight of a family car and it can surely take some beating. The thick baseplate pays off here really and protects the magazine well. I have used these mags for two games and then applied some deliberate abuse (I wasn't only dropping the mag but throwing it against rocks with force). The only weak point could be the top door of the magazine but after a direct hit from a rock on that part, the small door still functions. Although the material is deformed, this mark is caused by throwing and not by dropping. I also made drop tests while the magazine was fully loaded but the BBs didn't burst out through the feeding port, not even once. It looks like this mag needs more than a few drops and my car to render it useless and that's good.

I have these mags for a month now and I couldn't say anything bad about them. Probably the only thing I can mention is that the magazine won't stand straight on a completely flat surface, but this can be corrected at home with some sand paper. The amount of time a magazine stands on a flat surface on its own is very minimal so I guess this issue is not even an issue. If you need a reliable mag and its relatively low capacity doesn't bother you then go pick up yours today and you won't be disappointed. For a reliable magazine we just need a reliable M4 now and that wish soon becomes true because the development of the ASAR is in its final stage and hopefully I can start working on the review soon.

Thanks to everyone at Airsoft Systems.