Cammenga EasyMag

If you’ve been using magazine fed weapons for a while, you’ve probably loaded quite a few magazines. Steel and aluminum AR-15 magazines are not very well known for being easy to load, and while mag loaders are available, I’ve never felt the need for one – I’ve just sucked it up and loaded mags the hard way.

This product isn’t new, but it does address this issue in a unique way. The Cammenga EasyMag, which is produced in Michigan, features a “sliding body” design that allows the user to slide the mag open, simply drop rounds into the magazine, and then slide the mag closed. At that point, the mag is ready to go. If your fingers and thumbs don’t have a whole lot of strength, this may be a good option for you. As an aside, it can be loaded and unloaded just like a standard magazine, and it’s remarkably easy to do so.

However, it’s not without drawbacks. In order to slide the magazine open, you have to have a certain amount of grip strength – I handed the mag over to the rangemaster, who is in his 60s, and he was unable to get the magazine open. Also, there are a number of sharp edges which can slice you if you’re not careful. If you don’t load 30 rounds in the mag, or close to it, it may spit out one or two rounds when the follower slams upward. I’ve found that keeping my palm at the top of the mag when closing it will prevent any rounds from flying out. Finally, rounds may slide out the back of the mag when you’re loading #28-30, so it’s best to load two rounds at a time, essentially side by side.

Now, on to function. I’ve destroyed my share of magazines in drop and crush tests, but it wouldn’t make sense to do so without ensuring that the magazine works before anything bad happens to it.

I loaded the magazine with 30 rounds of Silver Bear 62gr HP. Previously, I had fired about 150 rounds of this ammunition through the rifle (Spike’s Tactical CHF upper, Sun Devil lower) without a hitch, using several different types of magazines. The magazine was fairly easy to insert with 30 rounds in the mag and the bolt forward.

The first round fed out of the magazine just fine, but the second didn’t come out of the mag. Here’s a picture of an identical stoppage that I encountered with different ammunition. In over 1500 rounds and with a variety of magazines and ammunition, this weapon has never suffered any kind of stoppage – until now.

Interestingly, tap rack bang didn’t work with this magazine – not at all. In order to rap the bottom of the mag hard enough to have any effect on the follower or the rounds in the mag, I had to remove the mag from the weapon and slam it down on one of the tables at the range. Later, I was able to hit the bottom of the mag with the heel of my hand about a dozen times, and the malfunction was corrected.

The rangemaster and I then fired the remaining 28 rounds without any problems, however, the bolt did not lock back.

I then fired 10 more rounds of Silver Bear, the last I had brought. The bolt locked back, and continued to do so for the rest of my range session.

At that point, I was out of Silver Bear. I had loaded 100 rounds of 55gr .223, so I switched to that. I fired 5 rounds from a loaded mag of 30 to ensure function, then replaced those 5 rounds, and dropped it on asphalt, directly on the feed lips, from chest height – as if I had fumbled a reload. Here’s what the mag looked like.

Other than a few scratches, the magazine looked just fine. I loaded and made ready, and fired the first round. I could feel that the bolt had gone forward, so I squeezed the trigger again…click! I dropped the mag, and here’s what I saw.

Again, tapping the bottom of the mag didn’t work – I had to slam it on the table.

I was then able to fire the rest of that magazine without and problems.

I loaded and dropped the mag three more times, firing 5 to 10 rounds after each drop, then replenishing the magazine. During one of these strings of fire, I encountered another FTF, which is pictured above.

While it didn’t spit out any rounds during the four drops – which is very rare, in my experience – it did cause the rounds to stick out of the mag at odd angles. These problems were relatively easy to fix with finger pressure.

After the fourth drop, I noticed a crack forming at the rear of the right feed lip, on a spot weld.

At this point, I stopped drop testing, and fired the remaining ammunition without any problems.

After I had expended the 140 rounds used for testing, I opened and closed the mag a few times to see if it had gotten any easier to do so. I don’t think that it had, but on one of the cycles, I “over-closed” the mag, and this was the result.

It was pretty easy to slide back into place, and I was unable to repeat that issue, but it was interesting nonetheless.

In my opinion, a magazine has one purpose: to work. If it doesn’t work, it’s not useful. While this mag has many good points – the strength of its spring steel body, for example – the simple fact that I encountered so many stoppages and issues means that I wouldn’t use it outside of the training arena. Even if it had functioned perfectly, I’m not convinced that it is very useful for folks with bad joints or weak hands, because it does require a good amount of force to open, although closing the mag is easier. It would certainly be beneficial for those who have to continually load mags over and over and over, such as in a carbine course – but for patrol, duty or combat, magazines should be loaded prior to use, even if that takes a few extra minutes to load the “old way”.

My standard disclaimer: I was provided with this magazine, free of charge, for test and evaluation purposes, by someone connected with Cammenga.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Magazines

3 responses to “Cammenga EasyMag

  1. Mike W

    As usual, great test and data. I wish I’d read this 8 months ago when I bought mine 🙂 .

    I have 4 of these mags and I’ll add some things and some of those things that confirm your tests

    1) When closing the “open” mag, if you don’t have your palm or thumb over the top, it’ll spit rounds out and I learned this the hard way.

    2) You can over-close it.

    3) They can be difficult to open even for strong guys. I found you may have to show someone once, and then they can get it since there is a technique to it.

    4) They are heavy because they are steel.

    5) They did make it thru a carbine class. And I suffered zero feed issues with them. I did not bounce them like a ball while using them though. Now, they do only indoor range duty when I suspect I may have to load mags with other people and I have only one Lula.

    6) After using, PMAGs, these, and Okay brand modified mags, the PMAGs are my first choice, Okays second, these last.

    7) I’ve read Cammenga’s CS is very good, though I haven’t tested it myself.

  2. mlwartman

    a few tricks i use. spray some gun oil on the slide rails. they loosen up and slide a bit more freely.

    the steel corners of the slide bit me a few times when searching for a “safe” technique to use. i find if i hold the back of the mag in my right hand across my body with that hand under the mag, then grip the slide with my left, it’s fairly consistant, and there is less of a chance of spraying the rounds remaining in the clip onto the ground.

    the mag seems to open up at the top when it’s open to load. thus, the rounds don’t stack cleanly.

    quite often i’ll get a round at a random part that will set the base of the round into the center well and screw up the whole system. grabbing the nose of the round and pulling it to the front usually lets the stack reseat properly, but come on.

    i practiced loading a few times (i wanted to see if i could load in 30 seconds like on the promo video. lol). a hint on keepint the rounds in the mag is not to slam the slide closed. slide it up to the point where it would release the spring tension, which is almost closed, then push it home smoothly. slamming the slide closed upsets the stack and at least 1 or 2 rounds go flying.

    as for holding them in, you had better luck than i do. i was carrying a mag back to the bedroom and dropped it from roughly waist high onto carpet and it spit 2 rounds onto the floor.

    thinking i’m going with magpuls next. or a pmag.

  3. Hk

    My rifle came with a couple of these so naturally, I tried them out. I had similar feeding issues to the ones you depicted and have narrowed it down to loading the magazine, “wrong.” You must keep the magazine upright when loading or the rounds will stagger abnormally upon closure, causing cartridges to not feed correctly. Some users like to close it at 25, then load the remaining 5 by hand to address this issue.

    As for opening the thing, I’ve found it easiest to grasp the mag with both hands, squeeze it and use both thumbs to unlock the magazine and which point should make it easier to open it however you want.

    I agree 100% with this article though; these mags make for nice range gear, but I wouldn’t bet my life on them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s