Loaded Magazine Weight Comparison

There are many decision factors where selecting a weapon for everyday carry. In the case of a bag-carried support weapon, weight, size, concealment, ease of deployment, steps to deployment, caliber, and expected contact distances are all important factors.

In some cases, you may give up caliber and barrel length to lessen weight and increase concealment. The major reason I switched from an SBR AK47 to an AR15 pistol was the weight of the firearm. But one thing that may sneak by you is the weight of your spare magazines.

Quick! What weighs more: 33 rounds of 9mm in a polymer Glock magazine, or 29 rounds of 5.56 in a polymer AR15 mag?

The answer is in this video, and at the bottom of the page if you can’t wait.

Magazine types and weights

Magazine type Caliber # of rounds Loaded weight
Glock “Happy Stick” 9mm 33 1 lb 3.4 oz
STEN metal mag 9mm 32 1 lb 8.6 oz
MagPul 20 round PMAG .300 BLK 18 13 oz
MagPul 30 round PMAG .300 BLK 28 1 lb 5.2 oz
MagPul 30 round PMAG 5.56×45 29 1 lb 1.4 oz
Steel 20 round “Tanker” AK mag 7.62×39 20 1 lb 6.6 oz
US Palm 30 round AK mag 7.62×39 30 1 lb 9.6 oz

This is where the loadout differences between an AR15 in .300 BLK and an equivalently-sized AK47 starts to get more apparent.

The unloaded weight of my .300 BLK AR15 pistol is 6 lb, 8.8 ounces. The unloaded weight of my Mini Draco AK47 SBR is 6 lb, 14 ounces.

With either weapon, I load a 20-round size mag (18-rounds for the downloaded .300 BLK) with two spare 30-round size magazines. I download my AR15 magazines because the plastic PMAGs are prone to seating problems when loaded to capacity.

So, total weight for the firearm and three magazines:

.300 BLK AR15: 10 lb 0.2 ounces

7.62×39 AK47: 11 lb 7.8 ounces

KPOS + Glock 19 + 15 round magazine + 2 33-round Glock magazines: 7 lb 5 ounces

This doesn’t account for the other stuff in my bags, such as a trauma kit, everyday items kit, tablet, etc.

I have been considering taking on an ultra-light AR15 build, but it seems like the easiest way to drop over a pound from your EDC is to only take one spare magazine.

Where would you cut the weight?

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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14 Comments on "Loaded Magazine Weight Comparison"

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  1. Georg Schiffer says:

    Dear Shepherd!
    Have you considered a very minimalist approach to a pistol caliber carbine?
    In two weeks I´m getting a Gen4 Glock 20 with a taclight for EDC. At the moment I´m looking at different options for a snap on shoulder stock. I will carry the stock and a couple of mags in my bag.
    If need arises, I just put on the stock and have a shoulder fired weapon with plenty of power. Same sights, same handling as my handgun, minimal weight.
    What do you think of it?

    Regards, Georg (from Austria, Central Europe)

    PS: Keep up the good work! I stumbled across your website some weeks ago and am delighted and impressed! (I always thought to be the only tactical shooter and pen and paper rpg nerd…)

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Greetings from the United States! We did a very brief evaluation of the “ENDO” stock while testing the Glock enclosures. We found that it was difficult to get proper sight alignment when the stock was installed. There may be other options out there that are a similar stock design, but we were not impressed by the ENDO.

      In regards to pen and paper RPGs — there are MANY of us 🙂 We should have challenge coins or something like that 🙂

      • Georg Schiffer says:

        There´s an austrian manufacturer I´m inclined to give a try; their stocks are ugly as sin, but seem to habe a good reputation; if that doesn´t work out, well, one can always go Fab Defense, I assume.. 🙂

        GURPS all the way!

  2. Hanns says:

    Georg, there are a lot of us PnP gaming geeks who are gun nerds as well. Fun fact, I have a VP70 because it was the coolest gun in the old James Bond roleplaying game from the 80’s.

    🙂

  3. vanderlin says:

    sir, on the table, you list the 9mm glcok mag as 1lb 3.8, in the vid it was 1 lb 3.4.

    why are you downloading your pmags? It is not necessary.

    Why are you comparing AK mags loades w/ 30 to AR mags loaded w/ 29 or 28?

    Also, what are the bullet weights?? This does matter. 33 115 g bullets weigs 1056 grams less than 22 147 grain bullets, that is .15 lbs per stick mag, .45 lbs for three mags (beisdes whatever minimal difference in charge weight).

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Thank you for the comments!

      I will fix the table, thanks for pointing out the discrepancy.

      At least once every rifle class a student has a PMAG fail to seat properly because it is not downloaded. I am glad yours have been working out for you.

      The weight comparison amount other calibers is part of the point of the article.

      Good point about bullet weights, I should have mentioned that in the video.

      • van der lin says:

        sir,
        could you please list in the table or the article somewhere what is the bullet grains of the ammo in these magazines? Doing so would make this much more valuable for reference.

  4. vanderlin says:

    sir, I stand corrected about the p mags not needing to be downloaded. I thought they were engineered to be a little more generous to account for how tight GI mags are sometimes. You would know better than most if this is an issue or not.

    one question, why 28 rds of 300 BO and 29 rds of 5.56?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      The profile of a loaded .300 is bigger than a .223 / 5.56. I found that loading 29 rounds of .300 still caused seating problems. Going to 28 (or 18 in my shorter magazine) fixed all of that.

  5. DB says:

    I have drank the light weight AR15 kool-aide… I do love the feel, and it is easier for the lady to handle. Just be aware that if you attempt this some products are priced at a premium to shave an ounce or fraction of an ounce. Plus you will need to decide on functionality vs the end goal of weight reduction (example: law tactical folding stock adapter which adds 10.625oz). In the end your best solution may be to drop a magazine and switch to 20 round polymer mags. Keep up the good articles…

Post a Reply to DB