Magwell Comparisons



Having a bunch of various magwells and the recent release of the Magpul magwells for the Gen3/4 Glock 19/17 prompted me to put together a short write up of comparing magwells.  Specifically covering different types of magazines they accept and what type they do not.  How they fit in my hand and my personal experience with these magwells will be documented in the end.


Gen4 19 + Magpul Magwell:



ETS Group Glock 19 magzine, fitment is good, easy to seat, very little to grip on the front of the mag and would be difficult to strip if needed to quickly.


Gen3 OEM Glock 19 magazine, does not seat and will fall out, very little grip on front and back of the mag and would be very difficult to strip out quickly.


Gen5 OEM Glock 19 magazine, sometimes will not "click" in with the slide forward, but will seat easily with slide back.  No grip up front and some grip on the rear of the mag and would be very difficult to strip out quickly.


OEM Gen3 Glock 17 magazine, no issues.


OEM Gen3 Glock 17 magazine with TTI extension, no issues.

Gen3 G19 + Magpul Magwell:



ETS group Glock 19 magazine, seat/fitment good, very little grip on the front, some grip on the rear, would be slightly difficult to strip quickly.


Gen3 OEM Glock 19 magazine, does not seat and will fall out, very little grip on front and back of the mag and would be very difficult to strip out quickly.


Gen5 OEM Glock 19 magazine, does seat but you really have to press shove it in with force on a forward slide, with the slide back it will seat fine.  No grip on the front area and slight grip on the rear, would be difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Glock 17 magazine, no issues.


OEM Glock 17 magazine with TTI extension, no issues.

Gen3 G17 + Magpul Magwell:



OEM Gen3 G17 10 round magazine seats/fits fine, slight grip area on front and rear, slight difficulty if needed to strip quickly.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag seats/fits fine, slight grip area on front and rear, slight difficulty if needed to strip quickly.


OEM Gen5 G17 mag seats tightly, especially if the pressure is on the front of the magazine plate during insertion.  No grip area on the front of the mag and very small amount on the rear, would be very difficult to strip quickly.


Magpul G17 mag with a Zev extension, no issues.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag with a TTI extension, no issues.

Gen3 G19 + Zev Universal Magwell Pro Compact Models:



ETS group G19 magazine seats easily, very difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen3 G19 magazine seats easily, very difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen5 G19 mag does not seat, regardless of slide position or force.


OEM Gen5 G17 magazine, no issues.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag with a TTI extension, no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension, no issues.

Gen4 G19 + Zev Universal Magwell Pro Compact Models:



ETS group G19 magazine will seat with the slide back easily with little force required, with the slide forward requires a tap or two.  Difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen3 G19 magazine seats with no issues, regardless of slide position, difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen5 G19 magazine does not seat.



OEM Gen5 G17 mag seats no issues.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag with TTI extension seats no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension seats no issues.

Glock 17 + Zev Pro Plus Universal Magwell:


OEM Gen3 G17 10 round mag seats easily, very small amount of grip surface on front and back of magazine plate, would be very difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag seats easily, very small amount of grip surface on front and back of magazine plate, would be very difficult to strip quickly.



OEM Gen3 G17 mag with TTI Extension, no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension, no issues.

Gen4 G19 + Zev Pro Plus Universal Magwell:



ETS group G19 mag seats easily, very difficult to remove quickly.



OEM Gen3 G19 mag seats easily, very difficult to remove quickly.




OEM Gen5 G19 mag does not seat.



OEM Gen5 G17 mag seats with no issues.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag with TTI extension seats with no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension seats with no issues.

Gen3 G19 + Zev Pro Plus Universal Magwell:



ETS group G19 mag seats easily, very difficult to strip quickly.



OEM Gen3 G19 mag seats easily, very difficult to strip quickly.




OEM Gen5 G19 mag does not seat.



OEM Gen3 G17 mag seats with no issues.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag with TTI extension seats with no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension seat with no issues.

Gen3 G17 + Raven Freya:



OEM Gen5 G17 mag will seat fine empty, you will have to give it a bit of force to seat a full mag.  Very difficult to strip quickly.


OEM Gen3 G17 mag seats fine no, is slightly difficult to strip.


OEM Gen3 G17 with TTI extension, no issues.


Magpul G17 mag with Zev extension, no issues.

Close up of magwells:



The Magpul magwells are clearly different in appearance up close but from standard eye to hand level, though they may look similar.  There are generation stamps and model stamps on them so you do not get confused.  The 17 magwell stamp is in a different location than the 19 magwell stamp.


The overall shapes are also different.


The metal magwells come in various shapes, designs and sizes.


The Raven Freya is a two piece magwell (the only two piece magwell I have).



The Zev Pro Plus Universal Magwell is one piece and is the largest magwell out of the bunch.


The Zev Universal Pro Compact Magwell has a lower profile than the other Zev magwell.

Considerations:
I did not include a G17 sized magpul magazine in the mix as it fit every magwell without issue.  I did not expect each magwell to work with the Gen5 mags as the mag plates came out after the magwells were already in circulation.  I also had an ALG magwell, the AFM, but I sold that very quickly after purchasing it knowing full well I was not going to carry it everyday or train with it as it was too heavy and did not provide outweighing grip stability.  As far as hand size goes I do not have bear mitts, so my experience and opinion may not be consistent with someone who has massive or very small hands.  The size of your hands matters versus the size of the pistol frame.  A decent magwell on a G19 frame will work really well if you have big hands but may not do anything at all if you have small hands, same goes for the G17.

Observations from use:
I carried every magwell listed above for at least one month AIWB concealed, nearly ever single day, I also ran numerous drills with each magwell to see which one fits my hand(s) best.   I wanted to make sure I carried each one enough before posting anything about them.  After the Magpul magwells came out I wanted to give them a run before posting a comparison as they are a third of the price of some of the metal magwells.

Zev Universal Pro Compact magwell was the best feeling magwell I used for my G19 EDC.  It fit the best in my hand and gave me no issues with the magazines I carry and use every single day.  While carrying with this magwell concealed it made the glock grip slightly stick out, that was dependent on clothing selection.  In the summer while wearing a t-shirt it was not something I enjoyed carrying as I felt it stuck out (but you always think you are printing even when you are not).  This magwell did provide good overall grip retention while shooting and using the firearm in various ways.  The large metal screw did not bother my grip, but some have reported that it bothered them.

Zev Pro Plus Universal magwell is almost as big as the ALG AFM but not as heavy.  It prints when carrying with a t-shirt, a few friends would point it out to me at the range and it was pretty obvious it was not designed for concealed carry, but overt carry.  Its very aesthetically appealing but that is were its usefulness ends.  It did not add anything to overall grip retention as far as I could tell.

Raven Freya was on a G17 for the duration as it did not fit any Gen3/4 G19 I had.  I do not believe this magwell was designed with concealment in mind, especially not with summer t-shirt weather concealment.  The hard angles and lines on the bottom of the magwell are not conducive with concealment in my opinion.  It was also like a reduced version of the ALG AFM, so it did not offer as much overall grip retention as I would have liked from a magwell.  I am not an engineer and do not understand the reason behind having a two piece design over a one piece design, so I will only say it does not seem as though has any benefit to the end user.

The Magpul magwells are very small, My hand(s) do not touch them on the G17 and just brush them on the G19's.  They make it very difficult to "tug" on the mag base-plate in order to see if the mag is correctly seated, this is an issue with most of the magwells.  They were clearly designed for concealment due to their small form and rounded edges.  In my opinion they do not offer anything worthwhile over carrying a Glock without them, except restriction of magazine selection.

Recommendations:
I am not going to carry with a magwell, not concealed, not overt.  I could not determine any measurable benefit to having a magwell in terms of accuracy or overall grip retention during rapid shooting.  Even with the Zev Compact Pro magwell, which felt the best in my hands did not show any tangible increase in accuracy or speed.  Of course I do not have the largest of hands and if you do then a magwell may be something you may want to try.  For concealment there is no positive aspect of having a magwell, especially the larger metal magwells.  None of the magwells offered better master-grip during draw stroke either.

The arguments in favor of magwells I have heard are:

Faster/easier mag changes - if you practice mag changes properly you should have no issues.  This point may come from the guys who complain about the Gen5 cutout and getting their mags stuck on the load/reload, that is improper training which can only be corrected by proper training, software not hardware.

Reduced recoil impulse/feeling - This was a big selling point for the ALG AFM I was told, and I wanted to see for myself as it had a big weight in the grip.  I could not see any benefit on a timer when shooting Bill drills or anything of that sort.

Gives you something to reference when reloading - I do not believe this is a thing, though people do neon color the inside of their pistol magwells sometimes, I always looked at this as training wheels for a developing skill set.  The only time I practice mag loads/reloads is when I am loading/unloading a pistol and when I am shooting at the range.  The rest of the time it is not something I even remotely consider in any way as it is a solid "checked" box.

It is good for gaming/competition - I do not shoot competition so, I will not speculate.

As usual, everything breaks down to training.  If you train properly you will not need a magwell.  It does not help you conceal better, it does not help you do anything better which I can measure that may positively effect your ability to win a violent confrontation.  I think it just looks really cool and is aesthetically pleasing enough to drive people to buy them.  Great! Whatever dives your submarine, but they do not actually do anything other than look cool in my opinion and the negatives far outweigh whatever possible positives you may believe exist, especially for everyday concealed carry.

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