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M-11 Magazine Overview

The MAC family of pistols (like most pistols) use MAGAZINES, not "clips". A "clip" refers to stripper clips used to feed magazines, or the cartridge holders used in the M1 Garand.

Since the M-11 has had so many different magazines available, I have broken them down into three categories:

Metal Magazines
Polymer/Zytel Magazines
Conversion Magazines

Independent Review of Magazine Types by Eric of UziTalk

 

 

Metal Magazines

Even though the metal magazines are considered the preferred material over the polymer magazines, they can be just as unreliable if you don’t purchase a magazine made by a reputable manufacture.

Generally if you stick to a flat-base (not angled base) factory produced / licensed magazine (IE: those with Cobray stamps) you should not run into many problems, but those magazines are now rare.

Offshoot copies have a tendency to be out of spec or made out of cheaper steel. Stay away from magazines produced by the brand “USA”, most have angled bases and these are reportedly some of the worst. ProMag versions are also reported by a lot of M11 owners to cause a lot of feed problems.

Metal magazines for the SWD guns produced in South Africa & Argentina were the most sought after because the other alternatives were the unreliable polymer magazines. These magazines are a little thicker than the Zytels so you may have to file the edges a little or else you won't be able to insert them with the factory stock in collapsed position. This is normally not a problem since most people shoot their guns with the stock extended.

There are also Argentine PAM2 magazines that have been converted to be used with the M11/NINE and M11A1 but they sometimes need tweaking.

The BEST metal mags right now have been introduced by SHOCKWAVE TECHNOLOGIES, and they were specifically designed for the M11/NINE and M11A1 with extensive testing and new custom tooling. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. They're heavier than Zytel mags but feed well even in most "finicky" guns. They're available in both 30 and 50 round capacities and the same mags will work with either .380 ammo or 9mm ammo (depending on your gun/upper) in the SWD and similar M11 "large magwell" guns originally designed to use zytel magazines. Although they are often great right out of the box, if you want (or need) to "tune" them for your gun, click to check out THIS VIDEO
 

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Polymer/Zytel Magazines

Polymer magazines were considered the future in magazine development. Light weight and cheap to produce, SWD thought they had a break through with magazines produced using the material Zytel. Unfortunately this was not to be the case. The M-11 magazine design was not very friendly to magazines made out of Zytel and this decision led to a host of reliability problems that stemmed from the magazine.

Over time the magazine feed lips would be worn away & the pressure from loading a magazine near capacity would cause the magazine lips to spread out. This led to jamming & miss-feeds because the feed angle of the round was altered. The glue used to bind the two halves of early production magazines would also come “unglued” and the magazine would split rendering it useless.

Unfortunately for the SWD guns a lot of the stories about the gun being a “unreliable pos” were a result of the magazine and not the gun.

Before metal replacement magazines were available, a lot of people had their SWD gun's magwell converted to use Sten or UZI magazines during the AWB years (1994-2004) because decent replacement magazines were difficult or impossible to come by.

Today most of the past issues with the Zytels have been solved. The magazines were redesigned decades ago to virtually eliminate the splitting problem, and you can now purchase steel feed lips for them to eliminate the wear issue (see the link on Magazine Repair).

You can find Zytel magazines ranging in a number of capacities from 16 to 32 rounds usually for both the 9mm Luger and .380 ACP M-11s. 16-round magazines are actually 32-round mags that are intentionally cut-off just below the molded line for the alternative floorplate location (you can see that line in the photo to the right). For 32-round Zytel mags, most people find that it's best to stay with those that have the embossed Cobray logo.

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Conversion Magazines
Almost all of the M-11s ever converted to a magazine other then the one it was designed for were the result of the Zytel “problem”.

The STEN magazine conversion was the most popular conversion during the AWB period because of the number of magazines available cheap. Some conversions were done poorly so make sure you know who did the conversion. If you stick to guns converted by Craig Wheatly you should be fine.

Also since the STEN magazines are almost always surplus some of them may have excessive wear and not feed. But they are so cheap you can get 5-10 of them for the price of one good steel M-11 magazine.

The biggest drawback to the STEN magazine is that you really need a loader for the magazines. Since they are single stack it is really a chore just trying to get the rounds in by hand.

A fun little fact is that some M-11s produced by SWD were originally designed for STEN magazines and there are actually some STEN magazines out there with Cobray stamps!

STEN magazines primarly hold 32 rounds but "garage" conversions can be found that range from 10 to 50 rounds. The STEN magazine is only in 9mm Luger.


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