Review: Brownells AR-15 Magazines

Alternate Headline: Two Words… Follower Tilt

Brownells AR-15 Magazines

Yes, its sad but true. Brownells’ Ar-15 magazines can be summed up best in two simple words… Follower Tilt. If you remember back, not too long ago I had a Daniel Defense AR follow me home from the gun shop one day. The guys at the shop threw in two free Brownells mags just as a sweetener, and I have been running them pretty hard ever since.

Seeing as these mags utilize the standard “green” follower, I knew that the odds were going to be pretty good that I was going to run into this problem. However, I wanted to give them some extended time to see if it would be a regular and recurring problem… and indeed it was. Dont get me wrong, these are quality aluminum mags, but the “green” follower is its downfall. I dont have an exact round count on the mags, but it doesnt really matter because follower tilt was a pretty regular occurrence.

Brownells AR-15 Magazines

Now the good news is that there is a simple and affordable fix here… Magpul followers. You can just go ahead and buy the Brownells “Tactical” AR15 magazines instead for about $1-$3 more (depending on sale/promotion). These “tactical” mags are pretty much the same aluminum mag but they have the upgraded Magpul follower. Or you can just pick up some replacement Magpul followers for about $2 each. Either way, it solves the problem of follower tilt.

Brownells AR-15 Magazines

The upgrade process is a pretty simple and easy… and if you have fewer than nine thumbs you should be able to switch out the followers in no time. The three-pack of Magpul followers comes with full instructions and illustrations that explain all the ins and outs in a clear and concise manner. Its really a no-brainer project that any first-timer can do.

You can see in the above photos that the Magpul followers have an extra set of vertical “stabilizers” (for lack of a better term) that are not present on the standard “green” follower. These completely prevent the forward portion of the follower from tilting downward and causing a failure to feed. These new followers also have an extended bolt catch to make sure the bolt locks open after the last round is fired as well as an improved spring stabilizer molded into the underside. This helps to keep spring force centered regardless of how many rounds are in the mag. They also have a vastly different ramp geometry which is meant to ease the travel of the round from the magazine into the chamber.

You can see the newly upgraded magazine with the Magpul follower below on the left… Standard “green” follower shown on the right:

Brownells AR-15 Magazines

I have put about 300 rounds through the new mags now without any issues… and I have no reason to believe that there will be any problems. The carrier just wont tilt with the Magpul followers. Every bit of the functionality of the upgraded magazines is noticeably improved, and I am pretty certain that they will be very reliable magazines going forward. I had designated these mags as strictly for range use only before the upgrade, but I can now say that I would have no problems trusting these mags in a SHTF situation.

  1. Was in the process after today to throw out all of my Brownell Standard mags. Every one of them failed to feed today. Have had them put away for a few years until recently. Thanks for the info, have already ordered new followers.

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