Microtech is known for their high quality knives and most in the knife community hold Microtech blades in high regard including me, I’m a big fan of Microtech blades. Around 2007 Microtech decided to get into the gun manufacturing business with their Steyr AUG clone, known as the MSAR STG-556, which was released to the public after its debute at the 2007 SHOT Show. The rifle met with mixed reviews and the company eventually ended up releasing several updated versions of the rifle. By the time they got around to the E4 version it seemed that customers were pretty happy with their rifles. There always seems to be a few bumps along the way when bringing a new product to market, it’s to be expected.
Along with their rifles, Microtech Small Arms Research (MSAR) introduced a polymer 30 round 5.56mm AR15 type magazine around 2009, at least that’s when I first recall hearing about them. Like the STG 556 rifle, the magazines met with mixed reviews, mostly negative actually. The mags suffered from a couple of different issues with the most problematic being the mags could bind up and cause failures to feed. Microtech wasn’t going to let that stand, so they took another look at their magazine and released a much improved version that came to market sometime after February of 2013. If you’re shopping for MSAR magazines, each of the mags will be date coded on the left side of the body just under the magazine catch cut-out. You will want mags manufactured after Feb 2013. If you have older magazines, Microtech tells me they will exchange your older mags free of charge for the new models.
The new XM-30 E4 magazines look very promising. I have four of the new 30 round magazines for testing and I will be doing my usual abusive tests which I will share on the Military Arms Channel in the near future.
The magazines are made of a proprietary polymer that Microtech claims is chemical resistent and has low moisture absorption. It’s claimed to be resistent to deformity which is important. One of the weaknesses of previous polymer magazine designs was their polymer bodies and feed lips deforming if left loaded for extended periods of time. This is one of the reasons Magpul ships their popular PMAG with a cap. The cap is keep debris out of the magazine but is also designed to relieve the pressure on the feed lips of a fully loaded magazine to prevent them from deforming and causing malfunctions. The Microtech mags do not have a cap, it’s claimed their lips will not deform. I have a magazine I plan to leave loaded for 30 days to see if any deformities occur in either the body or the feed lips.
The XM-30 magazines are both thicker around the base and heavier than a PMAG. The XM-30 E4 has a conventional thickness of .87″ where it inserts into the magazine well, but then tapers up to a thickness of .99″ making it approximately .07″ thicker than a 3rd Gen PMAG (.92″) at the base. For reference, the 3rd Gen PMAG has a thickness of .89″ at the magazine well. The slight increase in thickness at the base doesn’t appear to interfere with the mags use in various magazine pouches in my experience. The XM30 E4 weighs 6.2oz whereas the 3rd Gen PMAG weighs 5oz flat.
The XM-30 E4 is designed to work with both 5.56 and 300BLK cartridges. It’s available in black, OD green, dark earth and smoke/transparent. The ribbing is agressive giving the operator a positive grip on the magazine when stripping it from the rifle even with wet or muddy hands. Inside you’ll find a 17-7PH steel spring and a polymer anti-tilt follower. The floor plate is is held in place by the body spring and is released by depressing two buttons for easy maintenance.
While it appears as though the XM-30 E4 has windows for viewing the remaining rounds in the magazine in these pictures, it does not have such a window. Only on the smoke/transparent magazine can you see the rounds remaining in the magazine.
I’ve tried the XM-30 E4 in the Tavor, NATO AUG, HK MR556A1, Colt 6920, ACR, SCAR 16s and even the Definitive Arms AK and they fit fine. I will conduct extensive testing of the magazines before shooting a full review video.
I got to handle the prototype XM40 which is the new 40 round 5.56 magazine based on the XM-30 E4 due to hit the shelves very soon.
Microtech is also offering 5 round, 7 round, 9 round, 10 round and 20 round versions of the XM-30 magazine. These will be pinned and should be legal in those states with various laws governing magazine capacity.
The black XM30 E4 is aggressively priced at a MSRP of $13.50. The smoke/transparent version has a suggested MSRP of $20.00. Since MSRP is often times higher than actual street prices, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these selling for a few bucks less at your favorite online vendor or local gun shop. That makes them very attractive if you’re looking to buy a bunch of magazines for a rainy day.
Stay tuned for more info.