Cover photo credit: Rudy
When in doubt, stack another magazine.
There’s a reason why seasoned AR-15 fanatics stack various types of spare magazines, and it usually involves reliability and abundance issues.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular visitor at the ranges, or you just like to casually shoot some clay pigeons. Having an extra set of various magazine calibers gives you peace of mind, as well as a window of firepower options.
Magazines can be damaged, the springs can be worn out, and you never know when the next shortage will hit, so purchasing more just seems like a no-brainer.
You’ve probably heard about this versatile AR magazine. That’s because this magazine is an essential model to consider, and I’ll explain why.
In this guide, we’ll talk about this interesting magazine type, its qualities and downsides, why you should buy it, where to find the best deal, and list the best of the best .458 SOCOM magazines on the market today.
First, let’s brief the details.
A Brief History of the .458 SOCOM Caliber?
The .458 SOCOM magazine is the end result of careful firearm component developments that effortlessly converts an AR-15 rifle into a high-caliber powerhouse without much modification. It’s a large round specifically modeled to increase the stopping power of an AR-15 over the standard 5.56x45mm NATO round.
Marty ter Weeme and Tony Rumore of Tromix designed the first .458 SOCOM cartridge in 2000 to be used in the M4 carbine and the M16 rifle.
The Special Task Force Rangers in Mogadishu needed more firepower to neutralize Somali insurgents that were hopped up on the drug Khat which increased their pain tolerance.
Why Go for .458 SOCOM Magazines?
It can be loaded from a .223/5.56 AR magazine and has been perfected throughout the years to the point where reliability and feeding issues are lowered to a near-absolute minimum. We’ll talk more about compatibility and mag cycling below.
.458 SOCOM upper receivers are compatible with traditional 5.56 AR lower receivers, which means that you can easily swap to a .458 SOCOM model from a 5.56 AR-15 without having to buy a brand new rifle.
Building a proper .458 SOCOM rifle requires reliable parts, but sometimes they can be difficult to find. Of all the popular AR-15 magazines, the .458 SOCOM is often overlooked for whatever reason.
That’s why we’ll discuss the .458 SOCOM in its entirety, and help you narrow down your choices for the most suitable magazine.
Best .458 SOCOM Magazines
We’ll list some of the best .458 SOCOM magazines in no particular order other than price and characteristics,
Let’s start with the D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM 4-Round
- Rust and corrosion resistant Teflon finish
- Increased durability with hard-coated, high-quality material
- Big bore follower increases reliability when feeding
- Aluminum design similar to classic USGI Magazines
- Not very affordable
- Only four rounds (although it’s suitable for hunting)
The D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM magazine is a US-made magazine built from aircraft-grade aluminum which offers excellent durability and corrosion resistance
D&H is a Wisconsin-based manufacturer well-known for making top-quality rifle parts for more than 30 years. They specialize in USGI style magazines. The hard-coated, anodized material with a black Teflon finish on the .458 SOCOM mag can attest to this.
It’s constructed from 17-7PH stainless steel, and the mags come with a patented big-bore follower which offers reliable feeding and minimal reloading issues.
The downside is that it only has 4 rounds, although some may find that the light weight feels very pleasant when handling.
That being said, if you’re in a state with rigorous laws on magazine capacity, this is actually a big positive. Some gun owners would appreciate the 4-round magazine for hunting.
Overall, if you’re looking for a durable and consistent magazine and you don’t need extra capacity, the D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM may be your best bet.
- 10-round mag capacity
- Excellent grip
- Light polymer offers a lightweight feel
- Hardened steel feed lips, curved design, and non-tilt follower for increased feeding reliability
- Not very affordable and may be hard to find
Here’s the CMMG MKW-15 .458 SOCOM magazine for those of you who have extra cash to spend on a highly durable, corrosion and rust-resistant magazine with a lightweight feel.
CCMG have been active on the magazine and component scene since 2002, and they are concentrated on semi-auto rifles like the AR-15 and the M4.
The CMMG MKW-15 has an impact-resistant and shockproof body, all thanks to the polymer body and silicone materials and reinforced steel feed lips that ensure secure feeding. It has a very useful, steel magazine catch too, if you’re looking for better handling than the D&H 4-rounder.
This magazine is easy to assemble and easy to handle, as the floor plates feel slick and easy to slide off. The springs and followers are very durable as far as I can tell, because they are also made of corrosion-resistant material. The follower has a non-tilt design that can withstand shock.
It also has a great texture and grip which feels not too rough and not too smooth, so it’s suitable for wet and humid weather. Still, it depends on whether or not your palms sweat a lot.
With this price point, the CMMG MKW-15 is expensive, there’s no doubt about it.
But, with the characteristics and features this magazine has in contrast to the others on this list, it actually has a balanced value for its price. The attention to detail is unmatched, and you get a magazine made of high-quality material with easy handling and fast reloading.
- Great value
- Shockproof, polymer, and steel material
- Corrosion and heat resistant
- Excellent grippy surface
- Compatible with Mil-Spec pouches
- Difficult to find
Here’s the great Lancer AR-15 L5AWM magazine (AWM stands for ‘Advanced Warfighter Magazine’).
It’s made from a solid combination of steel and polymer, and it’s designed to take all kinds of punishments from bad weather, drop damage, etc, and can withstand the test of time for many years. Not only that, but it just feels so lightweight, which makes it perfect for keeping your mobility while hunting.
The material is heat-treated and can withstand high temperatures when firing, it’s corrosion-resistant, and can take a beating.
For smooth feeding and reloading, you have wrap-around magazine steel feed lips that are secured firmly and give you a solid grip.
They’re made of reinforced steel that will hold its place even when you fully load it. This is one of its best features, and it has the most rigid stability in contrast to most of the magazines on this list.
The construction is non-reflective, which doesn’t allow light to scare off game when hunting. It also has aftermarket compatibility with USGI and Mil-Spec pouches.
As one of the sturdiest of builds, the Lancer mag offers unmatched strength and stability if you’re looking for a mid to a large-capacity magazine.
- Strong, rust-resistant stainless steel magazine spring
- High durability
- Great value and cost-effective
It’s one of the most valued magazines on this list, and although it’s cheap, it’s definitely worth every feature.
It has a highly durable, stainless steel, rust-resistant build with a classic USGI feel.
C Product Defense are based in Florida and have been at it since 2011, creating excellent features for semi-automatic rifles, and their .458 SOCOM mag is undoubtedly one of their most prized designs. It’s built for durability and reliability.
They already know that 5.56 magazines don’t work on .458 SOCOM rifles, so they went straight for the construction and the design, addressing the miniature details that greatly impact feeding reliability.
The manufacturer went for a single high capacity magazine with 10 rounds because it’s enough for both hunting and self-defense, as well as tactical military use.
Moreover, the 10-round capacity means that the state authorities will be off your back.
The stainless steel construction is shockproof and shatterproof, and while the only downsides may be that it’s pretty heavy, which will limit your mobility, it’s still a viable option for any hunter.
It’s an inexpensive option that offers high capacity and unmatched strength in construction.
- Reliable feeding
- Heat-treated, anti-corrosion coating
- Durable steel base plate
- Innovative, self-leveling, anti-tilt followers
E-lander is an Israeli manufacturer that has been in the business for over 60 years, so you can expect top-notch reliability with this .458 SOCOM mag. The Israeli just know their military hardware so well, and they don’t spare their resources and technologies on .458 SOCOM mags either.
There are a lot of special forces and anti-terrorist organizations that use E-lander mags, and this is why.
The E-lander .458 SOCOM 10-round magazine is a heat-treated steel mag with a special KTL coating that offers corrosion resistance that’s able to dish out extended firing periods. With this 10-rounder, you have a well-balanced amount of utility and firepower.
Additionally, it has an innovative, self-leveling, anti-tilt follower for added reliability, just like the Magpul followers. I can say that this might be the highlight of this magazine because the follower can be critical for constant, reliable feeding.
This heavy-duty steel mag is a more crack and dent-proof version than other aluminum magazines you may find, and although it’s heavier, it offers excellent durability and longevity as a viable trade-off.
Since it’s a 10-rounder, it’s also a very acceptable magazine capacity within any state. Just remember to check your laws for this.
In certain jurisdictions, ten rounds is also the permissible maximum mag power.
The E-lander .458 SOCOM 10-round mag is not US-made, but I’m pretty sure it can be a great addition to your utility belt.
Here are some more viable .458 SOCOM magazine options.
- Solid grip texture
- 30-rounds capacity
- Durable, self-lubricating, corrosion-resistant polymer
- Smooth and curved design
- Non-extended magazine
- Although viable, not very compatible with .458 SOCOM
Here’s a 5.56 mag that can be worth a .458 SOCOM shot.
This is a choice cut from Magpul, and it’s a budget option that has all the important features.
This solid, 30-rounder means business. The Magpul AR-15 PMAG 30-round magazine has a stable architecture with self-lubricating, corrosion-resistant polymer with fiber reinforcement that offers maximum durability and smooth handling when reloading.
The springs and followers are durable enough to last for years and years, and it has no joints or spot welds that could damage the follower or the other internal components.
With a slick, curved design, and an anti-tilt follower to balance the bullet stack, the PMAG makes sure you won’t have any feeding or bolt problems.
It has a very handy ledge on the base plate to make things easier for you when you retrieve it from the pouches. It’s also easy to disassemble.
Built to withstand massive heat when firing, the pressure-treated and tension relief stainless steel spring ensures it endures those long hours at the ranges. Although it’s a 5.56, you can still use it for .458 SOCOM duty, but it’s not recommended.
The mag is fitted with external ribs for increased handling, and you also have a grab notch instead of regular pits if you don’t like dirt and buildup in your gun.
It’s perfect for hunting as well, because it’s lightweight enough not to get in the way of your mobility and operation.
- Solid ‘Hexture Honeycomb’ grip
- Reliable feeding
- Innovative PolyHex2 composite material for increased durability
- HexID color coding for easy ammunition identification
- You’ll need to readjust your mag release if you live in California
Here’s a very interesting magazine that’s inspired by natural patterns.
Hexmag is a Virginia-based manufacturer that got into the magazine business in 2013, and they are focused on innovation and experimental designs that hopefully increase durability, longevity, and offer ease of use.
They pay extreme attention to detail and they hope to skyrocket in the 5.56, M4, and .458 business with their products. By the looks of things, they are well on their way.
The Hexmag True .458 SOCOM 10-round magazine is a true wonder to behold. The body is carefully built and follows a blueprint of their patented composite material – PolyHex2, which has great durability, weather-proof, and shockproof features that are perfect for hunting grounds.
It follows the ‘Hexture’ (a witty wordplay on ‘texture’) pattern that reminds of honeycombs, and the idea behind this is to make good use of spacing, grips, and to increase handling when reloading.
The “HexID” patented color-coded pattern helps you distinguish the ammo when you’re loading the magazine, and its assembly doesn’t need tools.
The Hexmag design also comes with a special riser mechanism which is located just below the follower. Its duty is to monitor the firepower while maintaining a full-size magazine. It’s heat-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about overfiring the gun.
The riser is made of a composite material with highly durable fabric, and the springs and followers are corrosion-proof, and heat-treated stainless steel.
It’s a brilliant and innovative new magazine design that hopefully will impact today’s industry and influence new ideas on how to approach modern mag construction.
Apparently, we can learn a thing or two from bees.
Here are some things to consider before buying a .458 SOCOM magazine.
Keep in mind that these rounds are twice as big as the .223/5.56 rounds and still would fit your regular AR-15 magazines, but it’s advisable to go for the standard .458 SOCOM compatibility to avoid any feeding problems.
Look out for these characteristics and questions when going for this type of magazine.
Polymer or Metal Magazines
If you’re a seasoned semi-automatic rifle enthusiast, chances are, you like to have a strong steel or aluminum mag at your disposal.
Some of you might like the lightweight and durable polymer magazines with fine grips.
It’s important to note that stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum mags are the toughest, most durable magazines you can find on the market, but they are heavier than polymer or other lightweight materials and finishes.
Magazines with metal lips offer increased handling and smoother feeding, and some may have specially designed cuts for a more reliable and snag-free operation. A polymer magazine can be more shockproof than an aluminum one.
Lancer and Magpul make excellent polymer magazines with a lightweight feel, but whether they’re a good fit for you depends entirely on whether or not you like your mags durable or lightweight.
If you’re a hunter, I suggest you go for polymer if you don’t want the mags to limit your mobility.
Why Would You Need a .458 Socom Anyway?
Simply put, .458 mags were designed for better feeding and compatibility with other rifles like the 5.56.
You can find these mags in many different round capacities from 4-rounders to 30-rounders. This is because some states won’t allow more than 10 or 15 rounds per mag.
That’s why some people will find these mags greatly beneficial because they offer peace of mind.
What About Capacity?
You have the D&H 4-round magazine which is awesome for hunting, and then you have the CMMG MKW-15 with a 10-round capacity which is good for self-defense.
You can find good deals on aftermarket magazines, and I suggest you go for 10-round magazines as a well-balanced and accepted capacity.
Make sure your magazine’s capacity is legally allowed in your state. The .458 SOCOM is accepted in all states, but it depends on how much it holds.
For more reference, here’s an interesting article about the difference between a clip and a magazine.
Strength of Springs and Followers
This is a crucial factor when deciding which magazine you’re going to buy.
Almost every .458 SOCOM mag follower has an anti-tilt design with stainless steel springs that offer precise and safe feeding. Durability depends on the material which they’re made from.
They should always be steel-made and have certain design patterns that avoid wearing, and this usually means rust and corrosion-resistant alloys which don’t give up that easily.
Always look for steel springs and followers when going for magazines.
Truth be told, the reason why .458 mags are expensive is because they are still not popular enough to be commonly manufactured, as there’s still not much demand for them. Not only that, but they are difficult to find.
Remember that you can purchase a couple of 5.56 magazines instead of buying a single .458 SOCOM mag. That’s why you hear people recommending you go for 5.56.
It’s alright. Not everyone requires them, but they offer solid reliability, and if you’re going for a .458 SOCOM rifle, purchasing a compatible round is a no-brainer.
The price point for these types of mags is 20 to 30 dollars per magazine, so you should decide what to go for.
What About the Grip Texture?
This is very important too.
The grip textures on a magazine depend on your preference and it really isn’t an issue until you feel it on the palm of your hand.
Ribs and stippling are always a good choice, but some like it smoother.
You’ll need a grippy surface, especially during rainy weather, so try to look for magazines that have a well-balanced texture that you can securely hold while reloading.
There are not many aftermarket mag grips available, but you wouldn’t really need them anyway.
What’s a .458 SOCOM Magazine Good For?
It’s great if you need more stopping power. It’s suitable for hunting and target practice.
If you’re a gun owner that’s looking for a left-handed AR-15 or a left-handed upper, check out our guide here.
Will the .458 SOCOM Magazine Fit On a .223 Lower?
It can. A .458 SOCOM upper can fit any lower that fires .223, 5.56 NATO, and such because standard .223 mags can function properly without any adjustments and customizations.
However, it’s highly recommended you customize it with a slight bevel on the magazine.
How Many .458 SOCOM Magazines Do You Need?
Truth be told, as much as you need. I recommend you go for two spare .458 magazines.
A general rule of thumb is to go for 4-5 magazines, but this might be a bit of an overkill if you ask me.
Is a .458 SOCOM Magazine Easy to Assemble and Disassemble?
Yes, every magazine on this list is easy to assemble and disassemble because they are made for easy handling and feeding.
Many manufacturers that produce magazines for this caliber are still improving their line of products with easily assembled parts.
After all that we’ve mentioned about .458 SOCOM mags, and listed one of the very best on the market, keep in mind that your rifle will be only as good as the reliability of your magazines.
The reliability of semi-automatic rifles is almost always reflected in the quality of the magazine.
It’s a ‘sum of its parts’ thing, and every component must be top-notch. This is especially important if you’re building a rifle of your own.
You can have the best of the best uppers, expensive muzzle brakes, pristine Vortex optics, and a comfy stock, but if your magazine gets caught then everything goes down the drain.
There is no actual best for every hunter. Hopefully, we’ve mentioned every specific feature that can be beneficial for some, and a hindrance for others.
Maybe the CMMG MKW-15 magazine may be excellent for you, but somebody won’t need that excess Teflon finish for their money.
Additionally, I should also mention the .450 Bushmaster round one more time. These rounds are infamous for being tricky with the .458 SOCOM magazine, as they can cause feeding problems.
You can find a truckload of magazines that are great with 5.56x45mm NATO semi-automatic rifles, but the .450 Bushmaster is definitely not for the .458 SOCOM magazine.
So, to sum up, the .458 SOCOM is a great caliber choice if you’re looking for extra stopping power when hunting. Just make sure you find compatible rounds, and you’ll be fine.