If you’re a California AR-15 owner then you know the laws that have been recently introduced and will go into effect at the end of this year. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what this law is, then allow me to give you a brief overview.
Essentially, any AR-15 rifle that was previously legal because it utilized a bullet button, will now be considered non-compliant and must be registered. Among other characteristics, the law states that any centerfire rifle with a removable magazine must be registered. As with most laws, there are other nuances to it but just know that if you own an AR-15 and it does not have a fixed magazine it will need to be registered with the state of California or it will be considered non-compliant as of December 31, 2017.
Fortunately, a few options exist to modify your AR-15 lower parts kit so that it fixes the magazine to the lower and requires you to remove the rear takedown pin, lift the upper receiver, press the mag release button, and only then will you be able to remove the magazine.
The most popular fixed magazine solutions are the AR Maglock and the Bullet Button Patriot Mag Release kit. In this article, we take a look at a few differences between both kits so that you can make a better, more informed decision should you decide to go this route.
It’s worth noting that installing a fixed magazine solution is only one option. Specifically, you could go the route of turning your rifle into a “featureless” AR-15. This is more advanced to implement, costs more, and will completely change the look and feel of your AR-15. We will cover featureless rifles in another article.
So what do the AR Maglock and the Patriot Mag Release do?
The AR Maglock and the Patriot Mag Release do nothing more then fix your magazine to your AR-15 rifle permanently (permanently being defined as unable to remove the magazine until removing the rear takedown pin). Both products do this the same way but have slightly different designs and can impact your rifle differently.
The Patriot Mag Release is manufactured by the original inventor of the Bullet Button – hence, the name of the company. Once installed, you are able to press the mag release button all you want but the magazine will not come out. Once you pull the rear takedown pin, separate the upper from the lower, and then press the mag release button, the magazine will drop out.
The Patriot Mag Release comes with an extended mag release button, screws, spring, and an allen wrench. Unlike the AR Maglock, the Patriot Mag Release kit does not contain the magazine catch and, instead, utilizes the existing catch. You also have two kit options with the Patriot Mag Release – one version of the kit includes a rear takedown pin with 550 cord that helps with quicker removal while the more basic kit does not include a rear takedown pin.
Very similar to the Patriot Mag Release, the AR Maglock contains a magazine catch, spring, mag release button, and a rear takedown pin with a metal O-ring. The rear takedown pin with O-ring helps operators remove the rear takedown pin and drop the magazine quicker.
AR Maglock and Patriot Mag Release Pros and Cons
Both products install similarly as an addition to your already installed lower parts kit. They do not replace the lower parts kit but simply modify it so the magazine is fixed to the rifle until the upper is removed. The Patriot Mag Release contains a few additional screws with instructions to glue them into the mag release so that it is permanently fixed to the AR-15. This is important to note because the AR Maglock utilizes one simple screw that allows you to remove the hardware with ease. Should you want to remove the fixed magazine functionality from your AR-15, the AR Maglock makes it easier to do so.
As mentioned, the Bullet Button Patriot Mag Release kit comes in two different options – with or without a rear takedown pin. The AR Maglock is only offered with a rear takedown pin. Keep in mind that the inclusion of the takedown pin in both kits adds to the cost of the kit.
Also to note with both kits is the placement of the mag release button. The Patriot Mag Release button extends under the ejection port cover (dust cover) and inhibits the ejection cover from opening all the way. Functionally, this isn’t an issue but it’s important to note that the ejection port cover will only open to about 80% of the way. The AR Maglock is different in that it curves around so that it doesn’t extend under the ejection part cover. An issue arises, however, if you have an anti-rotation hammer pin installed as the AR Maglock release button will interfere with the hammer pin.
Overall, both the AR Maglock and the Bullet Button Patriot Mag Release provide a quality fixed magazine lock solution for AR-15 owners. While installation is more permanent and in-depth with the Patriot Mag Release, the cost of the kit is less than the AR Maglock. You can also take comfort knowing the company behind the Patriot Mag Release is the original maker of the Bullet Button and, as such, has a deeper reputation within the industry. AR Maglock, however, is an innovative company that provides a high-quality solution that is easier to install as well as being easier to remove should the need arise.
At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with either of these fixed magazine lock solutions for your AR-15.