I love me some AR 15 drum magazines. Hell, I love all drum magazines. I have more than one Glock drum magazine in my gear, though they don’t really fit my CCW pouches. I know they can be silly, and even downright impractical, but holy hell do I love them.
Imagine this passage with drums substituted for horns.
“And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the city, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of war nor of wizardry, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn. And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns, in dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.“
I’m just sayin’!
Drums sit in a weird place in the gun industry. For many years they sucked and sucked hard. In the last decade or so, the gun industry must have figured it out because now we have well-made and well-designed drum magazines. Some cost hundreds of dollars, but others are a fair bit cheaper. For Threesome Thursday, we’ve got drums for everyone. Drums for 308 shooters, drums for AR owners, and even a drum for Glock owners.
The Magpul D-50
Magpul is the first company that produced a quality drum at an affordable price. Following the success of the D-60, Magpul decided they could go bigger. Not in overall magazine capacity, but in caliber. The Magpul D-50 is a 50 round drum for those dedicated AR 10 type battle rifles. The Magpul D-50 is a 7.62x51mm drum that is absolutely beastly.
Besides giving you 50 rounds of ass-kickery, you also get a nice workout for your hands in loading this thing. The drum has a lever that is necessary for loading the drum. The first 20 rounds go in easy, but the last thirty challenge you and your hands. The last five or so will separate the men from the boys. That lever will likely have to be cranked multiple times to load a single round.
The Magpul D-50 is built in the grand tradition of the Gen M3 magazines. The Dot matrix is present, and the drum even has a window to the rear to allow for quick ammo checks. The drum is designed to remain sealed from the elements, but it’s also easy to disassemble and clean.
With the cost of 308 ammo, you basically hear ca-ching, ca-ching every time you pull the trigger, but that’s okay because it’s glorious American freedom you’re dispensing. The D-50 drum is just a little longer than a 20 round magazine, so you can climb into a low prone and use the 308 to its long-range potential.
The D-50 is a professional grade drum and is duty-worthy and made to last. It also doesn’t cost several hundred dollars and is completely worth the money.
The KCI AR 15 Drum
If you want a drum just for fun, then look no further than the KCI drum. It’s not necessarily a duty-grade drum, but it’s reliable for range use and a ton of fun. The tolerances are loose and it fits in my SCAR, my BRN 180, and my 80% lower build. The KCI drum uses a unique crank placed in the center of the drum that allows you easily load the drum. As far as AR 15 drums go, this is the easiest to load. You can load it quite quickly and run it reliably until it’s dry.
The material and design are not as robust as a Magpul drum, but it’s also almost half the price of the Magpul D-60 series drums. The clear design makes it easy to see just how much ammo you’re sitting on, which is convenient. It also gives you a good look at the guts of the system, and that’s always interesting to me.
Although it’s not exactly a robust drum, it seems to be an extremely reliable design. It can accommodate various qualities of ammunition, including the cheapest steel cased crap I can shove in it.
The KCI 50 round drum feeds without complaint and lets your rifle blaze away without issue.
Taking it apart requires removing four bolts and retaining an abundance of caution. The drum didn’t come with instructions on how to take things apart, so I wouldn’t recommend it. The KCI 50 round AR drum is a great range toy, especially when paired with a binary trigger.
The Glock Drum
This is America! So why the hell can’t I shove a drum into my handgun! Well, I can, and that’s because the Korean firm KCI has released a Glock drum. Magpul plans to release a Glock drum as well, but as this writing, the KCI drum is the only game in town. These drums come in 9mm and 40 S&W, and because it’s not 2006, still I’m using the 9mm variant.
The KCI Glock drum is surprisingly robust and delivers a lot of performance for the price. My biggest complaint is that it’s physically impossible to load the drum on a closed slide.
Other than that, this thing is ridiculously fun. It’s pointless, but fun. The drum is easy to load with the help of a ratcheting side lever, and you just drop the rounds in. It’s time-consuming admittedly, but it functions surprisingly well. It even changes the recoil impulse of your Glock when fully loaded, so that’s fun.
When it comes to maintenance, I’ve got no idea what to do with this thing. There are some screws, but I ain’t torquing them.
Beat of the Drums
Drum magazines are a ton of fun. Somewhat silly, but hell, I’ve always said more rounds are better than fewer rounds. Drums are starting to come into their own, with more companies attempting to get them right.
Magpul is looking to release a Scorpion and Glock drum, X-Products is making drums for everything, and companies like KCI are spitting out fun and affordable options. I’m not predicting a drum takeover, but you can’t beat a mag spitting 50 to 100 rounds without pause.
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