Spare Magazines: The Best AR 15 Magazine Coupler

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Back in the day, some shooters considered magazine AR-15 magazine couplers to be stupid because they often caused malfunctions.

However, I’ve seen very few malfunctions that could be blamed on the magazine coupler. I’m not sure if that’s because AR-15 manufacturing has improved or because something else is better now.

But a magazine coupler won’t be a liability on most rifles. Obviously, verify that on your rifle before you depend on it.

All that said, a magazine coupler can be a great way to keep a spare magazine handy, especially in contexts where any sort of magazine carrier may not be an option.

For example, if you need to hop up and grab your rifle in the middle of the night, there’s a very high probability that you’ll be in your underwear. Spare mag? AR-15 magazine coupler to the rescue.

FAB Defense MCE Polymer with Straps
  • Spacer design makes for a very simple, efficient magazine change between the two coupled magazines.
  • Carrying straps on the bottom are handy if you want to keep coupled magazines in your kit.
  • Low profile. There’s very little material on the outside of the magazines.

SPOILER—if a magazine coupler sounds like exactly what you need right now, get the FAB Defense MCE Polymer 5.56/7.62 Magazine Coupler with Straps. It’s simple, efficient, and affordable, which is the perfect combo for any tactical gear.

If you want to see all the other AR-15 magazine couplers, we’ve found them to save you the searching.

Top AR 15 Magazine Coupler on the Market Today

Best AR 15 Magazine Coupler Reviews: Better to Have it and Not Need it…

The absolute best AR-15 magazine coupler is under scrutiny first. The remaining best AR-15 magazine couplers will be toyed with in order of price.

Small budget? Check out the first reviews.

Big budget? Scroll to the final reviews.

Time to put some magazines together.

The FAB Defense MCE Polymer 5.56/7.62 Magazine Coupler with Straps is basically a classic magazine coupler, with the added benefit of carrying straps on the bottom, which is handy if you want to keep more than one pair of magazines on your kit.

This coupler has a polymer body with a spacer that keeps the magazines apart so that they don’t knock against your magazine well.

Also, this coupler holds the magazines securely enough that you can insert one magazine while holding the other.

This is a nice setup because all you need to do is pull the old magazine, shift over slightly, and insert the other magazine. It’s a very efficient magazine change manipulation.

The only downside to this magazine coupler is that it’s not compatible with all 7.62 magazines. It works fine with AR-15 magazines. But it’s picky about 7.62 magazines, even though it’s supposed to work for them.

But, it works great if you’re only using it for AR-15 magazines. And it’s well priced.

Pros

  • Spacer design makes for a very simple, efficient magazine change between the two coupled magazines.
  • Carrying straps on the bottom are handy if you want to keep coupled magazines in your kit.
  • Low profile. There’s very little material on the outside of the magazines.

Cons

  • Picky about which 7.62 magazines it will take.

2. Thermold Twin Magazine Lock - 20-Round AR-15 Magazine Coupler

The Thermold Twin Magazine Lock is built for anyone who uses the classic 20-round AR-15 magazines.

It’s a super simple clip that uses the spine of the magazines to hold them together. And it holds with friction. So there’s nothing on the outside of the magazine to snag or interfere with anything.

This magazine coupler also holds the magazines far enough apart that you don’t have to stagger the magazines for magazine changes. Just snap the clip onto the bottom of both magazines and go.

Unfortunately, this clip is designed for Thermold magazines. And it uses the shape of the Thermold magazines to ensure the magazines don’t slide inside the coupler.

However, you can use this coupler with standard 20-round magazines. It just holds with the friction. So it’s not ideal for super hard tactical use, unless you’re using the Thermold magazines. But it works for most things.

If you’ve got some 20-round Thermold magazines, it works great. If you have standard magazines, it still works. Not too bad.

Pros

  • Built for classic 20-round magazines.
  • Very minimal design, with nothing around the outside of the magazine.
  • Puts magazines side-by-side for a quick, efficient magazine change.

Cons

  • Works best with Thermold magazines. Only works okay with standard magazines.

3. Caldwell AR-15 Mag Coupler - 10-Round AR-15 Magazine Coupler

The Caldwell AR-15 Mag Coupler is for those who must use 10-round magazines. It fits any standard 10-round magazine, including USGI steel magazines.

It uses a slightly older design that puts the magazines butt-to-butt. When you do your coupled magazine change, you’ll flip the whole unit over to the fresh magazine. It’s not quite as efficient as a side-by-side coupler. But it works well. And it’s still quick.

Also, the design puts the two 10-round magazines together in a configuration that mimics the shape of a 30-round magazine. If your magazine pouches aren’t too tight, you can put two 10-round magazines into a single 30-round magazine pouch with this coupler.

Lastly, this Caldwell coupler installs with a screwdriver. It produces a remarkably secure fit on your magazines. But the installation process isn’t as convenient as a clip-on or slide-on coupler.

But it holds very securely to your magazines, and makes for an easy mag change between two 10-round magazines.

Pros

  • Fits any standard 10-round AR-15 magazines.
  • Configuration produces a quick, easy magazine change by simply flipping over to the new magazine.
  • Enables you to put 2 coupled 10-round magazines into some 30-round magazine pouches.
  • Locks onto magazines very securely.

Cons

  • Requires a tool to install. Not as convenient as a snap-on design.

4. FAB Defense Universal Polymer Magazine Coupler - Budget AR-15 Magazine Coupler

The FAB Defense Universal Polymer Magazine Coupler offers one of the most affordable side-by-side coupling options on the market. But, as we’ve said before, sometimes savings come at a cost.

This magazine coupler is simple and holds your magazines quite securely. It tightens down with a screwdriver. So you can make it as tight as you’re comfortable with.

Also, the reload manipulation is simple and efficient, since you only need to bump over to the next magazine. And the FAB Defense coupler is secure enough to insert the fresh magazine while holding the old one.

This coupler works best if you stagger the magazines so one is higher than the other. It’s not a big deal. But I prefer to have the magazines even to further simplify the process of sliding over to the next magazine. But it’s not a huge deal.

The thing that’s a bit annoying is that this is marketed as a universal magazine coupler. But, so far, it hasn’t worked on 7.62 magazines.

There may be some 7.62 magazines out there that will fit. But, even if there are, it’s not a very universal magazine coupler.

It works fine for AR-15 magazines, though. And that’s what matters here (sorry AK-47 shooters).

Pros

  • Can be tightened as tightly as you like to hold magazines super securely.
  • Simple, efficient reload manipulation with magazines side-by-side.
  • Enough space in between magazines that coupled magazines won’t interfere with operation.

Cons

  • Requires a screwdriver to install.
  • Not universally compatible with 7.62 magazines.

The Command Arms Accessories AR-15/M16 Aluminum Magazine coupler is designed for steel and aluminum magazines that can warp if you clamp down on them too tightly.

This magazine coupler is tool tightened. So you can get it super secure.

However, it uses a box design that prevents the coupler from crushing the magazines if you overtighten it.

There’s also a nice grab tab on the bottom of the coupler that’s great if you want to keep coupled magazines in your kit.

This CAA coupler will work with polymer magazines. However, polymer magazines with a flared base plate probably won’t fit.

However, if you’ve got a bunch of USGI magazines because they’re super affordable, this coupler will put magazines together for you without any risk of damage or malfunction.

Pros

  • Won’t bend or warp steel or aluminum magazines.
  • Can be tightened as tight as you like for a super secure hold.
  • Grab tab makes it easy to retrieve your coupled magazines.
  • Works with polymer magazines without a flared baseplate.

Cons

  • Requires a tool to install.
  • Not compatible with magazines that have a flared baseplate, like the Magpul PMAG.

6. Magpul Industries Maglink Coupler - AR-15 Magazine Coupler for Polymer Magazines

The Magpul Industries Maglink Coupler is specifically designed for Magpul PMAGs. They’re easily the most common polymer AR-15 magazine. So this coupler will most likely work with at least some of your magazines.

But this magazine coupler installs very easily. And it can be tightened with a screwdriver to really wrench down on those magazines to ensure they won’t come loose.

It also puts the magazines side-by-side for the fastest, most efficient swap from one coupled magazine to the next. And it works with a staggered or an even configuration. So set your magazines up how you like them.

Even though it’s designed for the Magpul PMAG, this coupler actually works with many polymer magazines, since most polymer magazines have a similar shape. But you may want to check the fit before you commit.

If you have PMAGs, though, this magazine coupler is a slam dunk.

Pros

  • Easy installation, even though it needs to be tightened with a screwdriver.
  • Holds your magazines super securely.
  • Side-by-side setup makes for a simple, fast swap between coupled magazines.
  • Works with many polymer magazines.

Cons

  • Requires a tool to install.
  • Doesn’t fit ALL polymer magazines.

7. Elite Tactical Systems 30 Round Magazine with Coupler - Minimal AR-15 Magazine Coupler

The Elite Tactical Systems 30 Round Magazine with Coupler is the most low-profile way to couple two magazines together. Unfortunately, the magazine compatibility is extremely limited.

This is essentially just a polymer magazine with a coupler molded into the side. It’s super cool because there’s no extra hardware required. Just snap two of these magazines together, and—BOOM!—coupled magazines.

It’s a very fast, efficient system for coupling magazines.

The downside? You have to use these magazines to do it, since the coupling is molded into the body of the magazine.

The ETS magazines have a decent reliability track record, so far.

But, if one of your magazines breaks, you’ll have to buy a whole new magazine to get your coupled magazines back.

Overall, this Elite Tactical is a cool system that’s very low profile and easy to use. It’s just a little inconvenient that it’s part of the magazine itself.

Pros

  • Super simple and easy magazine coupling.
  • Places coupled magazines side-by-side for the most efficient mag swap between the two magazines.
  • No additional hardware required. The magazines are all you need.
  • ETS magazines work well.

Cons

  • If one magazine breaks, you lose your magazine coupling capabilities, since the magazine coupler is molded into the body of the magazines.

8. FAB Defense Modular AR15 Magazine Coupler - Durable AR-15 Magazine Coupler

The FAB Defense Modular AR15 Magazine Coupler sacrifices a bit of minimalism for a more robust magazine coupler design. Here’s what I mean:

Rather than just being a clip that holds the magazines together, this magazine coupler is 2 complete boxes that encompass the bases of your magazines. Essentially, you slide the bottom of your magazines into this coupler similar to the way you would insert a magazine into a magazine pouch.

It’s remarkably secure. And it’s quite durable. However, the magazine coupler itself is bulkier and wraps all the way around your magazines. So it’s not as streamlined as a bare clip.

However, it places the magazines side-by-side in a staggered configuration, which makes for fast and easy magazine swaps between the two coupled magazines.

This magazine coupler will work with any magazines that don’t have flared base plates. That’s most steel and aluminum magazines and some polymer magazines.

But, even with the less than perfect magazine compatibility, this magazine coupler is still a perfect option for anyone who wants a super secure and durable coupler for hard use.

Pros

  • Holds magazines super securely.
  • Exceptionally durable.
  • Places magazines side-by-side for the fastest magazine swap between the two coupled magazines.
  • Works with most magazines.

Cons

  • A bit bulkier than most other magazine couplers.
  • Not compatible with magazines that have flared base plates.

9. Boonie Packer Products Improved Redi-Mag - Spare Magazine Holder

The Boonie Packer Products Improved Redi-Mag addresses the need for a spare magazine differently than most magazine couplers. This one fixes to your lower receiver, rather than your magazine.

The design alleviates pressure on your magazine that could cause a malfunction. So it’s a good way to keep a spare magazine handy, no matter what, without compromising the reliability of your rifle.

This is a metal magazine retainer that clamps to your magazine well. It uses a magazine release extension. So the reload procedure is almost the same as reloading without this device on your gun. However, it is a tad different. You’ll want to practice mag changes with this on your gun.

The spare mag is clamped into the spare magazine holder with a closed-top clip that prevents the top round in your spare magazine from working loose while you’re firing.

Unfortunately, the magazine must be manually released, rather than simply pulled from the retainer. So the process of swapping to your spare mag is a little more involved than a standard magazine coupler.

However, this Redi-Mag magazine holder enables you to use any magazine as your spare mag, rather than only the magazines that you’ve coupled. So it offers some flexibility and adds utility to your rifle, rather than your magazines.

Pros

  • Fixes to your magazine well rather than your magazine. So you can use any magazine as your spare.
  • Prevents the top round in your spare magazine from rattling loose.
  • Extended magazine release lever keeps your weapon manipulations as basic as possible.
  • Aluminum construction is more durable than any polymer magazine coupler.

Cons

  • Changes the position of your magazine release very slightly.
  • Spare magazine must be manually released.

Tactical Reload

If you haven’t put a lot of thought into which grip you have on your AR-15, it’s time to take a look at it. That mil-spec A2 grip isn’t doing you any favors. A grip is a low-cost upgrade that makes your rifle much more comfortable and accurate in your hands.

FAB Defense MCE Polymer with Straps

Still not sure where you’re going to keep your spare magazine? Get the FAB Defense MCE Polymer 5.56/7.62 Magazine Coupler with Straps. It’s a solid AR-15 magazine coupler that’s also got a handy strap for grabbing your coupled magazines out of your kit or out of your safe.

You know the saying: better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Get a magazine coupler so you don’t get caught on the wrong end of that wisdom.