I know that there are quite a few of you readers out there who own at least one AR-15 rifle, whether it be for home and property defense, hunting, or just plain recreational use. It has clearly become “America’s Rifle,” despite the best efforts of President Obama to influence the public otherwise. In fact, it is highly likely that he unwittingly contributed to the current sky-high popularity of the AR-15 we see today. Thanks for that, Mr. President!

There are many reasons besides the President for the AR-15’s popularity: controllable power, multiple caliber choices, light weight, accuracy, reliability, and great ergonomics; these are just a few of the reasons for the universal popularity of this weapon system. One of the advantages of owning an AR-15 over other rifles is the ability to customize it with minimal tools—or even experience—to meet an owner’s desire to improve its tactical capabilities or to simply amplify their AR’s “cool factor.” Sometimes products come along that can do both.

SFA Tactical is a new company started by Abe Hepler. SFA provides firearms and defensive tactics training as well as some innovative and just plain cool tactical tools and accessories. One of these initial accessory items is the subject of this article, the SFA “+5” Magazine Extender.

Although 5.56 AR-15s come standard these days with 30-round magazines (20 rounder magazines were the original military standard), many shooters want even higher capacity. However, there are limits as to how one goes about increasing capacity. There are 40-round standard-style magazines available, but these are too long for practical use (they hang up on stuff and they make firing from the prone position difficult). Another option is to try the bulk drum type magazine. In my book, neither is a great solution. Fortunately, the +5 Magazine Extender can add five additional rounds to a 30-round magazine without adding much length. It also adds quite a bit more in terms of cool factor.

Designed to fit Magpul Gen 2 PMAGs, the SFA +5 Magazine Extender is 100% USA-made and is machined from solid billet aluminum, then hard anodized in black (hopefully other colors will be added to match other color PMAGS). The guardian angel SFA Tactical icon is engraved into the front of the extension and really sets the converted magazine apart in terms of appearance. The engraved image is quite distinctive and has an almost “Art Deco” appearance to it. (“Art Deco” is not a term one normally applies to tactical gear, but in this particular case, it works.) The base of the magazine has the full guardian angel icon in white, along with the “+5” name and the SFA Tactical website address.

The +5 Extender does several things for the PMAG and the shooter’s capability. First, the additional weight added by the +5 helps to drop the empty magazine free to speed reloads. Since the PMAG is polymer, it doesn’t always fall away as easily as does an aluminum or steel magazine due to the friction differential of the aluminum lower receiver. Anything that can help speed a reload in training, competition, or real world shooting scenarios is a plus. Second, the +5 also makes it easier to grasp the magazine and draw it from a pouch or strip it from the gun during the reloading process. Third, there are the extra five rounds that are available on tap, which can be utilized in a couple of different ways.

Obviously, you can run your +5 enhanced PMAG at full 35-round capacity, which in 3-Gun competition would allow you to finish stages without having to reload. If you are using your AR for defense, five more rounds might be helpful in winning the day. Or, in my case, the +5 Extenders will allow me to keep my 30-round magazines loaded with 30 rounds. (I keep my standard 30-round AR mags loaded with only 25 rounds, as some 30-round AR mags are prone to malfunction when fully loaded.) The addition of the space afforded by the +5 will allow me to load 30 rounds without functionality concerns. If you keep your 30-round magazines downloaded as I do, the +5 Extender will allow you at last to carry a full 30-round magazine in your AR.

The +5 Magazine Extender is easy to install. Again, they are currently only available for Gen 2 PMAGs (which are marked with a “2” on the baseplate), so make sure you have the right PMAG available for installation. Installation is easy, and a cap screw and Allen wrench are used to keep the +5 from sliding off the rear of the magazine body once the original Magpul base is removed and the +5 is slid into place.

If you want to increase your AR-15 magazine capacity (where legal), then the SFA Tactical +5 Magazine Extender is the way to go. At $55, the +5 may seem a bit high priced when compared to the price of the PMAG itself, and it would be if an increase in capacity was the only thing the +5 did. But keep in mind the quality of the +5 (as well as other SFA products) is top of the line and will last for at least the service life of your AR. Learn more at www.SFAtactical.com.