At the top of any gun owner’s list should be extra magazines for their magazine fed weapons.
Magazines are widely available and easy to procure, which is why stocking up on a few extra should be no big deal. Despite this, many gun owners will literally only own one or two magazines for their weapons, figuring that they can just get more as needed.
Nonetheless, it simply doesn’t hurt to have a few extra in storage at your home. After all, you never know if you may not be as easy to get extra magazines in the future as it is now.
Furthermore, magazines for less popular calibers such as the .458 SOCOM are already a bit more difficult to find, let alone quality ones.
Best Overall Pick: CMMG MKW-15 .458 SOCOM 10 Round
The CMMG MKW-15 .458 SOCOM magazine may be the most expensive option, but it’s also the best. Impact resistant, durable, and fully corrosion resistant with a beefy design, this is a magazine built to sustain abuse.
Best Budget Pick: C Products Defense .458 SOCOM Magazine
The C Products Defense .458 SOCOM magazine is a solid option for the money. Being less expensive than the other options, it’s also a highly durable and rust resistant magazine option thanks to the quality stainless steel construction and classic USGI build styling.
Best Value Pick: D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM Magazine
The D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM magazine is an American made magazine that is completely durable and rust and corrosion resistant thanks to its aircraft grade aluminum build with a strong anti-rust and corrosion resistant finishes.
The .458 SOCOM is an often overlooked round for the AR-15, despite the fact that it can greatly increase your rifle’s stopping power. However, the .458 SOCOM will really only be as reliable or functional as the magazines are, which is yet another reason why searching for the highest quality magazines available should be your top priority after buying or putting together your .458 SOCOM rifle.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in today’s article.
Why Go With The .458 SOCOM?
The .458 SOCOM is a large round that is designed to greatly increase the power of an AR-15 over the standard 5.56x45mm NATO round. Any .458 SOCOM upper receiver will fit over a traditional 5.56 lower receiver. This means that if you already own a 5.56 AR-15, then swapping over to a .458 model does not necessarily mean that you have to buy an entirely new rifle.
The .458 SOCOM is a 300 grain round that can deliver supersonic muzzle velocity between nineteen hundred to twenty four hundred feet per second. In terms of ballistics, this is very similar to the venerable .45-70 Government round, but you will notice that when placed together side by side, the .458 is a significantly smaller round.
Why was the .458 SOCOM even designed in the first place? Simple: to increase the stopping power of the 5.56 NATO round. Members of special operations command (SOCOM) were displeased by the power of the 5.56, as it often required American soldiers to hit enemy combatants multiple times in order to bring them down. This was made even worse when those enemy combatants were running high on adrenaline, opium, or other drugs. During the Mogadishu battle in Somalia in 1993, for instance, enemy Somali combatants wielding AK-47s were repeatedly being hit multiple times by American soldiers with their M4s and M16s, and yet continued to shoot.
The .458 SOCOM was developed in early 2001 and released to the civilian market shortly thereafter. It was designed from the get-go to be a much heavier projectile that could shoot rounds at subsonic velocities when suppressors were added.
It should be noted that SOCOM also tested several other calibers, including the .450 Bushmaster, .50 Action Express, and the 9x39mm Grom before settling on the .458 SOCOM.
In addition to being used in AR-15 and M16/M4 style rifles, the .458 SOCOM has also been chambered for bolt action and lever action rifles. That being said, the most effective weapon to use it in would undoubtedly be the AR-15, simply because it being a semi-automatic you can fire rounds a lot faster.
As noted previously, the .458 offers performance very similar to the .45-70 Government, so it can drop virtually anything in North America, including big and dangerous game such as brown bear. Lever action rifles in .45-70 Government are often used by hunting guides as defensive weapons due to their high levels of stopping power.
But why use a lever action when you can use an AR-15 with its faster rate of fire? Just imagine using the .458 SOCOM AR-15 as a defensive weapon against dangerous game. It’s not hard to conjure up its immense lethality in your mind.
Of course, the .458 SOCOM can also be used for hunting, home defense, or as a tactical/SHTF weapon as well. It was, after all, originally designed to put enemy combatants down in the dust.
As discussed previously, .458 SOCOM rounds will fit in standard 5.56 magazines for the AR-15. Generally speaking, though, the .458 will only function reliably in metal GI type magazines, and not so reliably in polymer magazines such as the kinds made by Lancer or Magpul.
The magazine is the heart and soul of your AR-15’s reliability, because if there are any issues with the magazine at all, your weapon simply will not function properly no matter how high quality it is.
In order to ensure the best reliability possible for your AR-15, you would be wisest to invest in magazines that are made specifically for the .458 SOCOM, rather than taking a chance with standard 5.56 magazines that may or may not work.
Let’s talk about .458 SOCOM magazines in greater detail.
How Many .458 SOCOM Magazines Do You Need?
So, just how many .458 SOCOM magazines do you need?
The simple answer is this: as many as you want.
That’s why a better question to ask is probably this: what is the minimum number of magazines that you should have?
The .458 SOCOM is not the most common round for the AR-15, which is why magazines made specifically for the .458 SOCOM are a bit harder to find than the standard 5.56 magazines.
Sure, you can fit .458 SOCOM rounds into the 5.56 magazines, but again, not all 5.56 magazines function reliably with the .458 SOCOM round either.
It’s generally a good idea to stock up on several magazines so that you will always have some in your possession no matter what happens. Magazines can become damaged, lost, destroyed, or become worn out due to the springs. And while you can always order more, you may not be able to order more at all if there is a future shortage (as we saw with magazines and ammunition after major gun controls were threatened in the United States in 2012 and 2013).
As a golden rule, it will be a smart move to keep at least five magazines per magazine fed weapon in your possession at all times. Even if you only use one or two magazines at a time, as most people do, having extras in storage is simply wise. If you plan ahead and prepare for the worst, it’s not wise to be reliant on having to order more from a store should anything happen to your existing mags.
So buy as many .458 SOCOM magazines as you want. Ask yourself, if you suddenly couldn’t buy any more magazines at all for whatever reason, how many magazines do you think you would need to get you through the rest of your life? That should be the minimum number of magazines that you have in your possession.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best .458 SOCOM Magazines
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new magazine for your .458 SOCOM rifle:
The build material of the body of the magazine will have the biggest impact on how long it lasts and how much abuse it can sustain. Metal magazines such as aircraft grade aluminum are the most common for GI style, but polymer magazines such as those made by Lancer or Magpul are also popular specifically because they can offer similar levels of durability as metal, while also being significantly lighter in weight.
The more bullets the better, right? The only thing you’re trading off by going with a magazine with more rounds in it is you’re also getting a magazine that’s going to weigh more. A standard 30 round 5.56 magazine will fit 10 rounds of .458 SOCOM, for reference. A 20 round 5.56 magazine will fit seven rounds in it. Most magazines that are made specifically for the .458 SOCOM round will have capacities in this range as well.
Keep in mind that the .458 SOCOM is a larger round, so ten rounds is about the highest that you can expect to get.
Strong Follower and Spring
The follower and spring are what feed the rounds from the magazine into the weapon itself. They both need to be of the utmost quality, and the follower should have an anti-tilt design. Meanwhile, the spring should be made out of a strong and rust and corrosion resistant metal and should not wear down easily after extended use.
Yes, this matters too. Since the .458 SOCOM is a rarer round than the 5.56, magazines are rarer too and more expensive as a whole. You can buy multiple 5.56 magazines for the cost of a single .458 SOCOM magazine. For this reason, many owners of the .458 may feel tempted to just use 5.56 magazines.
That’s fine, but remember that reliability is of the utmost importance, and magazines made specifically for the .458 SOCOM round should function more reliably.
In general, you can expect to pay at least twenty dollars or so for a .458 SOCOM magazine, and sometimes up to thirty. That may not sound like a lot, but it can be if you buy several magazines. Try to find the highest quality .458 SOCOM magazine you can for your price range.
Your magazines should offer a textured tactile surface, so they don’t slip in your hands in wet conditions while you’re having to reload. Aftermarket magazines usually come with greatly improved tactile surfaces over their factory counterparts in order to mitigate this problem.
The 3 Best .458 SOCOM Magazines For 2020
Here are the top three best .458 SOCOM magazines for 2020:
D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM Magazine
The D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM magazine is a solid choice if you’re looking for an American made magazine for your .458 SOCOM AR-15.
D&H has been manufacturing firearm related components for more than three decades, and they are currently based out of Wisconsin. All of their products are built right here in the United States.
The D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM magazines specifically are USGI styled aluminum magazines, with aircraft grade alloys used in their construction for proper durability. They have also been hard coat anodized for superior rust and corrosion resistance, with a black Teflon finish that adds even more corrosion resistant.
They also come with a proprietary big bore follower that will ensure proper feeding for the big .458 SOCOM rounds.
The biggest downside to these magazines is that they only hold four rounds. That’s certainly plenty for hunting purposes, but it does admittedly leave a bit desired for when it comes to tactical uses.
Overall, if you’re looking for a traditional USGI style magazine that is built out of aircraft grade aluminum materials (and a magazine that is fully American made at that), the D&H Tactical .458 SOCOM magazines represent a solid option.
- Hard coated, Teflon finish for good rust and corrosion resistance
- Aluminum built body
- Design is very similar to the classic GI Magazines
- Big bore follower design ensures reliability feeding
- Not Cheap
- Only four rounds
CMMG MKW-15 .458 SOCOM 10 Round Magazine
CMMG has been making magazines and other firearm related product since 2002, with their specialty being to make high quality components for self-loading semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15.
The MKW-15 .458 SOCOM magazine is a Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter thirty round magazine that has been adapted to hold 10 rounds of .458 SOCOM and feed them reliably. This magazine is built out of a very durable and impact resistant polymer body with steel feed limps to help ensure proper feeding. The magazine catch is also built out of steel so that it will resist steel.
Another big benefit to this magazine is the fact that disassembly is very easy, and the floorplate will slide on and off. The spring is fully corrosion resistant, and the follower is of a non-tilt design. The body of the magazine also has great texturing so you can get a firm grasp of it in slippery conditions.
This magazine is definitely very expensive, but you’re getting a high quality product for what you’re paying for it.
The CMMG MKW-15 is one of the best .458 SOCOM magazines on the market today. It’s a premium magazine that commands a premium price point, but you’re getting a very long lasting and durable magazine for the money too.
- Ten rounds is higher capacity for the .458 SOCOM
- Light and yet durable polymer construction
- Non-tilt follower and curved design ensure good and reliable feeding
- Not the most affordable choice
C Products Defense .458 SOCOM Magazine
C Product Defense is a Florida based company that has been in business since 2011. Their .458 SOCOM magazine is designed to function reliably for the round, as C Products Defense wanted to address complaints that 5.56 magazines would not always work well with the .458 SOCOM round.
With a ten round capacity, this will be a good magazine to use for both hunting or for tactical and defense applications. Furthermore, the fact that it holds just ten rounds means that it’s legal for several states and cities that outlaw magazines classified as so called ‘high capacity.’
These magazines are built out of stainless steel, which makes them a heavier magazine than the alternatives on this list, but also makes it very strong and rust resistant. Stainless is significantly more shatterproof than polymer or aluminum. The USGI styling of these magazines are also a plus, as they resemble the same magazines that are used by the United States military.
The C Products Defense .458 magazines are heavy, but they are also very impact resistant and durable. The ten round capacity is good for tactical and hunting scenarios alike, while also being legal in restrictive states and jurisdictions. As an added bonus, these magazines are also less expensive than the alternatives.
- Stainless steel magazine spring is very strong and rust resistant
- Ten round capacity is higher capacity for the .458 SOCOM
- Stainless steel magazine body is also very durable and rust resistant
- Heavy for an AR-15 magazine
The .458 SOCOM is a great caliber choice if you want to substantially increase the stopping power of your standard 5.56x45mm NATO AR-15 for hunting purposes. However, it’s vitally important that you invest in high quality magazines to go with your rifle, or else the weapon will not function properly. Remember that the magazine usually has a great impact on the reliability of semi-automatic weapons than the weapon itself does.
And while you can technically fit .458 SOCOM rounds into existing 5.56 magazines, in order to ensure optimum reliability, it will usually be the better choice to instead use magazines that are designed specifically for the .458 SOCOM.