We have been chasing the elusive promise of a reliable Glock pistol drum magazine for years and may have come close to finding it in the new Magpul D-50 GL9.

Table of Contents

Why the Problem?
A Closer Look at the D-50 GL9 Glock Pistol Drum
On the Range
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts

Why the problem?


The problem with any pistol drum snail mag is that you expect it to run over a pound of ammo-- mostly outside of the magazine well-- up a long column and into the chamber under varying spring pressure while the whole affair is held in place by a mag release designed to hold significantly less weight centered in the pistol's grip rather than dangling like a pendulum below it. In other words, the pistol wasn't designed for it, and the mag must overcome this ramp of impending doom. 

Luger snail mag
Pistol drums have been around going back to the 1900s with the 32-shot Luger Trommel mag of Great War fame. (Photos: National Archives)

Nonetheless, the market has been swamped with folks trying to deliver pistol drums and people seeking them out, usually to disappointment for all involved. As Glocks have been one of the most widely circulating handguns of the past 30 years or so, this saw successive waves of cheap imported 50-round drums from the likes of SGM, KCI, Pro-Mag, and others, all with somewhat less than desired levels of reliability. 

Glock 19X with imported drum
Yup, we've done all those assorted Asian import Glock drums. They look cool but are really only just reliable enough for use as a range toy. 

Magpul has coughed up some "Glock pattern" drums in the past including the D-50 GL9 PCC, which had a short feed tower designed to fit in pistol caliber carbines but would not work in a pistol. Released at SHOT Show 2020 alongside an EV9 variant, the PCC Glock drum was a quick hit and has since proved dependable and popular. 

Magpul glock pcc mag
We were there in Las Vegas in Jan. 2020 when Magpul dropped their Glock PCC and EV9 D-50 drums, and folks were excited-- but clearly wanted a pistol version as well. 

Magpul teased the pistol version at the same SHOT Show event but, due to assorted reasons it only made it through production and hit the market in March 2022.

This brings us to the...

D-50 GL9 Glock Pistol Drum

Debuted earlier this year, Magpul didn't seek to reinvent the wheel and borrowed the same magazine drum body of the successful D-50 GL9 PCC and simply added a tower that mimicked a Glock double stack pistol mag. This made the new D-50 GL9 pistol drum significantly longer than its older PCC mag brother but allowed it to run and play with all those Glock-pattern 9mm handguns out there. 

The D-50 GL9 PCC and D-50 GL9 pistol drum compared, not to scale. The two mags are different overall lengths and weights and use a different magazine well geometry. They do, however, use the same drum itself. ption here
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum
The overall length of the D-50 GL9 pistol drum is 8.5 inches while unloaded weight is 17.3 ounces.
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum and bagel
Width, across the diameter of the drum body, is four inches. For reference, think about as wide as a bagel, only more parabellum, and less cream cheese. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum and 33-round Glock mags
It also puts it about as wide as three 33-round Glock factory extendos, while being just a little longer overall as well. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum
Capable of holding a full box of 50 9mm rounds, we found loaded weight of the drum to be 34.7 ounces, or just over two pounds. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum
Like its other drums, the mag has an anti-glare semi-translucent window on rear that allows a peak into the interior to see kind of how full it is. Maintenance is accomplished with a flat-bladed screwdriver to ease out the four clamps on the side of the drum. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum
As with other PMAGs, the drum has a paint pen dot matrix panel on back of body to allow for identification marking.
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum ratchet
The easy-to-figure-out ratcheting loading lever helps you get those rounds in and is a must, especially when you get past the first handful. The company uses a similar lever on its other drum mags such as the D60. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum warning
Magpul warns that the loading lever should be in the "down" position when unloading. 

The recommended use of the D-50 GL9 is for a Glock 18 (we wish) or G17/19X/34/45, as you are going to have the most support in the tower but it will also fit smaller-framed double-stack Glock 9mms such as a G19 or G26-- but keep in mind the little guys will give you more "seesaw" over the course of firing, upping your chance for a jam or breaking something. Wiggle is not your friend in a mag. Magpul also says it will seat in the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 carbine while the older D-50 GL9 PCC will not. 

On the range

Magpul recommends that users install a new OEM magazine release on Gen 1-3 Glock handguns to support the extra weight of the magazine (keep in mind it is over 2-pounds when fully loaded) and that Gen 4 Glocks will probably need an aftermarket metal magazine release. They also caution that a new recoil spring assembly may be needed to ensure reliable feeding while also saying "individual variations between firearms may result in an extra power recoil spring being required."

With that being said, we evaluated the D-50 GL9 pistol drum in both a well-used "Gen 4.5" Glock G19X and a high-mileage Gen 3 Glock 19, each with no modifications, and had good success. 

Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum with Glock 19X
The mag compared to a G19X with a factory 19-round extended magazine and an aftermarket 33-round stick. 
Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum with Glock 19X
We ran the drum several times with a mix of both range ammo-- 115-grain Federal Syntech polymer-coated TSJs-- and self-protection loads such as Federal Law Enforcement 124-grain HST jacketed hollow points, all without failure. In all, we put about 400 rounds through the D-50 GL9 pistol drum without issue. 

The mag is designed to be left loaded for storage with no degradation of function and we assessed that by leaving it loaded with a box of 115-grain Federal Syntech for two months. This is what happened when we took that load to the range: 

Magpul warns that these drums probably won't work with PCCs, explaining: 

Use of this D-50 GL9 in pistol caliber carbines (PCC) is not recommended, because the increased length of the feed tower will be partially unsupported in most pistol caliber magazine wells. This unsupported condition may cause premature wear on the feed tower magazine catch, and (in firearms which deviate from factory magazine well specifications) may result in improper round presentation and failures to feed.

To test the advertised likely failure of the drum to work with a PCC, we ran it in a WASR-M, which runs great with OEM Glock double stacks. Trying it 10 times, it was a single shot each time, jamming on the second round with a failure to feed. 


Final thoughts

The Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum worked well and, despite the warnings from the company, did so without modifications or updates to our stock test pistols. However-- and to be fair this applies to every pistol drum-- it is awkward and heavy. Also, with an asking price of around $125, it is kind of spendy for what it is. Further, it will not fit in any mag carrier we had on hand. 

Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum with mag pouch
Even the old reliable Molle double STANAG pouch is no bueno with the D-50 GL9 pistol drum. 

When comparing apples to oranges with Glock factory 33-round sticks, of which you can easily buy three or four for the same cost as a single drum, the sticks may be a better option for most who want an extended capacity option.

Magpul D-50 GL9 pistol drum with SMG pouch and 33 round mags
Plus, there are any number of military surplus SMG pouches out there that can be had for like $7-- such as the Greek Army model shown here-- that can tote around several 33s.


Pros & Cons

The good: 

  • We found it dependable in testing on stock Glocks with no mods.
  • Lots of fun on the range.
  • Probably the best Glock pistol drum in terms of dependability.
  • Easy to load.

The bad: 

  • It is heavy, at over a pound empty and more than two pounds loaded.
  • Magpul warns you may have to change mag releases and or springs on your Glock to get it to run reliably.
  • Good luck finding a mag pouch.
  • Cost is over $100.

Still, for those who have long looked for a reliable Glock-pattern pistol drum, or have a SUB2000 with the same desire, Magpul could just have the answer.