South Carolina-based American Tactical Inc. has been the go-to importer for the German-made Schmeisser S60 quad-stack magazine, and we have been checking out the latest variant.
Based in Krefeld, Germany, Schmeisser GmbH has been making modern sporting rifles, semi-auto pistols, and accessories for each for the past several years. A regular at the IWA Show in Germany, we first ran into them at the NASGW Show in New Orleans back in 2015 where they were looking for an importer. Fast forward to 2019 and the first generation S60 mag was turning heads at SHOT Show.
With feedback from users, the follow-on Gen 2 model uses a reinforced back lip with a different follower for increased durability, and the latest variant of that mag, the S60W, has a windowed side for a quick round count – hence the "W." The newer generations are designed to hold open the bolt on the last round, something earlier versions of the mag had issues with.
We tried out one of each.
When it comes to construction, the Schmeisser mags are made with what ATI lists as "2K polyamide fiberglass" and feel very solid in the hand. The exterior body is heavily textured and almost feels like a waffle mag.
The weight of a loaded S60W is 33.5 ounces when topped off with 55-grain brass-cased 5.56. By comparison, a 30-round aluminum mag with the same ammo is 16.3 ounces.
We drop tested fully loaded mags several times on hard surfaces and observed no lasting damage or rounds lost. However, when dropped with a partially loaded mag (stoked with just 10 rather than 60), we did lose a couple of rounds.
This may be because of the nature of the spring design of the S60.
We found the double spring layout coupled with the geometry of the mag body, really comes into play once you push past the taper from where the rounds transition from the double stack to the quad stack. In other words, once you get past about 15 rounds in the mag or so, it transitions to a very heavy spring tension as the second spring engages. While I normally have zero issues loading standard 30- and 40-round mags in the field without tools, the S60 stopped me flat at the 20-round mark, requiring the use of a mag loader to max them out.
When it comes to compatibility testing, we loaded, ran, and ejected the S60 series on AR lowers made by Aero, Anderson, Daniel Defense, Diamondback, Ruger, and Spikes, as well as a hand-completed 80 percent lower. Mechanically they fit fine, although they sometimes needed a good hard pat on the bottom to seat on a full mag with a closed bolt.
In addition to AR platforms, it is billed to be compatible with the FN SCAR MK16, the SA80, HK416, and the M27. We found it was not compatible with the Zastava PAP M85 NP and the MarColMar CETME L, guns that traditionally use most AR mags.
When it came to reliability, we fired a mix of 500 rounds through the two mags with just a couple of warning flags to raise. First off, when using brass-cased ammo, we had no problems. The warning lights just went off with imported lacquered 5.56 (looking at you, Wolf), which sometimes delivered a failure to feed towards the end of the mag.
Where the Schmeissers really shine is the price. Since they have been introduced, we have seen them floating around as low as $40, while the current MSRP from ATI on the S60W is $79.95. This is about $50 less than the Magpul D60 drum and, unlike the D60, the S60 could fit into a larger range of mag carriers.
But wait, we have more to tell you about other S60 mags on the horizon.
Schmeisser AK mag
At the recent Shooting Sports Showcase in Alabama last month, we stopped in at ATI and checked out the latest Schmeissers in the pipeline. Besides the 5.56 NATO S60 offerings reviewed above, ATI is now set to bring in AK versions in 7.62x39mm that retain the same 60-round capacity.
Polenar Tactical has been kicking some around and has this to say on them, in full Slavic glory.
Finally, another tweak that could be down the road for the S60 series is a luminous insert attached to the feed ramp that is visible through the window, helping to judge round count in low light conditions.