Recently, a few collectors have posted and collaborated on trying to better identify early Glock magazines–and the tabulation is just fascinating! The more early guns that can be verified with authentic magazines and compared side by side, the more versions seem to come out of the wood work. Eventually, this should be another section on the page here showing the progression from earliest to latest, but it seems that as time goes by there will be more intermediate changes discovered/catalogued.
Initially, I began photographing various changes and expected that I would only have about six variants to document from the first (shown above) up until the assault weapons ban era mags. The ban went into effect in September of 1994 and provides a breaking point, at least from a collector standpoint, in the value of magazines. Pre ban of any caliber or version will typically cost $50 and up per magazine while ban era and later can be had for a cheap as $10 (if you REALLY hunt). As I began to tabulate and then compare with other collectors, it has become a much bigger project than anticipated. I anticipate the final tally will be at least 20 and the real challenge is being able to track each of them down for photographs.
For today, we can start by discussing the very first version made for the Glock 17. As you can see, it’s very plain looking, was a simpler design, had a very small loading notch, and was not metal lined. It’s important to note that there is a version of this magazine that was made for the P80, which might actually precede the release of the G17–the only difference between these is the Army version has a special stamp on the back. There is also a version of this mag with the Norwegian Army’s stamp.
The very early mags also had totally blank base plates with no Glock logo and no retention hole. These came with guns from the AA to the AE prefix guns but there was no consistency in parts usage on these early guns. Some guns in that period shipped with the mag below featuring a larger loading notch (the birth of the so-called U-notch mags) as well as metal lining (though not fully lined) and the addition of “AUSTRIA” stamped below the Glock logo.
The progression of design changes was fairly rapid during the late 80’s, similar to the design of the gun. The base plates, metal used for the lining, and contours of the shoulders all changed multiple times let alone any differences in markings that are purely cosmetic. In time, I will get them all photographed and added to the site and hopefully have a table to match up mag variants to the proper serial prefix and time period.
As a side note, to speak to the value of these early designs, I recently listed 4 15 rd G19 mags that were all the last version of design prior to the assault weapons ban. The listing started at $.01 because I wanted to find a true market value and the final hammer price was $670 which came out to just shy of $750 once taxes and shipping were added. Had I listed them as single mags, it’s not unreasonable to think they might sell for $200/ea and that price seems to keep escalating.