In an upcoming article AR-Fu: A tale of 3 Magazine Releases, I reviewed the Power Custom’s Oversized Magazine Release Button (found here or here on Brownells). During the initial testing two failure scenarios were discovered that could negatively affect proper and quick magazine changes with AR-15’s that have this button on it.
Specifically the issues are:
- If pressure on the button is not completely parallel through the receiver (from right to left) then magazine release arm on the opposite side can become jammed against the receiver cut-out and prevent the arm from moving. This particularly happens if finger pressure pushes toward the barrel end of the receiver which is a natural tendency when operating the button. This will produce a failure to release the magazine malfunction.
- If the button is fully engaged and slightly turns the arm, it can become captured outside the receiver cut-out and capture the arm on the opposite side of the receiver. This causes a permanent engagement of the magazine release and can allow a properly inserted and seated magazine to fall out (it is not captured).
Under tactical conditions, either of these conditions can have serious implications and create life-threatening scenarios.
Both these problems arise from the fact the shaft on the button does not allow enough of the magazine release catch to screw deep enough into it. During the installation of a normal AR-15 magazine release button, typically you use a punch to push the button way further deep into the cut-out to allow the magazine release arm to be screwed deeper into it. With the oversized flange of the Power Custom button this can not be done.
We contacted Power Custom about this condition. They provided us with additional buttons to test to validate that we did not have defective buttons. Both sets (original and new ones provided) produced these same results on an Aero Precision, DelTon, and Spikes Tactical lower receiver. Given these findings we highly recommend these buttons are avoided for any tactical or critical application. Overall, we at thegagg.com feel these are defective units that should be removed from inventory and re-engineered to resolve these issues. I spoke with and emailed Power Custom’s, Randall Power personally and he claims they have sold thousands and no one has complained. He also stated until the current manufactured lot are sold, he doubts they would be looking at re-engineering them.