Lots of everyday concealed carriers carry spare magazines, and there are many good reasons to do so. Your favorite holster manufacturers may incorporate a magazine carrier, sometimes referred to as a ‘sidecar' into the holster. Typically these are designed for appendix, inside the waistband (AIWB) carry. Carrying like this is pretty comfortable and accessing a spare mag from this position is relatively easy.
But maybe you have your favorite holster, and it doesn't have a sidecar? What can you do? There are definitely magazine carriers you can clip on your belt. These add bulk and add another step to your routine. Both of these issues make it less likely you will actually carry an extra magazine, even if you want to.
Others simply throw a spare magazine in their pocket. While it's better than no magazine, digging around in your pocket to grab your magazine is not ideal.
Two companies, Front Pocket Innovations, and SnagMag perfected the procedure carrying a concealed, spare magazine in your pocket. Both products position the magazine in your pocket so you can consistently index your magazine and make your magazine changes more smoothly.
The SnagMag products are made in Virginia and have been featured in several publications. The mag holder consists of a thin, hard Kydex-like material, with a small, protruding hook and an attached, spring-steel clip. The clip is similar to what you would find on your basic folding knife. The spare magazine is placed inside the SnagMag, which is a little like a minimalistic sheath for the magazine.
Then it is clipped inside the wearer's support-side, front pants pocket. When positioned correctly the aforementioned hook will be pointing to the rear of the pocket. The SnagMag is then positioned all the way to the rear of the pocket. When the magazine is situated correctly, the base plate rests a little lower than the top of the SnagMag.
Dropping the magazine down a fraction conceals it a little better and if anyone were to pay attention to you, it would look like you are carrying a pocket knife.
To draw the magazine, insert your index finger into the pocket and sweep rearward until reaching the magazine. Draw out with your index and thumb, and continue with your mag change like you would when drawing from any other mag pouch. Of course, when you draw the magazine, you want the SnagMag to stay in your pocket.
The clip does an adequate job of this on its own, but it is that protruding hook that keeps the SnagMag in your pocket by grabbing onto the inside of the pocket material.
Front Pocket Innovations makes the NeoMag about an hour away from me in Norton, Ohio. The NeoMag works in a similar way to the SnagMag, but does it in a different way. Where SnagMag uses a Kydex sheath, the NeoMag is essentially a strong magnet attached to a spring steel clip. It's a bit more than that, but it is about as minimalistic a design as can be.
The vast majority of factory handgun magazines are metal (yes even Glock mags have a steel core). Some of your aftermarket magazines like ETS or Magpul wouldn't work, because 100% of the retention is from the magnet. If you are going to carry a spare magazine in your front, pants pocket, the support side is ideal. But because the NeoMag does not rely on a hook to grab onto the pocket like the SnagMag, you could carry it in any pocket front or back.
I mentioned that the NeoMag has no hook to keep the product situated when you draw the mag. That is because the titanium clip on the NeoMag is so tight, that it isn't going to unclip unless you want it to…Trust me.
SnagMag VS NeoMag:
There are many more similarities than differences between the two products. But I will compare the factors I believe to be important.
Ride Height- The SnagMag's Kydex extends up past the baseplate, so it sits a bit higher. This doesn't really make a difference in ease of draw, but as you can see in the photo, it just changes what people see if they care to look. I can't really decide which I like better, so on this point, I would say it's a tie.
The NeoMag comes in an extended clip variant that allows it to drop the magazine lower in the pocket, or to be used with magazines that have extended base plates.
Comfort- I am using a Sig Sauer P320, 15 round 9mm magazine for my testing. When loaded, the magazine (from baseplate to exposed round) measures 4.4″ in length. The Snag Mag adds a bit of length and measures 5.0″ from bottom of carrier to very top. The NeoMag is slightly shorter and measures 4.6″ when installed. Thickness wise, the magazine by itself is (just the tube) is 1.2″.
The NeoMag is 1.4″ and SnagMag is 1.3″ wide. The magazine is 0.8″ thick, and both the SnagMag and NeoMag add just 0.2″ here. The NeoMag weighs 0.7 oz and the SnagMag weighs a whopping 0.1 oz more. What do all these dimensions mean, well not much other than to give you some reference for how little bulk these add compared to just carrying the magazine. Again, it's a tie.
Draw- I never carried a magazine in my front pocket and when I do carry, it is typically in the sidecar of my holster, which is just a little left of my bellybutton. It took me a bit of time to get used to drawing my mag from my front pocket. During this learning process, I noticed a few times where the SnagMag came out along with the magazine. This is because you have to apply a bit of rearward pressure during the draw.
It isn't necessarily a bad thing, and in a way I find it to be building a good habit because it sorta makes you get a good grip before trying to draw the magazine. As opposed to just trying to poke around in the pocket and then pull the magazine out.
I will point out that the SnagMag works best when there is pocket material to grab onto. So pants that have a more horizontal pocket opening work better, than ones that are cut on an angle. The NeoMag never, ever, ever came unclipped. Both products performed equally well while drawing, but the NeoMag's super tight clip ensures that it won't come off, so for that reason alone, the NeoMag is ahead here.
Versatility- The SnagMag is magazine and hand specific, meaning you must designate the type of gun the magazine is for and if you're right or left handed. The NeoMag also comes in a few different sizes based on the caliber, not the model of gun. This is only an issue if you carry different guns from time to time. In this category, the NeoMag wins marks for being more versatile.
Performance- Both products do a great job of keeping the magazine oriented correctly in your pocket. However, there were a few occasions where I put my hand in my pocket out of habit, and accidentally dislodged the magazine from the NeoMag.
I hesitate to call this a design flaw or a weakness, as I didn't have the magazine come lose any other time, even when I was running around in the backyard with my 6-year-old daughter. This was not an issue with the SnagMag due to its design. This is probably not an issue, but because the SnagMag is not affected in any way by factors like this, it gets a little higher mark here.
Lifespan- I mentioned the SnagMag is made of a think plastic or Kydex material. It is strong, and I am not too concerned with it cracking but theoretically, it could happen.
If I were to look at one weak point in the construction of the SnagMag it would be where the clip mounts. Maybe it's just because I have seen so much gear destroyed through rigorous use, but I could imagine the clip breaking off. It probably won't happen under regular use, but my gear gets abused so I look for these types of things. On the other hand, the NeoMag could be run over by a car and probably not be much worse for the wear.
It is all steel and magnet so there isn't much to break, and the clip attaches with two screws as opposed to one rivet type attachment on the SnagMag. I imagine the NeoMag would last longer under hard conditions, but I also haven't heard any complaints about the SnagMag clip breaking. The NeoMag is a bit more robust so it wins here.
Warranty- The NeoMag sports a lifetime warranty, but honestly its hard to see what if anything you could do through regular use to damage this thing. The SnagMag offers a limited lifetime warranty. I can't see the shell of the SnagMag breaking unless you run over it with a car, but the clip is the weak spot.
Usage- Using the NeoMag will result in your magazines being scuffed up. It is inevitability do to the magazine rubbing on the metal and magnet. It appears to be all cosmetic and doesn't affect performance at all.
I would caution that deep scratches on magazines tend to develop rust fairly easily, so routine maintenance would be important. The SnagMag does not cause any noticeable wear. Even though I am not too concerned with some scuffs on my magazines because they get used and abused on the range anyhow, I know some people would worry about this. And so in this area, SnagMag gets a higher mark.
What if This Happens- It is important to state that for obvious reasons, it is best practice not to carry anything else in the pocket along with your magazine. But even if you don't have any items in your pocket ‘what if' lint or some other debris, like lint or sand, works its way into the magazine. It is plausible that this could cause some sort of feeding malfunction in the gun.
How likely it is to happen is the question. I think very unlikely, but that is a question you to answer on your own. The SnagMag addresses this somewhat with how the carrier wraps around the open end, but the NeoMag does not. You will have to make your own determination on how likely and how important this is to you.
I have to say both products are super practical and performed equally well. The NeoMag is about 5 bucks more expensive than the SnagMag, $39.99 and $34.95 respectively. SnagMag provides free shipping, NeoMag will cost like 3 or 4 bucks to ship. The NeoMag is marketed more aggressive on social media and has some great content on Instagram.
In fact, that is how I learned about their product called the RASC (revolver ammunition strip concealment) that allows you to carry spare ammo on a speed strip for your revolver. I like that the Neomag is more universal and can be used with magazines from different guns. I also like the robust clip that ensures you will never draw the clip along with your magazine.
SnagMag is not as active on social media, so you may not have heard of it. But is great at what it does. And for those of you who have magazines that do not have a metal core that would work with a magnet, SnagMag is for you.
If I had one complaint, it's that the SnagMag is magazine and hand specific. Many people carry different guns and it forces someone to purchase a different snag mag for each gun. I also think the clip could be more durable and provide more grip on the pocket. A better clip may allow them to do away with the hook, essentially making it usable for a right-hand or left-hand draw. But I like the SnagMag's pouch-like design which makes it less prone to being lost in a deep pocket.
Surprisingly, I found drawing a spare mag from the pocket to be as fast, and at times faster than drawing from my AIWB holster's sidecar. There is no shirt to clear in order to access the spare magazine when in your pocket. Drawing from my sidecar, I have to go under my shirt to access my spare mag. So depending on the type of shirt or jacket, drawing from the pocket can be easier.
If you want to carry a spare mag in your pocket, the type of magazine you carry, along with the type of pants you typically wear may drive your decision. Either way, both products are great allowing you to carry that spare magazine.
Do you carry a spare? If so, what's your preferred method? Let us know in the comments below.
You can buy SnagMag here.
Buy the NeoMag, here.