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Review: Toth Tool AK Magazine

The authentic black Bulgarian waffle magazine, also simply called the ‘Circle-10’, is touted by many as the pinnacle of AK magazine design available anywhere. Having a polymer body, steel locking lug, and an internal steel liners on the feed lips is a goodly part of this reason–strong where it needs to be with a higher elastic limit than traditional inexpensive stamped surplus magazines.

There have always been cheap imitators, invariably resembling the genuine Circle 10 aesthetically but not functionally. As with many imported firearms components, costs have risen considerably over the last several years. What used to go for $20 now commonly sells for more than double that. This relative scarcity and the subsequent price increases that followed have actually made it economically viable for American manufacturers to produce high quality alternatives.

We can argue the merits of each new(ish) domestic magazine to death, but the something the ones worth a damn have been missing is the je ne sais quoi of the Circle 10. Toth Tool, a Michigan manufacturer of AK tools and parts, set out to change that. The goal was to not only have it look like a Circle 10, but to act just like one in and out as well.

This is a tall order and a high standard to set yourself to–especially to do so at a price point the market would bear. I received my Toth Tool magazines several months ago and have been using them almost exclusively whenever a 7.62×39 makes its way out of the safe.

The Imitation Game
Though the word ‘imitation’ holds some bad connotations for some, it shouldn’t in this case. A goodly portion of the Kalashnikov market focuses on keeping the archetypal candor of the originals. However, even if you’re into Aimpoints and Zhukov stocks and rail systems and weapon lights, that doesn’t exclude you from the potential benefits of the Toth Tool magazine. Let’s compare and contrast the Toth Tool to the [now classic] genuine Bulgarian waffle magazine it was crafted after. All photos feature the Toth Tool version on top and the bona fide Bulgarian below.

 

Just from the exterior you can tell that the waffle pattern remains the same. The Bulgarian catches slightly more light (though that can be argued to be a bad thing). Instead of the Circle-10 mold marking we see that Toth Tool has a TTE marking. There are also other manufacturer markings by the front locking lugs.

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Examining the front seam and the rear spine highlights some subtle differences. The mold marking on the Bulgarian are evident and it also sports a a witness hole to indicate when the magazine is full.

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The rear lug on the Toth Tool magazine is partially skeletonized

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Instead of the Bulgarian stamping, Toth Tool went with a more common standard AK variety baseplate. You can interchange the two, though the Bulgarian is very tight when installed on the Toth mag.

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Internal components are nearly identify, minus manufacturer markings.

With the guts out we can get our first good look at the reinforcements.
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You can see the reinforcement cages on the feed lips. The Toth Tool magazine, unlike the Bulgarian, does not have reinforcements in the body or spine of the magazine itself. They explain that with modern polymers they found it to be unneeded for strength in these places.

In Use
The first several times the Toth Tool AK mag is inserted it might be a little harder to lock in place. This is unsurprising because the same goes for the Bulgarian mag, but something you might want to keep in mind. I’ve used the Toth magazines on a wide variety of receivers and the only issue I ran into was on an older Century gun with a malformed magwell (to be fair, that particular rifle has a hard time with most any magazines).

The most remarkable aspect of these magazines is that nothing remarkable has happened. No feeding or malfunction issues and no breakages. On the surface this wouldn’t seem like a big deal. However, I’ve readily broken every other American-made Kalashnikov magazine I’ve used, and not from abuse but through normal use and the bumps and scrapes of training. There were some reports of followers sticking intermittently in the first batch of these magazines produced last year. I am happy to say that I didn’t experience these issues and haven’t heard any buzz from anyone about it continuing with current production.

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[My training beater pictured hasn’t exactly been babied]

Further proof in the pudding would be a series of proper military drop tests. No, I’m not talking about Youtube videos where people throw magazines on the ground or do push ups with them or hit them with things. Actual scientific testing is quite tedious and rather unexciting to watch. If you want to see what I’m talking about visit this link and it’s covered three-quarters down the page.

Notes and Commentary

The Toth Tool AK magazines are entirely American-made. While, that’s all fine and good for patriotic reasons, with imported rifles like the AK it can be important for legal reasons too. Each Toth Tool magazine counts as three compliance parts for 922R purposes (If you don’t know what 922R is, read this link and become befuddled with government rationale).

Toth Tool is a small company, so it’s very impressive that they’ve been able to bring these to the market at the prices they have. However, magazines appear to be done in batches and sell out very quickly. So if you’re interested and see them in stock, you should probably nab them when you can. In the future I’d like to see magazines in alternative calibers like 5.56, and perhaps more options in capacity like 20 or 40 rounders.

If you’re looking for the look and functionality of a Bulgarian Circle-10 AK magazine but don’t want to pay the prices they currently command, I recommend you give these a go.

For more information, you can visit Toth Tool online here.

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