Best AR-15 Bullet Button: AR MagLock+Patriot Pin [Review & Install]

Want to get your AR-15 California compliant in 2018?

If you’re not going the featureless route

Strike Industries Megafin Featureless Grip
Strike Industries Megafin Featureless Grip

Then you’ve got to go the fixed magazine route.

But now the rules have changed in 2018…

We’ll tell you all we know…and our favorite California compliant solution (since there’s a lot).  The AR Maglock with the Patriot Pin.

We’ll cover how it works, why it’s still pretty fast, and how to install it.

Disclaimer that this is not legal advice and you should double-check everything, especially since the laws surrounding this always seem to be in flux.  Also the installation instructions are for entertainment only.  Always have a qualified gunsmith work on your firearm.

Table of Contents

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Current California Assault Weapon Laws

It used to be that with a simple “tool” you could release your fixed magazine.

Ultimate Bullet Button Tool, Ben Sharmak
Ultimate Bullet Button Tool, Ben Sharmak

But thanks to SB880…a fixed magazine is when a “feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.”

So now you have to open up the upper and lower halves before the magazine release can be used.

Read more in our SB880 article where we talk about registration too.

But you have until June 30, 2018 to become featureless, have a new fixed mag system, or register.

Enter…AR Maglock & Patriot Pin

One thing about these kinds of laws…the ingenuity of determined people shines.

AR Maglock and Patriot Pin Combo
AR Maglock and Patriot Pin Combo

Check it out…the AR Maglock ($55) replaces your entire Bullet Button or standard magazine release.  It adds a little arm so you can’t press it in if the upper is in place.

So simple it’s GENIUS!

Pressed In AR Maglock
Pressed In AR Maglock

Once the rear takedown pin is released and you open up the upper and lower halves…you can now press the magazine release button.

But pressing in the takedown pin one side…then pulling it out the other side gets annoying if you’re shooting a lot.

Patriot Pin, Open Action
Patriot Pin, Open Action

BOOM!

The kit comes with an extra takedown pin and ring that you can use to pull easier…but still…

That’s where the Patriot Pin ($89) steps in…it replaces the endplate and rear takedown pin so you have a lever to easily press with your firing hand that releases the upper and lower.

Plus the pin is made of Delrin (plastic) so there’s no excessive wear on your aluminum parts with the regular steel pin.

Here it is in action again with a tactical reload (round in the chamber):

Pros

AR Maglock and Patriot Pin
AR Maglock and Patriot Pin
  • No registration required
  • Reasonably fast reloads…especially if a round is in the chamber (make sure to put it on safe first though)

Cons

  • Still not as fast as a regular magazine release…if you’re competing you’ll probably go the featureless route
  • Little more annoying on an empty magazine bolt hold open situation since you can’t open the upper/lower halves if the bolt is to the rear.  You’ve got to release the bolt, open it up, drop the mag, put in a new mag, put the upper/lower together, and use the charging handle.
  • Double-feeds will suck since you can’t easily release the pressure by removing the magazine.  You’ll have to disassemble the AR Maglock (pretty easy…just need an Allen key) or disassemble your magazine from the bottom.  I wouldn’t recommend using permanently modified mags.
  • A little pricey with the AR Maglock at $55 and the Patriot Pin at $89.  However…there’s a Combo which brings it down to $135 for both.  Or even a bigger Compliance Kit with all the tools and extra goodies.
AR-15 Compliance Kit
AR-15 Compliance Kit

Worth it for some compliance peace of mind…

Best CA Fixed Mag
AR MagLock & Patriot Pin

AR MagLock & Patriot Pin

Prices accurate at time of writing

Installation

Now that you’ve gotten your kit…how do you install it?

It’s easy…and I’ve got tons of pictures to help you through it.  If you’ve assembled an AR-15 lower before…it’s even easier.

First…remove your current bullet button.  This one only requires a screwdriver.

Remove Current Bullet Button
Remove Current Bullet Button

While the other more popular one requires a “rabbit ear” tool that you probably lost…but the kit comes with one!

Bullet Button Removal Tool
Bullet Button Removal Tool

Lay out everything in the AR Maglock bag.

AR Maglock Parts
AR Maglock Parts

This is roughly how it’s going to be assembled.

AR Maglock Assembly
AR Maglock Assembly

Position it into the normal magazine release well.  Make sure to put the spring in there first.

Positioning of AR Maglock
Positioning of AR Maglock

Doublecheck that it will clear your lower.

Doublecheck AR Maglock
Doublecheck AR Maglock

Now go to the other side and put in the mag catch.

AR Maglock Mag Catch
AR Maglock Mag Catch

And screw it in.

AR Maglock Screw
AR Maglock Screw

Function check…

Tighten AR Maglock
Tighten AR Maglock

And…it works!

AR Maglock Function Check
AR Maglock Function Check

Now onto the Patriot Pin!

A little more difficult but the kit comes with all the tools.

AR-15 Compliance Kit
AR-15 Compliance Kit

First press down on the buffer detent…

Depress Buffer Detent
Depress Buffer Detent

And remove the buffer and spring.

Take Buffer and Spring Out
Take Buffer and Spring Out

Use the castle nut tool to loosen the nut.

Patriot Pin Remove Castle Nut
Patriot Pin Remove Castle Nut

While being careful the detent spring doesn’t launch out.

Stop Before Spring Comes Out
Stop Before Spring Comes Out

Carefully take out the spring and the takedown pin.  I left the detent in there.

Rear Detent and Takedown Pin
Rear Detent and Takedown Pin

Put in the Delrin pin and the lever and make sure the channel in the pin matches up with the detent.

Insert Delrin Pin and Lever
Insert Delrin Pin and Lever

Thread on the new endplate and put the buffer detent back on (with the spring).

Threading Endplate
Threading Endplate

Capture the buffer detent but screwing the buffer tube in enough…then put back the other spring.

Add in Spring
Add in Spring

Press in the spring against the endplate.

Press in Spring Against Endplate
Press in Spring Against Endplate

Then press in the endplate until it matches up with the cutout in the receiver.  And screw in the endplate.

Screw in Endplate
Screw in Endplate

Match up the Patriot Pin lever with the endplate.

Match Up Lever and Endplate
Match Up Lever and Endplate

Screw in from the bottom.

Install the Screw
Install the Screw

And…you’re done!

Completed Patriot Pin
Completed Patriot Pin

Conclusion

What do you think about the AR Maglock and Patriot Pin combo?  I give it 5 stars for its ingenuity.

It’s pretty fast and allows for disassembly of the mechanism in case of a double-feed.

My Editor’s Pick for the best current fixed magazine solution for California.

AR MagLock & Patriot Pin

AR MagLock & Patriot Pin

Prices accurate at time of writing

Want to go the featureless route…check out the best muzzle brakes, grips, and fixed stocks in our complete Featureless Guide.  Or if this is bumming you out…check out Editor’s Picks for the best guns & gear.

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Albert
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Albert

Why does CA keep screwing around? Just BAN the private ownership, sale and possession of guns. It’s already a ‘SACTUARY’, so why not just ‘do it’?? “Citizens” have no rights in CA.

Roy
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Roy

Armaglock gen2 and kingpin even better option.

doinkus
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doinkus

Having just gotten into firearms ownership and bought 2 AR’s, I read these and am very glad that I moved from California to Utah. My condolences to my CA brethren.