KRD 17-round 9mm Hi Power Magazines
Sometimes referred to as “South African Hi Power magazines”, these are actually manufactured from tempered steel by KRD-High-Tec S.R.L. in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For those interested, their site (English version) can be seen here:
I do not recall the first time I laid eyes on the KRD magazine but believe it was around 1999 or 2000. It was definitely during the ban on “high-capacity feeding devices” that began on Sept. 13th, 1994 and ended ten years later. Though reported to be available in both nickel and blue finishes, I’ve only seen them in a very utilitarian blue.
Here are a couple of views of the KRD 9mm 17-round Hi Power magazine. It fits FN/Browning Hi Powers as well as the clones that will accept standard Hi Power magazines.
When introduced, they were popular simply because they could be owned by private citizens and did not cost the better part of a hundred-dollar bill as did Mec-Gar and magazines bearing the Browning name…even though made by Mec-Gar. Federal law allowed private citizens to buy or own magazines with greater-than-ten-round-capacity if the magazines were manufactured before the ban took effect in 1994, but some state laws prohibited unilaterally prohibited any magazines holding over 10 cartridges…and still do! In any event, KRD’s hit the market in large numbers.
Most KRD magazines hold the top round at a sufficiently high angle to promote smooth-feeding of JHP’s as well as FMJ ammunition. This one feeds JHP ammunition fine but not all KRD’s do in my experience with them; some worked reliably only with ball ammo.
Total number of KRD magazine components is four: floor plate, magazine body, spring and follower. (This magazine’s spring strength is “legendary”. I am not a fan of magazine loaders but might make an exception in this case…at least initially until the magazine spring “set” properly. )
Here are two views of the all-steel KRD magazine follower. In my experience with them, some fail to reliably engage the slide stop lever to hold the slide back after the last shot is fired. It is not unheard of to find a burr or two on the all-steel follower, which can cause it to bind. Removing such burrs is easy and almost always solves binding problems. Note also the tool marks on the rear of the magazine body. The front of the magazine is considerably smoother, presumably to reduce friction with the magazine disconnect plunger in an effort to avoid negatively affecting the existing trigger-pull characteristics. The rear of this magazine shows a shallow “U”. It is my understanding that some later-production magazines had a deeper “U” and sometimes cracked. I have never seen this happen on the earlier magazines.
The magazine floor plate is plastic and is 0.503” thick. With the rear of the floor plate to the front of the magazine body, slide the former onto the latter after lining up the magazine body’s flange with the grooves cut on either side of the floor plate. These are held on only with friction and tension from the compressed magazine spring. They can be difficult to remove, at least initially. I am not ashamed to admit using a rubber mallet to remove them for cleaning purposes. On the bottom of the floor plate are markings clearly identifying the manufacturer.
The biggest complaint that I am aware of with the KRD magazines is that very often it is nearly impossible to initially load new ones to full-capacity. On more than one occasion, I’ve struggled to load 9 or 10 cartridges and then let the magazine set for a week. It can usually be completely loaded at that time. The reason was that the spring had not taken its initial set. Loading as many as could be forced in and letting the magazine “set” for a few days allowed this set to take place. Eventually, loading these magazines is easy enough. Mr. W.C. Wolff speaks to this very issue with his company’s gun springs in the FAQ section of his site, which is located at:
I am not fond of the friction/spring-tension manner by which the KRD floor plate is secured to the magazine body, but it seems to work. I have yet to see even one of these magazines lose a floor plate when the magazine is either bumped or dropped during speed reloading.
Much of the time these magazines drop free when the magazine button is depressed if the Hi Power has had its magazine “safety” removed, but not always. Whether it will or will not seems to be in the luck of the draw…just like whether or not it will feed JHP ammunition. In my experience, most do…but not all. It is up the buyer to test his magazines with each and every pistol they might be used with and the KRD is no exception. In my experience, I would estimate that roughly one magazine in five or six will only feed FMJ ammunition. The rest will feed blunt-ogive ammo…at least to some degree with maybe 60% feeding it quite smoothly in my estimation.
Some have reported excessive burring around the cutout for the magazine release but I have not observed this so it may be that this complaint was spawned by a specific KRD production lot and is the exception rather than the rule. I simply have not observed it as I have on Pro-Mag Hi Power magazines from the same time-frame.
This is my personal Mk III 9mm Hi Power with a KRD 17-shot magazine in place. This particular magazine has proven reliable in both feeding and locking the slide rearward after the last shot. I have owned others that did not. They were either “raped for parts” or discarded. I strongly suggest not owning unreliable magazines. It just is not worth it in my opinion to diminish the Hi Power’s normally high dependability with a questionable magazine, literally the “heart” of the feed system.
Though I still own and sometimes use KRD Hi Power magazines for range work, at the present time with no ban in effect, I’d buy Mec-Gar magazines rather than these, but I have more than a few Mec-Gar/Browning Hi Power magazines. If you find a “deal” on the KRD’s and opt to pick up a few, I suggest using them for range practice and sticking with Mec-Gar magazines or those marked “Browning” for serious purposes unless you are really sure that your KRD’s are reliable. Many will work with JHP ammunition, but some simply balk at reliable feeding with anything other than FMJ.
In my opinion, the KRD’s are not bad, but neither are they my top choice.