Arguably, the biggest hand up I had with giving the Glock G48 a fair shake was the magazine capacity. I’ve been told and I’ve also said it, the factory ten round capacity of the G48 is statistically safe for armed citizens. I shouldn’t have to struggle with this myself given the data and the fact that the slimline Glock is ideal in many ways for concealed carry, but I did. That is until I learned about what Shield Arms was doing with their S-15 magazines. Truth be told, my little Glock G48 project would never have happened had it not been for Shield Arms.
There is a lot going for the Glock 48. Its form factor makes it an extremely comfortable concealed carry pistol given a good holster. In addition to that, the slimline nature of the pistol makes it an attractive proposition for folks with smaller hands who struggle with a proper gun fit due to limited trigger reach. This was my case. Furthermore, the longer barrel and slide length (which is longer than the popular G43X which shares the same frame) which is comparable to the G19 makes it a very attractive proposition to many armed citizens including me. However, even with a good fit, comfortable to carry dimensions, and a duty sized slide and barrel, the factory ten round capacity is, for lack of a better term, a turn off for a lot of people like myself.
Shield Arms figured out how to create a magazine that could contain fifteen 9mm rounds while maintaining the same form factor of the factory magazines. There are some fundamental material differences between the factory G48 magazines and the Shield Arms S15 magazines. Namely the all steel frame. However, this change allows for a 50% increase in capacity over the factory magazines. It’s difficult to describe how significant this engineering marvel really is as it essentially converts the G48 into a slimline G19 which happens to be the bar that every defensive pistol is measured against. It’s a big deal.
While fifteen rounds in the same form factor is a definite benefit, there are some drawbacks. The first is that I’ve heard from trusted sources that these fifteen round magazines should be downloaded to fourteen rounds to prevent potential issues such as failure to seat or feeding issues when loaded to capacity. I’m not sure if these issues were limited to the first generation of the S15 magazines, but I have yet to experience any problems with fully loaded second generation magazines.
The next drawback is the price. The $42 MSRP is quite a bit more than the $30 MSRP for a factory magazine. Considering the 50% increased capacity, I consider the $42 MSRP to be fair. Nonetheless, the S15 magazines are more expensive than factory magazines.
The final drawback is that the steel magazines will inflict more wear and tear to the factory magazine catch which makes sense since metal will wear plastic faster than plastic will wear plastic. This is the very reason why Shield Arms recommends replacing the factory magazine catch with their steel magazine catch.
The Shield Arms S15 Steel Mag Catch comes in two flavors: standard and premium. The standard variant is ambidextrous in the sense that it can be configured to be actuated from either the left or right side of the gun. The premium variant on the other hand can only be actuated from the left side of the pistol and is intended to be manipulated by the right thumb. The premium version has eliminated hard angles internally to allow for smoother reloads. Both variants are very easy to install.
While the magazine catches are a fantastic upgrade to ensure long term durability in conjunction with the S15 magazines, they also have a drawback – they don’t work with the factory magazines. During my testing, factory magazines continued to fit and feed in the G48. However, the factory magazines did not fall freely when the Shield Arms magazine catch was actuated. I mention this because this upgrade essentially nullifies any investment made in factory magazines.
I personally think the S15 magazines and magazine catch are fabulous upgrades that I consider virtually essential for G43X and G48 pistols. Yes, they are a little spendy and make existing factory magazines defunct. However, the benefits largely outweigh the drawbacks. Frankly, I think these two upgrades are right up there in terms of priority with replacing the factory plastic Glock iron sights (assuming one isn’t putting a red dot on the pistol). Notwithstanding, there is one more upgrade from Shield Arms that I think is worth considering. That is the Shield Arms magazine well.
Like the magazine catch, the magazine well comes in two flavors: carry and premium. Both options provide a few benefits that are worth mentioning. The first benefit is a flared magazine insertion path which noticeably improves the ease of reloads. The next benefit is that it keeps the palm out of the way which greatly reduces the chance of pinching (and potential blood blisters) when inserting a magazine. The final benefit is that it helps keep the grip in place when managing recoil. The premium variant improves all three benefits a little bit more.
While I don’t consider upgrading the magazine well essential like I do the magazines and the magazine catch, I’ve found the magazine well to be a very nice upgrade and have no reservations about strongly suggesting it. Having tried both the carry and the premium variants, I like the premium variant a bit more given my hand size and how my hands interface with the grip on the G48.
Full disclosure, I am affiliated with Shield Arms and have a monetary relationship with them. I will receive a small commission when folks use links on this post to navigate to the Shield Arms website and purchase a product directly from them. That said, this was a relationship that I sought out after purchasing the upgrades I’ve mentioned in this post personally having been exceptionally satisfied with their quality and function.