The Army has ordered that soldiers may use only government-issued magazines with their M4 carbines, a move that effectively bans one of the most dependable and widely used commercial-made magazines on today’s battlefield.
The past decade of war has spawned a wave of innovation in the commercial soldier weapons and equipment market. As a result, trigger-pullers in the Army, Marines and various service special operations communities now go to war armed with commercially designed kit that’s been tested under the most extreme combat conditions.
Near the top of such advancements is the PMAG polymer M4 magazine, introduced by Magpul Industries Corp. in 2007. Its rugged design has made it as one of the top performers in the small-arms accessory arena, according to combat veterans who credit the PMAG with drastically improving the reliability of the M4.
The magazine has always been one of the weakest links in the firepower chain that is the M16/M4 family. Stamped steel magazines suffered from bent lips that lead to frequent jams. Careful maintenance was needed to prevent rusting, and care had to be exercised to not overly lubricate the spring or dust would accumulate and lead to jams.
I’ve owned a few polymer magazines (but never a MAGPUL) and never had any issues with them. Personally, I found them much more reliable and damage resistant than the issue 30 round magazine.
From what I can tell, in this instance, however, we aren’t talking about individual soldiers plunking down cash for magazines, but rather unit commanders using their discretionary funds to purchase magazines to equip their units.
I suspect this directive will be widely disregarded. At a minimum, I’d expect to see those units that have already bought MAGPUL’s to continue to use them. Of course, they’ll also stock the standard issue magazine, just so they can prove they are in compliance with the directive. And if TACOM really wants to go out on patrol with a platoon to check just which magazines they’re using, they’ll be more than welcome to show up.