In Reversal, Army Bans High-Performance Rifle Mags |

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.

via In Reversal, Army Bans High-Performance Rifle Mags |

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.

11 thoughts on “In Reversal, Army Bans High-Performance Rifle Mags |”

  1. I’ve never had any issue with USGI aluminum magazines, once the feed lips have been worn in a little bit, and so long as you’ve got the good followers in there. (Incidentally, the best ones are also – big surprise – made by Magpul.)

    I’ve got a couple Magpul products on my AR – pistol grip and back-up sights – but I’ve never used Pmags before. Living in CA it’s a little pointless to get them, and most of what I use in my AR is just little C-Products 10-rounders, and those work well enough. (I’ve got a tiddly stash of real USGI mags, though, which just need to be reassembled in case of zombies.)

  2. I’ve never had real problems with an issued magazine, and the ones with the tan followers are pretty solid.

    But this is a stupid ass rule.

  3. Somebody was probably worried that some Congressman would get word of the DoD essentially paying twice for magazines, start asking questions, and endanger their sweet government contract.

  4. Just read a little more about this, and the reason MAY be that Pmags are AR / M16-specific, rather than STANAG compliant.

    1. This is true, but it’s a magazine that can only be used in one weapon.

      STANAG 4917 (I think that’s the right number) is a set of specs for 5.56 rifle magazines, and if you’re compliant with that, then pretty much any NATO rifle can use that magazine, and so can the M249.

    2. Also, the new rifle that the Marines are buying from HK … uses STANAG magazines … and since Pmags aren’t STANAG compliant, they won’t work … sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ….

  5. MagPul PMags have an NSN, they cannot be prohibited unless it is proven
    they are inherently defective and revoke said number.

    This is an issue of the metal USGI contractor calling in favors to get a
    superior weapon system component competitor banned. The same as
    what happened when colt got the H&K XM8 scrapped. As a member of
    the 101st Airborne from 2004 to 2007, we were supposed to receive
    the field ready model in 2005 to train up on and take on deployment.

    The RFI “Baptism of Fire” . . . for lack of a better descriptive.

    MagPul produces a quality product line, their magazines have gotten me
    through firefights without a single hitch . . . making me wonder if my last
    M4 was instead made by the Germans . . . that was the ONLY M4 I EVER
    trusted, having never experienced a single stoppage: immediate, remedial,
    or catastrophic.

    I argue it is instead, the USGI mags that are inherently defective, as all they
    are, engineering wise, is a twenty-round “Waffle Mag” stretched to take thirty
    cartridges. This was the path of least resistance, instead of redesigning them
    from the ground up, as should have happened.

    Same as with the M4, which is only a slightly modified colt 650 Series
    carbine. It should also have been redesigned from the AR15 receiver
    up, employing a mid-length gas tap and sixteen inch barrel, with a new
    mount for the M203, not the “Waiting Stress Fracture” cut.

    Apologies for the rant, fellow readers, but I am of the personal opinion
    that colt is a lazy war profiteer with the blood of American Soldiers and
    Marines on their hands.

    1. As an addendum, the STANAG requirements are effectively in name only.

      The NATO 5.56 SS109 cartridges repeatedly cause double-feed stoppages
      in the M4, requiring remedial action to clear and resume action.

      Not with all, of course, but many of the ones not “made on a Wednesday” . . .

      We had whole squads who could not properly confirm zero or paper qual
      in kuwait due to this issue . . . and of course, the monkeys in the peanut
      gallery dismissed it as “Joe just not cleaning his gun”.

      This is due to the fact they burn hotter than American M855 “Greenies”,
      causing the bolt carrier group to be overgassed with the carbine length
      tube. The result is the carrier group with fly out of battery faster than the
      extractor claw can maintain grip on the fired casing, leaving it the weapon
      with a failure to extract issue. The casing will continue to expand in the
      chamber from the heat flash, becoming stuck, while the carrier group will
      cycle the next cartridge to the feed ramps.

      SPORTS never works to resolve it. Only manual extraction with a multi-tool.

      SS109s will work properly in M16A2s and A4s, but keep those “British
      Brass Dicks” away from your popgun, or it will be you who “gets dicked”.

      The M855A1 however, comma, looks very promising.

      Finally . . .

  6. I don’t know how applicable 20 year old data is, but back when I went through Basic, we had massive problems with double feeds because of old and worn mags. Our Drills personally inspected and approved magazines for us on Qual day, but during training, it was “you get what you get”. SPORTS was the order of the day.

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