US Army Adopts New M4 Magazine, Bans All Other Magazines (Even PMAGs)
In a massive reversal of policy, the Army has declared that soldiers may
only use Army-issued magazines. They are banning the PMAG. Soldiers
have been using polymer magazines like the Magpul PMAG
, Lancer L5
and a handful of other high-performance magazines for years, all for
their improved performance, reliability and durability properties.
PMAG has an National Stock Number and could be ordered by soldiers and
branches of the Army, and is even standard issue for Army regiments
including the 75th Rangers and 61st Cavalry
just follows a long line of the Army, and military in general, not
listening to the troops about equipment and weaponry," said one Army
infantryman serving in Southwest Afghanistan, who asked not to be
identified. "The PMAG is a great product… lightweight and durable. I
have seen numerous special ops teams from all services pass through
here, and they all use PMAGs. Also, a large amount of Marine infantry
here use PMAGS, including their Force Recon elements."
The thinking behind this sweeping condemnation of all
non-Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management
Command (LCMC)-issued magazines is not entirely clear. One possible
reason is that the Army's recent improvements to the standard-issue
aluminum magazine have shown better performance than the PMAG and other
designs. "Tan is the Plan"
with this third-generation Army 5.56 NATO magazine. While externally
similar (if not identical) to older magazines the Army's newest mag has a
that incorporates an anti-tilt design, one that arguably takes a cue from Magpul's PMAG
The Improved Magazine effectively reduces the risk of magazine-related
stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine
variants. Identified by a tan-colored follower, over 500,000 of the
improved magazines have been fielded to units in Iraq, Afghanistan and
in the U.S.
"With the improved magazines, we're taking weapons reliability up
another notch," said LTC Chris Lehner, Product Manager Individual
Weapons. "By incorporating a heavier, more corrosion resistant spring,
along with a new follower design that does not tilt inside the casing,
our engineers were able to develop a magazine that presents a round to
the weapon with even greater stability. Increased magazine reliability
results in overall improved weapon system performance."
is another possibility. During the re-evaluation process of the
2007-issued green follower magazines the Army tried to acquire the
design rights to the PMAG, something Magpul was not inclined to give up.
The irony is that despite banning the PMAG, along with all other
non-TACOM-approved magazines, the Army is still recommending that
soldiers use the old green follower magazines, the very equipment they
have stated is a serious flaw in the M4 system.
So in the process of replacing the flawed hardware, the Army has banned
the better alternatives and ruled that soldiers shall continue to equip
themselves with the knowingly-troubled magazines until they are issued
new ones with a fix.
While it isn't likely that these new tan
follower magazines are as bad as the older magazines, what isn't know is
if they are superior to PMAGs and the rest. And knowing this will have
to wait for independent testing, because TACOM has not released the
results of their tests nor their testing methods.
We can only
hope that in the face of this mag ban that all the right Army eyes look
away while soldiers continue to use the equipment they know and trust
best, and that this very obvious mistake gets reversed quickly.
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