I know, seems like an old headline right? Remember back in May when there was a story about the Army banning PMAGs? Turns out the Marine Corps has decided to follow suit and has issued an order banning the use of polymer PMAGs. From the Marine Corps Times:

Polymer rifle magazines, preferred by many combat troops for their durability, have been banned by the Marine Corps, according to a new administrative message published Monday.

Naturally, this announcement comes on the heels of Magpul finally shipping their new Gen M3 PMAGs, which they’ve gone and spent much time and ink proving to be superior to the USGI magazine in every way shape and form.

Effective immediately, only standard-issue 5.56mm metal magazines are approved, according to the message, signed by Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for combat development and integration. They have a 30-round capacity with either tan, green or black followers, the internal plate that pushes rounds into a rifle’s chamber.

For those who aren’t aware, the Marine Corps (and the military in general) only really ever update the followers in the magazines, and even then only when a new design is vastly superior for reliability or whatever. They differentiate the designs by the color of the plastic material they are made out of, so a soldier can quickly check their magazines and ensure that they have the latest and greatest.

What’s the reason behind this ban on Tupperware in their firearms? Compatibility, of course.

Marine officials began ad hoc bans on polymer magazines last year, citing concerns over their lack of compatibility with select weapons. The new message from Mills, who doubles as the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, makes the ban official across the force.

Its completely true. The standard PMAG doesn’t work well in the HK 416 or many other NATO issue firearms, which is why Magpul came out with the EMAG. Their latest generation (the Gen M3s) is compatible with even more firearms than the EMAG was, but apparently that’s still not good enough for the Marine Corps brass.

With the roll-out of the new M27 IAR, the Corps’ return to BAR-style support gunners instead of the M240, the corps has had to be a little more strict about the magazines. Made by the same company as the HK 416, it has the same picky attitude about magazines as its little brother and won’t reliably feed or let standard PMAGs even seat properly.

H&K hates you and your magazines suck.

The worry among the officials is that the support gunners will run out of ammo and need a spare mag from an infantryman, who will hand them a PMAG and then jam the gun. A legitimate concern in a firefight, when lives are on the line. There’s some chance that Magpul’s new Gen M3 magazine will be super compatible and sway the top brass’ opinions, but then again this is the military we’re talking about.

Magpul fanboys both in and outside the Corps are already being heard whinging about the decision, downplaying the likelihood of the situation of concern happening. However, having seen an HK 416 choke on a PMAG in person, I’d be cautious about claiming the superiority of the magazine before additional testing is performed.

Naturally this has to put a kink in Magpul’s plans to dominate the extremely lucrative magazine market among the military, but given the rate at which they’re selling out in the civilian and law enforcement market I don’t think they’ll have any issues about cash flow. In the short term, at least.

[Thanks to Lance for the tip!]

Recommended For You

66 Responses to Marine Corps Bans PMAGs

  1. I know, seems like an old headline right?

    I totally expected to click through and see, “This is not a repeat from three months ago.”

    I have nothing constructive to offer to this post, so I’m shameless tagging it for the followup conversation.

    • The whole reason that PMag took ff was due to the extreme lack of mag inventory for AR/M4 platforms. “Milspec” used to mean quality, now it means absolute minimum quality and specs that will work for at least ten minutes. AR mags, like all soft metal mags require care, maintenance, and lip protection. Original issue Colt mags were made in the US and last forever, but when Colt sold, the new corporate owner contracted 99% of their production out to foreigners, cutting costs and destroying quality. The military needs to reverse Clintons actions and open armories to produce their own “critical” components. The import military metal mags cost about a dollar each. With transportation from source countries, and the myriad of middle men, the cost goes up to about $4. Double that and you get retailer cost. In short, we need to bring the gun industry back to the U.S. So that we have more than just a bunch of companies assembling imported parts to manufacture weapons.

  2. The ban is not as stupid as it initially sounds, given the compatibility issues of the older generation Pmags. The good thing is that this ban will make more Pmags a aila le or for me (well and LE, and TTAG readers, etc), and probably will cause the development of a mag compatible with the IAR platform. So Magpul will improve their products even more.

    I have had absolutely zero problems with Pmags in my AR-15s.

    • I had the same thought: this will probably make Magpul develop a PMAG that is compatible with the new IAR.

      I still LOL’d at “H&K hates you and your magazines suck.”

      Me? My AK loves every magazine I’ve given it…

    • Your right while Mapul may make new PMAGS to be IAR compatible. Most marines may not buy new mags and use older PMAGS in combat which would lead to jams.

    • Compatibility with non ARs aside, I actually quit using my metal mags and bought a ton of pmags. I’m not a fan boy, but they do work awesomely in my ARs.

    • Excellent point. The Commandant can ban all the gear he wants, but useful-yet-prohibited products are still going to get used unless Marine sergeants agree that there’s a good reason to enforce the ban. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them turning a blind eye to PMAGs in squads that haven’t switched over to the M27, for example.

    • Yeah, but it wasn’t a real order, was it? After all, it’s peace time. He wasn’t being asked to secure a hill or advance on a beach head. I mean, surely a Marine of Dawson’s intelligence can be trusted to determine, on his own, which are the really important orders and which orders might, say, be morally questionable? Lieutenant Kendrick? Can he? Can Dawson determine on his own which orders he’s going to follow?

  3. This really doesn’t sound that stupid, not to mention the number of NATO troops going into action with our boys using non-PMAG accepting rifles (British SA80 comes to mind).

  4. Honestly I don’t understands the rave reviews if the pmags. I’ve never had one that worked properly in my rifle. I don’t have anything fancy, a 10yr old dpms ar 16″ rifle. Never an issue with usgi steel mags regardless of ammo choice. Pmags seem to only run with brass cased (expensive) ammo. Sure I could just buy the more expensive stiff, but I prefer to punch holes in gourds using ammo that costs next to nothing. I do keep a magazine of premium brass self defense ammo in the nightstand to take to my ar should the need arise, but its in a usgi magazine.

    • I don’t shoot polymer or steel casing in my M4, so I can’t comment to the issues related to shooting them via pmags. I have fired some steel via pmag with no issues. I’m wondering if your dpms is has a milspec lower with M4 feed ramps? Also are you shooting .223 or 556? I can say from my experience overseas and in training environments nato mags and usgi mags have more issues than pmags. I switched to pmags and will never look back. Prior to pmags the best mags you could get were HK mags, at $90 each. And Colt aluminum mags. Bushmaster also had great milspec mags. The aluminum mags bow unde pressure if you load 28+ rounds. The floor plates also have a tendency to pop out. The steel mags aside from being heavy, dent easily. I’ve seen lips on metal mags bend, and break frequently. Metal mag bolt failure sends sharp metal at you fast. I truly believe pmags are cost effective, lighter, safer, more reliable, feed better, and quieter. No clank of metal when you’re adjusting your gear. They won’t work for everyone and in the case of the IAR and the Corps I can see why they need to ban them. I would say HK needs to get a grip and ensure the IAR is compatible with American mags. All we need is some Germans building a rifle that takes proprietary $90 magazines.

  5. I know the Pmag craze but ive shot GI mags for years and no problem with them at all they work fine. I carry them for work shot combat competitions in very hot heat and sun and a lot of dust they work fine. Pmags are good but over rated.

  6. I admit to being an arm chair quarterback on this issue since but it sounds like the concerns are actualy legit and not just about cutting some corners on funds. Thats always a plus, right?

  7. Listen, I’ve spent time in the Marine Corps and at Marine Corps Combat Development Command in good old Quantico. I can tell you that they wouldn’t do this without good reason. Their first priority is to the troops on the ground and ensuring that every Marine comes home safe. If there are magazines that will not work, they would get used. Your gear gets mixed up and you have to improvise all of the time. I heard stories of Marines in Iraq using AK-47’s because they needed a rifle.

  8. I guess you like magpul. Good for you.

    But I question your credibility. First you breathlessly announce that the mean Marine Corps is banning your favorite magazine. Then you provide excellent reasons why they ban your favorite magazine. Then you offhandedly slur the Marine Corps and all branches of the military for banning them even while admitting that having them available can get people killed.

    Have you ever been in the Marine Corps or even been around Marines while they trained? Do you know anything about the subject of the military and how they train and operate? Seems to me that you are just some self-appointed expert on target shooting without very much in the way of credentials except that you like to tinker.

    I don’t mind casual experts but you are now in the realm of being a danger to my Marines who might read your nonsense and might insist on breaking discipline and use the magazines that even you admit are dangerous in a combat environment.

    If you want to be taken seriously then you should take more care to behave responsibly. My Marine Corps is certainly not perfect, but on this issue they are correct as you yourself admit. Try writing the rest of your post with that in mind next time.

    • Stow the self-righteous, self-aggrandizing narcissism. You want people to censor themselves in the off-chance that one of your guys reads it and disobeys orders? Get a grip, dude. If you command guys it’s your responsibility to make sure they follow the rules. We’re not under your command, Captain Kangaroo.

      Deal with it.

  9. Also, you are completely incorrect in saying that only the followers ever get modified. All parts have been modified as necessary, and to note the change they also change the color of the follower since that is the most durable visual indicator. Markings on the metal tend to wear off, but the follower color will be still seen.

  10. Not to leap to his defense but people who post the way you just did (skyler) tend to make yourself sound more realistic than you actually are in a vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to be taken seriously… Are you or have you ever been a marine?… My guess is no.

    • Yeah? Why does it matter to you? And how does that affect the point I was making? What do you base such a ridiculous assertion on? Nick lives just an hour south of me and if he is concerned about whether I’m a Marine or not, he is welcome to stop by.

      • I’m just questioning your credibility in the finest goose gander tradition. To mis-quote you “Seems to me that you are just some self-appointed expert on target shooting without very much in the way of credentials except you like to insult the opinions of others… ”

        Your entire post was designed to be insulting since as per you, he became a danger to “your” Marines… I’d like to know when you were appointed to defend them? And what is your hourly salary for doing so? Seems like a perfect job to cut out when we hit that fiscal cliff.

        • I was appointed, indeed commissioned, by the Congress of the United States of America. That’s about as authoritative a method of being named a defender as any I know of.

      • right because the mean green marine corps can do no wrong LMAO!!!

        Never mind the fact that they also do not allow the M27s own factory steel magazine to be used…you know, the magazine that is truly compatible with other NATO weapons that use that magazine style. The magazine HK released that the 416s mag well was designed to accept.

        stupidity.

        and even adopting the M27 in the first place was asinine.

        you are talking about the branch that has spent 30 years a billions developing the EFV…which was promptly cancelled. They cannot even develop a amphibious fighting vehicle LOL.

        • I have never claimed or desired to defend every action, inaction, decision or policy of the USMC. All I’m saying is that this blog post was high on ridicule and sanctimony while at the same time explaining why the decision was justified.

  11. So does this mean there are going to be a surplus of used pmags on the market soon? If so, where can I pick of a bulk order of these inferior magazines?

  12. I actually prefer the Magpul enhanced followers – in an all steel mag like the D&H. Seen dozens operate thousands of rounds without a single hiccup.

    • I’ve been shooting M-16’s of various kinds with the Marine Corps and as a civilian since at least 1983 and I’ve never once seen a problem with magazines. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but for the most part, MagPul is a solution in search of a problem. If you like them, that’s fine by me, I like new designs too. But I don’t think the metal ones are in any way unsuitable.

      Now, the magazines for the M9 pistol that I had in Iraq are a different story. I had a lot of problems with the springs. I had to dismantle them and stretch the springs or the rounds would not feed upwards. I think they’ve fixed that problem, or at least I didn’t perceive that problem again in Afghanistan several years later.

  13. Brand new GI Mags fresh out of the wrapper, I’ve never had problems with. The mags that sit in footlockers, get issued on the range, get thrown back in the footlocker, and so on and so forth for years and years, have given me nothing but grief.

    If the Army issued an individual seven magazines that were his for life, there wouldn’t be too many magazine issues. Lack of maintenance is usually the issue. I personally like PMAGs, though the last generation didn’t fit well in double mag pouches. I used the same seven for three deployments without issue. Then again, the Army doesn’t have a squad automatic weapon that won’t accept PMAGs so it wasn’t an issue.
    I don’t blame the Marines at all for the ban.

  14. The Army did not BAN the use of PMAGs. It banned units using internal unit funds from purchasing PMAGs. It is an accounting issue. The Army buys approved magazines in bulk. If a soldier wants to use PMAGs, they can purchase them at their own expense. But when a unit purchases PMAGs, it is using federally supplied funds. Those funds are not meant for the purchase of a supplied item. If your father buys you shoes for PE that are acceptable, would it be wise for your mother to also buy you shoes for PE from different manufacturer? Same source of money, different checkbooks.

    What the USMC did here makes sense only with the purchase of the IAR which does not work with PMAGs. It will lead to issues. It will also make sense if/when/ever Magpul offers a USMC approved PMAG that has no issues with the weapons the USMC has on hand. Will this happen? Probably. But then it will be a matter of the USMC telling everyone that only the approved version is allowed. May take some time because the grunts are going to claim that the ones they already have are good and they would never toss one to an IAR user……

  15. It’s kind of funny that no one made the observation that that buying a weapon system that didn’t accept P-mags was a dumb move.

  16. The HK416s wont choke on pre-M3 PMAGS…

    THEY WONT WORK AT ALL. The front notch of the magazine ensures that it will not fit in that weapon’s flared magazine well.

    And the IAR didnt replace the M249 (and certainly not the M240). It is a supplemented, niche-specific weapon system. M249s are still used because they have superior firepower than the IAR…something the marine corps doesnt discount.

    and stop blaming HK. The PMAG was optimized to run on the AR15 platform and featured a unique shape to facilitate superior cartridge alignment and prevent over-insertion. The EMAG existed for NATO weapons, which are also incompatible with the PMAG (and nobody says a fucking thing about how the pmag wont work in the L85, F2000, FAMAS, and SCAR because its just fun to bash the HK name).

    • Neither the PMAG nor the EMAG will work in the FNH SCAR rifles. The EMAGS can be made to work with some modifications ala Dremel. But, what’s the point of that?

  17. Call me a Luddite, but plastic mags and plastic frames are a lot like plastic b00bs. They’re ok to look at, but to me they don’t feel real.

  18. We needed to TRASH the M16 and 556 NATO 50 plus years ago , so how is this helping our boys in combat??????? TRASH is TRASH ! and why did they put all the old M14’s they could back into combat… It’s all about BIG MONEY . Does anyone think the DC MOB cares about our boys ……… GET REAL .. and yes I like pmags for my backup MP 15 … my real guns shoot 308 or 3006 !

  19. I’ve just spent a couple of weeks feeding 5.56 reloads through five Pmag’s without a single hiccup.
    I paid well under what five new 30 round steel or aluminium magazines would cost.
    I’m happy with them but if the Marines aren’t then it’s their right to not use them.

    Where’s the beef?

    PS I still prefer the L1A1/FAL 🙂

  20. well ive been in for about 5 rotations of afgan and garison and ive used both mags
    ive had issues with niether the topic on hand is about the pmag being baned due to what … a procured weapon system that costs millions of dollars in development and it not being compatible with it, thats all it should be centered around after numerous combat tours ive found that when enough moon dust gets on my gear and rifle nither like to work.

  21. Good more for us. Maybe now the prices will fall a bit, the the services do what they do best, get all political and come up with a possibility that will probably happen once in a blue moon, while giving less that expected equipment to the grunts to have to deal with. 20 years later and it has not changed in the service, oh well not my problem.

    Prices are coming down so thanks.

  22. I know this is late in the post. With my time in the military both in combat and training I have had no issues with the USGI issue metal magazines. Also by most specs the military requires a standard metal to metal latch point for any magazine I can think of for durability issues during to impacts and heat. In the sands of OIF and OEF any mag PMAG, EMAG, or metal issue mag all will require occasional cleaning. I use the Pmags often and find they work well… In a perfect world, combat is far from that. Given a combat situation I would want metal mags. If you notice one thing in any firearm selected for use or trial (minus some spec op orders) they all have metal mags and metal mag catches when if they have a polymer coating it’s still metal on metal. Also the wear cuased by a steel mag catch on a polymer mag is fairly rapid once sand and heat is added. And this reasoning has been proven time and time again with Glock mag failures in hot environments by many contractors. I can see how a Pmags may fail while being stored in a hot vehicle or similar situation where it may wrap or separate. There is a lot to be said about visible spot welded metal mags vs. Glued polymer. Not to mention the polymer mags are much larger than its metal counterparts.

  23. Oh no their M27 doesn’t work with these new mags??? They should never have bought it. Abandoning real machine guns for rapid fire rifles is exactly what the Army did 50 years ago in Vietnam. Of course they never gave up machine guns.

  24. Personally I don’t care about the brand of magazine I use as long as it’s reliable and affordable. I’ll keep stockpiling PMAGS in 308. If I get in a tight spot I won’t call the marines.

  25. the Armed services should have junked the M16 and Variants a long time ago! supposedly the smaller bullets mean you can carry more ammo
    so now you add the weight of more magazine To feed your spray and pray, along comes a foreign designed weapon which won’t feed from good old American Magazines, typical BS from Higher Higher! just like Nam ask any Grunt that trained on the M14 which rifle he preferred! Oh but the General wouldn’t be able to get a high paying job with a non US arms dealer if he didn’t Hawk there wears! So instead of making the Arms dealer change their specs, he screws the Grunt! Sig Heil Mein Fuhrer! Ours is not to reason why ours is to do or die Semper Fi!

  26. They can’t have an issue where PMAGs start breaking while feeding and jamming rifles in a fire fight. Granted, it can happen with GI metal mags as well. However, using unauthorized mags opens a can of worms where families will start trying to sue for their son/daughter/husband/wife/father/mother died because the command didn’t stop them from using unauthorized mags.

    • It’s a weapon compatability issue. They ordered some machine guns from HK? FNH? And they made the magwells not work with standard Magpul magazines. I honestly believe this is the stupidest oversight on behalf of the folks who processed the contract. Magpul of course makes Nato spec mags but due to the amount of magazines that are specifically for the M16/4 The divisions can’t take the risk of mixing maguls that could get troops killed. The Marines will not be using them and there will be no violating policy or some Marines might get killed.

  27. All this over a fast .22, the military needs something like a .270 Winchester in a shorter case, in a platform with some of the KRISS recoil reduction engineering.

  28. Not to worry for those who are only going to use PMAGS in a platform proven to accept them. In a squad deployment, for instance, when on patrol or similar mission, Marines who aren’t carrying one of the weapons that won’t accept a PMAG, but are carrying M4s, etc will probably take their PMAGS (of any generation) with them, regardless of what some pencil pushing general has to say 😉

  29. wow… In RVN I carried 21 Aluminum 20 round mags. I have no idea who made them. I carried an additional 21 bandoleers of ammunition – 5.56. 20 rounds each. I never had an issue with these magazines. I have used maqpul magazines for years with no issue. I also now use surefire magazines with 100 round capacity and again have never had an issue with semi or full auto. WTF is the problem with anything that works??? Like others have posted, if you make a firearm that I am supposed to use in combat and you intentionally design it to not work with an accepted magazine, you should be tried for murder if it fails in combat…

    • I agree with most of what you say, with the exception of liability. I have never had issues with military 30rd magazines. I use Magpul and never had issues and I have first gen, second, and third. The only mags I have had issues with are steel aftermarket mags, and cheap foreign made junk. I’ve had them bow under pressure and even break at spot welds. They were all gifted to me, luckily I tested them prior to assuming they were reliable. One wouldn’t drop free, another insert properly. Any milspec mags made to mil tech specs are fine. There’s a bunch of great mags out but you can’t beat standard military aluminum teflon coated mags with magpul followers. I use magpuls because they don’t clank around as much as aluminum. I’ve done my own cold weather tests on my magpuls and they survived but I do have my reservations given I live in a region where the temperature can drop to – 20 or more in the mountains. Liability should be the fault of the individual who contracted the guns from a foreign manufacturer who has made the magwell incompatible with non Nato mags. It’s not HKs fault or whichever European manufacturer, it’s the fault of the person who authorized the weapon. They should modify the weapons to work with the magazines and make lemonade out of lemons. And in the future learn from the mistake. Magpul has been very facilitating and responsive from this debacle and that shows class. Ill stick with Magpul.

  30. I have used both GI and Pmag magazines. Both work well. I did switch out the GI mags to no-tilt followers recently for no reason beyond being able to do so. Due to health issues I’ve not tested them. The followers are Magpul, and I trust they will work. Before that I did NOT have problems with them. I used hundreds of 20 round GI mags. I did under load rile, pistol and SMG mags. 20 rd. to 18, Glock 17 to 15 and MP5 to 25. The most troublesome magazines were in M1911s.

  31. I tried a couple pmags from magpul in 7.62x39mm and they were junk, they’d try to double feed rounds or rounds wouldn’t feed at all, and magpul wouldn’t replace them. So I won’t buy anything else from magpul again.

  32. Ha and now five years later the Marine Corps orders a million pmags completely going back on this article. Awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *