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!]