Army Bans Polymer Magazines

Despite the success of the PMAG, Army officials from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued a “safety of use message” in April that placed it, and all other polymer magazines, on an unauthorized list.

Full Story – HERE

I assume that is going to make a lot of people angry.  I really don’t see the downside to Pmags.  They are light, the polymer has a natural lubricity, they are durable, cheap to make etc… etc…  I’m all for giving the soldiers what THEY want.  They are the ones that have to use the equipment, and bet their lives on it.

Did Magpul piss some high level Army officials off?  Did a USGI mag manufacturer make the Army an offer they couldn’t refuse?  My guess is we will never know the exact answer.

Thoughts?

38 COMMENTS

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Bill May 29, 2012 at 01:03 am

Understanding some issues for compatibility is a given, but of certain company’s are issued pmags and the soldiers operating with them prefer them what’s the issue? if a company as weapons that are incompatible with the gear that they have or complain about issues with it then of course gets something to replace it with what WORKS, not with something that doesn’t. Currently there are so many units out there using oddball gear issued because of one thing or another that the military purchasing officer has problems determining what to buy based on politics and Command officer ignorance. what about Lancer or battle mags? They should think about upping the caliber conversion to something better than worry about $5 mags.

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Komodo Saurian May 29, 2012 at 01:04 am

[sarcasm]
Well, it’s not like this decision has a potential to bite USA in the ass later like that one time when F-4 Phantom was designed without autocannons. What are the odds anyone would need that one additional magazine they could have been carrying? A hundreed KIA soldiers more, a hundred less, we have enough postcards to send condolences to everyone ten times over.
[/sarcasm]

Seriously though, what’s the point of putting your own soldiers at a disadvantage? It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but hey, what is if that’s “the last straw that breaks the camel’s back”?

P.S. And hey, Mike, there seems to be a bug with your blog. It spams my e-mail with folloup comment notifications even when I don’t activate the “notify me” option.

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James M&P May 29, 2012 at 01:40 am

Another bad decision in a long line of bad decisions made by the U.S Army.

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Ed May 29, 2012 at 02:36 am

My guess is some other manufacturer is paying someone who makes decisions. I suppose next it’s going to be M12 suicide flap holsters only for sidearms.

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Church May 29, 2012 at 02:37 pm

hahahaha!!!

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ct11B May 29, 2012 at 03:26 am

I’ve had the “improved tan follower” magazine fail me twice, that is enough for me to have completely written them off. Detractors will argue that only two incidents is not cause enough, such a low occurrence to base an opinion of, and that it will likely not happen again. How many more times must it fail again? How many more times must I place trust in equipment I have little faith in to work when I need it most. At the very least leave the option of using them, instead of being forced to have a complete load out of USGI aluminum mags, with no alternative polymer mag type to pull from. One incident first comes to mind, and not that having my weapon up and running immediately was of dire urgency since everyone else was firing. A double feed, simply dumped the magazine, cleared the rounds and inserted a fresh one, no more than 3 seconds. But that is strike 1.
The other incident months later having returned CONUS. More out of pride because I know it was well within my ability. But nonetheless a failure due to the magazine, costing me a 40 on the qualification range, losing the last 6 on the kneeling, which is all close range targets no more than 150m away. A failure to feed when the target came up, applied SPORTS, then a hard catastrophic double feed, where one round was wedged into the top the the receiver and other half into the chamber. Upon ripping the magazine out, the remaining rounds shitted out all over place, spilling out from the top of the magazine, the tan follower tilted at an angle. Upon walking off the line, the follower reverted to normal. Repeated attempts to forcefully tilt the follower has failed, as if a mocking gesture.

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Mitch May 29, 2012 at 08:02 am

sounds like you got a bad one, bro. as with any plastic… well you know. sun and heat and abuse eventually may bring out manufacturing flaws. its a shame though, since normally they are excellent mags. id choose it first any day…

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Michael Prescott MacArthur June 4, 2012 at 07:18 pm

Politics and money. Generals sitting behind desks back in the states count as politicians. Doesn’t matter what you, the end user needs or wants. these crap magazines that they are forcing you guys to use only have to fail once to cause you to be killed. K Saurian had a point.

Former Army Medic( Iraq 2004-5, 2006-7) and son of a Vietnam veteran.
Thanks for your service and welcome home.

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adam May 29, 2012 at 04:24 am

I noticed the army has a habit of banning anything that doesn’t work properly. M4s come equipped with KAC rail systems that let you keep your PEQ-15 zeros when you take it off, but when someone broke the rail tab, they simply banned soldiers from removing the upper rail. I think that because M27s aren’t compatable with Pmags, they just decided to ban them entirely.

Its not all Pmags, though. Some guys have personal sets of magazines that they spraypaint and never give up, even after they should be thrown away. At COP Dash, someone ordered a bunch of those camega sliding slot magazines, (damn things have an NSN, believe that?) and those were universal failures.

Combat arms units generally don’t give a flip about things like that, though. as long as you aren’t assigned to BAF or Shank, rock your pmags. use what works. I’ve gone outside with surefire 60s, ambi safeties, giessele full auto triggers, and aftermarket pistol grips.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150462113097982&set=t.765785320&type=3

use what works.

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Komodo Saurian May 29, 2012 at 04:35 am

You might want to reupload that image to some hosting like photobucket or imageshack. The link you provided is dead, at least for one user.

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adam May 29, 2012 at 04:55 am
Komodo Saurian May 29, 2012 at 05:19 am

Thanks.

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Jon May 29, 2012 at 07:22 am

Well, PMAGs have other issues. You can’t use double stack pouches because of the lip at the bottom.

Gen3 PMAGs are coming out in a couple months, maybe they can fix the issue by then.

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Mitch May 29, 2012 at 08:06 am

even if pmags get the can, magpul will keep pumping out those mag accessories for standard aluminums. and magpul is not one to take this sitting down; theyll be fixing and revamping and redesigning right now until they make the military contract again.

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James May 29, 2012 at 09:51 am

MagPul never had a large US contract. Most troops that have them either purchased them personally or were given them by someone generous in their CoC or back home.

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PJ May 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

True. They can still just sell their followers which also avoids the PMAG disadvantage of not fitting in standard pouches. How long you think it’ll be until they start selling the followers in the same tan color as the “improved” standard mags?

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overkill556x45 May 29, 2012 at 08:15 am

Before they ban Pmags, they might want to make a USGI mag that works for more than 30 days. Even the “improved” aluminum mags didn’t work. Still made with the double feeds from SPORTS, still deformed from being loaded all the time. The “anti-tilt” follower still doesn’t work all the time. Pmags never gave us trouble.

Good move, Army, good move. Glad I got my walking papers last month.

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Michael Prescott MacArthur June 4, 2012 at 07:22 pm

Glad I’m out too. too much politics, even at the lower level. It seemed to me that once some of those guys made LTC. the politics began. Glad you are out and safe.

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Jon May 29, 2012 at 09:07 am

Those safety of use messages usually come with cited examples of failure, injury, or other reasons for the ban. Sometimes they’re posted in Company areas as well for soldiers to read for themselves, but not always. It’s likely something along those lines. As I’m no longer in the Army, I can’t verify.

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Ben Branam May 29, 2012 at 09:48 am

Totally a financial and control decision I think. There has been a long line of crap issues to our guys and then told its the only thing they can use. A lot of these are all about money this one has some to do with pride also. The army tried to design a polymer mag but failed. All that money and time spent just to use someone else’s design is not going to happen. Too much money involved.

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James May 29, 2012 at 10:23 am

According to Larry Weeks (of Brownells) there were three authorized suppliers of the aluminum mag with “improved” tan follower: Brownells (obviously), Center Industries, and Okay Industries.

That information was as of late 2009, so it may have changed obviously.

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Baseplate May 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

the lips break off when it gets really really cold

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Baseplate May 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

Also they collect dirt inside of them and that can cause an issue. They are easy to clean but the army many times finds it is easy to ban something than it is to get people to clean them

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Over.Watch June 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

I have used the PMAGs in sub-zero weather up north while running and gunning and have had several develop cracks around the feed lip due to the polymer becoming brittle.

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Aftermath June 1, 2012 at 02:02 pm

I was a big Pmag user, loved them, but have had plenty of failures with them. I run them in full-auto and I get cracks down the back of the mag from the top down. Double-feeds become standard when this happens. By matter of attrition they will eventually all be gone from my kit. It surprises me that so many think they are the best magazine ever as my own experiences do not reflect this.

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PJ May 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I have to wonder if this is political. I’d heard that the reason Colt quit selling carbines was due to a contract agreement with the government, which is also the reason FN doesn’t sell ARs to the public. Maybe someone in charge doesn’t like that Magpul markets so heavily to us civies.

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DaveP. May 29, 2012 at 02:17 pm

With the reduction in military budgeting and the winding-down in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s going to be a lot more emphasis on “looking soldierly” then on warfighting. PMAG’s were banned, not because of functionality, but because they weren’t standard issue. That’s all.

Expect more of this.

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Brian May 29, 2012 at 02:53 pm

Adam, are you a Regular?

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Sid May 29, 2012 at 03:36 pm

Guys,

Switch to decaf.

The announcement is that TACOM has instructed units not to purchase polymer magazines and to use USGI magazines. That is not the same thing as saying the Army has banned PMAGs.

Units have unit funds. There are some things that can be purchased readily. Which HP toner cartridge does your office printer use? But some things that units want to buy already exist in abundant numbers in the official supply chain. Magazines is a good example. Soldiers can purchase and use PMAGs. I have and did for an entire deployment. But I was issued new magazines for my M4 and M9. So were all of my soldiers. Units do not need to spend unit funds on magazines. It is govt money and the govt had rules.

Units can hold bake sales and car washes if they want to buy PMAGs. They just can’t use govt money to do it. Why? Because the govt already has purchased a stockpile of magazines.

A ban on polymer magazines would be just that. A ban. Commanders would be ordered to confiscate polymer magazines. Soldiers would be issued standing orders. There would be a letter of justification. This is not a ban. It is an accounting rule.

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Phil C May 29, 2012 at 04:56 pm

“natural lubricity”………………………. thats what she said.

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032125 May 29, 2012 at 05:35 pm

Money says that the aluminum mag manufacturers bribed a key bureaucrat at the Pentagon because they felt threatened enough by the proliferation of polymer mags. This is the way the military-industrial complex makes decisions; not through innovation but by lobbying.

On a related note, I’ll be hitting up my surplus store ASAP to see if there is an influx of PMAGs.

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s30 May 31, 2012 at 11:03 am

Welcome to peace time big Army.

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Matt G. May 31, 2012 at 03:34 pm

The report is incorrect. They did not “ban polymer magazines” they only said ylunts cannot buy anymore mags that aren’t one of re two mad approved. Those two mags are the teen follower one and the tan follower one. Literally everything else is “not approved”. Including all other non-polymer mags.

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Matt G. May 31, 2012 at 03:35 pm

Green follower*

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Scott June 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

Missions have changed. Drawing down. The “everything to be uniform” and only what the Military says, and only the right price-to-specs, no matter the value/quality. It only has to work. It only has to be uniform.

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Jack June 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thoughts? I think I don’t give a fuck what some chair-warmer says, my full complement of PMAGs is going to accompany me overseas. I’d rather take an ass-chewing or even legal action than bet my life on the issue “can’t get through 28 rounds without a double feed” aluminum mags. Idiot pencil pushers like this are the reason I can’t wait to be a civilian again.

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DB Cooper July 19, 2012 at 05:11 am

Jack,
Heres something to piss you off. Back in 86 the army identified that the aluminum mags needed to be gotten rid of because they couldnt be used in M-249s. The top of the mags flared causing double feeds even in both the 249 and the M-16. They bought steels mags for several years then went back to aluminum ones and were started having the same jamming problems as before.

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DB Cooper July 19, 2012 at 05:07 am

Guys I have been talking to soldiers recently deployed to the sand pit. They all had serious issues with PMAGS and MAGPULS.
The issues were the following they found with band new mags: Brittle mags which often cracked (or worse) in cold weather, mags that when inserted in the M-4 would just drop out and all had mags that the top of them would strip off when they racked a round.

All of the above are most probably the result of rapidly ramped up production without adjusting quality control.

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