Since terrorist extremists viciously attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, our fighting men and women have been neck deep in alligators around the world fighting the Global War on Terror. From the Horn of Africa to the Philippines with stops in Afghanistan and Iraq, our warriors have often had to buy their own gear if they wanted quality equipment.
One of the more popular pieces of kit around was the polymer PMAG series of magazines developed and marketed by Magpul. Engineered from the ground up to be made of injection-molded polymer, they had a design that allows for a more aggressive constant curve of ammo stack than found on other Nylon magazines. The reinforced polymer construction was strong and durable, but still allowed the magazine to be seated on closed bolt with full 30 rounds loaded. A snap cover protects feed lips during long-term storage. A clear window allowed the user to quickly tell how many rounds were left in a magazine at a glance and could be read from both sides. A floor plate lock, proprietary anti tilt follower, and debris grooves built into mag body also set the PMAG apart of the legacy aluminum and bodied magazines.
These new revolutionary magazines were so popular that units spent their discretionary funds to buy them. Eventually the US Army blessed them into the supply chain for units to officially order them and the PMAG was given NSN number 1005-01-5765164. Today, soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors around the world are staking their lives on them. However, this is soon to change.
The US Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) has decreed that all commercial magazines except for the legacy NSN 1005-00-921-5004 magazines and the new NSN 1005-01-561-7200 series of 'improved magazines' are to be turned in. Both of these designs are metal-bodied magazines and notably are not PMAGS.
Military .com reports, "This seems to be a complete policy reversal, since PMAGs are standard issue with the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and they have been routinely issued to infantry units before war-zone deployments.
Soldiers from B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, had been issued PMAGs before deploying to Afghanistan in 2009. On Oct. 3 of that year, they fought off a bold enemy attack on Combat Outpost Keating that lasted for more than six hours and left eight Americans dead. Some soldiers fired up to 40 PMAGs from their M4s without a single stoppage."
floor-plate of Brownells new magazine. Photo by Three Days to Anarchy
A new contract announced last month for 550,000 of Brownells new metal-bodied magazines are issued National Stock Number: 1005-01-561-7200. These magazines are known as the "improved magazine" and feature an improved follower and follower spring. These new features help to reduce the risk of magazine-related stoppages. However, they do not have the groovy high impact polymer of the PMAG, nor the round count window, nor the debris cover. In addition, it has been pointed out that they lack the window, snap cover and other benefits of the Magpul product.
The old NSN 1005-00-921-5004 magazines are metal bodied with the green followers and have been standard for about ten years. Only these green follower magazines and the new Brownells magazine with the tan followers can be used or issued.
The Army, through TACOM has put out to supply officers throughout the force that "Units are only authorized to use the Army authorized magazines listed in the technical manuals. Remember; "tan-is the plan, green-start to lean, black-take it back." Magazines with the black follower are the oldest and should be turned in to your unit supply sergeant or local supply point."
US Marines with PMAGS issued and ready to go in the sandbox. Photo from Military.com
You can expect that there will be some feedback from the troops in the field, but hey, "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have...