Saturday, May 26, 2012

Praxis: Army Bans P-Mags. Never underestimate the propensity for rear echelon bureacracy to screw things up for the troops.

In Reversal, Army Bans High-Performance Rifle Mags
The Army has ordered that soldiers may use only government-issued magazines with their M4 carbines, a move that effectively bans one of the most dependable and widely used commercial-made magazines on today’s battlefield.
The past decade of war has spawned a wave of innovation in the commercial soldier weapons and equipment market. As a result, trigger-pullers in the Army, Marines and various service special operations communities now go to war armed with commercially designed kit that’s been tested under the most extreme combat conditions.
Near the top of such advancements is the PMAG polymer M4 magazine, introduced by Magpul Industries Corp. in 2007. Its rugged design has made it as one of the top performers in the small-arms accessory arena, according to combat veterans who credit the PMAG with drastically improving the reliability of the M4.
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.
The message did not single out PMAGs, but instead authorizes only the use of Army-issued aluminum magazines. The message offers little explanation for the new policy except to state that “Units are only authorized to use the Army-authorized magazines listed in the technical manuals.” Nor does it say what Army units should now do with the millions of dollars’ worth of PMAGs they’ve purchased over the years.
Magpul officials have been reluctant to comment on the issue. Robert Vidrine, vice president of marketing and sales, said the company found out about TACOM’s message only after it was released to the field.
The decision has left combat troops puzzled, since the PMAG has an Army-approved national stock number, which allows units to order them through the Army supply system.
“This 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.”
TACOM officials said the message was issued because of “numerous reports that Army units are using unauthorized magazines,” TACOM spokesman Eric Emerton said in a written response to questions from Emerton added that only “authorized NSNs have ever been included in the technical manuals. Just because an item has an NSN, does not mean the Army is an authorized user.”
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.
Of course when all these P-Mags are dutifully turned in, they will be promptly crushed. Insanity.


Frederick H Watkins said...

Since an infanry man's butt is connected to his boots on the cold, hard ground, let him use whatever magazine he feels most comfortable using. I never had much use for REMF's.

Dakota said...

Always hard to figure out what the military is thinking on a lot of things. They have a record of not caring what works, but what they want for whatever reason.

I suspect that many will resist this order and carry them anyway. In a combat zone American soldiers don't really give a damn what the R E M F say.

Although I have never really cared for the PMags I have a few and they work flawlessly as do my aluminum mags.

Anonymous said...

Two words, no three.

Incompetent, Dangerous, Assholes.

No doubt there will be promotions for everybody involved.

This is the very same type of reasoning from the very same type of persons, who kept muskets as the issue weapon when better breach-loaders were available, costing God only knows how many lives. You see the lives of men are cheap compared to budget items and prejudices.

Howie Honky said...

1. That's why they call them REMFs.
2. Ask your son how much attention guys in the field pay to the Golden Commandments of the REMFs. Unless a lot has changed with this generation, the usual attitude toward such orders was 'F 'em and feed 'em fish heads.'

John said...

I hate the smell of graft and corruption in the morning.

J. Croft said...

Maybe they really WANT our soldiers in Afghanistan to die. Maybe they just want those being deployed here to do the same things in Afghanistan to have the magazines that work. Maybe our soldiers in Afghanistan should attribute their P-Mags to "combat losses" and just have the aluminum when they're being inspected.

Anonymous said...

Yeah - 'we' certainly wouldn't want to put our folks in harms way with 'inferior' equipment................
IF they (the bureaucrats) insist on this wrongheaded move, the least that they could do is to allow them to be resold so the units get something back out of the money they spent...

John Smith. said...

I suspect a record number will be "lost"....

Anonymous said...

Another shining example of "Army intelligence".

Unknownsailor said...

This is an edict that I predict will be widely ignored. First rule of leadership is to not give an order you know will not be obeyed, so I am curious, who it TRADOC decided this was a good idea.

CowboyDan said...

"Of course when all these P-Mags are dutifully turned in, they will be promptly crushed. Insanity."

What a crock! When my dad was on the way home from WWII, he stopped by his old base in England and saw tractors rolling over brand new B-29 aircraft, crushing them for scrap.

I don't know if they shipped it home or dumped it in the sea, but it was a real waste of a lot of resources.

If my dad had had the money, the nerve, and the foresight to think of such a thing, he could have done really well for himself. I have no idea how many aircraft were rolled into scrap, but they could have been turned into a cargo fleet and made a lot of money for somebody.

MY life would have been real different, that's for sure. None of that poor kid from a white trash shanty Irish family for me, but I wouldn't be the man I am today, so it may have been a good thing that he didn't have the chutzpah to make that happen.

You know, some enterprising supply clerk could do well for himself if he plays his cards right.

If anybody in the QM corps needs a little something to help get things started, ask Mike to please put you in touch. Mike, we're both pretty broke at the moment, but that can change. I'll share whatever I may earn from this. It wouldn't happen without you.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps P-mags will begin to sell at a discount in the commercial market now that the military has stopped purchasing them.

The troops may suffer from this decision but the hobby shooter will benefit.


Anonymous said...

Well, as my bro-in-law, the retired USAF Lt. Col. says: "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way." Which I'm certain he believes applies as much to his own service as the Army.

Sprinkled throughout every bureaucracy you will find numerous reality-disconnect switches, usually placed where the are easily activated by accident.

Anonymous said...

The new green followers with extended legs really make the aluminum mags shine.

Pretty much prevents the follower from tipping and locking the mag up.

This sounds like a contractor whining about losing sales and goosing someone who has taken their money.

All that said - solution?

Ditch the poodle poppers, go back to a 30 caliber.

Keep it in the AR platform and march on.

You don't need 30 rounds when one will take the place of two or three.

W W Woodward said...

During the 2007 reliability test, “The ‘dust test’ revealed that 27 percent of the M4’s stoppages were magazine related.” So, how many PMAGs were used during these tests and, if any, were they part of the 27% failures?

W W Woodward said...

From: Army Times web-site “Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test”
Posted : Monday Dec 17, 2007 12:59:26 EST
By Matthew Cox - Staff writer

“The M4 carbine, the weapon soldiers depend on in combat, finished last in a recent (late September – late November) “extreme dust test” to demonstrate the M4’s reliability compared to three newer carbines.”

“Out of the 60,000 rounds fired in the tests earlier in the summer, the 10 M4s tested had 307 stoppages, test results show, far fewer than the 882 in the most recent test.”

“[In] the recent tests, the M4 suffered 643 weapon-related stoppages, such as failure to eject or failure to extract fired casings, and 239 magazine-related stoppages.”

The PMAG polymer M4 magazine, was introduced by Magpul Industries Corp. in 2007.

I have recently learned that in April 2012 Army officials from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued a “safety of use message” that placed the PMAG, and all other polymer magazines, on an unauthorized list and has authorized only the use of “Army-authorized” aluminum magazines listed in the technical manuals.


1. Were PMAGs used during the “dust tests” in 2007?

2. If so, were any of the PMAGs a part of the reported 239 magazine related stoppages?

3. Are actual combat related malfunctions of the M4 carbine being documented?

4. If so, have there been any reports that would indicate that the PMAGs have been malfunctioning?

5. Have any of the decision makers, who determined that the PMAGs should be removed from use, actually experienced combat within the theatre(s) where the M4 carbine and its accessories (issued and/or commercially obtained) is being used?


bloodyspartan said...

In order to create your own Army you must first destroy any existing one!

This is done in many ways including this and food, Make mine a Vegan Meal.


Anonymous said...

Department of the Navy uses PMAGs. Send all the mags over the squids. The mags stay in use, stay in DOD fold, and the waste of crushing the mags is avoided.

Anonymous said...

Right. So I can use the bashed up, over used magazines my arms room issues that cause my rifle to jam every ten rounds, but if I buy my own magazines it's unauthorized.

Between this and UCP, someone in acquisitions needs to be shot.

Anonymous said...

Uh huh,"promptly crushed". The only thing you can count on beside`s government incompetence,is they are inclined to "lose" thing`s every now and then.Or tell a little fib once in awhile. How about those rocket`s that went missing in Libya ? must have fallen into the same black hole as Rumsfeld`s missing billion`s !.Our fearless leader or his world class statesperson of a secretary of state (#^*#!)dont seem all that concerned about them.

Anonymous said...

Whenever government does something obviously absurd like this, people tend to shake their heads in frustration instead of looking at motivations and the whole picture. People are more interested in accepting that the decision makers are intentional idiots who hose the taxpayers instead of looking for MOTIVES BEYOND bureaucrats trying to look busy. Some things that are red flags:

1. Magpul is silent on this.
2. Pmags are still being issued on a limited basis
3. This will result in millions of pmags being crushed (crushed WHERE is my question).

I suspect this is a supply reduction activity meant to actually increase the usage of pmags in the long term (in government, those with power cannot get anything done without some type of double talk maneuver). If Pmags are completely gone in a year then I was wrong. IF however, Pmags are still around in the army next year, and this whole hulabaloo has been forgotten, then it was a way of actually INCREASING the purchase of pmags (you have to remember that the suppliers of aluminum mags have CONTRACTS and are deeply embedded within the supply structure, so changing the status quo requires something that is borderline conspiratorial).

J hutson said...

Heres what I think happened, PMags blow away GI mags, Army decides to license MagPuls anti-tilt follower design, MagPul wants fee for their use, Army says no way, magPul says oh well, none for you, Army wastes billions reinventing MagPuls Follower, shenanigans insue between Army and MagPul, Army makes dick move and bans PMags for pissing them off and mandates their stolen design followers

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the lobbyists representing the aluminum magazine manufacturers is doing his job well. Wanna sell to the military? Hire a lobbyist and he will know who to bribe, er, who's campaign to make a contribution to.

Anonymous said...

I bet one of Obama's buddies is manufacturing or invested in steel magazines

CowboyDan said...

Hutson- what follows is even more absurd, to the point of obscenity - Mag -Pul sues Army for unauthorized use, Army writes BIG check.

Then NagPul adds to the price of PMags and sells bunches to the Army.

1NCCCH said...

I can't speak to the Army reasoning, but the USMC may have a reason to stop the use of older P-mags. It has to do with feed ramp geometry differences between the standard M-4 rifle and the new M27 IAR. The IAR is supposed to be compatible with all AR mags, but many do not feed well in the HK416 platform. 416 mags work in M-4s, but not so well the other way around. The IAR is based on the 416,this from HK:

"Ashburn, Virginia — Heckler & Koch was awarded a competitive contract to produce the U.S. Marine Corps’ new Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR). The formal “Full Rate Production” announcement by the Marines caps a competition that began more than three years ago.

Designated the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, the lightweight, 11.62 pounds weapon with ancillary equipment, is a variant of the highly successful Heckler & Koch HK416 used by military, law enforcement, and special operations units in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The M27 IAR replaces the heavier, M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) which has been used by the Marines in Infantry Squads since the mid-1980s in the automatic rifle role. Both weapons fire the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge."

MagPul has been making the "E-mag" for some time. From MagPul: "While EMAG remains 100% compatible with the AR15/M16 platform, its unique geometry is optimized for foreign-made weapons such as the HK 416, British SA-80, M27 IAR, and others."

Word is the new P-mag now incorporates the feed geometry required for the 416 and it works in the M-4 as well.

Aluminum mags dent, P-mag doesn't. And the HK 416 metal mags are grossly over weight.

Anonymous said...

Also, to anyone not tracking, the Army did the exact same thing to Smith Enterprises and their Vortex flash hider; they couldn't get the license , so they ripped it off, claimed the rip off was better, and banned the original. This seems to be becoming standard practice for the Army.

Even understanding why the Army would want to own the specs, I've got no defense for them. Just suck it up and give a private company the contract because you can't reinvent a knock off without spending the price of the contract on R&D, or allow troops and units to purchase them from their own funds.

This is just as dumb and rooted in the same thinking as the USMC decision not to put a collapsing stock on the M16 because it would lower its effectiveness as a hand to hand weapon. Fuck your cheek weld, you need to bash people over the head with your slung up, optic aided select-fire assault rifle.

Costume Jewelry said...

I have to say they all get an good opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ivory tower brass...