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……
The problem with magazines is that it is an expendable item. The military accountants treat the magazines as if it is a permanent purchase.
Magazines wear out. But most units will not resupply the soldiers with new magazines. Basic trainees get issued magazines that have been through hell repeatedly. A unit goes to a range and a box of magazines that has existed since Viet Nam is brought out for use.
After enough problems, perception becomes reality. Soldiers have decided to purchase their own magazines.
I had a failure with a PMAG at a tactical rifle match.
I ran empty and inserted a PMAG in the well with enough force that it drove past the stop that it jammed to rifle. I could not eject the mag and there was not enough room to get the bolt to go forward.
It took two of us, one rocking the the magazine, and one holding the rifle to finally remove the magazine, It probably took a full minute.
Let me state this was AN OPERATOR INDUCED ERROR.I know better than to jam the magazine home, but under stress I did it.
I believe the new version has a stop added that will make this type of malfunction less likely to happen. I still have ~70 PMAGS and I don’t plan on not using them, but you should be aware it is possible to gorilla them into a malfunction. They are not “soldier or marine proof”.
There is a weapon in the inventory which uses M16 magazines, but CANNOT use PMags reliably, as HK “redesigned” the mag well out of teh STANAG dimensions, and it cannot use PMags. This weapon was adopted SPECIFICALLY so the rifle squad could interchange magazines with it.
The problem isn’t PMags, specifically, it is that the Marines chose a weapon based on a significantly out-of-spec design. That dimesnional issue means that the very expensive IAR (which, interestingly enough, was designed to augment the SAW, yet has a SHORTER and less ballistically effective barrel than the SAW or the rifle in the USMC rifle squads) will choke worse than a SAW if fed from magazines that otherwise will likely be the ONLY ones carried by riflemen in most rifle squads.
If the USMC wanted a LMG that used a propiatary feeding system, they could have gone with the lightened SAW, or adopted the Ultimax LMG with it’s original magazine. Allowing PMags in service, to them, defeats the whole point of specifying an “M16 compatible” IAR.
Of course, they could have actually ENFORCED their interchangeability requirement, but that would have interfered with teh actual goal of teh IAR program — to get COngress to buy them uber-kewl HK rifles.
The Ultimax modified for the IAR trials would have been a MUCH better choice, and a credible replacement for ALL the M249s carried by dismounted troops. But it wasn’t a magical HK, forged in the fires of Mordor by Teutonic dwarves and quenched in dragon’s blood. Merely a really good LMG, long proven in reliability, developed by Singapore with Eugene Stoner’s assistance. . . and, AFAIK, the Ultimax the Marines tested uses PMags just fine. . .
The root of the problem is the current mislpec suppliers to the USMC bawling like stuck pigs because troops are buying better polymer magazines to replace the worn out crap they are issued instead of getting new metal milspec mags that they make.
It’s all about money, again.
Same thing on the Army side earlier this year, but that changed when units that were forced to not carry poly mags declared themselves to no longer combat ready, and btw, can you send us a bunch of these expensive metal magazines you think we should be carrying so we can be combat ready?
Wrong. The blame is SOLELY in the lap of HK (for designing a non-STANAG magwell with their special Unique Snowflake design) and the USMC acquisitions officers who shoved the HK 416 based IAR through approval, despite it being well-documented they had a magazine well that is not STANAG (nor USGI) compliant.
The “superior” PMags DO NOT WORK in the IAR, which is planned to be assigned to every USMC rifle squad, with the EXPRESS idea that it has 100% magazine interchangeability with the rifle mags in the same squad. That means that, BECAUSE the USMC has adopted the sub-standard HK IAR, the PMags are, in fact INFERIOR — under these specific circumstances. (If you never have to be able to feed the out-of-tolerance inferior HK mag wells with your magazines, teh PMags are superior to USGI aluminum. Unfortunately for the Marines, they boned themselves by adopting the Teutonic Snowflake in lieu of demanding that HK actually comply with STANAG and US MILSPEC in their magazine well.)
Therefore, the PMags (and all other non-USGI magazines) are verboten. They MAY (probably WILL) lighten up on EMags if they ever pass USGI reliability standards with ALL variants of the M16, including the M16A3, M4, and IAR.
I have to correct something above — it apparantly wasn’t Stoner directly involved in the Ultimax program, it was Sullivan — who brought in his experience from the AR18 program when he was UNDER under Stoner.
Point stands — USMC wanted the HK product, didn;t give a damn what the test results were, and completely overlooked the fact that the HK design failed a KEY PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION, in that it uses a funny shaped mag well.
(Why did HK decide they need to be Special Snowflakes? Because if HK used a standard milspec magwell, well, there really would be no reason to buy ANY of their 416 based products except the uppers. In other words — MONEY. Then they blamed everyone on the planet who made STANAG compliant magazines that didn’t work in HK’s non-standard mag well.)