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