Ok so I have spent the last week trying to find out why Army officials at TACOM would ban soldiers from using PMAGs in the warzone. I posted a story that explores the issue this morning on Military.com, but I don’t think this issue is over yet.

I’m not surprised that the Army wants everyone to use its Improved Magazine with the tan follower that’s supposed to cut down on stoppages in the M4. You have to give Army weapons officials credit for finally recognizing in late 2007 that the magazines with the green follower were poorly designed.

It was the way the Army went about improving the magazine that seemed a little questionable. Weapons officials quickly recognized that Magpul Industries Corp. was onto something with its new PMAG. But instead of testing Magpul’s polymer design, the Army tried unsuccessfully to develop its own polymer magazine, my sources tell me.

The Army didn’t want to adopt the PMAG because acquisition officials wanted to own the technical data rights, a condition Magpul wasn’t likely to agree to, sources say.

So the Army settled on improving the follower — which has a strong resemblance to Magpul’s original design. When fielding began in 2009, Army weapons officials maintained that the new design would decrease stoppages by 50 percent, but they would never really discuss the testing process. It’s also unclear how the new mags compared to the PMAG’s performance. That didn’t really matter, because units were free to continue using PMAGs which had an Army-approved national stock number.

That all changed, however, in April when TACOM released its Safety of Use message that authorized only two NSNs for use with the M4 — the improved magazine with the tan follower and the older magazine with the green follower.

Apparently, the NSN issued for the PMAG was never really authorized, TACOM spokesman Eric Emerton said in a written response to questions from Military.com.

“Units are only authorized to use the Army-authorized magazines listed in the technical manuals,” he said. 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.”

Huh???? That must be why PMAGs are standard issue to special operations units such as the 75th Ranger Regiment — those boys are clearly confused.

I have asked the Army if it has any proof that the service’s new magazine can outperform or even equal the PMAG’s performance, but I am still waiting for an answer.

What is really strange about this is that Magpul officials said they don’t want to talk about the issue. It could be that the company is hoping the Army will reverse its decision. Or maybe there’s something behind the Army’s abrupt decision to ban all polymer magazines that hasn’t yet surfaced.

{ 231 comments… read them below or add one }

Gunner May 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

Since I switched to the PMag I have had zero problems. I'll take a PMag any day over just about any magazine with a possible exception of the H&K magazine. I'm sure the cost of the PMag would be much less than the H&K version.
At the very least the PMag should be allowed even if the Army doesn't want to pay for them.

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Bulldog May 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

Hmmm, smells or rather stinks; just thinking out loud, maybe somebody back engineer the
MAGP and kind of copied, just thinking of possibilities, not accusing, legal mess

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Chris from the COP May 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

I guess if one of these useless wastes of an 0-4 salary from TACOM wants to come to my outpost in Afghanistan and take my PMAGs out of my mag pouches, they can have them. Otherwise shut the **** up and let me use the OBVIOUSLY superior piece of equipment. This is the same "UCP-is-the-supperior-camo-pattern" retardedness all over again.

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1-1cavsoldier August 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Holy crap, I can't stop laughing! This is the best comment ever!!!

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KnowALittleBit May 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

Matthew,

Not sure who you're "sources" were: "But instead of testing Magpul’s polymer design, the Army tried unsuccessfully to develop its own polymer magazine, my sources tell me." I'd say you might need to get new sources who actually know what they're talking about. Just a suggestion. The effort you are referring to was actually an engineering study, and it's purpose was simply to see if, all other things being equal, there could be a quantum leap in magazine design. Yes, polymer designs were looked at, as well as polycarbonate, and the engineers actually came up with a prototype magazine that was pretty much indestructable. They actually drove their POVs over the thing and it wouldn't break. As with all things that involve logistics, cost is a huge factor, and I can tell you from personal experience that anything that is molded is inherently more expensive than something stamped from metal. What good is an eternal magazine if the cost prevents you from buying the weapon to use it in? Feel free to do your own research, and don't forget to check your sources. Although I can't reveal any names here, I personally know the engineer involved in the study.

I was involved personally in the Safety of Use message you mentioned, and it was issued at the direction of PM Soldier Weapons (PEO Soldier). You might want to do some research on the PEO. TACOM executes directives from PEO Soldier, as well as many other PEOs.

You're reference to PMAGS being standard issue to the Rangers and other SpecOp troops is disingenuous at best. Units operating under the command of USSOCOM get lots of stuff that is not "standard issue" by virtue of the fact they have a "black budget". USSOCOM DOES use lots of "standard issue" equipment (as in Type Classifed Standard, if you know what that means), but they also use a whole lot of stuff that is not standard and is unique to USSOCOM. Please take the effort to understand the difference.

I need to take you to task for this statement: "So the Army settled on improving the follower — which has a strong resemblance to Magpul’s original design." Again, not sure who your source(s) are, but the tan follower was reverse-engineered from H&K's steel magazine follower. And that happened even before the AWG (see below) started pushing the PMAG. Frankly, it was the only part of the H&K steel magazine that had any value since the steel magazine failed every salt fog test (even in it's maritime protected mode) and weighs quite a bit more than the standard magazine, and is sigificantly more expensive than the standard magazine.

Regarding the PMAG, the only reason it ever appeared in the field was the work of the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) working under the Rapid Equipping Force (REF). The REF has a long history of fielding unsupported items in relatively small quantites based on information garnered by the AWG. REF is focused on jump starting things, but more often than not, they confused the issue rather than actually making "improvements". Just wanted to clarify that for you. The REF is also the organization that fielded the 10 1/4" barrel for the M4/M4A1, even though there is not one bit of support in the supply system for it.

Okay, now that you have some pretty accurate information to work with, let the discussion REALLY begin.

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Matthew Cox May 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

My sources have served me well thoughout my career. I trust them since I have to put my name on what they tell me. What I don't trust is someone who hides behind a handle and gets offended when someone questions the judgement of Army decisions.
Furthermore, I love this "cost is a huge factor" argument that is pulled out whenever improvements to small arms are considered. Someone in the Army acquisitions community doesn't mind the idea of units throwing away tens of thousands of PMAGs that cost the government $14 a pop.
Now, I would not be surprised one bit if the PMAG decision came from PM Soldier Weapons. They were the first office I called, but I was told it was TACOM's message and have gotten the brush off so far.
So what is it that you want? Do you want to make sure that the truth gets out or do you want to protect the Army's decision-making process? The whole point of the story I did and this post is that people in the Army with power want to make sure that soldiers only use the magazine that the Army developed, and they don't mind banning soldiers from using a potentially superior product like PMAG to make sure it happens. Well, the rest of us would rather the Army find and field the best equipment available.

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James Shelley May 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Preach on brother!!!

And in addition, "driving a POV" over something is not the same as subjecting it to 12 months of Deployment. Furthermore, it sounds like KnowALittleBit has a horse in the race as far as the magazine discussion goes. Therefore, we can't even trust his objectivity. As far as knowing the Engineer goes, I know lots of people personally. Many of them suck at their jobs. As far as the follower goes, I guess the Army ripped off HK instead of Magpul then? While RFI may have had some questionable decisions in the past it doesn't discount the fact that the PMAG is so superior to an aluminum magazine that Soldiers will spend their hard earned cash to buy them.

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KnowALittleBit May 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Matthew,

I'm not hiding behind anything. I spent many years going head to head with PEO Soldier, PM Soldeir Weapons, and a variety of others you've never heard of, all in the interest of of the warfighter. For the record, and for what it's worth, my name is Kevin O. Moore. Look me up on AKO if you have access. You don't know me, and I don't know you, but I know where of I speak since I was in the middle of this mess when it began, and for all of your sources, you don't have the direct knowledge I do. Also for the record, I don't have a horse in this race. I'm retired and do not work for any contractors. I spent years on the inside and saw what actually goes on in the acquisition process, which many of the commentors on this blog clearly never have. I spent years fighting ignorance and false claims (better weapon, better magazine, better lube, better cleaning kit, etc, etc, etc) for the express purpose of keeping troops from all services alive. Now, if your argument is about my credentials, put yours on the table, and I'll do the same.

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Matthew Cox May 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Hello Kevin. It's nice to meet you. My sources are all experienced end-users. I have no problem talking to you face to face or however you like it. You can reach me at *******.***@*******.***.

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Matthew Cox May 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Kevin. You can reach me through the "We need Intel!" tab at the top of the page.

Nadnerbus May 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm

A sanctimonious attitude and arrogant, know-it-all tone usually doesn't help win over people in a debate or discussion. Besides questioning some small points in the article, what constructive thing do you have to say about the main point? Why are Pmags being put on the shiat list, when the opinion of basically every one that has ever used them is that they are superior?

I am a Joe Blow citizen that doesn't know anything or care about defense acquisition. The big picture is that a great tool for the warfighters might be going away. Why is this, and is there a legitimate justification for doing so? Those would be relevant questions to answer.

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KnowALittleBit May 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

It's not a question of PMAGS being put a **** list, as you put it. It's a question of them not having been found suitable for Army use. They may be the best thing since sliced bread, but until the Infantry School House writes a requirement for a new magazine, and Congress funds a Program of Record that allows the PM to spend money to accept bid samples, commence testing, and find a better magazine, AND commence acquisition, PMAGS will not be authorized. If you don't like the acquisition process passed into law by Congress, go look in the mirror. People like you are the ones who elect Congress. Rather than spouting off here, go to the voting booth and do your Constitutional duty to vote into office those who can actually legislate a new acquisition process.

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Mark May 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

I have read this derective and it says that units may no longer purchase and issue PMAgs. and I may have interpreted it wrong but It did not say we can not use-our own (although many units do inforce the you cant use if the army didnt give it to you rule rather strictly) now that being the case If you choose to buy your own (like I do) why does it matter that the army percurment system does not allow their purchase by units this has always been the case in the Army I started my service In 1988 and have seen many improvements in the gear we are issued and I have also been issued gear thta was far inferior to after market gear but was still servicable and would get the Job done.

This biggest problem with the steel mag we are issued is that armorors and units do not dispose of bad mags when they are found they continue to issue them and many new Joes dont know enough to make them unissuable before turn in as a squad leader I would always check my Joes magazines and if they were faulty I would turn them in myself after makingsure they would never be issued by mistake again (hammer doues wonders)

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KnowALittleBit May 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

Mark,

Thanks for being a voice of reason in this contentious debate. I have to reiterate the standard mag is not made of steel, it's aluminum and always has been. That's why it will never rust.

maverick March 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

smells of butthurtedness, individual, 1 ea. sprint sign and date, you own it.

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Jimbo May 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

I never had a bit of trouble out of the standard steel magazines. What's the beef? Not enough toys?

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straps May 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

You know your round count. And the countdown REALLY CAN start at 30.

You can store 'em loaded for a REALLY long time–especially WITH the little cap that keeps dust out and protects the feed lips.

Superior IR signature.

And yeah, sexy sexy sexy.

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Ben Branam May 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

There are a hundred reasons this might be. The two most probable are money an pride. They spent millions to come up with the improved mag and they probably cost less then a PMAG and so they will never admit that someone else could have come up with something better. Then money is even further into the problem, what company helped develope the improvement and what does the contract look like that is for buying the new mags. It's not the first time reasons other then our soldiers best interest has gotten gear into the system. I can think of dozens of things I was issued as a Marine that were complete junk.

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xcalbr May 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

Stupid ******* army. Im so glad im not in anymore.

I jumped on the PMAG bandwagon in 2007, and havent regretted it since then.

I also shoot a variety of other magazines. Lancer, Troy (which are priced awesome right now), and even aluminum GI mags.

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The Sixx May 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

Those new improved followers blow. I use pmags… all my joes use pmags… I have nothing but issues with the army mags. Ive put close to 5,000 rounds through the m4 witout a single failure. Thats with only snaking the barrel and a very basic cleaning. Ive had pmags run over, blown up, kicked and dropped and still function flawlessly. Its too bad the Army wont give up its need to own the rights to everything, they had the same fallout with Crye over their multicams.

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JSturr May 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

This doesn't surprise me — and is probably more related to trying to protect the soldier from purchasing needed gear. If it's issued at the company level and approved by Command then it is a non issue.

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Lance May 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I used Green follower mags in my A2 rifle for years and no problems at all. I dont know the complaints about regular Green follower mags. I understand I dont use a M-4 Carbine and use longer A2 rifle. Overall this isn't the worse news PMAGs are good mags but they aren't the be all or end all in AR based mags. I only looked at new tan mags and played with them by hand they look just fine the only down side is there bronze like color which may look in the shadows of a chamber like brass which may confuse a solder in the heat of the moment. But other than that I dont see how bad and or evil GI mags are. They always worked when I shot them even OLD black mags. Overall there has to be some Army regs on M-16 and M-4 accessories men can put on there weapons or we be finding men with crappy NC Star scopes and Israeli Orlite mags that are 20 years old or men using discount mags which are worn out. I know its a bummer not using your prefer AR mag, Pmags are good. But I see no horrer of using standard Green and new tan mags either.

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Bob M May 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I used PMAGs exclusively in 2010 in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps. All the infantry battalions out there issued PMAGS to their grunts for use. Never had a single problem with them and their long term storage clip was awesome for keeping out the moondust and mud. I don't think magazines in general are that big a cause of complaint – even the older green follower mags. However, having a magazine I knew I could always trust to do its job was definitely nice and one less worry in the back of my mind. Let's not kid ourselves either, PMAGS are the golden standard and are a much better piece of gear than the regular mags.

I think a lot of what this is really about are POG officers with nothing better to do than micromanage from on high and push a product of their own design or backing to success by outlawing the superior competitor.

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Bob M May 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

No to mention, this wonder team probably authorized the manufacturing of a mass number of these new mags which are not being used or adopted because the PMAGs continue to last and work well. Doesn't look good for the bench warmer when they spend all that money on a product that just sits in the warehouse.

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18B May 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Exactly my thoughts the there is this lingering thought of the whole UCP fiasco, you know the one I mean where we found out people were paid off to select that as the "superior" camo. These POG's are all the same wannabe's or they are the "politicians" and wanna move up the ladder by using us as guine pigs.

I have asked the Army if it has any proof that the service’s new magazine can outperform or even equal the PMAG’s performance, but I am still waiting for an answer.
Keep waiting brother it's going to be awhile before they can come up with a "believable" story!!!!!

Well headed Down Range fellas talk to you all in a few months

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WRG01 May 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

The photo here is fantastic. The MAGPUL accesories would be enough, but the aftermarket civilian boots are priceless. Having outfitted myself following a stint private after Mil/govt service, I can personally attest to the superiority of PMAGs and other after-market kit. All of this, unfortunately, is going to to go away with the coming days of garrison soldiering. Uniformity in times of peace is fine, but war must constantly reteach Americans that standardization…compatability…and just plain "hey, it *** works" are more important when the mission and lives are on the line. Just my two cents.

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The Mad Duo May 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

The original message is below: http://soldiersystems.net/2012/05/11/army-comes-o…. You know what really sucks? ALL magazines in our size. Personally, we think this is just a return to garrison mentality, but what the **** do we know. We're just action figures.

TACOM LCMC MI 12-021 M4-M16 Improved Magazine and the Use of Commercial Magazines
TACOM SAFETYOFUSE(UC)
DTG: 301307Z Apr 12
Precedence: PRIORITY
DAC: General

//UNCLASSIFIED//
Subject: Maintenance Information (MI) Message, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, (TACOM LCMC) Control No. MI: 12-039, M4/M16 Improved Magazine NSN 1005-01-561-7200, Part Number: 13021312, Cage Code: 19200, Old Magazine NSN
1005-00-921-5004, Part Number: **********382, Cage Code: 13629, and the use of commercial magazines. End Items: M16A2 NSN 1005-01-128-9936, M16A3 NSN 1005-01-357-5112, M16A4 NSN 1005-01-383-2872, M4 NSN 1005-01-231-0973, and M4A1 NSN 1005-01-382-0953.

1. Distribution:
a. This is a Maintenance Information (MI) Message. Commanders/Directors of Army Commands (ACOM)/Army Service Component Commands (ASCC)/Direct Reporting Units (DRU), Army National Guard (ARNG), US Army Reserve (USAR)
Command, US Navy (USN), US Air Force (USAF), US Marine Corps (USMC) and other Service Commanders and Responsible Offices will retransmit this message to all subordinate Commanders/Activities.
b. This message will be available on the Safety First Web Site located on the TACOM Unique Logistics Support Applications (TULSA) portal within twenty-four hours of transmission. Access to the Safety First Web Site requires CAC Card authentication. You must first request access to the Safety First Web Site. To request access click here https://tulsa.tacom.army.mil. For assistance, email the TULSA Helpdesk at XXX. The Safety First Web Site also has the
capability to email Safety and Maintenance messages directly to your inbox. To subscribe to the mailing list, click on, E-Mail Subscriptions, on the Navigation bar.

2. Issue: TACOM has become aware of units ordering 30 rd. commercial (i.e. polymer, etc.) magazines for their M4/M16 family of weapons. The M4/M16 Army authorized magazines are the following: NSN 1005-00-561-7200 (improved magazine) and NSN 1005-00-921-5004 (older magazine; use until exhaustion).

3. User Actions: TM 9-1005-319-10, the Additional Authorized List (AAL), states that NSN 1005-00-921-5004 is authorized, as well as NSN 1005-00-561-7200. Units may use the older magazine NSN 1005-00-921-5004 with the green follower until exhausted. The improved magazine is available in stock, NSN 1005-00-561-7200, and has a tan follower. The improved magazine features an improved follower and follower spring. These new features help to reduce the risk of magazine-related stoppages. 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.

4. Unit Commanders, contact your local TACOM LCMC Logistics Assistance Representative (LAR) or your State Surface Maintenance Manager upon receipt of this message for assistance. For assistance in locating your TACOM LCMC LAR, see below.

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oscar May 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm

The Brits are using the Emags, the export version of the PMags. The USMC is using PMags. Obviously, these guys are on to something here.
PMags vs Improved GI Mags. Hmmmmmm, suspiciously smells like Multi-cam vs. UCP to me.
How about the US Army banning commercial gear as well, like boots, packs, holsters, etc. etc….
The idiocy goes on and on…

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KnowALittleBit May 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Just want to point out that the Army didn't "ban" the PMAG. Perhaps the article that started this discussion wasn't properly worded. If you look at the TACOM message above, it simply reiterates what is true for ALL Army equipment: if it ain't in the tech manuals, it ain't authorized. There is a world of difference between saying what is authorized and saying something is banned.

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oscar May 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

semantics…

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Mark May 26, 2012 at 7:53 am

actualy it says that a unit may only purchase and issue autherized mags…read between the lines if someone is injured using non autherized mags your screwd so what do you think a commander will do?

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Don_5th Marines (USA May 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

You can bet your **** that those responsible for this decision ain't grunts, but REMFs behind a desk. Jeez, what morons.

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Doc May 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Well I find this really interesting because Big Army issued these to me and everyone else in our battalion and another battalion in our brigade. So how come they were good enough for us then but not good enough for us now.

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Doc May 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Oh and one other thing I work in an IRT company training replacements before they go down range. We have thrown out hundreds of these new improved tan follower magazines only after being used a few times. So I'm gonna keep using my Pmags

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Futuresoldier11x May 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I don't give a **** what anyone says about what's "authorized", when they give me a rifle, it's going to be 80% magpul before i head to a-stan

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Unit Armorer May 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm

As a unit armorer I see a lot of these types of messages and some are good and some are bad. The worst part is that they are now unauthorized as I have used these since 07. Another bad thing is the army is very specific in no changes to weapon systems w/o a MWO or a commander can be held responsible. Now as we all know these rules don't always apply especially in the SOCOM community. I guess what I'm trying to say is unauthorized mags that "maybe" could possibly create a stoppage and result in death would be horrible because our life insurance policy might not be paid. This is worst case scenario but when they do investigations they look for reasons not to have to pay. If a soldier makes the ultimate sacrifice there should be no reason not to pay just because a magazine does something that any other one could have done. My suggestion is to keep them clean, do regular maitenance and try to keep pressure off of the feed lips no matter which one you decide to use.

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John May 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm

The Army is going back to the mentality of the decades before the WOT. Lowest bidder crap that is worse then commercial and privately bought equipment.

We should all write or email to our congressman and TACOM or just ignore their ruling. Think the Army is going to hand out hundreds of thousands of article 15s at one time for non-issue gear? If they did that there'd be an uproar.

And why is it that special operations forces get to use practically anything they dang well please but not the average joe? My reasoning is that if it has an NSN or has been in use before hand with few complaints, it's good to go.

If soldiers are heading to Afghanistan(or any conflict)they should have the best there is. A soldier on duty in Korea or the woodlands they should be able to privately purchase camouflage that suits the environment they will be in. No dang ACU sofaflauge.

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Tweak May 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Last I heard the contracts for USGI magazines were awarded solely to small/ minority owned businesses. Perhaps the purchase of PMAGs was cutting into the sales projected for the contract and some greedy punk whined.

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KnowALittleBit May 26, 2012 at 4:09 am

The primary magazine producer at the start of OEF/OIF was a NIB/NISH company (National Institutes for the Blind/National Institutes for the Severely Handicapped). The NIB/NISH company was given sole source production contracts by Congressional direction; that was not an Army decision. When demands exceeded production capability, other manufacturers were brought on line to make up the short fall. These were categorized as small business.

When the latest version of the standard magazine with the tan follower, which for those who don't know is actually made of aluminum, not steel, was introduced, the need to maintain high rates of production again resulted in the NIB/NISH company being joined by other manufacturers to produce as many tan follower magazines as possible in the shortest period of time in order to "flush" the older green and black follower versions out of the inventory. None of this had anything to do with the PMAG. The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA), which was passed by Congress many years ago, requires that a certain percentage of DoD contracts be awarded to small/minority owned busniesses. The NIB/NISH is a special case. Small Business Administration (SBA) is involded in all of these type contracts.

As stated in an earlier posting, the PMAGs that are out there were initially free issued by the Rapid Equipping Force (REF). PMAGS free issued in this manner were fielded in theater. Units are also purchasing the PMAGs out of unit funds. The current standard magazine with tan follower was free issued by PM Soldier and fielded by TACOM at brigade level in order to jump start that process of flushing out the old style magazines. Brigades received free issue of the new style magazine just prior to deployment, much the same as brigades received Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) fieldings just prior to deployment. This free issue was a one time deal. It not only jump started the purging process, it bought some time to get production of the new style magazine up to speed to meet down stream demands.

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JM May 26, 2012 at 1:19 am

13 mag combat load now needs to be switched from PMAGs to the junk steel items (which hopefully don't get bent up and not feed again). So happy the desk jockey's decided to say what's best for the fighters actually trusting their lives to these mags.

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Red Empire Diver May 26, 2012 at 1:46 am

Ok ill switch, just as soon as you come out to my firebase and outfit all my boys with those crappy mags….in the mean time ill keep using the ones i like….cheers!

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Chief May 26, 2012 at 6:32 am

They went full retard….. you never go full retard. I'm still using my personally bought PMAGs…. along with half the other gear I've bought since the Army uses the lowest bidder.

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E. Ronc May 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

Lets flush the really crappy black/green mags out with the only crappy tan ones. The miss was in not "approving" the Pmag before we made all these new pieces of junk. Now the poor Army looks like a smuck for having purchased all these tan magazines no one wants. Would not of wanted to be in charge of that project. So how do they try to correct this? They send a little note saying that Pmags aren't really on our list so come and get the ones we made you. Not that this doesn't make them look dumber after they already were giving units Pmags, which all now know are superior. I would say try to "exhaust" them all, but until Pmags are authorized the will just make more of the tan ones.
I guess the best place to put pressure would be getting a senator or representative to hold a hearing. I would recommend not using any from Colorado as you would look like your favoring Magpul. Personally I think my senator Scott Brown might be a good choice as Massachusetts Army National Guard light colonel. Though in the Judge Advocate General Corps now he has done stints in infantry, quartermaster and airborne. His position would be great along with say Jim Webb of Virginia a former marine officer and democrat making this a bipartisan thing.
Last there is always the big stupid, drop 60 Minutes a line. Would love to see them talking out there back side explaining this.

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Mark May 26, 2012 at 8:00 am

60 minutes didnt work with dragon skin over IOTV wont work with this either

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Christopher DiMici May 26, 2012 at 8:23 am

Well, dragon skin is garbage anyway. Pmags are godsend. Apples and oranges my friend.

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HoneyBear May 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

Im going to stamp resillence and on ACU colored Magazine and i bet i can sell a million to the army

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Superbri May 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

Lets not forget the follower was only part of the problem. The feed lips on aluminum magazine tend to get bent or warped over time from being dropped and general usage. Once this happens its pretty much done, PMAGS don' have this issue and hence their popularity. It's all ive ever carried since their introduction and haven't had a magazine induced failure since. Still using original PMAGS for several years now with thousands of rounds through them.

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E. Ronc May 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

How those F-22 doing?
In May 2012 it was announced that two pilots, Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson, who had appeared on the CBS news program 60 Minutes, saying they didn’t feel safe in the jet, were considered whistleblowers protected by the federal whistleblower legislation.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta subsequently ordered that all F-22 flights stay "within the proximity of potential landing locations" as more pilots came forward to report hypoxia-like symptoms.

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Jim37F May 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

So what happens when everyone in my unit got issued PMAGs when we got downrange and the only available USG issued aluminum mags on the entire VSP are the ones that have been buried in the ammo bunkers for a few years (and were 10 year old POS's before they ever even made the plane ride into central Asia to begin with)? Some of those VSP's can go weeks without ever seeing helicopters, so are we supposed to stop all operations until we can get new USGI mags? Something tells me that unless a CSM stops by to personally inspect and confiscate the PMAGs, they'll still be used as the primary magazine for quite a while

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CHARR May 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

DUMB RULE THAT COULD MEAN LIVING or DYING FOR OUR TROOPS >WHO MAKES ALL THESE IDIOT RULES ANY WAY >just because they want to DEAL WITH SPICIFIC CONTRACTOR ON GEAR >>TO SACRIFICE THE NEEDS OOF OUT TROOPS FOR THIER PROFITS

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RugerNiner May 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Sounds like somebody somewhere is getting a kick-back.

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Hamchuck May 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

What you said: "it's not banned, it's just not authorized". What I'm perfectly willing to bet most of us heard: "I'm part of a bureaucratic system that can't see past our own desks". My god, what doublespeak. George Orwell couldn't have done better.

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ANTHONY SANTAMAURO May 27, 2012 at 2:32 am

Follow the money……………there is your answer!

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Marc May 27, 2012 at 2:39 am

"What good is an eternal magazine if the cost prevents you from buying the weapon to use it in?"

So the Navy can afford new supercarriers, the Air Force can afford new stealth fighters, but the Army can't afford equipping its soldiers with good magazines? ********!

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Will May 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

PMAG's are problematic in cold weather; many SOCOM units have voluntarily gone back to aluminum mags.

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

I've used Pmags up here in New England and never noticed a problem. I might not of had them out long enough. Would seem to me that the STANAG magazine would be more problematic. Those don't have the nice little cap to keep snow and crap out. I would think once you had some snow in it, the aluminum being a better conductor, would freeze easier than say plastic used for Pmags. Guess if any of the mags froze you would have to revert to the old **** on them cure. But like I said I have only taken them out for the day, but my limited knowledge of thermodynamics would lead me to think it would be the other way around. Anyone else heard of this?

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

Really need to work on that filter. Can't even say **** when you mean to. Whiz a way…

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

I was stationed in AK for a couple of years and never had a problem with the snow and ice in my mags. I had Soldiers with PMAG's also, they never had an issue. I guess it's just really a coin toss. I like my "metal mags". Why? Their free. Use the "whiz" out of them and DX that sucker. 15-30 bucks for a peice of plastic seems steap to me. Blackhawk did just come out with a sixty rounder thats polymer and supposed to be impresive. But in my opinion, 90 bucks is a little much for a mag I might leave on the OBJ.

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SOC16 May 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

I can understand that! I never used a plastic mag just dont like the idea of plastic even if there great I know plastic degrades in light and heat and deforms eventually And various
solvents and ultra violet light effects them. Which can make them change
May get hard brittle or expand who knows plastic in the cold ? my preferance in metal
pmags are good but there is better stuff around maybe kevlar?

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Almost everything expands and contracts in the heat and cold. There are many types of plastics. Some are even better at that than metal, others feel almost no effect at all. That's one reason we replaced the old wood stocks with fiberglass on M-14. Not all are effected by light or UV rays. Would hope I'm not cleaning with anything strong enough to deform plastic.

Side note, Oceanographic ship only had some carbon cleaner on hand before my order for real cleaning M-14 material hit. Read instruction on cleaner after noticed I was losing skin on hands for three days, said cut 14:1.

Don't get me wrong I have many aluminum mags. I'm getting tired of changing the followers; black to green, green to the yellow Magpul ones. Bought some wolf springs for the best ones and even bought some blank floor plates and had my initials put in them so I didn't get them mixed up with the other guys. There greatest weakness is the lips though.

So "wink" this state frowns on new 30rd mags, so I mainly use Pmags for storage after using a few times, with the clip in place no pressure on the lips. Silly if my weapon is Pre-Ban can have all the old metal ones but can't buy a new one of either plastic or the aluminum. One of the reason for updating old with new springs and my initialed floor plates.

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Buzz May 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

Guys,
I work in procurment and I can tell you that I have seen a ton of equipment that has somehow gotten NSNs that should not have had them. Isnt hard to do if yo have friends in the right office.

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KnowALittleBit May 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

Amen Buzz! Worked that side myself in QA, and in maintenance, doing market surveys, market research, and some of the other grunt work for my colleagues in procurement. Way too may NSNs assigned without any owning service authorization. An NSN is not an authorization, contrary to the belief of some folks on this blog. You are right on target.

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SOC16 May 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

Total agreement there! I can't believe some of the stuff that have nsn numbers and the gs approved!I have to laugh! And yet the army does have some great stuff it makes you wonder if there bi polar I do know money is flying around thicker then air
there is one company that makes cleaning supplys I will leave there name out of this I have no doubt they will be on tv one day soon! If you buy from there site you realize that the law enforcement and civilian products in most cases are identical but when listed as military there 3 times the price! and 650 bucks for a cleaning kit? loli buy them all the time
at my local gun store for hundred bucks finally they removed there prices from the site! now you have call for a price [how much is a 308 mil cleaning brush? what a joke i bye like 16 differant things id be on the phone all day its because some has got wind of there prices!!!

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KnowALittleBit May 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

SOC16, and the rest of you. A lot of those NSNs get assigned by Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at the request of various suppliers, and DLA usually doesn't ask the various services if the assignment of those NSNs is appropriate, or even required. Those suppliers then use those NSNs to claim they are Government approved. Ain't necessarily so! GOs (other than the CG of DLA) have nothing to do with this process, so don't blame the Service GOs. When you look up an NSN in FEDLOG, check under the Source of Supply (SOS) column. If the only thing in that column is SMS, that is a DLA assigned NSN, period, and was NOT requested by any of the Services. It's long past time that users understand this, and stop assuming that an NSN is an authorization. If you don't see an NSN that is listed in FEDLOG in your TM, then you know it's not authorized.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

Never really had a problem with issued mags, except the infrequent dent or bent lip. The new tan follower hasn't blown my skirt up but who cares. Real Leaders will turn a blind eye to a pmag or two if it makes Joe feel like "Special Ranger Patrol". You just gotta wonder what kinda airsofter or part time paintball ****** wants to drop almost a hundred bucks on mags. I just check my equipment after mission like a real GD Infantryman and replace any mags that are dicked up. PCC'sand PCI's, PMCS, Priorities of work, remember those cool things. Hard to be a ******* hero when your more worried about the material your magazine is composed of than being able to preform SPORTAS or hit what your aiming at. Although, I'm sure polymer mags are conveinient for preventing dents and such due to frequent dropping from the mag well while standing in line at Green Bean.

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 11:59 am

The Pmags I've acquired were "issued" mags to my friends kid in Afghanistan. Since they were issued I don't think they makes Joe feel like “Special Ranger Patrol”. Once again they were issued so no one "drop almost a hundred bucks on mags."
I may not be a real GD infantry man but I think I even this old bubble head can and does check and replace worn parts. Already listed that. I told you I have both kinds and I'm not really worried about what there made of. I believe the Pmags excel at keeping full magazines loaded for a period of time. I will loaded the metal ones as required for shooting.
Your rant on hard to be a hero just uncalled for. The whole focus of the article was "Army Stands By Ban on ‘Unathorized’ PMAGs" hence a discussion about why something previously issued was subsequently banned and the difference between them an what is now authorized.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Easy Ronc, wasn't a targeted rant toward you. If a legitamate need for a PMAG is determined and it meets that need fine, outside my Army. But, as you said "Army" rules. IM sitting on a COP in Afghanistan right now, looking at some headquarters puke with his super sweet PMAG, tan, 1 each. Not only that but it is streaked with OD spray paint. It will never be used outside the wire. I patrol everyday with aluminum Brownell's, tan followers, not my choice. Issued equipment, Army's choice. The real issue is every brand new Soldier thinks they have a choice. They don't even know how to wipe their own ***** half the time never mind think on their own. The Army makes rules and reg's because 1. Joe is a ******* idiot 2. We have alot more people to fund than other branches. Uniformity is important for discipline and good order. If they want to be cool guys, they have a program for that and its called SFAS. Thats all.

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Had to look up reference to Green Bean seems like a nice company. Up here in New England, Dunkin Donuts rules. I haven't dented any magazines from dropping them here, soft woods or snow. Maybe if I was in the streets fighting or standing in line at Green Bean with their hard floor, denting or bending the lips would be more a worry. By the way you might not have to perform SPORTAS so often with Pmags.
Newbies are Newbies everywhere. Until you get your Dolphins on a sub your just some puke using my air, drinking my water, and a general risk to my good health. We all learn, one of my first nights tied up at wharf alpha I took a long shower. Tied up we got water from the pier. Forgot that it had to go somewhere. My next event was learning how to empty San2.

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm

If you come back through Westover ARB let me know I'll bring you a Dunkin Doughnuts coffee and doughney.

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pitt03 May 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

"Uniformity is important for discipline and good order"

Sounds like someone who will be right at home in SMA.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Sounds like someone who used to get his ball's smoked off because he was too stupid to pay attention to insignifigant, mundain details that teach you the importance of following directions and double checking your work. pitt03, dont take things at face value *****. Everything we do has been tested over the years, and I was actually more at home during Ranger school and Sniper school and during OIF 4 and 5; OEF 1,2,and 11.

2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

You carry 13 mag's? Where are you, Detroit? Holy **** man, obviously not climbing mountains in Khost. And our mag's, they be AL-LOO-MAINE-EE-UM.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

Wow……just, wow. 11X contracts, getting retards to enlist since 2002. Let me guess, intent for "Special Forces". Do yourself a favor and when they give you that rifle, put it in your mouth and suck start it. Because if by some cosmic chance you come to my platoon, I dont have to smoke your bags till you die.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Brownell's are pretty reliable, even with the now infamous "tan follower", dun,dun,dun!

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pitt03 May 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

"it bought some time to get production of the new style magazine up to speed to meet down stream demands."

So who was actually clamoring for these improved follower magazines? No one I saw. By the time the Army had even admitted an issue with the old green followers, most guys I knew already had their own commercial magazines. The idea that the Army had recognized an issue with the follower and sought to provide better equipment to the troops is laughable. The old mags were always ***, everyone knew they were *** and the Army never did anything about it. It was only after other options became available and soldiers ditched their issued magazines that the Army 'improved' on their old design.

Your posts shed light on the broken bureaucratic mess that is the Army. You would rather defend the process behind the implementation of the edict than realize that the Army is making a fundamental mistake in limiting the effectiveness of a soldier's equipment.

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KnowALittleBit May 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

pitt03,

It's not about me defending a process, a process which you are apparently totally ignorant of. It's about getting factual information out there for people to see. Get off your high horse, get behind a desk, and do some research. It makes it a lot easier to avoid sticking your foot in your mouth in public.

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Brad May 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I smiled a little bit when I read this, your most recent post. I especially liked the "get behind a desk" part. That's actually the problem. How about this? How about YOU get off YOUR high horse, get your *** out from behind a desk, and see what we trust in the field. After all the mistakes that the Army has made in procurement and fielding new equipment, why should those of us that actually have to use the equipment suffer? I appreciate your condescending tone about certain individuals not not knowing about the "process" but as you've admitted, you know nothing about the conditions we fight in. I'll take my personally bought equipment and TACOM can stick it.

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pitt03 May 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I'm still waiting for you to explain the virtues of the metal magazine. You have thus far done a great job explaining the bureaucratic mess, but continue to defend the process, rather than the product.

I don't do much horse-riding these days. Maybe if you spent less time leveling metaphoric insults and more time explaining your position, the rest of us lowly plebes could share in your vast knowledge regarding the Army's latest decision.

Or you could just continue to act like a pompous fool.

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KnowALittleBit May 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

pitt,

I don't debate unarmed opponents. It's messy, wastes my time, and ends up with people like you getting even more badly embarrassed in public than you already are.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Issued mags- 1. Free 2. Light 3. Haven't jammed on me during a fire fight yet. (7 combat stripes later)
Pmags- 1. Unathorized 2. Tend to mar and wear at the mag lock in the M4, causing "mag drop" 3. Trendy and overpriced
my stance, expained, again

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E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

Think I covered the Pmags were free also. Never really weighed them so not sure there weight.

(2. Tend to mar and wear at the mag lock in the M4, causing “mag drop”) Now that is first time I heard this. Don't really care about marring but wear… Can't see plastic wearing something out faster than metal. More than likely for that event it would need to be the lock shaving pieces of plastic into the lock. That plastic is pretty hard and I would have a hard time believing you are able to get anything but microscopic pieces on a change and would need several hundred magazine changes to accomplish. Even if this was the case, as you said before anyone who routinely cleaned their weapon should spot this long before it became a problem.
These mags been around awhile; from Kit UP http://kitup.military.com/2010/07/theres-no-relia
If this was a problem I think we would of heard more about it. No one I know has mentioned this. Like I said, they issued Pmags to the my friends kid. If I remember right he was in the 181st Infantry Regiment and him and his friends never said anything about that kind of problem.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 4:03 am

Just a little additional information. There is now a tool available for checking the feed lips of the aluminum magazines. Don't recall the NSN, but the part number is 13023560. You can use the part number to cross reference in FEDLOG and pull the NSN. You won't actually see this tool in TM 9-1005-319-23&P until the next change comes out, but the tool is out there. The tool is not classified as a gage, so no annual calibration is required. It was designed specifically for the standard aluminum magazine and quickly checks to see if the feed lips are bent out or bent in. It's very compact and doesn't weigh but a few ounces. If you want to see what it looks like, google Chris Lehner magazines.

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BootsOnTheGrnd May 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

Amen!

I'm a rifle company XO in Afghanistan right now, and I'll happily look up that part number in FEDLOG and get the NIIN so I can get it for my Soldiers. I think the truly frustrating part of the whole issue is seeing equipment that is subjectively "better", hearing my Soldiers say they want that equipment, knowing that I can get it for them, trying to order it, and then being told that while my first order went through, now the remainder of my orders will not be filled because there is a clarification of policy.

As an infantry grunt many years ago and later an NCO, I advocated and permitted purchase of personal equipment for use in the field. I did this and equated it to civilians purchasing nicer suits for work. More recently when going through the Infantry officer course, I marveled at how far we have come as an organization that something as simple as "shooters preference" for gear is now being taught where it was greatly frowned upon 10 years ago.

Personally, I carry a mixture of both magazines on my kit. I've used both; put quite a few rounds through my rifle with both, with no feed issues. I haven't had the improved magazines long enough to speak to the durability of them, but there is NO shortage of replacements available, and if the addition of that tool will allow my Soldiers to check the serviceability of their mags during PCCs, then really is it just that they don't look as cool? I mean that seems kind of petty, no? Shame about the ability of conventional forces to order PMAGs, really is, but life goes on, and we have a DX process for a reason.

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E. Ronc May 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I wouldn't mind trying the Brownells tan ones, they just don't sell them anywhere. Sounds like the basically took the Pmag follower and did a little hocus pocus moving the outline of the round to the other side and keeping its basic anti-tilt function. They also changed the spring and where it meets the follower. So it probably at least equal to my reworked old mags with the new Magpul followers and Wolff springs. I'd give them a try.

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2KfromPAK May 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm

You may be able to find one or two at a surplus store. They are even hard to find here in country. Your pretty much spot on with the description, the overall factor for the Army is the price to outfit the force with the metal mag, roughly $2 a pop as apposed to nearly $9 dollars for a polymer competitor.

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E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

Seems that Brownells is not selling them to general public. Something to do with contract prohibits them from using the design for any other purpose than the military. The contract states that none of the information provided (drawings, etc.) can be used to make a product for anyone BUT Uncle Sam.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

E. Ronc,

Good observation. Brownells contracted with Uncle Sam to produce the tan follower magazine as one of the small business manufacturers I mentioned in an earlier post. Everything they produce under that contract, excepting the magazines used to test their production lots, is put immediately into the supply system once the production lot is accepted by the Government, and is then available for fulfilling requisitions. If they produce magazines that don't pass acceptance testing, they eat it, and rightly so. Same applies to all of the other Government contractors for magazines.

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Joshua May 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm

the HK mags are ok at first, but once you hit about 4,000 rounds through them they turn to utter ****.

also this is just a restatement of a rule that has been around a while. nothing will change and people will still use pmags and lancers

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ProtectAndServe May 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

I appreciate the great knowledge and wisdom shared here. I'm not sure why some posters are engaging in an 'I'm smarter than you are' contest here, especially with the author of the post. That's not helpful. This is clearly a complicated issue, but my major concern is that it seems, once again, that the Army is insisting its people go into combat with less-than-superior equipment. Why is this? It's not the cost…with all due respect to the experience represented in the comments above, can the rest of the readership get a clear answer as to why the Army is rejecting superior equipment for its soldiers? Does it think that its end-users are only worth 'good enough' and not the best? Doesn't bode well for the next generation of soldiers who are considering which branch of the military to enlist with. All we want is a clear explanation of why- and it's not listed here yet.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

Complicated doesn't begin to cover it! Here's where I see the disconnect. A lot people posting here are end users. I worked in the world where stuff for the end user is developed, set up in the supply system, and fielded. The acquisition process is unbelievably complicated. That's not the fault of the Army or any other Service. That's the fault of Congress, plain and simple. Unfortunately, while many people in the acquisition process are veterans, most folks in the foxhole don't have a clue what it takes to deliver something as uncomplicated as a pair of socks, let alone a dependable weapon and ammunition. The Army and other Services can be and should be faulted because they don't train the end users and the people who provide the end user's their equipment a common understanding of how they relate to each other. Over my career, I lost track of the times I'd go to a camp, post, or station and the first word out of the GI's mouth was "Which contractor do you work for?" The answer was always the same: "I work for the same Uncle you do. I just don't wear the uniform anymore."

The end user in the field seldom, if ever, has the opportunity to see what goes into developing and testing equipment. Guess what, part of that process involves bringing real Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors to the table to verify the results of that testing, safety certification, etc, etc. No technical manual gets published until a rather large number of people chop off on it. Similarly, no piece of equipment (excepting certain things like the PMAG, which as already explained was fielded under a special program that basically sidestepped a lot of the normal process) gets issued until a whole lot of people sign off on it. And when I mean sign off on it, I mean they literally sign a piece of paper that makes them liable if they either made the wrong decision or did something stupid like taking a bribe.

The warfighter is the spear point, and I'm not being punny here, but all the folks in the rear echelon are the shaft of the spear. Since the warfighters don't know about those folks in the rear, they always think they are getting the shaft. Well, in a sense they are getting the shaft. That shaft is the logistics, procurement, safety, engineering, maintenance, calibration, quality asurance, health specialists, etc. To give some perspective, when I was Active Duty AF in the late 70's, the AF had 10,000 trigger pullers, and 550,000 other folks that made it possible for the trigger pullers to kill people and break things. The same is pretty much true today for the Army and other Services, although the numbers are different.

That's the short answer to your qesution. The slightly longer answer is that yes, economics plays in part in all of this, and Congress controls the economics. Should the Ft. Benning School for boys and girls write a requirement for a new magazine, and Congress funds the PM to develop a Program of Record, then maybe the PMAG might someday become the new standard magazine, or at least get authorized for use as an Additional Authorized List Item. PM Soldier Weapons did look at a program a few years ago that would allow several different styles of magazines from various different manufacturers to be available in the supply system, and the unit could pick and choose at it's liesure. I honestly don't know if that program is still out there. Again, economics is driving much of what is currently happening. Some programs sit on the backburner for awhile awaiting funding, and the funding has to come from Congress. Other programs get cancelled because the requirement goes away or gets overcome by events or the technology just doesn't work as advertised. The SGT York comes to mind.

Other than trying to recount here my 20+ years working as part of the "shaft", that's about as detailed as I get in this forum.

If you want to know how all of this works, I guess I'll have to get busy righting a book.

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BootsOnTheGrnd May 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

There is no doubt that the acquisition process is incredibly complicated. One of my mentors is currently on the green suit side of acquisitions, and listening to him describe his job, even in vague terms, is enough to make my head spin. You’re absolutely right that the problem lays with those who control the strings, with congress. To tell the end user that here though is akin to banging your head against a brick wall; the best part of it is stopping. I’m reminded of a movie from a few years ago: The Pentagon Wars. The fact that the Fort Benning school for boys has to write a requirement that then has to get reviewed and then funded and then examined ect ect…simply reminds me of the need to get “Sheep specs”. That said, you’re right about the end user not understanding what it takes to get something as simple as socks. And we/they never will as long as a slightly better pair is sitting on the shelf at REI or ****, Wal-Mart. Add to that the fact that the newest generation of infantry have it in their minds before basic that they are shipping off to play MW3 for “real” and then see SF and Rangers with COTS items and think, well why can’t I have that? Sorry, this is turning into a rant about joe being joe, I think I’ll stop here.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

Absolutely correct in all particulars. I always found it frustrating when Joes in Big Army called me and said "Hey, those snake eaters have some really cool stuff, how do I get some?" SOCOM has a different budget and different mission, and there ain't but three or four people in Congress who even know what's in that budget. Of course, Joe is pretty clever, and I've seen a lot of drug deals where Big Army Joe ended up with something he wasn't necessarily supposed to have. Personally, I don't know that it did any harm, but it sure caused havoc when the unit rotated CONUS and had to account for unauthorized equipment on their property books, or questions were raised when they tried to turn in the stuff they were never supposed to have.

As for SpecOps folks and COTS, a lot of what appears to be COTS actually goes through some pretty thorough testing, the difference is that the testing is mostly in the field rather than in the battlelabs. On the other hand, SOCOM's black budget allows for a lot more COTS than you'll see in Big Army.

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SOC16 May 28, 2012 at 8:00 am
Gunner May 28, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thanks but man $60 for a small piece of metal! Before I looked the price I was thinking maybe $25 tops.
Good tool though if you want to shell out that much money.

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SOC16 May 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

YE I know 60. bucks brownells is pricely I dont buy from them im sure there out there alot cheaper on the net.

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ProtectAndServe May 28, 2012 at 8:59 am

KnowALittleBit, before you develop that book I'd respectfully recommend you invest in a good editor so you use 'writing' rather than 'righting' to indicate the creation of literature.

Again, I'm looking for simple answers to two simple questions:
1) Is PMAG the best of its kind? If not, what is?
2) Are our soldiers able to use the best equipment? If not, why not?

We don't need lengthy descriptions of processes-if anyone out there knows, just answer the questions asked. The red herrings thrown up by discussions of other nominally-related topics only serve to disctract from the central argument, which has yet to get a clear answer. That implies either those who are speaking for the Army don't have an answer or that if they do know they are hiding something, neither of which are acceptable situations given that lives are at stake with this choice.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 9:41 am

Is the PMAG the best of it's kind? Excellent question. How would you, me, or anyone else know? I'd submit testing against other designs is probably the best way to find out, both in the field and the battlelabs. You could argue that the field testing is already occurring since PMAGs are out there, but who's gathering the data? However, as I've explained a few times, you need money to do the test, you won't get testing without a requirement, without a requirement you won't get a program of record, and without a program of record you won't get funding. Now feel free to let all of that sink in. That's the way the system works. I don't necessarily agree with it, having worked inside of it, but it is what it is. Don't misunderstand, anecdotal feedback from the field has been know to drive the development of a requirement. It may not seem like it just reading this blog, but there is actually a lot of effort to gather feedback from users in the field, and fielded equipment is under continuous re-evaluation to see if something better can be had. As monolithic as it is at times, the Army actually does try to improve it's equipment. There's a practical limit to what can be accomplished, but the effort is ongoing. And a lot of what the Army ends up adopting as standard starts out as a commercial development. Actually happens all the time. Otis cleaning kits are a good example. They started out as free issue under the Rapid Fielding Initiative, and ultimately got added (after a few modifications) to the technical manuals for the M4/M16 as Additional Authorized List items. Same with the Harris bipod, the three point tactical sling, and the multiple magazine holder.

As to your second question, the short anwer is there is no authorization for using the PMAG. That doesn't mean it is a bad magazine, or that is not better than what is out there. It simply hasn't run the gauntlet to be tested, safety certified, added to the technical manual, set up in the supply system as a standard item, procured, and made available for stock/store/issue to the field. I know a lot of people get the heebie jeebies when I use the word authorized, but they shouldn't. Virtually every piece of equipment in the field, assuming it is authorized, is identified on the TOE, the MTOE, the JTOE, the CTAs, in the technical manuals, etc, etc.

I know PMAGs are out there, and I've already addressed in earlier posts where they came from. Something similar happened back in 2001 with the Crimson Trace laser grips for the M9. Hopefully someday, there will be a competition to find out once and for all which magazine is the best. Ironically, by the time that happens, somebody will come up with something even better and the whole cycle will begin again, and we'll be right back here talking about it.

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xcalbr May 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

yeah because apparently UCP "beat" crye's scoprion pattern during testing (now multicam). I about laughed my *** off the seat when i was told that.

"I have asked the Army if it has any proof that the service’s new magazine can outperform or even equal the PMAG’s performance, but I am still waiting for an answer."

yeah good luck with that. asking the army to put up or shut up is talking to a wall.

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xcalbr May 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

hamchuck, ******, you beat me to it with the doublespeak.

“it’s not banned, it’s just not authorized”.

bureaucratic doublespeak example. classic.

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xcalbr May 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

I carried twelve in afghanistan and i missed my load of 20 that i had in iraq. "Rifleman's load" in afghanistan? thats what i call wishful thinking.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

It's similar to the design the Army adopted. Actually looks like one of the prototypes the Army looked at. Might work just as well. Brownells does have some good stuff. In fact, the combination wrench that's been in the M4/M16 maintenance manual since 2008 was adopted from the Brownells combination wrench for doing barrel and compensator replacements.

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xcalbr May 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

yeah because god forbid the army actually trains how it fights and prioritizes mission effectiveness and national security rather than just looking pretty.

This same group of **** tards are the ones that ***** about the hiking boots, boonie hats, and PMAGs. They like pretty uniforms, spit shined boots, and white glove clean weapons, though pretty much have nothing valuable to contribute when it comes to winning a war.

"Joe is a ******* idiot"

hmmm, thank you for proving my point. anybody who says this comment goes against the very principles the army should abide by. Of course, unsurprisingly, a lot of excellent soldiers leave the army because of this. How about actually leading your soldiers?

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E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

Where is Lincoln when you need him.
Lincoln witnessed for himself the superiority of the Sharps rifle in the hands of a marksman. Guess what, he order them bought.
Since before the times of the Romans, soldiers went to war with a kit that include "off the shelf items". More recently professional officers were expected to procure their own sidearm. Wasn't much thought about commonality of parts then, let alone caliber. Today while I believe outer appearance in say a uniform makes sense. If a man buys a superior sock do I think he should be rung up? Of course not. Does it take a rocket scientist to figure it out which is superior? Of course not. The Army picked its sock on what it decided its basic need, and what it was willing to pay. Our soldiers picked theirs the same way. One may be prone to blister, the issued sock does nothing to alleviate this. So he picks up ones that do. Another picked his because he sweats a lot and needs a cooling style.
Now how far to take this is the $64,ooo question. Should he be allowed to purchase a SIG 556 and use it? He believes it uses a superior operating system and it uses the same mags the M4 will. I think I wouldn't want to because(for arguments sake) even if a better weapon, I would stand out from the other rifleman.
The basic analogy here is the Army bought and gave these guys Sig 556 and now want them to return them for the M4. For the most part they used and liked the Sig rifle but now have to turn it in. All they have heard is bad things about the previous version of the M4. The newer version maybe even better but there is no anecdotal evidence. So they want to stay with what is tried and true.
Some needs to ensure a face off. so that there is data to back up ones claim.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I have no argument with your reasoning. It all comes down to a system that is in place and how to work it. What I mean is it isn't just about, to use your analogy, whether they have a SIG 556 or an M4. The real question is, is the system set up to support it? The sheer effort that goes into putting something into the field is about 90% trying to figure out to support it once it is in the field. So, let's say the Army does some testing and decides "Hey, that PMAG is pretty sweet, let's replace our current magazine with the PMAG". And let's say the Army sets up the PMAG as a throw item like the current magazine. That part is easy enough. The trick would be buying enough PMAGs quickly enough to support the entire force. I don't know MAGPUL's production capacity, but I'm pretty sure it would fall far short of the combined capacity of the three companies turning out the aluminum magazine right now. And unless the Army bought technical rights to MAGPUL's design, they'd be right back to a sole source procurement, with all the downsides that come with it.

That's why I mentioned the program that was supposed to have several different magazines available, with the unit making the decision on which one to requisition. And just to clarify, you're right that certain units got limited quantities of PMAGs free issue to them by REF. (A lot of the items fielded by REF are out there to generate feedback and interest. I'd have to say that in the case of the PMAG, they scored a resounding success!) But like anything else, they weren't free. You and I paid for them. In an ideal world, cost shouldn't be a factor. In our world, it is a factor. The PMAG is roughly twice as expensive as the standard magazine. Maybe if the Army adopted it and bought huge quantities, the price would go down, maybe not. When OIF/OEF started, the Army really ramped up demands from Colts Defense for M4 carbines. Guess what? The cost per copy actually went up, a lot. That's the reality of business in the defense sector.

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E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Will agree sole source procurement does suck, but there are ways to mitigate it. If Magpul didn't have the resources necessary and I'm not sure they don't, they could always go to another company and give them the drawings for the magazine much like Colt did to have a enough 1911's made during WWII. The contract could be awarded so that even if Magpul did have the capability a certain number must be produced by another source to alleviate fears that if something happened to their facilities, somewhere we were still able to make mags. I would love to see a flat say $0.50 above cost price to manufactures. You make 200,000 mags, you make 100k.

The substantial price reduction created by the mere threat of an open competition in 2006 was evidence that Colt had been using its sole-source status to overcharge the government. When you have what around 10 different companies at least able to make an M16/M4 no need for single source. You can thank the senators from Connecticut for that. Well even if you took FN out of the equation since they were making M16 and everything else that left, at the time a couple large ones, Remington and now under same umbrella Bushmaster more than capable along with a bunch of smaller ones and Colt. So who did the army love for not wanting to bid.

Now the real kicker. In the end, however, legislative tactics forced the Army’s hand. The issue finally came to a head when Sen. Coburn [R-OK] exercised his ability as a Senator to block nomination of the proposed new Secretary of the Army, until the US Army relented and agreed to testing at the Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Secretary Geren was confirmed shortly thereafter, in July 2007.
The tests were conducted. The M4 finished last. The Army declared that performance to be acceptable. By 2010, however, there were noises about an “Individual Carbine Competition”, which became a full solicitation.

So what did we learn, the system is political, biased, did I mention the head of Colt is a retired Marine general. Look at all the money just to lobbyist. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/25/colt-o
No wonder we don't have anything decent. I'll grant you "acceptable" if there is no large improvement but when there is? Clearly this seems to be about the army more or less waiting for the next best thing since slice bread, than at least keeping up to date.

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Spoken like a true student of the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Maybe you should read all thirty volumes someday! I won't even address your misunderstanding of what went on with the dust chamber test, but it's good that you're plugging away. You might want to read up on what really happened with Jessica Lynch, and the clear parallels between the resulting lubrication study and the Sen. Coburn directed dust chamber test that you refer to. Made lots of noise, costs about $45M of your tax money, and didn't accomplish a thing other than generate headlines and waste time. Other than that, nothing changed.

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E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 11:21 pm

"I won’t even address your misunderstanding of what went on with the dust chamber test"

I usually try to avoid that direct confrontational tone. But I have got to admit the others are right, you do come across as quiet pompous. As for my misunderstanding all rifles, subjected to same conditions the M4 did the worse. Would a better mag of helped probably. So would an oil field to help lubricate. A third way of gaming the testing system could involve the level of lubrication used. One source noted that the first dust test new M4s had 9,836 jams in 60,000 rounds – almost one jam every 6 rounds. The Army kept working on the test until they figured out a “generous lubrication” approach that used far more than the manufacturer recommended, but lowered jams to 1 in 88 rounds. A fair test must match the manufacturer’s manual for each weapon, or use the same lubrication for each weapon based on the minimum recommended among all test weapons.

"didn’t accomplish a thing other than generate headlines and waste time. Other than that, nothing changed."

Shouldn't the question be why not? And as for your all important authorizations, seems the spirit of Lincoln lives. The Army’s Delta Force replaced its M4s with the H&K 416 in 2004. The elite unit collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine. Experts say its piston operating system significantly reduces malfunctions while increasing the life of parts.
Members of the commando unit — known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta — have been carrying it in combat since 2004. Other special units, such as the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, have also adopted the 416. The marines seemed to have wanted for their IAR and to get it they decides to call it a saw.
So, we will just buy H&K for Delta and others from off books budgets to buy the best weapon out there. Just as Lincoln had the sharps bought. Once again "nothing has changed", then why did Colt finally drop the per unit price. If I remember right it would of been a total savings of significantly higher number than cost of the test. And now after the hoopla of the tests. Remington gets the contract and provides at under around half the per unit cost of original Colt contract in today's dollar.

Colt originally given the no-bid because the navy screwed up releasing the M16 drawings. To placate Colt and keep from getting sued, the no-bid for the M4 was now for Colt as sole supplier. That was before we decided every one and their brother needed an M4. Colts own greed cost them, if they would of lowered the cost per unit after initial contract making up for the damage done, no one would of noticed the huge resulting cost to basically change the army from M16 to M4. So I guess breaking Colts no-bid contract and showing us a better weapon is nothing.

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Lance May 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Nor really Remington beat Colt out now for the maker of the M-4.

KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 4:47 am

Call me pompous, but at least concede my accuracy. The first test you refer to was an outgrowth of the Jessica Lynch incident. Rumor control created a myth that CLP was to blame for Jessica Lynch's unit getting whacked, and that CLP had caused her unit's weapon to jam in an ambush/fire fight. There was a hue and a cry raised about CLP, so the Army was forced by Congress to spend $15M to prove, just as an earlier Navy test had already proven, that CLP is still the best lubricant. That test also cost about $15M. The only weapons involved in that test were the M16, the M4, and the M249 since they represented the highest density weapons that use CLP. The test was not a competition between weapons, it was a test between 25 lubricants. The dust chamber component of that test showed that the previous guidance to lightly lubricate in a desert environment was wrong, and when heavy generous lube was applied, the stoppage rate went down significantly. As a result, the Army changed desert lubrication from light to heavy/generous. The generous/heavy lube was found to be displacing grit and sand that got into the weapon receivers, and that improved the stoppage rate. I've read the test report, have you? All of the technical manuals were updated with this new guidance. In 2007 a Ground Precautionary Message (GPM) was issued worldwide to all Services to convey this new guidance in advance of the technical manual changes being published. I know, my name is on that GPM since I wrote it.

After the battle of Qanat, Sen. Coburn raised the question of whether our troops had the best possible weapon. Much like in the Jessica Lynch incident, facts were discarded in favor of screaming for a new weapon. And, once again, the Army was forced to run a test. The weapons in that test were the M4 (Colts Defense), the SCAR (FN), the HK416 (H&K), and God only knows why, the XM-8 (H&K wondergun that was cancelled by Congress in 2006). The SCAR, HK416, and XM-8 were included in the test because the Army was directed to include them. Contrary to popular belief, the M4 did not "lose" in that test, in fact it exceeded its design parameters by a wide margin. A lot of people think the test was a "competition" between Colt's, FN, and H&K. Believe that if you want to.

Should the IC go forward, the various competitors will undergo dust chamber testing, but that is the least that the bid samples will be subjected to. Environmental testing, fire to failure, fire to destruction, the list goes on and on. It may well happen that in that cycle of testing, one or more of the competitors against the M4 will come out better in the dust chamber test, but they will all be scored against the same test parameters and criteria on an equal basis, and the dust chamber will be only one of a number of hurdles each competitor will have to get past in order to be selected as the new carbine.

Before I forget, it wasn't the M16 the Navy released data on, it was the M4/M4A1. I'll certainly pardon your lack of understanding if you'll pardor my pomposity.

E. Ronc May 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

"The trick would be buying enough PMAGs quickly enough to support the entire force."

Why, they made a lot of the tan follower types, but they didn't dump the green ones. You could phase into just as they are now. Plus as said, there are units already issued Pmags. How much support is needed for a consumable? Make available in theater and to units going over first. When you have more than enough, the guys in Germany and South Korea get theirs.

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SOC16 May 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

But isn't that just the piont? These sops are telling you yes there battle proven yes we like them yes we prefer them! yes we want them! so there why a 360 on there input?

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KnowALittleBit May 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm

You are right, they are telling me. It might have escaped everyone's notice but I've mentioned a few times that I'm retired. Not that long ago, but the bottom line is rather than blog this out or tell me about it, they need to start talking to the AWG, the PM reps, folks from the School House, in other words the folks who can effect a change. I know its trite, but get the word back through channels. The people who can actually make changes could care less about blogs. All the stuff I've been putting out there is to help people understand there is a system, it works, but it is information starved and driven by economics, as well as politics, but don't even get me started on that. Get the info into the right hands, and good things can happen. But also remember those good things ain't gonna happen overnight.

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425ASOC May 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This is just re-affirms why I have no faith in the conventional army leadership, I will continue to use my PMags and god help them if they try to tell SOCOM to make everyone use the *** issue mags.

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Drew May 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

This exchange reminds me of Atlas Shrugged, when Hank Rearden keeps asking the bureaucrat "Is Rearden metal good?" Of course the bureaucrat won't give a straight answer, because that isn't his concern.

I imagine that PMAGS will stay in use, because they work. This will happen whether the government pays for them or not. I had my own headphones for use in the sonar shack on my boat because the issued Dave Clark headphones were junk. It's a shame that we can't count on the military to provide the best equipment available.

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Mike12061981 May 29, 2012 at 4:54 am

Cool down dude. There isnt much he can change in a stock m4. What he will add? A stock rear sight and grip and that all. Thats NOT 80% of the rifle…

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Mike12061981 May 29, 2012 at 5:06 am

OK but that ban goes also to the army SOCOM operators also? They also have to use G.I. mags? If not that is ******** and has to stop.
That is a clear signal that there are better in the army (SpecOps guys) and the cannon fodder (regular Joe).
I gues that soldier lives are more worthy when the soldier wears a "special forces tab" for the generals…

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KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

Mike,

There was no "ban" on PMAGs, no matter how many people on this blog, including the author of the original article that started all of this, say there was. The fact of the matter is, yes USSOCOM does get some stuff the other Services don't get. This whole concept of a ban stems from the words the author of the article used. If the Army truly "banned" something, don't you think CID would be out in force making arrests? See anyone in handcuffs lately, other than the ocassional Haji? USSOCOM gets all the worldwide messages that all of the Services get. They have certain latitudes granted to them by Congress that the other Branches/Services don't get, and that is a function of the funding process, which drives the authorization process. USSOCOM has some unique authorizations, and I'll leave it at that.

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P.O.N.I. May 29, 2012 at 5:07 am

Exactly what I was thinking when reading all these "I'm using them anyway" posts. Guys this is really something to think about. Might need to either regularly swap out the new mags or work out a deal with your buddies to swap out your gear with standard issue **** before turning it in if you were to get hit. The reason reason we do our jobs is for our families so we got to take care of them all the way through.

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 6:29 am

Sorry, you were correct it was M4 data released. Give me a long night on that.

"the M4 did not “lose” in that test, in fact it exceeded its design parameters by a wide margin. A lot of people think the test was a “competition” between Colt’s, FN, and H&K. Believe that if you want to."

This is as if saying we took a 70's Mustang out with new Corvette, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. After track time saying Ford said its top speed was 140 and we got 150 so it "did not “lose” in that test, in fact it exceeded its design parameters by a wide margin." The Vette will do 205, the Ferrari got 210 and the Lambo 200 but hey this isn't a race.

"After the battle of Qanat, Sen. Coburn raised the question of whether our troops had the best possible weapon."

I've never seen anything on Qanat so I think it's a typo for Wanat. Which happened in 13 July 2008. The Senators office was on it long before that occurred. I believe the Senator had some decent intentions. Previous Army vice chief of staff Gen. Jack Keane had tried to update the USA's infantry rifle with the XM-8 project. So now the army comes a long looking to no-bid 500,000 thousand M4's. Well if I am going to buy all these rifles shouldn't they A) be updated, why am I buying 10 year old designs. B) Kind of continues this line with if I'm already spending all this cash maybe I ought a look at something new. C) Let's put it out to bid and get the best price.

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KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 6:57 am

Tell you what brother, you want to hang onto your line of reasoning, go for it. The only reason I'm even posting to this blog is to give you and all the folks here a sense of what really happens, NOT what the press reports or what you hear from the various potential producers of a new magazine or even a new weapon. The no bid contract for 500,000 M4 carbines is a new one to me, so obviously you have contacts I don't have, even though I spent over 20+ years in the acquisition/logisitcs community. The 500,000 M4 carbines you are referring to is actually the approximate number of M4 carbines slated to be converted to the M4A1 configuration through a Modification Work Order. The kits for that Modification Work Order are being competed, so where you get the idea there is a no-bid contract totally escapes me. But, like I said, you obviously have better sources than I do. Carry on.

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:46 am

Yes I over stated the contract size but as contracts go it's 24,000 here, 45,000 there, just not all in one fiscal year, but to outfit the whole army half a million should be close. Which basically Colt was looking to do when they held the no-bid.

Since we are converting why not covert to the H&K tops? Is the 416 in your channels anywhere?

"In a routine acquisition notice March 23 [2007], a U.S. Special Forces battalion based in Okinawa announced that it is buying 84 upper receiver assemblies for the HK416 to modify their M4 carbines…. According to the solicitation for the new upper receiver assemblies."

I realize as Spec Op they more than likely used there off book money.

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KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

The quantity Remington was awarded was pretty low, considering Colts was not too long ago knocking out about 17,000 per month. And it's mainly aimed at sustainment, i.e. replacing weapons that can no longer be brought up to standard through overhaul, or to replace battlefiedl losses, not re-equipping the entire force. I know a lot of the press reports get a bit overboard. Currently in Active Army there are about 500,000 M16A2s/M16A4s (mostly A2s) and about 500,000 M4/M4A1s (mostly M4s). The conversion of M4s to M4A1s is actually pretty straight forward: M4A1 heavy barrel, new (not improved) bolt (new barrel/new bolt, actually makes sense), ambidextrous selector switch, a couple parts in the lower receiver for the full auto function. Other than the ambi selector swtich there are really only five parts that are different between the two models. The M4A1 is also getting the ambi selector switch, something that has been overdue for years. I wrote pretty extensively on this in a previous blog that talked about the Army going to full auto on all carbines. Believe it or not, the Army didn't actually want to go full auto for the M4; it is a side effect of putting in the M4A1 trigger group, which many troops felt had a cleaner break than that for the M4. Of course, you swap out the trigger group, you have to swap out the disconnectors and burst cam, and suddenly you are full auto to get a cleaner breaking trigger. Stranger stuff has happened!

The H&K 416 uppers, hmm, another issue entirely. That really gets into to the debate re gas impingment vs gas piston. I've also addressed this in the blog re the IC competition, so I don't want to cover old ground. At any rate, I suspect the kits for the M4 to M4A1 conversion will run a few hundred bucks each, give or take, while a complete upper receiver from H&K will cost quite a bit more. The kits are being competed, and last I heard there is no intent to go sole source, nor any reason to do so. Again, it depends which side of the gas impingement vs gas piston argument you come down on. if you are on the gas piston side, the added cost is acceptable, if not, then the lower cost approach makes more sense. A lot of economic decisions have to be made either way, but as I understand it there is no intent to drop in complete HK416 uppers. To answer your question, no the HK416 upper is not in the supply system. You also cannot buy a complete M4 or M4A1 upper, but that is because of the way it is provisioned. You CAN buy all of the parts out of the system, just not the complete assembly. That's one of things that are decided during the provisioning process, and its pretty much totally driven by economic considerations, expected failure rates for a given part, etc. Upper receivers seldom wear out , while the parts can wear out quite frequently. I believe the Navy uses similar logic, just on much bigger systems. You've got the background there, and probably know better than I do.

I can tell you that my experience working on the XM-8, which was derived from the H&K G36, had some issues related to the gas piston system, mainly in heat concentration and dispersion. I can only speak for the XM-8, but I suspect this heat problem probably exists in other piston drive systems as well to a greater or lesser extent.

I agree about what the SF Groups, SeAL Teams, AFSOF, MARSPECOPS, and Delta do: USSOCOM has it's own playbook, as well as its own toybox. They actually still have a lot of rules to follow, it's just those rules are not as readily apparent as for the parent Services.

Hopefully this post came off as informative and not condescending or arrogant. I enjoy a good debate as well as the next Joe.

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

From what I understand not just a "cleaner", as maybe more consistent, with the burst you didn't know which of the cams your were on. Not to strange, just like adding a firing pin stop in a series 80 Colt 1911. The more crap to pull or move, the less clean it is. I always thought three round burst to be not the best solution. When you need full auto, you should have it.

The XM-8 did seem to have problem with heat, but what I heard the barrels got so hot it melted the hand guard, after firing too many rounds. How many rounds was to many, not sure, but I would doubt it was the fault of the piston drive system. AK, Galil even M-14 which replaced top handguard from wood which cracked from drying out, get awful hot and you will melt the barrel before it stops. Wrong type plastic or not enough built in dispersion i.e. trapping the heat in my guess.

Still at it May 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

test post

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weebelow May 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hey yep same ole Army, why change when you're doing so well? Hey maybe go back to the LBE? Steel Pots were better than soft caps. I know go back to the old od green gas station uniform. Hey if it weren't for the TAXCOM guys, Memorial day would just be national BBQ day.

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Lance May 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm

LBE Gear is still in service. Not all older gear is inferior. Of course I dont see any problem with GI mags I carried they work Well in a A2 rifle.

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chris May 30, 2012 at 6:14 am

I wonder if it had anything to do with Magpul turning them down for the SCAR 17 mags because they said the magazine could not be correctly manufactured using the Army specs.

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Jim37F May 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

Very true, the spear point and shaft are symbiotic, the spear point can't exist without the shaft and the shaft would literally have no reason to exist without the spear point.

The problem as it pertains to this specific case of the magazines as I see it is that those on the spear point see some of the commercial magazines like the Magpul PMAG and HK steel magazines as better equipment that makes our job (staying alive and killing the enemy). But now all of a sudden, out of the blue with no apparent reason and none given to us, from somewhere on the shaft is saying "No, we don't like those fancy mags, you have to use the ones we developed in house and if you don't like it and think that they're an inferior solution, too damn bad".

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quality May 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

If the specs were written properly and required quality, low bidder would not mean low quality.

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oscar May 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Going off topic here. If there's this so much R&D then testing in the field and battlelabs, how did the Army come up with the Universal Camouflage Pattern? It only works on gravel pits, flowered couches and probably on the lunar surface.

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E. Ronc May 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Best luagh of the day! Thanks

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oscar May 31, 2012 at 12:03 am

you're welcome!

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Kevin O. Moore May 31, 2012 at 5:09 am

Just a general comment. Whenever something gets bought it generally happens one of two ways. Either the Army, or other Service already owns the data rights and holds a full and open procurement, or they do not own the data rights and does sole source procurement(s). There's a lot of variations that can and do take place, but this is generally the way it works.

In the case of the standard aluminum magazine, the Army has owned the data rights for decades, so any number of producers can be on contract without getting tangled up in licensing issues and royalties, and generally the low bidder will get the contract. But, when bids are evaluated, the process results in what is called the apparent low bidder, and not necessarily the literally lowest bidder. If memory serves, the process has over a dozen steps to get to the apparent low bidder. Best value contracting is a good example of this: get the most bang for the buck. At any rate, the idea is to get the best conformance to the tech data (quality) at the lowest price. Generally, it works, but it isn't a perfect process by any means. It also depends on the spec or requirment being correctly written. Not much point in buying to the wrong requirement. I've mentioned the SGT York. It was intended to provide mobile air defense to armored formations. However, the platform used was the chassis from an M48 tank, which lacked the all terrain speed to keep up with the M2/M3 Bradleys and the M1 Abrahms. Properly written requirements are critical to getting it right.

In the case of the PMAG, if the Army held a competition for a completely new magazine, with the intent of making that new design standard, a Sources Sought would be issued based on a new requirement. Generally, a new requirement seeks a 25% improvement in performance, endurance, eliability, etc, over a design currently in use. (In rare instances, unsolicited proposals are entertained, but only rarely). Once a pool of potential designers is established, a solicitation for bid samples (proposals) would be issued. Long story short, this would likely result in a down select to one design. The owner of that design would become the sole source producer by virtue of owning the technical data rights to the design. Again, variations can occur, but generally this is how it works. The, winner of the bid sample competition and down select process has exclusive production rights (prime contractor), but also has the option to subcontract production out. This is not unusual, but it has big drawback: the Government has no leverage on the subcontractors because the contract is with the prime contractor. Also, the prime can pretty much name his or her price, since the data rights are his or her exclusive property.

Now, another way this can play out is for the Army to issue a sources sought, with the intent of buying the data rights to the winning design. Once the data rights are purchased, the Arny can use full and open procurement to issue one or more production contracts. The original designer may or may not be one of the producers, and can even elect to not play on the production side of he equation. The down side is that when the data rights are purchased, the Army usually has to pay a hefty sum, and may even have signifcant downsteam costs due to licensing arrangements and royalties. The hope in this scenario is that those costs can be mitigated by entering into full and open production contracts to establish apparent low bidders.

All of this takes place for something simple like a magazine. When you start looking at acquisition of a new major system like an improved carbine, it ges a LOT more complicated. The M320 grenade launcher is a good example. H&K was the down select winner after the bid sample competition and became the sole source producer of both comlete weapons AND repair parts. The Army entered into production contracts with H&K, and agreements were made that after the delivery of a certain numner of complete systems, the Army would take possession of the data rights for subsequent production contracts. Also included was an arrangement for H&K to translate all of their technical drawings from German into English. The agreement also included a royalty fee. I can't get into the numbers, but suffice to say it was a very complicated acquisition. Now, the M320 is intended to replace only about 71,000 M203 style grenade launchers. Imagine the scope when you think about a new carbine, where potentially 1,000,000 current weapons get replaced. Kind of tough to get your mind around, isn't it? And don't forget, a completely new system like a carbine requires a truly gargatuan effort to get it set up in the supply system so it can be supported once it is fielded. Setting up a new magazine would be child's play in comparison, but you still need to navigate the acquisition system to get there.

I'm just throwing this information out for you all to consider. There are ways to take short cuts, but those short cuts have some risk associated. Emergency procurements, directed procurements, bridge buys to make up production shortfalls, etc, can all take place under the right circumstances. At the end of the day, no matter what the Army wants to field, essentially the same process takes place: Figure out what is needed (requirement), find it (a design that meets the requirement, established by extensive testing and data analysis), set it up in the supply system (provisioning), create the technical manuals to support it (or modify current technical manuals), type classify it (for major systems), buy it, field it, sustain it. Sounds simple, eh? And this is only the bare bones of what really happens. Hope this information we be useful.

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E. Ronc May 31, 2012 at 6:20 am

Some small questions. You open up a Sources Sought, would be issued based on a new requirement. Say like 'Still at it' reason: the ability to fully load a magazine to 30 rd capacity while allowing the Soldier to conduct a successful bolt forward reload. That would mean besides Magpul that Troy, Lancer, Tapco, and whoever could enter. (Q1)Now nothing says Magpul would have to enter? (Q2)Also lets say they did, would they still be able to produce for the general public as long as they kept the drawing? (Q3)Let's say that they sold the drawings, could they make a small change and continue producing a mag basically like the one sold? (Q4)Can the army, holding it's drawing say we worked out that problem and enter the competition?

May make supply guy yet.

oscar May 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm

And unless the Army bought technical rights to MAGPUL’s design, they’d be right back to a sole source procurement, with all the downsides that come with it.

Sir: This is the most enlightening part of the whole subject. I see your point.

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E. Ronc May 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I don't know Magpul would sell the rights, guys are buying them commercially any way from what many are saying. More profit for them.

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oscar May 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Hey, this reminds me of the time when Bill Clinton re-defined the meaning of the word "is."
Although the word "ban" wasn't specifically used, anyone who served knows that anyone caught using unauthorized gear will get struck down by a thunderbolt from Olympus and his ashes will get scattered to the four corners of the earth.

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oscar May 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Ronc, never, ever trust politicians. They may say that the best interest for the warfighter at heart, but in the end, it all boils down to the votes in the following elections.
Remember McNamara? He was that dude that foisted the M-16 on the Armed Forces. Although it was the stupidity of the Army for changing propellants and not issuing cleaning kits that resulted in loss of lives, it was McNamara's decision to issue a new weapon while things started heating up in 'Nam that took the cake.
Now is not really the time to be muddying the waters. To introduce an entirely different weapons system while a country is at war is suicidal.

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E. Ronc May 30, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Oh don't get me wrong no big fan of politicians, just hope ones who served would be more inclined to our cause. Don't get me started on McNamara, closed down my armory. Not advocating change during the fighting, just wondering why we really never gave the equipment another look after ten years or so. I like my 2003, truck but that doesn't mean I want another one in 2013. I want to look at something current with new technology that hopefully gets me better than the 14mpg I now get.

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DDearborn May 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hmmm

So the enless attempts at side tracking the discussion goes on. The question that remains to be definitively answered is: Is the PMAG "better" than the new issue MAG? The criteria being offered on the one hand is yes because it won the red tape race. On the other hand we have the soldier in the field saying look fella I have used both in combat and when my life is on the line I would rather buy PMAG with my own money. Know I don't know about the rest of you but as an old 11B myself I would rather put my life in the hands of years of combat experience over a precurment system that has been caught lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating and generally causing mayhem for the soldier in the field for decades. But then again that is just me.

You seem to have forgotten that it is the common Infantry soldier that ultimately wins the war on the ground. And one more thing to all of you that have made derogatory remarks about "Joe". Read my middle finger . But then I always believed 1 honest to god 11B in the field was worth 10 REMF's.

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Richard Fitzpatrick June 1, 2012 at 2:29 am

Just a little background on me before I answer this. I am Richard Fitzpatrick, former active duty, USMC Recon Marine (0321) and founder of Magpul Industries Corp.

While we do not wish to comment on specifics regarding the TACOM memo (as we are not informed on any of their decisions and so feel unqualified to respond) I will be happy address most other aspects regarding the PMag that are posted.

Here are some answers to questions/statements posted (in no particular order)…

"They (Pmags) may be the best thing since sliced bread, but until the Infantry School House writes a requirement for a new magazine, and Congress funds a Program of Record that allows the PM to spend money to accept bid samples, commence testing, and find a better magazine, AND commence acquisition, PMAGS will not be authorized."

- The biggest issue is defining what is important in the requirements. It is something that often gets lost when a large organization sets about designing something. One of the reasons that after 5 years of combat fielding the PMag outnumbers all other third party magazines, combined, is how we designed and manufacture the PMag to deal with a lot of conflicting "real world" requirements.

The PMag is not perfect (even the soon to be released M3 PMag) but it does almost everything well and adds significant advantages over the USGI magazines on deployment some of which are…

1. The PMag internal geometry uses an aggressive constant curve to improve reliability (the USGI has a curved then straight section to work with the M16 straight mag well). This allows the PMag round stack to more closely match the taper of the 5.56 round and provides uniform stack pressure.

2. The PMag has a corrosive resistant stainless steel spring, USGI uses stock music wire allowing the PMag to pass a 500 hour simulated salt spray test where the USGI fails due to spring breakage.

3. The PMag body has much better crush strength the PMag feedlips have better impact strength than a USGI. This allows the PMag to far out last a similarly used USGI. When the PMag is damaged the problem is viable and easily identifiable.

4. The PMag has a far lower IR signature than a USGI and is easier to handle in both extreme hot and cold temperatures.

5. Runs far better in the M249 SAW than stock USGI magazines.

It is also worth noting that PMags are in a constant state of revision based upon feedback we receive and new production methods. While the PMag retains the same basic look it started with, it has been continually updated and it's performance far out shines the original from 5 years ago.

The newest generation M3 PMag, which is in final testing is the strongest by far. It has the additional benefits of being fully compatible with the the HK 416, SA80A2 and the FN SCAR. It also has a slim line floorplate, beefed up mag catch area, additional gripping texture and a paint pen matrix for individual marking.

"The trick would be buying enough PMAGs quickly enough to support the entire force. I don’t know MAGPUL’s production capacity, but I’m pretty sure it would fall far short of the combined capacity of the three companies turning out the aluminum magazine right now."

- While I will not go into details of our production capacity we are already one of the largest manufactures of M16 magazines in the country.

We also have shown the capability of expanding our capacity while maintaining quality controls. Last year we set up and ran one million "export" PMags (EMags) for all UK combat deployed troops, delivering the entire order early, with no QA rejections and without affecting our existing PMag production at all.

"The overall factor for the Army is the price to outfit the force with the metal mag, roughly $2 a pop as apposed to nearly $9 dollars for a polymer competitor"

Contract price for a USGI is more like $6 and at USGI quantities the PMag would be comparable in price to the USGI for the government to purchase. This does not take into account the fact that the PMag needs to be replaced less frequently in operational environments than USGI magazines so less need to be ordered.

"PMAG’s are problematic in cold weather; many SOCOM units have voluntarily gone back to aluminum mags."

We have PMags functioning in places like Alaska as well as Afghanistan for over five years now with great success. Early MRevs were tested for breakage down to -30 and have steadily improved in performance/strength to the point we now do our testing (for the new M3) at -60. Even without rough handling the PMags will function reliability in these extreme temperatures long after the USGI magazine will cease to operate.

"I can understand that! I never used a plastic mag just dont like the idea of plastic even if there great I know plastic degrades in light and heat and deforms eventually And various
solvents and ultra violet light effects them"

-PMags have UV blocker built into the polymer. This has not been shown to be an issue for PMags combat deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq. We have had magazines left out in the desert for a year and while they were a little bleached they still functioned without issues.

As for solvents, current PMags pass every Federal standard published for chemical resistance that is applied to the M16/M4 weapon system. As part of our testing program PMags are subjected to long term direct contact with over 10 different types of chemicals required to pass these tests.

"You open up a Sources Sought, would be issued based on a new requirement. (Q1)Now nothing says Magpul would have to enter?"

-We would likely respond to a sources sought request providing we could meet the requirements published. We have done this before for other sources sought but as you can see our skills at navigating such a system is not the best. We are much better at building things.

"And unless the Army bought technical rights to MAGPUL’s design, they’d be right back to a sole source procurement, with all the downsides that come with it."

One of the key strengths of the PMag is consistency in manufacture. We have 5 years of research and development in not only the design of the PMag but also the propriety materials and processing used. It would be very difficult to subcontract this technology to a series of lower bidders and get the results that would be acceptable.

"Regarding the PMAG, the only reason it ever appeared in the field was the work of the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) working under the Rapid Equipping Force (REF)"

-While some of the fielding might have been through this program, the majority of PMags used in Iraq and Afghanistan were initially purchased by individual military members. Word of mouth on their reliability and durability prompted units to order them with discretionary funds and this started a purchasing cycle outside of the efforts of the AWG and REF.

"The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring"

- To fully seat a fully loaded (30rds) USGI mag (regardless of follower) with the bolt forward, it is common to end up bending the feed lips and denting the lead cartridge possibly causing an overpressure situation in the chamber as well as permanently damaging the USGI magazine. The PMag is designed with a small amount of additional clearance to allow the magazine to seat with a full 30 rounds without this issue.

"Personally, I’d be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon."

The dust cover on the PMag is optional and not intended to be used for magazines stored on your Vest or LBE. They are protect the feed lips from impact damage and debris entering the magazine during transport or long term storage.

"one of the selling points is that they have a window built in so you can see how many rounds are left in the mag. The window can only be viewed if you either have the mag in your hand, or if you turn the weapon sideways to look at the mag once it’s been inserted in the weapon."

- PMags currently come in two versions a Maglevel (window) and non window (Plain). The window is not actually for counting individual rounds. It shows a marked coil on the spring that acts like a gas gauge on a car effectively showing rounds remaining even when the last 5 rounds are obscured by the mag well (something that a translucent magazine does not). That said we have worked on a translucent magazine for training (simulation/frangible/less lethal) rounds where identification of the round tip is important.

The window adds no extra parts to the magazine and is often used by team leaders visually to confirm a full magazine load prior to leaving the wire. (rounds tend to get down loaded from magazines over time when the rifle is repeatably cleared upon re-entry)

I hope this answers some of the questions. Click on the link to read the Magpul foundations (what makes us tick).

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E. Ronc June 1, 2012 at 3:31 am

Thank you for your service Mr.Fitzpatrick and taking the time to answer many of our questions. Will be looking forward to see your next generation of mags.

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Kevin O. Moore June 1, 2012 at 3:34 am

Mr. Fitzpatrick,

Excellent write up, and I applaud your clarity. I'm in total agreement with your statements on the need for a clearly defined requirement and I think you'd agree that such a requirement needs to be based on objectively measureable performance parameters that reflect the operational need. Although the debate here will likely go on, it seems the only thing lacking now is an actual competition where various producer's designs can be evaluated against those parameters. Whether or not the Army pursues that course is problematical. It's up to the Army.

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pgg June 1, 2012 at 4:17 am

Thanks for the reply. I've been using your mags for police work since they first came out. Most of our officers started using them also. We had alot of issues with the GI type mags, mostly them getting damaged from use (rifle racks, in & out of the car).

Thanks for making a superior product that keeps us safe.

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Kevin O. Moore June 1, 2012 at 3:56 am

E. Ronc,

I did some checking on this. The solicitation you mentioned from 2007 is a bit dated. Special Force Groups did look at the HK416 a few years back, but I'm told they did not adopt it. The SCAR (H) 7.62MM was coming on line, and the M4A1s are still with them. The SCAR (L) 5.56MM fell by the wayside and was not adopted. So, the Groups have a mix of 5.56MM and 7.62MM, which is a pretty good mix.

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xcalbr June 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

ODA teams and attached support elements never transitioned to the 416. the only units that still use it are DEVGRU and Delta, though most other special operations use M4's with a SOPMOD II package (which makes the M4 a awesome weapon system) or the Mk18. Even the SCAR L is more popular. I like the fact that parts commonality between the SCAR L, H, and Mk20 is significant; a clear advantage over the M4, M14, and M110.

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Richard Fitzpatrick June 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

There was no issues regarding the SCAR17 magazine. Were were initially one of several companies that responded to a request for a possible polymer SCAR17 magazine.

The FN SCAR17 was designed around a steel FAL magazine and magazine well. It was decided the available wall thickness was not enough for us to successfully build a reliable polymer magazine for the system.

Instead we suggested the SCAR17 receiver mold should modified to accept standard military M110/SR25 magazines. Which would move the SCAR17 to proven magazine that was already in the ordering system.

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xcalbr June 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm

i think its a hindsight problem. the SCAR H and its magazine were designed before the magpul SR25 magazines. It saddens me that they are not compatible :(

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Lance June 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm

The problematic SCAR H mag is a modified FAL mag SOCOM ops modified the design to use AR-10 mags to do away with FAL mags the H was suppose to use.

Unfortunately FNH has too much pride to admit they should have used AR-10 mags in the first place.

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Joshua June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

sadly Mathew you make some of the most asinine topics on this website.

you always state you have "inside super secret ninja squirrel sqad sources" but alot of the stuff you say is just plain false.

reminds me of when you said the M4 gets people killed because of Wanat and Keating(yet at Keating there was not one reported weapon failure other than a M2 that took an RPG and one documented soldier expending 40 magazines in his M4, not only that but Keating lasted much longer than Wanat)

yet of course you never said that, you just said the M4 gets people killed at both Wanat and Keating.

I'm sorry I have seen enough of your drivel to take it with a huge grain of salt

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Kevin O. Moore June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Joshua,

I dropped my moniker of KnowALittleBit because Mr. Cox got his dander up. Henceforth you'll see me in here under my real name. Good to see you weighing in, and keep the Faith Bro.

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Sharp June 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

PMAGs are superior to standard issue mags for the same reason that Multicam is superior to the UCP that you poor Army guys had to deal with; They work. The Army seems to get caught up in a lot of bureaucratic shenanigans, and it adversely affects the soldiers they are supposed to be taking care of.

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Joshua June 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

Matthew got into a tissy because you called him out.

Sadly people like Matthew Cox seem to have alot of blind fanbois and uneducated masses who read his articles and fully believe them.

Matthew Cox has made a number of articles like the Wanat and Keating one that have so much false and bad information it'll make your head explode if you know the truth. I remember when he posted the M4 gets soldiers killed article, i also remember SME's on certain websites(not ARFCOM) tearing his report to pieces.

Fact is when Matthew Cox mentions his super secret inside sources you can bet it will be a false statement meant to degrade either the military or thw M4, just go look at his past posts, alot of them do just that using false information found on the internet that he then restates as his secret source.

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Joshua June 2, 2012 at 7:33 am

Lets not forget we are entering back into peace time, whenthat happens the "do what works even if its out of the box" tends to go away and its back to making sure your boots are polished and uniforms are starched.

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Gunner June 2, 2012 at 7:34 am

Richard,

Thanks for straightening out those who have opinions based on speculation or third hand information.
You answered any questions anyone should have concerning the PMag. I've been using them since they were released. The originals are still working fine as are the newer ones. It's my magazine of choice and will continue to be.

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Joshua June 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

You mean the test that this website used as gospil that the m4 needed replacing?

Funny thing is while yall were praising that test the true facts were the HK416, SCAR-L, and XM8 were all specially made and hand picked for the test, the M4's were drawn off a weapons rack well used and well below the 700RPM minimum(6out of 10 M4's were around 600RPM, the avg for the M4 is 800RPM or so).

Lets not forget the M4's used in this test were pre-2006 thus they were missing critical updated reliability components(namely the CRANE extractor upgrade).

Fact is when Colt re did the test with new production M4's they had 111 stoppages, so you tell me?

Now lets talk about Wanat, Wanat was a **** fest for sure. First off those guys did not take care of their rifles. The M4'a failed at Wanat because they were not taken care of and when the **** hit the fan they had filthy m4'a full of days worth of sand.

Now lets look at keating, Keating lasted longer, expended more ammo and only had 1 weapon fail( an M2 that took an RPG) there were no weapon failures at Keating because they took care of their weapons there, one soldier expended 40 magazines alone, they also went black on multiple calibers during that fight.

There is nothing wrong with the M4 other than worn out parts and rifles well beyond their service life.

Lets also talk about how Sen Coburn has absolutely ZERO MILITARY EXPERIENCE. How would he know what our soldiers need? Coburn has no idea if the M4 is good or bad fact.

You people at this website always bring up the dust test and Wanat, but you always conveniently leave out the important info like the 6 M4's that did not meet the RPM requirement, or that Wanat was a leadership failure and not an M4 failure, that Coburn has no military background, and the bet is you always aleays always leave out Keating, a battle identical to Wanat, the only diff is Keating lasted longer, expended more ammunition, and did not have one single small arms fail.

Sorry but i get tired of hearing these mentioned here

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Joshua June 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

Just want to add that I just want to punt a baby(just kiddig) when people mention Wanat and the Coburn Dust test

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Kevin O. Moore June 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Brother Joshua, keep walking that sermon. I've done all I can, both here, and behind the scenes.

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E. Ronc June 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Personally I don't use the test as the be all end all. And would certainly question the "when Colt re did the test". I usually don't like to take a manufactures specs or test as gospel. I would rather see an independent lab do the test. I will give you that the Crane extractor upgrade more than likely helped the results. Colt could of used Pmags along with that oil well to keep the M4 rolling, we don't know.

AS I was not there nor do I believe you were so I won't comment on your ridiculous accusation that these guys who were, didn't take care of their weapons. These were frontline men not REMF.
So then why did there rifle stop. Look to the CNA study.
Full-Automatic Fire and Weapon Stoppages
At Wanat, the weapons were pushed to their limits and beyond. In the Combat Studies Institute's paper, historian Cubbison attributed the weapon stoppages experienced by Wanat's defenders to their necessity to fire their M4 carbines at sustained high cyclic rates. This conclusion is supported by the CNA study, which revealed that Soldiers firing weapons on full-automatic doubled their probability of experiencing a stoppage.

In a 21 October 2009 letter from Colt Defense LLC's executive vice president, retired Marine Major General James R. Battaglini, to Army Colonel Douglas Tamilio, project manager, Soldier Weapons, General Battaglini concludes that, finding themselves "under attack by a numerically superior Anti Coalition Militia (ACM) force conducting well planned attacks with overwhelming firepower," Soldiers at Wanat used their weapons "in excess of their cyclic rates of fire."
Rounds per Minute
According to U.S. Special Operations Command's SOPMOD (special operations peculiar modification) program office, "The current sustained rate of fire for the M4A1 Carbine is 15 rounds per minute and a maximum rate of 90 [rounds] per minute for short periods in an emergency." Firing the M4 carbine at cyclic rates of fire of 90 to 150 rounds per minute, "which is the rate of suppressive fire associated with machine guns" for prolonged periods leads to rapid heating of the barrel and possible failure.
Tests conducted by both the Army and by Colt indicate that "exceeding the sustained rate of fire of 15 rounds per minute will result in the weapon ' cooking off' rounds after approximately 170 rounds have been fired." If the maximum rate of fire of 90 rounds per minute "is maintained for about 540 rounds, the barrel softens and gas starts to blow by the bullet, changing the sound and size of the muzzle blast." If the operator continues to fire the weapon, the barrel will begin to droop, and finally, at about 596 rounds, the barrel will burst.
While the current M4 configuration exceeds the Army's requirements for general issue, early in the M4 program, the Special Operations Command requested a heavier barrel profile to accommodate the rapid heating that accompanies special operations forces' (SOF) high firing schedules. The Army denied this request, however, because a heavy barrel would be incompatible with M203 installation and because it did not want to add a SOF-unique repair part to its inventory. In Fiscal Year 2001, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) "responded to the distinct needs of SOF with the RIA heavy barrel."
The new heavy-profile barrel still allowed for the installation of the M203, but increased the rounds to cook off to 205 rounds, and the round count to barrel burst to 930. While the new heavy profile did not increase the service life of the barrel, it did provide SOF with, per its requirement document, an M4A1 having a limited light machine-gun capability, of a sort, as it requested. It should be noted that the requirement document did not define what this capability meant in the way of sustained fire (in numbers).
In any case, the rationale for such a capability is based on special operations forces' need to break contact with large enemy formations. The method SOFs employ to break contact in such engagements is to lay down an overwhelming burst of fire intended to suppress the enemy long enough for SOFs to slip away. It is for this reason these forces are working to develop a carbine capable of firing two 30-round bursts followed by at least 45 and up to 75 rounds per minute for 440 rounds without damaging the weapon.

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 3:43 am

E. Ronc,

I'm not sure your information on the heavy barrel is quite accurate. RIA did not come up with the heavy barrel, it was a joint effort between USA SFC, TACOM (located at RIA), and ARDEC (engineering). When introduced, the heavy barrel was provisioned only for the M4A1. Since the M4A1 at that time was only issued to SpecOps, the Army did indeed introduce a SpecOps only item into the supply system.

The heavy barrel was specifically designed with cut outs on either exterior side to accommodate mounting the M203A1, and later the M203A2. Other than four or five ounces of weight, there is otherwise no difference between the original carbine barrel and the heavy barrel.

With the current PIP, which converts all M4s to M4A1s, all carbines will ultimately have the heavy barrel, and assuming the funding stream is maintained, the semi-automatic M4 will gradually go away.

Speaking of semi-automatic, I've often seen the word full automatic fire associated with the battle of Wanat, especially in press reports. The unit involved was not SpecOps, and only had the semi-automatic M4. There is no doubt there was a lot of lead going down range, but the automatic fire came from the unit's machine guns. I think the press isn't real careful sometimes when reporting on military affairs and actions!

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 6:12 am

This isn't press reports it is from USNI. This also included the information on the heavy barrel. This was the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Not exactly cooks and motor pool guys. "but the automatic fire came from the unit’s machine guns."

As Specialist Hamby attempted to get the .50 M2 Heavy Machine Gun back into action, it was struck by a 7.62mm round directly in the top of the feed tray cover which was raised for re-loading, which put that gun out of action permanently. Staff Sergeant Samaroo believed that the .50 cal was out of action within five minutes of the start of the engagement.
Stafford also remembered being impressed at the volume of fire that Ayers was pouring out, “I could also hear the 240 going off above me in the Crow’s Nest, because Ayers was just ripping them apart. I could hear Rainey screaming at Ayers not to melt the barrel on the 240 and to control his fires.”
Specialist Bogar fired approximately six hundred rounds at a cyclic rate of fire from his SAW when that weapon became overheated, and eventually jammed the bolt forward. Specialist Stafford noted, “Bogar was still in our hole firing quite a bit. Then Bogar’s SAW jammed. Basically it just got way overheated, because he opened the feed tray cover and I remember him trying to get it open and it just looked like the bolt had welded itself inside the chamber. His barrel was just white hot.”
After what Specialist McKaig estimated as thirty minutes, Ayers ran out of 7.62mm ammunition for the 240. McKaig remembered, “We had to fire constantly just to get the upper hand…they were coming from the southeast about 50 to 75 meters away.
To maintain fire superiority, or at least fire parity, over the insurgents Ayers and McKaig continued to engage over the edge of the Crow’s Nest with two M-4 carbines. At intervals they would pop up together, fire six to nine rounds at the muzzle flashes ringing the OP, then drop down before they could be engaged. Eventually, Ayers was struck on the side of his helmet, which stopped the bullet. McKaig recalled, “We had to coax ourselves into jumping back up again, because the whole time we were thinking we were going to die. We knew if we jumped up again, we would probably catch one in the face.” But PFC Ayers and Specialist McKaig did just that, and continued to pour fire out of the Crown’s Nest. Eventually the inevitable happened, and Ayers was struck and killed instantly, collapsing over his weapon. Now Specialist McKaig experienced problems with his weapon, “My weapon was overheating. I had shot about 12 magazines by this point already and it had only been about a half hour or so into the fight. I couldn’t charge my weapon and put another round in because it was too hot, so I got mad and threw my weapon down.” McKaig reached for Ayers’ rifle, only to discover that it was also out of service, as it had taken an AK-47 round directly through the receiver.
By now ammunition and functional weapons at the OP were beginning to run desperately low. Sergeant Pitts had the M203 and one M4 carbine in his northern fighting position. Stafford’s M240 machine gun had been lost in the vicious engagement on the sleeping terrace, and Phillips’ M14 rifle lay twisted into a pretzel by his side on the sleeping terrace. Ayers’ M240 at the Crow’s Nest was out of ammunition, one M4 there was knocked out with a round through its receiver, and both the SAW and the third M4 were irreparably jammed. Specialist McKaig, the only one of the three soldiers still capable of fighting at this moment, had picked up the remaining M4 carbine and urgently looked around the position:

recommend: http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2010-07

and http://www.battlefieldtourist.com/content/battle-

The bottom line for me is when you have bad guys in side of your wire you shoot them. I guess you could let them overrun you while you let your weapon cool, though I think I would rather go down swinging.

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

No real disagreement with those facts. I was really trying to address how the press misreports things. Something else that I'm sure you're aware of is that both the M240B (actually all M204s regardless of flavor) and the M249 come with spare barrels, in fact neither weapon is supposed to be issued without the spare barrel (preferrably, more than one spare if possible). Same is true for the M2. A gunner definitely does not want to melt a barrel, and the spare barrel is there to help prevent that from happening. Both the M240B and the M249 have quick change barrels: pop the lever, put on the spare, keep on rocking and rolling. The M2 is a little more difficult since it needs to be headspaced and timed every time the barrel is swapped out. The new M2A1 also has a quick change barrel, but those are only just now being fielded and are not in large quantities yet.

Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

E. Ronc,

All good stuff, but concerning the heavy barrel for the carbine, allow me to make one little thing clear. You were not involved in the heavy barrel, and neither was USNI. I was involved, and worked very closely with the Tiger Team that came up with the heavy barrel, as well as the so-called gold (actually copper flashed) extractor spring assembly which has been Army standard for almost 8 years now, so who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes . Look, some of the stuff we discuss here is pretty serious, I'm just trying to interject a little humor.

Just a little history for grins, and probably something you won't find in the annals of USNI. Back in the late 90's, USA SFC was complaining that the M4A1 barrel just couldn't get the job done. Oveheated, cooked off, etc, much like you talked about in your earlier post. The team I was on at that time (working for TACOM-Rock Island, located at RIA)), received a report from Ft. Bragg that USA SFC had three M4A1s that went catastrophic during range time. Myself and others on the team asked if Ft. Bragg could send us the barrelled upper receivers so we and the co-located engineers from ARDEC could do some eyes on analysis of the damage and try to determine what caused it. Now, I'm going to throw out a word; stow it away for the moment: C-mag, aka Beta). I'll be coming back to it in a minute.

Two of the uppers had the bolt carrier groups welded into the upper receivers; we chiselled them out. One of the receivers had burst (magazine well bulged out). Two of the barrels showed keyholing. i.e. rounds went out the side of the barrel before getting to the muzzle (nobody got hurt, thankfully). In all three weapons, the bore was so constricted that we estimated they were about 4MM rather than 5.56MM.

Once we saw that, we had a clue. We went back to SFC and asked them what they were doing at the time and what the rate of fire was. We found out they were playing with the 100 Rnd C-mags (now the Beta, licensed by H&K)) and were pumping out somewhere around 450 rounds per minute. One guy would shoot full auto, and another would hand him C-mags. Remember, these were M4A1s. When we told them they definitely exceeded the rate of fire the weapon was designed for , they said maybe the M4A1 wasn't suitable for SpecOps. We told them that if they wanted a machine gun, there were lots of M249s available. That's real world stuff, and it was one of the reasons the heavy barrel came into being.

You are right about the 173RD, definitely not cooks, clerks, potwashers, etc. Actually, 173RD is their Army unit designation, their NATO designation is SETAF (Southern European Task Force)

Joshua June 3, 2012 at 6:29 am

E. Ronc

You can say what you want but the weapons maint. At Wanat was poor at best.

Personally I wasnt there, but one of my best friends was just days before the attack, those were some dirty guns, he also spent a week at Keating a few months before they got attacked as well, he mentioned how they cleaned their rifles daily.

I wont mention his name but there are pics of him at those places.

I also want to say you cannot mention Wanat without mentionig Keating, they both happened close together and were the same type attack on the same type of outpost.

Like I said yall here love to mention Wanat but love to ignore Keating. Fact is Keating lasted longer than Wanat, keating went black on most calibers Wanat did not, Keatig had their ANA support flee Wanat did not, the soldier at keating kept their weapons clean Wanat did not.

Im sorry but there was a whole lot of failures at Wanat, weapons maint. Was poor and that is one of the main contributors to their weapons failing.

Yet Keatind did no have a single weapon fail, one soldier even expended 40 magazines in that 10hr battle, so you tell me did the weapon or the soldier fail at Wanat?

The Soldiers failed at Wanat, i mean no disrespect but lets be honest here

I also want to say USNI still swears that Luttrell faced 50+ soldier at operstion Red Wings, but in reality it was 8-15. You really think USNI will put they failed their soldiers and their soldiers failed their weapons? That wouldnt look good now would it?

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

You can disagree with me, but seems to me only two weapons failed from being shot over cyclic. One was a SAW that welded the bolt shut and had a white hot barrel. One M4 that was pushed above cyclic. Being push over the cyclic rate is going to ruin any weapon , even one that sparkles. The only other M4 mentioned took a round through the receiver much like the Ma Deuce with a hit feed tray. So I real am not sure where this conception of large number of failures of M4 occurred.
Oh don't get me wrong there were failures and a lot of them. But as most things in the military, it is more of a, it is what it is. They had nothing available to fill the HESCOs to the top, helping leading to loss of the 120mm mortar. Problems with enough water, running out of sandbags, layout and no humanitarian aid. Shooting up a clinic enflaming locals. Long list there. They bet a lot on things getting better when heavier construction equipment than a bobcat would get there. Then they could also clear the area for better fields of fire. It was coming. Hurry up and wait.
Most of the killed were at OP Topside, away from the main force. Yes Keating and Wanat are similar in that they both prep as best they could and were in Afghanistan. Yes there were local soldiers there at Keating that fled. The main difference occur due to air support and the regaining of the mortar pit. Also it may have last longer but in reality once the F-15, Apaches and even a B1 came, they knew the fight was over so for the initial hit it would of been easier to maintain fire discipline since they had a better field of fire. Keating major loss was from guys out in humvee. The army stopped fortifying Keating because they were leaving. Another great decision, lets tell everyone were leaving.
Mistakes everywhere.
40 mags in ten hours is equal to 4 mags an hour or 120 rds an hour. Well within spec. Would expect most were fired earlier in battle with time to let weapon cool during air strikes as most don't pop their heads up then…

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

In his official after-action report, Luttrell estimated the group size at 20 to 35 individuals. I will take the seal who was there's estimate. Since they had 82mm mortar, RPG's, and PK light Machine Gun, I would be more inclined to believe it was more than 8 guys, especial since he was a known warlord which is more than likely where the larger number comes from. So I don't see any weapon problems mentioned but coms did suck.

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

The unit involved was not SpecOps, and only had the semi-automatic M4. I think more than likely 3rd burst… "Ayers and McKaig continued to engage over the edge of the Crow’s Nest with two M-4 carbines. At intervals they would pop up together, fire six to nine rounds." Hence my thought three round burst.

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 8:24 am

But I think we have gotten way off the topic at hand.

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Joshua June 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

E. Ronic.

When I mention the M4 failing at Wanat you would have to read the "M4 gets soldiers killed" article by Matthew Cox, while I know only a few M4's failed and because of poor cleaning and using them beyond their means, the article in question paints a whole different picture.

Also I'll have to find the Navy link later about Luttrells issue but there it says 50+, luttrell said 25-35, and later on after alot of investigation the Marines found it was only 10-15(Red Wings was a Marine OP using SOF assets)

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

All other things aside, can anyone tell me if the units at Wanat and Keating had standard aluminum mags, Pmags, or possibly a combination? That might get us back on topic, althought there is a lot of good commo taking place. Love to hear Mr. Cox's perspective now that he has gotten a free education.

E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm

'read the "M4 gets soldiers killed" article by Matthew Cox' couldn't find, got a link?

Also this the same guy you stated "I’m sorry I have seen enough of your drivel to take it with a huge grain of salt"

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Joshua June 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The Drivel part was in regard to Matthew Cox.

Let me look that article up, my title may be off. It may not even be on this website now that I think of it, that said Matthew Cox still has spread much drivel here and other places for me to take what he says lightly.

Heres a good one from Cox where he talks about Self's stoppages. Best part is he left out the fact that Self's M4 was 7yrs old and had at least 1,000 rounds per month on it with minimal maintenance with parts http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/02/atCarbine07

Thats a perfect example of how Mr. Cox frequently leaves out key details that make the difference in the story. Its all to common for him.

Thers also the point where he says the M16 requires constant cleaning to work which is just not true.

For now that will have to do, i have the wanat article saved on my personal computer but I am un able to find it on my phone.

Anyways ill dig that article up tonight for you

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

So to clarify, it is your assertion Self's carbine was 7 years old with 1ooo rds a month through it since it came on line, in what 1995. That comes to 84,ooo rds put through it. Somehow a ranger officer in charge of a QRF has a piece of crap M4? I would hope he would at the very least he would wrote himself up for that. Kev, when should that rifle been sent back to the armory for rebuild? Plus this would of not had the Crane update. Which might to of help extract round, but a round so stuck you couldn't get it out with a cleaning rod? I'm not adverse to the M16/4, I have civilian models of each. I like them a lot but don't get me wrong if I lived in another state I would more than likely own a SIG 556 also. Eugene had an interesting thing going, but how many other direct impingement systems are out there? Cleaned and lubed it is hard to beat.

The stack of anonymous soldier comments that accompanied the report paints a different picture.
Though there were plenty of positive comments about the M16 and M4, soldiers weren’t shy about criticizing the weapons’ reliability.
A 3rd Infantry Division soldier wrote, “The weapon malfunctions in rough conditions/hard to keep clean.”
Another 3rd ID soldier wrote, “I know it fires very well and accurate [when] clean. But sometimes it needs to fire dirty well too.”
A 25th Infantry Division soldier wrote, “The M4 Weapon in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan was quick to malfunction when a little sand got in the weapon. Trying to keep it clean, sand free was impossible while on patrols or firefights. Sometimes we spend more time cleaning the weapon than firing it.”
An 82nd Airborne Division soldier wrote, “The M4 is overall an excellent weapon, however the flaw of its sensitivity to dirt and powder residue needs to be corrected. True to fact, cleaning will help. Daily assigned tasks, and nonregular hours in tactical situations do not always warrant the necessary time required for effective cleaning.”
Elite forces also had similar criticisms of the M4.
A member of the 75th Ranger Regiment wrote, “Even with the dust cover closed and magazine in the well, sand gets all inside; on and around the bolt. It still fires, but after a while the sand works its way all through the gun and jams start.”

—————
Self, the former 75th Ranger Regiment officer who had his weapon jam in Afghanistan, told Army Times that his unit routinely kept its M4s covered in a tent to protect them from dust and sand.
“I think it’s the sand” in Afghanistan, he said. “It’s a big problem.”
Infantry Center officials label these criticisms as purely anecdotal, and argue that there is no statistical data that shows reliability problems with the M16 or the M4.

That’s not exactly accurate, according to the Marines.
The M4 suffered significant reliability problems during Marine Corps testing in late summer 2002. According to briefing documents, Marine officials said the M4 malfunctioned three times more often than the M16A4 during an assessment conducted for Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, Va.
Malfunctions were broken down into several categories, including “magazine,” “failure to chamber,” “failure to fire,” “failure to extract” and “worn or broken part,” according to the briefing documents. During the comparison, the M4 failed 186 times across those categories over the course of 69,000 rounds fired. The M16A4 failed 61 times during the testing.
The Army conducted a more recent reliability test between October 2005 and April 2006, which included 10 new M16s and 10 new M4s. Testers fired 35,000 rounds through each weapon in laboratory conditions. On average, the new M16s and M4s fired approximately 5,000 rounds between stoppages, according to an Army official who asked that his name not be released.
By comparison, the 416 fires 10,000 to 15,000 rounds between stoppages in similar test conditions, Vickers said.
U.S. SOCOM would not comment on any aspect of the 416’s performance, Air Force Maj. Ken Hoffman, a spokesman for the command, said.
In addition to Delta, experts say the 416 is also in use by other specialized Army units, including the Asymmetric Warfare Group, as well as the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6.
Infantry Center officials said it’s much easier for special mission units to find the money for new weapons.
“They can buy 50; we have to buy 50,000,” Stone said. “We are wise to watch them and follow them and see what we can learn from them, but that doesn’t mean that every time that they get a new pair of boots that we need to get a new pair of boots.”

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

E Ronc.,

Army small arms mainenance philosophy has always been real simple. Fire to failure, periodic inspection (Preventitive Maintenance Checks and Services, or PMCS every 90 days), do field repairs whenever possible, until the weapon can no longer be repaired in the field. Turn it in at that point for potential rebuild at the depot, requisition a replacement weapon when turning in the one that needs to go to depot. Replacement weapons come from either depot stock (rebuilds) or depot stock (new manufacture). Pretty straightforward. It's a zero sum game. Army is only authorized so many weapons of each type by Congress (Army Aquisition Objective, or AAO), so all of the funding for a given system is geared toward maintaining the AAO (read as the maximum authorized stockage)either through overhaul, field repair, or new manufacture. It actually works just like the funding for carriers. How many carriers are authorized by Congress? How many SSNs are authorized by Congress? Works the same for small arms; it's a difference in fielded density. 11 carriers for the Navy as opposed to 1,000,000 shoulder fired weapons for the Active Army. THAT part is simple; maintaining a balance of carriers, SSns, or shoulder fired weapons that meet the AAO is the difficult part. Few weapons actually get destroyed in peace time, but the number of weapons that get destroyed during war time goes up dramatically. If you don't have enough replacement weapons in depot to make up the difference between battle losses and the natural wash out rate from an inability to successfully execute a rebuild at depot, you have to buy more weapons. And that means getting funding from Congress, not an easy task if you haven't already written it into your Program Objective Memorandum (POM). Like I said before, it's very complicated.

Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Sorry,

I forgot to mention that the Crane update I believe you are referring to is the gold (copper chased) extractor spring assembly with high durometer insert (black). An Army Maintenance Advisory Message (MAM, predecessor to the MIM) went out to the Army and all Services directing that the old extractor spring assembly should be swapped out for "gold" one. That MAM went out in in May of 2004; I know, I wrote it. Maybe the MadDuo can dig that one up and post it here Unlike the magazine MIM, this one was NOT directed by PM SW. We did it all on our own.

xcalbr June 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm

well of course the XM8, SCAR L, and 416 were "handpicked". those weapons werent even mass produced by the time that test took place…unlike the M4.

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xcalbr June 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

why wouldn't they use modified FAL mags? there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

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Lance June 3, 2012 at 12:19 am

Fact no one in US or now most of Europe use them AR-10 mags or even M-14 mags are much easier to get. Thats why SOCOM modified the H to use AR-10 mags.

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ProGun1 June 4, 2012 at 6:13 am

So the army issues a safety notice saying they can no longer use PMags, yet they still allow the older unsafe standard mags in addition to the new improved GI mags, yeah STUPID

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Kevin O. Moore June 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

Pro,

Which "unsafe" magazines were you referring to? The MIM that Matthew Cox started all this uproar with was incorrectly quoted to say that the Army banned PMAGS, which has already been addressed in this blog. That MIM was not a Safety of Use Message, which would have had an entirely different effect than a MIM. Are you stating that the standard magazine with the tan follower is unsafe? And if so, why don't you come out and tell us why it's unsafe? The Army is following this blog, and if you can contribute to an understanding of an unsafe condition, lots of GI's will be grateful.

Now, if you're stating that the standard magazine is unsafe simply because that supports your belief that the Army should adopted the PMAG, that's a whole different discussion. Either way, state your case, and get into the dialogue. Tell all of us why the standard magazine is unsafe. I can guarantee you that the Army test community, as well as the Army folks that do safety certifications, will be listening closely to what you have to say. They might have missed something that you can help them understand.

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E. Ronc June 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

Now I have had no experience with the tan followers but with the green ones did notice what 'Still at it' stated about a ability to take a fully load 30 mag and conduct a successful bolt forward reload. I've always had a hard time with this using the green follower. Not sure I would call unsafe though. Then again I'm an old fat sub guy and at the range just normally shoot till empty so the bolt usually back when reloading. No need for a tactical reload as no one is shooting back. Occasionally though I like to start a run on a full mag and one in the chamber. It is much harder to load the green follower aluminum magazine, than the Pmag

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still at it June 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

"The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring, IMHO. It ain’t the mag guys, it crap and gunk built up in the magazine well that is the problem. Personally, I’d be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the puch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon."

Red herring????? This is in the operational lane not in the acquisition lane. Manipulation/tactical employment of the weapon system IS NOT, the lane of acquisition professionals – or non-operators – which is why Combat/Concept Developers exist in the first place (they are all suppose to be former operators who advise, recommend and counsel in the identification of gaps/shortcomings and development of capabilities. That comment is an example of someone NOT KNOWING, the operational/tactical strategic impacts of an acquisition professional with NO TACTICAL EXPERIENCE, making a decision with long lasting tactical implications.

As to the dust cap comment…the dust cap is an optional use item which nobody – who knows anything about how to manipulate an M4 and conduct the proper manual of arms in a tactical situation – will EVER put on their magazine…so please don't use that as a measure of comparison with an actual manipulation step (i.e. tactical reload)

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Gunner June 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

It's all a moot point since the Military says the PMags are just fine too use thank you very much, you guys just misunderstood our poorly worded memo:-)

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Kevin O. Moore June 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Still,

Damn Son, you had an opportunity to look me up on AKO so we could talk away from this blog. I agreed. Near as I can tell (I check my AKO email every day) , you haven't actually done that, but you did choose to take me to task here on this blog. Maybe that DoD/HQDA news release saying TACOM got it wrong with that magazine MIM felt good to you. So, let's get a few things straightened out here. You do not speak for the Army, no more than I do. Also, I don't speak for MagPul, but you sure come off that way; you pretty much parroted what Mr. Fitzpatrick said about the PMAG dust cover. We speak from different sets of experiences, I'll grant you that.

Now, your comments about me being an acquisition professional simply show what you do not know. I was a professional logistician, and logistics sets the limits of the campaign. Acquisition is a subset of logitics, as is maintenance, provisioning, etc, and procurement is a subset of acquisition. Yes, I have a fair amount of acquisition experience, as well as Quality Assurance/Quality Control experience, (both in ammo and weapons) as well as the Type Classifcation process and the authorization process, which I believe you do not have. I'm not going to demean your tactical experience, so please do not demean my logistical experience. It's not about "lanes"; it's a continuum of different things that all have to work together. There is a good chance I've actually touched a **** of a lot more weapons than you've actually fired, unless you can count above 20,000. And I've touched more than a few of them before they were actually fielded and put in the hands of expert tacticians like yourself. You've paid for your experience, and I've paid for mine.

Let's keep this on an even level here. I'm still at AKO, and still waiting to hear from you in that COMSEC secure venue. If you want to beat me up here, I have no problem with that. I'd recommend that you follow your own lead and we can talk on AKO. Whatever legitimate issues we have can be worked out there.

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Still at it June 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I will contact you via AKO as soon as I can get a chance…I've been traveling doing Unit business but should habe some free time in the next few days…all that being said…

O.k…so the gloves are off. You have absolutely NO IDEA who you are talking too…you have even a lesser idea of a) my tactical exeperience/expertise, b) my level of acquisition/Combat Developer experience, c) how long I've been doing this and d) what I do for a living now. So your arrogance has truly betrayed you this time….since you paraded your resume around I'll abbreviate mine in the spirit of brevity and not beating my chest – which you happily have done so abruptly throughout this entire thread:

I spent 21 years in the Army retiring in Nov 2003 (As the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commandant at USMA – you might have heard of him -John P. Abizaid?)

I spent 17 of those 21 years in SOF – 1st Ranger Battalion (from 1983-2000). In that time I held every tactical leadership position from pvt – 1SG

Additionally, I was the first Combat Developer and founder of the present day Force Modernization cell that is now mandated throughout the Army.

As the Regimental Force Modernization NCOIC, I helped bring into the Army inventory the following: 240B, M249 (para model), M4A1/SOPMOD, MK11, MK12, M13, MK46/48 – these are just an example (there were a total of 23 seperate weapons programs I was responsible for including all of the ancillary items and logistical sustainment plans that went along with these programs).

When I retired, I was hired by HK USA to help develop XM8, M416, HK45, M320 and MP7 – I only worked there for 8 months because I couldn't take thee hyprocacy – but that's another subject

From there I went to work for PEO – S /PM-SSL as BG Morans Small Arms Expert until, Feb/Mar 2005 when AWG was formed and I was selected to help develop our D SQDRN (Concepts Integration Squadron) where I am presently a Unit member as a Combat Developer supporting Target Engagement/Soldier Survivability Commodoties.

I am not even gonna roll out my lots-o-years of Combat experience and bad guy killin…so now that the ***** measuring is done, we can get down to the subject.

You been pompously banting about and diminsihing anyone who contradicts your position. What you fail to realize is that you've been really busy doing that here because no one really agrees with you.

That is the underlying subject of the article and the follow-up posted today.

TACOM cannot tell Commanders what to do. They can publish a message (like a MIM) which is nothing more than a recommendation, source of information or reminder. However, what you all have always done is quible with the language confusing the issue and muddying the water impeding Commanders to make well thought out, concerted risk mitigating decisions that ultimatey impacts their Units battle worthiness.

The very arrogance and pompasness that you have portrayed here is the very essence of your entire organization, so I really can't blame you…you're a product of your environment.

No one here is has insulted your "logisitical" expertise so please stop taking any opportunity you can find to roll out your long standing CIVIL SERVICE to the Country and stay to the subject. You have a great forum here and the opportunity to put out good useful information without the pagentry of glutoness arrogance. If you check the attitude, I think you'll have the ear of alot of folks on this forum and they'll be able to reap the benefits of your experientially charged counsel…just a thought…

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Kevin O. Moore June 8, 2012 at 4:23 am

I agree, I had absolutely no idea who you are, but you've given me a good solid picture. More importantly, you've given the folks here a good solid picture, and that gives what you say a lot of credibility. Unfortunately, a lot of people here don't know who they are talking to, but that's mostly a function of the use of monikers. Sometimes a monkier is necessary.

I know you're busy as **** and personally I think there is a lot of value in you taking the time to contribute to this blog. Believe or not, I do have some understanding, albeit not a perfect understanding of what you and your unit do. I've seen the briefing, and understand that a lot of what you folks are doing is geared not only to getting hardware out there and developing better TTPs, but also towards, for lack of a better word, streamlining the process I worked in. Personally, I believe that is all good. Things are difficult enough as it is. If you feel I've impugned you and your unit, you have my apology.

I also agree TACOM cannot tell the field what to do. It does put out messages, MIM/MAMs being the least of them. This whole blog got kicked off when the author of the article misrepresented what the MIM concerning non-standard magazines (primarily PMAGs) was intended to do. At the end of the day, it's been a good thing because of the information flow taking place. Only time will tell if all of this results in a new standard magazine.

I also agree the Commander in the field has great latitude to determine the best way to get the job done. I've never said otherwise. Once TACOM or one of the other AMC commodity commands, or even other Service, gets everthing in place (fielding, pubs, supply, etc) it's up to the unit and unit Commanders to find the best way to apply what they've got.

At any rate, I look forward to hearing from you. I defnitely do not know eveything, and I'm willing to learn. I've already learned a lot here. Hopefully all the folks on this blog are learning, as well.

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E. Ronc June 8, 2012 at 12:37 am

"The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring, IMHO. It ain’t the mag guys, it crap and gunk built up in the magazine well that is the problem. Personally, I’d be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the puch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon."

Since this happens with brand new guns, it is not crap and gunk built up in the magazine well. Like I said before, my observation was with the green followers. I will leave the tan one to Still at it experience. Oh, lest we forget, nothing about you says humble opinion. As I am not a front line soldier, but have been a shooter and NRA instructor for quite some time I will tell you what normally occurs on the range is not the best thing to go by for a actual situation. On a range a gun is normally fired till it is empty. In real life If after firing say 2/3 of my magazine and in cover, I would more than likely conduct a reload. Just so when I moved my bulk again I would have maximum number of rounds available.

Sorry Kev, even if I was going to get off my fat duff and go out expecting action, I would take the dust covers off. It is just common sense. Their strength lies in long term storage without damaging feed lips. So there really was no real parroting of what Mr. Fitzpatrick said about the PMAG dust cover.

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still at it June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

“The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring, IMHO. It ain’t the mag guys, it crap and gunk built up in the magazine well that is the problem. Personally, I’d be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the puch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon.”

Red herring????? This is in the operational lane not in the acquisition lane. Manipulation/tactical employment of the weapon system IS NOT, the lane of acquisition professionals – or non-operators – which is why Combat/Concept Developers exist in the first place (they are all suppose to be former operators who advise, recommend and counsel in the identification of gaps/shortcomings and development of capabilities. That comment is an example of someone NOT KNOWING, the operational/tactical strategic impacts of an acquisition professional with NO TACTICAL EXPERIENCE, making a decision with long lasting tactical implications.

As to the dust cap comment…the dust cap is an optional use item which nobody – who knows anything about how to manipulate an M4 and conduct the proper manual of arms in a tactical situation – will EVER put on their magazine…so please don’t use that as a measure of comparison with an actual manipulation step (i.e. tactical reload)

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SOC16 June 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I can't believe after all this we simply mis understood the message WOW! I have to laugh
so thats the answer to the mystery? I did learn alot lol
I have to ask do you men who realy are in combat tactical load bolt forward? or is it a hype thype thing personaly I rather drop the clip **** the bolt and slap a new mag in?
no?

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Kevin O. Moore June 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm

E Ronc,

Just wanted to let you know that the "dust cover" on the PMAG, or any commercially available magazine for that matter, is not really where I was heading with that. I've seen a few examples of snap on magazine well covers, as well. I think they are still out there commercially, but I don't think the Army has ever picked them up as an item. I remember folks in Gulf War I were stuffing socks into the magazine wells of unloaded weapons, or sometimes using snap on those magazine well dust covers, just to keep crap out of the receiver. In all cases, I agree common sense tells you to pull those off before going any place but the range. Not real sure about the value of a magazine dust cover for long term storage (whatever that is) of a loaded magazine. Actually not sure anybody (at least in the Army) does long term storage of loaded magazines. Really no reason it can't be done, depending on how long the storage period is, and given the right conditions. Interesting idea, though. Maybe an interesting thing to look at.

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E. Ronc June 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I have three of the Pmags I keep at the house loaded in my case with the carbine. Something happens, I just pop off covers, lock and load. After that, time permitting, I will load my 10 aluminum refurbished mags (Mpul follower & Wolff springs) from three hundred rounds on stripper clips. The rest of the green follower mags can get loaded whenever from the 1ooord case.
In the Pmag case with the cover locked on it actually pushes down a tad on the first round. This takes the pressure off the feed lips. Otherwise as with the aluminum mags there would be a constant push on the aluminum feed lips, possibly bending them open some after a long stint loaded. Secondary is with long term storage just keeps stuff out of mag. Bad point is it can affect the spring. You can mitigate by rotating say monthly or as in my case with only the three I'll just change the springs in a year.
Not being army I would defer to someone who is, but would think long term storage could be useful for a small resupply of magazines for a unit engaged. Just drop a crate with say 20 mags already loaded. Taking cover is faster than loading, even with stripper clips. In the bottom have a couple dozen bandoliers.

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Kevin O. Moore June 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

You're not a sub squid, you're a SeaDog, just admit it (CHUCKLE) ****, I'm an Airdale, and proud of it. SeaDogs and AirDogs work together, eh? It's how things get done.

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E. Ronc June 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

My almost three years on the USS leak & creaks or lost & confused (not my favorite as I am a NAV ET) leaves me a firmly a bubble head. Qualified expert rifle and pistol at Great Lakes after boot camp. Only ET qualified M14 watch and with 45. Plus a year and a half on an oceanographic ship (small arms PO). Dad was on your side in working on USN Skyraiders during Korea in TX at Cabaniss field, part of NAS Corpus Christi. Never saw a ship, still make fun of. Never much of a runner got bike waiver in boot camp. CO on sub said as long as you can make it 425ft no problem, half the fast kids weighed less than the "portable" welder I could carry. Not being a runner I knew Army and Marines out (Navy took me for my brain not physical). Boot was thirty years ago this July. Small arms PO made me learn to give instruction which I liked and bring people into shooting. So after became NRA Instructor. Though I had cousins both Army 25th Inf. and Marines.

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Kevin O. Moore June 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

****! I can't claim any USN background. Leaks and Creaks, I Love it. Had to leave the Navy experience to my Uncle, Dad, and GodFather:)

Gi George June 11, 2012 at 6:42 am

While we are on the subject of Weapon Magazines did you know that there is a tool out for the Unit Armorer to use to check the serviceability of your rifle magazines? Check it out at PS Magazine PS 700. You will need CAC access.
You can read the full version at LIW, web page is https://liw.logsa.army.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=l… then click on PS Magazine center of screen, click on the “to scan our index of back issues, select 2011 and look for the March issue. Page 21 will get you there.
Don’t have CAC, then read the cut and paste version below:

“The last thing you need in the heat of battle is for a magazine in your M16 rifle or M4/M4A1 carbine to jam. That puts you in the worst possible jam. The Army is fielding a tool that will help identify magazines that need replacing. Order the new tool with NSN 5120-01-574-0036. The tool is not a gage, so you don’t need to worry about having it calibrated. But when the black oxide coating wears off the bearing surfaces of the tool, get it replaced.
Here’s how to use the tool:
• Depress the follower with your index finger.
• Grip the base of the magazine tool with your other hand.
• Slide the curved channel of the magazine tool along the bolt catch cutout area of the magazine housing.
• Apply slight pressure to slide the tool through the feed lips. If the GO portion passes through the feed lips freely and the NO GO portion does not pass through the feed lips, the magazine is good to go.

But if the GO portion won’t pass through because the feed lips are crushed or bent inward or the NO GO portion does pass through because the feed lips are separated, the magazine is a no-go. Don’t try to fix it by bending the feed lips. Get a new magazine, NSN 1005-01-561-7200, from your Armorer.”

And now back to our next round of high level intellectual discussion and verbal sparring. Take it away soldiers……

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Kevin O. Moore June 11, 2012 at 7:09 am

Thanks George, well done.

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JohnnyWarbucks August 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

Certainly wouldn't want our soldiers to have the best. Idiots walking into movie theaters to slaughter innocents have better body armor/ballistic protection than our soldiers. So don't think for one minute that they wouldn't hesitate to split hairs over reliable magazines. I could probably better than guarantee you that somebody's brother's uncle's cousin owns a magazine factory, and that's who they would go with over the more reliable PMAGs. There is always an ulterior motive, a kickback, my friends. Give our soldiers the best. They deserve it. Cut out some of this welfare, undeserved disability, and other crap that the government is the miserable author of and please send my tax dollars to better equip those standing in harms way to protect my freedom and way of life. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

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TONY SOCOM August 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I agre with you 100%.. but I thought the issue was resolved?
TONY

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Bryan February 1, 2013 at 7:18 am

I'm not an expert on the subject, but I heard that the magpul PMAGS in question cannot work in the newer M27 rifles, and that is why those PMAGS were banned: to prevent interchangeability issues. I imagine asking for a magazine and having someone risk their life to give you one only to realize all their magazines are a brand that don't work with your rifle would be…disconcerting.

Especially considering the way the M27 is going to be employed, where interchangeable magazines with others in the unit is a key part of the idea, it would make sense to ensure compatibility.

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Howdy February 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

You have offered no empirical evidence. Only words. Nothing we can actually reference to prove or disprove your story. Your testimony means nothing without proof. Science, ain't it grand?

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เสริมจมูก April 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

continuously i used to read smaller articles which also clear their motive, and that is also happening
with this paragraph which I am reading at this
place.

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

See your need to be the almighty authority is what makes you what you are. When people who truly use blogs to better inform or raise question on a subject. "I’ll certainly pardon your lack of understanding" well that's the whole reason to bring up questions. A civil dialogue really isn't that hard. Yes, I will give you your accuracy. It is one of the reason I liked most of your answers. And I have the basic (God knows not the in-depth knowledge such as yourself) of the system. You noticed I never said that how you explained how something got put in the system was wrong. I may of lamented for another way, but like you said it is what it is. But if some non qual was to ask me the purpose of say Damper D-6 on my Sub I wouldn't feel the need to make them feel stupid while explaining it or the 'that's as much as you will ever need to know' if that's all they would of need to know, you stop your answer. You think the 'that's as much as you will ever need to know' makes you look smarter… it doesn't. That sir is what makes you look arrogant.

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KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

I'm the first to admit I am arrogant. It's one of my many failings. I apologize for that. And my arrogance aside, I'm also painfully aware of just how much I don't know. You can never learn enough. I think we can agree on that, eh? I am definitely NOT all knowing, I just happen to have some inside experiece I am trying to share. Fault me for the approach. I always encourage people to do their own research and check the facts, even if they come from me.

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KnowALittleBit May 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Hate to tell you brother, but the handguard on the XM-8 melted after about 4100 rounds in standard rate of fire mode (12-15 rounds per minute, same as the M4 and M16) at Ft. Greeley, AK, and the ambient temperature was -22F. The M4s and M16s firing along side it were doing just fine. Not only did the hand guard start to melt, but the lower receiver (in H&K terminology, pistol grip in Army terminology) also deformed. This was during the Arctic test, which was stopped when the Range NCO noticed the deformation and decalred a safety issue. The XM-8 only required a single take down pin to be removed to take off the forward hand guard. After the Arctic test, and the removal of the take down pin, they had to use a rubber mallet to knock the hand guard off of the gun due to the deformation (melting) of the hand guard. The XM-8 also failed the desert test when the Soldiers doing the firing at Yuma Proving Ground found they had to wear oven mitts to hold the gun during the firing test. Again, not being condescending or arrogant, just passing along the facts. I know most of this info never made it into the press.

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Still at it May 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Test

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Like the facts and they are not condescending or arrogant. Don't get me wrong I am no fan of XM-8, just from a mechanical stand point my thinking is if it was the piston systems fault wouldn't it happen to all of them? AK's, M14, Galil, M1 carbine, H&K 416, and FN SCAR… Think FN used wrong type of plastic and/or left not enough room for heat to disparate

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Still at it May 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm

O.K….now that I've tested this system and know I can successfully post and I have sat quietly by and watched this whole debate unfold, I think I need to say a few words and clarify a few things.

As a member of the AWG, I was and am still intimately involved with the Soldier Load Initiative and very familiar with several topics brought up on this forum.

Firstly, the AWG works with not for/through the REF. In some cases – and in fact in quite a few – we work independent of one another. However, Soldiers Load is an example of our partnership where we (the Concept/Combat Developer) wrote the requirement and they – the REF – acted as the MATDEV/Fielding source.

In the case of the PMAG, we set out to find a magazine that would provide Soldiers the ability to fully load a magazine to 30 rd capacity while allowing the Soldier to conduct a successful bolt forward reload (known in our parlance as a "tactical reload/tac reload") and at the same time reduce the weight. Before anyone asks or or displays some measure of questioning, know this; this type of reload is conducted in a gunfight far more often than a bolt lock back reload (known in our parlance as an "emergency reload") – somebody please ask me how I know this so that I can parade out my level of operational experience [SAYS HIS INSIDE VOICE]. In the case of the standard issue aluminum mag (with tan or green follower) a Soldier can't do this w/o downloading at least 2 rounds to successfully complete a tac reload. IOT to do this with an aluminum mag loaded to capacity (30 rds) the Soldier has to force the seating of the magazine, thus bending the feed lips and denting the cartridge, which can lead to an over pressure situation in the chamber and render the magazine inoperable. Further, with a standard issue aluminum mag downloaded from 30 rds to either 28 or 27 rds to allow a bolt forward reload the PMAG loaded to capacity is still slightly lighter without reducing the basic load.

Once we identified this we then, in full partnership with the REF, did the due diligence required to conduct the proper evaluation, assessment, sustainement/logistical planning and BOIP layout before fielding anything from the program. So in short, I'm very familiar with the PMAG and all it's idiosyncrasies as well as it's virtues. In addition to the CONUS evaluations we conducted prior to fielding where we discovered the overwhelming positive nuances in capability a PMAG would provide, I will definitively say that the PMAG brings with it to the table a 5 year combat proven track record, drastically increased the operational reliability of the M4 and therefore has saved countless Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines lives.

So, it goes without saying that in the case of the PMAG there has been a high level of study and usage fully knowing what you get with this one $11.99 magazine (the current price a Soldier so happily pays as it is sold at the BAF PX).

The question I have yet to get answered therefore, is the why to this TACOM message because from where I sit – day in and day out doing this as my chosen profession – I can't see the logic in such a short sighted message…

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Still doing it May 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Also…one last correction to this post by "knows a little bit – " After the battle of Qanat" – it's the batttle at Wanat (not Qanat) in the Wanat valley which happened on 13 July 2008…

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Kevin O. Moore May 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Still,

Thanks for weighing in. I happen to be the one who brought you folks (AWG) to TACOM-Rock Island a couple years back, not necessarily you in person since I don't have the pleasure of your name, to have a discussion about how the things you folks were doing conflicted with the established Army process of bringing items into the the inventory, and how it interfered with and disrupted TACOM's efforts to execute PM Soldier Weapon/PEO Soldier directives. I believe your SGM at the time was Brett Scanlin (I might be spelling his name incorrectly, but I believe he is now retired, as am I). I'm not altogether sure that conflict has ever been settled. Might never be with the Army's propensity for jumoing out the rack, tying it bootlaces together, and trying to march in a straight line (GRIN)

Part of that conflict arises from the fact that at that meeting at Rock Island, we at TACOM were presented a pretty detailed brief that showed how AWG worked for the REF PM, and if you were at that meeting you would have learned that the Small Arms folks at TACOM (now located at Warren. MI) work for PM Soldier Weapons/PEO Soldier, and TACOM small arms folks made it clear that there were some issues with what you folks in AWG were doing. I can contact some of my successors, and get hold of that briefing and send it to you, if you'd like. I'm pretty sure the PMAG was in that briefing. Might clear up some issues.

Understand, I am not disagreeing with anything you've said, but if nothing else comes out of this conversation, at least the folks logging into this blog will get a clear understanding of how things work, and that's been my goal since I started posting here. Too much mis/dis information and not enough facts. I'd be proud to work with you in this effort.

Finally, as to the short sighted message you mentioned, it was, as posted earlier, directed by PM Soldier Weapons/PEO Soldier, and TACOM executed the message as directed. The verbiage in the message: "tan is the plan, green start to lean…" comes directly from a post at the the PEO Soldier site, and was written by, or least credited in the press, to LTC Chris Lehner (believed he might be retired now), who was the deputy to COL Doug Tamilio. A PS MAG article was also published with essentially the same information. If you want to see LTC Lehner's original post to the PEO Soldier site, google Chris Lehner Magazines. I've also posted this information before. If you want to see the PS MAG article, I'm sure you have the LOGSA website. If not, call DSN 645-9878 and ask the nice gentleman who answers the phone to pull that article up for you. Amazingly, neither LTC Lehner's PEO Soldier post. nor the PS MAG article, happen to mention the PMAG, and rightly so. TACOM beat it into PS MAG's head a long time ago to NOT publish NSNs for anything that isn't in the technical manual (authorized) unless requested to do so. If the PMAG has an NSN, as many people here tell me it does, I'm pretty sure the SOS (source of supply) column in FEDLOG under Management Data shows SMS (DLA), not B14 (Army).

Now E.Ronc is probably going to say I'm being arrogant and condescending again, and I'm okay with that. This time it's in a good cause.

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Still doing it May 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Kevin,

Glad to see you here…I was deployed at the time so, no, I wasn't there along with three other Unit members two SGM's one of which you mentioned (he was our SQDRN CSM at the time) but I was fully aware of the meeting taking place and was consulted by my SQDRN leadership (via SVTC) to help develop the brief they gave you. I rather not mention any names in the open as we are all operational. I can look you up on AKO and e-mail to discuss further if you like. I do remember the brief – we kept a copy on file.

As to my "short sighted" comment – yes it was a bit flippant. I apologize as we are all in this together.

I'm glad you brought the issue about issuing NSN's without consulting the Item Managers – if you remember, that was discussed at that meeting. I don't like slinging arrows in an open forum, but this highlights a recurring issue that we can discuss at length later – the PM does something in a vacume and the messengers are thrown under the bus. I don't mean that to sound filatious but it does allow them to maintain plausibile deniability.

In any event, I think this whole process can be ironed out and worked to proplerly field future systems with the Item Managers full knowledge and cooperation – so that the end user doesn't receive the short end of the stick….

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

No, sound fairly informative but way over my pay grade.

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Kevin O. Moore May 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

You have my AKO address, I presume. More than happy to discuss in that forum. I may be old, but I haven't forgotten OPSEC/COMSEC. Some commo still exists up North. Talk to me, keep your head down, and come home in alive.

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Or ready added

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E. Ronc May 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Doesn't seem to be going under right post. Already mention I believed Qanat was typo for Wanat.

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Lance May 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Doesn't matter piston or no piston. Were staying with a DI M-4A1 new Remington M-4s make sure of that.

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Kevin O. Moore May 31, 2012 at 7:43 am

E. Ronc,

It does my heart good to see these kinds of questions. And I am happy to answer to the best of my ability. Okay, one at a time:

Q1- "Now, nothing says MagPul would have to enter"?

A1 – The Government cannot demand that any designer or manufacturer participate in any competition, and cannot demand that a given producer make a product for Government use, unless of course there is an actual Congressional Declaration of War, requested by the President and passed by Congress. So, the short answer is, no, MagPul is under no obligation to play. It's a Sources Sought, not a Sources Demanded.

Q2 – Also let's say they did, would they still be able to produce for the general public as long as they kept the drawing"?

A2 – If Magpul won a down select and retained their data rights, the only real restrictions on them would be Foreign Military Sales (run by the State Department, not the DoD), and what their production capacity. Needless to say, with all the turbulence at BATFE these days, who knows if they'd be able to market a 30 round magazine to the general public. Things are much more complex than they seem! If they won a down select and got a production contract, it would be very possible that they would only have enough production capacity to satisfy the production contract. Too many variables to give a more detailed answer on this one.

Q3 – "Let's say that they sold the drawings, could they make a small change and continue producing a mag basically like the one sold"?

A3 – The answer to this is a definite yes, if by "like the one sold" you meant what they sold to the Government. For all the years that the Government had to live with the licensing agreement with Colt's Defense, and the Congressionally mandated Small Arms Industrial Base crap, the Government could make pretty much any changes they wanted to the M4/M16, but they had to make all of those changes available to Colt's for Colt's use, without charge to Colt's. Also, if you review the history of the procurement of the M9 pistol from Beretta, you'll see some similar stuff taking place. The Beretta FS92 is essentially the same as the standard issue M9, but there has been over the years some divergence between the Government owned design and that of the FS92, namely the recoil rod and the locking block assembly. However, there is still a large degree of interchangeability between the Government and civilian models. Beretta knows that if they want to produce parts for the M9 under full and open procurement, they will have to deliver either a part to the original design or a part that is at least equivalent and interchangeable. The Army provisioning has taken into account the fact that Beretta may, in the future, deliver one or more of those equivalent parts. That's how it works in small arms. I happen to own an FS92 and have also worked on the M9. Ain't much to choose between them.

Q4 – "Can the Army, holding it's drawing say we worked out that problem and enter the competition"?

A1 – Doesn't seem like a complex question, but it actually is. Until a few years ago, Army and other Service owned industrial facilities were forbidden by Congress to compete against private sector manufacturers for DoD contracts. That all came to a head with the introduction of the M777 Lightweight 155MM Howitzer. Look up the Arsenal Act on Google. That changed, and facilities like Rock Island Arsenal can indeed now compete for DoD contracts, although it's unlikely to happen. The only program I can attest to is that for the Small Arms Gage Program. I essentially ran that program for 17 years. It is NOT offered to the private sector (for a variety of reasons I won't go into here, a very long story), and is wholly executed in house, with a few exceptions (USSOCOM special requirements). Also, gun (artillery) tubes are made at Watervliet Arsenal. At the end of the day, the Army actually produces very little hardware in house compared to what is procured from the private sector, but what they do produce in house is of an extremely critical nature. Sometimes, you just have to do things in house to get around all of the acquisition system, meet timelines, and support the field.

We (TACOM) approached Rock Island Arsenal some years ago about playing in the magazine game. It seemed like a natural since the magazine is made of aluminum and one of the biggest ALCOA plants in the world is literally just up river. That never panned out due to the previous version of the Arsenal Act and the fact that Rock Island Arsenal was busy truning out up armor kits for the Hummer, as well as M6 and M7 pedestal mounts, just to mention a few. To my knowldege, there is no current plan to try that again since there are numerous private sector producers who can crank out pretty good aluminum magazines.

Like I said, it's pretty complex getting stuff out there.

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Kevin O. Moore May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

Just wanted to add, Still at it from the AWG made some comments that he and I will need to discuss offline from here. He offered to contact me at AKO, and I know he's busy so it make take a while for him to do that. As you have probbly figured out, I can address a LOT of stuff here, but there are still OPSEC considerations. I will offer this one little idea: I happen to own some PMAGS, and one of the selling points is that they have a window built in so you can see how many rounds are left in the mag. The window can only be viewed if you either have the mag in your hand, or if you turn the weapon sideways to look at the mag once it's been inserted in the weapon. I'm pretty sure either situation is not going to be a problem at the range, but I'm really having a hard time visualizing either situation taking place in a tactical environment with incoming fire. The XM-8 mags were constructed so you could look at the mag from pretty much any angle and see how many rounds were onboard.

The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring, IMHO. It ain't the mag guys, it crap and gunk built up in the magazine well that is the problem. Personally, I'd be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the puch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon.

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E. Ronc May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

Thanks
Was pretty sure they couldn't make them participate. As to Q2 "Too many variables to give a more detailed answer on this one." Can see that because they could always sub contract. Q3 answer surprised me. Would of thought they would allow only what is in drawing and not allowed to deliver a part that is at least equivalent and interchangeable. I have a Taurus 92 and actually broke the block shooting 9mm +P+. Used cousin's block out of Beretta till life time warranty brought me new one. I believe old one was cast. The one out of Beretta and replacement looked machined. Let say it was a Government Taurus, I would of thought at least without change to the drawings they would of had to put a cast piece back in and would not of been able to put in machined part. Hope that made sense.
Q4 That Arsenal Act is another mind boggler, between cost, efficiency, capacity… lot of variables there. But believed your bottom line, they wouldn't want to get involved. But I was thinking they wouldn't necessarily be responsible to make it, just come up with the drawing so they could be licensed off and made by whoever like now.

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Kevin O. Moore May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Actually, that magazine feed lips tool I mention was a cooperative design effort between the Joint Manufacturing and Technolgy Center (JMTC) at Rock Island Arsenal, Armament Research and Developent Center (ARDEC) at Rock Island, the ARDEC folks out at Picatinny Arsenal, and TACOM. Totally developed in house with on hand personnel and resources, so the design is completely Government owned, making it the perfect candidate for full and open competition. Contrary to what some folks think, Uncle Sam DOES get it right once in awhile:) By the way, the Government R&D office that took Stoner's design and turned it into what we now call the M16 (Rodman Laboratories) was originally located at Rock Island Arsenal. In fact, the main thoroughfare on Rock Island Arsenal is still called Rodman Avenue, named after COL Rodman who designed and built the Arsenal during the Civil War. And Watervliet Arsenal was where old 8 inch cannon tubes were turned into GBU-28 deep penetrator bombs for use in Gulf War I. Just alittle history for you buffs out there

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 8:08 am

Unfortunatly would not of helped taking round in feed tray.

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Joshua June 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

Keatig solely used PMAGS after feedback from a special someone.

Wanat on the other hand chose to ignore the advice and kept using GI mags

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

No idea never seen anything stating who was using what type mag. I think you might be on to something there though. Since Wanat was almost what, a year earlier?

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

I'd have to score that one for the Pmag, and whoever that certain someone was. Nice.

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Joshua June 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

To be honest Keating used PMAGS because the REF(in cooperation with a certain group(someone)) issued PMAG for the Soldier Load Initiative.

So I gotta give credit where credit is due.

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Kevin O. Moore June 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

Got it. I agree, and rightly so. I need to have a BBQ for the "someone". Good chance for all of us sheepdogs to have a howl:)

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I realize USNI isn't be all end all but was easy for me to see what they were saying. Plus I would tend to give them more cred than the Post when it come to military matters. Your quotes "the Tiger Team that came up with the heavy barrel""working for TACOM-Rock Island, located at RIA" go well with "In Fiscal Year 2001, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) “responded to the distinct needs of SOF with the RIA heavy barrel" They might not of got it exactly right or went into the depth of it as to why as you like. Might be they were one sided and the SEALs were looking for the same thing and you guys had it.

Then my question is even if this was a brand new sparkling clean gun that would of happened, correct. And thus the need to disparage a unit by coming up with answer that it must be their fault. Not the weapon systems.

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm

So basically if a Army Ranger officer went to battle with a piece of junk, it would be his own fault for not turning it in and getting something else. Just what exactly do you think a ranger officer, who walked over to the depot and said this things a junk give me a new one would of got a, "were sorry sir can't do that"? Don't think I would bet on that happening. So I think I would assume a professional soldier would of had something he would of felt was capable, is kind of what I was getting at.

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E. Ronc June 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

{Unfortunately, fighting the Army for improvements is no easy task. Colt CEO William Keys, who is also a retired USMC General, explained out to Army Times that Colt has to build what the US Army asks for, to the Army’s exact specifications:
“If we have a change that we think would help the gun, we go to the Army… which is not an easy process, by the way. We spent 20 years trying to get [an extractor] spring changed. They just said ‘well, this works good enough.’ “}

Pretty sure this was written before 2012, even if not it puts us back till 1992. Not saying yours is same as Colt, just that I wanted show Colt knew something awhile back.

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Lance June 4, 2012 at 12:22 am

Hate to tell you this with budget crisis hitting hard and the fact no other weapon offer nothing major over the M-4 the M-4A1 is here to stay and its better than any other of the Colburn Dust test candidates. Only the HK 416 was even adopted from those 4 other contenders.

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Kevin O. Moore June 4, 2012 at 4:21 am

There's always been a dynamic tension between Colt's and the Goverenment. A lot of that stems from the original licensing agreement. Fortunately, that's pretty much a thing of the past, although there are still some lingering after effects. That licensing agreement, coupled with the Congressionally mandated Small Arms Industrial Base, pretty much defined the relationship with Colt's for many years.

When the Army adopted the so-called gold extractor spring, they also adopted the H2 buffer. It took awhile for the Army to move Colt's off the dime and apply these to newly produced M4s, but they eventually did.

Improvements and/or upgrades to weapon systems IS sometimes difficult, no doubt about it. Besides simply getting to an agreement on the improvement/upgrade, there is also the issue of how to apply it to existing weapons. The improvement has to be cut into current production (essentially re-negotiating on-going contracts), applied to existing weapons in the field, and added to the depot maintenance work requiremen, as well as updating the technical manual (which contains the repair parts list). That's the logistics piece. The sustainment piece is actually buying the new/improved hardware and getting it set up in the supply system, while at the same time figuring out the best way to flush out whatever part or parts are being replaced.

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still at it June 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

“The whole concept of a magazine that you can put 30 rounds into and still get it into the weapon in a bolt forward situation is pretty much a red herring, IMHO. It ain’t the mag guys, it crap and gunk built up in the magazine well that is the problem. Personally, I’d be more concerned with the time it takes to grab a new mag out of the pouch or cargo pocket and slap it into the weapon as opposed to grabbing a new mag out of the puch or cargo pocket, taking the time to remove the dust cap, and slap it into the weapon.”

Red herring????? This is in the operational lane not in the acquisition lane. Manipulation/tactical employment of the weapon system IS NOT, the lane of acquisition professionals – or non-operators – which is why Combat/Concept Developers exist in the first place (they are all suppose to be former operators who advise, recommend and counsel in the identification of gaps/shortcomings and development of capabilities. That comment is an example of someone NOT KNOWING, the operational/tactical strategic impacts of an acquisition professional with NO TACTICAL EXPERIENCE, making a decision with long lasting tactical implications.

As to the dust cap comment…the dust cap is an optional use item which nobody – who knows anything about how to manipulate an M4 and conduct the proper manual of arms in a tactical situation – will EVER put on their magazine…so please don’t use that as a measure of comparison with an actual manipulation step (i.e. tactical reload)

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