GORE

USMC Bans Use of Polymer Magazines

Yesterday, via MARADMIN, Lt Gen RIchard P. Mills, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration issued an edict effectively banning the use of all but USGI 30 round aluminum magazines. This means no more polymer magazines in spite of NSN.

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Photo – Sgt James Mercure, USMC

Although in the past there have been Division-level bans of the use of polymer magazines due to compatibility issues with the M27 IAR’s non-US Mil Spec (yet NATO Std) magazine well, the Marine Corps is not the first service to issue a wide sweeping restriction on their use. Earlier this year, the US Army issued a TACOM Safety of Use message banning polymer magazines. However, the Army later clarified their position after field forces spoke up.

The full MARDMIN is after the jump.

R 261533Z NOV 12
UNCLASSIFIED/
MARADMIN 668/12
MSGID/GENADMIN CMC WASHINGTON DC CDI//
SUBJ/FY2013 COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM POST SYMPOSIUM MESSAGE//
REF/A/MCO 3574.2K/01AUG2007//
REF/B/MCRP 3-01A RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP/MARCH 2001//
REF/C/MCRP 3-01B PISTOL MARKSMANSHIP/NOVEMBER 2003//
REF/D/COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM CHARTER/MARCH 2011//
REF/E/RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS (ROP) FISCAL YEAR 2013 (FY13) COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM//
NARR/REF A IS THE MARINE CORPS ORDER FOR MARINE CORPS COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP PROGRAMS. REF B IS THE MARINE CORPS REFERENCE PUB FOR RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP. REF C IS THE MARINE CORPS REFERENCE PUB FOR PISTOL MARKSMANSHIP. REF D IS THE COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM CHARTER WHICH CAN BE VIEWED AT HTTP:SLASHSLASHWWW.TECOM.USMC.MIL/WTBN/ MAINPAGEBASE/DEFAULT.ASP. REF E IS THE RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE FY13 COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM AND CONTAINS DETAILS OF VOTING, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND DECISIONS BROUGHT FORWARD TO THE ADVOCATE WHICH CAN BE VIEWED AT HTTP:SLASHSLASHWWW.TECOM.USMC.MIL/WTBN/MAINPAGEBASE/DEFAULT.ASP//

GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. WTBN QUANTICO, HOSTED THE FY 2013 COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM FROM 15 TO 19 OCTOBER 2012. THE COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM WAS CONDUCTED TO PROVIDE A FORUM WHERE AUTHORIZED DECISION MAKERS, REPRESENTING THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM OF COMMANDS WITHIN THE CORPS, MET TO IDENTIFY AND DISCUSS ISSUES, AND PROVIDED RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP. THIS SYMPOSIUM PROVIDED A SINGLE POINT TO CONSOLIDATE COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP ISSUES AND IS CONTINUING TO PROVIDE SENIOR LEADERSHIP A TRUE PICTURE OF OUR CURRENT STATE OF MARKSMANSHIP.
2. FOR FY13 THE FOLLOWING WORKING GROUPS (WG) CONVENED: WG1 WEAPONS (ENDURING), WG2 FACILITIES (ENDURING), WG3 COMBAT RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP, WG4 COMBAT PISTOL MARKSMANSHIP, WG5 COMPETITION IN ARMS PROGRAM, AND WG6 SIMULATIONS AND DISTANCE LEARNING.
3. THE EXECUTIVE STEERING COMMITTEE (ESC) BROUGHT FORWARD THE FOLLOWING ITEMS THAT WERE APPROVED BY THE ADVOCATE, DC, CD AND I:
3.A. DC, CD AND I ESTABLISH, VIA THIS MESSAGE, THE POLICY FOR USE OF 5.56MM MAGAZINES IS RESTRICTED TO THE PURCHASE AND USE OF [ONLY] MARCORSYSCOM TESTED AND APPROVED 5.56MM MAGAZINES WITH NSN: 1005015617200 (TAN FOLLOWER), 1005009215004 (GREEN FOLLOWER), 1005000562237 (BLACK FOLLOWER).
3.B. EXPLORE SEQUENCING OF CURRENT MARINE CORPS COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP PROGRAMS (MCCMP) SKILL SETS TO MAXIMIZE TRAINING TIME AND EFFORT.
3.C. TEST THE USE OF THE MPMS-1 TARGET IN RIFLE TABLES 1 – 4.
3.D. DC, CD AND I DIRECT MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING UNITS TO PROVIDE WTBN THROUGHPUT DATA PROVIDING NUMBER OF ANNUAL QUALIFICATION SHOOTERS BY RANK, UNUSED QUOTAS, AND THEIR ABILITY TO INCREASE THROUGHPUT FOR ANNUAL QUALIFICATION.
3.E. ENHANCE MOVING TARGET ENGAGEMENT TRAINING BY:
3.E.1. TECOM DEVELOPS NEW T AND R EVENT(S), TO ADDRESS MORE REALISTIC MOVING TARGET ENGAGEMENT TECHNIQUES. RECOMMEND PROPOSED ADDITIONAL TRAINING BE CONDUCTED AS A 2000 LEVEL MOJT EVENT.
3.E.2. WTBN INCORPORATES WITHIN THE MCCMP ADDITIONAL TRAINING FOR MOVING TARGET ENGAGEMENT SKILLS TO A ONE BODY WIDTH LEAD.
3.F. TECOM REVISES MCTIMS DATA TO INCLUDE FIELDS FOR TABLES 3A-3D AND 4A-4D AND RECORD THE DATE EACH IS COMPLETED. INCLUDE A SPACE TO RECORD ‘M’ TO INDICATE IF THE TRAINING WAS MODIFIED (NOT ACCOMPLISHED TO STANDARD). WITHIN MCTIMS, RECORD JUSTIFICATIONS FOR MODIFICATIONS TO THE TABLES (IE: LACK OF ADEQUATE/AVAILABLE FACILITIES).
3.G. DC, CD AND I APPROVES FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF CPP UTILIZING THE MPMS-1 TARGET PHASED OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS.
3.H. TECOM CONVENES AN IPT TO IDENTIFY REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ISMT.
3.I. TECOM ELIMINATES OUTDATED MARKSMANSHIP DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS AND TOOLS, AND DEVELOP A DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY FOR COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP COACH AND COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP TRAINER.
4. ACTION ITEMS:
4.A. DC, CD AND I HAS TAKEN DIRECT ACTION ON THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
4.A.1 ITEM 3A: THE MAGAZINE POLICY FOR THE MARINE CORPS IS ESTABLISHED VIA THIS MESSAGE, AND ONLY THOSE RIFLE MAGAZINES LISTED IN PARAGRAPH 3A AND IN THE ANNUAL EQUIPMENT MESSAGE (PUBLISHED SEPARATELY) ARE AUTHORIZED FOR USE.
4.A.2. ITEM 3D: DC, CD AND I IS DIRECTING, VIA THIS MESSAGE, THAT ALL MARINE CORPS RANGES PROVIDE THEIR THROUGHPUT DATA FOR ART DETAILS AS INDICATED IN PARAGRAPH 3D TO WTBN, QUANTICO NO LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE RELEASE OF THIS MESSAGE FOR FY12 DATA AND WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE END OF EACH QUARTER FOR FY13 DATA. CONTACT THE POC FOR FORMAT AND DETAILS.
4.A.3. ITEM 3G: DC, CD AND I HAS APPROVED THE COMBAT PISTOL PROGRAM AND THE MPMS-1 TARGET FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION. WTBN QUANTICO WILL DEVELOP THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN TO BE COMPLETED MARINE CORPS WIDE BY THE END OF FY14.
4B. TECOM IS TO TAKE ACTION ON THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
4.B.1. ITEM 3.E.1: CG, TECOM WILL DEVELOP OF T AND R EVENT(S) SPECIFIC TO ENGAGING MOVING TARGET THREATS.
4.B.2. ITEM 3.F: CG, TECOM WILL UPDATE OF MARKSMANSHIP RELATED DATA IN MCTIMS AND MCTFS.
4.B.3. ITEM 3.H: CG, TECOM WILL CONVENE AN IPT TO DEVELOP A REQUIREMENTS DOCUMENT THAT WILL BE USED TO DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ISMT-E SYSTEMS.
4.B.4. ITEM 3.I: CG, TECOM WILL TAKE THE APPROPRIATE STEPS TO REMOVE THE OUTDATED DISTANCE LEARNING MATERIAL RELATED TO MARINE CORPS COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP AND ASSIST WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM.
4.C. CO, WTBN, QUANTICO (MPMS) WILL TAKE DIRECT ACTION, AND WHERE NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE, MPMS WILL MAKE LIAISON WITH OTHER COMMANDS TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR MISSION ON THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
4.C.1. ITEM 3B: CO, WTBN, QUANTICO WILL EXPLORE THE ISSUE OF RE-SEQUENCING THE MARKSMANSHIP SKILL SETS TO DETERMINE IF A MORE COMMON SENSE AND COMBAT CORRELATED SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IS EXECUTABLE.
4.C.2. ITEM 3.C: CO, WTBN, QUANTICO WILL DEVELOP AND EXECUTE A TEST AND EVALUATION PLAN TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF THE USE OF THE MPMS-1 TARGET IN ALL THE TABLES OF COMBAT RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP.
4.C.3. ITEM 3.E.2: CO, WTBN, QUANTICO WILL TAKE ALL APPROPRIATE ACTION TO UPDATE THE PUBLICATIONS, DATA BOOKS, AND OTHER MARKSMANSHIP LESSON MATERIALS TO REFLECT THE ONE BODY WIDTH LEAD.
4.C.4. ITEM 3.F: CO, WTBN, QUANTICO WILL ASSIST TECOM IN THE REVISION OF THE DATA ENTRIES RELATED TO THE MCCMP AS THE SME IN THIS AREA.
4.C.5. ITEM 3.G: CO, WTBN, QUANTICO WILL DEVELOP THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN AND ENSURE THE COMBAT PISTOL PROGRAM IS EFFECTIVELY TRAINED AND IMPLEMENTED NLT THE END OF FY14. THIS WILL INCLUDE THE EXECUTION OF TRAIN THE TRAINER (T3) AND THE AVAILABILITY OF THE MPMS-1 TARGET.
5. SYMPOSIUM WAY AHEAD. THE COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM MET ITS INTENT TO GAIN A CLEAR PICTURE OF THE CURRENT STATE OF MARKSMANSHIP IN THE MARINE CORPS AND THE STEPS WHICH NEED TO BE TAKEN IN ORDER TO IMPROVE AN ALREADY ROBUST PROGRAM. NEXT ITERATION TO BE HELD IN OCTOBER 2013 FOR FY14. WTBN, QUANTICO WILL DRAFT A CALL OUT MESSAGE FOR TOPICS FOR THE FY14 COMBAT MARKSMANSHIP SYMPOSIUM IN JUNE 2013 IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN RELEVANT DISCUSSION.
6. CONTACT THE POINT OF CONTACT FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR TO OBTAIN COPIES OF THE REFERENCES IF UNABLE TO VIEW ON THE WTBN QUANTICO WEBSITE LISTED ABOVE.
7. RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY LIEUTENANT GENERAL RICHARD P. MILLS, DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR COMBAT DEVELOPMENT AND INTEGRATION.//

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31 Responses to “USMC Bans Use of Polymer Magazines”

  1. Tyler says:

    This does not outright say that polymer magazines are banned. Rather, it states that all magazines must be MARCORSYSCOM approved. All approved magazines will be listed in the upcoming Equipment Message.

    • SSD says:

      Spin it how you want but this paragraph is pretty specific.

      3.A. DC, CD AND I ESTABLISH, VIA THIS MESSAGE, THE POLICY FOR USE OF 5.56MM MAGAZINES IS RESTRICTED TO THE PURCHASE AND USE OF [ONLY] MARCORSYSCOM TESTED AND APPROVED 5.56MM MAGAZINES WITH NSN: 1005015617200 (TAN FOLLOWER), 1005009215004 (GREEN FOLLOWER), 1005000562237 (BLACK FOLLOWER).

  2. Toby says:

    Why do they keep this up? Polymer mags are so much better than USGI mags – crush tests, drop tests, etc
    I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s a matter of money to run T&E trials on the various after market mags that’s making the decisions…

    • SSD says:

      It could well be. There are tons of them out there.

      Interestingly, the TangoDown mags were developed as part of the SCAR program and MARSOC has SCARs. That wasn’t addressed in this message.

    • Angry Misha says:

      Toby, I’m pretty sure this is related to the M27 IAR which has a STANAG mag well that won’t accept PMAGS but will accept EMAGS. I can see the logic in keeping a “pure fleet” of magazines that will function in the M4, M16A4 & M27. Basically I believe they are trying to avoid a situation where a magazine will be the weak point during a combat situation where you’re redistributing ammo. And in keeping with the KISS theory, ban them all because not many can tell the difference between a PMAG and EMAG.

      • Toby says:

        I understand the M27 issue, which SSD mentioned above in the article as a division-level situation, however even the HK Improved STANAG magazines cannot stand up to the abuse polymer mags can.
        The latest Magpul PMAGs (M3) are compatible with the HK416/M27 IAR, however this creates a problem of differentiating between compatible (new) PMAGs and non-compatible (old) PMAGs.
        When it comes differentiating between PMAGs and EMAGs, I would have thought it to be fairly clear given the exterior design differences.

        • SSD says:

          The M3 mags look different than older PMAGs.

          • Toby says:

            The M3 PMAGs look like a sort of hybrid PMAG-EMAG, but the point I was trying to make was that the visual differences between the different gen PMAGs are less distinguishable (especially in a combat situation) than the visual differences between PMAG and EMAG

          • Angry Misha says:

            Yes, maybe to you and I, but we’re talking “PFC Joe Snuffy” here lol. Maybe they could allow a big EGA to be embossed on the “Approved Magazines”, produce them in only Coyote Brown with scarlet and gold followers. Then the leadership should be able to spot unauthorized magazines during PCC/PCIs…. wait never mind i don’t think they even know what those are anymore. Bottom line is, we use EMAGS in all of our 416’s because we saved weight over the HK Mags. But the difference is we ALL carry them and we ALL conduct PCC/PCIs EVERY time.

            As I stated, this isn’t a “You can’t use it because we didn’t invent it” issue. This makes tactical sense in regards to the “Conventional” ground combat element. When dealing with large numbers of people things are easier to control when they are all on the same page…. I think there is a term for this, oh yeah, “Uniformity”. And in the end this is directed to addrerss the conventional guys. Now I’m sure someone will spout off something about MARSOC or Sisiter Service SOF being able to use them so “Why can’t I”.

            To those I would say: “If you want to do use it, join that organization”

      • Big Red One - Ramadi says:

        I agree and think it is somewhat of a smart move on part of the USMC due to the fact that if they allow Gen 3 PMags (which now work in these weapons mentioned) the Marine Core will have regular PMags floating around in the mix and therefore allowing for a possible liability. Magpul’s Gen 3 finally caught up to the Tango Down ARC mag with being compatible with these different weapon systems, but since all PMags have a similar look, quality control would be difficult. That being said; I believe it’s matter of time before new rules dictate which polymer mags are approved.

  3. Ebbs says:

    Here we go again. I wonder if this one will last longer than the other ban did this past summer (Army, wasn’t it?).

  4. John says:

    This is typical marine corps. lets make it so that if everyone cant have it no one can have it. Whats best, i deployed with all black followers, had to go out and buy my own magazines so i could have a half reliable magazine since i was told i couldnt use my pmags….just awsome.

    • Angry Misha says:

      John, grow the F up and stop whining. And the “Typical Marine Corps” NEVER dictates that everyone has to have it. You sound like the fat admin POG whining on why he can’t wear FSBE or SPEAR. instead of whining why don’t you man up and pass indoc. Then you’ll get all the toys. That is, if you can pass.

  5. Joe says:

    PMAGs aren’t the best necessarily. Nothing wrong with a well maintained aluminum magazine with a good follower in it. Off the Kyle Defoor AAR of “Things KD doesn’t like”: “PMAGS – they don’t drop free out of some guns. Aluminum mags can be used to clear malfunctions like bolt over base or charging handle impingement. Aluminum mags can be used as a weapon. If you chose to run a PMAG, use the black ones only.”

    If you have to have some Magpul bling on your gun try the enhanced followers.

  6. Patrick says:

    OK, understood. The basic problem is that PMags won’t fit the M27. So, how did the USMC end up buying a rifle that won’t take mil-spec-fit magazines? And why is the solution not to go back to the supplier and tell them “You screwed up, fix it on your dime.”?

    • SSD says:

      Because the weapon is built with a NATO STANAG magwell. And that is what the Marine Corps wanted.

  7. Jeff Wall says:

    The real issue is not the magazine it is why the Corps is going back to a magagizine fed squad automatic weapon. When I read a couple of years ago that the Corps was looking at going away from a belt fed saw Isaid they arent that dumb. Guess I was wrong. The BAR was a great auto rifle but the cbief complaint was not its weight but rather that you constantly had to change mags. Moreover handling a pile of mags was a real burden. With the M249 SAW you fire the belt and throw away the plastic box. At age 59 I was in the Corps before the SAW entered service. This M27 is a big step backwards. Its a safety issue too – close bolt cook offs will be common.

  8. MRA says:

    Jeff, the M27 fires from an open bolt in fun mode.

    • Joe says:

      False. It is a closed bolt only weapon.

      • Andrew says:

        I believe the LWRC M27 IAR fires from an open bolt in full auto and closed from a semi-auto mode. (see it in action here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OukIvPxdakw)

        • SSD says:

          That’s true. The FNH model used a phase change material that switched the gun from closed to open bolt once a certain temperature was reached.

        • Angry Misha says:

          Yeah and the LWRC was a POS. I think the descriptive term was “something’s are nice to plink on the range with but you wouldn’t want to take it to combat”

          • Andrew says:

            Angry, I was not speaking to the viability of the weapon as I have never used one in combat, but simply rebutting Joe’s statement of “false”.

            As to your point, It seems in life most things look nice and work well when people’s lives are not on the line. I can’t tell you how many times the higher ups issued us new radios, thermal imagers and SOGs that seemed great on paper but just flat out sucked.

          • Joe says:

            The LWRC offering is not the M27 IAR. The M27 is a HK weapon with its lineage directly traceable to the HK416

  9. drew says:

    I was to lazy to check if anyone mentioned this but, Magpul made/makes a EMAG that is intended to be used with nonUS made ar/m16/m4(you get the picture) platforms. The EMAG is STANAG compliant. As far as the Corps goes I dont know why they make these decisions its not thoughtful. I was issued a M27 on my last deployment I had an EMAG that some dude in Dwyer gave me it worked fantastic. And since they are changing everything lets do something about the M27’s optic… the SDO is not giving the weapon its full potential.

  10. Kevin says:

    Why not let the guy shooting the rifle decide what mag he wants to use.

    • Haji says:

      Because they’re not always switched on and don’t always know what works and what doesn’t. Left to their own devices, somebody in an organization-any organization-will take that freedom and buy some total crap because it was either the lowest price tag or “looked cool”. In any organization there will always be people who will have to be protected from themselves.

  11. Jarhead says:

    As someone who attended the symposium, I can tell you that this was consensus across the board. It has little to do with the M27 IAR compatibility, but more to do with the fact that only TESTED AND APPROVED magazines are authorized. This is not any change is Marine Corps equipment policy, but just a reinforcement of existing policy. It is just quality control.

    These other magazines (polymer or not) have not passed MilSpec testing. There is no guarantee that they will perform in the full environmental spectrum required. It has absolutely nothing to do with polymers or H&K screwing everything up. I know that MagPul has improved the qualities of the M3 and will be undergoing testing at APG shortly. If they pass, they will be authorized.

    That said, I own many polymer magazines as well as other non-authorized ones for personal use. Yes, I like them (as do many Marines) better than standard USGI mags for my use; but then I don’t transport them across the oceans and skies in all types of temperature extremes or throw them across a battlefield. In combat, I would rather use the USGI mags (new ones of course). In two combat tours, I have not once used polymers.