Has Colt chosen the MWG 90 round magazine for the IAR?

For a while I have been waiting for Colt to a announce a ultra-reliable ultra-high capacity magazine that will accompany the Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle. One of the requirements for the Marine IAR is a ultra-high capacity magazine.

At the Pakistan IDEAS-2008 expo an M16/M203 was on display with a MWG 90 Rounder High Capacity Magazine, sitting directly above a Colt IAR poster (Photo by skybolt @ Defence.pk).

The tan colored weapon on the poster is the Colt IAR. Click to expand.

I think it would be safe to assume that Colt is going with the MWG 90.

 Merchant2 Graphics 00000001 90Rndar
MWG 90 Rounder High Capacity Magazine

If you look closely at the first image it appears that the MWG 90 magazine is attached to the M16 upper receiver. Something is attached to the receiver which extends towards the magazine. Anyone know what this is? It does not appear visible on MWG promotional photos, such as this one:

90Round 1

Colt may have customized the MWG 90 to increase reliability/durability.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • I suspect that the object on the upper receiver is the quadrant sight for the M203.

  • Daniel, I think you could be right!

  • name

    How’s the weight balance with that type of design?

  • Roger A. Krupski

    Are you kidding? I thought the Beta-C mag was the rage?

  • Chris

    Actually, the MWG mag and the Beta C-mag share one critical flaw (I have both and have used both in training, but although I have been in combat I used a Redi-mag instead of either of these options!): they stick out to the left. When using a single-point attachment, if you’re right-handed, the left side of the rifle should lay flat against the right front of your body. These drums prevent this and impede crossdraw in an emergency transition (I learned to carry crossdraw on my chest because you can’t get at a thigh holster squeezed into a HMMWV or any other vehicle). They also prevent a good grip on the front handguard (or forward grip) because the left arm is pushed out of place. If I could find a drum that went to the right I’d buy it! Ideally, it would be slightly larger than one of the halves of the C-mag and hold 75 rounds.

    • Chris, thanks for your insight. I believe someone will be coming out with a 48 round polymer magazine shortly. Would the extra 50% capacity been much benefit? Considering that it would be bulkier.

  • Chris

    Like everything else, it depends. The Redi-mag with 60 rounds was pretty handy. If I could get two polymer 48-round mags next to each other using it, that would be great. If they’re triple-stacked, they’d probably be too wide for that. If not, then they might be too long. The cheap Chinese 40’s are already too long (and unreliable anyway). As with the drums, the extra firepower is only for the front-end of the firefight; I wouldn’t put 48-round mags in my pouches unless they were about the same size as regular mags (I use HSGI Weesatch for carrying my ammo, 12 mags +2 in the M4, plus 14 spare mags in the assault pack and sometimes 4 in a left-side thigh drop rig if I’m feeling frisky). I’d like to get my hands on a couple of those 48-rounders to try out if you know where to get them. 🙂

    • Chris, thanks for the info, that is a lot of ammo! I am not sure who will be making them, but I think they were at SHOT Show. When I find out I will blog it and do my best to remember to email you (I am very forgetful, so please don’t be offended if I forget).

  • Chris

    Yeah, 2x the basic load on me, and 2x the basic load in the pack. Enough for a good little firefight if the gunships don’t show up and shorten it for ya! 😉

    Don’t worry, I’ll be watching your blog for updates! 😀

  • The 48 round magazine is made by Lancer. It is two (closer to 1.5) of their polymer magazines grafted together with a coupler. The coupler looks kind of bulky.

    I also understand that Virgil Tripp has introduced a >40rd metal magazine.

  • Update: Tripp has 42 and 52rd magazines. I didn’t realize that he was using extensions. They appear to be nearly as bulky as Lancer’s coupler.


  • Chris

    Magpul is making extensions too:


    Hideous! Maybe Beta will read this and make a right-side feed 75-round drum (heck, maybe make one you can put on either side so lefties can use it too!). 😉


    in the old days we felt good taping 2 30’s together!
    you young guys got all the cool toys.

  • Hey since the military is so hot on upgrading or replacing the AR platform, where does the new Remington 15/30ar ammo fit into the mix???
    Could they use this in a close combat platform for extra energy and less weight??

  • Brian:

    The .30 AR ammunition is heavier per round than the 5.56mm NATO and undoubtedly more than the 7.62x39mm. A dedicated double stack magazine for the .30 AR would be slightly taller and fatter than an equivalent capacity 7.62mm NATO magazine. The only magazine dimension where you’d be smaller than the 7.62mm NATO is in length, front-to-back.

  • Wayne USMC

    Colt can’t be that ill informed of the lack of practicality of the MWG 90 round mag.They must just be going for the Wow facter of its appearance that seems new since the Beta Mag has been seen before.The MWG 90 Drum is ridiculously bulky.Who has got room for that mess.There is no quality magazine pouch system available for it because no real Professional Warrior takes it seriously.It’s a novelty.A toy.It’s for recreational shooting.Nothing You want to bet Your life on.Just like the Beta Mag once loaded with Ammo whether in a pouch or in Your weapon it is unwheeledly. If it takes one hit,bullet or fragmentation it’s done and You instantly lose all 90 or 100 rounds because there is no practical or expediant way to retrieve the ammo left unfired inside.In the middle of a firefight You won’t be interested in pausing to dig out a screw driver and hacksaw to open these things up to spill out the contents and reload it into box magazines.Worst of all You may never get a shot off in the first place if on the move You slam it into a doorway/obstacle or have to hit the deck just once with Your weight on these things.The MWG 90 will snap right off at the mag tower as will the Beta Mag especialy if You land a tad off center on either drum.Plus the MWG 90 won’t Drop Free.Stick to Proven and reliable Top Name Brand 30 round mags;Magpul,HK,Tango Down,Troy,C-Products,Cammenga etc.The Cammenga 20 and 30 round mag also have the feature of quick loading of delinked ammo and zipping the mag open to spill out the contents fast if the mag has gotten damaged or if You just need to clean it or check it.The only exception is probably either the New Mag-Pul 4 Stack 50rd or the Sure-Fire 4 Stack Oversize 60 and 100 magazines.I’ve just gotten samples of the Sure-Fire 4 Stack and tested them in several 5.56 platforms including AR’s,XCR,M96 and the Scar with no problems.And they are compact.Although the Armatech 150 Rd. Drum may in appearance have the rigidity to handle a fall or two it has the same bulkiness and Ammo pouch problems as the other drums.The ergonomics of large drums has not been solved yet.At the best these can be kept preloaded at a dug in or barricaded position for defense purposes.Good luck.Fortune Favors the Bold.

  • Marine Tanker

    Colt does not supply the IAR (or any other weapon for that matter) with that silly 90-round magazine. As some of the other comments above imply, its bulky and forces the weapon off-balance. Additionally, any clear plastic like seen on the back of many high capacity magazines, becomes brittle over time and with exposure to gun oil. The Colt IAR is optionally supplied with a black plastic “C”-Mag.

  • Brandon

    Lancer 48 rounds can only be loaded full if you insert them with the bolt locked back. Otherwise you have to download them to 47

  • Nick

    I agree with Wayne USMC…

    I have used the Surefire 4-stack magazines plenty of times, and I now own 3x 60rd versions. They are fantastic, and the 60rd magazine trumps a 100rd Beta any day.

    I have used them in my HK416 (C-III) and a couple RRA AR-15/M4-style weapons. They have feed issues about twice as often as regular magazines (well, I use EMAG’s) and certainly add some bulk to the bottom of the weapon, but they are easily handled, no wider than the widest part of the receiver, and give double the ammunition.

    I have fired through all 60rds in one full-auto burst and it’s impressive, as it turns the full-auto setting into something actually useful, rather than keeping it essentially a “burst” mode.

    I do think this new magazine looks interesting, but I cannot see it being practical due to, well, everything that has already been stated.

    The only use I can see for it would be for the person carrying the IAR, to keep 2-3 of them in pouches without sacrificing any of their traditional 30rd magazines. If they are in a position to be laying down a lot of lead, switch to the 90rd CMAG, and if not, use the regular mags.