New TangoDown ARC AR-15 Magazine

Over the past four years TangoDown have been working with the Navy Special Warfare Command and the United States Special Operations Command on a new polymer M16/SCAR/AR-15 magazine called the ARC. Although the magazine prototypes have been around for a few years, the ARC is finally entering production and should be on sale in January 2009.

Arc L 001 Fgreen-2
Click to expand.

As the photos suggest, the magazine is manufactured in two parts. These parts are then “glued” together (I am sure they use a fancier word). The join is supposed to be very strong.

An o-ring type silicone seal prevents dirt getting into the action through the magazine well.

The design has no floorplate which adds to its strength. Cleaning is done by holding the magazine upside down and spraying water or compressed air through holes in the follower. If the spring needs replacing you throw out the magazine and buy a new one.

I dug up this forum post from earlier this year:

The two-piece housing assembly allows us to use optimum ammunition ‘stack’ in the design. We can tightly control the molding process at the same time, as we are making 2 small shots instead of one long one. Material freeze off is no longer an issue. The industrial adhesive we use to join the 2 halves exceeds the strength of the base material. Additional benefit is that we can mold the entire lower half of the magazine in a transparent/translucent material for ammunition viewing, keeping the superior strength reinforced material up top for the feedlips, etc.

The ‘gasket’ between magwell and magazine is actually a soft durometer silicone seal that is bonded to the magazine. It can’t shift or migrate on the magazine body. We used a foam seal at the Show for demonstration purposes. A specific type of magazine carrier design is underway, to answer that question. It will be trick.

In all the studies we researched, the primary mechanical cause of magazine failure to feed was due to feedlip issues. Springs and followers were down the list. By using a high quality coated spring, our sealed design would need to be replaced only when the lips were worn out and/ or damaged.

The follower is pretty novel, and is driven differently than existing baseline G.I.-type followers

This photo by SMGLee of a rapid prototype model shows the follower design and the o-ring/gasket seal clearly:

 Smglee Ss2008 Huge Dscn0327

The retail price is $24.95. The magazine is currently available for preorder at At that price I can’t imagine it going up in price or going out of stock due to excessive demand.

A video of SMGLee testing the magazine:

More photos and the full press release after the jump …
Some more photos:

Arc L 001 Black-2-1

Arc L 001 Black-3-1

Arc L 001 Black-4-1

The TangoDown press release:

The ultimate polymer magazine has arrived! A true 30-round capacity magazine for the 5.56x 45mm cartridge fits all M16/M4/AR-series/FN SCAR-Light/M-249 weapon systems*. Advanced design and construction allows for the strongest, most reliable combat magazine ever produced.

Proprietary state-of-the-art polymers are combined to allow smooth, dependable feeding in a corrosion-proof unitized body. Oversized feed lips take constant abuse that would easily damage aluminum or steel magazines. Unique low-friction anti-tilt follower combined with a premium spring maintains reliable round delivery. Sealed modular design allows ideal straight-to-radius feed cavity, unavailable on any other polymer magazine.

Additional benefit of modular design means no floor plate to fail upon impact. Magazine body becomes a five-sided box, setting a new standard for strength. Impact that crushes USGI magazines has no effect on the ARC. Magazine cleaning is a snap, requiring no disassembly thanks to the slotted follower. A soft seal joins against the weapon magazine well on insertion to prevent entry of dirt and other contaminants, a crucial bonus in desert warfare**.

We designed in several features that make ARC user-friendly in harsh conditions. Large serrations on the front and back straps eliminate slippage when doing ‘push-pull’ magazine insertions. Deep ribbing on both sides enable a fast, sure grip when retrieving from mag pouches. An Open Water version is available, which features a self-sealing drain tab for OTB operations.

· The ARC magazine is available in several color options, including translucent for visual round count.

· The ARC magazine is manufactured using the latest in polymer Quality Control procedures, guaranteeing properly dimensioned components.

· The ARC will drop free from weapon systems, regardless of origin, and will also seat easily in a bolt-forward weapon with a full 30 rounds.

Note: ARC magazine model ARC/L-001 may not fit some magazine pouches, however custom pouches are available from TangoDown, Inc. Contact TangoDown for details.

* ARC/l-001, -001C magazines will NOT fit H&K model 416 rifles. New model for H&K 416 available soon.

** Military model only, commercial model ARC/L-001C has this feature deleted. ARC/L-001C fits all existing M4 style magazine pouches.

ARC is U.S. and foreign Patent Pending.

Color: Black, SOCOM Flat Dark Earth, Foliage Green, Translucent (available soon)

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.


  • Jesse

    I can’t see this taking off. I mean aside from the gasket which is of questionable advantage anyway, what can it do that the Pmag can’t do at $10 less?

  • Sean Nack

    so what they’re saying is that if i wanted to pay another $10 for a P-Mag, i now have that option.

  • So… they give the civilian market (that also shoots in dirty/sandy conditions sometimes) a non-sealed version? You get to pay full price for a magazine that is disposable, vs. rebuildable? Sign me right up!

    For some PMAGs, that is.

  • jdun1911

    There no hole on the bottom of the floor plate so if you got sand or water inside the mag, you’re screw. There are reasons why mags have holes on the bottom of the floor plate.

    Another issue I think that will come up is it will be harder to get the mag seated/remove on a dual mag pouch. It is the only complaint I have with the L5 Lancer. Like the Tango the L5 Lancer rib is too far out to seat/remove it smoothly from your gear.

    I think you’re better of with GI/Magpul/Lancer mag then this design. It will get hype of course, a must have.

  • jdun1911

    You might want to check the AR15 thread.

  • jdun1911, thanks

  • jdun1911

    From what I understand on the AR15 thread, the magazine that is shown will not be available to the general public. Unlike the military the civilian version does not require special double mag pouch. The civilian mags are flushed.

    Stick with the standard GI mag/Pmag/Lancer.

  • tarkan

    I admire SMGLee,go to military photos net and search smgLee,he covers so much shot shows,my question is why not transparent magazines?

  • tarkan, I agree. SMGLee is a lengend, an awesome guy. They plan on offering transparent magazines. The lower part will be transparent and the upper part opaque. This gives greater strength that 100% transparent.

  • Bart

    I had lunch with SMGLee yesterday and handled one of the new mags.

    – The spring will go 200,000 cycles! So, it will never need to be replaced.
    – The spring has a special coating for rust, and friction.
    – They changed the pickup point of the spring to the follower plate to address the balance point and eliminate tipping for the follower plate/binding.
    – The ‘serrations’ and bottom lip of the magazine make a very good gripping surface(s).
    – The mag is very strong.
    – The bottom piece will also be available in a smoked translucent polymer.
    – The top piece will stay black because it is a different polymer that is much stronger than the ‘regular’ polymer that can be colored.
    – The follower will not bind up even when you only push down on only the very forward or rear tip of it.
    – One thing to note is that the Civilian Mags will not have the big lip where the two pieces join together. The lip is for the gasket and is only for the Military, who is going to get new mag pouches (probably polymer) that when the mag is in the new ‘pouch’ it will seal out dirt, sand, water just like when it is seated in the rifle.

  • Pilot

    Anyone who has used PMAGS for a extended periord of time, knows what a piece of crap they are. I have shot the new Tango Mag and it has some great features.

  • pmags..crap??
    are you on crack??
    yeah,it has postive no over insertion feature…
    yeah,it seals…
    it NEEDS?!?!? new mag pouches,when there is umpteenkaafrickingazillion
    mag pouches the PMAGS already fit,dimensionally there are the SAME,as GI.
    it NEEDS?!?!?! a new handling technology..obvious HEAVY TAP RACK BOOM technique,what if your injured and your mag hand is fragged?
    great features do not negate the PMAGS obvious strengths and ability for loading till the cows come home with the added lip protector/dust cover.
    try that with the tango…then load and fire it for positive function…bet it WONT,you cannot service it,ah chuck it…it’s disposable
    I’ve seen pmags positively tortured…shot,driven over,and their CHEAPER..
    no need for the tango downs unless your an over budgeted gov franchise,with throw away needs…
    go MAGPUL..

  • sure..

  • ACT

    I have just finished testing on 15 mags I supply magazines to people who use them for a living, and have to say, SS mags, P mags, colt mags, can’t compare to the tango down arc mag. the 20′ drop loaded on the feed lips and the run over with the expedition sold me. Those who bitch about $10 hopefully respect the fact that regardless of equipment cost it should not fail. I will say the arc mags were prototypes and production pieces are coming, if they perform like the prototypes this is the best mag on the market. size is a slight issue but I believe new pouches are being offered.