Brownells shipping M16 magazines with anti-tilt follower to military

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In March Brownells were awarded a contact for 1.4 million M16 magazines. They have just shipped the first 60,000. Interestingly these have a new propriety anti-tilt follower, instead of the normal green follower.

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The new military magazine manufactured by Brownells

Larry, from Brownells, told me that the follower will unfortunately not be available to the civilian market as part of the contact prohibits them from using the design for any other purpose than the military.




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.


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  • http://glockedandloaded.com/ Steve

    It must be some new sooper sekret follower design that no other manufacturer has come up with. I find it hard to believe it could be military specific.

  • R.A.W.

    I wonder whose follower design it is. I know Picatinny Arsenal was working on an anti-tilt design way back when.

  • http://bonifacestreatise.blogspot.com/ Wynboniface

    I will stick with MagPul.

  • Fox

    Probably a magpul.

  • http://Calivc.com Heath

    Is it just me, or is preventing an anti-tilt follower from getting into civilian hands just silly?

  • Valhalla

    what does that do exactly?

  • By the way

    What is an “anti-tilt follower” ?

  • Carl

    So, a government is making silly rules.
    How very unusual…

  • alex

    whats anti tilt mean?

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    When the military makes such a contract restriction, it is generally because someone else owns the design to the part in question. A typical license agreement only allows the licensed part to be reproduced for government use. For instance, the Army has acquired the license rights to reproduce the various Knight’s Armament RAS/MWS parts, but the companies contracted to make these parts for the Army can’t turn around and sell the same items commercially.

  • jdun1911

    An anti-tilt follower is when the follower doesn’t tilt. Well it does tilt a little.

    You get the most benefit out of them on GI magazines. It will improve the reliability of the magazine.

    Magazines like Lancer L5 that have a constant radius geometry will see little benefit from anti-tilt follower.

    Most GI mags that is being sold comes with anti-tilt follower. Magpul was the first one to produce anti-follower, since then other have created their own.

    Price jumped. It use to be $1.50 for three. WTF?
    http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AR_Magpul_Gen_III_Enhanced_Self_Leveling_Follower.html

    http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AR_C_Products_AR15_30rd_.223_mag.html

    http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/AR_Lancer_L5_.223_AR15_M16_30rd_Polymer_Magazine.html

  • jdun1911

    So I assumed that the standard green follower on GI mag will be phased out in the US military.

    BTW there nothing wrong with the green follower. However the anti-tilt follower improve the performance of GI mag greatly.

  • By the way

    I expected such answers…

    Actually english is not my mother language and i am not used to english terminology about firearms, so a “following thing used to avoid tilting” sounds a bit strange for me.

    If someone have a link on english terminology about firearms it would be great.

  • jdun1911

    Tilt Follower, Lancer L5 Magazine.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37336&g2_serialNumber=1

    Anti-Tilt Follwer, GI Magazine. Magpul Gen III follower.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37338&g2_serialNumber=1

    My Lowers
    A2 Lower. Old grip.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37340&g2_serialNumber=1

    Standard M4 Lower with CAA Saddle. Standard A2 grip.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37342&g2_serialNumber=1

    CAA CBS Lower with magazine holder. Standard A2 grip.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37344&g2_serialNumber=1

    Magapul CTR Lower. Ergo grip.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37346&g2_serialNumber=1

    ACE Ultra Light Stock Lower. Magpul MIAD
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37348&g2_serialNumber=1

    Vltor Rifle Stock Lower. Hogue rubber grip
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37350&g2_serialNumber=1

    Took two stripped lower out of storage. Going to put Vltor Emod and Magpul ACS stock on them. The shiny one is a 0% forged lower. I use it as a paper weight.
    http://rpginn.com/xgalleryx/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=37352&g2_serialNumber=1

    I used the A2 for over 12 years. Then went to the M4 stock for 4 years. I am currently using the ACE ultra Light since last year.

  • Leif

    Just dump the M-16 and all probs will be over. That lil’ black gun has killed more of our own troops than anything previous. Vietnam was not a lesson, so we still have it. Even the A2 sucks. (more)
    Get RID of the blasted M-16 rifle!!!

  • Alex

    What the heck! Ok leif, I dont know where your coming from on this, but the m-16 is one of the best rifles ever made! And where the heck did you get the idea that it’s killed more of our own troops then “anything previous”??

  • larry weeks

    Daniel Watters is correct. It is part of the contract because someone else created the design for the military. It is not a Magpul follower but is anti-tilt, although the green follower is called anti-tilt, too. Actually our first contract with the green follower also contained the language that prohibited us from using the information in the specification packet to build a commercial product. I assume since there were so many copies being built DOD just kind of winked at everyone that was doing it. There are only two suppliers making the new follower and if it turned up in a civilian mag Uncle Sam would kinda know where it came from. If a mag doesn’t come from Okay Ind, Center Ind (that’s not C-Products) or Brownells it isn’t true, current, GI spec. Center is the first choice primary supplier, if for some reason they can’t deliver enough, Brownells or Okay gets the contract. There are more than 120 critical dimensions on the follower alone and ALL MUST be met.

    As far as the reliabilty of the M16, we don’t think Uncle Sam will let us film a live fire test but we’d love to. We just finished testing 750 mags from six production lots in just about 5 hours. Test took place in 15 degree temps with light snow falling. Among the 10 tired, govt issue M16s and M4s we didn’t have ONE gun failure, and no mag failures. The standard is zero mag failure. If one fails, the entire lot has to be scrapped. Those guns take an incredible beating and keep running. Gas tubes glow cherry red after about 3, 30 round mags are run through them, and they we run another 3 or 4 through before changing guns. Even in the cold you can’t lift the gun out of the fixture without wearing gloves. Seven mags gets risky, rounds can cook off in the chamber before you pull the trigger. That’s 2200+ rounds through EACH gun as fast as the crew can rotate them and fire them.

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    PEO-Soldier’s Flickr page has additional photos of the new magazine and its follower, along with a bunch of other photos of interest.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/peosoldier/

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Daniel, thanks!

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    This afternoon, the PEO-Soldier blog added a new post on the improved magazine. They have also uploaded a computer simulation of the improved magazine to Flickr.

    http://peosoldier.armylive.dodlive.mil/2009/12/14/armys-improved-magazine-increases-weapons-reliability-“tan-is-the-plan”-for-the-new-magazine/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/peosoldier/4184964248/

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Daniel, thanks, will blog that

  • William

    Yes, no specific reason other than contractual obligations for people’s patents and commercial considerations.

    I have green, orange, black, etc. followers and they all work fine. Never had a tilting or non-tilting issue with any of them in my light shooting and since I will never be in the sandbox, I don’t get too worked up about having the latest everything in the military arsenal.

  • Greg

    The tan USGI follower and the latest generation Magpul follower are functionally identical. There may be small design differences, but they are both equally effective.

  • larry weeks

    I believe the Tan follower drawing was labeled “Colt”. Uncle Sam is not trying to specifically keep the follower out of civilian hands, it’s just that the contract states that none of the information provided (drawings, etc.) can be used to make a product for anyone BUT Uncle Sam. We won’t sell them because with only 3 companies (OK Ind., Center Ind. and Brownells) making mags for Uncle Sam it would be pretty easy to figure out where they came from. Just to make your head spin, I remember our engineer saying that there were over 120 critical dimensions that had to be met on the old, green follower. Don’t imagine the Tan follower is any less complex.

    For By The Way: It’s confusing. The old green follower is called anti-tilt but you can push the front edge of it down, into the mag (“tilting” it) and actually make it stick in that position. The new tan follower, or a Magpul follower, will not tilt and will simply slide down, no matter where you push on it. Let the flaming begin but I don’t see the anti-tilt as a big deal. The rounds aren’t in a nose down attitude in actual use. I have several green follower mags and have never had a failure to feed caused by the mag. Matter of fact, I have taken “faulty” mags returned by customers (I work for Brownells) home with me and as long as they aren’t dented or dinged on the lips, they run fine in my gun.

    Mags are like Kleenex, if one doesn’t work for you, in your gun, try another and pass the other one off to someone else. It will probably work in their gun.

    • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

      Larry: I enjoyed the conversation I had with you and Marc on Friday. It was a great show.

  • larry weeks

    Drawing actually has “Colt” on it. Uncle Sam is not trying to keep them out of civilian hands, it is just that when you sign the contract, you agree NOT to use the drawings or information provided to make something for anyone but the government. With those strict contract terms, we don’t want to sell to anyone else – it’d be kind of obvious where they came from. I think only Brownells and Center Ind. have provided the new follower to the govt. Eventually it will be made by everyone for everyone, just like the green follower and the bodies. I’ve never had a problem with the green followers, they run fine in my guns.

  • larry weeks

    Daniel, we have heard of the Picatinny design, as Marc mentioned at the show, and this could well be the same. All I know is that the drawing reads “Colt”. You are correct about the licensing of intellectual property, and your other statements are all correct. It was a good conversation at NRA, amazing the people you run into there, and how knowledgeable many of them are. I’m not a mag expert, I’ve just watched us go through the contract process with a great deal of fascination, and try to keep up on what is happening; plus what I know from shooting my own AR quite a bit.