Even former-government-armed-militia prefer polymer AR-15 magazines!

From MP.net

AGUSAN DEL SUR, PHILIPPINES – DECEMBER 12: Hostages of tribal gunmen are seen on December 12, 2009 in San Martin, Philippines. The suspected bandits, reported to be former government-armed militia led by Danilo ‘Ondo’ Perez, have abducted dozens of villagers, included schoolchildren and teachers, in the Southern Philippines.

I was surprised to see a polymer Thermold magazine being used by these bandits.

Thermold’s nylon AR-15 / M16 magazine.


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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  • Mark

    Funny, the Thermold magazines we were issued in the Danish Army were so horrible that we could only load them with 28 rounds, and all kinds of stoppages occurred due to them. They’ve been taken out of front line duty in Helmand, and USGI magazines are being issued to front line units.

    Stoppages included cases of the bolt catch being activated despite there still being rounds in the magazine, double feed, pressure from the spring making it difficult to properly seat in the magazine well, and two weird stoppages I experienced with two different magazines: Once, a cartridge was lodged vertically in the upper receiver, held in place by the bolt group. Second weird stoppage was when the tip of a bullet was caught by the magazine, making the bolt group slam forward and drive the bullet halfway into the cartridge case. Major stoppage.

    I don’t like Thermold magazines.

    • Mark, interesting.

  • Lance

    Its because they dont get GI-mags from they governmat so they get any mags from the Black Market.

  • Lance

    Its nice to see a good shap M-16A1 though dispite being in the Bad Guys hands.

  • Somehow I think that was much more about availability than conscious selection.

  • Tom

    I can commiserate with Mark’s bad experiences. Thermolds have been nothing but problems for me, right up there with the old all-plastic ProMag for AK’s and some of the genuinely awful magazines I’ve used in the past. Lots of double feeds on some, bolt overrides on others, and some of Mark’s issues thrown in as well.

    If you want a quality plastic magazine, PMAGs keep getting better with each revision and the clear Lancers aren’t bad either. Tapco and TangoDown both make quality plastic mags, though none really beat the good ol’ PMAG in my eyes.

    Oh, and for laughs if you’ve never seen it, watch that one youtube video with the “truck test”. The Thermold practically shatters!

  • Mark

    Mind you, we were conscripts in basic training, using mid-90s equipment, as opposed to what the guys in ISAF get. We had our Elcan sights and our MG3s taken away because they were needed in Helmand – hell, our shoe polish was rationed! 😛

    Second problem I had with the Thermold magazines was that the vertical ribs are GREAT for making the magazines grip each other (and any other edges, for that matter), making extraction from mag pouches a troublesome affair – it’s all well and good that I have the so-called epitome of ergonomics, the AR platform, but if it takes me 10+ seconds to get a fresh magazine out of my pouch, it’s not much use.

    Oh, and the lips would slowly fail, meaning that you could strip several rounds out of a magazine if you were careless when pulling a magazine out of a pouch. Hell, set those things down wrong and they’d spit a few rounds out to spite you.

  • jdun1911

    Tom,

    The truck test is called marketing. IMO it was very effective. It made Magpul Pmag the go to mag overnight. It stop the augment that Pmag at that time wasn’t combat tested on it track. It was marketing geniuses.

    However the brutal truth is that magazine don’t get run over by trucks. They get dropped and step over much much more then they get run over by trucks.

    Every new magazine now have their own videos showing the standard run over by truck. Of course the Magpul marketing people said that is no way to guarantee that is combat effective and the Pmag is combat proven. Go figure right?

    For the record I like Pmag. I have over 10 30 rounds pmag and over 10 20 rounds Pmag. I would recommend them in a heart beat but if you have a little extra money to spend, Lancer L5 magazine are better. I like their heat treated fee lip and rubber floor plate. Very drop resistance.

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/11/25/shotgun-news-test-ar-15-magazines/

  • cris

    There’s a lot military/police activity in southern Philippines lately. For an average .45 owner, i find it very exciting seeing all these kinds of firearms show up in the local ngihtly news instead of your usual M16/M4, wether in the hands of the government or those clan-based militias.

    Also, that FAMAS in the link you’ve given is a welcome sight!

  • Tom

    jdun,

    Of course it’s marketing, I never said it wasn’t 🙂 It certainly has made everyone else decide that cheap plastic like the Thermolds (which aren’t drop resistant at all let alone truck resistant) shouldn’t be the standard in poly magazines. Ever since the “truck test” there has been a wave of new, quality plastic mags from TD, Tapco, improved revisions of the Lancer as you mentioned and a few others. I believe the purpose of the infamous truck video was to demonstrate that it was indeed possible for a plastic magazine to be as strong as a metal mag, and they succeeded in that regard.

    I’ve seen a PMAG take several rounds of 5.56 and still feed 2/3 or more of its total capacity, so they’ve gotten my respect in the reliability department. Lancers are fantastic as well for the reasons you mentioned, though you can add rubber floorplates to PMAGs easily enough.

    Just to touch on “combat proven”-ness, I know plenty of folks in the service who swear by ’em. Thankfully these days it’s tough to get a truly cheap or unreliable magazine, with so many options for both metal and plastic mags. I wish there were as many quality magazine manufacturers for the Mini-14 and other weapons as the AR world enjoys.

  • 54Bravo

    *sigh* I miss the good ‘ole full auto M16A1. The one I had in basic training (in ’88) was made by GM’s Hydramatic transmission division (which was pretty cool to this hot rodder from Michigan). It looked totally worn out but was really reliable for me and never jammed, even with the beat to heck aluminum 20 round mags they gave us.

    Gotta say the M60 was more fun to fire though (though not to carry….lol)