Kiwi SAS worried about losing magazines?!?!?

New Zealand blogger WhaleOil emailed me a link to these photos of New Zealand SAS taken after a firefight in Kabul, Afghanistan. What is odd about the photos is that the elite SAS troops appear to have tied their magazines to the trigger guard with cord … ?!?!

The British, Australian and New Zealand active and retired soldiers who read the blog may have to correct me, but I remember reading somewhere that British soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are not allowed to throw away empty their magazines in a firefight. I also recall reading that in the Vietnam war the NZ and Australian soldiers where also not allowed to dump empty magazines.

That seems the most likely explanation for the above photo but it seems bizarre!

Can anybody shed light on this?



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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  • vereceleritas

    Is it unusual to keep empty magazines? I’m in the Marine Corps and that’s what I’ve always been taught. Leave nothing for the enemy. We get issued a drop pouch to dump our magazines in so we can reload them later.

    • I think the issue is not so much leaving equipment for the enemy, but saving $$$.

      vereceleritas, do you have to pay to replace magazines that you lose or damage in combat?

  • Maigo

    I still don’t quite see the logic of having an empty mag swinging under your gun the whole time you’re trying not to be shot or distracting you while you try to clear a building. Just thinking about it annoys me.
    But I guess at the end of the day you’ve still got ONE magazine left. One that didn’t sit in the mud or have someone trip over.

  • On the ANZACS in Vietnam not dumping empty mags – this is covered in Paul Ham’s excellent ‘Vietnam: The Australian War’…

    *NOTHING* – empty ration tins, mags, cigerette packets, etc – was left behind, due to the VC’s ingenuity fabricating what we would call ‘IEDs’ out of any ‘usless’ detrious. Booby traps were often constructed using inoxuous items as ‘bait’…

    On the British Army not leaving mags – as vereceleritas says – it’s just good practice…

    I also don’t see the idea about tying a mag to a weapon to save it – surely that’s what dump pouches are for???

  • Fellows,

    Having spent the last four months goofing around in Afghanistan I feel somewhat qualified to comment.

    They are all members of ISAF, or “I See Americans Fighting,” or “I Sleep, Americans Fight.”

    ISAF has an ungodly number of rules that the members have to follow. I am sure that tying your magazine to your weapon is one of them.

    Other inspired rules are: No loaded magazines, no magazines period, no knives, no sharpened sticks.

    At one point I collected tennis ball sized stones, to use as hurled weapons, in case the eight or nine Taliban in the area decided to overrun the ISAF base I was on…

    Regards,
    Albert
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
    The Range Reviews: Tactical.

    • Albert, welcome back to civilization! I have been meaning to email you about your trip!

      Incidentally, according to the linked article, those soldiers were on their way back from a firefight.

  • Jarkko

    Not going into politics, but I think that comment is quite disrespectful towards ISAF-troops and their work. They might have more humanitarian approach to their mission and there is definately a lot of troops that are there for only for support duties, but to say that they let americans do the fighting is just arrogant.

    For example Estonia, who have 150 man detachment in Afganistan have 7 KIA troopers on their “account”. Thats almost 5% of their troops in there.

    • ^^^ As Jarkko said. I am not going to let this thread devolve into another ally bashing. Off topic comments will be deleted.

      Milgeek, I stand corrected.

  • Royi

    Maybe that stuff is too expensive to lose.
    At least, that’s what we Dutch would think.
    A Dutch soldier is in serious trouble if the amount of spent cases turned in at the end of the day does not equal the amount of cartridges handed out in the morning.

    I can even imagine that losing a magazine would then mean demotion..

    But I read in the newspaper this morning that 2010’s defense budget is already spent. So the army is on pauper-mode again. (instead of getting 3 rounds during an exercise, there will be no rounds at all… and don’t forget to bring your own clothes, because there’s no money to replace them if the current ones gets damaged)

  • ! Sorry Steve – hope I my comment didn’t come across as my being up my ass! I didn’t mean my comments that way…

    Just that Paul Ham’s book is an excellent read, and has lots of great detail for the armchair ‘Nam’ military historian.

    Back on subject….

    Are we *sure* that is cord tied to the trigger-guard. My eye-sight isn’t brilliant and I am having a hard time seeing the same thing as you. πŸ™‚

    • Milgeek, don’t worry, I did not take it the wrong way, I am wrong often so I am used to being corrected πŸ˜‰

    • Milgeek, it is hard to see. They did not publish high-res version of the photos.

  • feeleuphoria

    I like the concept you can just let the first mag drop to the side if need be and load a fresh one nice and quick.

    (A bit off topic) My brother in the British Army was told to keep magazines which I don’t think is bad. The trouble was he wasn’t issued a dump bag and the concept was not even discussed by trainers. So he was expected to organise empties and full ones during fire fights DANGEROUS! Well for you not so much for the enemy.

    Typical bloody british army, (Completely off topic rant) doesn’t have the funds for some of the most basic equipment for a modern army like body armor but we choose a rifle that costs about twice as much as a AR15 or G36 type rifle which alot lighter (SA80 A2 weighs a ton) and just as effective. Personaly can’t wait for a proper EU army (or we become 51st state of USA πŸ™‚ ) us brits fight well but we can’t run an army.

  • iMick

    I know in the ADF while training, magazines are considered weapon CES and are accountable. Lose a mag, you have to L&D (pay) for it. Can’t comment on if it’s the same while deployed, but knowing how anal your average CQMS is, I’d say it’s the same.

  • Amuse Bouche

    Hi-Speed Low-Drag types on the two-way rifle range usually do speed reloads, not tactical reloads. The probability of using more than two magazines in a firefight is low, so rather than outright drop the magazine and have to go back and get it after action, they’ve conveniently tied their carry mag to the trigger guard.

    I bet it’s a winter trigger guard too, so yanking on the mag would probably snap it open and release your now empty mag at an opportune time to slip in a drop pouch.

    I find the idea that soldiers ‘throw away’ magazines at all a bit strange, and wonder why this myth has become so pervasive. The only time i’ve come across this in any sort of documented form is Armalite AR-10 promotional footage from the late 50’s/ early 60’s, where its suggested soldiers would throw away empty magazines, and ammo would be resupplied to soldiers pre-loaded in 20 round waffle magazines, since they believed the mostly stamped magazines could be produced almost as inexpensively as en-bloc clips, i suppose. Not that such nonsense ever eventuated.

  • DavidR

    The other pictures on the site show the cords as being tight to the gun, so in that way, they would be too short to allow the mags to clear the bottom of the wells. In that regard, it’s almost like they are being used to retain the mags INSIDE the gun…strange.

    Also, why are they white? Compared with the drab camo, they really stand out.

  • Nick

    I may be talking out my ass here, but could the mag retention be from coming in on a chopper? I seem to recall reading about mag retention being really important for airborne operations, something along the lines of the spare equipment falling out and getting sucked into intakes or striking the tail rotor. I want to say that there was something about it in the one of the latest Magpul videos.

  • Matt Groom

    I’m also with Vereceleritas on this one. I was taught the same thing, but before some ingenious fellow invented the dump pouch, we were taught to stick them in our blouse (that is the shirt you wear on the outside, with buttons and pockets and shit, not your T-shirt) which should be tucked in in the field. Or, it was commonly held, that the only appropriate use of the cargo pockets on your trousers (You are NEVER allowed to carry anything in your cargo pockets for some odd reason) was to stick empty mags in. The logic of the argument was “What if you get a resupply of ammo in the field, but you’re down to only two mags when you were issued six, because you threw the first four away?” which makes sense, but they were real bastards about it.

    Also, as Milgeek points out, if the enemy can’t use it, they’ll sell it or make a bomb out of it.

  • I was in the U.S. Army but I know we used 550 cord to make loops at the bottom of the magazine to make them easier to grab, maybe this is a variation on the that.

    As far as organizing the empties with out a dump bag, I was always taught to organize them in my LBE by having the butt of the magazine pointed out and the follower pointed out for the empties.

  • Carl

    “not allowed” to lose magazines, or even shell casings?

    Regardless of country, something tells me that an army with such silly rules cannot possibly be doing a lot of fighting. And that’s a common sense opinion, not a political one.

    Obviously you should, as a general rule, be able to account for any lost or expended equipment or ammo. But having to (or feeling the need to) tie the magazines to the gun with cords, that’s just ridiculous.

    And if they are indeed tied to the trigger guard, that’s a negligent discharge waiting to happen.

  • DannyBoy

    As a former IDF, I can tell that we are doing the almost same thing (the magazines is tied to the handguards) in order to avoid noises of falling magazines on the ground (Believe me shit happens!) Especially during opreations when you need to sneak into hostile ground.
    for pics please see the folowing link:
    http://www.fresh.co.il/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=33143

  • Dominic

    I would suggest, since they are in fact “Special Air Service” that they were brought in by chopper, and a ejected magazine flying into the tail rotor of the helicopter would be a bad thing.

    If they were firing out the door of the chopper.

    I think the idea that they are trying to save money is silly.

    So is my idea tho, so.. whatever πŸ™‚

  • Rusty Ray

    Brits don’t dump mags because we may need them later. Just a different tactic. We are taught to refill them during a lull in the battle too.

    And….

    Mags tied on is part of a mindset that denies the enemy any access to your kit. That way it can’t be used against you (as a ‘come on’ for an IED or turned directly into a weapon against you).

    Hope that clears it up for ya’ll.

    Cheers – Rusty

  • Rusty Ray

    Oh, and a PS re: Dump bags. We use the front of our smocks, chest webbing/armor permitting instead.

    Rusty

  • Are the Kiwis doing a lot of helicopter opts? Flight crews are touchy about items bouncing off of tail rotors for some reason.

  • Other Steve

    Just wait till someone in command figures out that the brass is worth something too.

  • SpudGun

    I too am mystified by the magazines tied to the rifle. I have heard of soldiers being ordered to have empty rifles when wandering around base (for safety reasons) but with a magazine very close to hand.

  • steve b

    my understanding of the matter, is that those troops will have been somewhere that they don’t want people (enemy or not) to know about, whether for diplomatic, or strageic reasons. If, say they happened to be taking a walk over the border, they do not want others to know (these are special forces remember)

  • Milgeek – follow the link back to the original pics, there’s a few more with a bit more zoom, and you can clearly see a white cord of some sort going from the base of the mag to the trigger guard.

    Does it look like they are pointing their rifles at each other’s feet? Or is it just the perspective of the photos? I would think that, when walking in a crowd, muzzle discipline would dictate pointing the muzzles up, rather than down towards the feet of the people and friendlies all around.

  • Spiff

    I thought that New Zealand and Australia used the Steyr AUG’s – looks like these guys are carrying M4’s.
    Spiff

  • Reimo S

    Well, what I was taught, that indeed it is not wise to leave empty mags to the enemy. Also, when falling into ambush there’s not time to worry about the magazine in the rifle and put it into drop bag – as a remark, I didn’t have one, so I had to at first opt to shoving it into my jacket, a top button undone, webgear belt a little tight. So when the first mag is depleted, just push the button and insert another one and you don’t have to worry about losing the mag you might need later.

    But it was what I trained, not absolute truth, but maybe the Kiwis have similar thought?

  • Alex B

    This “Technic” is pretty much wide spreed in Israel as well as most soldiers do carry around their home, and we have strict rules about “unloading” your gun every time before and after you do pretty much everything with your rifle , as well most of the soldiers that do carry their guns usually attach one mag to the rifle, this so called “cord attaching to the mag” is quite useful as mags sometime fall of the rifle.

    And on the combat look on this things is that we don’t drop our mags in battle as well (losing your mags is a big NO NO for us) so when you are in “danger zone” you often not exactly battle ready and don’t have a vest or what ever to put your empty mag there

    I’m not a big fan of this thought i myself carry my ‘backup’ mag in a pouch on the stock

  • Nigel

    I’ve never been in the military, but have talked to a few ex NZ soldiers. As I understand it, the NZ army is big on minimising resource use ( all guns are used single shot for example ) & by extension minimising support requirements.
    My take is it’s not just a money consideration, NZ’s terrain/size/infrastructure mean resources/support in the event of the Army being used in NZ would be a major issue & also where the NZ army is deployed & especially SIS deployments resources/support are minimal, I could be wrong but I thought that was almost the objective of Special Forces, operating where in essence no one else can in a very light fashion.

  • Milgeek….90% of that stuff was actually made in the US and dropped by the SF to get VC! Bo Gritz has some good gouge on it in his book “Called to Serve”

  • Lance

    Outside of the US most military teach there solders to never dump mas and abandon them. Thats why Isreal used rlite mags for so long even though they where more expensive than alumanium mags.

  • jdun1911

    Not sure about NZ SAS but the British SAS is underfunded. I don’t know why the magazine layout is like that. It’s not like the majority of Taliban are using AR.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/nov/01/sas-commander-quits-afghanistan

  • MGN

    From what I’ve heard, afghan kids have an habit of grabbing/stealing anything they can touch on a soldier. They usually come around soldiers on patrol in markets or bazaar, giggling and asking for money/candies, and they grab everything from small equipment to grenade pin (many soldiers are using tape to secure their grenades). I guess they can also try to remove magazines.

  • Marsh

    I heard that one of the problems our Delta Force and Rangers experienced in Mogadishu during the “Black Hawk Down” mission was that they had been speed reloading their guns and so tossing their magazines aside as they battled throughout the city. So when they got resupplied with raw boxes of ammo they didn’t have anywhere to put the bullets. Maybe that’s why the NZ-SAS are making extra sure they don’t lose their magazines. You’d think you could solve this simple problem by dropping magazines instead of just boxes of rounds though.

  • Bob

    As part of the US Army who served in Afghanistan, my soldiers had dump bags, from the supply shop with the Magpul(?) magazine end covers for improved grip and noise discipline. As family and friends who fought in Vietnam told me never leave anything for the enemy, even MRE pouches. My way of being green;) Also hanging out with the RAF Reg, you always reload your mags during lull, don’t want to go black on class five early.

  • Phil Wong

    IIRC, at least one of the older iterations of the Lee-Enfield rifle(possibly the Royal Irish Constabulary version) actually had the detachable magazine secured to the rifle with a short chain attached to a metal loop just forward of the magazine well. Although the L-E magazines were supposed to be interchangeable, in practice each rifle was issued with one magazine that was serial-numbered to the gun like the bolt – for whatever reason, the Brits never seemed to ramp up magazine production to the point where Tommy could get his hands on more than one or two spares for his SMLE…and even then, it was possible only by cannibalizing magazines from the rifles of his wounded or dead mates, which was a rather unsavory prospect.

    An army like the US Army with a huge logistical organization supporting it has the luxury of designing and treating magazines as expendable items, but the Kiwis and Diggers may or may not have their own domestic source of STANAG magazines…and if so, like the Brits do for their L85 magazines, they may simply not have the production capability to churn them out like we do in the States. Especially since they don’t really have a robust domestic market of shooting enthusiasts with a high market demand for such magazines, that would keep a mag-maker’s production lines running between military contracts…

    What can I say – old habits die hard, especially in tradition-bound organizations like armed forces…and British/Commonwealth armed forces are probably more traditional than most…

  • Some good comments, here are some answers for some commenters.

    1. These guy only do fighting, there is little else they do, they are the Special Air Service.

    2. There is a very high chance that one of those in the photo is Cpl. Willie Apiata VC. That is the Vitoria Cros, look him up in Wikipedia and see what he did to get it, it wasn’t building latrines.

    3. The Regular Force in NZ do use the Steyr AUG, a piece of sh*t IMHO

    4. The SAS have a long history dating back to the LRDP in North Africa from which they were formed of using irregular equipment and rifles. They also never have insignia.

  • Maigo

    I think it’s different for the Israelis, they don’t seem to keep the weapon loaded but keep a magazine on the gun. Having a second form of retention seems like the intelligent thing to do

  • vereceleritas

    Steve,

    Money definitely has something to do with it as well. In garrison you’ll have to pay to replace missing magazines and fill out a missing gear statement but in combat it just gets written off as a combat loss. No one will blame your for ditching your empty mags during a speed reload in a firefight. There are far more important things than $$$ to worry about at that point.

  • subase

    Apart from looking silly doesn’t appear to have any major downsides. It helps to not lose your first magazine in the intensity of a firefight breaking out. And it also helps speed up that crucial first magazine reload, where unleashing firepower, while locating the enemy and finding cover, should be done as fast as humanly possible.

    Looks like a legitimate technique.

  • subase

    Also the fact that the cord is white and it has no ‘slack’ means that it is elastic cord, which if pulled hard enough easily snaps. So no chance of it being caught on anything either.

  • Mad World

    DannyBoy as I can see a larger image (huge front page of the news paper out here) I would say you are correct, from a stealth perspective it seems a great idea due to the nature of SAS ops. From what i can see, which is a much clearer image, the mags are fitted with magpuls, through the base is what actually looks to be rubber bands of the large variety securing them to the rifle.

    It is also clear that they are not pointing their weapons at each others feet. About the NZ Army using the AUG, we do yes, however the SAS make use of the M4 aswell as MP5’s and other non-standard gear, their uniform is also very different.

  • BJ

    From the 2 ex NZ grunts on my watch. There are probably 2 mags taped together. They are tied to the trigger guard for a fast reload. On Ops they can lose a mag, but on excercise they would have to pay for it. Hope this helps.

  • brandon

    hey maybe they are under a resession as well lol!I actually heard one time it was an article 15 offense to loose a Bar mag. in the Korean war at one point in the war I don’t know how true it is. One of my friends in the Army told me that.Of coarse now we shove our empty m-4 mags in our cargo pocket or leg pouch of coarse I don’t think it would be an article 15 if we lost a empty mag after a fire fight though.but if things keep on who knows lol!

  • Aeain

    I just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan with 3rd BCT 10th Mountain Div (LI). We never dumped mags, though we were not issued a dump pouch we did use whatever we could, I’ve personally dumped mags into my cargo pockets. Not the most comfortable thing to do but it’s good untill you get the time to switch your mags around.

    All-in-all I’d assume it has to do with budgetary concerns.

  • Pedro

    I was an Infantryman in the Royal Australian Regiment during the Vietnam War (3RAR 1968) and I can assure you that throwing an empty magazine away was never SOP.
    We trained in weapons drills constantly on all the Infantry weapons, at the time the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle, (SLR) the M16A1, the GPMG M60, and the M79 40mm Grenade Launcher.
    For the rifles the “immediate action” drill for empty magazine included the recovery and “putting away” the empty mag into the web equipment.
    Twenty years of soldiering after Vietnam, and I was still practising and teaching similar weapon handling drills that always include recovering empty mags.
    I can also assure you that our NZ cousins had almost identical drills.
    Having said all that, both the NZ and Aust SAS operates in a different environment and uses mission specific weapons and equipment to a far greater degree than “leg” infantry, and the cord attachment of magazines will have some very sound idea behind it. I favour the “silent movement” proposal.

  • Adam H

    @Whaleoil

    I found this on Wikipedia:

    Responding in the aftermath of the January 2010 attacks in Kabul, (Willie) Apiata was photographed by French photojournalist Philip Poupin. Poupin, who did not know Apiata, photographed Apiata and two companions as they were leaving the “thick of the fight” because “They looked like foreign troops and they were tall and had a specific face, they looked tough and strong”.

  • adamr

    I was a Marine, and we were never taught to drop mags. Where did you guys here that?
    We’re taught to retain all gear (talk to a Marine that has lost something issued to him, he’ll tell you a story) and not waste stuff. Matter of fact, at the range, when doing the rapid fires, you must retain the magazine on your person, and that’s just a markmanship range.

  • Here in Israel we don’t ever throw away empty magazines. Some units do require the magazine be connected to the rifle using a retention cord. Some do not.

    Many IDF Servicemen use special retention kit like this one.

    So what to do with the empties? If you are in the heat of battle you can place the empty magazines in your open web pouches or drop them down the front of your shirt.

    BTW- In the IDF we do not use tape to couple magazines. We use Mag Couplers like this.

    DoubleTapper
    DoubleTapper@gmail.com
    DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

  • subase

    If they use magpul mags then they won’t get them replaced if they lose them. So protecting their own personal stash with this system would make sense.

    The stealth reason makes sense but I don’t think it was the original reason for doing that.

  • Marsh

    I want to comment on people saying you should properly stash your empty mags back into ammo pouches, don’t; it will get you killed. If you’re in combat reload your weapon as quickly as possible and always keep your eyes busy scanning for possible threats rather than fixating on reloading your gun. Also always try to square off straight with your enemy if you’re wearing body armor. Better to take a round to the chest and having it stopped by your armor than to try and create a smaller profile by turning to the side. You risk taking a round to the armpit if your side is facing the enemy. And of course always try to find cover. Don’t just stand in the middle of nowhere carefully reloading your weapon like an idiot just because that’s how you did it during training. Only stash your empty mags away if it’s safe to do so. And I don’t care what your military instructor says on these points. They’re often behind the curve on tactical training. Use your common sense and stay alive.

    • Hunter

      Exactly, as I said previously, the leniard has nothing to do with false releases and is solely to do with retaining mags for further use after exhausting current loaded munitions. Its to do with fire sustainability while keeping mags on person. It is far easier to use the two or three magazine taped method if the extra weight does not un-nerve you. This method allows you to keep face up to combat at all times and exchange mags quicker. Personally, I prefered to work without anything that will snag. That can cost you.

  • TacoRocco

    I don’t know why it would be weird?

    As doubletapper said, Isreali’s have been paracording their mags and sights to their weapons for years.

    I agree with Maigo and vereceleritas.

    I couldn’t really deal with having a magazine hang off my weapon when doing a quick change. I’d rather have a drop sack or even take the time to put it in my vest.

    • Hunter

      Its main reason there is for retention. To maintain the mag for further use. The extra ammunition carried is not all prepacked in mags. You need mags to load your extra rounds in at a later time. In a quick response of maybe 10 seconds to withdraw from an ambush, you wont think to throw your mag, you do it. Best way not to is to incorperate it into some form of dicipline. Here they use a leniard. For many years they have used two and three mags tapped together as they are never dropped and are always on the gun. It has nothing to do with false release or forced removal as some say. An attempt at Forced removal is met with a rifle butt very quickly. A false release in middle of battle…come on now!…they are SAS lol. πŸ™‚

  • Carl

    +1 Marsh
    Also, it might be interesting to look at what competition shooters do. I’d guess that they all just drop their empties.
    Obviously competition is not combat, but the point is that you’ll be slower if you retain your empties than if you don’t, regardless of your activity. Competition shooters are free to use whatever method is best.

    By the way, if you have the first magazine tied to the gun in a combat situation, do you stop shooting when the second magazine runs out? I mean, you can’t really remove it from your gun if it isn’t tied to it, right?

    Again, this is so silly it must have been thought up by some pencil pushing bureaucrat.

  • Sal

    I think the retention lanyard is to deal with an accidental release of a magazine during a firefight, particularly at night or in darkness. Having an lanyard would facilitate recovery rather than fumbling around to pull a new magazine out of a pouch.

  • gunslinger

    If they were all that worried about losing mags, perhaps all NATO countries should adopt C-mags as standard issue.

  • subase

    Reduce noise of the magazine dropping really? Why not just stash it in your pockets like your supposed to, not to mention a dangling magazine knocking against things doesn’t sound too stealthy to me.

    The reason they are doing it is mainly to speed up magazine changes without losing a magazine each time. Thats it. Although I can’t comment on the helicopter theory.

    They aren’t doing it for the IDF reasons, which are largely due to needing weapons to be kept unloaded.

    They aren’t taping mags together, since that inhibits the ability of stashing them. And is slightly cumbersome, since it requires reloading techniques different from the normal.

    This is the best of both worlds, with the elastic tape they can easily just rip the magazine off if if they really want to stow it.

  • Destroyer

    here’s a remedy: a dump pouch.

  • Gustavo

    I worked with Kiwi Parachute company in the mid 90’s.They use to attach their mag by string to their Steyr rifles.I think it was their SOP and they loved it.Made for faster mag change at initial contact.Its just a Kiwi thing.

  • Have a look at this photo-

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Portals/0-Articles/144187/sasB.jpg

    It appears that the “string” is actually a proper retention lanyard, similar to those used by many nowadays on pistols.

    Interesting.

    • gsource, thanks for the image.

  • Kharn

    Specs tie their 1st magazine into trigger guard becouse its much faster to reload 1st mag to 2nd. You just dont care about it just pull it out and it swings on a cord.

  • Sam

    I think I can help with your question,

    The reason for the magazines connected to the firearm is so the first burst of fire will be reactive and agressively meet with fire in the inital stages, say a counter ambush. Once the rounds in the magazine are fully expended, the magazine is released and another one is placed while the magazine is dangling. Once the contact of fire fight is in momentium or in a more fluid nature from the initial response, then the trooper/operator/soldier can release and recover the magazine at a later date and be placed in a pouch or stuffed down the front of a shirt.
    Additionally it is common practice to have the magazine secured to the fire arm in an urban or riot and or, populated environment in case of civilse attempt to hamper or ‘picked’ the magazine from the weapon.
    It is a common practice not to leave magazines that can be reloaded at a later date and additionally, leaves minimal presense of activity that can build up a picture: find a magazine, find a foot print and so on.

  • MC

    In repsonse to Albert and ISAF troops sleeping while americans fight or ISAF troops not being allowed to even carry as much as a sharp stick. I was in Iraq for 4 years and was the Americans who enforced these rules on us…..POT THIS IS KETTLE

  • Guest

    We used to tie our first magazine with a quick release clip to our weapon too whilst on patrol, because on some occasions our kit would catch the weapons magazine release catch and the magazine would then fall onto the floor without us knowing !!!

    What also used to happen is that should the magazine fall of your weapon full of ammunition it hit the concrete floor it would sometimes then empty its whole contents of all its rounds right in front of your eyes !!! not funny in a built up area…trying to pick up 30 rounds of ammo scattered all over the street and everyone watching.

    And what with ammunition being accounted for or falling into the enemy’s hands that’s really bad drills, so hopefully that will answer your question, its a preventive precaution to a unfortunate mishap.

    • Hunter

      All looks good and professional. It is as described here as for retaining magazine from first contact in flurried conditions. And not leave items of ID arround for the enemy. However, like the old english sidearm leniard, it has a problem with catching in both bush and urban situations. Crawling through the rubble trying to return fire with snagging cords pulling you off aim is not good. A more widely used means to accomplish this is the taping of the first two magazines together. Release reverse and engage. Second mag is still there and mag change is quick and effective. That taping wasnt just for the movie props πŸ™‚ This leniard just serves to make good soldiers look like trainees. Bit like training wheels for operatives lol. But at the end of the day, it is different to how the yanks did it lol.

  • truth

    Lads- have a close look, it is simply a rubber band. this is used to retain the magazine on the weapon and is inherently important for helo ops. Remember the simplest idea is often the best πŸ™‚

    G source, your photo shows what I was about to explain correctly (and finally after reading the answers:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Portals/0-Articles/144187/sasB.jpg

    It appears that the β€œstring” is actually a proper retention lanyard, similar to those used by many nowadays on pistols.

    and SAM you are correct in your: The reason for the magazines connected to the firearm is so the first burst of fire will be reactive and agressively meet with fire in the inital stages, say a counter ambush. Once the rounds in the magazine are fully expended, the magazine is released and another one is placed while the magazine is dangling. Once the contact of fire fight is in momentium or in a more fluid nature from the initial response, then the trooper/operator/soldier can release and recover the magazine at a later date and be placed in a pouch or stuffed down the front of a shirt.

  • Chris

    The string technique is used by Kiwis on both the Steyrs and M4A1s. From my understanding when contact is made each patrol member lays down heavy supressing fire and once their mag is empty they boot it back out of contact as fast as they can in a bounding movement and one by one peel away from the enemy ambush.

    You have to remember that small teams like an SAS patrol are usually recon/intel foccused and are not there to get in a big fight and if they are there for a fight they want to do it on their terms. So ideally they want to break contact quickly if ambushed. In the rush back you are trying to get a new mag in and release the bolt catch and it is probably a pain in the arse to try and put an empty mag away while doing so.

    Being recon foccused these guys don’t leave their shit behind let alone a NATO type magazine so dropping the first mag is not an option either. While these types of ops are probably not common in the Afgahn Theatre it is probably just a general SOP the Operators continue to do…old habits die hard.

    Oh and for those few of you saying it looks stupid…if you have to intimidate your enemy or look powerful and awe like then you ain’t doing it right. These guys are quiet professionals.

  • I’m currently in the nz sas and we are told not to leave any magazines behind because it cost a lot of money to resuply all the soilders after a battle and it pollutes or inviroment and the afghan people complained to my troop about the mess we left in their village

  • K

    Looks like I got on this three years too late lol.

    Saw a comment asking why these guys a packing M4’s. The group (1NZSAS Group) use M4’s primarily instead of the IW Steyr F88. Main stream NZ Army units use the Steyr.

    Secondly, we use the lanyard technique in NZ and are taught to retain our magazines because it is uneconomical for a small section sized group (8 – 10 persons) to continually drop magazines everywhere. Not just financially in the big picture but if you were in a mountain range in Afghan fighting from position to position dropping magazines, eventually you would have none. It’s not hard to understand that.

    Also the lanyard technique is normally taught after basic recruit training and mainly to those in the infantry regiment. This has been going on long before I joined the army in 2002 and is still taught today. The lanyard allows you to be able to drop the magazine quickly in a fire fight without the need to fumble around with it in your pouch returning it but retaining it also.