The Ironman Ammo Carrier reports

It all began during an intense 2 1/2-hour firefight with the enemy earlier this year in Afghanistan.

As members of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard, sat around later at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam and discussed the engagement, they talked about how three-man teams manning crew-served weapons struggled to stay together over difficult terrain in fluid battles.

Someone mentioned actor Jesse Ventura in the movie “Predator.” His character brandished an M-134 Mini-gun fed by an ammo box on his back. After the Soldiers had a good laugh over that thought, Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski asked why a gunner couldn’t carry a combat load of ammo. He decided to pursue the idea.

“When we first arrived in theater in late October (2010), we were issued the Mk 48 7.62 mm machine guns,” Winkowski said. “This was a new piece of equipment for us, and we struggled to come up with a solution for carrying and employing ammunition for it due to our small size and the inability to have a designated ammo bearer, as is common doctrine with the M240B.

Read the rest of the article here.

[ Many thanks to Dave & Mik for emailing me the link. ]

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.


  • Billy Bones

    LBT has, in the past, created a lower-back ammo pack that rested on the hips. Any pictures of the back?

    I deeply appreciate the dedication of our troops, Godspeed.

  • wright

    it’s kind of scary what marines come up with when the feel creative.

    • Chipsa

      @wright: they ain’t no stinking marines!

    • FYI, They are soldiers, not Marines.

    • cy

      34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard

  • It should be pointed out that the “Predator” backpack was based upon actual lash-ups assembled by some SEAL Team M60 gunners during Vietnam. They attached helicopter door gun ammo cans to backpack frames.

  • JB
  • Kirk

    Amazing how the Army system rips off an idea from a company, files off the serial numbers, and then sells it as it’s own. All while costing the taxpayers more money in “development”, instead of doing an off-the-shelf purchase from a vendor.

    Tyr Tactical has been carrying these things in it’s catalog for at least the last two years. It ain’t a new idea–It’s just taken this long for the official part of the Army procurement system to notice the need, and then “fill” it.

    Similar shenanigans with Natick took place back in the 1980s. A medic in my unit lashed up what amounted to a Camelback, out of a wine box bladder and a set of I.V. tubing. Bunch of us copied him, and he showed it off to some geniuses from Natick who were out looking for ideas. They told him it was impractical and unneeded. Fifteen years later, who’s paying Camelback licensing fees for something they could have had in the field themselves for nothing, if they’d just listened to the troops like they claim to.

    • projectiledysfunction

      The idea is even older than Vietnam, actually. Here you can see one in action in an Armalite AR=10 demo film from the late 50s:

    • W

      good link projectile 🙂 that is incredible. I’ve had many dreams about the Ar10 being adopted instead of the M16…

  • Chairman Mow


    A NG unit from Iowa does not have $4K worth of discretionary warbucks to acquire the ready made backpack.

    2 Ammo Cans – FREE
    Brazing rod-FREE ( Grab them from the maintenance depot)
    Alice frame-FREE ( Alice gear is still in use ? )
    Ammo chute-FREE ( “Borrow” a spare or salvage)

    • Kirk

      I’m not talking about the unit’s initiative, I’m talking about Natick Labs and their consistent refusal to pay attention to anything they didn’t invent, or that doesn’t have a system-identified “needs assessment” attached to it.

      Want some serious irritation? Review the insanity surrounding the whole MagPul P-Mag, or even the MagPul improved follower for the issue magazine. The geniuses had off-the-shelf availability, and they still spent millions to develop an in-house product that merely duplicates what MagPul had available years ago.

      Seriously… Someone needs to investigate that whole crew, from top to bottom. I’d wager there’s likely some money involved, and someone’s benefiting while good men try to fight a war with equipment and arms that aren’t as good as they should be, given what’s on the market these days.

      Fer cripe’s sake… Even the Brits recognize the superiority of the P-Mag, and are issuing the internationalized version of it for the L85 in Afghanistan. Why are we still forced to buy the P-Mag with unit or personal funds? Meanwhile, all the officially-sponsored plastic mags are still not on general issue, for various reasons.

    • W

      Kirk, i posted on here many moons ago how stupid it was for the army to spend money developing (or re-developing in my opinion) the anti-tilt follower when magpul had anti-tilt followers on the market for quite a while.

      Nothing gives me that warm tingly feeling like innovation. Stuff like this reminds me of the good ol days…

  • Its been in use from Russkies since afghan war.I think first used by GRU caravan hunters in Afganistan to feed their PKM

  • Lance

    Ammo back packs have been used since Vietnam. Mostly used by SOCOM and Spec ops who dont have ammo runners for squad based weapon.Sure he used a MK-48? The M-240s are the regular Army squad MGs. Even if they did I bet its short lived the M-240L is going to replace all MGs for front line units.

    • Lance: Certain regular Army units were equipped with the FN Mk 48 to tide them over until the M240L was fielded.

  • jdun1911

    575 rounds isn’t enough but than again I hate to be humping it. 575 rounds of 7.62 + backpack is freaking heavy. I wonder how much the total weight.

    • jdun1911

      I want to point this out. Depending on how the backpack is design. If it is design right the load will not hamper/fatigued the user as much.

    • Jeff

      In another article about this they said 43 lbs with ammo.

    • Raoul O’Shaugnnessy

      If it’s too heavy, just hold down the trigger…..It gets lighter as you shoot it 🙂

  • Big Daddy

    This has been around for years, it’s a common sense solution to a common problem.

    Why it’s not in the system I’ll never know. It should be standard issue made of light weight materials.

  • Indoman

    Speaking of the minigun. Has anyone heard of the XM-214 Microgun? It was supposed to be a light portable minigun firing the 5.56 NATO.

  • Sid

    There should be a policy that you have to quote a line from the movie before you head out on a mission with the backpack ammo can. Something like:

    Come on in, you fuckers. Come on in. Ol’ Painless is waitin’.

    Here we are again bro… Just you and me. Same kind of moon same kind of jungle. Real number 10 remember… Whole platoon, 32 men chopped into meat… We walk out just you and me, nobody else. Right on top huh? Not a scratch… Not a fuckin’ scratch. You know who ever got you. They’ll come back again. And when he does I’m gonna cut your name right into him… I’m gonna cut your name into him!

    We move, five meter spread, no sound.

  • micah

    Used to be in the 2/34th. Thats what you get when you forward deploy a bunch of Iowa farm boys! The idea may have been around a while but it makes sense and they rigged it up in the middle of afghanistan.

  • kp

    any pictures of the jerry-rigged setup?

  • John

    Where does he carry all the extra barrels?

  • is this true? wheres the backside pic?