BREAKING: US Army Introduces New Enhanced Performance Magazine for M4/M16 Series Rifles

The EPM (left) alongside the older tan, green, and black follower 30 round USGI magazines.

The EPM (left) alongside the older tan, green, and black follower 30 round USGI magazines.

The US Army has taken one more step towards further improving the reliability of the controversial M16 and M4 series of rifles, according to a TACOM announcement. The Army is introducing a new pattern of magazine to supplant the older black, green, and tan follower magazines, respectively. Called the “Enhanced Performance Magazine”, the new pattern sports a tan magazine body and a blue follower, for identification, and boasts a 300% increase in the mean number of rounds between stoppages when used in the M4 Carbine. Unlike previous magazines, the EPM uses a new, modified magazine body (and therefore not interchangeable, hence the different color) which presents the rounds at a more favorable angle to the rifle’s feedway, improving reliability and, importantly, preventing the hardened steel tips of new 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Rounds from contacting the aluminum feed ramp section on M4 type rifles.

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This model from a 2014 PM Soldier Weapons presentation illustrates how the new magazine body differs from its predecessors; the new magazine is shown in grey, the old in orange.

 

The new magazine began development by ARDEC and the Army Research Laboratory in July of 2013, and was first made public through NDIA in 2014. Finally, these improved magazines will now be in the hands of our fighting men and women!

According to Soldier Systems, the National Stock Number for the new magazine type is NSN 1005-01-630-9508.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Red McCloud

    Tan magazines for black rifles. Do they think we’re going to be fighting in the middle-east forever?

    Well we probably are but still.

    • ARCNA442

      A dull tan like the new magazine is decent camouflage almost anywhere – look at the the majority of North American animals.

    • The tan magazine body is to differentiate the new magazine from the old ones. Keep in mind, unlike the black/green/tan follower USGI magazines, the new blue follower mag has a differently dimensioned magazine body.

    • Jwedel1231

      As opposed to, what? We can’t leave them black (confused with the old mags) so would you have us paint them green? (will we be fighting in a forest forever?) Blue? Fluorescent yellow?

      • Twilight sparkle

        Actually we could make them black, up until now usgi mags have been grey

        • IshTheBuddha

          I spent some time with soldiers form the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, and they were issued black H&K magazines. I’ve seen them floating around in other places as well. So some issued magazines have been black. However most are indeed grey.

          • Twilight sparkle

            this is true but I would think those are fairly rare exceptions. I wonder if the H&K mags even have the same geometry as the old usgi mags, I feel like being made of steel instead of aluminum would require some geometry changes.

          • Core

            The HK are in fact steel and probably not the same dimensions as a usgi aluminum mag, which has the gray milspec friction reducing coating. Others have black teflon inside and out which is better in my opinion. The HK mags are steel, and stainless, and have different followers, engineered by zie Germans. I guess the new usgi mags have similar geometry as Magpul which leads me to wonder why we just didn’t use Magpul?

          • Twilight sparkle

            The military has had too much of an on and off relationship with magpul. The older magpul mags wouldn’t work in the H&K 416 or more importantly the m27 iar, the new m3 should work with the m27 iar but then the over travel stops could be an issue with another gun in the future.

            The new usgi mag is probably a fairly safe bet for all weapon systems current and future.

          • Core

            We choose to adopt the HK M27 even though we knew we didn’t use the same magazines. The mud’s on our face not Magpul’s. Magpul’s new mags address the issue. But IMHO we should have made HK rework the magwell to fit our mags.

          • Core

            No pun but that is a very bold end statement. Unless the military and firearms manufacturers start building guns around the ushi mag there will always be a need for new mags. And there will always be a need for improvement on the existing usgi mags. These are absolute givens.

            HK likes to think their German engineering is superior and design a bunch of proprietary technology. In many ways they are paying a way for advancement. But I don’t blame them, I blame the Maine Corps for buying a bunch of guns that can’t use a gen 1 Pmag. Which are currently being used as a better alternative to usgi mags. Now the Army and Marine Corps and probably Navy are designing better usgi mags. Being a good leader is about using what is available, not reinventing the wheel. I think they should just use Magpul followers.

          • valorius

            The M27 IAR is an insanely stupid idea in any case.

            The USMC would be best off if they just threw them all in the trash. Mag fed rifles can not, do not, and never will, replace belt fed weapons.

          • Twilight sparkle

            It’s not meant to replace all belt fed rifles, it’s meant to fill the roll of a squad automatic rifle and there’s no reason it can’t do that.

          • valorius

            God invented belt fed SAWs for a reason. Because mag fed weapons are incapable of performing adequately in that role.

            The M27 is idiotic.

    • Anonymoose

      Tan works better than black in all environments. The only reason black leather, black guns, and black boots are issued is because they “don’t show dirt” and look “slick” to people who only care about how things look in formation and not actually about how they perform in combat.

      • ostiariusalpha

        It doesn’t hurt that black colored bluing, anodizing, and shoe-polish are the easiest to manufacture and apply.

        • Anonymoose

          Anodizing is usually a dull gray. Up until the M16A2, all AR variants were gray.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Right, shoe-polish doesn’t inherently have a particular color either, but if you do add “color” then black is the easiest and cheapest one to go with.

          • George

            You have seen all the bright red, blue, green, gold/brass colored anodized aluminum?… The dyes are all wellllll known.

            Grey with a touch of the brass / gold color seems to go dark dirty tan not too badly, but still experimenting.

          • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

            You can’t really color Type III Hard anodizing though. You can get a few shades of black, and dark dark OD Green. But that’s about it.

            Those beautifully colored anodized products you see are commercial anodizes and it’s a very soft finish that provides almost no wear protection.

          • guest

            There’s always olive drab spray paint. Or tan, if the environment makes that a better choice.

          • AirborneSoldier

            This is how did our weapons

          • Paladin

            A Type III hard coat anodize on 7075 aluminum with no dye gives a darkish grey colour, so any dyes added would also have to be quite dark to show up well, which is why black dye is most commonly used. Brighter colours require type II anodizing which is nowhere near as strong.

          • Norm Glitz

            I first shot an M-16 in 1966. No A1 or anything, an original M-16. It was black as were the rest of the rifles in that group.

            Undyed anodizing is clear, showing the color of the aluminum underneath. To get any color in anodizing takes some sort of dye process

        • AirborneSoldier

          Yes.

      • AirborneSoldier

        And for keeping things from rusting

      • The Brigadier

        Black and dark green are still the best colors for night fighting because our eyes have no rods or cones for either color.

        • Anonymoose

          Except that true black is found nowhere in nature, and the permanoon of most cities ensures that you will show up as a big blob. Better to go with tan, OD/foliage, and a mix of browns and grays.

          • The Brigadier

            OD green fits the category.

    • Bullphrog855

      I don’t think there’s a nation in the ME that justifies the cost in repainting equipment*. They are all just complete trash war fighters.

      *Inf uniforms I get.

      • bucherm

        What kills?

        Complacency kills.

      • valorius

        I’ll get on the horn to all our war dead and let them know they were killed by ‘complete trash war fighters.’

        SMH

        • Bullphrog855

          That’s embarrassingly simple minded.

          Go a head, it’s the truth but only you are making into something to be ashamed of and to apply it blanket wide over our troops as if they all died the same way to the same causes is insulting to our troops. When bullets are flying and mortars are coming down; you could have all the training in the world, be the best soldier in history and you are still able to get killed by the exact same things every one else is.

          At face level. that is nothing to be ashamed of when your in a RNG death pit.

          • valorius

            The Afghan warrior is perhaps the most accomplished in human history.

    • USMC03Vet

      Nah. The middle east has migrated to your home street is all.

      • AirborneSoldier

        True dat

    • Pistolero

      Coming from west Texas I appreciate the FDE offerings

  • Volk

    “improving the reliability of the controversial M16 and M4 series of rifles” – Controversial to who? Does anyone other than russophiles or fudds still doubt that the AR15 is an effective weapon?

    • Considering the amount of time I’ve spent refuting such people, I feel “controversial” is still appropriate.

      • Sgt101st

        The issue seems like a image issue not actual. Yes old timers have a issue with old m16’s because of various issues including powder used in the cartridge. There are a ton of manufactures and the term mil spec is thrown a ton however few truly meet those minimum standards. It’s not a gold standard it’s a minimum standard imho. I’ve never seen a ar up to my standards that was under 600-700$ unless on sale and in that range I’ve only seen a few. The magazines issued in garison are often old and warn out and many issues come with that. The ones issues in combat are not old and issues are minimal. I never experienced a issue with many thousands of rounds fired in anger in harsh conditions with my m4. I had quite a few double feeds etc while at the range with old mags same weapon different result only difference was magazines. Civilian world far better equipment better mags Lancer, magpul etc I can’t remember a time where I had a issue with one of my builds using any Ammo including my reloads. At the range in north Idaho I’ve seen others with issues but it’s typically from a budget ar, cheap Ammo and off brand magazines. I’ll take a quality ar over any ak any day but I’ll take a inexpensive ak over a cheap ar. Fwiw

        • Kivaari

          In the commercial arena 40 years every problem the AR15 had was directly related to poor quality ammunition. Shooting US GI (all stolen per ATF) and commercial NEW ammunition showed the rifles simply worked all the time. With almost no exception people having problems were using commercial reloads of home-reloaded ammo. I never found a commercial reloader that cared how good the ammo was. It was get the brass, resize in .223 dies (not small bases) stuff powder and a bullet and let it out the door. Taking a box of 50 rounds and running them into a check gauge showed that many if not most was not within spec.
          More hate seems to be based on reloaded ammo and war stories repeated for the hundredth time.

          • AirborneSoldier

            Poor cleaning and lube issues are the majority i have seen

          • Kivaari

            I’d agree if we are talking factory ammunition. With good ammo the rifles just run very well. When I encountered people with issues, out side of professional arenas, the ammunition was the issue. People couldn’t find good quality, affordable, ammunition. They settled for commercial reloads, and those companies didn’t care if it worked or not. It just had to sell. People would buy gun show ammo in un-labeled bags and wonder why their AR15 didn’t work. Much of it never saw a case gauge.

          • The Brigadier

            Its still the mouse rifle. The .223 is a small bullet and while fast, it has less kinetic energy than a .308, a .338 and a .375.

          • Kivaari

            The .308, .338 and .375 don’t make great fire an maneuver guns. At least not in the individual rifle.

          • Kivaari

            Remember KE isn’t important.

          • valorius

            KE in and of itself is pretty irrelevant.

          • valorius

            Almost everyone that claims they were in vietnam is lying through their teeth anyway. Something like 80% of the people who post online claiming to be vietnam vets are, in fact, liars. (they’ve done studies)

          • Kivaari

            Well, I have my DD214, and it shows I am a Vietnam vet. I never heard a bullet go by. But I was sure there when plenty of iron went out.

          • valorius

            My fake vietnam vet comment was not directed at you, btw.

          • Kivaari

            I’ve seen stories on street people that claimed the Vietnam vet status, when they were in there 50s. It would meant they were 8 to 12 years old while serving in Vietnam. The street value of being a veteran seems to overwhelm some people. Then their audience is not sharp enough to do the math. Not that long ago there was a “Vietnam vet” murder victim that was 53 years old. Since we left in ’73 and he died in ’14 he was really a young vet. Even the newspaper writer didn’t catch the math question.

          • valorius

            It’s sad, but fake vets absolutely abound. Anyone that goes out of their way to mention they’re a vietnam vet on message boards, unless it’s directly related to the topic at hand, is to me almost certainly a fake.

        • valorius

          I’ve never seen an AR from any reputable company that wasnt fine for home defense or civilian police use, as is, out of the box, no matter how inexpensive it was.

      • CavScout

        Ignore those people. Mostly people whining that the military should switch to X weapon, item, etc every time something new comes out. The mercenaries at the end of COD MW2 is what the army would be wearing and wielding if those people had control over the mil. Also, same place their experience in what the mil does do comes from.

      • valorius

        The problem here is not with the weapon, it’s with the new round.

        The army over-pressured this round because, apparently, today’s Army leadership thinks modern soldiers are too much of sissy mary’s to carry a 20″ long M16.

        • Kivaari

          They are just awkward in and around vehicles. If everything was out on foot that would be something else. The M16A2-3-4 is a heavy rifle, especially if all that extra gear is strapped on. The new M4A1 is plenty heavy and it will do the job required.

          • valorius

            I had literally zero problems with my M16A4 in Bradleys, M113A3s and M106’s.

            The M-16’s length was a total non issue.

            The M-4 is a remf gun for girly men that cant handle an 8lb rifle. I wonder how these people wouldve ever survived carrying an M14 or M1.

          • Kivaari

            My use was primarily in Ford Crown Vic and Chevy Caprices. Even in the army ng, the truck M153 (Jeep IIRC) was a nuisance. But, some people don’t care mauch and treat the rifles rough. I think your description of the M4 being an REMF weapon misses the mark. Considering it started out as a special ops carbine and performed well in that role, I think it is doing just fine. Remember the combat load of a soldier isn’t any lighter. Within that load of 80 plus pounds the soldier can do more than his ancestors did while armed with an M1 rifle and 80 rounds. Both soldiers carried 80 pounds of gear. The punch of the WW2 grunt v today’s grunt gives an endge to the modern fighter. The ability to hit with an M4 exceeds what the M1 or M14 user typically could do. We have better glass and better missiles. Same for the Vietnam era vets where we had gear like the LAAW and those nice little grenades where 3 or 4 of them could be packed for the weight of one pineapple grenade. But, the bottom line is both men carried the same load. Today’s men can just do more with their 80 pounds.

          • valorius

            I feel a need to correct a typo for clarity’s sake: I was issued an M16A2, not an A4. The A4 came long after my time.

            When i was in we carried just as much crap as they do now, and again, the M16’s weight was a total non issue. It was a total featherweight compared to the M60 I carried for a time. Or the M47 Dragon ATGM, or the SAW…but you get the point.

            I don’t think the m4 in and of itself offers one iota of advantage vs an M1 carbine, M1 Garand or Thompson SMG unless you’re talking full auto, which the overwhelming majority of people issued a rifle are not sufficiently trained to use anyway.

            Put modern optics and a rail on any of those WWII American weapons, and they’d be at least as effective as anything our guys carry today. Same for a circa 1944 Stg44 or circa 1947 AK-47.

            If you look at what you’d get with an M1 carbine with a composite stock, rails and a red dot, the whole package would probably weigh in at about 6lbs loaded (with wood stock the M1 carbine is 5.5lbs if my memory serves).

            What commandos need is in no way analagous to what infantrymen need, btw. For the most part SOCOM doesnt use M4s anyway. They mostly use SCARs and HK416s.

            The M4 is all about the REMF’s and the females. It is a piss poor infantry weapon. It lacks both the range and the hitting power of the M16, which is certainly not saying much.

          • Kivaari

            I had the M16A1 and would be happy with it. Just put the M4 feed ramp cuts in it and it’s a fine rifle. I prefer the older sight, finding the A2 sight to be unneeded and complex, thus more likely to fail.

          • valorius

            We had very old and tired M16A1s at my first unit. Compared to the brand spanking new M16A2s we had in OSUT, it was night and day difference.

            The new M16A2’s were such accurate rifles that you had to be just about blind not to shoot expert with them. In 4 qualifying shoots i had a cumulative miss total of 4 rounds. They were also very reliable. The M16A2 and newer are fantastic weapons that should have never been replaced.

            But then, APFT scoring should’ve never been lowered either.

            Never had a problem with my A2 rear sight, but it does have more mechanical gadgetry that could potentially go wrong when compared to an A1 sight.

        • That is incorrect. The ARL increased the pressure limit for M855A1 to 63,000 PSI because the new SMP-842 propellant experiences fewer pressure excursions under high thermal stress than the previous WC844 propellant, and because doing so increased the consistency of the velocity produced by the ammunition.

          However, after the USMC complained about this, the Army lowered the pressure limit for M855A1 back down to 59,000 PSI, so even this complaint is not valid anymore.

          • valorius

            So why is it still wearing out components so fast?

            What is the new reduced pressure velocity of this round from the M4?

          • Who says it is? I haven’t seen any citation for that, besides unsourced complaints from companies that were butthurt they didn’t win IC.

            The second spiral M855A1 has the same muzzle velocity as M855, so I hear.

          • valorius

            How about American Rifleman?

            “Muzzle velocity was boosted to improve lethality, especially at close
            range when fired from M4 carbines. Thus, at 120 meters the M4’s
            14.5-inch barrel still yields 2476 f.p.s. velocity; and even from the
            SEAL 10-inch barreled M4 it attains 2214 f.p.s. The downside of the new
            propellant formulation is, unfortunately, a commensurate increase in
            chamber pressure, which eventually will affect a rifle’s performance.

            For gas port pressure, the M855A1 generates 50 percent higher pressure (23,767 p.s.i.) on
            the Special Ops 11.5-inch M4 barrel, compared to the 16,067 p.s.i. with
            the M16A2’s 20-inch barrel. That has been shown to cause port erosion,
            which boosts the automatic-fire rate, increasing the likelihood of jams.
            In the 2011 tests of new Army carbine prototypes, the barrels
            experienced “accelerated bolt wear” from firing the M855A1, because of
            higher chamber pressure and increased bore temperatures. A Special
            Operations Command test saw cracks appear on locking lugs and bolts at
            the cam pin holes on average at 6,000 rounds, but with as few as 3,000
            rounds of “intense” full-automatic firing. The solution may be to find a
            means to count the number of rounds a rifle has fired.”

          • That and the awful Guns & Ammo article are all I’ve seen backing that up. No real documentation, just claims.

          • valorius

            Common sense dictates that higher pressures accelerate wear.

            Guns and Ammo and American Riflemen are far more reliable sources of info than the TFB, sorry bro.

          • That’s not how verifying claims works. You need real documentation, like a report, not some lines from a blog post.

    • Sergei

      Controversial enough that they felt it needed a more reliable magazine?

      • Joshua

        This magazine was to address a specific problem with M855A1s feed angle in the standard GI magazine.

        • Paul Joly

          It seems bogus to change the feed angle that much but the feed lips on the orange mag look to be not at the right/actual angle, maybe to illustrate more clearly the differences.

          • Joshua

            It works. Like I mentioned in a different post Pmags have had this feed angle for years.

          • AirborneSoldier

            This.

        • AirborneSoldier

          Due to the difference in feeding on the shorter barreled m4s. That bolt cycles mighty fast in full auto

    • Anon

      Controversial to the idiots people that take Future Weapons as the word of God.

    • Some random guy

      I spent 6 years in the military and I came to hate the M16A1 that I was issued. I am a avid hunter and I have hunted since I was 8 years old. I am now in my 40s and to this day I have never had a gun that jammed as much as that M16. I almost could not qualify at the range one time because the gun would jam every few rounds. It was clean and well oiled and it still jammed.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Sounds very much like typical magazine problems. What kind of specific malfunctions did your rifle have?

        • Joshua

          I don’t he knows.

        • Some random guy

          Just a failure to feed. It would get the occasional bolt override, but that was pretty rare. I would have to hit the forward assist to get the bolt to close. It very well could have been a magazine problem. This was in the mid 90’s so I’ sure they have improved the magazines since then. The magazines that we used were pretty beat up too. After everyone fired at the range, they would walk by a big wooden box and throw the magazines into the box. I have a DPMS Oracle AR15 and I use Magpul Pmags and it never jams.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yeah, that sounds like a worn out mag springs and probably a bit of follower tilt.

          • Anonymoose

            When you find worn out magazines, do not just throw them out. SMASH them or otherwise cause severe visible damage to them, and then throw them out, or else they will just keep reissuing those same crappy worn-out magazines.

          • Tom Currie

            That is a great solution — it guarantees that the unit will get new magazines to replace them — of course it also guarantees that you will be the one paying for those new magazines.

          • AirborneSoldier

            Units get mags on a different account than normal budget. If that Company Commander needs mags, he will get them. You dont have to destroy them to replace, they are not a 1 for 1 exchange like other hand receipt items.

          • AirborneSoldier

            If the mag body is fine, get a rebuild kit.

          • The Brigadier

            I agree.

          • valorius

            When i was in you’d get an article 15 for that kind of petty nonsense.

          • Rock or Something

            I recall being at a range one time and literally discarding two of the twenty round magazines issued to me for qualifications because my M16a2 kept failing to feed. They were very old magazines, obviously worn, and up to that point, I was never issued twenty round magazines. Grabbed two other random mags, loaded up the same rounds and had no problems with those ones. By that time though, I was in the Army Reserves, so I figured the unit either didn’t know or couldn’t afford anything better.

            In my opinion, the platform’s greatest weakness is not the gas system like most people say, but the magazine well.

          • Core

            Worn out mag springs. I’ve been there. It was fun shooting a timed course with hostages while having to slam home the forward assist randomly. I think the instructors gave us junk magazines to mix into our brand new out of box gear. I think they even had carbines and pistols with mechanical issues to simulate malfunctions and stoppages. You should thank the old mags for forcing you to learn to quickly fix stoppages. I can still clear any number of stoppages with little thought and hesitation. I’ve had stoppages on new mags too.

        • The Brigadier

          The feed ramps on the M16A1 and A2 were ill designed by Stoner. What makes the M4 more reliable to feed is the redesigned feed ramps. I read a story recently about police departments using M16s. I wish someone would clue them in. I’m still not a fan of the light bullet that the M4 shoots. It would be nice if some intermediate caliber could be developed for the AR platform. .223 is too light and .308 is too heavy for it. Somewhere in the middle Goldilocks is waiting to take the popularity away from Barbie.

          • valorius

            Stoner designed the 20 rd magazine, which works great. The 30rd mag was not designed by him, as far as i know.

            A new caliber is not needed.

      • Kivaari

        We had no such problems with M16A1 rifles made by H&R. We only had 20 round magazines.

      • valorius

        The M16A1’s we had when i first got in were pure crap too.

    • Tom Currie

      Anyone? Just about everyone who was in the military when the M16 replaced the M14 (admittedly, a lot of the original problems have been fixed since then – even if the main fix is telling soldiers that needing to clean your rifle more often that you get meals is normal), plus just about everyone who has served in a combat unit in Afghanistan taking aimed fire from beyond well 300 meters from rifles that are older than they are. If the M16/M4 are so perfect and so universally accepted, I wonder why SOCOM hasn’t standardized on them.

      • The Brigadier

        SOCOM wants one shot one kill weapons, not three shots where the target can scream his head off when hit.

        • valorius

          What?

    • Kivaari

      It seems that all we hear is AR-based rifles don’t work. Here we are 50+ years into using them and if everything from Vietnam era un-maintained rifles wer still true, we would be nuts to have the M4. Except this isn’t the same rifle I was issued so many decades ago. Afetr using just about every semi-auto version of military rifles offered to US civilians, I have never found a rifle better than the AR15 pattern.

      • valorius

        We are nuts to have the M4. we should be using the M16A4. Much better weapon for infantry use. The M4 is a remf’s weapon IMO.

        • Kivaari

          I like the M4. It seems to be meeting the needs of the troops. From what I read nearly everyone issued the thing likes the thing. Nathaniel just reported that the marines have finally adopted it. In this mechanized world the compact size makes sense. When I’ve seen exerpts from reports to the army, from the using soldiers, most of them seem to be very happy with the M4.
          If I had a choice, I’d go to a mid-length 16 carbine. The bayonet still fits and it is still small enough to get in and out of vehicles with. I’ve done it with 20 inch M16s and they are more cumbersome.

          • valorius

            If it was meeting the needs of the troops they wouldnt have needed M855A1 to be so overpressurized, nor would they need yet variant of the 30rd mag.

            The m4 is just a side effect of our sissified modern military.

          • Kivaari

            The sissified military is not at the company level, maybe not even at battalion, but it sure starts at the very top. Whn the ROE are written ambiguously and there is not way to fight the battles that need fighting, it isn’t because our soldier can’t or wont fight.
            Like the wrong war in Afghanistan is so constrained, not because the soldiers are sissies, but because the mist senior staff starting at Obama and including pretty much every one to 4 star general in the chain of command.
            I oppose the over-pressure ammunition. I think the M4 does the job pretty well. That doesn’t mean a different barrel length wouldn’t be a good idea. As I said elsewhere I’d prefer a 16 inch tube. I like the heavy loads fired at conventional pressures. I think any deficiency could be made up using optical sights. Even using the same bullet as the M844A1 just driven at lower pressures would satisfy me. Yes, it wont perform like it does at higher velocity.
            The M16A2 is a fine rifle. My objection to it is the rear sight. It is a nice target range piece of gear. The old A1 sight, using the apertures of the A2 makes sense. I think the iron sights are for back up and it needs glass to make it work.
            If I were young again and deployed I wouldn’t feel under gunned if I were issued an M16A1. We did not have worn out models, our were in first rate condition and we did not have trouble on the range.
            On one of my current rifles I installed the Daniel’s Defense A1.5 sight. It gives me the best of the two sights. I never found a need for an 600-800m adjustable rear sight, so the simplicity of the A1 system was just fine.

          • valorius

            The M16A4 flat top eliminates the A2’s rear sight, if that’s an issue for ya.

          • Kivaari

            I use the M4 flat tops. The A1.5 is just a small element and allows many optics to sit in front of it.

    • AirborneSoldier

      The mag has been an issue. The follower on early examples had only one anti tilt leg. All the modern versions use two. Mo betta. The current follower was pretty much stolen from Magpul as I understand it. Havent inspected one or used one

      • valorius

        50 years on, and still the US military hasnt found a mag that works right.
        LMAO…

    • randomguy01

      Actual 11b Combat Vet here, while the ergonomics of the M4/M16 series is nice…Not having a 7.62×51 round in Afghanistan was a pain. Most of our engagements were 500m+.

      Our AO had this fine powder dirt “moon-dust”. When the sun would set and the wind started to pick up when the last firefight of the day was happening it was the worst when that dust made its way in-between the upper receiver and bolt carrier.

      Most of our guys had pmags due to them being $10 per at the time. Guys who used the tan -anti-tilt follower “new mags” back then still had problems even though we agreed they were indeed an upgrade to the green followers.

      One of the guys we got was only hit by our riflemen, with the new M855A1. It did noticeably more dmg than our old regular ball 7.62 weapons. So it may not be heard much but the M855A1 wasn’t just an eco-friendly round lol, but it was actually more effective than a “bigger” round. The problem still was the fact that it’s max effective range was still 550m~ or less. Even then it was crazy hard landing a shot on a head size target that was often moving with the 5.56.

      I think the real issue from a military perspective, was that for door to door ops the 5.56 is seemingly good enough. While the moment we leave the village or town we all wished we had a 7.62 weapon or something that was capable out to 1000m.

      • The Brigadier

        Very well reasoned random and I absolutely agree with you. However one caveat here. While 7.62 can easily reach 1000m with speed and power, you do need a match grade barrel or a brand new service grade barrel with high end ammo to hit anything at that range. Worn service grade barrels and cheapo foreign ammo will not be accurate enough no matter how accurate a shooter you may be.

      • valorius

        An M16A4 with an ACOG is fine at 500 meters. The problem is the M4.
        -Another ex 11B.

        • randomguy01

          I’ve been to 3 different units, 07-13 and usually at least 4-5 guys per PLT could be reliable at 1000m with an M14EBR. (I guess the average grunt couldn’t do it, but we had a few who would have been effective force “multipliers”)

          (4x) ACOG on an M16A4 use to be our “old” DM weapon, but for some reason DM’s stop being a thing and having a B4 has become rare. If I was still in, I’d advocate for having at least 1 DM per squad with a 7.62×51 weapon for Infantry line companies.

  • No

    They’re retarded for not switching to composite. Aluminum alloy inevitably bends and deforms over time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally experienced or seen these magazines mis-feed or double-feed. Their track record is atrocious..

    Aluminum magazine in a steel receiver.. Stupid!!

    • DW

      Most AR-15 receiver is also aluminum.

      • No

        Interesting.. You’re 100% right. I’ll admit that.

        The lowers appear to be either forged or billet T-6061, and in my experience, they wear incredibly well, so that’s probably why I mistook them for steel.

        Still, stamped aluminum vs. forged or billet aluminum.. I’ve seen the consequences of this happen many times..

        • Milspec AR-15 receivers are forged 7075 aluminum.

          While in some conditions polymer magazines perform better, aluminum magazines have other advantages. For one, they can be returned to service at the armorer level if they are damaged, while injection molded magazines must be discarded. For two, they are highly resistant to environmental factors (especially solar degredation and cold), something that has been a problem for polymer magazines and may continue to be a problem. For three, they are lighter than polymer magazines, which makes a difference of about 0.4lbs on the soldier with a full battle load of 7 mags.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Lancer mags are lighter than the standard aluminum mags.

          • I don’t think I weighed a Lancer mag as part of my weight omnibus, but online weights of 4.4 oz and 4.5 oz are popping up for L5 AWMs. USGIs are below 4 oz.

          • ostiariusalpha

            CountryBoyPrepper weighed his Lancer mag at 3.9 oz, and mine average just under that. It’s not a lot lighter than the standard contract mags, but they are lighter.

          • Is that an L5 or L5 AWM? The additional steel would explain the difference.

          • ostiariusalpha

            They are the L5 AWM type. I think they actually have less plastic than the older generation of mags, but it has been a while since I handle any L5s.

          • That’s… Odd. Now I want to weigh mine.

          • ostiariusalpha

            IKR. And what is really strange is that the 4.4 oz weight comes straight from the Lancer catalog, but not one of my mags has ever been over 3.92 oz.

            Another video:
            https://youtu. be/AbnGCNPeL-A
            (You have to go to 4:45 when he stops blathering)

          • int19h

            I did some measurements on a bunch of different mags a while back, and came up with this (all numbers are grams):

            USGI – 116 g
            Lancer A5WM – 129 g

          • ostiariusalpha

            Which type of Lancer L5 AWM did you weigh? How many did you have to compare? I have 12 mags; 2 are translucent, and 10 are black. The heaviest is 111 g, with the average weight being 110.5 g.

          • int19h

            I have some in translucent smoke, and some more in opaque OD green. I just went and weighed two – translucent was 126.6 g, green was 128.7 g. Both are clearly marked AWM.

            This is for the complete mag, with follower and spring and baseplate.

          • int19h

            Unfortunately they aren’t serialized, so we can’t compare the numbers and see if there are differences across manufacture batches. I’m also curious why – 15 g is not that big of a difference, but if it’s consistent, it’s certainly an indicator of something different in construction – either materials, or thickness.

            FWIW, my translucent mags were purchased at the very end of 2013, and OD greed ones I’ve got mid-2014.

          • ostiariusalpha

            They are date coded on the bottom of the follower. Mine are dated 11/14, 5/15, and 10/15.

          • Joshua

            However their feed geometry is identical to the tan follower mags, which is no bueno for M855A1.

          • LG

            The Lancer AWM magazines are the best to use with the 458 SOCOM cartridge.

          • No

            7075-T6, thanks for the correction.

            To his or her own, I guess. Personally, I’ll take the extra .4 Lbs in a heartbeat. Hell, I’ll take an extra 1.5 Lbs. I’ve seen way too many malfunctions with stamped aluminum mags.

            The first time their magazine fails to feed in the middle of an engagement, I think most people will suddenly find the paltry extra weight much more preferable. Just my opinion..

          • Extra weight is paltry until you make the decision to carry the extra weight enough times, then you’re carrying 20-30 extra pounds. 😉

          • derick geisendorfer

            Ounces equal Pounds, Pounds equal Pain.

          • Sianmink

            It’s amazing how much money the military spends/wastes, yet they won’t discard a damaged $7 aluminum magazine that holds $50 of ammunition at a time.

          • $50 of ammo? What, are we talking about 140 round mags or something?

          • Sianmink

            Ever price out M855A1?

          • Joshua

            Thanks for posting that, gives me a link to use when people say M855A1 is so much more expensive than M855 and Mk318.

          • Darhar M.

            Remind me never to buy ammo from whoever is charging you $50 for 30 rds.

          • AirborneSoldier

            Sure they do.

        • int19h

          All you really need to know about aluminum vs polymer in magazines is that Russians have tried aluminum for AK at about the same time as US adopted M16 and its aluminum mag. Russians switched to glass-filled polymer (what is wrongly called “bakelite” too often these days) very shortly after, and never looked back.

          Aluminum is a fine material, but when it’s as thin as it is in the AR mags, it’s extremely easy to bend.

    • A Fascist Corgi

      According to Battlefield Vegas, aluminum GI mags are more durable than any other magazine. Maybe the ones you saw were really old and worn out.

      • Joshua

        Yeah, they’re also no constantly dropping their body weight on to them.

        Sorry, but magazines see so much more abuse than just being dropped.

      • Kivaari

        Didn’t Army and Marine testing and field use show the aluminum magazines to give fewer problems? That was before the issuance of M855A1 ammuntion. It seems this has all to do with the ammunition and what happened with M855 or M193 is now a mute point. IIRC the Marines put out a directive saying NO Magpul or other aftermarket or COTS non-spec magazines could be used. I use both without issues. BUT, my USGI magazines have Magpul no-tilt followers. I don’t have M855A1 ammunition, so I doubt I will be impacted.

        • Joshua

          The Marines put that out because they adopted the M27 with its abortion of a mag well.

    • Hellbilly

      Other than the the magazine bodies suffering from dents on rare occasions, I never had any issues with green-follower aluminum magazines or the M16A2/A4 during my 4 years of active duty in the Marine Corps (2004-2008).

    • AirborneSoldier

      Thats one reason why upper level armorers guage and inspect unit weapons every 6 months. No squad leader worth his salt should have such a weapon used by one of his men. There are easy ways to get a soldier a weapon that is functional.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    300%? If the M4 was as reliable as the military claims, then it shouldn’t have been possible to improve the reliability that dramatically by simply improving the magazine. If their claims are true, then I guess the M4 is now as reliable as any other assault rifle. I’m also interested in seeing how the geometry of these new magazines compares to popular civilian mags like PMAGs. I wonder if the military learned something from popular civilian mags, or if civilian mags could be improved upon by studying the improvements made by the U.S. military.

    • Any other assault rifle… That also uses AR-15 magazines?

      • Joshua

        Obviously the M4 is the only rifle in the world using the STANAG(yes I know there is no such actual thing) magazine!!!

    • Joshua

      Well considering the GI mag is the most used magazine for western military rifles it was.

      This magazine improves on those magazines.

    • Ebby123

      I’m guessing it was a 300% increase in reliability WHILE USING M885A1, which it sounds like present unique feeding issues.

    • Jwedel1231

      Read the article again. M855A1 was chewing up the feed ramps in M4s with standard feed lip geometry, dropping reliability from 100k average to around 20k. Changing the geometry to keep the M855A1 tips from destroying the feed ramps eliminated the problem.

    • Steve

      Every time someone uses a percentage above 100% to describe an improvement to something it still makes me cringe. The random things you remember from college-level statistics courses…

      • Pistolero

        300% would be like saying 3x

        • ostiariusalpha

          Only with 200% more pretentiousness. Hahahaha!

  • Phillip

    Will they be available to civilians?

    • I should think so.

    • Magpul

      Current tan follower USGI magazines were never officially allowed to be sold outside of government purchase. I would not expect that to change with these new magazines.

      • Tom Currie

        And exactly which law would that be?

        • Joshua

          He never said law, however the Government never let manufacturers produce the tan follower mags for civilian sale…. Some just fell off the truck.

    • AirborneSoldier

      You are a citizen my friend, not a consumer, not right or left, not a civilian. You are a citizen. Make sure every politician and unelected bureacrat know this.

  • Some random guy

    I thought the military had been using Magpul Pmags.

    • Drew Coleman

      The way I understand it, some units are permitted to do so, but it’s not military-wide.

    • Joshua

      Some Units are, but they have to use their funds to buy them.

    • Ebby123

      I could be very wrong, but my understanding was that PMAGS were a little less durable in extreme temperature environments than the aluminum GI mags, hence the lack of their widespread use in the military.

      Mind you, that’s more or less just a rumor i heard. Anyone have anything more concrete?

      • Jwedel1231

        More conjecture and rumor here, but I’ve heard the opposite. Sand being less of an issue in polymer bodied mags than metal ones, and I know that polymer mags do not dent the way metal ones do.

        • iksnilol

          poly has problems with cold. Easily becomes brittle.

          • Joshua

            The M3 is rated for -60 and the M2 was fine down to -30.

            However Military testing goes down to -60 and the last pmag tested was the M2 which cracked at the spine at -60. However it still functioned 100% when put in the rifle while the GI mag suffered bent feed lips and also failed.

          • iksnilol

            Y’all forget about the wind.

            It might be “only” -30 C, then the wind blows in and you in terms of effective cold have way higher. That’s what makes me careful.

  • Joshua

    This magazine is designed for M855A1.

    Here’s the thing about M855A1, it had this nasty habit of striking the M4 cuts in the upper. So when it comes to steel vs aluminum the steel wins.

    This was reducing the upper receivers life from 100k rounds to 20k rounds, while at the same reducing reliability the closer to the 20K rounds mark it got.

    This is why the M4A1 had so many stoppages in the ICC( despite still being second best….).

    Anyways the Army knew that the Pmag had a proper feed geometry for M855A1, however 80% of units still only use GI magazines.

    This was an issue, so the Army basically set out to recreate and mimic the feed lip geometry and bullet presentation angle of the Pmag in the Aluminum GI magazine.

    Thus we come to this magazine, which with M855A1 it keeps the tip from striking the aluminum M4 cuts and removes the wear to that area, and since the feed angle is more forgiving it greatly increases the reliability.

    I believe the M4A1 tested around 1,800 MRBS with these magazines and M855A1.

    • Magpul

      Correct, the new USGI uses feeding geometry “strikingly” similar to that introduced with the original PMag M3 8 years ago but it still suffers from reliability and durability issues inherent with the ALU body. Not to mention the PMag offers round remaining feature and has a US Govt cost substantially lower than this new magazine.

      The M3 PMag (GEN M3 PMAG BLK NSN: 1005-01-628-5106) has always run the Army’s new Enhanced Penetrator Round (M855A1), flawlessly without accelerated damage to the feed ramps of the M4/M16/HK416.

      • Joshua

        They wouldn’t have any control over the rights of the product…and we all know the government loves to own the rights of things.

        Me? I’ll tick to my sand M3s.

      • Thank you, Magpul’s marketing department.

  • Jay

    is this the one with the ripoff HK follower?

    • Joshua

      Lol no, more like Magpul follower.

      hK mags are horrible, especially their maritime mags.

      • Jay

        I’m asking, because when we discussed this a year ago and we thought they ripped off the Magpul follower, a guy from the army, that worked on them, said they “reverse engineered” the HK follower.

        • Joshua

          It’s based off the Magpul follower for the GI magazine.

          And the feed lip geometry of the Pmag M2.

  • Some random guy

    I have read good reviews of the Mission First Tactical magazines too.

  • Christopher Schmidt

    Can I volunteer for the detail that goes from unit to unit and smashes the old mags with a ball-peen hammer as the company 1SGs look on in horror?

    • Anonymoose

      I’ll help!

  • dshield55

    When will I be able to buy one?

    • Joshua

      Probably never…just go buy some Pmags.

  • stephen

    During my Army career the biggest problems with mags were bent edges but even then it was rare. If you take care of your gear, it will take care of you.

    However a few years before I retired I noticed that weapons maintenance and individual attention to detail dropped – about the same time cell phones started becoming popular and when the Army got soft with the recruits.

    Sometimes I wish I stayed in longer but then again I’m happy I don’t have to deal with all the political and touchy freely crap.

    • AirborneSoldier

      I saw this too

      • The Brigadier

        Our military has been completely gutted. The Corp is at half strength and the Air Force is down to only 92,000 personnel worldwide. That is EVERYBODY, the cooks, the mail guys and the truck drivers, and not just the fighting troops. The ARMY has been so far reduced they can only fight in one campaign not two or three like we could for the last seventy years. The Navy has new ships with super range rail guns that can take out our enemy’s ships at around 270 miles with one shot. This helps to overcome their staggering personnel losses somewhat, but all of our forces are on the edge of being totally overwhelmed. Choose wisely this next election.

        • valorius

          The navy does not have rail guns.

  • Malthrak

    So…why didn’t they just use PMAGs then instead of spending resources to develop a new aluminum magazine?

    Genuinely curious.

    • Twilight sparkle

      Because the army has to deal with the marines every once in awhile and the marines have the m27 iar now

      • Magpul

        The Gen M3 PMag is fully IAR compatible.

        • Twilight sparkle

          I am aware, the pmag still has a stigma though.

          And the same problem could come up again down the road, maybe the military will adopt a new rifle with a slightly longer Magwell and then m3 pmags wont work because of the over travel stops.

          • int19h

            Lancers don’t have this problem, though.

  • Lance

    Old news the Army has been playing with mags for improved performance for the small kiddy carbine for years heck tan followers came about five years ago. All the years I’ve shoot A2s never had a issue. That’s with older tan and black follower mags. I prefer the magpul follower to the tan follower myself.

  • Twilight sparkle

    Are they using 6000 series aluminum again or is this one going to have something new?

  • Darhar M.

    I have 30 of the tan follower magazines and not a one has failed me.
    I do however rotate them out and gut them when I clean.

  • Joshua

    it appears to be fairly similar to the solution developed by the Spanish for the CETME L’s feed path

  • Core

    Does anyone know why the Army didn’t use Magpul followers? I just bought a lot of new Okays with the Magpul followers and they’re the balls..

  • MPWS

    I consider it a miracle this feed (with conventional mag) works.
    I encourage anyone with drafting skill to take couple of dimensions off the rifle and mag and to make small frontal layout (as if you are facing direction of feeding). You will come to shocking surprise that the actual bolt to casing engagement (not taking chamfer to count) is only at around .060″. Also, mag is lengthwise smack against barrel extension. If you wanted to improve it, by raising the mag (as this “enhanced” model does) you run into extra drag with bolt carrier. This may work with plastic, but not with metal. This is in my mind unacceptable condition for military rifle.

  • That’s kinda like telling someone talking about crapulous intrusive government bureaucracy that it doesn’t matter that they’re from New Jersey or California.

  • Avid Fan

    When will these be available commercially. And should I swap out my current Pmags for these? Thanks…

  • Tom Currie

    And before the Army actually gets any of these “enhanced” magazines fielded, at least three companies will be selling regular magazines with blue followers claiming they are EPM – followed before the end of summer by better fakes with brown magazine bodies AND blue followers.

  • Otto Kürtz

    Are these available to the civilian shooting community?

  • Justin Michael

    I can’t believe I did not see this in the comments but when do you think these new magazines will be available for commercial sale? There will be an outside contractor that retools and starts producing them in mass and once orders are filled for the army here comes commercial offing? 2 years maybe? Anyone have better insight on this?

  • NewMan

    The main reason why modification like this is need is because the M4 feed ramp is aluminum, unlike the 416 and SCAR where the feed ramp is all steel since it’s part of the whole barrel extension.

    It should be noted that right now the SCAR and 416 are the only two that can handle the new 556 round properly, without any kind of mag modification. The Marine have fired hundred of thousands of M855A1 through the M27 without any issues.

    • int19h

      One day they will just take M27, replace the bull barrel with govt profile, and call it M4A2.

      One can dream, right?

  • guest

    Again? I thought the tan followers were the “enhanced reliability magazines.”

    I can’t keep track of them all. What’s it going to be next week?

  • Whitney Philbrick

    My second USMC issue M16, an A2 3 rd burst version was completely unreliable. However it was an OCS issue and in that series (PLC SR) we only fired blanks. My fellow Candidates were aware of my rifle’s problems and enjoyed assigning me as the automatic rifleman in the base of fire during squad problems. So as a hopeful USMC Officer Candidate I was reduced to yelling “bang bang bang….” memories of childhood Cowboys an Indians flashing through my head…
    All my other issue rifles were fine as far as I can remember.

  • Guido FL

    Hmmm 2013 till 2016 ! Seems the Army is bogged down and can’t effectively get any program done in a fast orderly manner ? I’ll bet the civilian industry could have turned this around in 6 months ……….. MAX !

  • James Madison

    Meanwhile, the commercial world was provided an updated and enhanced AR mag from Magpul WAY back in 2007.

  • Why doesn’t DoD just go with PMAGs? Is it politics, cost, performance or some other reason?

    • int19h

      They’re not fully STANAG, and don’t interoperate with some rifles out there that are designed to accept STANAG mags. It’s better in gen3, but still not perfect.

      Why they didn’t go with Lancers is a better question. Those work in anything.

      • I hear you – good point. I was just thinking in terms of M16s and M4s like the article said.

  • Where can I buy some of those at?

    • Phillip

      They’ll only be available to people who don’t end a sentence with a preposition. :p

      • maodeedee

        A preposition is a very bad thing to end a sentence with.

  • billyoblivion

    They gonna run out of colors for the follower soon.

  • frrst245

    None of you rambling on about ammo causing reliability are shooting the enhanced M855a1. I can easily see how a steady diet of that or black tips could cause feed problems and how tweaking the feed lips on the mag might solve them.

  • No

    My sentiments, exactly—all of it. A simple, user-level visual inspection of a PMag will confirm whether the feed-lip is serviceable or deadlined, as any significant deformation will likely cause cracking or breakage. Aluminum just bends little by little until the weapon malfunctions. I’ll take the PMag any day..

  • RickOAA .

    I’ve still got a set of GI mags from the mid 90’s as well as a well worn Colt factory 30 of who knows what vintage. Not a single problem in many thousands of rounds…even when used with a very energetically cycling 7″ 5.56 pistol. I missed the memo.

  • Avid Fan

    Don’t know where previous comment went, but here goes again. Where and when will these be commercially available and should I swap my Pmags for these?

  • Avid Fan

    Ok, WTH? Third attempt.
    Will these be commercially available? Should I ditch my Pmags and get these instead.

  • valorius

    The army would be having none of these problems if they didnt switch away from the M16A4 to begin with.

    The M855A1 could’ve been loaded to standard pressures and still performed even better from the M16’s 20″ barrel.

    The few inches of reduced length is absolutely not worth the tradeoff in performance.
    -An ex grunt

  • valorius

    Douche bag much?