On the Army's new "Tan" Improved Magazines

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

LTC Chris Lehner of PEO Solider wrote a comment on the blog that I thought deserved its own post. He addresses the issue of why the Army did not just adopt one of the existing anti-tilt follower designs instead of developing their own.

LTC Lehner here. My program office is responsible for the development, production, and fielding of the Improved Magazine (tan follower) along with all the pistols, shotguns, grenade launchers, sniper weapons, rifles/carbines, and even airburst weapons that our Army uses.

Hotgun, you are on target! Our Improved Magazine has been thoroughly tested in every environmental condition for the last several years. We have fired 40,000+ rounds through them, filmed their performance with high speed cameras, and did things to them to try and make them fail. Bottom line, these Improved Magazines offer a 50% reduction in the risk of a magazine related weapon stoppage over our previous Green follower magazines. P-mag, H+K, and others may have “tested” their magazines, but no one has the resources to test the way we do. When an Improved Magazine is fielded from my office (along with all the other kit we provide) there is a commitment and promise to our Soldiers that it will serve them extremely well in combat. The other manufactures of magazines (commercial magazines) usually will not or can not make this promise because of all the unknowns their magazines will face in battle.

As a side note, our Improved Magazines (with the tan, anti-tilt, follower) were developed a few years before similar magazines hit the market. The reason our magazines are only now available is due to the extensive testing regime we must put all of our equipment through. And it is a good thing we do, because there are many commercial magazines that our soldiers bought “off the shelf” that are starting to give them problems. More on this in the future.

For all Soldiers in OIF or OEF, be sure to keep your eyes open for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) Infomercial due out at the end of this month. You will actually learn valuable information on your Improved Magazine and where they are being issued in theater. Also you can log onto the PEO Soldier Web site to learn more about the magazine, new weapons, night vision devices, and body armor that we are fielding. Thank you for your time and keep up the fight!

Chris Lehner
PM Individual Weapons

Read more about the Improved Magazine here.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

More by Steve Johnson

Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • Larry weeks Larry weeks on Apr 06, 2010

    Here's a testimonial from a Lieutentant in Afghanistan on the new tan follower mags. He said I couldn't publish his name and unit so I've removed those lines. The email address checks out as legit and military:

    >> Dear Brownells,
    >> During the recent Battle of Marjeh, my company was one of two US Army
    >> Stryker Infantry Companies attached to the Marines operating throughout the area. During this operation, we came under heavy enemy contact in rough terrain on multiple occasions. Fortunately for us, our company had just received a shipment of your new imporved M4 mags with the reverse, non-tip follower. Right before this op, we replaced all of our aold mags with your new ones. We could definitely tell a difference in the firefights we were in and experienced much fewer jams and weapons malfunctions. Thank you so much for making a great product. Thanks again.
    >> Respectfully,

  • SGT S SGT S on Apr 09, 2010

    I don't know if the new military follower is better than the COTS alternatives, but the point is that PM IW should have completed a market survey and done the testing to determine if a COTS solution was acceptable. The fact that they have not done this and the LTC felt the need to post here justifying his decision only further highlights the complete incompetence of the entire PM IW organization. They will look you in the eye and swear up and down that the piece of crap that they have issued you is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they really have NO IDEA if it is because they are all engineers with ZERO military experience. The lack of relevant experience does not stop them however, as they surf the net and know for a fact that {insert second rate product here} is the greatest just because they saw it on SWAT.com. Try doing your jobs, remove your personal opinion (because it is not formed on the basis of any Professional Military Judgement) and field what the users are asking for. Its that easy