An update from the USMC has been released today authorizing the purchase of Gen M3 PMags with unit funds for Marine Corps combat units. The update reads:
GENTEXT/RMKS/1. PURPOSE. THIS MESSAGE PROVIDES UPDATED GUIDANCE REGARDING THE USE OF MAGAZINES FOR THE M4/M16 SERIES AND M27 INFANTRY AUTOMATIC RIFLE (IAR). 2. BACKGROUND. MARINE CORPS UNITS WILL NO LONGER RECEIVE THE LEGACY MAGAZINE WHEN ORDERING NATIONAL STOCK NUMBER (NSN) 1005-01-561-7200; THIS NSN WILL DEFAULT TO THE U.S. ARMY ENHANCED PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE (EPM), NSN 1005-01- 630-9508. AUTHORIZATION TO USE THE EPM FOR TRAINING USE ONLY WITH THE M4, M4A1, M16A4, AND M27 REMAINS THE SAME. 3. ACTION 3.A. PM IWS AUTHORIZES UNITS TO USE THE FOLLOWING POLYMER MAGAZINES WITH THE M4, M4A1, M16A4, M27, AND M249: NSN 1005-01-615-5169 (BLACK) AND NSN 1005-01-659-7086 (COYOTE TAN). UNITS ARE AUTHORIZED TO REQUISITION THESE MAGAZINES WITH UNIT FUNDS. 3.B. PM IWS WILL UPDATE SL-3S FOR THE M4, M4A1, M16A4, AND M27 TO LIST THE ABOVE POLYMER MAGAZINE NSNS. NO OTHER POLYMER MAGAZINES ARE AUTHORIZED FOR USE. 4. IOT PROVIDE IMMEDIATE AND SUSTAINING ACCESS TO ALL USERS, A PUBLICATION CONTROL NUMBER (PCN) WILL BE ASSIGNED TO THIS MESSAGE FOR ACCESS VIA THE WEAPONS SYSTEM ID NUMBER SEARCH IN SL-1-2.//
SoldierSystems.net broke the story, which you can read here. PMag manufacturer Magpul quickly caught on and added a somewhat less well supported statement that the Gen M3 Pmag had “been adopted by the entire Marine Corps”:
So what is really going on? Well, it’s not clear to me yet. We know a few things:
- Legacy magazines (tan follower and green follower aluminum mags) are no longer being procured, but will likely still be in service for a long time.
- The US Army’s Enhanced Performance Magazine (EPM) is authorized for training use only, not combat use, but will be procured.
- The Gen M3 PMag is authorized for purchase using unit funds, and authorized for use in combat
These facts lead me to a theory: The USMC does not know how the EPM – the Army’s new magazine with sports a different feed lip design and cartridge presentation angle than previous mags – will perform in their M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles, because the EPM was not designed with those weapons (which are specific to the Marine Corps) in mind. The US Army is likely switching all magazine production over to the new EPM magazine, which means the Marine Corps will have a difficult time buying new production tan follower mags, leaving them with just the existing stock of mags they already have in inventory.
The obvious conclusion here is that the USMC is likely allowing the procurement of Gen M3 PMags as an interim replacement for legacy magazines that are worn out or destroyed, which explains why they are allowing PMags to be purchased with unit funds, but don’t seem to be actively purchasing them through normal procurement channels. The EPM magazines are being used in training, which is likely to allow the service to verify their compatibility with the M27 IAR platform. If the EPM proves compatible with this weapon, then I expect the Gen M3 PMag authorization to be rescinded and EPMs to be purchased as normal.
Thanks to Demetrius for the tip!