Marine Corps Quick Fix for Tight Pouches

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
A Marine struggles to remove a PMAG from his pouch (USMC)

Everyone knows there is nothing worse than a tight pouch, especially if it could mean the difference between life and death. The Marine Corps has reportedly been struggling with this issue since the adoption of the Gen 3 PMAG. The USMC’s standard issue magazine pouches have proven too small to fit two of the new PMAGs and still allow them to be quickly removed when in action.

The Marine Corps’ current standard issue MOLLE magazine pouches are made by Eagle Industries, the hemp-based pouches are designed to hold two GI STANAG magazines. The problem posed by the new PMAGS is that they are slightly wider and moulded to aid handling.

All you need is: two polymer magazines, a spacer - like a couple of pens or crayons and a magazine pouch (USMC/ Lance Cpl. Melissa M. Lettieri)

To address the problem Chief Warrant Officer 4, Jesse M. Schertz, 2nd Marine Division’s Gunner has put together a short video, part of the Gunner’s Underground series, demonstrating a simple, practical and time honoured method of stretching pouches. Filmed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Gunner Schertz shows Marines how to soak and stretch their mag pouches enough to allow magazines to be easily removable. While the video is aimed at Marines it may be useful for anyone else using similar pouches.

Gunner Schertz demonstrates that after soaking a pouch in water for a short time the pouch’s fibres expand and allow two polymer magazines to be placed in it along with a spacer, Schertz suggests a couple of evenly spaced pens or a piece of wood, between them. The pouch with the spaced magazines can then be left in the sun to dry out and the stretched pouch should then allow easy access to the magazines. Which in Schertz’ words is a “quick fix that can help make you more combat effective.” This is a time honoured method which Soldiers and Marines issued with pouches and webbing for decades will be familiar with.

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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  • Core Core on May 14, 2018

    I'd rather have to rip the mags out than have them fall onto the deck. Sadly the H-rig and whatever they are using now, has too much play. I think the USMC could use some modernized tactical nylon: possibly start with moving the Eagle mag pouches to a secondary role and giving the Devil Dogs some formed poly fast mag pouches with velcro or bungee retention. Small magnets might work also? Tactical Assault Gear has some of the best nylon bar none (if nylon is required), and HTC has great quality formed poly.

    • Ron Ron on May 15, 2018

      @Core 2d MarDiv use to issue 1 speed load pouch and 3, 2 magazine pouches to all Marines.

  • LilWolfy LilWolfy on May 17, 2018

    This technique is as old as time itself. The mag change techniques shown in the video are the real problem. I would say I'm surprised they published that, but with the cultural changes that have been forced onto the military and even the USMC, can't say that I am anymore.