The Marine Corps has signed a nearly $3.6 million deal with High Speed Gear Inc. of North Carolina for double rifle magazine pouches specially designed to accommodate the Magpul PMAG.
High Speed Gear's HSGI X2R TACO MOLLE was selected to meet the service's needs. According to contracting documents and an announcement from the company, the contract is for 150,000 of the pouches, which will come in woodland and coyote colors.
The magazine pouch features a "Double Decker" design allowing Marines to carry two magazines in a single pouch that uses only three inches of horizontal space, according to a High Speed Gear news release. It can take any kind of rifle magazines.
"The X2R uses injection-molded polymer brackets, Cordura® front and back, shock cord lacing, and a thin HDPE separator to ensure adjustability and user perfect fit to maximize deployment capabilities," the company said.
The Marine Corps approval of the rugged PMAG Gen 3 polymer magazine for operational use with the M4, M16 and M27 rifles in late 2016 created a small equipment mismatch: The magazines were a poor fit for the Corps' legacy rifle magazine pouches. They would become stuck, making it difficult for Marines to retrieve them from the pouches with one hand.
The Marine Corps even published a video in 2018 in which a service weapons expert, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jesse M. Schertz, gunner for 2nd Marine Division, demonstrated how to use water and ballpoint pens to stretch the pouches so the magazines could fit more easily.
In a requirements statement posted earlier this year, officials with Marine Corps Systems Command stated that the new pouches had to be able to accommodate the 30-round Magpul M4/M16 magazine and standard 30-round M4/M16 Aluminum magazines, and be capable of expanding to accommodate a 40-round Magpul M4/M16 magazine.
The pouch "must allow a single magazine to be smoothly drawn from the pouch with one hand while attached to a body armor vest without the second magazine coming loose from the pouch," the statement of work noted.
It also had to allow two magazines to be inserted into the pouch "without excessive force or modification of the pouch," according to the Corps.
The HSGI X2R TACO MOLLE pouch made by High Speed Gear retails for $45, meaning the Marine Corps likely got a bargain on its bulk buy. The contract states that the work will be completed within 60 months.
Officials with Marine Corps Systems Command told Military.com that fielding of the updated magazine pouches is set to begin in early 2020. The Marines' infantry battalions will receive the new pouches first.
"Over the years, all branches of the military have used High Speed Gear," Bill Babboni, vice president of sales and operations, said in a statement. "We are honored to have been selected by the United States Marine Corps to provide 150,000 X2R TACO® pouches as the solution for the requested modular double rifle magazine pouch. It was exciting to learn that HSGI was selected, especially since Marine preference played a sizable part in the selection process."