The introduction of the Marine Corps' new M-27 Infantry Automatic Rifle -- built by H&K -- has the firearms community still arguing over whether it was a good move to trade accuracy for firepower when you're talking about a fully-auto weapon that will be used as an alternate for a Squad Automatic Weapon.
I had an excellent conversation with a very close friend of mine who happens to be a Chief Warrant Officer in the Corps -- a so-called "Gunner" -- who made a pretty strong case for accuracy over "suppressive fire" in today's fight. I can't go into all of what he said, but suffice it to say tests out at Pendleton showed that 30 well-placed shots were more "suppressive" than 100 poorly-aimed ones.
Still, it would be nice to have both, right?
Enter the C-Mag. Derided by many as a jam magnet, the C-Mag is the standard for maximizing ammo in the AR platform. A couple other companies are nibbling at the edges with higher capacity magazines for the IAR, but Beta Company sales manager Cullen Coogan told us at Modern Day Marine that the double-drum mag gets a bum rap.
He said previous tests showed the maintenance and upkeep of the test articles were sub par and operators didn't do their due diligence with the graphite lube that's required to keep the rounds spinning. Just like any AR, he argued, if you don't keep it clean and lubed, it'll jam.
Coogan said his company has developed a C-Mag for the Marine Corps to test on its IAR and he showed me a version of it, but declined to let me take a pic of it. It basically looks like the M4 C-Mag pictured above, but with a bit taller insert that extends slightly more over the ammo drums.
The Mag weighs four pounds with ammo and Coogan said the thing can take all the abuse (dropping, banging, scratching and slamming) a Leatherneck could throw at it.
We'll see if the Corps goes in that direction and if indeed the legendary complaints of the C-Mag are more about maintenance than a fundamental flaw in their operating system.