Army Mulls Marine Corps' Polymer Magazine Decision


U.S. Army weapons officials are considering following the Marine Corps’ recent decision to issue the Magpul PMAG polymer magazine.

The Army will evaluate how well the service’s M4 and M4A1 carbines perform using a polymer magazine as part of a Solder Enhancement Program project that was approved in February.

Marine Corps Systems Command in December released a message which authorizes the PMAG polymer magazine for use in the M27 infantry automatic rifle as well as in M16A4 rifle and M4 carbine.

The decision came after the M27 suffered some reliability issues during an Army test using the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round.

Preliminary findings of the test show that the Army's M855A1 round meets all the requirements for a 5.56mm general purpose round in Army weapon systems, "but does not meet the system reliability requirement when fired from the USMC M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle," Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jesse Stalder said in a Dec. 16 email.

The Marine Corps began fielding the M27 in 2010 to replace the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry squads.

The M27, made by Heckler & Koch, is a version of the German gun-maker's HK 416, an M4-style weapon that used a piston gas system instead of the direct gas impingement system found on the M4 and M16A4.

The Marines like it so much that the service is considering making it the next service rifle for infantry battalions in the Corps.

Soldiers have used PMAGs in their weapons in combat for years because of their proven reliability.

The Army has purchased polymer magazines and is finalizing a plan to evaluate them later this year, Army weapons officials said recently at the NDIA’s Armaments Systems Forum.

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