The U.S. Army 2015 test report on commercial rifle magazines appears to bury the findings that show that the Magpul PMAG polymer magazine outperformed government magazines and other magazine vendors in the evaluation, according to a copy of the document.
U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center evaluated 10 commercial magazine designs and two government magazine designs for Product Manager Individual Weapons. Testers loaded the magazines into M4A1s, M16A4s, and Marine M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles and fired thousands of rounds during the evaluation.
The magazine vendors were identified alphabetically as A-L in the evaluation to hid the identity of each magazine design, both commercial and government.
The Final Report for the M855A1 Conformance Testing on Commercial Magazines – obtained by the TheFirearmBlog – is filled with graphics and charts that show that some of the magazine designs performed well and others performed poorly.
- Air Force Relied on Army Test Results to Choose PMAG
- Marines' Approval of PMAG May Lead to International Buys
- Army Round Triggers Problems in Marine M27 Auto Rifle
It’s not until page 38 that the report details findings, showing that vendor Foxtrot performed better in the test in the M4A1 and M27 than any other magazine evaluated.
Vendor Foxtrot is Magpul Industries Corp., according to the TheFirearmBlog. Military.com has reached out to Magpul, but the company has not responded.
Here is what the test report shows:
Page 39 shows before and after images of the feed ramps and rear of the barrel to show the lack of wear on the M4A1 when using magazines from vendor Foxtrot, or Magpul.
The Air Force recently told Military.com that it relied on the information in the 2015 test report to make its decision to replace Army magazines with Magpul’s Gen 3 PMAG, according to Air Force officials.
The test report appears to show that the Army knew that Magpul PMAGs was the top performer and still went out and developed its new Enhanced Performance Magazine, which the service introduced in 2016.
This did not stop the Air Force from issuing guidance in July that all government-issued M16/M4 magazines – including the Army’s new Enhanced Performance Magazine – will be replaced by the Magpul PMAG. The announcement occurred in the “USAF AUTHORIZED SMALL ARMS and LIGHT WEAPONS (SA/LW) ACCESSORIES (as of 28 July 17).”
Marine Corps Systems Command in December released a message which authorized the PMAG polymer magazine for use in the M27 infantry automatic rifle as well as in M16A4 rifle and M4 carbine.
Testing experts may see other noteworthy information in this document, but the fact remains: the Air Force used this report to choose PMAG and it remains unclear why the Army didn't do the same. It's also unclear why the Army decided to develop another version of same magazine design when soldiers have used PMAGs in their weapons in combat for years because of their proven reliability.