The U.S. Army is not giving up on its Enhanced Performance Magazine despite the findings in its own 2015 test report that show the Magpul Gen M3 PMAG performed better than the EPM which the service fielded in 2016.
The Marine Corps and the Air Force have decided to replace the Enhanced Performance Magazine with the Gen M3 PMAG. U.S. Special Operations Command has also authorized the Gen M3.
The Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, however was unsure that this latest version of the PMAG is safe for use in Army weapons, Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings, the commander of PEO Soldier, said in a Sept. 22 interview with Military.com.
PEO Soldiers is close to wrapping up an exhaustive test on the PMAG Gen M3 to ensure it doesn't damage Army weapons.
In my Sept. 25 Military.com story, Cummings maintains that he didn’t trust the 2015 test findings that show the Gen M3 outperforming the Enhanced Performance Magazine because testers didn’t fire enough ammunition.
I am still unclear why PEO Soldier approved the test methodology and then didn’t trust the findings once it was complete.
In this latest evaluation, after testers have fired more than 100,000 rounds, Cumming is now confident that the Gen M3 is safe for Army weapons.
"Right now, there are no degradations to the weapons and all of the reliability numbers are good," he said. "Testing is not complete, but enough testing has been done that the results are clear that the magazine with the weapon is reliable."
For now, the plan is to continue fielding the Enhanced Performance Magazine. If Army units want the Magpul PMAG Gen M3, they will be allowed to purchase it with unit funds once the Army authorizes it, Cummings said.
There is an NSN for both the windowed and non-windowed versions of the Gen M3, so units can buy them but only in small amounts using discretionary unit funds, according to Duane Liptak, executive vice president for Magpul Industries.
“The issue is the Army is not added as an authorized user to either of those NSNs,” Liptak said. “It’s almost impossible for a unit to completely field Gen M3 PMAG based on the amount of dollars that they have to spend in discretionary fashion.”
The Marine Corps created the NSN for the window Gen M3 version and then added itself as an authorized user Dec. 16, Liptak said. Then SOCOM, a long-time user of PMAGs, also added itself as an authorized user of the Gen M3 in January.
The Air Force did the same thing in July after using the Army’s 2015 test report to make the decision to replace the Army EPM with the Gen M3.