Skip to comments.Improved magazine increases weapons reliability
Posted on 12/20/2009 5:53:12 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Army has begun fielding a new 5.56mm 30-round "improved magazine" that delivers a significant increase in reliability for M-16 and M-4 weapons.
Bolstering the already high reliability ratings of the M-16 and M-4, the improved magazine reduces the risk of magazine-related stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine variants, according to officials at Program Executive Office Soldier.
Identified by a tan-colored follower, more than 500,000 of the improved magazines have been fielded to units in Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States.
"With the improved magazines, we're taking weapons reliability up another notch," said Lt. Col. Chris Lehner, product manager for Individual Weapons. "By incorporating a heavier, more corrosion-resistant spring, along with a new follower design that does not tilt inside the casing, our engineers were able to develop a magazine that presents a round to the weapon with even greater stability. Increased magazine reliability results in overall improved weapon system performance."
Currently, there are three different types of magazines in the supply inventory that can be identified by the color of the follower. The new, improved magazine follower is tan. Magazines with a green follower are strong performers and are acceptable so long as they are serviceable, but should be phased out from the force as the improved magazines are received. The oldest magazines have a black follower and should be turned in to supply sergeants
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Here's a much better, more professional, and accurate animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSqYvWib1og
I happen to own a AR-10 without the forward assist. Much of my shooting is done in very very gritty desert conditions on a large dry lake. The fine grit there gets into everything and is a pain. One failure I've had several times if a failure of the bolt to go into battery. Because of the design of the AR the gun can not be disassembled when it fails in this way. The bolt if short of full battery by as little as 1/3 of an inch or so prevents the upper and lower from swinging apart when the takedown pin is pushed free.
To disassemble it I have to take a small allen key, put it into one of the holes in side of the bolt that is visible through the ejection port and pound the bolt forward.
The forward assist is a much faster and simpler way to accomplish this. I think the Army did well to insist on it and I would be reluctant to buy another AR pattern weapon that lacked it.
Quality costs, regardless of design. Yes, the cost of the AR series design is fully amortized and it's more or less in the public domain. Still high quality AR's are pricy guns.
The Navy Seals use the Knight's Armament SR-25, the final perfection of the AR-10 design that Eugene Stoner himself worked on until shortly before his death.
Over here at Impact Guns they have SR-25s between $6,200 and $9,000. These aren't fancied up builder specials, these are box stock Knight "AR-10s" that are full milspec quality for the Navy.
The DPMS AR-10 cost $1,000. The Armalites run to about $2,000. Surplus FN-FALs cost $1000 in 1985, 25 years ago. FN no longer makes them, so used examples fetch $3,000 to $5,000 depending on variant and condition. According to this inflation calculator $1000 1985 dollars is $1975 2008 dollars.
Given all these factors I don't think the SCAR is overpriced, though it may be out of reach for many people. At least some of our elite units are equipping with them.
The box fed .308 semi-automatic magazine is the choice of the thinking civilian for self defense. So far the FN-FAL is the still the best of the bunch*. The SCAR looks to be the rifle most likely to take the title from the FAL, from everything I've seen.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one to put it through its paces sometime in the future.
*Apologies to the M-14/M-1A fans.
For civilian use, and for some special ops use, the .308 is still the best choice. That's why besides the .223 we still issue a variety of .308 rifles, including AR-10s and SR-25's as well as Remington Model 700s.
Strangely the FN-FAL 20 round magazine is almost indestructable. You can stand on an empty one without damaging it. Pre-ban you could but them all day for $7 a piece. Looking at the SCAR it appears to me that it may use the FAL magazine. (That would make sense, both guns are FN designs. Why redesign what wasn't broken.) It's odd that 40 years into it's time as the rifle of the worlds most powerful military the AR-15 magazine is still an issue.
One of the main problems with the FN was that it didn't have any provision for mounting optics. Another approach to upgrading the FN design has been taken by DSArms who has many variations, including "flat top" designs that make mounting scopes a lot easier. Most go for about $1800.
Armalite makes AR-10s, they are the first of the reproduction makers to re-introduce the AR-10. They have both flat top and iron site/ carrying handle models. My favorite of theirs is their clone of the original AR-10, which was only used by Portugal and their clients in Africa - Mozambique and Angola. It has the charging handle inside the carrying handle, another idea that the Army did away with when productizing the design. (Along with reducing it to varmint caliber.)
This is close to the way Eugene Stoner originally designed the gun.
DMPS Panther Arms is the other viable source for civilian .308 caliber AR-10s.
Happy holidays! Stay armed! Stay safe!
I agree with you there... I've got an old Colt CAR-15, and it doesn't have a forward assist. I've never had a problem with the bolt not going into battery, but then I don't fire it that much. Being left handed, wer glasses, and tall, there's not enough stock pull, but worst of all, there's no shell deflector "nub" on the upper, so every ejected shell hits my glasses! I've also got an AR15-A2, and we get along much better.
I just got a bunch of mags from J&G for $14 each. Not quite down to pre-ban levels but still not bad for a battle-tested magazine that, as you said, is practically indestructible.
One of the main problems with the FN was that it didn't have any provision for mounting optics.
Well, neither did the M-16. That changed with the advent of the flat-topped models. So if you have an old AR with the carry handle you need a new gun to put optics on it.
On my FAL I just put one of these on it:
...and now for an investment of about $30 my FAL has a place to mount advanced optics.
The AK-series is a wonderfully reliable design but the accuracy sucks. This is great for the illiterate soldiers of many non-industrialized countries that are expected to take part in a human wave. Not so good for taking that deer at 100 yards.
The AR-series is a wonderfully accurate design but it's rather delicate and really needs the support of an armorer and a parts department to be of serious use. This is great if you're in a rifle company with the US Army. Less so if it's just you out in the backwoods.
The FNs are good out to at least 400 yards or so and while not as rugged as the AKs, require almost no maintenance to keep them shooting.
I carried the M1A more than the M16 variants during my service career.
Had em in our armory yet the Hk’s an M1A’s seem to be on the road more than the mouse guns.
I am savin my duckets for a civy version of the Hk 416 for 3 gun matches.
Who is making this new improved mag mentioned here ?
You know, I don't know if the brand was mentioned in the article. My guess is that the "new" magazine is just a new follower, and the reset stays the same GI lowest-bidder M16 mags. Maybe they are also getting away from the stainless steel springs, which don't rust, but do take a set when stored under tension too long. I've replaced all my GI springs with Wolff chrome-silicon extra-power ones.
You can't beat the H&K all-steel magazine in 5.56mm. It started out as part of their project to save the SA80, and is the Rolls Royce of bunch. In plastic, the Magpul pmag/emag seem good, along with the plastic Lancer. After that, there's the standard American-style 30 rd mag that should do well with the right spring and follower. Some are in steel, some in aluminum.
Interestingly enough, a Korean company is making respectable copies of MP5 and H&K SA80 magazines. They're also a US military supplier of M14 mags, along with the one remaining American company that makes them.
The really interesting is that there are now about three producers of the FNH 50-round mag for the P90, including this Korean company. The quality ranges from vey good to crap, but they've brought the price of the genuine FN mags from near $100 to about $40.