At alarming rates, U.S. Army personnel are purchasing their own ammunition magazines prior to deployment. That’s because the Army’s official magazine, the Enhanced Performance Magazine (EPM), is far from reliable on the battlefield, and the soldiers know it. The Marine Corps and other branches of the U.S. military have made the switch to more-reliable polymer magazines. Why hasn’t the Army?
In January, just two weeks after the Marines officially switched to the polymer Magpul PMAG GEN 3 magazine, Republican senators Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Jim Inhofe, David Perdue, and Johnny Isakson wrote a letter to Army chief of staff Mark Milley demanding to know why the Army hadn’t yet made a similar change. The PMAG had “zero magazine-related stoppages through all of the tests,” the senators noted, and it “reduce[s] damage to the chamber face and feed ramps when using M855A1 ammunition.” In addition, it is not affected by extreme temperatures — a vital advantage for military personnel in both the Army and the Marines.
In his response to the letter, General Milley agreed to move forward with more testing of polymer magazines and release the results in the next six to twelve months. But to many, another year of testing seems rather pointless. “I’m just concerned that the Army is going through a lot of testing all over again for a magazine that is already in use in the same rifle in the Marine Corps,” Ernst tells National Review. “We are duplicating what has already been done.”