WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has approved the use of Magpul Industries’ signature polymer magazine known as the PMag GenM3, according to Vicki Stein, a spokeswoman for the Air Force.
Units are authorized to purchase the black and coyote tan polymer magazine through existing Defense Logistics Agency contracts, Stein told Military Times.
The Marine Corps approved the use of the same magazine earlier this year after extensive testing.
“The Magpul GenM3 PMag was the only magazine to perform to acceptable levels across all combinations of Marine Corps 5.56mm rifles and ammunition during testing,” Barbara Hamby, a spokesperson for Marine Corps Systems Command, told Military Times back in January.
The Air Force arrived at its decision after analyzing the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center’s testing of commercial magazines, Stein said.
“When pursuing any capability-based requirement, and before conducting any tests, the Air Force will first work closely with our joint partners to see if they have conducted any testing,” Stein said, explaining the process the Air Force followed to approve the new magazine.
The Air Force is also authorized to use the Army’s Enhanced Performance Magazine, or EPM, Stein added.
That stands in contrast to the Marine Corps’ decision to approve only the Magpul magazine, which was the only commercial magazine to pass Marine Corps testing.
The Army began fielding the EPM back in 2016 when it was supplied to the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, according to an Army press release.
“Army engineers and scientists optimized the EPM to work with the M4/M4A1, M16 rifle, and standard military 5.56mm small-arms round, the M855A1,” according to the Army press release.
The polymer magazines have been popular with troops in the field for years. However, the Marine Corps and the Army both placed temporary bans on the magazines back in 2012 because of lack of testing and substandard commercial polymer magazines that were individually purchased by service members, according to a report by Military Times.
The bans have since been lifted, but only the Marine Corps and now the Air Force have officially approved the polymer magazine, while phasing out the old aluminum magazines.
“The legacy magazine(s) will be eliminated through attrition and turned in when no longer serviceable, in accordance with local turn-in procedures,” Stein told Military Times.
In January, five senators — including three veterans, led by Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst — submitted a letter to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley inquiring why the Army had not followed suit with the Marine Corps’ decision to approve the Magpul polymer magazines, according to a report by Military Times.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.