In 2011 the British Army started to upgrade the magazines soldiers were issued with for use with the SA80 rifle. Until this point the H&K steel magazine had been in service and was generally well regarded (see here). The only problem with the magazine was the materials used in its construction. Steel is heavy and new polymers were available that allowed a robust magazine to be produced with a lighter weight:The government at the time sent out a press release explaining the benefits of the new magazine:
The 30-round Magpul EMAG magazine is around half the weight of a standard metal magazine and helps reduce the weight that soldiers have to carry in their kit.
Made from a polymer, the EMAG weighs 130g compared to its metal equivalent of 249g. Troops carry up to 12 magazines, so this change means each carries around one kilogramme less weight in total than before. Although it is lighter than others, the EMAG is robust; it’s durability is enhanced by an easily detachable cover to help protect against dust and sand while being carried – meaning fewer need replacing. A clear window in the magazine allows troops to easily monitor how much ammunition they have left, helping them ensure they have sufficient levels at critical points in battle. These magazines were produced in the US for the British Army and are brand named ‘EMAG’, which is molded into the body of the magazine:Details of the rounds to be used in the magazine and the manufacturers details are also included:The rounds of 5.56 are fed into the top, where two feed lips ensure they are presented into the breach of the rifle correctly:The plastic dustcover snaps over this to keep out dirt and debris:The base plate of the magazine is removable allowing the spring and follower to be removed for cleaning:The response from troops was positive:
The new magazines are a great bit of kit. The little window lets me see how many rounds I have left at a glance and it’s a lighter and more robust design. The dust cap is a useful addition in the dusty Afghan conditions as it helps keep ammo clean.