Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff, on a Saturday (AR-15 Magazines)

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

photograph by
United States Military

Before I begin today's article, I need to remind you: Without magazines, a semi-automatic rifle is a single shot rifle.

So, ... Stock up!

With that said, .. Let us begin.

photograph by
The M-16 rifle has been produced for over fifty years, same for the magazine. At first, the rifle was introduced with a 20-round magazine manufactured from stamped aluminum with a metal follower. A 30-round magazine with a plastic follower was later manufactured to provide higher capacity for the rifle.

Both sizes of magazine are still available from several sources.

But, ...  There were problems with the early magazines' reliability. It seemed the original follower would 'jam' or 'tilt' causing the rifle to malfunction.

These United States military developed a solution. They added a front 'leg' to the follower.

Like any good improvement, more followed.

These United States' military quickly learned that one 'leg' wasn't enough, so they added a second rear leg and improved the spring by making it heavier and more corrosion resistant. Needless to say, you can quickly tell each improvement by looking at the color of the magazine follower.

Black, Green, Tan, and ... Yellow
Originally, I was going to highlight each magazine follower with individual pictures. As you can see, it didn't happen.

So, ...

From left to right, a black magazine follower from an Adventureline magazine purchased around 1985. Center is a green magazine follower from a Parsons Precision Products magazine purchased early 2000s. Right is a yellow Magpul magazine follower purchased around 2012.

As you can see from the picture, I don't have an example of the military's 'new' tan magazine follower because I'm not in the military anymore ; - )

With that gleefully said, ... Here is a picture with different views of the various magazine followers.

As you can see, again, the magazine follower has been improved over the years increasing its reliability for combat.

But, ...What about for you, the prepper?

First, the black magazine followers should be replaced immediately with improved followers.

 Second, magazines with green followers are still serviceable (usable). They should still be used by you and your family.

Lastly, 20 and 30-round magazines with tan military or yellow (now in 'foliage green,' too) aftermarket magazine followers should be purchased in the future.

If you're like me, and bought a lot of magazines when they were inexpensive, you can purchase Magpul followers from several sources. (Brownells) (Midway USA)

Wikipedia - M-16 Rifle: Magazine

PEO Soldier Live - Army’s Improved Magazine Increases Weapons Reliability: “Tan is the Plan” for the New Magazine

Triangle - AR-15 Magazine Followers: Magpul vs. Brownells' USGI Tan

Midway USA - MagPul Enhanced Self Leveling Magazine Follower AR-15 Polymer Package of 3

Not Part of the Narrative
As always, some of the pictures didn't fit the articles.

Three sets of magazines with each color of follower installed in the magazines.

As you can see, the color of the magazine follower is easy to identify while it is still installed in the magazine.

Magazines with magazine spring and magazine follower removed. The magazine floor plate is to the right of each magazine.

Approximately 24 obsolete black magazine followers removed from magazines I purchased in the mid-80s.

They were replaced with yellow Magpul enhanced self-leveling magazine followers that I received as Christ's Mass gifts.

After replacement, these obsolete followers were thrown in the trash because they are less then useless. They are dangerous.

O.K. That's a little hyperbole, but you get the point. Right?

I forgot to mention, yesterday. You might want to stock up on a few extra magazine springs "If" you're planning for a longer-term event.

Say, ... one spare magazine spring per magazine that you own and one magazine floor plate for every five magazines you own.

Almost lastly, if you plan to buy magazine bodies, you might as well buy complete magazines with spare springs and floor plates.

Lastly, if you replace the improved green followers with the 'new' improved enhanced anti-tilt follower, you might want to save the green followers as spares ; - )


addisong said...

Great information, I have a follower that is white, when was it made?

Anonymous said...

My new pmag 30rd magazines from magpul have black followers. I just wanted to put that info out there to not confuse new AR15 owners. I have yet to see yellow magazine followers.
Former Army Infantry Airborne.

Someone You Know said...

Dear Addisong,

Thanks for the question, but I don't know : - (

Can you tell me who made the magazine?

Sincerely, SYK

Someone You Know said...

Dear Anonymous,

You're right.

With the introduction of the polymer magazines from Magpul, Lancer, and other manufactures, the magazine follower may be a different color than the metal magazines I covered in the article.

Plus, as addisong pointed out, there is at least one white follower in a magazine!

Lastly, the yellow followers are aftermarket magazine followers from Magpul. I picked that color to more easily identify my family's magazines.

Sincerely, SYK

Thanks for the additional information : - )