Magpul Industries, the company Leathernecks the world over love to jam into their rifle magwells, is working with the Corps on a new polymer drum designed specifically for automatic rifle gunners in the infantry squad.
The new D-60 magazine solves the “suppressive fire” conundrum for Marines equipped with the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle by providing the gunner with a 60-round capacity. While the M27 is no M249 SAW and isn’t designed to put 100 rounds on a target, the D-60 gives Marines more options when using a long gun to keep heads down in a fight.
The Corps has been looking for a magazine with a higher capacity than the standard 30-round Magpul polymer magazine since it put the IAR in the infantry’s hands, but these types of “drum mags” have often been prone to malfunction and weren’t durable enough for the rigors of combat.
Magpul D-60 designer Tim Roberts says his company’s drum is “damned close” to the reliability of the Marine-issued GenM3 PMag.
“This is a no-comprimise, double-capacity option,” Roberts said. “It’s designed for missions that are likely to have a long, controlled first engagement situation.”
The idea for an IAR gunner, Roberts says, is that he’d load the M27 with the D-60 to go out on a mission, and carry standard 30-round capacity mags for subsequent reloads.
The key to the D-60’s reliability is a focus on the exact right round stack inside. Magpul has in the past made an art form of its magazines’ internal components — with even government agencies allegedly cribbing their designs. Roberts said the D-60 has more curvature and feeds the rounds into the chamber just right so that the complications so prevalent with older drums can be avoided.
“The D-60 uses a lot of the same parts as the 30-round magazine, and there’s room built into it to grit and dirt won’t jam it up,” Roberts says. The mag is loaded two rounds at a time so that cases won’t get turned around or fouled up inside the magazine as it’s being loaded, Roberts added.
Roberts claimed the Corps has been testing the D-60 on its M27s and that the reviews have been positive. It is unclear when Leathernecks might see a drum magazine in their load out, but Magpul’s D-60 could help move that ball further down the field.
Christian Lowe is senior editor for digital operations and is a competitive pistol and rifle shooter.