A STANAG magazine or NATO magazine is a type of detachable firearm magazine proposed by NATO in October 1980. Shortly after NATO's acceptance of the 5.56×45mm NATO rifle cartridge, Draft Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4179 was proposed in order to allow NATO members to easily share rifle ammunition and magazines down to the individual soldier level. The U.S. M16 rifle's magazine proportions were proposed for standardization. Many NATO members, but not all, subsequently developed or purchased rifles with the ability to accept this type of magazine. However the standard was never ratified and remains a "Draft STANAG".
The STANAG magazine concept is only an interface, dimensional and controls (magazine latch, bolt stop, etc.) requirement. Therefore, it not only allows one type of magazine to interface with various weapon systems, but also allows STANAG magazines to be made in various configurations and capacities. The standard capacities of STANAG-compatible magazines are 20 or 30 rounds of 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. There are also 5-, 10-, 40- and 50-round box magazines, as well as 60- and 100-round casket magazines, 90-round snail-drum magazines, and 100-round drum magazines. There has also been a 150-round drum magazine produced.
Issues and improvements
The STANAG magazine, while relatively compact compared to other types of 5.56×45mm NATO box magazines, has often been criticized for a perceived lack of durability and a tendency to malfunction unless treated with a level of care that often cannot be afforded under combat conditions. Because STANAG 4179 is only a dimensional standard, production quality from manufacturer to manufacturer is not uniform. Magazines have been manufactured with lightweight aluminum or plastic bodies and other inexpensive materials in order to keep costs down, or to meet requirements that treat the magazine more as a disposable piece of equipment than one that is supposed to stand up to repeated combat use.
As a result, in March 2009, the U.S. military began to accept delivery of improved STANAG magazines. To increase reliability, these magazines incorporate heavier, more corrosion resistant springs and new tan-colored anti-tilt followers. In addition, many commercial magazine manufacturers now offer improved STANAG-compatible magazines. These magazines are made from high-grade stainless steel bodies, rust- and set-resistant chrome-silicon springs, and anti-tilt followers. There are also highly reliable polymer magazines, some with view windows, others are translucent.
ARDEC began development of a new magazine design in July 2013 to address feeding issues of older designs with the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round. It was first made public in 2014 and completed development in mid-2016 as the Enhanced Performance Magazine. The magazine uses a blue follower and a tan body which presents the rounds with a better angle to the weapon's feedway, preventing the hardened steel tip of the EPR from contacting the aluminium feed ramp of the M4 carbine, increasing mean rounds between stoppage by 300%.
T91 30-round STANAG-compliant magazine with ammo capacity indicator.
STANAG-compliant 30-round PMAG with Ranger Plate from Magpul Industries. Note: clear viewing window.
Diagram of a STANAG Beta C magazine
Patent for 60-round STANAG-compatible casket magazine.
Firearms compatible with STANAG magazines
AR-15/M16 type rifles
- AAC Honey Badger PDW
- ArmaLite AR-15
- Barrett REC7
- CAR 816
- Colt M16
- Colt M4
- Diemaco C7 and C8
- G5 carbine
- Haenel MK 556
- Heckler & Koch HK416
- LWRC M6
- Marine Scout Sniper Rifle
- Norinco CQ
- R5 RGP
- Remington GPC
- Remington R-15
- Ruger SR-556
- Safir T-15, T-16 and T-17
- SIG MCX
- SIG Sauer SIG516
- Smith & Wesson M&P15
- Type 86
- Type 91
- Unified Weapon Systems, Unified Patrol Rifle
- Windham Weaponry WW-15
- Z-M Weapons LR 300
- Rock River Arms LAR-15
Non-AR-15/M16 type rifles
- Ares SCR
- Armalite AR-180B
- Beretta AR70/90
- Beretta ARX-160
- Beretta Rx4 Storm
- Bernardelli VB-SR
- Benelli MR1
- Bofors Carl Gustaf Ak 5
- Bushmaster ACR
- Bushmaster M17S
- CETME Model L
- CZ BREN 2
- Daewoo K1
- Daewoo K2
- Daewoo K3
- Daewoo K11
- Diseños Casanave SC-2005
- FAD assault rifle
- FAMAS G2
- Fateh assault rifle
- FN F2000
- FN FNC
- FN Minimi/M249 SAW
- FN SCAR-L
- Fort Ellis XR-86
- FaB 556
- Heckler & Koch G41
- Howa Type 89
- IMBEL IA2
- IMBEL MD2
- IMI Negev
- IMI Tavor TAR-21
- IWI Tavor X95
- IWI Galil ACE N
- Kel-Tec PLR-16
- Kel-Tec RDB
- Kel-Tec SU-16
- LAPA FA-03
- Magpul PDR
- MKEK MPT
- MSAR STG 556 "E4 Model"
- MSBS Grot
- Nabi assalt rifle
- Norinco QBZ-97
- Norinco Type 03 assault rifle (export models)
- Pindad SS1
- Pindad SS2
- Pindad SS3
- Robinson Armaments M-96 "Expeditionary Rifle"
- Robinson Armaments XCR
- Rung Paisarn RPS-001
- SAR-21 (export models)
- SIG 556
- Sterling SAR-87
- Leader T2 MK5 rifle
- Type 65
- VB Berapi LP06
- Vulcan V18
- Type XT-97
- XM29 OICW
- Zastava M85
Manually operated rifles
- BMS Cam rifle
- Crossfire MKI
- Mossberg MVP
- ISSC Pump Action Rifle (PAR)
- POF USA ReVolt Light
- Remington Model 7615P
- Ruger American Ranch and Predator
- Troy Pump Action Rifle (PAR)
- Voere S16
- Q Mini FIX
- Aftermarket STANAG bottom metals are also available for the Remington Model 700 (modification by gunsmith required)
STANAG magazine convertible rifles
- CZ-805 BREN (through housing conversion)
- Heckler & Koch G36 (modular magazine well)
- IMI Galil (through adaptor)
- SAR 21 (through swapping lower receiver with the one from export model)
- Steyr AUG (through right hand only STANAG magazine stock assembly)
- Wz. 1996 Beryl (through adaptor)
Loading a STANAG magazine, particularly one with a large capacity and a corresponding high spring pressure pushing the rounds to the top of the magazine, can be quite difficult. A number of devices are available to make this task simpler. These are sometimes called speedloaders but are more commonly known as magazine loaders, stripper clips, spoons, or stripper clip guides. There are a wide range of both commercial and military type loading tools available for STANAG magazines. For example; draft STANAG 4181 is a type of stripper clip and guide tool proposed for standardization based on the USGI M16 rifle stripper clips and guide tools.
- The "RAM-LINE 30-round COMBO MAG" is a uniquely notable STANAG magazine. These commercial translucent plastic magazines can be used in both AR-15 type rifles and Ruger Mini-14 type rifles.
- Magnolia States Armory offers an adapter that allows the use of STANAG magazines in 5.56mm Galil rifles as well as one that works in a variety of 5.56mm AK-47 type rifles such as the Saiga, WASR3 and Norinco rifles.
- While STANAG magazines are typically loaded with 5.56 mm NATO ammo, they are also used for other calibers as well.
- There are also a wide range of dummy STANAG magazines in a variety of sizes, weights and colors for training purposes.
- List of AR platform cartridges
- SR-25 pattern magazine, a scaled up version of the STANAG magazine for .308 based cartridges.
- AICS style magazine, an emerging standard for bolt action rifle magazines.
- Rottman, Gordon L. (2011). The M16. Osprey. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1849086905.
- Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. Penguin. pp. 125–126. ISBN 9780425217504.
- Watters, Daniel (2000–2007). "The 5.56 X 45mm Timeline: A Chronology of Development". The Gun Zone. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015.
- Arvidsson, Per G. (2008). "NATO Infantry Weapons Standardization" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1, 2012.
- Rottman, Gordon L. (October 20, 2013). The Book of Gun Trivia: Essential Firepower Facts. Osprey. ISBN 9781782006206.
- "Magpul Invents New Quad-Stack Magazine for ARs". Accurate Shooter. June 9, 2010. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
- Crane, David (December 3, 2010). "DR Exclusive!: SureFire MAG5-60 and MAG5-100 High Capacity Magazine (HCM) "Quad-Stack" AR Rifle Magazines: 60-Round/Shot and 100-Round/Shot AR (AR-15/M16) 5.56mm NATO Box Magazines for Significantly-Increased Firepower during Infantry Combat and Tactical Engagements of All Sorts". Defense Review. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015.
- Crane, David (June 21, 2009). "MWG 90-Rounder Snail Drum Magazine: 90 Rounds of Immediate 5.56mm Firepower for Your M4/M4A1 Carbine (or AR-15 Carbine)". Defense Review. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015.
- The Gun Digest Book of the AR-15. Patrick Sweeney. Gun Digest Books, September 9, 2005. page 106
- Brownells shipping M16 magazines with anti-tilt follower to military - The Firearm Blog, June 13, 2009
- New US Army M16 “Tan” Magazine - The Firearm Blog, December 16, 2009
- BREAKING: US Army Introduces New Enhanced Performance Magazine For M4/M16 Series Rifles - Thefirearmblog.com, 26 July 2016
- Army fielding new magazine optimized for M4/M4A1 Carbine and M855A1 - By U.S. Army, November 1, 2016
- Forgotten Weapons - The Fort Ellis XR-86
- "SAR 21 Product Brochure" (PDF). ST Engineering. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- CROSSFIRE! The Crossfire MKI with Forgotten Weapons -The Firearm Blog
- Leitner-Wise Rifle Co "The LW-S1 is a bolt action 5.56 caliber (.223 Remington), magazine fed rifle utilizing the popular AR15/M16 magazine"
- New rifles by Voere: S16 and K15A | all4shooters
- Armalon - Armalon PR
- Run AR Magazines in your Rem 700 Bolt Gun « Accurateshooter.com Daily Bulletin
- Security Arms | Firearm Photo Archive :: The Armalon PR precision rifle "It consists of an extensive re-working of a Remington 700 series rifle, and has achieved a high degree of success in competition [..], [and] the 5.56/.223 versions use similarly re-modelled AR15/M16 magazines.
- "Steyr AUG NATO Conversion kit - AUG Accessories - Accessories". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- "NATO Infantry Weapons Standardization Archived December 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine", NDIA Conference 2008
- Ruger Mini-14 vs. the AR-15 SWAT magazine, March 2002, page 42-45 "Incidentally, Ramline magazines work in both Mini-14s and AR-type guns with no modifications necessary—a bonus for those who own both type of rifles."