In all the election hype I kind of missed what should have been major news in my world. The M4/M16 family experienced worn receiver cuts due to the exposed steel tip of the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round in testing. The fix, is a new magazine that has a more favorable geometry so that steel isn’t striking aluminum.
This isn’t really “groundbreaking/earthshattering” news simply because the US Army has found plenty of problems with the M16 family of magazines. The original 20 round magazines, while handy and adequate, were swapped out for 30 round magazines with a black plastic follower, which were then upgraded to a green plastic follower, and then upgraded to a tan anti-tilt follower. The new magazine makes the fifth official Army endorsed magazine for the M4/M16 family since adoption. Which works out to about one magazine about every decade.
The M4 itself had a pretty loose acceptance standard for reliability, which it managed to easily triple in about fifteen years. These new magazines will probably add a small amount of reliability on top of that.
So, should you go out and buy new mags? No. If you have any of the old black or green follower 30 round mags just get some Magpul followers and new springs as long as the feed lips aren’t beat all to heck. The Army is phasing in these mags, and will phase out the older mags, gradually and over time. Stock up on the older mags if you can get them for cheap. Some of us remember the AWB years where “pre-ban” 30 round mags attained an almost “family heirloom” level of sentimentality….