STANAG magazine

A STANAG magazine[1][2] or NATO magazine is a type of detachable firearm magazine proposed by NATO in October 1980.[3] 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".[4]

Two STANAG-compliant magazines: A 20-round Colt-manufactured magazine, and a 30-round Heckler & Koch "High Reliability" magazine.


The STANAG magazine concept is only an interface, dimensional and controls (magazine latch, bolt stop, etc.) requirement.[2][5] Therefore, it not only allows one type of magazine to interface with various weapon systems,[2][5] but also allows STANAG magazines to be made in various configurations and capacities.[2][5] The standard capacities of STANAG-compatible magazines are 20 or 30 rounds of 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition.[citation needed] There are also 5-, 10-, 40- and 50-round box magazines,[5] as well as 60- and 100-round casket magazines,[6][7] 90-round snail-drum magazines,[8] and 100-round drum magazines.[9] There has also been a 150-round drum magazine produced.[citation needed]

Issues and improvementsEdit

Close-up of L85A2 with Magpul Industries EMAG polymer magazine with clear viewing window

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.[citation needed]

As a result, in March 2009, the U.S. military began to accept delivery of improved STANAG magazines.[10] To increase reliability, these magazines incorporate heavier, more corrosion resistant springs and new tan-colored anti-tilt followers.[11] 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.[citation needed]

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 aluminum feed ramp of the M4 carbine, increasing mean rounds between stoppage by 300%.[12][13]


Firearms compatible with STANAG magazinesEdit

AR-15/M16 type riflesEdit

Non-AR-15/M16 type riflesEdit

STANAG magazine convertible riflesEdit

Loading toolsEdit

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.[23]


Additional informationEdit

STANAG magazines loaded with .223 Rem (left) and .450 Bushmaster (right)
  • 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.[24]
  • 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.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rottman, Gordon L. (2011). The M16. Osprey. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1849086905.
  2. ^ a b c d Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. Penguin. pp. 125–126. ISBN 9780425217504.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Arvidsson, Per G. (2008). "NATO Infantry Weapons Standardization" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Rottman, Gordon L. (October 20, 2013). The Book of Gun Trivia: Essential Firepower Facts. Osprey. ISBN 9781782006206.
  6. ^ "Magpul Invents New Quad-Stack Magazine for ARs". Accurate Shooter. June 9, 2010. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ The Gun Digest Book of the AR-15. Patrick Sweeney. Gun Digest Books, September 9, 2005. page 106
  10. ^ Brownells shipping M16 magazines with anti-tilt follower to military - The Firearm Blog, June 13, 2009
  11. ^ New US Army M16 “Tan” Magazine - The Firearm Blog, December 16, 2009
  12. ^ BREAKING: US Army Introduces New Enhanced Performance Magazine For M4/M16 Series Rifles -, 26 July 2016
  13. ^ Army fielding new magazine optimized for M4/M4A1 Carbine and M855A1 - By U.S. Army, November 1, 2016
  14. ^ Forgotten Weapons - The Fort Ellis XR-86
  15. ^ "SAR 21 Product Brochure" (PDF). ST Engineering. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  16. ^ CROSSFIRE! The Crossfire MKI with Forgotten Weapons -The Firearm Blog
  17. ^ 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"
  18. ^ New rifles by Voere: S16 and K15A | all4shooters
  19. ^ Armalon - Armalon PR
  20. ^ Run AR Magazines in your Rem 700 Bolt Gun « Daily Bulletin
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Steyr AUG NATO Conversion kit - AUG Accessories - Accessories". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  23. ^ "NATO Infantry Weapons Standardization Archived December 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine", NDIA Conference 2008
  24. ^ 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."