20 Round Straight Magazine

Straight 20 Round Magazine

Cpl. Kevin Wilcox, a native of Clarksville, Tenn., pulls security while patrolling through the western Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah June 29. Soldiers continue to make a positive impact in Hurriyah, ensuring constant security for the Iraqi citizens with daily patrols throughout the muhallahs. Wilcox serves as a team leader with 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Multi-National Division – Baghdad.

Note the straight 20 round mag, something I’m not sure I’ve seen in a photo of US troops in Iraq.

Does anyone out there use the straight 20 rounders? Some claim that they’re more reliable than the curved 30 or 20 rounders, but others say that good curved mags with good springs and followers are just as reliable.



  1. I remember a guy in our company that had one and only one. It was funny because before we deployed, we were all issued seven 30-round H&K steel mags – which were incredibly reliable, but he insisted in using this one 20-round magazine. I’m pretty sure he was a gear queer that just wanted to be different.

  2. First thought I had was that if you are carrying it for five hours a day and getting into a firefight maybe once every five weeks, a 30% lighter magazine hanging off the weapon would be nice. You’re going to be reloading to a 30 rnd magazine pretty quickly either way.

  3. Well, he’s also a lefty, so maybe he just likes being different. Maybe he goes prone a lot and the shorter mag doesn’t get in the way as much. Maybe the military is so poor now they have to break Vietnam era mags out of storage. Not too likely on that one though.

  4. About the only advantage I can see in the 20-round (18 in real life) magazine has over the 30-round ‘banana mag. is operator safety. With a 20-round box magazine you can attain a closer proximity to mother earth and still send some accurately down range. It may be only a matter of 6-inches but that may make the difference between living another day and having your hair parted down around the bridge of your nose.

  5. Good Luck Charm? Special rounds – AP or Tracer? Or is the 20 rounder a patrol load, like carring a 5-10 linked rounds on a M240 or M60, then attaching a longer link when in contact?

  6. Toejam: I was thinking about the ability to get lower with the smaller mag, but dismissed it for 2 reasons: 1) With curved 20-rounders readily available that use the same followers as the 30s, it seems a bit odd that he would specifically get a straight one. This may or may not be a legit reason to dismiss. 2) The vertical foregrip he’s got is as long or longer than a 30 round mag.

  7. Phelps and : I also wondered about the possibility of lighter load for standard use. He’s got standard mag pouches so maybe he’s carrying 30 rounders for if the shooting starts. Didn’t think of the good luck charm or special rounds idea.

  8. We had a bunch in my company arms room … mostly because we were too lazy to get rid of them, and they came in handy when you were running a range and needed to load up a lot of mags with 20 rounds or fewer. No idea how old they were, but they all looked like that with the finish worn off. Logical reason for carry would be to have a pure tracer or AP mag, or it could be just a personal fashion statement — I suspect the latter. I’m more interested in the EOTech holographic sight on the carbine. The Army purchased and issued a number of these a few years ago when the production of the M68 close combat optic couldn’t keep pace, but that’s a newer model (flat dark earth, aka brown, finish vs. the black finish of the issued models). Means it’s either (1) a unit purchase, (2) an individual purchase, or (3) a loan/trade/swap with an SF unit. The Army isn’t short M68s to issue, so this soldier has probably voted with his own dollars for something different. That plus the 20-rounder makes me suspect this soldier likes to ‘customize’ his weapon.

  9. Murdoc, As I read all of the comments I started thinking what would Murdoc look like if he were in the Army and I think that he would have a Stryker vehicle strapped to his back, a radio antenna 30′ tall coming out of his helmet that was up linked to the entire 7th fleet, the helmet would actually be an Apache gunner’s helmet, More camo paint on his face than Rambo, Claymores strapped to each leg, two bandoleers around his neck,………. well I think you get the picture…. pretty geeked up. All in Fun.

  10. Yeah, looks like he’s wearing the new ‘combat shirt’, which is lighter weight to be worn under body armor.

  11. I used twenty-rounders on occasion primarily because it was light. Also, since the vast majority of rounds fired in anger by me were simply marking targets for my machineguns, it made sense to carry a magazine of straight tracer. The short twenty rounder was ideal for this since it was easily distinguishable from standard mags; even in limited visibility.

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