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Tango Down Arc Mag MK2


I recently posted the picture below of a stoppage with the Tango Down ARC Magazine on my personal facebook page with the caption "NFE" for "Not F*cking Ever", a term I stole from Pat Rogers of EAG Tactical.  This was ironic because to date every Tango Down ARC mag I've gotten, with the exception of those used in the Deet Testing, has come to me as part of a goody bag from Pat at one of his classes.  My experience with these magazines in my guns has been less than encouraging, and in observing others I have seen similar feeding issues.  The culprit has always been as shown above with the rounds, especially when the magazine is fully loaded nose-dive into the front of the magazine body as they head for the feed ramps. Sometimes the forward motion is just retarded by this friction, which results in a push/pull, rack & roll, which then often induces a doublefeed.  So, after repeatedly trying to get them to work, NFE.  It bears mentioning that the ammunition in the pictures below is Remington 220 grain 300 BLK, but the same malfunctions occur with 5.56x45 as well.

Image originally posted to Facebook with caption "NFE"

Another view of the same stoppage

I had recently been exchanging email correspondence with Jeff Cahill of Tango Down about an unrelated topic, and he offered to send me a couple of rail covers that they have been developing for US Palm as a way to alleviate the issue I was discussing with him.  Imagine my surprise at finding several magazines in the box as well.  Both 20 rounders, which I had no prior experience with or opinion of, and 30 rounders.  Of course my first reaction was "oh well" to the 30s and not terribly optimistic about the new 20s.  Until I took a 30 out of the wrapper to inspect it and found a marking I hadn't seen before on one side hidden in the waffle pattern.  The marking reads "MK2", indicating "mark two" or, for our computer geeks in the audience, "version 2.0".  This certainly piqued my interest.  The ARC magazine was always something I *wanted* to like if for no other reason than it comes from a good company, and here was an opportunity to try them anew.

Below are comparison pictures of the MK1 version and the MK2 version.  The captions will indicate the number of rounds in each magazine at the time the picture was taken.  As you can see, as the MK1 gets more and more rounds, the distance from the top round to the top/front of the magazine body decreases, while the MK2 starts higher, and maintains that height as the number of rounds increases.  This induces no small amount of optimism in me.  I'm going to run these magazines on Tuesday and see how they do, twenties and thirties, loaded all the way to capacity.  I'll report back my findings, but as mentioned the photos below do leave me optimistic as one can clearly see an improvement from MK1 to MK2.

You'll have to forgive the nick on the MK1 magazine.  I looked and among all of my MK1 magazines I do not have any without that mark.  It's also important to note that these magazines load opposite of traditional magazines in that the first round is loaded on the right instead of the left.  In other words, the dummy round on the follower is on the left instead of the right.

Magazines loaded with 2 rounds each.
MK2 on top, MK1 on bottom

Magazines loaded with 10 rounds each.
MK2 on top, MK1 on bottom

Magazines loaded with 28 rounds each.
MK2 on top, MK1 on bottom

Magazines loaded with 29 rounds each.  Note that even at odd # rounds the tip sits higher.
MK2 on top, MK1 on bottom

Magazines loaded with 30 rounds each.
MK2 on top, MK1 on bottom

MK2 magazine on left, MK1 with no markings on right. 
Based solely on the condition recorded in the above photos,
at this time the MK2 appear to have addressed the issues experienced with the MK1 magazines.

A Clear, or translucent, version is also available for those that have applications for same.

3 March 2011 Update
At the TSSA Carbine Drills on Tuesday evening, 1 March 2011, I emptied four of the magazines in the course of running some drills: two of the 30-round magazines and two of the 20-round magazines.  I had zero failures.  While this is by no means an exhaustive test, given the 100% failure rate of the previous generation magazines in my guns I think this is encouraging.  I did have some issue seating the magazines on a closed bolt when fully loaded, so going forward I will download the magazines slightly as I typically do all others.  I wanted to try these fully loaded to see how they did, and given the issues I had it's not worth the extra two rounds.  I will continue to get rounds through these magazines and report on their performance.

25 March 2011 Update
At the TSSA SFDCC Match on Tuesday evening, 25 March 2011, I fired a total of 97 more rounds through these magazines, again without any malfunctions.