You can never have enough ammo. But, ammo is heavy and you need to have a good way both to carry it around and deploy it quickly when needed. Machine Gun ammo is no different than that for a semi-automatic, and they often use the same MG ammo pouches on the field.The only difference that can be found is that larger machine guns, those that need to be fired from the ground, can also use ammo cases and feed the bullets directly. In those situations you want a vehicle to transport those cases as they are about 30lbs each, and you need to have a dozen.But, individual pouches are smaller and usually hold whole mags that can be fitted when needed. To reduce weight, some MG ammo pouches are adapted to hold only clips, but pouches with a tightening system can usually take in both.There are three things that each ammo pouch needs to have:
Enough space for a full magazine
Covering and tightening system
Good attachment to the belt or plate carrier
As not all companies use the same amount of ammo per mission, you will need to adapt what you want to buy to what you are using. Generally, six mags worth of pouches will be enough per person. Thankfully, the price of these pouches is low compared to the rest of the gear, so if you find a good deal for sale it wouldn’t be bad to buy more than you need.
What are MG Ammo Pouches?
Machine gun ammo pouches used to be a specific term relating to soft ammo cans. The term was invented in the time when most rifles were bolt-action and MG weapons were too heavy for all soldiers to carry. Now, when every combat rifles can be an automatic, it is more of a general term for larger ammo pouches compared to holsters that can only take a single magazine.The pouches are made to take in anything from 5.56mm used in a US Armed Forces M-16 rifle to .50cal anti-material rifles. The latter is seldom carried by an individual as .50 machine guns are very hard to fire from the hip unless you are an android from the future with a German accent – but the extra space is welcome, as it means that it can fit multiple smaller mags.Unlike holsters, pouches need to be fastened to the belt or plate along their entire length to prevent them from flapping. This does mean that you can, theoretically, attach more holsters than pouches. But, this is offset by the fact that a single pouch can take more than one magazine.
Ammo Pouches, Magazine Pouches, and Ammo Bags
Ammo pouches are historically older than magazine holsters by several centuries. Originally, they were used to store led balls that filled the musket. Not, while an ammo pouch can hold bullets without a mag that would not be tactically sound. Most modern ammo pouches are made to be magazine pouches as well.A good ammo pouch would be able to take in multiple mags and fasten it safely to the wearer. But, the top shouldn’t be closed and it should be easy to take out a mag at a moment’s notice without needing to fidget around with the pouch. Finally, there are whole ammo bags which are used to carry extensive ammo for the fire team or even the whole squad. Modern ammo bags also focus on transporting full mags rather than bullets or have machine gun strips layered inside. As these are particularly heavy, they are not used to carry ammo into combat, but rather up to the line where they would be taken by individual gunners or riflemen.
How much Ammo does a US Marine Carry?
For combat, the US Marine corps usually opts for the traditional 6+1 layout, with three magazine pouches on either side of the battle belt. This is enough ammo to last for an extended mission, but not too much to reduce the soldier’s mobility.But, when it comes to extended field deployment, this amount can often increase up to tenfold. Either soldiers would bring more ammo in their backpack, or a vehicle would carry ammo cans to the field where they would be used.Private security providers tend to use the same 6+1 magazine setup, but with only 325 rounds (25 per mag) as to reduce spring tension and prolong the lifetime of the magazine.