No More Pistols? (subscribers only)
Many U.S. Marine Corps Leaders To Carry M4
The Marines, for the most part, have stuck with the M16 rifle over the shorter M4 carbine, and are well into a Corps-wide transition to the M16A4. But Defense News recently reported that more M4s are on their way, though not to replace rifles:
The U.S. Marine Corps on June 22 announced a major shake-up in weapon assignments, saying that staff sergeants and up, as well as second lieutenants through lieutenant colonels and chief warrant officers, will now be issued the M4 carbine as their T/O, or –table of organization,” weapon — the weapon associated with their rank. Marines in those pay grades were previously issued the M9 pistol, which colonels and up will continue to carry.
Privates through sergeants will still be issued the M16A4. Assignment of automatic rifles will not change.
Sailors E-5 and below who are with Marine units will be issued the M4. The remaining pay grades will still carry the pistol.
This is probably more of a condemnation of the M9 9mm pistol than an endorsement of the M4. Though most of the Army has shifted to the M4 due to the lighter weight and more maneuverability of the shorter weapon, the 5.56mm round, already questioned over its “stopping power”, loses a lot of steam when fired from the M4’s barrel.
Commander’s discretion will allow Marines previously issued M9s to continue to carry the pistols in addition to their new carbines.
Though additional training and qualification will be required initially, it seems to me that M4 training and qualifying will save time over the pistol option in the long run. Not to mention that the added capability the M4 brings when compared to the handgun will probably save lives.
Question: Why don’t they go with the collapsible stock on the M16? Wouldn’t that address at least some of the concern over weight and weapon length while keeping the better barrel?