Guns and Gear

5 Facts About U.S. Marine Corps Firepower

By Mark Keefe, American Rifleman

1. “Every Marine a Rifleman” is mantra that represents the willingness and ability of every Marine to engage the enemy in direct combat. But the infantry units of the United States Marine Corps are getting a new rifle. And it’s not really a rifle, it’s a carbine. The Marine Corps will equip all it’s infantry Battalion’s in those that support them directly on the front line with the M4 and M4 A1. This will supplant and replace the M-16 A2s and M-16 A4s that were previously the front line infantry rifles for the Marine Corps.


2. While the U.S. Army, followed by the other branches, adopted the Beretta M9 back in 1985, the Marine Corps finally got around to adopting it’s own version of the service pistol. That gun is the M9A1. It features and integral accessory rail on the dustcover upgraded sites and a few other things to Marine Corps wanted on his own version of a service sidearm. While the Army is looking to replace its M9s, the Marine Corps appears to be very happy with its choice.


3. Only accurate rifles are interesting. And even more interesting are accurate rifles you make yourself. The Marine Corps Weapons Battalion in Quantico, Va., makes the sniper rifles used by the United States Marine Corps. It started off with a Remington Model 700-based M40, but they have continued to upgrade the platform over the decades that have passed since the Vietnam war. Now Marine gunsmiths—often the same ones who build accurized rifles for the U.S. Marine Corps shooting team—build M40A3s in Quantico.


4. One rifle can make a difference. During the Marine Raider Operation on Makin Island in 1942, the Raiders took some Boys Anti-tank Rifles. While they would have been perfect for shooting up a light Japanese tanks, they didn’t find any. What they did find were Japanese floatplanes. The big ones the Japanese used for hauling troops and cargo throughout its remote Pacific bases. The destruction of these floatplanes using a Boys Antitank Rifle diminished Japanese ability to reinforce crucial garrisons.

5. In the Marine Corps Marksmanship matters. It mattered probably more than at any time in the Corps’ history at the fight for Belleau Wood. German machine gunners, well emplaced and with good fields of fire, took repeated head shots from Marine rifleman. Apparently the Marines didn’t know that you were just supposed to go to ground and be mowed down as had occurred for the previous 3 1/2 years of war. No, Marines and their ’03 Springfield’s used the lessons of the target range to inflict long range precision rifle fire on the Germans. The Marines, especially in interservice matches in the NRA national matches, took rifle shooting very seriously. A lot of Germans could’ve attested to that had they not been shot.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

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