The U.S. Marine Corps newest enlistee, the Glock 19.
The U.S. Marine Corps newest enlistee, the Glock 19.

This news is a bit long in the tooth, but nonetheless intriguing — the U.S. Marine Corps is adopting the Glock 19.

The branch announced the authorization of the polymer-framed pistol’s use in a Feb. 2 Marine Administrative Message. But not every Devil Dog will get a shot at holstering the striker-fire 9x19mm sidearm. Presently, the Glock 19 has only been sanctioned for use by Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

MARSOC, officially activated in 2006, is based out of Camp Lajeune, N.C., and is split into three subordinate commands: “Raider” Regiment, Support Group and Intelligence Battalion. The Glock 19 represents the third pistol MARSOC has used in its short history.

At times, the special operations group has utilize the Beretta M9A1, a variation on the standard-issue U.S. Military sidearm. More recently, MARSOC has employed a variation of the venerable M1911. Around two years ago, the Corps placed a $22.5-millon order with Colt for its M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistol.

According to Military.com, the most recent addition to the special operators’ roster of sidearms came at the direct request of the troops themselves:

As nice as the new .45s are, many MARSOC troops prefer to carry Glock 19s instead, sources said.

The 1911 was a ground-breaking design that served the U.S. military before World War I until the mid-1980s. The design is still popular, but it’s also heavy, prone to malfunction and limited to seven or eight-round magazines, pistols experts have said.

The G19’s easy of use and maintenance, capacity (15-rounds standard magazine) and reliability were given later in the article as some of the reasons why the pistol has curried favor with MARSOC.

The G19 is utilized by a number of militaries around the world and has seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The pistol, however, is perhaps better known in the United States for its work in law enforcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Your City Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service have all at one time or another carried the Glock 19.

The Glock 19 working its way into the Marine Corps isn’t the only sidearm shakeup in the U.S. Military. Presently, all branches are looking for a replacement for the Beretta M9, which took over duty from the M1911 in 1985.


Recommended Resources

Classic Combat Handguns

Gun Digest Book of Classic Combat Handguns

Glock Quick Reference Guide

The Custom 1911

8 COMMENTS

  1. As far as caliber. It is a myth that a larger caliber is more deadly. 115 years ago the greatest female hunter that ever lived Agnes Herbert proved beyond doubt that her 6.5mm Mannlicher rifle killed all large game every bit as good as her 450 elephant rifle. W.D.M. Bell proved it as well as he to used the 6.5 mm Mannlicher as well as large bore elephant guns and he said much the same. Rather both hunters found it was penetration and shot placement that killed not caliber. My question is why has this remained a secret for so long?

    Rather than worship the 1911 as a religious icon lets take a practical look at the drawbacks of this gun especially as a military caliber.

    John Browning originally designed this gun as a .38 caliber weapon which it should have remained. In 1945 the U.S. Military finally after 35 years actually got around to testing the caliber .45 acp Much to their shock it bounced off of a WWII helmet at only 35 yards while the Browning High Power (Canadian version) penetrated the helmet at an astonishing 125 yards.

    Now lets look at the 1911 gun. It was big, heavy and the grip was to large a diameter for many soldiers hands. Its slide release was unreachable even for an Orangutan. It kicked too hard for the average soldier to shoot it well. It had a low magazine capacity.

    The WWII guns were made under wartime conditions and by some companies that had never made weapons before and they did not understand that their must be a balance between functionality and accuracy. To them if a pistol went bang then it was good enough, never mind the fact that even the trigger pulls were atrocious as well. In all fairness it was the loose Government standards that were the real villain as these companies could have been required to produce a quality pistol if the Government specs would have been more demanding and as a result the accuracy was so poor that many soldiers lost all confidence in the gun. One Marine in WWII fighting in the South Sea Islands said he preferred the M1 carbine for guard duty at night because at least he could hit something at close range with it as opposed to the .45 1911.

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    Rather than worship this gun as a religious icon lets take a practice look at the drawbacks of this gun especially as a military caliber.

    John Browning originally designed this gun as a .38 caliber weapon which it should have remained. In 1945 the U.S. Military finally after 35 years actually got around to testing the caliber .45 acp Much to their shock it bounced off of a WWII helmet at only 35 yards while the Browning High Power (Canadian version) penetrated the helmet at an astonishing 125 yards.

    Now lets look at the 1911 gun. It was big, heavy and the grip was to large a diameter for many soldiers hands. Its slide release was unreachable even for an Orangutan. It kicked too hard for the average soldier to shoot it well. It had a low magazine capacity.

    The WWII guns were made under wartime conditions and by some companies that had never made weapons before and they did not understand that their must be a balance between functionality and accuracy. To them if a pistol went bang then it was good enough, never mind the fact that even the trigger pulls were atrocious as well. In all fairness it was the loose Government standards that were the real villain as these companies could have been required to produce a quality pistol if the Government specs would have been more demanding and as a result the accuracy was so poor that many soldiers lost all confidence in the gun. One Marine in WWII fighting in the South Sea Islands said he preferred the M1 carbine for guard duty at night because at least he could hit something at close range with it as opposed to the .45 1911.

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    petru sova • 10 days ago

  2. The 9mm round has proven itself to be under powered for close quarters fighting, much like the Colt .38 was in the Philippine Insurrection. Considering a Glock is in all intents a “plastic Pistol” I do not think it will find favor with Marines who are in the trenches, battling ii out with a weapon that has no knock down power. I understood a year ago Colt was going to supply a modified 1911 .45’s to the Marines, was this program squashed in favor on an underpowered, dangerous (under the rigors of battle) side arm? The bean counters are at it again, with the same results the 7th Calvary had at the Little Big Horn.

  3. The Glock 19 simply shows that the people who ok’d the adoption know little or nothing about the mechanical deficiencies and design deficiencies of this weapon.

    1. The Glock has weak ignition system easily proved by the high primer test. It will not fire a high primer while hammer fired guns like the Browning High Power will drive the primer down into the pocket and still have enough energy to crush it setting it off. Under adverse conditions of cold, ice and mud the Beretta is superior.

    2. Carrying a Glock is like walking around with a single action revolver with the hammer cocked back. If you bump or snag the trigger it goes off as the trigger safety is useless. Just what the Military needs in combat, an unsafe pistol.

    3. The take down system is unsafe as it requires you to have the slide forward and you have to pull the trigger and while doing this your arm and hand is in the way of the muzzle when it accidentally goes off when you forgot to check the chamber to see if it is loaded or not. Compare this to the Beretta 92 which requires you to pull the slide back which would eject a loaded round if you forgot to check the chamber and it also has a manual safety which can be applied when you do this procedure. Any Moron can see the vast difference in the safety of the Berretta either when you carry it or when you strip it down for cleaning.

    4. The Glock has plasticky sights that are know to crack off when bumped or dropped.

    5. The Glocks loaded chamber indicator is almost invisible as compared to the pin that pops up in the Berretta which is easily seen and even felt in the dark. Try determining if a Glock has a loaded chamber in the dark.

    6. The Beretta has a cocking indicator which is the hammer cocked back. The Glock has no cocking indicator.

    7. The Beretta has the ability to de-cock the hammer into the down position, while the Glock does not have a de-cocker.

    8. The Glock has less support at the rear end of the Chamber as compared to the Beretta because of the Glocks generous throating makes a failed case explosion more likely.

    9. The Glock will fire out of battery while the Beretta will not making again an explosion more likely.

    10. The Glock has an inferior trigger pull being rather creepy due to its pre-loaded striker design as compared to the Beretta.

    11. The Glock will fail to fire if too much lube or burnt power clogs up the pre-loaded striker system while the Beretta does not suffer from this design defect.

    In conclusion the Military once again has proven they know little or nothing about the technical aspects of a firearm they are about to adopt. After all they were dumb enough to chose the Remington 700 as a sniper rifle instead of the superior Winchester Post -64 Model 70 but that is another long sad story.

    • Well, that’s quite a dissertation on the inadequacies and shortcomings of the Glock pistol.
      I am also no supporter of the Beretta, either as they are both “nervous nines” for the spray and pray crowd.
      What would have made sense: adoption of a new generation 1911- type .45ACP pistol. There are many to choose from and 100 years of refining to support them. The Para Ordinance P-14 for example. Use an aluminum frame and cut away some of the excess steel of the slide, add an external extractor and you’re well on your way to a great military or civilian product. It’s a shame the Marines chose another 9mm with which to equip MARSOC.

  4. I thought the Military was considering dropping the Beretta and looking for a ” new” side arm? They were going to spend many millions of dollars ” re inventing the wheel”…..I thought the 45 ACP was introduced because the puny 9 mm Parabellum and 38 Special proved to be….NOT MAN STOPPERS in the Philippine Insurrection?….We went BACK to the 9mm….with the Glock Series and Beretta Series…now the Marines are OK’ing a 9mm for the use of their Special Forces?…What am I smoking that I don’t see any logic here?….The 1911 is the BEST pistol ever developed and it can be adapted for any caliber. IF the Marines WANT a 9mm….with a bigger magazine than the 45..the 1911 can be changed out with a 9mm barrel magazine and recoil spring…then it can go back to a 45 cal system…with no problems….Why is the government ” re inventing the wheel”.??..We should have stayed with the 1911….IN 45 CAL…unless you want a BIGGER magazine for “Spray and Pray” ops…but I would think the professionals of the Marines would prefer a gun that could put a man down …” One Shot One Kill?”…..!!!!

    • I don’t see what the big fuss is. Glock 19 should do fine for their needs. You guys are forgetting that 99.9% of the time they wont even be using their pistol. For that minute percentage that they have to, its gonna be an “ohh sh*t, Im out of ammo for everything else” and in that case capacity , and lightweight to carry more ammo will be king over caliber. Thats the reason why in my experience

  5. I’m a firm believer in using the 1911 for every purpose. It is easy to conceal and brings the .45 caliber into the nix. The Glock doesn’t necessarily fit small hands which makes it a lethal paperweight. Sorry, but I’m just not sold on the Glock for combat.

    • 1911’s are great, but they are a bit heavy; yet, I believe that helps them shoot well. Personally, I prefer Sig Sauers and Glocks have never impressed me much; though, some friends tell me they simply love theirs. Maybe pistols are a bit like children; they can be a little odd, clumbsy or not the best looking, but you love then just the same.