The Marine Corps is revamping its weapons distribution among leathernecks, issuing the M4 carbine to career enlisted Marines and officers who previously carried the M9 pistol, according to a Corps-wide message released last Friday.
The new assignment policy, announced in MarAdmin 378/07 states that staff sergeants and up, along with second lieutenants through lieutenant colonels and chief warrant officers, will now be issued the M4, which is essentially a smaller version of the M16. Marines in those paygrades previously were issued the M9 pistol.
Colonels and up will continue to carry the M9. 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.
The policy change is the result of the Marine Corps Equipment Review Group, according to the message, which convened in 2005.
â€œThe review … took into consideration lessons learned along with knowledge of new weapon technology being fielded,â€ the message states. â€œAs a result, new individual weapons assignment policies were developed, validated and approved by the Marine Requirements Oversight Council for implementation.â€
The message went on to say that the current fielding of the M16A4, which is replacing the M16A2, will not change, and directed units to maintain the older rifles until the newer ones arrive.
â€œUnits will request disposition instructions for excess M16A2 rifles and M9 pistols upon being fully fielded all replacement weapons,â€ the message states.