However, the 9mm semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol is officially approved for use only by personnel assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, according to a force-wide message issued in mid-February Marine administrative message 069/15, signed Feb 12. In fact, the pistol will carry a non-Marine inventory number because it is a U.S. Special Operations Command asset, according to the message.

It is not immediately clear if MARSOC has used the pistols unofficially before now, but they are popular throughout the special operations community. More broadly, they are standard issue for armies on several continents, a staple among international and domestic law enforcement, including the FBI and many local police departments. Glocks are ubiquitous among civilian gun enthusiasts. And they are even seen in the hands of some al-QaidaQaeda fighters.

Iraqi police recruits learn to fire small arms with the instruction of Iraqi army personnel and Marines from Multi National Forces-West Training Center (MNF-W TC). MNF-W TC is deployed with Multi National Forces-West in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al Anbar province of Iraq to develop Iraqi security forces, facilitate the development of official rule of law through democratic reforms, and continue the development of a market based economy centered on Iraqi reconstruction.
Iraqi police recruits learn to fire small arms with the instruction of Iraqi army personnel and Marines from Multi National Forces-West Training Center (MNF-W TC). MNF-W TC is deployed with Multi National Forces-West in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al Anbar province of Iraq to develop Iraqi security forces, facilitate the development of official rule of law through democratic reforms, and continue the development of a market based economy centered on Iraqi reconstruction.

Iraqi police recruits learn to fire 9mm Glock 19s under the instruction of Marines and Iraqi army personnel in Al Anbar province during April 2007. Members of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command are now authorized to use the popular pistol.

Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Charles Howard, U.S. Department of Defense

Glock's dominance of the modern semi-automatic pistol market is owed to their relative low cost and reputation for AK47-like reliability. That is a particular advantage for those who operate in austere conditions where sand, mud, dirt, water or snow make pistols prone to malfunction. Additionally, their polymer frame is corrosion resistant, which meets the needs of a maritime force working around salt water. Finally, the Austrian pistol's worldwide popularity among good and bad guys alike makes it easy to find accessories and spare parts when needed.

It is unclear why the pistols were only now approved for MARSOC. Marine Corps officials could not immediately address questions from Marine Corps Times Tuesday, MARSOC officials were working to provide comment and Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., which released the MARADMIN was shuttered due to heavy snowfall.

Marine operators have at times used 9mm Beretta M9 or M9A1 pistols, but more often the service's .45-caliber M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistol which is based on the iconic M1911 platform. [[[Do we want more details on MARSOCS pursuit of the updated M45 just a few years ago?/jks]]]

MARSOC has not yet determined which holster it will use with the G19.

"Standard holsters for this item are pending source selection," the force-wide message states. "Command approved holsters are authorized for this item until source selection is complete."

The service's current standard issue holster for use with Beretta M9s, the SERPA Level 2 Tactical Holster by Blackhawk, is available on the civilian market for the G19 as well. It was not yet clear, however, if the service would procure the same holster for its newest pistols, or elect for something unique to MARSOC.

 -- GearScout Gear -- Glock G19 Gen4 flat, on white.
-- GearScout Gear -- Glock G19 Gen4 flat, on white.

A Gen4 9mm Glock G19.

Photo Credit: Rob Curtis/Staff, Gannett Government Media