More Marines are carrying the Glock 19M as a sidearm while the Corps searches for a pistol to replace the M9 Beretta.

Earlier this year, the Marine Corps fielded the smaller and more compact Glock 19M to Marines and civilians in the Criminal Investigation Division as well as Marines in Helicopter Squadron One.

Now, dozens of Marines will carry the Glock 19M when they deploy to Afghanistan next year as part of the next Task Force Southwest rotation.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, 2nd Marine Division gunner, emphasized that the Glock 19M is an interim solution while the Corps looks for a new pistol to replace the M9 Beretta. The Corps is evaluating whether to adopt the Sig Sauer P320 by the early 2020s. The Army selected the P320 as its new sidearm earlier this year.

As one of the Marine Corps’ eight “gunners,” or weapons experts, Wade advises senior Marine Corps leadership about which weapons Marines should have.

Wade said he recommended issuing the Glock 19M to Marines deploying to Afghanistan because the FBI uses the pistol as its concealed carry handgun.

“I just went with the evidence,” Wade said. “The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that of the two, for the concealed carry handgun mission, the Glock is a better tool for that.”

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About 50 Marines will receive the Glock 19M, which has a slide that is more than an inch shorter than the M9 Beretta, Wade said. The Glock 19M is easier to fire because it takes less effort to pull the trigger, he said.

Having a concealed weapon allows Marines to have a conversation with people without announcing that they are armed, Wade explained to Marine Corps Times.

“It’s kind of a passive Guardian Angel-esque measure,” Wade explained. “Certain Marines will be armed at all times. It’s a passive and very quickly to active security measure. It’s kind of an underlying, ever-present security measure that’s always there that does not necessarily project to our friends that we are armed.”

He added that the Marines will also have a holster to carry the pistols on the outside for times when they don’t need their handguns to be concealed.

The commander of Marine Forces Command has recently approved Wade’s request that the Marines training to deploy to Helmand province as part of the next rotation train on the Glock 19M before heading downrange, Wade said.

Because the Glock 19M is one of the Corps’ two service pistols, the Marines already have the weapons in their inventory, he said. The Marines currently training to be part of the next Task Force Southwest should receive the pistols in the next couple weeks.

“I want them to do as much training as they possibly can,” Wade said. “Given the nature of the requirement, a concealed carry handgun, the training regimen is more demanding than the typical overt carry watchstander.”

The Marine Corps’ law enforcement community already has the Glock 19M, which the Corps has dubbed the M007 because it can so easily be concealed, a Marine Corps Systems Command news release says.

“We received the initial request for a new concealed carry weapon system in April 2016,” Lt. Col. Paul Gillikin, infantry weapons team lead at MARCORSYSCOM, said in the news release. “By collaborating with the FBI, we were able to procure, establish sustainability plans and start fielding the weapon to Marines by May 2017.”