The first step taken towards the small arms inventory of the present day United States Armed Forces occured with the passage of the Unified Arms Resolution by Congress in 2024, which stated that any future weapons acquired by the military had to be standardized across all branches of the armed forces. While this did not result in any immediate changes, from 2028 to the late 2040s a large number of new weapons were adopted, replacing the military’s existing inventory almost entirely.
Unfortunately, with the discovery of faster-than-light travel and the subsequent expansion of the military, the Unified Arms Resolution did nothing to stop the inter-branch disagreements between the Air Force and the Navy as to who should be responsible for the United States’ military space vessels, while a more minor disagreement also presented itself between the Army and the Marine Corps as to which branch should provide the majority of the ground troops for deployment to other planets. The Army’s position was that their much larger size meant they were more capable of providing troops for offworld deployments, while the Marine Corps’ argument was that as the military’s main expeditionary force, offworld deployments should be their responsibility. Although the Army-Marine disagreement was largely a matter of debate only, the Air Force-Navy argument turned into a practical issue when both branches received authorization to operate space vessels. This was a source of problems for some time, although the general peacefulness of the early years of colonization meant that there were few military operations in space and little opportunity for inter-branch conflict in the field.
The problem was finally solved with the passage of the Armed Forces Reorganization Act in 2101, which solidified what role each branch of the military would play: the Army would be responsible for ground operations in the defense of the United States itself and the country’s Earth-based territories along with any other global combat operations, the Air Force would take on the duty of defending US airspace and supporting the Army on Earth, the Navy would be solely in charge of the United States’ surface fleet, and the Marine Corps would be reorganized into the much larger Colonial Marine Corps and take responsibility for all offworld military operations, including ground combat and operation of space vessels. The Unified Arms Resolution remained in effect after the Armed Forces Reorganization Act was put in place, and so by the end of the first half of the 22nd century, all four branches of the military were using standardized weapons.
Although the US military did have some weapons in its inventory that might be deemed redundant, such as the M39 and M41 submachine guns and the M933P carbine, the standardization requirements meant that far fewer different designs were being used overall. The UAR was created in response to the wide number of similar but conflicting designs used by the different branches of the military; for example, the Army’s Mk14 Enhanced Battle Rifle and the Marines’ M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle were both based off the M14 rifle and virtually identical to each other but were still technically different weapons using certain non-interchangeable components, while both branches were simultaneously employing variants of the FN SCAR rifle and other weapons for very similar purposes. Handguns were another problem; in addition to the Sig Sauer M11, M17, and M18, in the years leading up to the passing of the UAR, the combined military branches used between fifteen and twenty different non-standard handguns, many of which were very similar to each other. By the early 22nd century, the combined military forces had completely standardized their weapon systems and used approximately ten different cartridge types and twenty different small arms designs from handguns to automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, as opposed to several dozen different types. Even then, while some of the weapons used were very similar, there were still enough differences between them to justify keeping them to provide greater flexibility depending on user preference and mission requirements, and several of those cartridge types and designs were limited-standard and/or reserved for Special Forces use and not part of the main logistics chain. The M24 handgun, for example, was reserved for Special Forces, so in terms of standard-issue the entire US military had only two handguns in its entire inventory and supply chain: the M4 and the M86.
Rock Island Arsenal M4
The M4 is a compact M1911-style pistol used by the US military as one of two standard-issue sidearms. Read more.
Heckler and Koch M86
The M86 is the second of two standard handguns of the United States military. A derivative of the VP70, the M86 was designed by Heckler and Koch. Read more.
Heckler and Koch M24
The M24 is a .45 caliber handgun used by the United States military. An upgrade of Heckler and Koch’s Mk23, the M24 is the standard issue handgun for Marine Vent Infiltration Specialists, or “Vent Rats”, some of whom choose to carry it as a primary weapon when infiltrating ventilation systems, fitted with an optional suppressor. Read more.
Armat M322 Shotgun
The M322 is the standard shotgun of the United States military. It is an improved variant of the USAS-12 automatic shotgun. Read more.
Armat M352 Shotgun
The M352 is an underbarrel shotgun used by the United States military. Read more.
Heckler and Koch M39
The M39 is an improved version of the Heckler and Koch UMP submachine gun that serves as the US military’s primary submachine gun. It largely replaced the M41 submachine gun because of its lighter weight and smaller size, although it provides the user with slightly less firepower. Read more.
The M41 submachine gun was a trend-setting weapon designed by retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Jonathon LaForce in 2027. Unlike most firearms of the time, it was revolutionary for not only utilizing caseless ammunition, but also an electronic ignition system instead of being hammer- or striker-fired. Although the weapon is technically a submachine gun, as the first pulse-fired weapon adopted by the US military, it is often known simply as the “pulse rifle”. Read more.
FN Herstal M90
The M90 is the standard-issue weapon for Colonial Marine Vent Infiltration Specialists, nicknamed “Vent Rats”. Read more.
Rifles and Carbines
The M16A5P is the standard-issue rifle of the United States Armed Forces, as well as many other countries. An updated form of the famous M16 rifle, the M16A5P is most notable for using an electronic firing system rather than the M16’s traditional hammer firing mechanism, as well as being the only member of the M16 family used by the US military to not be chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO. Read more.
Named for the experimental Model 656 “Special Low Profile” marksman variant of the M16A1 from the Vietnam War, the M656P is a marksman variant of the M16A5P. Read more.
The M933P is a carbine variant of the M16A5P styled and named after the Model 933 “M4 Commando” carbine. It was adopted to fill the need for a compact version of the M16A5P for use in close-quarters combat. Read more.
The M950P is a heavy-barreled assault rifle developed from and as a compliment to the M16A5P. This was done as part of the switch to an M16-based common weapon platform which could be used for a standard-issue rifle as well as a marksman rifle and squad automatic weapon. Read more.
The M42 sniper rifle family is the US Armed Forces’ primary sniper rifle. It is used in two different variants: the bolt-action M42A and the gas-operated semiautomatic M42C. A highly unusual feature of the M42 family is the integral underslung secondary weapon, which is based on a cut-down MP5K, for the operator to use for personal defense. Read more.
Rheinmetall M45/M56 Smartguns
The M45 and M56 Smartguns are a family of two closely-related machine guns and several subvariants of each, used by the United States and a number of other countries. Read more.
Grenade and Rocket Launchers
Milkor M23 Pikeman
The M23 Pikeman is a six-shot 40mm rocket launcher used by the United States Armed Forces and other militaries around the world. Based around a shortened, more advanced version of Raytheon Technologies Corporation’s laser-guided Pike missile, the M23 gets its name from the missiles it fires. Read More.
Raytheon Pike II
Pike II is the name of a 40mm laser-guided rocket used by the United States Armed Forces and other militaries around the world. Based around a shortened, more advanced version of Raytheon Technologies Corporation’s laser-guided Pike missile, the Pike II is even more capable than its predecessor despite its smaller size. Read More.
M76 Combat Helmet/M336 Targeting Computer (Read More)
The M336 targeting computer is the core of what sets the M45/M56 Smartgun family apart from all other machine guns. Mounted on the top of the barrel shroud and protected by a prominent cage of bars surrounding it, the M336 works in conjunction with the M76 combat helmet to recognize, prioritize, and aid in targeting of hostile contacts. Read more.
Additional Files Awaiting Declassification
By order of the Commanding General, US Colonial Marine Corps Command, all additional files on weapons and equipment used by the Colonial Marine Corps remain classified as Confidential, pending further review and censorship.
THESE DOCUMENTS CONTAIN INFORMATION AFFECTING THE
NATIONAL DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE
MEANING OF THE ESPIONAGE LAWS, TITLE 18, U. S. C.
SECTIONS 793 AND 794, THE TRANSMISSION OR REVELATION
OF WHICH IN ANY MANNER TO AN UNAUTHORIZED PERSON
IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.
In addition to security requirements which apply
to this document and must be met, each transmittal
outside the Department of Defense must have prior
approval of Commanding General, US Colonial Marine Corps
Command, MSF Sol – Barreto Station, L-4 Earth-Lunar system.
DEPARTMENT OF THE COLONIAL MARINE CORPS
UNITED STATES COLONIAL MARINE CORPS SECURITY BOARD
COLONIAL MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON
JULY 27, 2179