What is the typical loadout of a US Marine?

What is the typical loadout of a US Marine?

Marines are straight-up badass. Why? Well, their fearlessness and their skills on the battlefield are a big part of it but they have some really cool tactical gear too. This article looks at the standard loadout of a marine who’s going on a direct action style mission. We will chat briefly about other roles such as machine gunners or snipers.

Let’s start with body armor, marines most often use a Crye Precision, Cage plate carrier. This plate carrier will cost you around $400 without any plates etc. Marines can often be pictured using a full assortment of Crye pouches.  The marines used the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System before, this was used from the early 2000s but wasn’t fully phased out until 2018 when the marines replaced it with the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) and Scalable Plate Carrier.

The radio Marines use is the Harris PRC 152 which is extremely pricey!


Let’s look at the tactical helmets now.  The marines Enhanced Combat Helmet is the Ops Core Helmet. They use this in conjunction with the High Threat Tier 1 headset.

Marines used to use the M16-a4 with at least one marine being a grenadier who had a 203 grenade launched mounted under the front of his M-16. Machine Gunners used the M249 SAW. This was classic desert storm look. Now, the marines have a Beretta M9A1 pistol or the Colt M45A1 as a side arm. They use the M4A1 Carbine but are slowly introducing the M27. The M203A2 grenade launcher can be found mounted on some M4 or M16s.

Other weapons could be smoke grenades or flash bangs depending on the mission. There might also be an anti-armor person who would carry something like a Javelin.

Now for other equipment, lets list them:

  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection
  • Night Vision Goggles (sometimes)
  • Gas Mask, MOPP Gear
  • First Aid Pack (Bandages, Tourniquets etc)
  • Energy Bars (there lightweight and take up less real estate)
  • Bayonet
  • Combat Knife
  • E-tool which is a small shovel
  • Sleeping System which could be anything from a poncho to a sleeping bag. Funny how adding system to anything makes it sound more advanced.
  • Camo Paint
  • Compass
  • 5-50 cord
  • Sewing Kit

How heavy is a marine loadout? 

The loadouts vary but the typical loadout will average from 97 lbs to 150 lbs but some are even as high as 200 lbs. Technology has given us a lot of added support over the years but boy does it slow us down too. The extra weight we have to carry now compared to 40 years ago is ridiculous.

The army, marines and some units in the navy all identified this issues many years ago. In 2016 it was said that the average Marine Corps infantry officer has to be able to carry 152 lbs. for nine miles. Even though I’m complaining, I know most of this weight comes from armor and its essential to keeping us safe. I just want the best of both worlds.


Do Marines get to choose their weapon?

No, there is a standard issue rifle set however sometimes a mission requires a special weapon and then there’s options.

  • Beretta M9 pistol.
  • Beretta M9A1 pistol.
  • Colt M45A1 close quarters battle pistol.
  • Glock 19M or M007 conceal carry weapon.
  • M1014 joint service combat shotgun.
  • M500A2 shotgun.
  • M16A4 rifle.
  • M4 carbine.
  • M32A1 multiple grenade launcher
  • M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle – Support weapon based on the Heckler & Koch HK416
  • MK18 Mod 1 – Modified M4 with 10.3-inch barrel. Used by MARSOC
  • Mk 17 Mod 0 used by MARSOC
  • Mk 16 Mod 0 used by MARSOC
  • M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle – Improved marksman version of the M14 rifle.
  • Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle – Improved marksman version of the M16 rifle.
  • Mk 12 Mod 1 – Improved marksman version of the M16 rifle.
  • M38 Designated Marksman Rifle – Modified M27 IAR fielded as a marksman rifle
  • Mk 11 Mod 0
  • M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System
  • M21 – modified M14 rifle
  • Remington Model 700
  • MK-13 30 cal

US Marine

How much ammunition does a U.S. Marine carry on his/her person?

A basic Combat load is 210 rounds of 5.56 ammo. This is typically carried in 7 30 round mags. However most guys are willing to carry some extra weight in ammo just to have a reserve. So  the numbers will fluctuate, some guys might have 7 mags and others might have 15. This is down to personal preference and the mission.

Again this depends, a dog handler for example may only take 120 rounds with him because he needs the mobility to manage the dog. His role in the team is to keep the dog in line and will rely on the cover fire from his teammates, so he will be shooting less.

A SAW gunner will carry more ammo in belts, its his job to provide cover fire and lay down sustained fire to keep the enemy pinned. Machine gunners will typically have an assistant gunner that carries a spare barrel and extra ammo for the machine gunner. Between the assistant and the machine gunner they will both carry at least 2,000 rounds.

What rifle does a marine sniper use?

The M40 rifle is a  bolt-action sniper rifle and has been tried and tested on many battlefields. It was the primary sniper of the marines for many years. However they have been phasing this out for a while now and have been purchasing rifles like the M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System.


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