MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
After more than three decades of use, the United States Air Force’s standard sidearm, the M-9 Beretta pistol, is being replaced by the newer M-18 Sig Sauer pistol. Airmen assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron, informally known as Defenders, have recently been issued the new weapon and have completed familiarization training.
“The transition to the M-18 firearm will keep us on par with our active-duty counterparts,” said Tech. Sgt. Chistoffer Grossmann, a 169th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor. “When it comes time to work alongside other units, we want zero discrepancies in capabilities.”
Grossmann noted that synchronized training is vital not only for home station scenarios but also in deployed environments. “All Airmen must look the same,” he said. In addition to the training, he added the M-18 pistol has several functional advantages compared to the M-9. “The M-18 is a lightweight striker-fired pistol. Meaning it’s a shorter pull to release a round from the barrel, allowing for quicker decision making.”
Lt. Col. Terrance Barbour, the 169th Security Forces Squadron commander, understands the importance of weapons familiarization. “Staying current and qualified are key traits needed to succeed in this unit,” said Barbour. “To be qualified is ensuring we stay at the forefront of any new weapon system the Air Force has provided.”
Barbour also noted that readiness, resiliency, and proficiency are traits he requires from his Defenders. “Our job is to provide superior integrative base defense in whatever location we are assigned to protect.”
Protecting an installation is no small task, Barbour said. It takes leadership and initiative to retain your skills throughout your career. Barbour stresses his philosophy simply stated as: “We protect this house.”