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US Military, Sidearm Issue Question

668 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  cxm357
When was the last time that the US military issued a sidearm to pretty much all soldiers in addition to their long gun in a combat situation ?

I'm thinking that during the Civil War, only officers were issued the Colt 1860 (at least the Union Army) but not long afterwards with the introduction of cartridge revolvers, but when the rifles were still single shot trapdoor Springfields, all soldiers were issued a revolver. I'm excepting personnel who manned artillery for example and thinking along the lines of infantry and cavalry soldiers.

Were all soldiers in the Spanish American War issued sidearms ? I understand that by WWI handguns were in a shortage situation but the average doughboy private wouldn't have been issued an M1911 or Colt of S&W M1917 correct ? So maybe it was during that period between the end of the Spanish American War and WWI when the general issue of sidearms to privates and above was discontinued ? Could that have been due to the fact that by then they had repeating rifles rather than single shots, or due to a very restrictive military spending budget at that time ?
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In today's army, the trigger pullers in the Rangers and the Special Forces all have pistols issued to them per the TO&E. Support personnel in these units generally are issued the M4A1 in lieu of the handgun. Other outfits, as noted above, carry a pistol when a long arm is not practical which means that most soldiers are sans a handgun.

I ended up carrying a handgun for virtually my entire career from VN to the GWOT; although I often left it secured in the rear while on ops as I had enough to carry. When we became vehicle mounted much of the time in the GWOT, I wore it all the time.

De Oppresso Liber
1st Group mostly for me, although I was also assigned as an AC staff member to the 19th Group and did time with 7th in Central America in the 80s. Time forward deployed with a couple of the SOCs too. I ended up with tours/ops in 11 different countries.

I always wanted to transfer to the 10th SFG (A) as I rated highly in German and Spanish (both10th Group languages) but the powers to be at SF Command didn't see the logic in that. :)

I retired as an 18 Zulu.

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