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US Military, Sidearm Issue Question

672 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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During my Military career I often had a side arm. Most of my time was Infantry with the last few years as a Cavalry Scout. We got 1911’s in the late 80’s early 90’s, then M9’s. Every tour I did in Iraq I had an M9 and M16 with M203 along with a few other weapons like M590, M240, and some AK’s we picked up and even brought some back as unit war trophies.

My first tour in Iraq we averaged like 4 weapons per soldier. The one weapon every soldier had was an M9 pistol. Not everyone had an M4/M16.

I would assume non combat arms who are not having direct contact with the enemy and fighting them, probably had a single weapon that was not even loaded.
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
You spend any time from OIF 9 to 11 at the RPC in Iraq? 2008-2009? My time was with the 5th and 10th Groups.

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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.

Thank you for your service. Sometimes it’s a small world and you meet people in strange places.

A lot of guys I knew went to the 19th Group in Texas, but not a lot of them made it all the way.

My unit 1-124 Cav (Infantry and Scouts) in Waco TX had some long tabs, a few from Vietnam. We even had a Chaplin that was tabbed SF.
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