Handgun's Role in Military Combat


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Shake
April 9, 2003, 05:43 PM
There was a thread running sometime back about a handgun's usefulness in military combat. While I agree that a rifle is usually best, I think a handgun definitely has a place in combat. If given the choice, I'd always opt to have one.

Obviously our soldiers find them useful as I've seen many pictures coming back from the war in Iraq showing our soldiers using their Berettas in various situations.

Shake

http://www.msnbc.com/c/0/148/836/10x7/030408_war_03.jpg

http://www.msnbc.com/c/0/148/415/10x7/030406_war_03.jpg

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mattk
April 9, 2003, 06:24 PM
maybe. maybe not. Its also possible that the soldiers with the handguns out have no other weapon issued to them and find a gun in hand a bit comforting at the time.
In all but one of the pictures I have seen the Safety has been in the on position.

Andrew Wyatt
April 9, 2003, 07:04 PM
I think a handgun definitely has a place in combat. If i were going into harms way, i'd have something besides my m16 withwich to defend myself, even if it wasn't kosher.

Frohickey
April 9, 2003, 09:32 PM
What did the soldiers in Vietnam that went into the tunnels use? A 1911.

sjtalon
April 9, 2003, 09:57 PM
mattk is on track, the issue is, what you are issued.

Soldiers that are in the "Carrier Team" of a Mech unit (drivers and the TC (track commander)) of Bradleys, M113 APC's) and Tank crewman, are often only issued the M9 Beretta, as well as Officers.

Go USA !!

Steve

Jim K
April 10, 2003, 12:33 AM
There are many service members who are, for one reason or another, issued only pistols. Unlike other wars where casualties have allowed soldiers to "upgrade" their arms, the Iraq war has not (thankfully) resulted in a lot of U.S. weapons lying about the battle field. So, most soldiers have gone into combat with their issue weapons, having no other choice.

But show me someone who chooses to go into combat with only a pistol and I'll show you an idiot.

Jim

foghornl
April 10, 2003, 12:03 PM
Looks like in the first pic, that the guy with the 2 rocket launchers doesn't have too much spare space for a rifle. And if a handgun makes the soldier's job easier and safer, let him have whatever he can use.

DMK
April 10, 2003, 09:58 PM
There sure are a lot of pistols being shown in the pictures from the Gulf. Seems to be even more this time around than in Gulf War I.

It's odd, because it seemed to me that the military was leaning towards M-4 carbines over pistols for the average grunts and using pistols mainly for Rangers, Special Forces, Anti-terrorist teams and the like and usually as a secondary weapon at that.

Destructo6
April 11, 2003, 04:57 AM
The first guy appears to be an AT4 gunner, with the M9 for backup.

The second guy is a Hospital Corpsman. The Caduceus is pretty clearly visible on his chest. He's not allowed to carry a rifle by the Geneva Convention. Technically, it shouldn't be out of its holster.

voilsb
April 11, 2003, 05:05 AM
the first picture definately shows an AT gunner, but it doesn't look like he's carrying an AT-4. since I've never seen an actual javelin, I'm guessing that might be it. but I have seen (and fired) live AT-4s, and those are not them. they're too short, and the ends don't look quite right.

as for the corpsman thing, I doubt it's a geneva convention thing, and more a navy thing. I've seen pictures of army medics carrying M4s, and in my NG unit the medics carry M4s and maneuver as a rifleman until someone needs medical attention.

zpo
April 11, 2003, 05:19 AM
Javalins got a larger diameter, but I'm not an expert.

zpo
April 11, 2003, 05:20 AM
A-ha! How 'bout a morter and launcher?

Onslaught
April 11, 2003, 05:01 PM
Unlike other wars where casualties have allowed soldiers to "upgrade" their arms, the Iraq war has not (thankfully) resulted in a lot of U.S. weapons lying about the battle field. So, most soldiers have gone into combat with their issue weapons, having no other choice.
Not exactly... As I posted in the "Rifle" forum, a few of the members of our local range e-mail the rangemaster from Iraq. One of them told of having to fire at the enemy from their Bradley in the middle of a blinding sandstorm with their M9's... So now a lot of the guys are "liberating" the folding stock AK's for such situations. :)

In response to this, "Jim" added 2 new categories to the CQB matches... AK Iron and AK Optic for when these guys get back.

voilsb
April 11, 2003, 05:12 PM
A-ha! How 'bout a morter and launcher?you tell me. I'm NG 11B, not 11C, and have never seen a mortar tube before. is that one?

Al Thompson
April 11, 2003, 06:55 PM
My take is that it's a Marine carrying a SMAW. It's not a 60mm mortar, nor an AT-4. Hard to tell with my monitor.

Destructo6
April 11, 2003, 07:48 PM
as for the corpsman thing, I doubt it's a geneva convention thing, and more a navy thing. I've seen pictures of army medics carrying M4s, and in my NG unit the medics carry M4s and maneuver as a rifleman until someone needs medical attention.
It's definately a Geneva convention stipulation. That's the way it was when I was a HM with the FMF and was given a "Geneva Convention Card" with the relevant section citations on it.

If you carry a rifle as a medic/corpsman, you toss away those Geneva convention protections. In the context of war with Iraq, the Doc wouldn't be giving up much and I'd carry a rifle too (unless my OIC forbade it).

CWL
April 11, 2003, 07:55 PM
Notice how every "pistolero" has backup? Notice riflemen nearby?

I am one of those once caught in "indian country" with only a pistol when everyone else had rifles, MGs and artillery. You armchair generals can postulate all you want, but a handgun is not the thing to be armed with in combat.

goon
April 11, 2003, 09:26 PM
I think that handguns have their uses, but no matter what, you should get some kind of a long gun or sub-gun.
How much more would a Mini-Uzi cost the military over an M-9?
I don't think it would be enough to override the benefits of having a shoulder fired weapon with more firepower, and about double or so the range. Any gun with a stock should reach to at least 100 yds.
They may even be cheaper.
A pistol would be OK for back-up, but mostly psychological. If your rifle fails, you will most likely be dead before you can get that handgun into action anyway.
Handguns are quicker handling, but I would still take the AK over a pistol. I would have the first one that I came across if I only had a pistol.

BTW, I have never seen a Mortar tube either, so don't feel bad.

voilsb
April 11, 2003, 09:37 PM
found it:from FM 8-10-14 "Employment of the Combat Support Hospital: Tactics Technicques, and Procedures", Appendix G "The Geneva Conventions":
The arms that medics may use are only defensive arms. By Army regulation these are defined as service rifles (M-16s) and pistols. Other US services restrict arms to pistols alone.so it's a Navy thing that Corpsmen carry pistols instead of rifles. the geneva convention says "defensive arms" and it's up to the individual service to define what a "defensive arm" is.

denfoote
April 11, 2003, 11:47 PM
The purpose of a handgun in combat is to shoot your way back to the rifle that you should not have set down in the first place!!! :neener:

Rawlings
April 11, 2003, 11:53 PM
We should buy up as many production HK MP7s as possible, or better yet, acquire a license to produce them locally. Let's give the non-rifle-toting troops some REAL firepower!

Shake
April 12, 2003, 02:09 AM
Just to make it clear. . .

I am not arguing that it is better to have a handgun than a rifle in combat, nor do I think any sane person would. My position is that I think they have uses in combat (as illustrated by many pictures coming back from the front lines) and I'd prefer to have one as a back-up if I were in combat.

Just because a rifle is the ideal weapon for combat doesn't mean all of our troops will always be armed with functional rifles at all times. A contingency in a bad situation is a good thing. I look at the handgun as a contingency in combat. We can all say we'd take a rifle anyday, but saying it and actually having one available and functional at all times and in all situations in combat is another story. . .

Shake

Destructo6
April 12, 2003, 05:25 PM
voilsb, looks like that's right for the Army (FM 8-10-3 A3). I'm having trouble finding the specific Geneva convention protocol(s) that make the stipulation at all.

Double Naught Spy
April 12, 2003, 07:44 PM
frohickey, the guns the tunnel rats used in Vietnam were NOT just 1911s. They used whatever handguns they thought best and that they had access to at the time. Some felt that revolvers were a better choice since they were less apt to malfunction with all the dirt and crud that sometimes got impacted into the guns while crawling around.

Great pictures, Shake. Notice the guys with the handguns do NOT have rifles. A handgun is great if you don't have a rifle. Most of the guys who have rifles don't have handguns. The only ones I have seen on the news that seem to have both tend to be officers, but obviously some of the grunts have both as well. I have not seen any special forces MEUSOC folks that I recognized as such on TV and certainly haven't seen any identified that way.

goon
April 12, 2003, 10:02 PM
I remember reading somewhere that tunnel rats were fond of using captured Makarovs, because their report wasn't as deafening in the confines of a tunnel. I also read about a silenced .22LR that was used. The silencer was of the field expedient variety.

Sam
April 13, 2003, 04:51 PM
The handgun has a definite and useful role as a military weapon.
For troops that work in close quarters, indoors, or with a crew served weapon, they are indespensable.

For the rest they are handy, as one said before it is good for fighting your way back to the rifle you left laying....... They make a great confidence builder too, don't know why, they just do.
Every time I had the chance I had one issued or picked one up.
As LtCol Cooper says, the pistol is worn bot borne.
That means it will be with you, like when heading to the latrine
Or sleeping, or crawling into little places. I like military shotguns too!

Sam

Rob96
April 13, 2003, 05:51 PM
I was a M60 when I was a SP in the USAF. When toting the M60 on a fire team that was the only weapon you had. I made a stink about it at the base I was at, we were then qualified on the M9. They finally came around to seeing it my way that if the M60 went down, I was s.o.l..

Angelo
April 14, 2003, 02:26 AM
Hi Shake! Nice to see you here! I have to agree with you about having a handgun. If anything, it's an easily carried back up. Cool pics too, thanks for posting them!

Angelo (AVP on TFL)

roscoe
April 14, 2003, 03:02 AM
Is the guy facing away in the first photo wearing a Camelback? Sounds like a good idea to me, . . . no hands hydration.

Shake
April 14, 2003, 03:29 PM
Hey AVP. . . errr Angelo,

Good to see you here as well. Sad thing about the pics is I had about ten of them, can't find the rest. Might be on my home computer. . .

Shake

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