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Old November 3, 2019, 07:46 AM   #1
Sergeant
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Desert Storm US Sidearms

I deployed mid August 1990 with a S&W M10 38 spcl revolver and was later issued a M1911 45 as well as ending up with a M9 9mm before it was all over with. I recall seeing some aircrew with Colts and Ruger 38 spcl revolvers. One Cpt had a K frame S&W 357 mag like I use to carry while doing Nuke Surety missions. ( side note - Back when I did nuke surety missions we drew 357 k frames and special 38 spcl ammo that had the bullet seated deeper than the standard ammo.) I also saw some P series Ruger pistols, but do not know what model they were.
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Did any TFL members participate in that event and remember what Ruger P series pistols were used?

Last edited by Sergeant; November 3, 2019 at 09:56 AM.
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Old November 3, 2019, 01:32 PM   #2
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I was loaned out to Col. driving duty at Ft. Shafter, HI then. I recall seeing a photo of a rack of Ruger P85's stamped "PROPERTY OF US GOVT". I read later that what P85's didn't make it all the way to govt acquisition had the stamp ground off and were sold through usual Ruger vendors.
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Old November 3, 2019, 10:00 PM   #3
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I never saw a Ruger, just M9s and a very few 1911s.
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Old November 3, 2019, 11:05 PM   #4
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Makes sense that they were P85’s. I remember the Suzuki motorcycles the scouts were using. Well after the Army went with the Kawasaki. The Suzuki bikes ended up in DRMO about 8 years after they did not get the contract. And in Desert Storm there were a few 250 Honda’s I saw.
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Old November 4, 2019, 07:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
I deployed mid August 1990 with a S&W M10 38 spcl revolver and was later issued a M1911 45 as well as ending up with a M9 9mm before it was all over with. I recall seeing some aircrew with Colts and Ruger 38 spcl revolvers. One Cpt had a K frame S&W 357 mag like I use to carry while doing Nuke Surety missions. ( side note - Back when I did nuke surety missions we drew 357 k frames and special 38 spcl ammo that had the bullet seated deeper than the standard ammo.) I also saw some P series Ruger pistols, but do not know what model they were.
Airforce?

I did Nuke missions in Europe with the Army in the early 1980's and we just used the same 1911's we used for everything else as handguns, but I was an MP and had my assigned issue, like my M-16 and M-60. The only people I saw with 38's were dog handlers.

Everyone I know that was army in the sandbox used M-9's when a pistol was available. Even all the local Airforce Security Forces say they used the M-9's when in the sand box.
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Old November 4, 2019, 08:43 AM   #6
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I did nuke surety in the states as a crewchief. The revolver were considered the ideal sidearm do to being able to use it with one inoperative arm after a crash. So over my career I saw Ruger. S&W & Colts. Mostly S&W m10-6’s. But some snub noeses and even a few 6” barreled. So when I started to do nuke surety and the gave me a K frame 357, I was not surprised to see an odd ball. When they gave us 38 ammo for our survival vest, I thought how stupid. But the armor explained they were not standard rounds and showed me the bullet was set deeper. Whenever we hauled prisoners we were issued full wad cutters for our survival vests. Aviation often had older or odd ball older stuff in my experience. And were hooked on revolvers until post Desert Storm. The medivac Huey guard unit down the road during Desert Shield / storm had M16a1s.
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Old November 4, 2019, 10:45 AM   #7
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I remember news reports of some Ruger 9mm pistols purchased to be issued to allies for security purposes after the fighting stopped. I don't know anything about them being issued to our soldiers. But individual units have always purchased some gear outside the regular channels if needed.

I have a brother in law that served in the USMC during the 1991 invasion of Iraq. He also was deployed in 2004-2005 and fought during the battle of Fallujah.

He was in an artillery unit, but was attached to an infantry unit in 2004-2005 serving as a forward observer calling in artillery strikes on targets as needed. He was issued an M16 in 1990, and an M4 in 2004. He was also issued a Beretta 9mm both times.

He told me that there were all sorts of weapons available to pick up or purchase from locals cheap. During the fighting no one cared, but after the fighting stopped all unauthorized weapons were discarded. In an actual combat zone I'd not be surprised to see anything.
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Old November 4, 2019, 01:38 PM   #8
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Commercial purchases was common in the 1st Gulf War in 90/91. We just did not have enough equipment for the size of the force buildup. I have a civilian copy of every side arm and rifle I was assigned in service. And came across some P series pistols in a pawn shop. Thats what got me thinking about seeing some in theater way back then.
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Old November 7, 2019, 08:03 AM   #9
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Not anybody on the ground but I know Naval Aviators, getting ready for a deployment, destination unknown except knowing it's a MED cruise, brought private handguns. Everything from small revolvers to big semis. When the balloon went up for DS, not sure if they were issued a firearm or not. When I was in, it would have been a S&W revolver, 38special, with tracers for signaling..
Early 70s thru early 90s.
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Old November 9, 2019, 08:38 PM   #10
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Just curious:

For any of the revolvers carried in the armed forces, what was the allowed method of carrying spare ammo?

HKS speedloaders? Loose rounds in a pouch? Dump pouch? Speed strips (I doubt that, I think these are a more recent invention)
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Old November 10, 2019, 08:04 AM   #11
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For us, there was a about 10round small bandolier, elastic round holders, with a metal eyelet with paracord to tie into survival vest.
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Old November 10, 2019, 05:45 PM   #12
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Neat. So not expected to get into a big handgun fight then. I just couldn't picture the armed forces sparing the space for bulky leather speedloader pouches.
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Old November 10, 2019, 11:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergeant View Post
...But the armor explained they were not standard rounds and showed me the bullet was set deeper. Whenever we hauled prisoners we were issued full wad cutters for our survival vests...
This is interesting. Could you elaborate?
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Old November 11, 2019, 07:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by dyl View Post
Neat. So not expected to get into a big handgun fight then. I just couldn't picture the armed forces sparing the space for bulky leather speedloader pouches.
For aviators, half the rounds were tracers for signaling...then replaced by a little handheld flare gizmo...one squadron I was in open purchased S&W model 39s...I got one when I transferred to next squadron but BUWEPs(late 70s), got wind of them and we had to turn them in...it was my first handgun, great fun to shoot.
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Old November 27, 2019, 10:13 PM   #15
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I know of a S&W 15-2 stamped USAF that sold for $2000. Serial # dated it to 1968. We carried those in the 80s. If I remember correctly, USAF switched to 92s around 1990.
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Old December 11, 2019, 09:56 PM   #16
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Just a quick comment. Speed Strips have been available since at least the mid 70's. So not a recent invention.
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Old December 11, 2019, 11:56 PM   #17
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I never saw a Ruger, just M9s and a very few 1911s.
Same, except I saw an open wooden crate 1/2 full of shiny new 1911's while driving through an Iraqi position ..... and no, I was NOT going to stop and futz with it ...... there were DPICM bomblets everywhere, and landmines were not uncommon ..... the war was over at that point, and I had one goal in life: get my ass back home in one piece.
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Old January 7, 2020, 12:44 AM   #18
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I was in the 101st and the only handguns I saw were the Beretta (mostly carried by our officers) and snub-nosed revolvers that were carried by our Dust Off air crew (not sure of the make and model, but I was told they were .38 Special in caliber).
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Old January 7, 2020, 07:34 AM   #19
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The M9 was new to the Corps at the beginning of Desert Storm. Marines did not have enough Barettas to go around even for active duty units. When my "organization" deployed, most officers and staff NCO's were issued the old, but most familiar Govt .45's. Interesting, though, we were told there was little or NO .45 ammo in theater. I "acquired" two full ammo cans of .45 ball ammo, which I hand carried, and upon arrival to our airfield, issued 10 rounds per handgun carrier until the it was all dispensed. I was never aware of our unit ever receiving a resupply of said ammo. I do recall receiving several cases of 9mm...I think we traded it for some pouch bread.
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Old January 31, 2020, 09:54 PM   #20
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I was on-board the USS Nassau during Desert Shield/Storm. All Marines in the fleet were issued M9s as far as I could tell. My parent unit was in Saudi. They had M1911A1s. We were one of the last Marine units that got the M9s.

Never saw any other sidearms. In fact, the day we deployed, the Capt went on the ship's intercom and warned EVERYBODY that if we had private arms, we'd better turn them over to our unit's respective armory IMMEDIATELY while we still could. If they caught us with any unauthorized weapons later, we would be subject to UCMJ.
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Old February 1, 2020, 03:31 PM   #21
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Air Force! I couldn't make it into the Air Force as reading was required. So I went into the Marine Corps for awhile where reading was not required.

The Marine Corp however did not last long as I was raised Catholic and did not know the meaning of the cuss words that the officers there screamed at me about 50% of the time they spoke at all. "You xyz!%$ maggot, I said lmnop&!$* right turn! Don't you know xz#!g English?" So that didn't last long.

Then I went to the Navy where I was welcomed. After 2 years there an officer (a First Mate Admiral or something I could never keep that straight) discovered I was aboard ship and asked who I was, rank and what I had been doing for the last two years. "Same as everyone else Mame, mostly I read comic books", I said. See the Navy taught me to read! She got upset that I had not addressed her as "Sir". There was a big scandal over that and they put me ashore in Kuwait and sailed away.

So I got into the Army during that war. They gave me an M9 and a shovel. I also got a promotion to Private First Class Idjiot. A fellow officer of some type came and told me to start digging holes for latrines "6x6x6 feet space them 10 feet apart dig them side by side in a straight line in that direction till I come and tell you to stop." I did that. Hard work in the sand. Everyday a fella on a camel came and brought me a bottle of water and something to eat. I kept following orders till that man on the camel with the water came and told me no one was paying him anymore to bring me water. That the war had been over for a year and a half. He also said I could go "$ut!%" myself" and just go home.

So here I am. I still have the M9.

Space Force maybe. Unless I'm too old.

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