M1911 pistol, in U.S. service from 1911 until the 1990s. Photo taken at Fort Knox, KY in June 1942.
Pistols and revolvers have always been an important component of military firearms. These lightweight and portable weapons have been carried on the belt of officers, military police, and others with specialized missions. While the average G.I. was issued a rifle, the powerful automatic pistol was often decisive in close combat.