Weapons used in Vietnam

Weapons used in Vietnam

A wide variety of weapons were used by the different armies operating in the Vietnam War, which included the opposing Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) and People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) during the war, the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), better known as the Viet Cong (VC), as well as all services of the U.S. military, the South Korean and Australian armies, and a variety of irregular troops armed and equipped by both sides. The ARVN and Koreans were armed with U.S. Army weapons, some of which, such as the M1 Carbine, were substitute standard weapons dating from World War II. The PAVN (NVA), although having inherited a miscellany of American, French, and Japanese weapons from earlier stages of the conflict, were largely armed and supplied by its Warsaw Pact allies. In addition some weapons were manufactured in Vietnam, notably anti-personnel explosives, the K-50 (a PPSh-41 variant), and “home-made” versions of the RPG-2.

ARVN, US, Australian, and New Zealand weapons

Chemical weapons

* 1. Agent Orange (Dioxin)

In 1961 and 62 the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy vegetation in South Vietnam. Between 1961 and 1967 the US Air Force sprayed 12 million US gallons of concentrated herbicides (mainly Agent Orange) over 6 million acres (24,000 km²) of foliage and trees, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In 1997, an article published by the Wall Street Journal reported that up to half a million children were born with dioxin related deformities, and that the birth defects in South Vietnam were fourfold those in the North. The use of Agent Orange may have been contrary to international rules of war at the time. It is also of note that the most likely victims of such an assault would be small children. A 1967 study by the Agronomy Section of the Japanese Science Council concluded that 3.8 million acres (15,000 km²) of land had been destroyed, killing 1000 peasants and 13,000 livestock.

Small arms

1. Edged weapons(Combat knives, bayonet)

* Randall No. 1
* Gerber Mark II
* M1 bayonet
* M6 bayonet
* M7 bayonet
* KCB70 bayonet (Limited use with Stoner 63 rifle only)

2. Pistols & Revolvers

* FNH Browning H-P Mk III pistol - used by Australian and New Zealand forces
* Smith & Wesson Mark 22 Mod.0 "Hush Puppy" - Suppressed pistol used by SEALs, among others
* Colt M1911A1 pistol
* S & W Model 15 (USAF M-15) carried by USAF SPs (Security Police Units)
* S & W models 12
* S & W Aircrewman model (a models 37 with 2 inch barrels and alluminium drum)

3. Machine Pistols/Submachine Guns

* F-1 sub-machine gun - used by Australian forces
* Owen sub-machine gun - used by Australian soldiers until it was replaced by the M-16 rifle later on during the war
* Sterling L2A3 sub-machine gun - used by both Australian and New Zealand forces, in particular the Australian Army's Special Air Service Regiment and the New Zealand Army's Special Air Service Squadron. Australian and New Zealand SAS units and the U.S. Navy SEALs also utilised the silenced version of the Sterling sub-machine gun (the L34A1) on commando missions.
* Walther MP (MPL), often suppressed for action behind the enemy's lines
* Smith & Wesson M76 a copy of the Carl Gustav M/45, used by US Navy SEALs and ARVN (South Vietnam)
* Thompson M1A1 - In limited use by Americans and South Vietnamese
* M3/A1 'Grease Gun' - Used by Americans and ARVN (South Vietnam)
* Sten,(silenced) used only by U.S. and Australian Special Forces
* Ingram MAC-10, used only by U.S. Special Forces
* Beretta Model 12, used only by CIA and U.S. Special Forces

4. Assault Rifles

* Colt CAR-15, XM177, Colt m653, Short assault rifle
* Armalite and Colt rifle AR15/M16 - main rifle since 1963
* Harrington & Richardson T223 a copy of the HK 33 - used by U.S. Navy SEALs

5. Battle Rifles

* M1/M2 Carbine in early time of the war, by ARVN, South Vietnamese Marine Corps and Republic of Korea Marine Corps
* M1 Garand in early time of the war, by ARVN, South Vietnamese Marine Corps and Republic of Korea Marine Corps
* M-14 rifle - used mainly by U.S. Marine Corps from the beginning of war to March - November 1967 but also US Army infantry (not Cavalry or Airborne) units in 1965, then replaced by M-16s
* L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR) - Used by Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam
* Springfield M1903
* Ithaca 37 pump-action shotgun
* Remington 870 pump-action shotgun
* Remington 11-48 semi-automatic shotgun
* (The shotguns were used as an individual weapon during jungle patrol; infantry units are (were) authorized a shotgun by TO & E (Table of Organization & Equipment). Shotguns were not general issue to all infantrymen, but were select issue, such as one per squad, etc.)

6. Sniper Rifles

* Winchester Model 70 bolt-action sniper rifles - used by U.S. Marine Corps snipers
* M-40 sniper rifle - used by U.S. Marine Corps snipers
* M21 Sniper Weapon System (or XM21 in test phase) - an accurized version of M-14
* Springfield M1903A4 sniper rifle

7. Machine guns

* Stoner M63a Commando & Mark 23 Mod.0 - used by U.S. Navy SEALs and tested by Force Recon
* Saco Defence M60 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun), also known as "Pig"
* M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle, Caliber .30 known as BAR
* Browning M1919-A6 medium machine gun
* Browning M2HB .50cal Heavy Machine Gun

8. Grenades and Mines

* Mark 2 Fragmentation Hand/Rifle Grenade
* Claymore M18A1 is an anti-personnel mine
* M61 Fragmentation Hand Grenade
* WP M34 grenade White Phosphorus Hand Grenade is a smoke grenade that uses white phosphorus, which, when in contact with air ignites and creates white smoke. The white phosphorus was also a useful, if cruel way to dislodge the Viet Cong from tunnels or other enclosed spaces as the burning white phosphorus absorbs oxygen, causing the victims to suffocate or suffer serious burns.
* M18 grenade Smoke Hand Grenade

9. Grenade Launcher

* M79 grenade launcher
* China Lake NATIC a pump-action grenade launcher - used by U.S. Navy SEALs
* XM148 grenade launcher
* M20 Super Bazooka used mainly by U.S. Marine Corps before introduction of M72 LAW
* M72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon)
* Mk.19 Automatic Grenade Launcher
* FIM-43 Redeye MANPADS (Man-Portable Air-Defence System)


* 57-mm, 75-mm, 90mm, and 106-mm Recoilless rifle
* 75 mm and M102 105 mm Howitzer
* 60 mm, 81 mm, and 107 mm, commonly referred to as the four deuce (4.2 inch mortar)Mortar
* M2 105 mm howitzer
* M109 155 self-propelled howitzer
* M107 175mm self-propelled
* M110 8-inch self-propelled howitzer

Artillery ammunition

* Beehive rounds
* White phosphorus (marking round)"Willy Peter"
* HE, general purpose (High Explosive)
* Canister

Ground Attack & bomber aircraft

* Douglas A-1 Skyraider carrier borne propeller driven dive bomber
* Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
* Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
* Douglas A-4 Skyhawk carrier borne light attack plane
* Grumman A-6 Intruder carrier borne all weather medium bomber
* Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II carrier borne ground attack plane
* General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark Fighter/Bomber
* Boeing B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber
* Martin B-57 Canberra medium bombers - used by the U.S. Air Force
* English Electric/GAF Canberra B.20 medium bomber - used by the Royal Australian Air Force
* Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter
* Boeing/Vertol CH-47 Chinooks and Bell UH-1 "Huey" played in gunship role
* Douglas AC-47 Spooky Gunship
* Lockheed AC-130 "Spectre" Gunship
* Fairchild AC-119G "Shadow" Gunship
* Fairchild AC-119K "Stinger" Gunship

Fighter aircraft

Mainly used to protect (fighter escort) bombers over North Vietnam's sky. Some fighters also served as fighter-bombers.

* McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II carrier and land based fighter plane
* Chance-Vought F-8 Crusader carrier borne fighter
* Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter plane
* North American F-100 Super Sabre fighter plane
* McDonnell Douglas F-101 Voodoo (RF-101) fighter/reconnaissance plane
* Convair F-102 Delta Dagger fighter
* Lockheed F-104 Starfighter fighter

Cargo & transport aircraft

* Chase C-123 Provider cargo plane
* Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo plane
* Lockheed C-141 Starlifter cargo plane
* Bell UH-1 Huey helicopters in several configurations
* Lockheed C-5 Galaxy cargo plane
* De Havilland Canada DHC-4/C-7 Caribou cargo plane - used extensively by the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in Vietnam
* Boeing/Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight
* Kaman H-2 Seasprite helicopter
* Sikorsky H-3 Sea King
* Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse Transport/Cargo helicopter
* Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter
* Sikorsky CH-54 Skycrane helicopter
* Bell OH-58 Kiowa Transport/ Observation helicopter
* Hughes OH-6 Cayuse Transport/ Observation helicopter
* Kaman H-43 Huskie Transport/cargo helicopter

Aircraft Ordnance

See also: List of Bombs in the Vietnam War

* GBUs
* CBUs
* BLU-82 Daisy cutter
* Napalm
* Bomb, 250 lb, 500 lb, 750 lb, 1000 lb, HE (high explosive), general purpose
* Rocket, aerial, HE (High Explosive), 2.75 inch
* M61 Vulcan, 20 mm
* Minigun, 7.62 mm
* M197 Gatling gun, 20mm


* M38A1 1/4 ton jeep
* Ford M151 MUTT 1/4 ton Military Utility Tactical Truck (jeep)
* Dodge M37, 3/4 ton (pick-up truck)
* Truck, cargo/troops, 2 1/2 ton (deuce and a half)
* Truck, cargo/troops, 5 ton
* M520 Goer Truck, Cargo, 8-ton, 4x4
* Land Rover short and long wheelbase Australian and New Zealand forces.

Armoured fighting vehicles


* M24 Chaffee light tank
* M41 Walker Bulldog light tank
* M48 Patton medium tank
* M551 Sheridan airborne reconnaissance assault vehicle, currently referred to as a light tank
* Centurion main battle tank - used by the Australian Army

Other vehicles

* M113 APC (Armored Personnel Carrier)
* M113 ACAV Armoured Cavalry Assault Vehicle
* M8 Greyhound,used only by (ARVN)
* LVTP5 Landing Craft
* M50 Ontos
* Cadillac Gage V-100 Commando
* Mark I PBRs (Patrol Boat River)
* AMTRAC'S, amphibious tractors, US Marine Corps
* M-114 Reconnaissance vehicle
* M42 Duster (M-41 light tank hull, with a naval twin 40MM mounted on an open turret)
* Monitor, heavily gunned riverine craft
* Swift Boat, (PCF) Patrol Craft Fast
* ASPB, Assault Support Patrol Boat, (known as Alpha boats)
* Cessna O-1 Bird dog, observation plane
* Cessna O-2 Skymaster, observation plane
* North American OV-10 Bronco, attack/observation plane


Vehicles ( commonly cargo ), armed with automatic weapons.

* Boeing/ Vertol CH-47 Chinook Gunship
* Gun trucks, 2 1/2 ton (deuce an a half), and 5 ton cargo trucks with quad .50 cal machinguns mounted in the back
* M16 Halftracks with quad .50 cal machineguns in the back
* Gun jeeps, 1/4 tons with mounted M-60 machineguns
* Bell UH-1 Huey Gunships
* Land Rover, short and long wheelbase, with single and twin M60 machineguns. Aust. and NZ forces

PAVN (NVA)(VC) weapons

The PAVN, or NVA (North Vietnamese Army), VC (Viet Cong-Southern communist guerrillas) as they were commonly referred to during the war, largely used standard Warsaw Pact weapons. All Warsaw Pact weapons used by the North Vietnamese, also included Chinese Communist variants, which were referred to as CHICOM's by the US military. This distinction was in recognition of Taiwan (Nationalist China), a US ally.

Small arms

1. Pistols

* Nagant M1895
* Makarov PM semi-automatic pistol
* Stechkin APS selective fire (single shot/automatic) pistol
* Tokarev TT-33 semi-automatic pistol
* Mauser C-96 Mod.1916

2. Machine-Pistols/Sub Machine-guns

* Škorpion vz. 61
* PPS-43
* PPSh-41
* MAT-49

3. Assault Rifle

* Sturmgewehr 44 (WW2 German assault rifle, imported in limited numbers by the Russians and used by the Viet Cong)
* AK-47 (Soviet Union)
* Chicom Type 56 (Communist Chinese)
* Sa vz.58 (Imported into North Vietnam by the Soviets from Czechoslovakia)

4. Battle Rifle

* Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles and carbines - both Soviet (e.g. M-1891/1930 rifles, M-1938 carbines, and M-1944 carbines) and Red Chinese (e.g. The CHICOM Type 53 carbine (a CHICOM copy of the M-1944 carbine)) versions.
* Mauser Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles - came from various sources. A number of Mauser Kar-98ks that were in the hands of the NLF and the NVA were captured from and/or left behind by French forces from the First Indochina War. Later, Mauser Kar-98ks used by NVA and NLF came from the Soviet Union due to the Soviets capturing large numbers of these rifles from the Germans during and after World War II and were providing them as military aid to pro-Moscow nations and Marxist movements.
* SKS semi-automatic rifles - both Soviet and Red Chinese versions. The Red Chinese versions of the SKS are known as the Type 56 Carbine.
* Tokarev SVT-40 semiautomatic rifle

5. Sniper Rifle

* Mosin-Nagant with PU or PO scope
* Dragunov Sniper Rifle SVD-63 with PSO-1 scope

6. Machine-guns

* RPK light machine guns
* RPD light machine guns - both Soviet and Red Chinese versions.
* Degtyarev DP28, DPM and RP-46 - both Soviet and Red Chinese versions.
* Vz. 59
* MG 34
* Type 11 Light Machine Gun
* Type 24 machine gun
* Type 26 light machine gun
* Type 30 light machine gun
* Type 99 light machine gun
* Fusil-Mitrailleur Mle 1915 'CSRG', 'Chauchat'

7. Hand-Grenade and Mines

* F1 grenades (Limonka)
* RG-42 grenades
* RGD-33 grenades
* POMZ-2 mines
* TMB-2 mines
* TM-41 mines

8. Portable Grenade Launcher

* RPG-2 rocket-propelled grenades
* RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades


* ZPU-4 quad 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine gun
* ZU-23 quad 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon
* M1939 37 mm anti-aircraft gun
* S-60 57 mm anti-aircraft gun
* 82 mm and 120 mm mortars (M1938)
* 122 mm Katyusha Rockets
* 120 mm guns


* MiG-21 jet fighter
* MiG-19 jet fighter, used in limited numbers
* MiG-17 jet fighter
* MiG-15 jet fighter, used in limited numbers
* AN-2 aircraft
* Mi-4 helicopter
* Mi-8 helicopter
* PT-76 amphibious tank
* BTR-50 APC
* ZSU-23-4 anti-aircraft self-propelled systems
* T-34/85 medium tank, used in limited numbers
* T-55 main battle tanks
* ZSU-57-2 anti-aircraft self-propelled system, fielded in limited numbers.

Substitute standard weapons used by Irregular forces

Small arms

* Arisaka rifles, bolt action
* M1 Garand rifle, semi-automatic
* M1 carbines, semi-automatic
* Springfield M1903 bolt-action rifles
* MAS-36 rifles
* MAS-49 rifles
* MAT-49 submachine gun and local variants
* MP40 submachine guns
* PPS-43 submachine gun and local variants
* Swedish K submachine guns
* Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles and carbines
* Mauser Karabiner 98k bolt-action rifles


M6 bayonet U.S. Used on M-14

M1 Bayonet U.S. and ARVN Used on M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, and M-14

M7 Bayonet U.S. Use with the M-16

Other types of knives, bayonets, and blades.

A wide variety of anti-personnel landmines and booby traps were used in the Vietnam war, including punji stakes.


8 years 26 weeks ago, 9:05 AM


runawaygun762's picture

Vice President
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Richland, MO, United States

It actually has a serial number, unlike the current gerbers. Interesting fact about these knives, the blade is actually canted 5 degrees from centerline, so when the knife is worn in the sheath, the handle is held closer to the body, so there is less chance of snagging on underbrush. The blade of my knife is ridiculously hard. I had to use a grinder to put an edge on it and it hasn't lost that edge in five years. Wonderful knife.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
8 years 26 weeks ago, 9:17 AM


ivantank's picture

Join Date:
Feb 2009
lancaster, south carolina, United States
damn, thats a list..

run a war whit a shoping list like that

I have reasons for the things I do, just don't expect them to be reasonable
samD's picture
Posted by: samD
8 years 26 weeks ago

Rating Overview

This text will be replaced

Recent Activity