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Mexican Revolutionary General Pancho Villa wearing two bandoliers.

A bandolier or a bandoleer is a pocketed belt for holding ammunition. It was usually slung over the chest. In its original form, it was common issue to soldiers from the 16th to 18th centuries. This was very useful for quickly reloading a musket.

A somewhat different form of the bandolier came into use in the 20th century when it accompanied modern cartridges and hand grenades. Bandoliers are now rare due to the prohibitive size of modern magazines. They are, however, still commonly used with shotguns, as individual 12 gauge shells can easily be stored in traditionally-designed bandoliers. In fact, some aftermarket shotgun slings are designed in a similar fashion to bandoliers, albeit with a far more limited capacity than true bandoliers.

The bandolier was used to keep ammunition off a soldier's hips, as carrying too much weight on the hips can constrain movement and cause difficulty in retrieving the ammunition.

In World War I and World War II, bandoliers were issued primarily to riflemen. They were made of cloth, stitched into pockets which held clips of rifle ammunition. Today, bandoliers are commonly used to carry multiple M203 rounds. In civilian use, bandoliers are often worn by hunters and recreational shooters using shotguns.

Bandoliers made from spent or dummy rounds are often used in fashion, sometimes in heavy metal and punk subcultures.

See also


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BANDOLIER, or Bandoleer (from Fr. bandouliere, Ital. bandoliers, a little band), a belt worn over the shoulder, particularly by soldiers to carry cartridges. In the 17th century wooden cases were hung to the belt to contain powder charges. The modern bandolier carries the cartridges either in loops sewn to the belt, or in small pouches, similarly attached, containing strips of several cartridges. It has been extensively adopted in the British army, especially for mounted troops.


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