Originally designed as a weapon to be used by cavalry, the pistol became the principal weapon for an assortment of personnel during World War One. While standard issue to officers on both sides of the war, militaries around the world issued the pistol to tank crews, military police, and airmen.
Pistols were the only weapons that were practical in tight spaces. The confined environments of both armored vehicles and aircraft made the use of rifles all but impossible for tank operators and airmen.
When the war started in 1914, three types of pistols were in use: revolvers, clip-loaded automatics, and the blowback models in which a propellant gas force the bolt back after firing, causing the gun to reload.
Historically, armies typically manufactured their own standard issue pistols using contractors.
However, material and manufacturing shortages dictated militaries would have to put other models to use on the battlefield.
Here are just some of those pistols that filled a need during the Great War:
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