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  #1  
Old 08-22-2005, 10:53 AM
4x5 4x5 is offline
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lanyards on 1911?




I'm hoping some of you 1911 history buffs can help me out here. Several of the WWII reproductions, along with the actual 1911's of the period have lanyard loops on the bottom of the MSH. What exactly were they used for? The obvious answer is "to attach a lanyard", but what I'm curious to know is if they were used, and how and by whom? I don't think I've ever seen a photo of a tethered 1911 in any of my history books.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2005, 11:26 AM
Greatgoogamooga Greatgoogamooga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x5
I'm hoping some of you 1911 history buffs can help me out here. Several of the WWII reproductions, along with the actual 1911's of the period have lanyard loops on the bottom of the MSH. What exactly were they used for? The obvious answer is "to attach a lanyard", but what I'm curious to know is if they were used, and how and by whom? I don't think I've ever seen a photo of a tethered 1911 in any of my history books.

Thanks.

I've wondered the same thing until this weekend at my first IPSC match. You can get DQ'ed for dropping the gun. It occured to me that if you had a lanyard around your wrist, that wouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't think that you would wear it around your neck, considering there were army issued holsters available, but this gun was origionally tested by cavalry, who would have wanted a way to retain the gun while at a full gallop.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2005, 12:46 PM
jacobtowne jacobtowne is offline
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Dropping a sidearm on the ground it you are on foot is one thing, quite another from horseback, which our cavalry still rode in 1911. The early M1911 magazines also had lanyard rings, until about 1916 (I think). I've heard the story of why, and why the mag. lanyard ring was discontued, but I think I'll let one of the resident experts explain that.

Here's a photo of one.

JT
Whoops. Didn't work. I'll try again.


Last edited by jacobtowne; 08-22-2005 at 12:49 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2005, 01:03 PM
1saxman 1saxman is online now
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Military Police were/are required to use the lanyard, so it would have been/is a requirement in the specifications for the service pistol. In combat, the lanyards seem to be just about the first thing discarded, so you're not likely to see an officer in the field using one in your war pictures. The current service pistol, the Beretta M9, has a lanyard loop.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2005, 01:40 PM
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RickB RickB is offline
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I have seen a photo, shot "over there" during WWI, of a four-man group, all of whom have lanyard-equipped pistols. One guy has his secured to a button on his shirt, and another has his secured to one of his epaulets, IIRC. I've seen the same pic in more than one book, so it's not especially rare. Most video I've seen of "spec ops" guys in training (History Channel, etc.), show them all using lanyards. I carry a lanyard around in my range bag, but I haven't used it, except in practice. I've thought of using it for camping, or other situations where I could lose track of exactly where the gun is, when it's not on my person.
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Last edited by RickB; 08-22-2005 at 05:26 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2005, 03:57 PM
dfariswheel dfariswheel is offline
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The purpose was to prevent drooping or loosing the gun.
The early 1911 had loops on the gun AND the magazines.

In those early automatic pistol days, senior officers were obsessed with the idea of the 1911 being a "two part pistol", and worrying constantly that soldiers would loose the magazine, which would convert the gun into a single shot.

For some reason, probably cost, it never seemed to occur to them to just make plenty of magazines available.

The idea was, for the cavalryman to attach lanyards to the gun and all magazines so he wouldn't drop them in battle and loose them.
This idea quickly proved to be a non-starter when cavalrymen became entangled in a tangle of twisted and knotted lanyards, and the magazine lanyard idea was soon dropped.

The pistol lanyard remained, and was used up until today.

In use, the lanyard was intended to be looped over the right shoulder and held in place by the epaulet.
Few people would loop it around the neck due to the danger of getting choked.

MP's used the lanyard as a means of insuring the gun wouldn't be snatched during a barroom brawl, and it was in fact, an official part of the MP uniform.

In many cases, the lanyard became more of a parade dress item, and were used during dress events to enhance the uniform.

In actual combat, the lanyard was usually not used, again due to the problem of getting tangled and fouled in other equipment.

Like many things, the use of a lanyard in combat was left to the individual, and by WWII the lanyard had fallen out of common use.

The lanyard has again become popular in the military, especially with Special Operations forces.
Todays lanyard is a strong synthetic coiled cord that looks like a coiled phone cord.

This keeps the gun safe during airborne and helicopter insertions, rappelling, and violent movement.
It also prevents having the gun snatched during close quarters combat.

A look at SOF people in Iraq shows the coiled lanyard on most pistols.

The advantage of todays lanyard is, the coiled design prevents getting entangled as with the old style long, loose cord.

Last edited by dfariswheel; 08-22-2005 at 03:59 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:35 PM
4x5 4x5 is offline
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Excellent replies.

Thanks to everyone for your answers.
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:37 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Modern lanyards are also designed to break away with a good firm tug, just in case the user does indeed get caught on something.
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2005, 05:21 PM
exitwounds exitwounds is offline
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Anyone assigned a sidearm was issued a lanyard in my unit, most were attached to the pistol belts while doing field exercises or bivouacs. If the pistol was worn with a Class A uniform or over a field jacket the lanyard was typically worn through the arm and secured bu the shoulder tab. I primarily worn an M7 shoulder holster and tied mine off to one of the rings on the holster. I agree they were used to prevent dropping or losing the weapon. Just my 2 cents worth.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2005, 06:42 PM
Chuck S Chuck S is offline
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The lanyard is also known as a dummy cord and has the sole purpose of not allowing you to lose the pistol. All US military pistols have had them for 100 years or more to include those currently issued.

-- Chuck
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2005, 09:44 PM
kxk kxk is offline
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Cavalry and the lanyard loop

Prior to WWI, being a Cavalryman was about the most glamorous part of the army. The cavalry officers of the civil war often led the action and by providing recon, they often determined where and when a battle would be fought. The Cavalry leaders such as Nathan Bedford Forest, John Buford, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, etc tended by their nature to be aggressive and quick acting. Because of this, the cavalry perhaps obtained a standing in the Army that was well beyond its real importance. The model of 1911 semiautomatic pistol was developed in no small part because of the influence of the Cavalry board. Read Meadows chapters on the development of the 1911 and it will become clear that this pistol was considered largely a Cavalry weapon. The theory was that a mounted horseman could load a new magazine into his pistol faster and with considerably less effort than when reloading a revolver. All of this was happening at a very crucial time, just prior to World War One, and in a few short years, the belt fed machine gun forever changed the way wars were fought and relegated the mounted Cavalry to the History of a bygone era. Model 1911 production began with magazine lanyard loops being essential. Yet by 1916 they were considered enough of a waste of time that they were removed from further production.
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2005, 11:30 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel
In those early automatic pistol days, senior officers were obsessed with the idea of the 1911 being a "two part pistol", and worrying constantly that soldiers would loose the magazine, which would convert the gun into a single shot.

For some reason, probably cost, it never seemed to occur to them to just make plenty of magazines available.
I never thought of that before, but it makes perfect sense. Back in the early days of the auto a lot of men had to overcome old habits and preconceptions.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #13  
Old 08-23-2005, 11:09 AM
captain127 captain127 is offline
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lanyard use

here in Iraq we are required to have a lanyard for our pistols- nearly everyone dumps the issue nylon braided one and buys the telephone cord style which is what I am using at this moment. the military in today's age has no "combat loss" policy and we have been directed to a site of a gunfight or more commonly an ied explosion to recover all "sensitive items" to include all weapons. let's see, we just had a vehicle go somewhere and get blown up and guys killed and you want us to go out there again because we are missing a radio or pistol or whatever? yes it sure is crazy.
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  #14  
Old 08-23-2005, 06:06 PM
tinfinger tinfinger is offline
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It may have been more than being cheap that drove the early use of magazine lanyards.

The conventional wisdom in the cavalry around the time of the adoption of the 1911 was probably that the trooper would have to travel hard and light, far from and with infrequent resupply. Without easy resupply, even cheap and plentiful extra magazines would not do much good. Thus, retention of your issued mags (2 or 3?) would be of substantial concern and hence the magazine lanyard loops.

[The Europeans also seem to also concerned about magazine retention but generally avoided the “drop-free” magazine as a means of retaining issued magazines.]

The repeating pistol armed cavalry engaged in highly mobile warfare, sometimes far from supply, was very effective in the Civil War and Indian Wars in the USA. Even after adoption of the 1911, I believe there were effective pistol charges in the Punitive Expedition in Mexico. (I think the Europeans preferred lances for whatever reason.)

The technologies perfected in WWI made the traditional cavalry ineffective and obsolete. By now, Pershing wanted a 45 for every doughboy – not just the cavalry – and static positions along with highly developed transportation allowed efficient resupply. The cheap and plentiful magazine, readily available, can now be the norm.

Just speculation on my part…but it sounds good.
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