This page gives a short list of small arms used by Anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War.

Small armsEdit


The KA-BAR knife was the most famous edged weapon of the war.


Pistols & revolversEdit

Infantry riflesEdit

  • L1A1 SLR - Used by Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam

A U.S. soldier with an M14 watches as supplies are dropped in Vietnam, 1967.

  • M1 Garand - Was used by the Marine Corps during the early stages of the war. Also used by the South Vietnamese, South Koreans and Laotians
  • M1 Carbine and M2 Carbine- Were widely used by the South Vietnamese Military, Police and Security Forces, the Viet Cong, and the US Military.
  • M14 rifle It was issued to most troops from the early stages of the war until the early 1970s when it was used as a sniper rifle.
  • XM16E1 and M16A1 - Early issue M16 had problems replaced by M16A1. After 1968 were issued to special forces and then infantry a year or two later.
  • XM177E2 - Shortened version of the M16 rifle very popular with MACV-SOG units
  • Heckler & Koch HK33 - It was used by Thai forces that were not armed by the United States. It was chambered for the same cartridge as the M16 assault rifle used by American troops.
    • T223 - which is a copy of the Heckler & Koch HK33 Assault Rifle under license by Harrington & Richardson used in small numbers by Navy SEAL teams. Even though the empty H&R T223 was 0.9 pounds (0.41 kg) heavier than an empty M16A1, the weapon had a forty-round magazine available for it and this made it attractive to the SEALS.

Submachine gunsEdit

  • Thompson submachine gun - It was used in small quantities by artillery and helicopter units. Even though it was replaced in the end of the Korean war after servicing in WW2 and the Vietnam war, it was still used by many American troops and South Vietnamese troops in the Vietnam war. The Viet Cong were armed with the Chinese copy.
  • M3 Grease gun - The M3 "Grease gun" was issued to troops all over Vietnam was the main submachine gun, but many others were used such as the Thompson which was replaced later on.
  • Swedish K - It was used by Navy SEALs in the beginning of the war, but was later replaced by the Smith & Wesson M76 in the late 1960s. Many South Vietnamese soldiers were armed with this weapon and used it until the end of the war.
    • Smith & Wesson M76 - A copy of the Swedish K, it replaced that gun as the main submachine gun of the Navy SEALs in 1967.
  • Madsen M/50 - It was supplied by mercenaries from Denmark and a lot were bought by the United States for the South Vietnamese Army.
  • MAC-10 It was supplied to many special forces troops in the mid point of the war. It armed many CIA agents in the field and was never captured by the Viet Cong.
  • MP40 (CIDG)
  • UZI (SOG recon teams) The Uzi submachine gun was supplied in from Israel and given to special forces troops in the field.
  • Owen Gun (Australian submachine gun) It served the Australian Army through WWII, Korea, Malaya and now into the Vietnam War as the main submachine gun. It was later replaced by the F1 submachine gun that resembled it.
  • F1 submachine gun (Australian, replaced Owen Gun)
  • L2A1 a variant of the British Sterling used by the SASR for prisoner extraction also used with Suppressor/Silencer.


The shotguns were used as an individual weapon during jungle patrol; infantry units 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.

  • Winchester Model 1912 pump-action shotgun was used by the Marines during the early stages of the war.
  • Ithaca 37 pump-action shotgun replaced every other shotgun in the field and armed the United States Marine Corps throughout the war.
  • Remington 870 pump-action shotgun used by the Marines
  • Remington 11-48 semi-automatic shotgun used by the Marines in small quantities
  • Winchester Model 1897 used by the Marines during the early stages of the war, but was later replaced by the Ithaca 37
  • Stevens Model 77E, pump-action shotgun used by Army and Marine forces in Southeast Asia. Almost 70,000 Model 77Es were procured by the military for use in SE Asia during the 1960s

Machine gunsEdit

Grenades and minesEdit

M18 Claymore Mine

Claymore anti-personnel mine in use in Vietnam

Grenade launchersEdit