Sentinel Armory Augmented by Commemorative Pistols Donation

Sig Sauer M17

The Centennial Is Approaching

It was 11 November 1921 that the Unknown Soldier from World War I was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  Since then two more Unknown Soldiers – one from World War II and the other from the  Korean War were entombed in separate crypts nearby.

In commemoration of the upcoming centennial, SigSauer a noted weapons manufacturer is donating a complement of four pistols to the armory of the Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.



Courtesy of SIG SAUER, Inc.:

Newington, N.H. (October 3, 2018) – SIG SAUER, Inc. is honored to announce the production and presentation of the M17 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Pistols for the U.S. Army’s 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) for the Tomb Guard Sentinels.

The M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols are unique M17 pistols that were Sig Sauer M17created using the same specifications for the U.S. Army’s M17 Modular Handgun System. The ceremonial pistols are 9mm striker-fired pistols with a non-railed aluminum grip module, stainless steel slide, wood grip inserts, a 21-round magazine, and features the same optic cut as specified by the MHS contract, front night sight, removable rear plate, and black controls. The pistols also feature a high polish to withstand the inclement weather while the Tomb Sentinels stand guard.

The unique distinguishing features for the M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols include:

  • Pistol Names: each of the four pistols bears the name of Silence, Respect, Dignity, or Perseverance and is featured on the dust cover. Dignity and Perseverance represent “The Sentinel’s Creed,” and Silence and Respect represent the request to the public by Arlington National Cemetery when visiting the Tomb of the Unknown, and during the Changing of the Guard;
  • Custom Wood Grips: in 1921 the chosen Unknown was transported to the United States of America aboard the USS Olympia. The custom wood grips are made with wood from the USS Olympia and include the crest of the 3rd Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier identification badge inset;
  • Cocking Serrations: XXI cocking serrations are engraved on the slide to signify the twenty-one steps it takes for the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknowns and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute;
  • Sight Plate: an engraved impression of the Greek Figures featured on the East panel of the Tomb – Peace, Victory, and Valor – are featured on the sight plate;
  • Sights: a glass insert made with marble dust from the Tomb of the Unknown fills the sights of the ceremonial pistols;
  • Engraved Magazines: the 21-round magazines feature an aluminum base plate engraved with the names of the Greek figures featured on the Tomb of the Unknown – Peace, Victory, and Valor – and include a nameplate on the bottom of the magazine engraved with the Tomb Sentinel badge number.
  • Serial Numbers: the pistols are serialized with a unique set of serial numbers that incorporate items of significance to the Old Guard: “LS” represents line six of the Sentinels’ Creed, “My standard will remain perfection; “02JUL37” to signify the first 24-hour guard posted at the Tomb of the Unknown on July 3, 1937; “21” to signify the 21 steps it takes the Tomb Sentinels to walk by the Tomb of the Unknown, and the military honor of a 21 Gun Salute. The full series of M17 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Pistols serial numbers are LS02JUL37A21 (Silence), LS02JUL37B21 (Respect), LS02JUL37C21 (Dignity), LS02JUL37D21 (Perseverance).

The M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols will be presented to the Old Guard in an official ceremony on Thursday, October 11, 2018, at the Arlington National Cemetery Chapel. The ceremony will begin at 9:00 am and include a private presentation ceremony, followed by a Changing of the Guard in which the 3rd Guard soldiers will return to duty with their M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols. The presentation ceremony will conclude at 10:15 am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Silence, one of the four ceremonial pistols to be presented to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Guard will be on display in the SIG SAUER Booth (#3425) at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting, October 8th – 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.


About SIG SAUER, Inc.
SIG SAUER, Inc. is a leading provider and manufacturer of firearms, electro-optics, ammunition, airguns, suppressors, and training. For over 100 years SIG SAUER, Inc. has evolved, and thrived, by blending American ingenuity, German engineering, and Swiss precision. Today, SIG SAUER is synonymous with industry-leading quality and innovation which has made it the brand of choice amongst the U.S. Military, the global defense community, law enforcement, competitive shooters, hunters, and responsible citizens. Additionally, SIG SAUER is the premier provider of elite firearms instruction and tactical training at the SIG SAUER Academy – a world-class, state-of-the-art, 140-acre training facility. SIG SAUER is headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, and has more than 1,700 employees across eight locations, and is the largest member of a worldwide business group that includes SIG SAUER GmbH & Co. KG in Germany. For more information about the company and product line visit:

“Fire Three Volleys…”

firing party three volley salute

is the command that is issued at a military funeral to honor that veteran’s service to the United States of America. The origins of this tradition date back to the US Civil War when casualties were high in warfare and rules were a bit different. Each side was allowed to remove their casualties from the battlefield. After which they “fired three volleys” to alert the other side that they were readyfiring party three volley salute to resume the battle.

 Rifles are weapons, not GUNS

The seven Soldiers in the photo to the right are bearing weapons, which in this case are rifles. They are an example of continuing this tradition to honor one of their fallen. It just so happens that there are seven (led by an NCO), but there could be as few as two or as many as eight Soldiers. They are the ones who are ordered to “Fire three volleys” – simultaneously as commanded by the NCO…

 The BIG GUNS of the Old Guard



The photo to the right is an example of a “GUN Salute” – The Soldiers of the Presidential Salute Battery (also known as “The Guns Platoon) are firing weapon systems, which in this case are WW II M5 – 3″anti-tank guns. The Soldiers manning the guns are “orchestrated” by a battery staff consisting of an Officer in Charge (OIC), a Boardman, who counts the rounds fired & announces “Last Round”, two watchmen who call the guns to fire and a NCO in Charge (NCOIC) who controls the backup gun and marches the Soldiers on and off. I’ve seen them countless times firing gun salutes – at timed intervals – but only once saw them fire a “21 GUN SALUTE” for the President on 20 JAN 2009 at the inauguration. I heard them fire a “21 GUN SALUTE” on Memorial Day upon the arrival and another on the departure of the President from Arlington National Cemetery. So you can imagine how “rare” a 21 GUN SALUTE is, which makes it so special.

No More Confusion

I hope this clears up some of the confusion you might have and help to inform those who insist that they saw a 21 GUN SALUTE at the last military funeral that they attended.