A long-standing US Army tradition is the issuing of General Officer sidearms. Previous pistols issued to senior army officers have included the Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless pistols and the Colt M15 General Officer’s Pistol. The latest pistol to be issued as General Officer sidearms is the new SIG Sauer M18. Internally and externally the General Officer’s M18 is no different to the M18 entering general service with the US Marine Corps, US Air Force, US Navy and specific roles within the US Army. The primary difference appears to be the weapons’ serial numbers
When officers are promoted to Brigadier General they are presented with the new sidearm. Another of the new General Officer M18s has been seen in the wild when on 11 July 2020, at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, Major General Tracy R. Norris, the Adjutant General of Texas, held a ceremony to honor the promotion of Colonel Amy F. Cook to the rank of Brigadier General in the Texas Army National Guard.
We’ve also previously seen General David L. Goldfein, a four-star general, who is the current Chief of Staff of the Air Force has also received his new M18 Modular Handgun System General Officer’s sidearm. General Goldfein’s new M18 pistol, featured a custom serialisation – GO5021. With the GO standing for General Officer and ’21’ representing Goldfein being the 21st Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
General Goldfein’s pistol was the first time we’d seen a General Officers M18 MHS in the wild. With the presentation of Brigadier General Cook’s, it appears that more and more of the new pistols are entering service.
Historically, General Officer pistols often had some sort of customisation, such as engraved names or embellishments, it seems that personalised serial numbers, with the GO prefix, is the modern equivalent.
It also appears that general officers can request the specific serial numbers given to their pistols as Major General Daniel Ammerman requested ‘GO432’ to mark his deployment with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion.