The Most Iconic World War 1 Weapons

Over 1.9K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Iconic World War 1 Weapons

World War 1 weapons run the gamut from bolt action rifles like the Gewehr 98 and Lee-Enfield to sophisticated machine guns like the Lewis Gun and pistols used well into the 20th Century, like the Colt 1911. The First World War involved a great modernizing of armies, weapons, and tactics, and as the very nature of war changed from offensive to static, so too did the weapons needed to fight that war.

Just as one example, in 1914, French soldiers went into battle wearing blue pants, red tops, and white gloves - the same uniforms used in the Napoleonic Wars a century earlier. Soldiers marched in tight formations, vulnerable to massed machine gun fire. And many of the weapons they were using had been made before the turn of the century. But within a few months, all of the armies of the war had modernized, becoming the modern killing machines that would fight for the next four years.

The weapons of the First World War needed to be sturdy, powerful, and cheap to make. And so millions of rifles, pistols, automatic rifles, and machine guns were produced, along with tens of millions of grenades, and quite likely over 100 million artillery shells. These weapons turned out to be so effective that they were used in mass quantities in World War 2 and beyond.

Vote up the most effective and iconic weapons of World War 1.
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Ranked by
  • M1911 Pistol
    597 votes

    M1911 Pistol

    American sidearm used extensively during the 20th Century.
  • Lewis Gun
    498 votes

    Lewis Gun

    Light machine gun used by both British and American infantry and aircraft in WW1.
  • Lee-Enfield Rifle
    684 votes

    Lee-Enfield Rifle

    Reliable and fast rifle used well into World War 2.
  • Vickers Machine Gun
    412 votes

    Vickers Machine Gun

    Widely-deployed British machine gun, used extensively on the Western Front.
  • M1903 Springfield
    382 votes

    M1903 Springfield

    Standard American rifle at the end of the war. Was still used by snipers in Vietnam.
  • Winchester 1897 Trench Gun
    389 votes

    Winchester 1897 Trench Gun

    So deadly at close range that the Germans tried in vain to get combat shotguns banned.