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Bandolier of marston 8296.jpg

Bandoliers are belts that hold ammunition for Cool Guns, grenades, or just weapons in general (or even mundane items). They also give off coolness and Badassery when worn.

The fundamental concept is that a warrior will want to wear all of his equipment close at hand, so the bandolier sends a message that the wearer expects combat. Various cultures have used bandoliers for different purposes. In the age of muzzle-loading firearms, a wealthy soldier might wear multiple single-shot pistols so he could discharge them rapidly one after the other without reloading. Cavalrymen and banditos of the Old West might also wear multiple pistols, as reloading was still a laborious process through the 1800's. In the latter half of the 1800's, cartridge technology made it feasible to wear individual bullets or shotshells in the bandolier. It was a sort of status symbol to wear a fully-loaded bandolier, as this showed you were not only a warrior but also wealthy enough to maintain a full complement of ammunition.

The use of a bandolier is not without its problems, however. Munitions exposed to the elements may corrode and become unusable. Since the invention of the machine gun, soldiers in fiction tends to sling ammunition belts over their shoulders to present a menacing appearance. This has been to the consternation of more veteran soldiers who understand that this will cause the belted ammo links to rust so that they cannot be fed into a weapon, in reality, ammo belts tends to be carried in metal boxes until they are needed. Hollywood often depicts soldiers with hand grenades dangling from their bandoliers (John Wayne being perhaps the most famous example of this). This is also a bad idea, as a hand grenade dangling from equipment may become snagged as a soldier crawls or moves through rough terrain, with unfortunate results - this is especially true for the common depiction of the grenades dangling by their pins. Unfortunately, young soldiers would try to emulate what they saw on television. Vietnam veteran David Hackworth once recalled a soldier telling him the Army would not provide grenade pouches because they believed John Wayne was wearing his munitions "the right way," another example of life imitating art.

In the modern world, cross-body bandoliers are only common among poor armies and militias. Pouches and magazines are used to avoid the problems mentioned above. The American army only uses canvas bandoliers to carry packaged bulk ammunition, while in combat all equipment is worn on vest and belt pouches.

Modern hunters who use slow-reloading bolt-action rifles or single-shot rifles would usually have a leather or canvas bandolier slung across the chest or around the waist in the time-honored manner, or a smaller 5-10 round bandolier wrapped around the rifle stock.

In Wild West settings, Banditos will stereotypically be wearing them, in emulation of Pancho Villa.

The worn form of Gun Accessories. Compare Superhero Packing Heat, Utility Belt.

Examples of Badass Bandolier include:

Anime and Manga

  • Guts has a bandolier of throwing knives, as did Judeau.
  • Kujiranami Hyougo from Rurouni Kenshin
  • Ranma One Half: Ukyou wears a bandoleer of spatulas to cook with (that she also uses as weapons).
  • Meru on Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has a bandolier filled with cell phones. Kind of a weapon, since she uses them to troll people.
  • One Piece: Captain Smoker has a bandolier of cigars.
  • Roberta from Black Lagoon
  • Kuroko Shirai from To Aru Kagaku no Railgun often uses her teleporting ability to teleport spikes and she usually keeps the spikes holstered under her skirt. But in one episode there is a scene where she prepares for the battle by arming herself with a long bandolier with spikes.
  • Negi put on one with magic potions when he went to fight Evangeline.
  • Coyote Starrk from Bleach has a pair at the back of his Badass Longcoat in his Resurrecion, to compliment his lone-wolf-gunslinger-theme. They don't hold bullets however - they let him summon a badass spirit wolf army, and a pair of energy swords if he needs them.

Comic Books

  • Sgt. Rock is often shown carrying a belt of .50-caliber machine gun ammunition over his shoulders... despite the fact that Easy Company seldom actually uses heavy machine guns.


  • In the Rambo series the title character has worn bandoliers of ammo for his machine gun.
  • In Star Wars Chewbacca wears a bandolier of ammunition for his crossbow.
  • In Terminator 2, the T-800 wears a bandolier of grenades across his chest for his Grenade Launcher.
  • In Western movies some characters (such as Mexican banditos) were portrayed as wearing pairs of crossed bandoliers across their chests.
  • Kick-Ass gets one in the movie named after him.
  • Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket carried two ammo belts for his M60 machine gun crossed over his torso. Other Marines in the film can also be seen with bandoliers containing extra magazines for their weapons.
  • Nicholas Angel wears one near the end of Hot Fuzz.
  • Rattlesnake Jake of Rango.
  • Realistic version: At least one of the robbers in Heat can be seen wearing a utility vest stuffed with spare magazines for his assault rifle during the bank heist.


  • In The Old Kingdom, necromancers (and Abhorsens) keep their seven necromantic bells in bandoliers.
  • In Night Watch, Carcer acquires a bandolier of knives.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South, General Jeb Stuart takes to wearing crossed bandoliers, but gets contrite when Robert E. Lee points out that the leather could have better been used to make shoes for the soldiers. Lee was just teasing, adding afterwards that a few feet of leather won't make or break the Confederacy.


  • In a few earlier concerts, some of the members of Rammstein wore fake bandoliers.

Real Life

  • Blackbeard the pirate wore bandoliers full of pistols (as well as a sword in each hand and burning fuses in his hair).
  • Wearing two bandoliers of bullets in an "X" across the body became Pancho Villa's trademark.
  • The British Army uniform included non-functional bandoliers called cross-belts up until they did away with the bright red coats.
    • They were actually functional, but not in the typical way; an ammunition pound was slung on the end of one, and your bayonet and other small equipment on the other, and to prevent them from sliding about they were typically pinned in the middle. This allowed the soldiers to put their ammunition in easy reach, while carrying more shots than a belt pounh. Officers, who didn't use guns unless they owned a personal pistol, had just one cross-belt onto which their scabbard could be attached. The entire kit kept the most vital pieces of equipment close at hand while distributing the weight naturally. Though some other countries used them in a similar matter, others simply retained cross-belts from a time when they were actually bandoliers for musket shot. Even after the British stopped wearing red, straps worn across the body were used for ammunition bags and canteens.
      • So, 'webbing', basically.
  • A "revolutionary seaman", in a striped sleeveless shirt with two criss-crossed bandoliers full of machine-gun ammo, is an iconic image of the Russian Civil War.

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons: in older editions characters could buy bandoliers to hold daggers or darts for use as throwing weapons.


  • Most G.I. Joe toys had the grenade variant, and sometimes bullets as well. These bullets were very rarely ever actually used in combat.
  • Once again Nerf comes to the rescue with a bandoleer dart kit that holds both darts and magazines (and even a clip useful for small pistols) for when you need as much foam as you can carry.

Video Games

  • Link starts wearing a bandolier of pockets in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Heavy, Soldier, Demoman, and Pyro wear one.
    • Team Fortress 2 participated in a costume crossover deal with the Steam version of Monday Night Combat. Gamers who bought MNC before February 1 got a bunch of crossover gear the characters could wear. The Gunner's gear was the Heavy's bandolier.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, Whitaker and the Fallen Survivor infected (which is a infected model of Whitaker).
  • A bandolier can be bought in Red Dead Redemption. It doubles the amount of rifle and repeater ammo you can carry, making it Awesome Yet Practical. Once you buy it you will always be wearing it and receive its benefits, even when wearing an outfit that hides it. In a nice graphical touch as you burn through your ammo stock the number of rounds on the belt disappear.
  • The protagonists and character classes in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 generally wear grenades on their chests. The snipers, however, subvert expectations by wearing shotgun shells on a bandolier over their chests.
    • That's because that class is not the Sniper class; it's the Recon class.
  • Several Armor Permutations in Halo: Reach feature the Grenade Launcher variant, including the Ua/Multithreat, Base Patrol, and Grenadier variants. However, this is purely aesthetic, and doesn't do anything other than look cool.
  • In Yarudora series vol.3: Sampaguita, one of the Triad members wears a bandolier full of shotgun ammo.
  • Several armors in Fallout 3 & Fallout: New Vegas have decorative bandoliers.
  • The Vietnam version of the Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality has the Automatic Rifleman class for the US Army & US Marines wearing two bandoliers of ammo for their M60 machine guns crossed over their torso.

Web Animation

Web Comic

  • Parodied in Schlock Mercenary, where the footnote points out that the bandoliers the bad guys are wearing are completely unnecessary, since in the future bulky ammunition stores are nonexistent. It then goes on to theorize they are instead filled with chewing gum.

Web Original

  • Michel Wibert in New York Magician has a bandolier full of various magical artifacts.
  • In the Insane Cafe 2 and its sequel, bandoliers are worn by Mr. Bigmouth, Deimos and Rime. Interestingly, Mr. Bigmouth also uses a much less badass but equally useful messenger bag. Also, Deimos and Rime use assorted pockets in their armored vests to carry stuff.
  • Gaia Online has Bullet Belts purchasable at Gold Mountain.
  • Faun Reinaka of Tasakeru wears one strategically across her considerable assets. It has dozens of pouches to hold her Trick Bombs.

Western Animation

  • Dinobot in the "Coming of the Fuzors" arc in Beast Wars sports one of these towards the end of part 1. Along with (at that point) the largest gun seen on the show.