Q: I recently saw reference to a World War II “rigger” magazine pouch for an M1 carbine. What, exactly, does this refer to?
A: The canvas “rigger-made” magazine pouches were designed to hold four 15-round magazines in lieu of the standardized two-pocket magazine pouch, enabling a paratrooper to carry twice the magazines on his pistol belt.
The technical name was “Holder - Rifle Clip (Short).” They were fabricated by the parachute unit “rigger” personnel, whose duties included packing chutes and repairing or modifying the unit’s equipment.
Although a bit more crudely crafted than factory-made pouches, they were sturdy and serviceable. Early examples were generally constructed of khaki canvas, which was soon superseded by olive drab canvas.
World War II photos depict widespread use of the pouches by paratroopers, and similar pouches were also fabricated for 20-round Thompson submachine gun magazines.