Ammunition Pouches

MOSIN NAGANT

Leather Pouches

The standard pouch for the Mosin Nagant was the 2 cell leather pouch that carried 30 rounds each. Before the war soldiers were issued 2 but after the invasion of the USSR in 1941, new enlisted soldiers were given the economy kit layout that did not include the leather pouch but instead the canvas economy one. Then later in the war as leather shortages decreased each soldier was issued 1 single leather pouch along with a canvas pouch. Problems i often see reenactors doing are i) using inaccurate post war pouches ii)using 2 leather pouches for a late war scenario. The best repro pouches are by Martin’s Reenactment stuff. East German reparation pouches are ok if dyed dark brown. Stay away from post war kirza type and the yugoslavian ones! They instantly make you a FARB.

Economy pouch

The economy pouch was introduced after Operation Barbarossa due to leather pouches production being unable to keep up with the demand from millions of conscripts. They were easier to manufacture, used less material and was also compatible with the SVT semi-automatic rifle. Early conscript soldiers were given 1 of this and a bandoleer. Late war soldiers were given 1 leather pouch and 1 of this. The economy pouch was made from any material, including canvas, suede, leather, lend-lease jean cloth and brezentovi. Reproductions can be bought from Martin’s Reenactment Stuff.

Additional pouch

What might look like a economy pouch is actually an additional pouch, with longer belt loops so it could be worn beneath a standard Mosin leather pouch or economy pouch to increase ammunition carried. It was always worn on the right hip when used. It was not used often. Reproductions can be bought from Cyrill Mekhanitchev or Soldatskaya Lavka.

Bandoleers

Bandoleers had either 6 slots to hold 12 clips of ammo or 5 slots to hold 10 clips plus a larger slot to hold a grenade or a svt magazine. They were mostly used early war in conjuction with a economy pouch to save leather and by late war, leather pouches became plentiful again and the bandoleer was phased out of service. Originals sometime show up and i do not know of a vendor who makes reproductions.

Mosin Nagant – SVT pouch

In 1940 when the SVT-40 was put into service a interexchangeable Mosin Nagant and SVT pouch was made. The interior had a horitzontal and vertical flap that either could be put aside depending on whether stripper clips or SVT magazines were placed within. They came in Burgundy, Black or Grey and although was meant for soldiers who had either gun, was mainly only used by SVT users.

Basic Summary for rifle users on ammunition pouch layout

Pre-war: 2x leather pouches

early war 41-43: 1x economy pouch & bandoleer

late war 43-45: 1x leather pouch & 1x economy pouch

Notes:

certain units (eg Guards) received better equipment and so may have used leather 2-cell pouches throughout the whole war. As with everything there are always special cases.

If one has only 1x leather pouch, it should always be worn on the right hip.

Mainly only specialist troops would have the bandoleer or additional pouch to carry extra firepower. 2 pouches/ 1 pouch& bandoleer is enough for a normal infantryman.

PPSH drum

Pouches for the drum mag PPSh came in a variety of designs, including material and closure designs, from toggles to buckles to sliders. Early war design ones had a D-ring on the back to be worn in conjuction with the M36/39/41 backpack but are generally rarely seen. Post war ones are the most commonly seen on re-enactors as they are plentiful and cheap however the belt attachment strap is slightly different. Post war ones ride higher on the belt as the belt strap is sewn on differently. However this can hardy be seen when worn. Original post war can be found everywhere and repros can be bought from Martin’s Reenactment stuff.

PPSh stick mag

A different pouch was made for the PPSh equipped with stick magazines. It had 3 compartments and was closed by toggles or buttons. They are also easily available online.

PPS-43 pouch

The PPS pouch was similar to the PPSh stick mag pouch, but just with the addition of a small pouch to hold the loader. They are also plentiful on the market.

more notes on ammunition pouches

Occasionally i have stumbled upon images of soldiers using captured german K98k leather pouches or Tsarist era mosin pouches. Although photos do exist of them being used, those were extremely rare cases and so i would not suggest using them.

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