MARSOC members practicing with bow and arrow (Photo: US Military)
In the world of modern firearms, when you mention bow and arrow it might look silly, but it is actually something deadly same as the modern firearm. Of course, in the right hands. The U.S. military is constantly after ways to use technology to tip the scales of warfare in its favor.
From large military build ups which includes massive naval vessels or advanced aircraft, all the way down to personal issue pistols and rifles, Uncle Sam has never been one to shy away from new tech in his pursuit of national security. But then… maybe new isn’t always the answer, as demonstrated by this documentary footage from 1961, starring members of the famous Green Berets.
This short video footage starts by showing the simple bow and arrow the U.S. Army’s 19th Special Forces Group are training on and discussing a few of the ways they’ve adapted the platform for modern combat (etc. “Green Arrow” style explosive heads). It then goes on to set the bow and arrow in a competition with three modern firearms one would think it had no business competing with: a M1911A1 .45 caliber automatic, a .30 caliber M1 carbine, and a .30 caliber M1 rifle.
The point of this showcase wasn’t meant to suggest that the bow and arrow is actually the superior weapon. It really serves as a powerful demonstration of why it’s important to use the right tool for the job.
Under some specific circumstances, having a bow and arrow on hand may well do the trick (though it seems likely that today’s stealthy operators would instead rely on suppressed sub-sonic firearms that, while not silent, are awfully quiet). There are still some courses in the U.S. military which has bow and arrow training in their curriculum.
A bow and arrow may be an ancient weapon, but it’s lasted through the centuries for a reason: this thing is just as deadly today as it was in 20,000 B.C and at some points if needed can be easily crafted in the field.