The F-86 Sabre’s Guns

The F-86 Sabre’s Guns | World War Wings Videos

Photographer: Tom Tessier @ Cannon AFB, NM.

Armed To The Teeth

The F-86 was armed for dogfighting – potently armed, very maneuverable, and was apparently a delight to fly.

Six .50-cal M3 machine guns were fitted into its nose at first. A gunsight and a radar range finder were also installed to be paired with the machine guns, making it easier for Sabre pilots to lead their shots.

This was seen as a huge advantage, especially when compared to the less-advanced gun sights equipped on the MiG-15. Even though Sabre pilots could fire rounds faster and more accurately, however, the .50-cal rounds still somehow lacked stopping power.

Meanwhile, the MiG-15 was armored well and thus heralded as highly durable – capable of remaining airborne even when riddled with machine gun fire. As a result, later versions of the F-86H instead donned four 20 mm cannons. 

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