The F-86 Sabre’s Guns
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.