The three-volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military funerals and sometimes also police funerals. The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, where the fighting ceased so the dead and wounded could be removed. Then, three shots were fired into the air to signal that the battle could resume.
A military funeral is a memorial or burial rite given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute, drumming and other military elements, with a flag draping over the coffin.
It should not be confused with the 21-gun salute (or 19-gun or 17-gun, etc.) which is fired by a battery of artillery pieces.
A 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor.
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of artillery, mortars, rocket artillery, multiple rocket launchers, surface to surface missiles, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, etc., so grouped to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems. The term is also used in a naval context to describe groups of guns on warships.
In the United States it is part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times.
A blank is a type of firearm cartridge that contains gunpowder but no projectile, and instead uses paper or plastic wadding to seal the propellant into the casing. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report), and the firearm's action cycles from the recoil, but the wadding propelled from the barrel quickly loses kinetic energy and is incapable of inflicting any damage beyond an immediate distance. Blanks are often used for shooting simulations that demand light and sound, combat training, for signaling, and cowboy mounted shooting. Blank cartridges differ from the inert dummy cartridges, which contain no primer or gunpowder and are used for "cold" training or function-testing firearm actions.
A rifle party usually has an odd number of members, from 3 to 7. The firearm used is typically a rifle, but at some police funerals, shotguns or handguns are used. The party usually stands so that the muzzles are pointed over the casket. However, if mourners are present near the grave, the party stands some distance away (often recommended at least 50 feet) so as to not deafen the attendees and to minimize the disturbance. If the service is being performed indoors, the firing party stands outside the building, often near the front entrance.On the command of the NCO-in-charge, the party raises their weapons and fires three times in unison.
A rifle is a portable, long-barrelled firearm designed for accurate long-range shooting, to be held with both hands and braced against the shoulder for stability during firing, and with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the bore wall. The term was originally rifled gun, with the word "rifle" referring to the machining process of creating groovings with cutting tools, and is now used for any long handheld device designed for well-aimed discharge activated by a trigger, such as the personnel halting and stimulation response rifle. Rifles are used extensively in warfare, law enforcement, hunting and shooting sports.
The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect the lives, liberty and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their lawful powers include arrest and the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.
A non-commissioned officer (NCO) is a military officer who has not earned a commission. Non-commissioned officers usually obtain their position of authority by promotion through the enlisted ranks. In contrast, commissioned officers usually enter direct from a military academy, and are often expected to have a university degree.
Modern United States military parties use M1, M14 or M16 rifles. The use of blank cartridges means these weapon's semi-automatic gas action will not function, requiring manual cycling of the next round between shots.Some parties equip the rifle with a blank-firing adapter, which eliminates this step from the drill after the first shot, though this is seen by some as less traditional. Similarly, the M1 and M14 are generally preferred over the current issue M16 because the appearance of these older rifles is more traditional and the charging handles are more easily operated in a dignified, ceremonial manner.
The M1 Garand is a .30-06 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II and the Korean War and also saw limited service during the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to U.S. forces, though many hundreds of thousands were also provided as foreign aid to American allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely used by civilians for hunting, target shooting, and as a military collectible.
The M14 rifle, officially the United States Rifle, Caliber 7.62 mm, M14, is an American select-fire battle rifle that fires 7.62×51mm NATO ammunition. It became the standard-issue rifle for the U.S. military in 1959 replacing the M1 Garand rifle in the U.S. Army by 1958 and the U.S. Marine Corps by 1965 until being replaced by the M16 rifle beginning in 1968. The M14 was used by U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps for basic and advanced individual training (AIT) from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s.
The M16 rifle, officially designated Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16, is a family of military rifles adapted from the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle for the United States military. The original M16 rifle was a 5.56mm automatic rifle with a 20-round magazine.
A similar ceremony is used by the armed forces of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.
Irish Republicans also fire a three volley salute at the funerals of IRA and INLA Volunteers.
A firearm is a portable gun designed for use by a single individual. It inflicts damage on targets by launching one or more projectiles driven by rapidly expanding high-pressure gas produced by exothermic combustion (deflagration) of chemical propellant. If gas pressurization is achieved through mechanical gas compression rather than through chemical propellant combustion, then the gun is technically an air gun, not a firearm.
A salute is a gesture or other action used to display respect. Salutes are primarily associated with armed forces, but other organizations and civilians also use salutes.
A cartridge or a round is a type of pre-assembled firearm ammunition packaging a projectile, a propellant substance and an ignition device (primer) within a metallic, paper or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading gun, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during shooting. Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile.
Flintlock is a general term for any firearm that uses a flint striking ignition mechanism. The term may also apply to a particular form of the mechanism itself, also known as the true flintlock, that was introduced in the early 17th century, and rapidly replaced earlier firearm-ignition technologies, such as the matchlock, the wheellock, and the earlier flintlock mechanisms.
The Lee–Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle that served as the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957. The WWI versions are often referred to as the "SMLE", which is short for the common "Short, Magazine Lee–Enfield" variant.
A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in the early 16th century, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating heavy armor. By the mid-16th century, this type of musket went out of use as heavy armor declined, but as the matchlock became standard, the term musket continued as the name given for any long gun with a flintlock, and then its successors, all the way through the mid-1800s. This style of musket was retired in the 19th century when rifled muskets became common as a result of cartridged breech-loading firearms introduced by Casimir Lefaucheux in 1835, the invention of the Minié ball by Claude-Étienne Minié in 1849, and the first reliable repeating rifle produced by Volcanic Repeating Arms in 1854. By the time that repeating rifles became common, they were known as simply "rifles", ending the era of the musket.
The M1903 Springfield, formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903, is an American five-round magazine fed, bolt-action service repeating rifle, used primarily during the first half of the 20th century.
The SKS is a Soviet semi-automatic carbine chambered for the 7.62×39mm round, designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. Its complete designation, SKS-45, is an initialism for Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonova, 1945. The SKS-45 was manufactured at Tula Arsenal from 1945 to 1958 and at Izhevsk Arsenal in just 1953 and 1954, resulting in a total Soviet production of about 2.7 million carbines. In the early 1950s, the Soviets took the SKS carbine out of front-line service and replaced it with the AK-47; however, the SKS remained in second-line service for decades.
The Martini–Henry is a breech-loading single-shot lever-actuated rifle that was used by the British Army. It first entered service in 1871, eventually replacing the Snider–Enfield, a muzzle-loader converted to the cartridge system. Martini–Henry variants were used throughout the British Empire for 30 years. It combined the dropping-block action first developed by Henry O. Peabody and improved by the Swiss designer Friedrich von Martini, combined with the polygonal barrel rifling designed by Scotsman Alexander Henry.
The Jarmann M1884 is a Norwegian bolt-action repeating rifle designed in 1878 adopted in 1884. The Jarmann is the first centerfire, repeating bolt-action rifle, adopted as standard issue based on an entirely new design. Earlier rifles like the Swiss Vetterli used rimfire cartridges, the Winchester Hotchkiss and early models of the Remington Lee saw only limited military use, the German Mauser Model 71/84 and early Kropatschek rifles were based on earlier designs. The Jarmann's adoption, and subsequent modifications, turned the Norwegian Army from a fighting force armed with single-shot black-powder weapons into a force armed with modern repeating weapons firing smokeless ammunition. Several thousand were manufactured to equip the Norwegian Armed Forces in the 1880s, and it also saw some, though very limited, use in Sweden. The design is unique, and was the brainchild of Norwegian engineer Jacob Smith Jarmann. After the design had been phased out of the Norwegian Army, a number of the weapons were rebuilt as harpoon guns.
The .30-06 Springfield cartridge, 7.62×63mm in metric notation and called ".30 Gov't '06" by Winchester, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and later standardized; it remained in use until the late 1970s. The ".30" refers to the caliber of the bullet in inches. The "06" refers to the year the cartridge was adopted, 1906. It replaced the .30-03, 6mm Lee Navy, and .30-40 Krag cartridges. The .30-06 remained the U.S. Army's primary rifle and machine gun cartridge for nearly 50 years before being replaced by the 7.62×51mm NATO and 5.56×45mm NATO, both of which remain in current U.S. and NATO service. It remains a very popular sporting round, with ammunition produced by all major manufacturers.
The .45-70 rifle cartridge, also known as .45-70 Government, was developed at the U.S. Army's Springfield Armory for use in the Springfield Model 1873, which is known to collectors as the "Trapdoor Springfield." The new cartridge was a replacement for the stop-gap .50-70 Government cartridge which had been adopted in 1866, one year after the end of the American Civil War.
The United States Air Force Honor Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the United States Air Force and is assigned to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C.
Hunting weapons are weapons designed or used primarily for hunting game animals for food or sport, as distinct from defensive weapons or weapons used primarily in warfare.
A military funeral in the United States is a memorial or burial rite conducted by the United States Armed Forces for a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Coast Guardsman, or Airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or a president. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute, drumming and other military elements, with a flag draping over the coffin.
An AR-15 style rifle is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle based on the ArmaLite AR-15 design. ArmaLite sold the patent and trademarks to Colt's Manufacturing Company in 1959. After Colt's patents expired in 1977, Colt retained the trademark and is the exclusive owner of "AR-15" designation. The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act restricted the Colt AR-15 and derivatives from 1994 to 2004, although it did not affect rifles with fewer features.