The gravity of standing as a Sentinel over the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Ceremony requires a special gun.
To understand the importance of the mission facing the select guard provided by the oldest infantry regiment in the Army in securing the Tomb, Tim Butler with Sig Sauer went there and spoke to the elite soldiers performing the Sentinel duty. Butler explains in the above video from the New Hampshire-based company that everything to do with the four ceremonial M17 handguns was deliberately planned.
The high-gloss finish reflects the polish and attention to detail shown by the Sentinels, such as in their belts and shoes.
The wood grips, crafted from the decks of the USS Olympia — the cruiser that brought the first Unknown Soldier back home from Europe after World War I — were meant to be historic of older weapons and complement the wood stocks of the M14s used by the rest of the guard.
Marble dust from the Tomb itself is incorporated into the sights of the firearm while the sight plate replicates the images of the three Greek figures at the site. “In my career, I’ve designed guns for Presidents, celebrities, all kinds of people, but from an honor, there is no greater honor,” said Butler, a Marine veteran, of his work on the Tomb M17s.
Sig presented the guns to the 3rd Infantry Regiment at a ceremony on Oct. 11, and have been used by the Tomb Guard’s sergeants ever since. The company said in a statement that they are “incredibly honored to have a place in a deeply humbling historical event.”