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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Bandolier.|
A bandolier or a bandoleer is a pocketed belt for holding ammunition. It was usually slung over the chest. In its original form, it was common issue to soldiers from the 16th to 18th centuries. This was very useful for quickly reloading a musket.
A somewhat different form of the bandolier came into use in the 20th century when it accompanied modern cartridges and hand grenades. Bandoliers are now rare due to the prohibitive size of modern magazines. They are, however, still commonly used with shotguns, as individual 12 gauge shells can easily be stored in traditionally-designed bandoliers. In fact, some aftermarket shotgun slings are designed in a similar fashion to bandoliers, albeit with a far more limited capacity than true bandoliers.
Another modern use of a bandolier is in the Automatic Rifleman of a military Fireteam. Since a Squad automatic weapon is often belt-fed, an Automatic Rifleman will carry an extra belt on his person; either in a separate compartment, or more conveniently, slung over the chest in a bandolier fashion. This makes the new belt of ammunition easier to reach and load into the machine gun on short notice.
The bandolier was used to keep ammunition off a soldier's hips, as carrying too much weight on the hips can constrain movement and cause difficulty in retrieving the ammunition.
In World War I and World War II, bandoliers were issued primarily to riflemen. They were made of cloth, stitched into pockets which held clips of rifle ammunition. Today, bandoliers are commonly used to carry multiple Grenade rounds. In civilian use, bandoliers are often worn by hunters and recreational shooters using shotguns.
Today bandoliers see widespread use with sport shooters and hunters alike, as well as limited use in military conflicts. Bandoliers are also popularly used for toy guns such as the Bandolier Kit from Nerf for holding magazines and foam darts for the ease of the user of any Nerf blaster.
See also 
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