Sherman 75mm turret pistol port

Pistol port closed    Pistol port omitted

Most of the 75mm turrets had a pistol port on the rear left side (left-side photo). However, in April 1943 the Ordnance Department decided to eliminate the pistol port as they considered it a ballistic hazard. The D50878 turret was redesigned without the port (right-side photo). The feedback from the using arms about the elimination of the pistol port was so negative, that in July 1943, Ordnance voted to reinstate it.

Pistol port variant

This particular Union Steel turret casting has an unusual feature around the pistol port - a pair of very deep vertical channels. Some of the early British & US M4s & M4A1s in North Africa have been seen with this particular turret casting (photo courtesy of Kurt Laughlin).

Pistol port welded    Pistol port welded

Pistol port welded

The "no pistol port" turrets began to enter the production lines in the summer of 1943 (see above), but in the meantime, factories & depots were directed to weld up any remaining pistol port turrets that were in the pipeline. Photo study let us think that the majority of US Army 75mm Shermans in the Eurpean Theater of Operations in 1944 had either a welded up or no pistol port turret. Here are shown 3 different types of weldings on the pistol port.

Pistol port open

Pistol port open    Pistol port open

Here, the pistol port is open, which allow to see the interior of the hatch and the piston.

Pistol port T 23 turret    Pistol port T 23 turret

On 76mm turrets (a.k.a. T23 turrets), the design of the pistol port is slighly different than on 75mm turrets.