RAF crews didn't normally carry a weapon, but, on the Continent in 1944, fighter pilots had the option of carrying a Webley or Enfield .38 revolver
Well, I think it probably was the noise as the main effect.In close combat these would make reasonable clubs, while at slightly longer ranges the best tactic was to throw them at the enemy
The USN and USMC in WW2 issued their flyers what the Smith & Wesson "Victory" revolver.
Known as the Smith & Wesson .38 Hand Ejector Model of 1899, the Smith & Wesson Military & Police, the Smith & Wesson Victory Model, or the Smith & Wesson Model 10 after 1957, it is a K-frame revolver of worldwide popularity. In production since 1899, the Model 10 is a six-shot, .38 Special, double-action revolver with fixed sights.
The S&W M&P military revolvers produced from 1942 to 1944 had serial numbers with a "V" prefix, and were known as the Smith & Wesson Victory Model. Early Victory Models did not always have the V prefix. During World War II 590,305 of these revolvers were supplied to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa under the Lend-Lease program, chambered in the British .38/200 caliber already in use in the Enfield No 2 Mk I Revolver and the Webley Mk IV Revolver. Most Victory Models sent to Britain were fitted with 4-inch or 5-inch barrels, although a few early versions had 6-inch barrels. The 5-inch barrel was standard production after 4 April 1942. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) supplied thousands of these revolvers to resistance forces. Thousands of Victory Model revolvers remained in United States Army inventories following World War II for arming foreign military and security personnel.
An additional 352,315 Victory Model revolvers chambered in the well-known and popular .38 Special cartridge were used by United States forces during World War II. The Victory Model was a standard-issue sidearm for United States Navy and Marine Corps aircrews, and was also used by security guards at factories and defense installations throughout the United States during the war. Although the latter personnel could use conventional lead bullets, Remington Arms manufactured REM UMC 38 SPL headstamped cartridges loaded with a 158 gr (10.2 g) full metal jacket bullet for military use in overseas combat zones. Tracer ammunition was manufactured for signaling purposes.
Initial production of 65,000 4-inch-barreled revolvers for Navy aircrew bypassed standard procurement procedures, and quality suffered without traditional inspection procedures. Quality improved when Army ordnance inspectors became involved in early 1942, and the design was modified in 1945 to include an improved hammer block after a sailor was killed by a loaded revolver discharging when accidentally dropped onto a steel deck. Many aircrew preferred to carry the revolver rather than the heavier M1911 pistol. Pilots often preferred a shoulder holster in the confined space of a cockpit, but a hip holster was also available for security personnel.
Some of these revolvers remained in service well into the 1990s with units of the United States Armed Forces, including the United States Air Force and the Coast Guard. Until the introduction of the Beretta M9 9mm pistol in 1990, U.S. Army helicopter crew members and female military police officers were equipped with .38 caliber Victory Model revolvers. Five-hundred revolvers with two-inch barrels were delivered on 22 August 1944 for Criminal Investigation Division agents. The Victory Model remained in use with Air National Guard tanker and transport crews as late as Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and with United States Navy security personnel until 1995.
My Uncle Ned (former TBM jeep carrier pilot) was issued one of these when he joined the foreign service (USIA) in 1946 and surrendered it when he retired in 1979. My brothers and I sometimes accompanied him to the gravel pit to help him burn up his mandatory 90 day allotment of ammo. As a fed and an alleged spook, he wasn't welcomed at any of the local police ranges. That big snubnose .38Sp was a bit much for a skinny 13 year old to handle, and I think I could have thrown it more accurately than I could shoot it. He said he never carried that hand cannon in the field, preferring his own .25 Berreta, and added: "If you have to use a gun at all, you've already screwed the pooch and your prospects are NOT looking good".Five-hundred revolvers with two-inch barrels were delivered on 22 August 1944 for Criminal Investigation Division agents.