Firearms In The Work & Life Of Leonard Cohen: .45 Caliber Pistol – Yom Kippur War


Ready, Aim, …

Indeed, Leonard Cohen has owned a number of guns as well as alluding to guns in his poetry, novels, and songs. As is true with most subjects that arise in Cohen’s interviews, he has been forthcoming about his experience with and thoughts about guns, discussing the matter without braggadocio (no one is likely to confuse his views with those of, say, Ted Nugent) or apology. This post is one in a series of entries comprising a noncomprehensive sampler of connections between Leonard Cohen and pistols, rifles, bullets, small arms, handguns… . All posts in this series are collected at Guns Of Leonard Cohen – The Arsenal as they are published. (Note: This material was originally presented at, a predecessor of Cohencentric, in a series of posts beginning Nov 12, 2011)

.45 Caliber Pistol – Yom Kippur War

In 1973, Cohen flew to Jerusalem to sign up on the Israeli side in the Yom Kippur War (“I will go and stop Egypt’s bullet.”1 ) The following excerpt from Various Positions by Ira Nadel. (Random House of Canada, 1996) describes how he armed himself:

Shortly after moving to the hotel, he went to see the singer/promoter Sholomo Semach, who was attached to the air force. Cohen wanted to volunteer, and Semach immediately lined him up with an entertainment group in the air force. Before he started, however, the Israeli singer Ilana Rovina invited him to perform one night at an air base near Tel Aviv, which he did. He then joined her group for performances in the Sinai, flying on a Dakota aircraft. At a desert airport he stole a .45 pistol from a deserted shed, armament for the battle.

Note: The .45 pistol pictured is a Colt M1911 pistol, first adopted by the US military in 1911 and which, despite its age, is still used alongside modern pistols throughout the world today. It may not be the model of .45 Cohen seized. The gun images that populate these posts, unless otherwise designated, are illustrative only and do not portray any guns actually owned by Leonard Cohen and may not accurately depict the specific gun described in the text. Firearms of the same caliber may be produced by more than one manufacturer and in various formats.

Credit Due Department: Photo by M62 via Wikipedia


  1. A Poet Goes To War by Neta Bar-Yosef. Israel Hayom: Sept 15, 2013 []