What is a Combat Rosary?

The most distinctive Catholic devotion is the Holy Rosary and it is often referred to as a "Spritual Weapon" used in the combat against evil forces. Padre Pio and other saints have often referred to the rosary as the weapon against evil. 

With the rosary, you are never alone because the same prayer is said all over the world by millions of Catholics and rosary devotees. As said by Pope Pius IX,  "Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”

There are millions in this army, and the rosary is the weapon. But there are so many types of rosaries! Is there one specifically known as a combat rosary?

So, what is a combat rosary?

It turns out that there are a few different types of rosaries which are referred to as combat rosaries. They are also sometimes referred to as service rosaries, ranger rosaries, soldier rosaries, or military rosaries.

The oldest type of rosary that was referred to as a combat rosary was first introduced during the WWI era. It was made of metal pull-chain. They were issued by the government in 1916. They were also produced again and sold in shops during the 1950s and 1960s.

Other types of rosaries that are also called "combat" style rosaries are made of strong cording, the type which was used to hold parachutes during WW2.  This has since become known as paracord. About 25 years ago we first saw a rosary made out of this cording. It was called a Combat Rosary, or a Ranger Rosary and they were made to send to the troops during Operation Desert Storm.  

Desert Storm Combat Rosary


Two Types of Combat Style Rosaries

So as you can see, there are these two types of combat style rosaries available for quite some time and going way back to as early as WWI. Rugged Rosaries specializes in making modern versions of both of these styles. They are both known to be sturdy and strong, a bit masculine, yet beautiful, and as customers have told us, they have the feeling of a "spiritual weapon".

WWI Battle Beads Combat Service Rosaries

The oldest type of combat rosaries, which are highly coveted and sought after by collectors, are the WWI variety. Prototypes were first commissioned by the French and US governments. There are prototypes still around today which are very valuable and can often be found on Ebay.com for as much as $450.00. 

The final product which the government war department issued to chaplains was a pull chain rosary with black coating to hide the metal beads. They began being issued in 1916, and the chaplains gave them to the soldiers, sailors, and flying aces of WWI!


These rosaries had different styles of crucifixes, but all of them had a centerpiece depicting the Virgin Mary.  The chain had very small Ave beads (the Hail Marys), and slightly larger Pater beads (the Our Father beads). They were about 16 to 17 inches long. 

These sturdy little WWI antique rosaries can still be found today, unbroken. Most of them will have the blackened paint worn clean away, revealing the dull brown of the brass metal pull chain beads. They sell anywhere from $90 to $350 at auction, depending on condition. 

Today we handmake reproductions of these great little combat service rosaries. Over the years, we improved the design and we now have a wonderful product loved by customers. We call them WWI Battle Beads®. We make them in a gunmetal blackened brass pull chain with larger Our Father beads very much like the originals. We use a Miraculous centerpiece and a traditional crucifix. 

We also make these combat style rosaries in a beautiful silver patina chain which feels quite weighty in hand. Again, these are all no-tangle, no-rust designs.
Combat Rosary WWI Battle Beads

Rugged Rosaries carries 7 different styles of WWI rosaries now, even a set with 20 decades. Because these are handmade in our own studio, we can customize these for our customers with a variety of centerpieces, with 5 to 20 decades, as chaplets such as a St. Michael chaplet, and with over 40 choices of crucifixes and large selection of devotional medals. 

Soldier's Paracord Combat Rosaries

The other type of combat rosaries we make are the toughest rosaries around and we make them with genuine military Type III paracord. The very first rosary we ever sold in 2012 was called the Soldier's Combat Rosary

These rosaries are the very reason Rugged Rosaries was formed. We were wanting to make a rosary that appealed to the soldier and didn't fall apart. These were the perfect answer. Soldiers are very familiar with paracord. It's a common type of cord used in thousands of ways by soldiers in the field. It's akin to duct tape in its variety of usefulness. 

Today, most of our rosaries are made with full-sized Type III genuine military paracord. We never gut our paracord and we don't use the smaller sized cord that other companies call "paracord" which can be very misleading. We found that rosaries made using the smaller cord eventually ravel and break. We also use custom-made beads which are very strong - not the cheap plastic and breakable pony craft beads. 

Handmade with Heart

At Rugged Rosaries, we've made it our mission to deliver the best spiritual weapon available to Catholics. You can trust us to go above and beyond in making your personal combat rosary with your customizations, the best materials, and the most skilled rosary makers. Whether you are a soldier in the military, or a soldier of God in any walk of life, we want you to have the best weapon!

Rosaries are very personal and we know it can be difficult to buy rosaries online. We work hard to earn your trust in many ways:

  • by providing excellent customer service
  • by our very skilled, thoughtful, rosary makers
  • by providing realistic photos
  • by using the finest materials
  • by making it easy to shop and to return items
  • by backing each rosary with a strong guarantee

 Let us make your Combat Rosary Today!