The child of Guns Akimbo and Dual Wielding - a character simultaneously wielding a gun in one hand and a sword in another, or another combination of projectile and melee weapon. This would generally be impractical, as you might want that other hand free to help you steady or something, but it is much, much easier to handle a weapon with one hand in fiction. Thank the Rule of Cool for that one.
The Sword and Gun combo is strongly favored by pirates, traditional or otherwise, and highwaymen. As such, it's a classic for any sort of swashbuckling type. With piratical characters, the trope is actually somewhat accurate. Many pirates in real life would carry a pistol in one hand and a cutlass in the other. When their opponent attacked with his sword, the pirate would block the slash, put his pistol in the enemy's stomach, and shoot him. Nowadays the pirates carry AK-47s and machetes, but the effect is the same.
The sword and gun combo was also considered the preferred combination for cavalry. There is even a specific kind of pistol holster called a Cavalry Holster that is worn to facilitate an easy cross draw for your off hand. The saber was considered the primary weapon and the pistol a secondary. The general idea was the pistol allowed the cavalryman to engage threats beyond the reach of their saber.
Somewhat justified in historical settings, since old-fashioned pistols were almost entirely single-shot and inaccurate enough to make it essentially pointless to use both hands. Once you'd "had your shot", a single-shot pistol became nothing more than an elaborate club or a tool for parrying blades, until you got the thirty-plus second respite required to reload. Most folk, being fairly Genre Savvy, would often carry a whole brace of guns as a result (assuming they could afford it) so that they could have more than just one shot. This is often seen with the Samurai Cowboy.
Replace this with a rifle and a pike, then mash them together for handling purposes, and you have the concept behind the bayonet.
A modern version of this trope has the wielder carrying a gun in one hand and a knife in the other. To some extent, this is actually Truth in Television, as soldiers are still issued knives or machetes for use as tools or emergency weapons. Many special forces units are well-versed in the use of knives for close-quarters combat, with some techniques advocating the use of both in tandem with each other.
For guns that shoot swords, see Abnormal Ammo. For swords which turn into guns see Swiss-Army Weapon.
Compare Bow and Sword, in Accord, which substitutes guns for a different kind of projectile weapon, and Sword and Fist, where the character punches and kicks you instead of shooting in-between armed attacks.
Not to be confused with the show GUN×SWORD, gunblades, or The Musketeer (a person proficient in both sword and gun, but who doesn't generally dual-wield them).
Maria Grace Fleed, a character of theMazingertrilogy wielded a ray gun and a sword in her first appearance.
Gandolfini, the dark-skinned mage teacher in Mahou Sensei Negima!. While most mages are shown using staves or wands, his weapons of choice are a 9mm handgun and combat knife that he dual wields.
Chachamaru turned one arm into a sword, and the other into a gun.
If it's a pirate trope, One Piece will have it (not counting eyepatches... yet). In this case, it appears to be the fighting style of none other than the Pirate King, Gold Roger, according to a canon chapter promoting the tenth movie.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, Action Girl Olivier Armstrong wears this trope when she takes part in Roy's rebellion against Central, using her sword and a gun she snagged from one of the generals. She easily took down a whole floor of soldiers with only these two weapons. Too bad Sloth came too early to end the festivities.
It seems to be quite popular in Gundam 00. Such as when Alejandro's Alvaaron exited its base mobile armor he carried two guns only to toss one away and draw a beam sword. Ribbons' Gundam in the Grand Finale also does this, but mostly it seems to be because the rifle is mounted on the arm rather than being purely hand-carried. Also two Trinities, Graham, Exia, and Dynames near the end of season 1.
Crossbone Gundam, being about Space PirateHumongous Mecha, naturally does it, but with a special twist. Their pistol and sword (modeled on the flintlock and cutlass) can combine into a standard beam rifle that can fire rifle grenades, meaning both weapons are always right at hand.
In Kämpfer, Sakura wields a katana in one hand and a modified Beretta 92G Elite II pistol in the other post-reveal
In Bleach, Stark and Lilinette end up fighting with this combination.
Not simultaneously, as it's one sword for Starrk alone, and Guns Akimbo with Lilinette.
Captain Harlock and his Distaff Counterpart Emeraldas carry both gun and sword, but they usually avoid it for two reasons: the guns are ludicrously powerful (Emeraldas once shot down a starfighter with it, and Harlock's the same model) and the sword can also fire laser beams.
Sword Art Online has its protagonist Kirito dual wield a LIGHTSABER and an FN Five-Seven pistol in the GGO arc of the series. He can even fight by using the pistol as an alternative to a sword and even pull off his Dual Blades skills with it.
Grimjack, seen above, carries both for a simple reason. His home city of Cynosure is a multi-dimensional nexus where the laws of reality can change with the crossing of a street. Magic works some place, guns in others, but swords work everywhere.
Common in The Dresden Files with notable examples being Sanya, a black Russian who wields a cavalry saber with a nail from the true cross in the hilt and an AK-47 and Thomas Raith, a vampire who wields a saber and a sawed off shotgun, or sometimes a Kukri and a Desert Eagle. Harry carries a sword and a pistol on occasion, but rarely pulls both out as per this trope. Murphy counts as this when she borrows one of the three Swords of the Cross for the assault on the Red Court in New Mexico. Young, savvy Wardens tend to be this, including Carlos, who has a Desert Eagle and his Warden Sword.
Vampires in general are known to do this. It helps to have literally-supernatural accuracy and proficiency with just about any weapon. The equally-supernatural strength to bear and use those weapons helps, too.
At least partially justified by many supernatural threats being more or less Immune to Bullets and the Walking Techbane status of wizards making any straightforward attempts to combine magic and gunpowder to get past that likely to have literally explosive results. Magical swords at least aren't going to outlive their usefulness for quite a while yet in this setting.
Sort of. The Fae are particularly vulnerable to iron and many creatures have a vulnerability to silver (and custom-made bullets have been used in the setting). Also, it is pretty well established that the anti-tech field wouldn't cause explosive failure, and instead results in frequent jamming. Which is why most of the guns featured are notoriously reliable (Sanya's kalashnikov and all the revolvers Harry uses).
Lampshaded by Thomas in Small Favor, when he starts whistling "Froggy Went A-Courting" (see Music, below) while so-armed.
Lieutenant Walter Hamilton VC charges into his last fight with revolver and sabre in M.M. Kaye's The Far Pavilions. Essentially Truth in Television, as this is a historical novel dealing with events spanning the Indian Mutiny and the Second Afghan War.
In the later books of The Parasol Protectorate, Alexia occasionally wields Ethel in combination with her trademark accessory. It's mostly for effect though. She's a terrible shot with the former, and the latter is actually least dangerous as a melee weapon.
In the Deathstalker novels, humanity of the distant future uses disruptors that can blast through almost anything, but the power crystals take two minutes to recharge. As a result, many people carry swords, and those who can afford (or are supplied by them by the Empire) carry a sword, disruptor, and a force shield. Full-on duels involve using all three weapons (force shields block swords but reflect disruptor bolts.)
In the Aubrey-Maturin series, this is par for the course for Jack Aubrey. After he's fired his pistol, he'll use it as a makeshift buckler while killing people with his cutlass.
In Dune, most infantrymen prefer to use this combination. Though there are various context-appropriate subversions throughout the series.
Live Action TV
In one episode of Power Rangers RPM, Summer takes on Tenaya with a Nitro Blaster in one hand and a Nitro Sword in the other. Given how nearly every ranger team has the core rangers carrying identical weapons, it's quite frankly surprising that this sort of thing doesn't show up more often.
Played straight in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger - each ranger carries a sword and gun. Apparently someone at Toei was keeping tabs on the RPM example above, because they start swapping weapons from the first episode - Green and Pink are better with guns, apparently, while Blue and Yellow like swords. Red favors one of each.
As the characters prepare for the Headless Monks to attack in the Doctor Who 2011 mid-series finale, Rory can be seen dual-wielding a gladius and pulse pistol combo.
Given how Rory spent 2000 years protecting the Pandorica armed with only an Arm Cannon and a gladius, it's safe to say he's had a lot of experience with this style of combat
The traditional song "Froggy Went a Courtin'", recorded by hundreds of people including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, says the title character rides with "a sword and pistol by his side". Alright, I admit, there's no mention in the song of either of these being used much less simultaneously, but still the image of an anthropomorphic frog with a sword and pistol is pretty funny for a song that's Older Than Steam.
And then there's "Whiskey in the Jar", an Irish folk ballad recorded by a whole bunch of artists (most notably Thin Lizzy and Metallica), in which the first-person narrator encounters the rich Captain Farrel, whereupon our intrepid highwayman "first produced my pistol/ And then produced my rapier/ And said, stand and deliver/ Or the Devil, he may take ya..." (of course, some versions replace the rapier with an equally (-badly) rhyming saber).
The title character in the Irish ballad "The Highwayman" is described carrying a rapier and a couple of pistols.
Keeping with the highwayman theme, another song called "Highwayman" (written by the Highwaymen) mentions the titular highwayman having "sword and pistol by my side."
Oddly enough you have to put quite a few points into the right weapon skills to do this in the RPGs, despite it being an almost universal practice in the setting for anyone carrying a pistol.
This is not unusual, as the Tabletop figures that do this are usually leaders, special characters, or specialist assault troops who, in the RPG, would have XP to burn.
Where normal chapters can use Bolt Pistols along with a sword, the Grey Hunters and some other units of the Space Wolves chapter can use boltguns instead at the same cost. To elaborate, boltguns are weapons that normally uses both hands to carry, and the Space Wolves use it one-handed at the same efficiency, plus the bonus of also being able to carry a melee weapon in the other hand.
To take it to an even greater extreme, the Grey Knights use a storm bolter, which is similar to having two bolters in one hand (well, wrist). To reiterate, a boltgun is the main infantry weapon of the setting's Super Soldiers, and these guys have a double-barreled version of them in one hand, and a goddamn halberd in the other. Up to Eleven indeed.
Both the Grey Knights, and all Space Marine Terminators, use storm bolters—which are weapons in their own right. Their traitorous brethren, the Chaos Space Marine Terminators, use the older design—which is two bolters strapped together.
Exaggerated and Played for Laughs with the meme "Drive me closer I want to hit them with my sword." The person with the sword has a pistol as well, but is also standing in the turret of a Leman Russ battle tank.
In Warhammer Fantasy Battle the Empire, the Skaven and Dwarfs can do this. For dwarfs it's the only way many of their characters can get "two hand weapons"; Skaven can do this together with a tail weapon.
The Master Privateer in The Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Saga Edition has a series of three talents for this. When you have all three of these talents, you have the ability to move and make up to 6 attacks in the same round (three with each weapon). Oh, and the melee weapon can be a two-handed (and thus more powerful) one like a vibro-ax.
In the tabletop game War Zone, this is pretty much a standard configuration for heroes, usually with an SMG and a chainsword, and mortificators (McNinja in service of the inquisition), with a one-edged sword and a large pistol.
Drow introduced hand crossbows to the D&D rules way back in 1st edition. Although weak, the Drow poison the bolts.
Sister product d20 Modern has surprisingly little support for this. Rules as written, firing a pistol provokes an attack of opportunity from foes in melee (essentially, trying to point-blank someone gives them the opportunity to shove the gun away), and there are very few ways to get around this. That said, if you can manage to overcome that difficulty, the regular two-weapon-fighting Feats are all that you need.
Vampire: The Masquerade had no shortage of characters that were designed purely for the purpose of being dangerously awesome, but only a select few lived up to the notoriety of FranciscoDomingodePolonia, SabbatArchbishop of NewYork. Appearing in numerous supplements and novels, he was easily one of the company's favorites. One of the supplements he appeared in not only gave him impressive Firearms and Melee stats, but his character description actually pointed out that when in battle - in a modern, American setting, with all the legality that attends - he was always seen with a machine pistol and a shortsword simultaneously drawn.
Agent Carr and the second version of Sgt. Drake Alexander in Hero Scape.
Not an uncommon combo in Ironclaw, especially for noble characters who are both allowed to have swords and guns and can afford them. The Dilettante career starts with a rapier and a pistol, as well as a main gauche for after shooting.
Nero actually shoots with his right hand for said charged shots, as the 'charge' is demonic energy that, oddly enough, comes from his Devil Bringer right arm.
Any humanoid character in Disgaea 4 is capable of wielding both a Magichange sword and a Magichange gun at the same time.
Tenchu has done this a few times, having a boss who wields both at the same time. Usually he's a pretty horrible and limited swordsman, but if you don't kill him quickly he can open up some powerful combos on you with both the gun and sword.
Julie from Heavy Metal FAKK 2 can wield a melee weapon and a ranged weapon (pistol, UZI, or crossbow). Sadly, it is Awesome, but Impractical as for the most time, you need either a shield in the off-hand or dual guns to max out the firepower.
Dark Forces Saga: Kyle Katarn is occasionally depicted holding both a lightsaber and his Bryar pistol... itself a cut-down rifle.
Kyle Katarn is one of the few Jedi seen using a blaster as a regular weapon.
There's a good reason for that. He spent much of his life as a Muggle soldier/mercenary. It's not until Jedi Knight that he finally gets Force powers and a lightsaber. Most Jedi are trained from a very young age. Kyle knows how to use a lightsaber, but is also pragmatic enough to know not to rely exclusively on a close-range weapon.
The first two games in the Super Star Wars trilogy allowed Luke Skywalker to switch between a blaster and his lightsaber on the fly, but since the lightsaber was better in almost every way, there was little need to use the blaster. He sticks to just using his lightsaber in Super Return of the Jedi, much like in the movie proper.
In Anno 1701, in the third installment of the Anno Domini series, the militia men wield a pistol and a sabre each (strange thing though, that that those pistols are able to fire after every second sabre thrust - so once every three seconds... in 1701!!)
Soul Calibur has Cervantes, a zombie pirate, who wields Soul Edge and Nirvana, a dagger with a pistol inside it. He only has a few attacks that use the gun, though.
Metal Gear Solid's Naked Snake. CQC is based around holding a gun and a knife at the same time, in particular the knife held in reverse alongside the pistol in a two-handed grip that can easily separate. The Boss, having created CQC, does likewise, albeit with a BFG.
Down the line, Old Snake would later use a version where he could carry a knife and rifle at the same time, albeit using an odd two-fingered grip; however, in gameplay the knife is not actually used with the rifle, since the melee attack is a smack with the rifle's stock. (One of the odder Metal Gear-related pictures around is characters from Metal Gear Online using this grip without a knife.)
In the final release of Metal Gear Online, the knife is always present. In Guns of the Patriots, Snake makes better use of the knife + rifle combination in cutscenes, although never lethally; it's clear that the intent is the same as with a pistol, just more limited with the rifle's bigger size. In gameplay, Snake can't make a direct attack with the knife while he has a pistol equipped, either. Finally, some of the rifle grips are really bizarre, when having the off-hand in the "traditional" position under the barrel would result in the knife poking the magazine, Snake or online characters resort to a strange claw grip.◊ It should be noted that while all of this is visually awesome, it would be completely ridiculous in reality.
Gordon Freeman of Half-Life is often shown with a gun in one hand and a sword... er, make that crowbar... in the other.
Gangplank, the pirate champion in the online game League of Legends, fights with a cutlass and a pistol. As a result, he is rather squishy, but he is capable of a low-cooldown, short-to-mid range blast from his hand cannon that deals incredible damage.
Dark Chronicle's characters wield a gun and a wrench, and a magic-zapping armband and a sword, in their left and right hands respectively.
Most of the artwork in the online game GunZ: The Duel depicts characters with such weapons. K-style makes this somewhat possible through a combo of close-up sword-slashing and ranged shotgunning or revolver fire. It had the downside of making the shotgun one of the most overused weapons in an online game.
A one-handed sword/one-handed gun combo is one of several possible stances in Phantasy Star Universe.
It's pretty much mandatory, really. It's the default setup, and for whatever reason one-handed melee weapons (and wands, for casting spells) can only be used in the right hand while one-handed guns can only be used in the left hand. In order to use Guns Akimbo or Dual Wielding you'd have to go and buy the two-handed weapon which was a pair of guns or swords. As opposed to, say, wielding two one-handed guns. Everyone Is Bi- er... ambidextrous.
Reiko from the Onechanbara games favors a sword and a shotgun (or sub-machine gun).
Hellgate: London allows its Templar classes to do so, with the guns ranging from grenade launchers to chaingun pistols.
Red Steel 2 allows you to switch between guns and katana at any time, as opposed to the segregated shooting and dueling segments of its predecessor.
In Oniblade/X Blades, this is taken even further. Ayumi wields the gun and the sword with single hand: she's using a gunblade, which is basically a shortsword with revolver welded into it, and she's carrying two
Spark Blade in City of Heroes combines this with electric-charging powers. Since there's no actual way to depict this in the game yet, he has so far only existed in the lore and a couple of promotional trailers.
Like in the tabletop version, most close combat units in Dawn of War carry this kind of equipment.
Thanks to both the versatile costume creator and the equally versatile power system of Champions Online, it is possible to create a character who wears a pistol on one hip and a sword on the other, and to create one who can use a pistol for one attack and a sword (or two) for another. No single power animation uses one in each hand, however.
In Neptunia, Neptune herself starts off with a sword and a gun.
Mordecai in Borderlands: His close range weapon is a sword. May possibly apply to Brick as well; just change sword to pipe. In the sequel, Zer0 got a skill that advocates using a gun and his sword in tandem.
This trend continues in Revelations with the Janissaries, who won't hesitate to pull out a pistol and shoot you (the trick to beating them is to pull out your pistol and shoot them).
Goes right on into III with Officers and Hessian Jagers.
Ditto in IV given the pirate theme. Edward Dual Wields swords and can carry up to four loaded pistols. Trailers show him stabbing a guy in front of him with a cutlass while shooting a guy coming from the left with a pistol.
Rudy in the original version of Wild ARMs 1 uses a sword for his normal attacks and an ARM for his specials. Picturing him in this fashion is almost irresistible.
Mount & Blade encourages the player to act like this in the modules for later weapons, either because (in the case of black powder firearms) the firearms are generally inaccurate and slow, or (even in the case of more modern eras) ammo is limited and a clipping error prevents you from shooting somebody who is too close to you. Of course, there is also the option of just switching the firearm to melee mode and bludgeon the poor sap to death with it, but it's not as recommended.
And if you don't have firearms enabled, pretty much the same effect can be had by equipping a throwing weapon of some sort.
During the attract mode of Time Crisis 3, Giorgio Zott can be seen holding a sword and an assault rifle.
From Fable II onwards, the game mapped each type of combat to a different button. So if one has a pistol as their ranged weapon, they can do this.
The protagonist of Luminous Arc equips swords, but uses a rifle for most of his special attacks.
In Samurai Warriors Chronicles, your customizable character, if male, gets to use a 2-handed katana and a rifle in tandem during combat. That is: he holds the katana one-handed and fires his rifle one-handed. And can do this while running. Two generally 2-handed weapons being used one-handed. This also applies to Masamune Date, who uses a saber and pistol in certain combos.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine allows you to equip a pistol and a melee weapon simultaneously—see the Tabletop Games example above—but it's also possible to switch between melee and ranged attacks so quickly that this effect can be achieved with, say, a power axe and a grenade launcher.
Subject Delta of BioShock 2 can wield a projectile plasmid in one hand and a drill in the other.
Lightning Farron from Final Fantasy XIII actually uses a gun as a part of her sword attack combo when her ATB gauge reaches level 4, in addition of showing her carry it in cutscenes once in a while.
Lightning's gunblade is more actually a Swiss-Army Weapon since it transforms between sword and gun. Her fourth attack just has it transform for the final hit.
In Mass Effect 3, Shepard gains the Omni-blade for melee attacks. Promotional artwork and cinematic trailers heavily featurd Shepard wielding both a gun and an Omni-blade, cutting down husks with both in rapid succession.
In the multiplayer, this is the preferred style of Cerberus Phantoms and N7 Shadows (Infiltrator) and Slayers (Vanguard).
The Buccaneers of Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City use Rapiers and Guns as their weapons of choice. While the player cannot have them equip bothnote unless their primary class is the dual-wielding Shogun, Mastering both weapons is key to unlocking their best skills: Swashbuckling, which lets them strike multiple times with every normal attack, and Pincushion, their ultimate Attack technique which can be used with either a sword or gun.
In Guild Wars 2, Rytlock Brimstone does this. However, we don't really see the gun much because Rytlock is ALWAYS marketed with his nicesword. Mesmer and Thief characters can both wield sword and pistol.
Corvo Attano of Dishonored has a shortsword and a pistol (or crossbow, if you like) as his primary weapons. Officer-type guards are similarly equipped.
Zer0 the Assassin in Borderlands 2 has a skill in the melee-focused Bloodshed tree called "Be Like Water", which gives a temporary gun damage bonus for every successful melee attack, and vice versa. Essentially, your strategy becomes Step 1. Shoot, Step 2. Slash, Step 3. Repeat Step 1 and 2.
Parasoul of Skullgirls actually wields an umbrella in tandem with her pistol, but it definitely evokes the same imagery as a sword. Her official portrait◊ has her swinging it around in a sword-like fashion.
Promo artwork and trailers for the upcoming game Bloodborne feature the monster slayer wielding a saw-like weapon and a shotgun.
This is the primary fighting style of Jebus, the primary antagonist from the Madness Combat series, wielding a sword in one hand and a revolver in the other, particularly in Inundation. Hank has also made use of the style from time to time, particularly in Apotheosis when he gets his hands on his first katana and promptly skewers a mook with it before lifting him up and unloading an MP5K into his face at point blank range.
Jason Kiehart of League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions has both a sword and a gun enhanced by alien technology. He can actually change the setting of the gun from firing armor piercing rounds to paintball pellets.
Tucker, of Red vs. Blue fame, goes armed with an Energy Sword and a Battle Rifle. He's surprisingly effective with both, able to hold off a squad of mercenaries lead by a Freelancer, though one of the least of them. He prefers using his sword. It doesn't stay up for other people.
MAG ISA — Kyle has a gun on the left hand and a sword on the right hand.
The pistol originated as a knightly weapon. After abandoning the lance in the 16th century, knights took the pistol as their primary weapon. The favoured tactics were either caracole (counter-march on horseback) or attacking the enemy in gallop, and shooting two pistols at the enemy without re-loading at close distance and then hitting him with sword.
Although swords are now generally restricted to ceremonial use, knives are still useful in battle.
Thirty Years' War Finnish hakkapeliittas, who were armed with two pistols and sword. They attacked the enemy in full gallop, with shooting him at close distance and then drawing the sword.
Golden Age pirates, most famously Blackbeard, would carry both a sword and multiple loaded pistols on their person. Blackbeard tended to carry as many as he could manage, even adding extra pockets to his clothes just to make room for more. This was in addition to the dozen carried on a bandoleer over his shoulder. Blackbeard was a walking armory.
In the same vein, naval encounters also tended to involve both sword and pistol.
During the American Civil War, this was actually very common. Officers, whether actually in the cavalry or not, had the trappings of cavalry due to military history stretching back to the concept of knighthood. As such, while the rank and file had rifles with bayonets, officers were outfitted with revolvers and sabres. To see a cinematic example of how this can be both effective and awesome in the context of warfare that sits at the transition between pitched battles on open fields and WWI trenches, see Glory.
The first revolvers were designed to be held in the left hand, specifically with the cavalry in mind, who would have held their swords in the right. US Army pistol holsters from that era are all designed to be worn on the right for a cross-draw using the left hand. The reason was the pistol was considered secondary to the saber.
Not surprising considering how many songs mention it, but highwaymen often carried both sword and pistol.
The French elite warriors, the musketeers were skilled with both muskets and rapiers. It is somewhat humorous that they are now famous for their swordwork, when at the time it was their guns that made them famous (hence they're called musketeers). Muskets were something to open the battle with - after that the chances were high that a musketeer had to rely on his sword for the rest of the fight. The muskets just happened to be more iconic at the time than rapiers that were carried by just about any officer or nobleman.
Jack Churchill is reputed to be the last British soldier to have killed an enemy with a longbow. This was in 1944, after the Normandy Landings.
The last cutlass action in the British Navy occurred in 1940, during the Altmark Incident.
This was actually very common well until the 60's. While by no means an everyday occurrence, many, many soldiers - particularly officers - carried swords as well as guns into battle. The Japanese military are the obvious example, but even the Soviets and Germans (who probably did it the least) provide some.
During World War I, the Italian officer Gabriele D'Annunzio (in the sense he was actually a poet who had joined the army) charged Austrian trenches with a gun in each hand and a knife in his mouth.
Carrying melee weapons was actually a regular practice in World War I. Soldiers took to creating improvised clubs and knives because a lot of fighting in the trenches took place in confined spaces, where the length of a standard infantry rifle (especially with a bayonet attached) proved to be a distinct disadvantage.
Dress swords are still part of the formal dress uniform of the military in many countries.
While not quite swords, many American soldiers and Marines in the Vietnam War carried machetes. Some soldiers in the current War in Afghanistan are also issued tomahawks.