Quote of the Day: Who Needs a .50 BMG Bull-Pup Sniper Rifle Edition

“Given the real-world capabilities of the caliber, the question remains whether law enforcement needs it. The answer is a resounding yes, depending on the agency. Does every agency need one? Of course not—that is ridiculous—but some have a real need. Agencies with a real terrorist threat or those dealing with hardcore drug trafficking do.” – Dave Bahde, DTA HARD TARGET INTERDICTION .50 BMG, tactical-life.com

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

46 Responses to Quote of the Day: Who Needs a .50 BMG Bull-Pup Sniper Rifle Edition

  1. As is the case of Barrett, I certainly hope DTA refuses to sell this to any California law enforcement agencies. California has outlawed the sale of .50 BMG weapons to civilians.

  2. avatarsdf says:

    “Does every agency need one? Of course not—that is ridiculous—but some have a real need. Agencies with a real terrorist threat or those dealing with hardcore drug trafficking do.”

    Drug traffickers defending their own private property will definitely need a few.

  3. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Extreme overpenetration in a civilian environment? No. Police do NOT need this. If they need precision and range, the .300 Win. Mag works just fine.

  4. avatarLevi B says:

    The rifle in the picture sure looks like it’s bolt action…

  5. avatarjwm says:

    i have fired the 50 bmg m2 and it was a fun time. never fired one of these 50 bmg rifles. next time i go to utah i’ll check the rental range and give it a try. other than permanent shoulder damage, what’s the worst than can happen?

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      I’m guessing that you’re M2 was mounted on tripod. My buddy has a bolt action Bushmaster with a tank – style muzzle brake. The recoil felt roughly like a .30-06, but it’s got 10 times the noise and muzzle blast.

  6. avatarDerek says:

    For the love of God, do NOT give one of these to the NYPD!

  7. avatarST says:

    “In related news today,a cop was arrested today for selling guns out of the armory to hardened gang members.Among the lost weapons are 4 .50 BMG semi-auto rifles,3 Glocks……..”

    You heard it here first.

  8. avatargreat unknown says:

    How difficult would it be, besides getting the NFL lineman to handle it, to modify this to full-auto? With an extended-capacity mag, of course.

  9. Do local or state law enforcement agencies *need* a .50 caliber rifle for use in populated areas? I believe the answer to that is no.

    Given the lack of proper training found in most police departments across the nation, the last thing we need to do is arm them with rifles chambered in a caliber intended to knock out tanks in WWI. Police have somehow survived and successfully policed our neighborhoods for 200 years without anti-tank rifles, I’m sure they can continue to do so going forward without much concern bank robbers are going to start using light tanks on a regular basis to apply their trade.

    Firing such a weapon in a populated area that isn’t a war zone would be highly irresponsible. It’s even worse than police running around with government hand-me-down M16′s still capable of full-automatic fire. Spraying lead in suburbia at a fleeing subject is also a bad idea and belongs in the same book of “bad ideas for police” that the .50 BMG sniper rifle belongs in.

  10. avatarbontai Joe says:

    Maybe I’m stupid, but I truly can’t think of a realistic need for a local, city, county , or even state police dept. for this rifle. Bad guys do not travel around in this country in armored vehicles, and the risk to the general population from over penetration would be horrific. And at something like $10 per “bang”, training will be minimal at best on a weapon that needs really decent training. I see little good and a lot of bad if LEAs get a bunch of these.

  11. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    No, the donut munchers do not need this. They might want this, but they don’t need it. The .50 BMG is ostensibly an anti-material round, not an anti-personnel round. The cops aren’t and shouldn’t be in the business of laying waste to private property to deny it’s use to criminals.

    Given the gross irresponsibility, feckless arrogance and idiotic lack of standards in police departments nationwide, if these rifles become even marginally common among law enforcement orgs, we’ll be hearing horror stories of over-penetration and deaths due to the police being police… with toys too big for boys.

    And of course, as is true in almost every instance of stupidity from LEO’s with guns… they will be personally unaccountable due to their sovereign immunity, while the taxpayer picks up the bill for civil damage claims brought against the departments using such force.

    • avatarrosignol says:

      ….while the taxpayer picks up the bill for civil damage claims brought against the departments using such force.

      This is something I’ve wondered about for a while now. I expect it’s fairly common for most cities to have some kind of liability insurance so they aren’t bankrupted by a moron who somehow got a badge.

      Would it be a good idea to require the local Police union to be the outfit paying the premiums for said coverage? Would this create an incentive for the cops to drum out the dumb ones on their own, or are there other consequences that would make it undesirable?

  12. avatarMr. Lion says:

    About the only advantage to the weapon in a law enforcement role is its anti-material qualities. Unfortunately, it being deployed in a dense urban environment with lots of innocent bystanders would almost certainly result in particularly ugly collateral damage. So, no, they don’t need them.

    When it comes to dropping bad guys at intermediate ranges, there’s nothing a .50 BMG can do that a .300 Win Mag cannot.

  13. avatarNathan says:

    Why does this “semi auto” have something that looks a whole lot like a manual bolt handle? It chould possibly be a charging handle, but it really looks like a mag-fed bolt action.

  14. avatartdiinva says:

    The military uses 50BMG sniper rifles for targets beyond 1500 meters. I don’t see many places around the country where the police have opportunities much beyond 75 meters. Even as an anti-material weapon this is excessive. A 30-06 or 300 win mag provides sufficient machine stopping power and/or material penetration for police work.

  15. avatarMatt in FL says:

    Nah, the cops don’t need one, for all the reasons listed above.

    I sure want one, though.

  16. avatarmatt says:

    I need a Anzio Ironworks 20mm mag fed rifle, or ideally a Lahti L-39/44, in case one of those SWAT APCs shows up on my lawn.

    • avatarMoonshine7102 says:
      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        I gotta tell you, Moonshine. I’ve used one of those on the feral cats in my neighborhood, and it’s not as effective as you might think.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          You’re not leading ‘em right.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          Well, that’s possible. There’s also the problem that when you shoot the first one, the blast is so loud that the rest go into hiding and don’t come out for days.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          I stand by my choice of weapon, then. I blast one, and don’t see any for a week? That’s called “deterrence”, my friend. OTOH, if your objective is multiple dead vermin in one sitting, I have a 10/22 that’ll do 1″ groups at 50 yards all day in the summer heat, if you need a loaner.

          But I still think the 120 is the fun way ;)

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          I, also, have a 10/22 (because who doesn’t?) and it’ll do 1″ at 100. I’ve seen it. Sadly, it wasn’t my eyeball to the scope at the time, but at least I know it’s possible. Gives me something to aspire to.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          LOL. My oldest could probably do it at 100. He’s 9, though. We just started him shooting this year, and want to build his confidence before the head-to-head with Daddy begins. On the plus side, our first range session ended with him asking, “Can we come again tomorrow, Dad?” His little brother (age 7) echoed the sentiment. Their little sister (5) wasn’t so interested. She’s petite like her mom, though, so the gun-to-person fit wasn’t so great.

  17. avatarOther Derek says:

    Is a bolt-action bullpup as pointless as it seems?

    How do you work the bolt without breaking the cheek weld?

    • avatarRIGHT! says:

      You don’t, there are tons of vids on YouTube featuring this rifle, it also come in 308/338L and a few others. It is extremely accurate w/paired with a Mk4 or Mk6

  18. avatarإبليس says:

    No. Just no. Most of the police “sniper” work is done inside 100 yards. 50bmg is a waste of my tax dollars and their time. Want to stop vehicles? Use Brenneke penetrator slugs. Don’t shoot the big fifty from a helicopter to stop a car. Or better yet, spike strips and roadblocks.

    Militarizing police only alienates fellow citizens and aggravates everything else. Police bitch about lacking “community cooperation” in the kafir ghettos. Well sorry officer, because you’ll get less of it with an APC and anti-armor weapons. Not that police snipers walk the beat with a rifle. It’s the general trend that should concern anyone.

  19. avatarJohnny says:

    Sero GM6. Gonna go pick it up on Saturday.

  20. avatarAngel says:

    Cops need this like they need more donuts. Wait a minute… with a 50 BMG, they won’t even have to leave the station to get bad guys. Not leaving the station equals more donuts. Seems like a win-win then. I guess I was wrong, carry on.

  21. avatarelnonio says:

    I am more than mildly amused at the “cops don’t need them”. Where else do we constantly hear that from?

    • avatarDerek says:

      True. The problem though is this isn’t a Second Ammendment argument. It’s not about wether or not cops should be allowed to have them. It’s about wether or not we should foot the bill for arming and training a group of people notorious for shooting pets, unarmed perps, confused homeowners, or flat out innocent bystanders with anti-material rifles. The same group of people who are also notorious for having absolutely ZERO accountability for making mistakes such as those.

      If they want to pay for the rifles and training out of their own pocket or actually be liable for the damage to innocents they cause, then I’d say The more the merrier.

  22. avatarAPBTFan says:

    A resounding NO!

    Cops have absolutely NO need for a .50. They like to cite the whole “terrorism” schtick but it’s nothing more than further bullshit militarization of PD’s.

    What PD is going to lay out the cash to adequately train even ONE officer to be half-assed proficient with a .50?

  23. avatarBambiB says:

    If the cops need it, so do the civilians.

    If we continue to descend into a police state, the need will become even more apparent.

  24. I keep reading the word militarization of police which -a, again, is a similar argument made against the possession of semi-auto weapons with large capacity magazines by civilian, and -b, makes it sound like a bad thing.

    So, first point. Does a 50 cal sound like overkill for an urban PD (e.g., one of the gazillion PDs in the greater St Louis city)? Sure. But for a rural PD in the Ozarks boonies or the Arizona border, that may need to stop a meth/cocaine delivery truck? Maybe not so much. How about the militarization of the criminal element? If you have read about the drug cartels submersibles, you know what I’m talking about. Is is really that farfetched to prepare to a simply foreseeable time when organized cartels could start operating reinforced/armored SUVs, or their use of FA, grenade launchers, etc. Who says PD need to restrict themselves to 38Spl and a shotgun?

    As for the second part, as a service member, I’m starting to take offense that militarization is a bad thing. The rest is not aimed at anyone in particular. Use some introspection and self-criticism, and see how much applies to you.

    But anyway, my little bitty feelings aside, peel the onion barney style for me please. Give me an insight in your worldview. Here’s mine

    Militarization in this case, to me, means additional training and equipment, adoption of relevant TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures) for the purposes of law enforcement. Militarization, to me, again, sure as hell doesn’t mean setting the PDs up to become the next Gestapo, Stasi or KGB. I mean, what the hell are y’all thinking we do in the military, sit and plan a grand coup d’état so we can merrily impose martial law?! Or that militarization means robotization and brainwashing to accept unlawful orders to impose the same martial law? By saying militarization in a negative context, that is exactly what it sounds like.

    Here’s something that may shock y’all who speak so flippantly about the big bad government and its evil military enforcer: both are made of people. Little Johnny next door who joined the Army in 75 and is now a General, or Billy two streets down who joined the Navy in 2011. Your cousin Betty that got a job at the IRS, or her uncle Bob that went in the FBI. We are not talking about a faceless, evil enemy. We’re talking about your neighbors, your families, coworkers, or someone they know or family of theirs. Chances are, you know someone in the service or in government, or someone’s family and friend. Same for police.

    So, every time I hear this BS about militarization and such, I end up with the distinct impression that y’all are in fact little paranoid people, out of touch with reality; or playing little war games in your minds, half-hoping that some “Red Dawn” or even “State of Siege” will become reality so you can play it out. You are living, as read above, almost waiting for the SWAT to come visit, though you have not done anything to justify it. You have dehumanized all the simple, regular people that make up civil and military service, to the point that you believe that each of us has a little Hitler or Pol Pot just waiting to barge out and come trample you, and everyone else, including their own families, friends, neighbors and countrymen. I just don’t get you, but with all I read in these boards, I’m starting to understand the gun control crowd a little better.

    • avatarrosignol says:

      that may need to stop a meth/cocaine delivery truck?

      The same stuff cops have been using to stop drivers since at least Prohibition. This is not a new problem, a fair bit of thought has gone into dealing with it. If you’re a cop, you know them: spike strips, sabot slugs, PIT training, and just following them until they run out of gas are all effective.

      Seriously, 50 BMG is massive overkill for pretty much anything civilian law enforcement is going to have to deal with. The only exception I can think of is “Some bozo gets drunk and steals an armored vehicle from the local army base”. Which has happened once in this country (video is on youtube). If it was happening once a month, sure, Anti-materiel rifles for everyone. Once ever? Nope, buy your own toys. I’d like to play with a .50 BMG just as much as you would, but I don’t expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab.

      • Alas, I only got to play with the 50 Cals at TBS. Popped maybe 5 to 10 rounds, if that.

        Incidentally, reminds me of the (gasp) Red Jacket episode where they outfitted a Sheriff’s patrol boat with a 240G AND a Mk19… Really, a Mk19?! I chalked it down to it being for the show only.

        Lastly, I meant “The Siege”, not “State of Siege” (an obscure French movie about South American dictatorship)

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