Boston Bombers Had Handguns, M4 and A BB Gun

 Colt M4 (courtesy

It seems the Boston bombers had some experience manipulating firearms. In the criminal complaint filed against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev we learn that the accused “pointed a firearm at the victim [of the carjacking] and stated ‘Did you hear about the Boston explosion?’ and ‘I did that.’ The man removed his magazine from the gun and showed the victim it had a bullet in it, and the reinserted the magazine. The man then stated ‘I am serious.” And we’d seriously like to know what firearms the Tsarnaevs used during their killing spree and how they obtained them. In this we are not alone. And now the New York Times has some deets . . .

Along with determining that the suspects had made at least five pipe bombs, the authorities recovered four firearms that they believe the suspects used, according to a law enforcement official. The authorities found an M-4 carbine rifle — a weapon similar to ones used by American forces in Afghanistan — on the boat where the younger suspect was found Friday night in Watertown, Mass., 10 miles west of Boston.

Two handguns and a BB gun that the authorities believe the brothers used in an earlier shootout with officers in Watertown were also recovered, said one official briefed on the investigation. The authorities said they believe the suspects had fired roughly 80 rounds in that shootout, in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally wounded, the official said.

More information as we receive it.


  1. avatar Kirk says:

    The BB gun was a beard for re-purposed ammo.

  2. avatar Major says:

    “I’m older, so I get the real gun. Sorry, you’re stuck with the BB gun.”

    1. avatar C says:

      Exactly my reaction.

  3. Was it a “high capacity” BB gun?

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      no “high cap”, but bb gun registration + background checks are on the way. i guarantee it.

      1. avatar superiorposture says:

        I am in the slave state of NJ, and BB guns are already treated as regular “real” firearms. As such, we cannot possess fun BB guns like the Umarex Ebos or Drozd Blackbird. And BB pistols are subject to the same ridiculous “pistol permits” we are required to apply and wait forever for. Then we can only buy 1 pistol per month, and unused pistol permits expire after an optional 90-day extension to the initial 90-day period.

        1. avatar WA_2A says:

          That is one of the most depressing things I have ever read on the internet.

        2. avatar S.CROCK says:

          that is tragic. i live in a slave state and we have nothing close to that.

  4. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

    What’s the probability that the AR-15 actually belonged to the homeowner and was being prepared for one of those famous “boating accidents?”

    1. avatar DrVino says:


      1. avatar Tom says:

        While that comment is in jest I do wonder where it came from and if the “M4” wasn’t pulled from the MIT officers car.

        1. avatar Hryan says:

          I’ve been wondering that too. The BB gun makes me wonder if they started the night with only one gun and picked up another handgun and the rifle from the slain MIT cop.

  5. avatar Chris_From_NY says:

    Wait, a for-real select-fire M4, not a semi-only AR-15 carbine?

    1. avatar Terence says:

      Seriously. This is one of the most interesting facts so far, if true…

    2. avatar chuck says:

      Well now philly pd knows where that missing rifle went. Now ban philly pd from having “assault weapons”. I thought I would beat MSM to the blame game on the origins of the weapons.

      1. avatar Brian says:

        Might be from that perfectly run Milwaukee ATF operation too…

    3. avatar cloaked in mystery says:

      If they are building bombs, buying black market guns is hardly a problem for them. or they just had a drill press and some basic shop skills to drill the hole to accept the sear pin.

      any half competent machinist can turn a block of solid metal into a machine gun

      1. avatar matt says:

        except they werent machinists, and you’re talking about pipe bombs as if they’re hard to make, I was doing that shit in 7th grade. Are you also implying they cut the barrel to 14.5″, recrowned and threaded the muzzle, and turned the barrel for the M203 cutout too?

        1. avatar 16V says:

          Back when I was much younger pre-teen (in the 70s) I lived outside a metro and learned all about the practical applications for fertilizer and diesel as stump remover (and smile inducer) from farmers. We made our own napalm and flame throwers, not to mention over-pressurizing old welding tanks and building guillotine devices to launch them ala the A-Team.

          Funnily enough, my ex-pat Sov buddies have much funnier tales of playing with ‘found’ real munitions as kids in the 90s. Those kids got make their “boom!” toys out of old land mines and HE from shells.

          Talk about the ‘wussification’ of the US…

        2. avatar cloaked in mystery says:

          no, it was likely bought on the black market or stolen, criminals do not care about the legality of their actions, that is why they are criminals

  6. avatar Shenandoah says:

    This is an instance where the differentiation between an actual M4 and a civilian AR-15 is very important.

    1. avatar sdog says:

      +1 this is a MASSIVE difference here.

      1. avatar Hinshelworld says:

        Not really. Colt sells AR-15s with M4 markings in semi-auto to civilians…

  7. avatar ayo says:

    I am curious to hear if any of the firearms recovered were taken from the slain MIT police officer.

    1. avatar dwb says:

      if M4s with the giggle switch are so common that now campus rent a cops have one, NRA and SAF should challenge the law, “in common use” should mean something.

  8. avatar swampsniper says:

    Fast and Furious guns?

    1. avatar Chuck in IL says:

      Wouldn’t that be something? If it actually was, I guarantee that the info would never get out.

  9. avatar JPD says:

    Why, this information must be impossible!! We all know that in Massasschuets the gun laws PROHIBIT terrorists and criminals from purchasing or possessing firearms. Since their are laws against this, then they would never think to obtain firearms and use them in an illegal manner. (snark)

  10. avatar Mike S says:

    Okay…..If it is actually an M4, I’ll be very interested to learn where it came from.

    1. avatar Brian says:

      Philly PD?

      1. avatar elliot says:

        According to a good friend of mine who is a firearms instructor at the police academy, Philly actually lost an old M-16 A1(with the triangular fore-grip) that the Army surplussed to them.

    2. avatar pwrserge says:

      It has a serial number, it has to be in a database somewhere. If it’s a real M4 and has a giggle switch, somebody is going to federal pound me in the a$$ prison. Hopefully for a long time.

      1. avatar Brian says:

        Not if they are ATF…

  11. avatar Terence says:

    Im with Chris_from_NY. Really, a real select-fire m-4? We need to clarify that ASAP.

  12. avatar Rokurota says:

    “The man removed his magazine from the gun and showed the victim it had a bullet in it, and the reinserted the magazine. The man then stated ‘I am serious.’”

    That’s when the driver pulled his own gun and stated, “And I am serious about your magazine disconnect.” The state of Massachusetts agreed to pay the driver a bounty that equaled one-tenth the cost of the multitude of officers and BearCats they would have deployed had the manhunt continued.

    Sorry, just a little speculative fiction there.

    1. avatar Eaglescout87 says:


    2. avatar matt says:

      Most guns dont have magazine disconnects, I know none of mine do.

      1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

        matt-two of mine do-the Ruger SR9 and the Bersa Thunder 380 do have mag disconnects.

    3. avatar Anonymous says:

      I believe mag disconnects are needed in Mass.

      1. avatar Rich says:

        Nope, mag disconnects are not required. A brand new M&P9 has the warning printed on the right side. This weapon can be fired with the mag removed..

        The only problem with trying to fire it.. MA has a 10 pound trigger rule. It seems like S&W are playing it safe and installing an 18 pound trigger.. Nothing that an APEX kit can’t fix.. Same deal if you buy a new M&P15.. Needs a new trigger, right out of the box.

  13. avatar traye says:

    Damned criminal immigrants can get an m4 and I have been here all my life, served my country and I can’t get one. Something wrong with that picture.

    First the criminal immigrants took our jobs then they took our guns.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      I’m pretty sure that you can get an M4 the same way these guys did (assuming it is, indeed, an actual M4). So long as you’re okay with a shootout with the local SWAT team shortly afterwards…

  14. avatar Rob Eide says:

    “FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY” right there on the side. sarc.

  15. avatar Nickbnumbers says:

    My dad always said “Don’t bring a BB gun to a bomb fight.”

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      Ah, those bomb fights as a kid were a hoot!

    2. avatar Rich says:

      “Don’t bring a BB gun to a bomb fight.” Humm…
      Maybe if you have no firearms at all? You sneak up on an MIT cop, get the drop on him with your realistic looking BB gun, while your big brother disarms, and kills him.
      Now, you’ve got a real handgun and a couple of mags. Go on to the next cop, sitting (napping?) in his car. Sucker shot and you’ve got another handgun, more mags and nice new M4 carbine with mags.

      Since the police had no description of the bombers, those two could walk right up to a cop, pretending to ask for directions etc..

      Does that really sound so unlikely?

  16. avatar Powers says:

    I wish I could afford an M4. Maybe they hand them out when you come to the country to study?

    1. avatar elnonio says:

      Nope, I didn’t get one. Nowadays, I get one on loan for short periods of time, then it’s back to the armory…

  17. avatar Mike in NC says:

    I too want to know if this was a real M4 or just a common AR-15 based M4-gery.

  18. avatar Chris says:

    I have never seen any evil black rifle called an M4 ever.

    1. avatar Dan A says:

      Colt 6920s say “M4 Carbine” on the receivers.

      1. avatar Chuck in IL says:

        Colt Match Target 6400 M4. I bought mine right after DiFi told me I can’t have one. It had the pinned on compensator and the non collapsable style collapsable stock. Because those are the things that made it SO deadly. It amazes me that most “smart” people cannot see what a joke the AWB in the 90’s was. Right after that idiotic piece of legislation was sunsetted the barrel was threaded and a proper stock attached. Of course I have been deathly afraid of it ever since, so I keep it locked up all the time. Lately I have considered donating to the Tucson PD. That seems to be what all the cool kids are doing anyway.

  19. avatar dirk diggler says:

    Police in cali are using airsofts now for training so maybe he did steal from the MIT cop?

  20. avatar Roger says:

    Remember when an M4 was stolen from ATF agents during that “sting” operation in Milwaukee? What I wouldn’t give for it to turn out to be THAT M4.

  21. avatar DoctorHog says:

    If you outlaw M4s then only outlaws will have M4s. Hmmm.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      oh wait boston basically outlawed every gun and the criminals still have m4’s. well a background check would have solved everything.

      1. avatar DoctorHog says:

        Of course it would. Criminals always obey the law, oh, wait.

  22. avatar Sean says:

    This is the NYT we are talking about. My Colt SP6920 has “M4” stamped on the side of it. Its not like they would know the difference.

    1. avatar SubZ says:

      NYT is very likely using info from the fbi

  23. avatar NWMO says:

    First the criminal immigrants took our jobs then our guns! I love it and you are spot on! Good comment!

  24. avatar Read the complaint says:

    The BBs were intended shrapnel in the explosive devices. See paragraph 25.

    1. Nothing about the M4 in there tho. Interesting…

  25. avatar Doc 03911 says:

    Anyone notice the NYT Picks for comments under the article?
    Evidently it’s still the fault of the gun and angry white people.

    1. avatar Fred says:

      One commenter there is happy the younger brother tried to commit suicide because “it shows he isn’t a psychopath and has a conscience”. More likely he didn’t want to go through the “worse-than-death” fate that awaits him now. He participated in a premeditated bombing, he is a psychopath, or worse, a tool of his older brother. Then she asks for compassion on him so he’ll be nice and tell us all about terrorism. Sorry, but blood is thicker than honey.

      1. avatar Jeff says:

        I read the comment section. It made me want to throw up.

        1. avatar Mike in NC says:

          It has been my experience that just about any comment thread at the NYT will have that effect.

  26. avatar JWhite says:

    Oh they had an M4-Carbine? Do tell… I would love to hear how they got that…. *eye roll*

    1. avatar Fred says:

      It’s a typo, they meant to write “M1A2 Abrams” instead of M4.

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        close enough. to a liberal a m4/ ar-15/ m1a2 is the same thing.

        1. avatar DoctorHog says:

          What is the magazine capacity on an M1A2? No one needs more than 10 rounds I tell you.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          The main gun on the Abrams is a single shot. A great big 120mm single shot can of whoopass. It’s a single shot, so it ought to be legal in all jurisdictions.

        3. avatar Chuck in IL says:

          But very hard to conceal carry. You might want to consider a Sherman.

  27. avatar sako204 says:

    Hmmmm….ATF managed to “lose” a M4 Carbine in Milwaukee in February (reported on Feb. anyway). Could it be?

  28. As a snarky aside: how could an armed citizenry done any worse than the highly-trained cops in this scenario? Several firefights erupt, with the PoPo firing so many rounds that some run out, rounds from Good and Bad guys are going everywhere [including occupied dwellings] and neither terrorist is fatally wounded? Absent innocents being killed or wounded, a response or intervention by armed citizenry could hardly have done worse…

    1. avatar Jon says:

      I’ve been thinking that for the last 4 days. These police are not heros, they are an army of Barney Fifes.

      1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        Each with more’n one bull-it, though…

    2. avatar GlennF says:

      THAT’S exactly what I’ve been wondering as well. It seems that with an event of this magnitude, CAPTURE would have been the PRIMARY goal. It seems instead that the ROE was the proverbial “shoot first…” Instead of some level of tactical approach & planning, the LEO, FBI, etc. just fired all they had on every chance they got. Every video, every photo w/the collective police forces show multiple officers blasting away or preparing to in the general direction of something. Reminds me of the lack of discipline shown in the Christopher Dorner fiasco.

      1. avatar Rich says:

        It was kinda like watching the keystone cops.
        The guy with the hat and sunglasses that was too close to the hospital, got a close look at an M4.
        There was a bunch of folks standing behind that evil looking guy, who might have been head shot too..

  29. avatar Silver says:

    Why are we trusting news from a fictional publication like the NYT?

    By the way, a quick look at the comments section should prove to anyone here beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are indeed two separate countries now, and we are indeed at war, even if it is a cold war at the moment. I can’t think of a single greater falsehood I’ve ever heard in my life than that “United We Stand” crap that became famous after 9/11.

    Funny how perspectives change, speaking of 9/11. I was saddened and horrified after that event. If that happened tomorrow in NYC, I’d shrug and think, “It’s just New Yorkers. Good.”

    1. avatar Fred says:

      But they’re not New Yorkers, they’re probably from New Jersey.

      1. avatar Silver says:

        How is that better?

    2. avatar Dave says:

      Shrugging it off would not be an option in my view, but it is true that gun laws in NYC are beyond outlandish. There is a lawsuit pending against the city because pistol license holders there can only take their guns for target practice to gun ranges inside city limits. So, no out of town competitions. This info is from an article called “NY State’s firearm lobby taking aim at city rules”.

  30. avatar Aharon says:

    What I’d like to know is were the hexx they were able to find ammo besides the DHS.

  31. avatar Nine says:

    After skimming through some of the comments on the NYT Article, I realived just how naive some people are.

    I wish people would just WAKE THE HELL UP. We live in a world where Sandy Hook can happen, where Columbine can happen, Aurora, Boston, Virginia Tech. IT CAN HAPPEN.

    It is a sad fact, that is true, but it is still a fact. People need to realize that more shootings and bombings can and will happen, and we need to be ready. If a.guy can storm into a school, a theatre, or even your place of employment, why wouldn’t you take the time and arm yourself? People say ‘Oh, well, You’d probably die before getting a shot off.’ That may be true, but I’d rather die fighting then cower in a corner and wait for the cavalry.

    The next tragedy is coming, the wheels are in motion, I want to be ready, I refuse to be on a list read after the fact.

    Wake up people.

  32. avatar Dave says:

    “Wonder where the gun trail will lead us for the two bombers? They had no permits to carry the guns and they were pretty good at using them. Where did they go to practice shooting? Those illegal guns, assassinated a police officer sitting in his vehicle. Another in serious condition in the hospital. No paper trail for the guns. Just the way the NRA wants it. To me our NRA is a terrorist group of its own making.”
    – Keith Olbermann

    1. avatar Chuck in IL says:

      Keith Olbermann is an idiot of epic proportions.

  33. avatar Gramps says:

    Where are the dashcam videos….???

  34. avatar Atypical Philadelphian says:

    Until more details are released it’s all just speculation, but I’ll just have to guess:

    They had one black market pistol (close the black market loophole! [sarcasm]) and one realistically-proportioned BB pistol with the orange bits removed/painted over.

    The real pistol was used to shoot the MIT police officer.

    The other real pistol and AR-type rifle and additional ammo was taken from the MIT officer’s person/vehicle.

    …but I guess we’ll have to wait until the sanctioned news report is released to find out.

  35. avatar Bob in Boston says:

    I’m kinda curious which cop they stole the M4 from since that’s not something you can buy! Police need to be more careful with their weapons – maybe we should reduce the size of the “clips” they can have to 7 just to be safe. 🙂

  36. Hmmmmm somewhere along the way here I missed the memo about how every manhunt now involved multiple juris-my-dik-tions blasting away at anything that moved…was that in the NYT last week? /sarc off

  37. avatar Chris from Iowa says:

    Interesting that they used “M4” and not AR-15, Also interesting that they mentioned American forces in Afghanistan and not the standard “Just like the one used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza to murder 20 children and 6 adults in December” just like the media has on every other story where this gun is mentioned. Curious.

    Also, am I the only one that secretly hopes it is the same gun stolen from the Philly PD? That would be amusing.

  38. avatar jim ford says:

    Just like all the other Dumb Ass Uncle AL’s Kinda Used Cars… Bring Air Pistol to a Gun Fight. That beats Dumb Dumber and Dumbest…….?

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email