French Research and Intervention Brigade Revealed

Research and Intervention Brigade

That would be France’s Research and Intervention Brigade. Well, two of them who both carry two guns. The guy on the left has a GLOCK in a drop-leg holster and one velcroed onto his chest rig. Which makes it easier for him to access additional firepower one-handed when carrying that big-ass ballistic shield. It strikes me that European cops divide between un-armed street cops and ready-for-war (if tactically challenged) SWAT teams. Perhaps they should split la difference? [h/t]


  1. avatar Dirt Road says:

    They need AK’S

  2. avatar JayJay says:

    In the Bataclan, these guys walked straight into gunfire behind a shield, not returning fire so as to recover the hostages caught in the middle. Five of them were injured by gunfire. These guys and gals are about as ballsy as they come. Do you really think they strap an additional pistol to themselves for your entertainment?…

    1. avatar jwm says:

      That shield looks like it took some hits. I don’t question the courage or humanity of the rank and file cops and the special units.

      It’s their bosses I question.

    2. avatar Scrubula says:

      Much easier to drop the first handgun back in it’s holster and grab the second than to try to reload one handed during a firefight.

      It makes sense, but only for someone bearing a shield.

      1. avatar BDub says:

        That was my conclusion as well.

    3. avatar GusMac says:

      How does noticing the two pistols and giving support to the idea by noting that having them makes it easier to access additional firepower one-handed while carrying a shield indicate that Mr. Farago interprets it as an attempt at entertainment? I read it as him understanding the need for that person to have quick access to his two pistols when using a shield.

    4. avatar Upstate new yorker says:

      There is a thin line between ballsy and stupid when walking into gunfire…..not judging, just saying.

    5. Trading lions for lambs…

    6. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      A perfect example of the old “Ride to the sound of the guns” tactical actions.

      1. avatar CTstooge says:

        Exactly. After the floors are covered in dead.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          Unfortunately, yes. Cops in the US since Columbine have trained not to wait for such specialized “lion” units before going in. One cop with a gun can do a lot more to stop a mass shooting in 5 minutes than 40 can in 20 minutes… or however long it took in this case.

        2. avatar TTACer says:

          “Unfortunately, yes. Cops in the US since Columbine have trained not to wait for such specialized “lion” units before going in.”

          I am sure the BnB will correct me but I can’t think of a single instance since (or before) Columbine when the cops did not set up a perimeter and wait for SWAT.

          From the Wiki about Sandy Hook:
          “Newtown police arrived at the school street at 9:39 am, approximately four and a half minutes after the 911 call and Connecticut State Police arrived at the school street at 9:46 am. Newtown police first entered the school at 9:45 am, approximately ten minutes after the first 911 call and approximately fourteen minutes after the shooting had started. This was approximately five minutes after the last shot was heard.[41] No shots were fired by the police.[3][80]”

        3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “From the Wiki about Sandy Hook:”

          Nationally, police training and response doctrine had already changed from a “stage and wait” as the primary response to active shooters, but not all departments modified their specific policies by the time of Sandy Hook.

          Meaning: Those that study ‘attacks’ and develop ‘best response practices’ at one time thought staging and waiting was the best, so over years, most departments went that route with policies and training.

          Sometime after Columbine but before Sandy Hook, those “best practices” changed, but it takes a lot of time for ALL departments to get up to speed (ie, accept the change is actually ‘better’), make a policy change and implement training.

          Sandy Hook was on the lagging end of the shift over.

          So, it’s not the best example to use to try to illustrate what “Law Enforcement” thinks is the best response. “Law Enforcement” had already abandoned that tactic as “best” but even now, a couple of years AFTER Sandy Hook, there are likely still departments that have official policies (and training programs in place) representing the old ‘best’ of waiting.

    7. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      Supposedly the slide of a semi auto can hang up on a shield; it may be the reason for the backup gun. Supposedly it was one of the reasons they created teh “night guard” S&W. 8 shots of .357 in a scanium frame? Oh yeah.

  3. avatar ToddW says:

    That shield looks like it has taken fire. One used in Bataclan?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Yes. 27 hits to be precise. The two remaining terrorists were at the back of the theater when SWAT came in the front. The team had to cross through seas of blood and piles of dead bodies while under fire to engage. They shot one, and the other blew himself up.

      1. avatar FedUp says:


        1. avatar Avid Reader says:

          I think the woman was in a firefight later, when they raided an apartment.

  4. avatar Joel says:

    The masks. I thought only criminals wore masks?

    1. avatar ToddW says:

      I believe these guys also do undercover work? Thought I read that somewhere.

      1. avatar Pete S. says:

        Yes, the majority of their work is undercover.

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      Oh no, it’s just that they’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.

      1. avatar Simon Jester says:

        Princess Bride reference for the win!!!

    3. avatar jwm says:

      When you fight people that would have no qualms about getting your ID and then tracking down your family and killing them, you wear a mask.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        They are also flame retardant and meant to increase intimidation.

        1. avatar AdamTA1 says:

          The dude on the rights “crazy eyes” definitely help in the intimidation factor.

    4. avatar Carsickplatypus says:

      When you invite millions of Muslims into your country, your military veterans and your counter-terrorism units have to start worrying about someone going full Allahu Akbar on them. Just look at what happened to Lee Rigby in the UK.

      If military veterans in Western countries have to be afraid of wearing their uniforms with pride in their own countries out of fear of a Muslim killing them, then it’s time for the Muslims to leave.

  5. avatar Kevin says:

    That is exactly what I want the police who show up to kill terrorists to look like. I don’t see an issue here.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      It becomes an issue when your run-of-the-mill LE think it would be a good idea to model ‘their’ ops on that.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “That is exactly what I want the police who show up to kill terrorists to look like. I don’t see an issue here.”

      The issue Ferago was making is in the article…that there is a HUGE gap in coverage between unarmed cop and this.

      Don’t think he was bashing this for the mission they have. I think he was crabbing on the lack of an intermediate between parking maids and full-on tactical operators.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      It took these guys HOURS to show up, suit up, and go in. They had to move over piles dead bodies thanks to that fact. Had the regular police been able to do so how many lives would have been saved? There’s two things to unpack there. One, the equipment that was not available for immediate action (probably out of planning neglect or not wanting to be less civilized) and two, the lack of will to send the good guys in immediately.

      If you think police response is bad now, imagine if you’re in that theater, pleading for some sort of response but the answer is that the ‘militarized’ police will be there shortly. In a few hours (they were busy being out of sight so no one complained). So a few dozen people got executed in the meantime, totally worth it.

  6. avatar onezero says:

    Years ago, I observed a French Soldier spend his own money to come to U.S. to train & compete in a competition designed for Military & Police teams. Did not notice a lack of balls or skill. Of course he wasn’t an NCO yet let alone officer.

  7. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “That would be France’s Research and Intervention Brigade.”

    I bet the Left would just *love* to create an extra-constitutional ‘brown shirt’ type organization and give it a shiny-happy name like “Conflict Resolution Team”.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Operatives of Love from the Ministry of Love.

    2. avatar LM1045 says:

      Intervention has a completely different sense in French. For a French citizen, the BRI name instantly calls to mind the many “French Interventions in the Maghreb region”.

  8. avatar EthanVT says:

    The French GIGN have a higher washout rate than the Navy SEALs (93% vs 75%) and fire more rounds in training than any other special forces outfit. But yeah, let’s make fun of their outfits or whatever.

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      This is RAID, not GIGN.

      1. avatar wyoranchhand says:

        I thought this was BRI.

        1. avatar Drewn says:

          My bad, you are absolutely correct.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Where did you read in that short article anyone making fun?

      Is the knee-jerk field stuck on high tonight for TTAG commenters?

  9. avatar Jimbo says:

    After seeing them completely freeze in the funnel at the grocery store after the Charlie Hebdo attacks back in January, I have questions about their operational capabilities. I’d rather rely on a much more battle tested unit (i.e. any US spec ops group) than the untested GIGN.

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      This might possibly be the stupidest comment I’ve ever read on TTAG, which is saying something.

      1. avatar Thomas M. says:

        Did you even see the video of the Hyper Check/whatever store raid in the day or two after Charlie Hebo attack? Lead member of the element enter after the flash bangs….and his whole team started to follow him then froze in the shattered remains of the door, and started firing in the direction the lead member went.

        Here is the video.

      2. avatar R says:


        Also that was RAID, not GIGN. RAID are basically SWAT, while the GIGN is more or less France’s answer to Delta and FBI HRT.

    2. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Thought the grocery store entry was a little rough and so did everyone at work.

  10. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Guns are bad so all police and military should disarm and demonstrate love and kindness with gifts of fluffy little bunnies to the agents of the religion of peace.

  11. avatar Chris in SC says:

    All I can think of when I see this is Blackworm and his Doom Shield camping Black Ops 2. Give these guys a sentry gun and a guardian, then watch all terrorists die.

  12. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Now if only regular French folks were slightly armed. Most special foreces are bad-azzes.

  13. avatar MD says:

    looks like the guy on the right would have difficulty getting a good cheek weld, or am i missing something?

    1. avatar DAN V says:

      Stole my comment. That an aimpoint or a periscope?

    2. avatar ChrisL says:

      Yeah, agreed. Besides cheek weld, your sights are like 4″+ over the bore. That’s double an AR, which is already problematic. Even with a 50 yard zero you’re shooting like 3-4″ low at close range, that’s a terrible correction to have to eyeball. What, hold on their neck??

      1. avatar MD says:

        Agreed – the height over bore axis looks problematic, especially at close range in hostage situations, where precision will be paramount. I imagine you’d hold at the hairline and hope for impact in the cranial-ocular cavity.

  14. avatar Pete S. says:

    The quickest reload is another gun. That’s why he has 2 guns.

  15. avatar Anonymous says:

    So… They’ve got their “emergency martial law” and these guys roaming the street ready to search a home at their whim.

    Who are the terrorists again? Well… The French didn’t want to make safety their responsibility, so I guess they asked for it.

  16. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    Heart of a lion, brains of a sheep. The French soldier and their leaders. Check WW1 for details.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      That describes almost every military in that war. All were led by men unable to keep up with the pace of change and new technologies\tactics so they kept trying to not lose a war of attrition…

  17. avatar Bob says:

    If you’re gonna dual wield you at least have have to two guns on you should the opportunity arise.

  18. avatar caffeinated says:

    As much fun as it is to deride the officer on the left for carrying two handguns, it is common practice for the guy toting the shield to carry two handguns as opposed to a long gun. I’m guessing he made entry with the pictured shield…so keep poking fun from behind the Xbox.

  19. avatar John Doe says:

    I appreciate great skill talent courage that special French police united used handle this events. But far how there armed this what most swat type special police united all over United States all over world use ever day. If you where take La Swat cop and even GsG9 german special forces cop put side buy side you see be using all most same stuff would be dress in the same way. As for being better arm than normal police well heard some where job swat united no matter what being called was handle job to hard or to dangerous for normal arm policemen handle that what special group French police did.

    1. avatar Galtha58 says:

      @John Doe: Guessing English may not be your first Language. Can you edit or repost that last run on sentence? Read it twice and have NO idea what it says or what you mean.

  20. Just one point on RF’s main article – specifically the point about a capability gap between unarmed Police and armed response units like BRI…

    He’s pretty far off the mark!

    The majority of French LEOs are armed:

    Police Nationale
    • Approx 140,000 armed officers
    • Reports to Ministry of Interior
    • National civilian policing role
    • Includes civil order / riot police / various investigations units

    Gendarmerie Nationale
    • Approx 105,000 armed officers
    • Reports to Ministry of Defence
    • National civil/military policing role
    • Includes SF / undercover / MP / various more paramilitary units

    Police Municipale
    • Approx 18,000 officers, who may or may not be armed (dependent on the local municipality’s authorisation)
    • Reports to the local municipality
    • Local policing support role
    • Traffic enforcement / minor violations / public assistance


    In other words, less than 7% of operational French LEOs are unarmed.

    Now, it is arguable that routinely armed patrol officers should be better equipped – for example that squad cars should all be provided with ARs (or at least shotguns) to augment patrol officers’ sidearms. But it’s inaccurate to say that most officers are unarmed.


    I’d also suggest, in response to some of the comments on this thread (Hannibal)…

    Given the multiple reports of initial responder LEOs entering a highly kinetic scene, with automatic gunfire reported and audibly on-going, armed only with their sidearms… it is maybe not entirely fair to say that the regular Police didn’t intervene and waited “hours” for BRI.

    There’s a difference between being forced to retreat by superior firepower and just ‘waiting around’ not bothering to enter.

    Just my two cents…

  21. avatar DDavis says:

    Just my opinion: The unit member on the shield had to hold on as one of the ISIS scum blasted it w/AK fire (look at pic, one hit on the edge of the view port). Several of his team mates got wounded (one took a round in his helmet, which held up; another through his hand). Could you keep pushing into the carnage? The team did. I’m not going to judge their bravery, nor their tactics. As previous commenter said, that is who I want to show up if it hits the fan, and the last thing I want an ISIShole to see before going to his “paradise”.

  22. avatar Stuki Moi says:

    I doubt much thought has been given to either these guys nor those Barbie Brits from a few days ago actually fighting. The may well be the baddest Swats on Earth, but their purpose is not to fight, but to look tacticool on TV to shore up the ratings of politicians.

    The poor guy on the left in the above picture, looks like he was just stood up on stage, while a bunch of tacgear admen strapped stuff to him until his legs were within ounces of collapsing…. While his buddy on the right already collapsed, and needed to be propped up against the wall, from the weight of all his badass terrorist killing swag.

    Wonder if these mean fellas are tough enough to train only to shoot for the head, as well…….

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