New Battle Rattle for “Unarmed” British Police

British policewoman (courtesy

I have no idea why people cling to the belief that British police are unarmed. Sure, the average “bobby” on the beat doesn’t carry a sidearm, but they wear bullet resistant vests, carry tasers and batons and have immediate radio access to fully tooled-up armed response units. Then there are the fully armed police walking around “sensitive” parts of The Land of Hope and Glory (e.g., Buckingham Palace, Heathrow Airport and The City). As for the young lass above, reports . . .

She is the new face of British policing.

Armed to the teeth and sporting military fatigues and a combat helmet, the officer is part of a counter-terrorism unit unveiled at Wembley last night. The elite Scotland Yard squad arrived in huge armoured vehicles to throw a ring of steel around the 80,000 fans watching England beat France. The marksmen were also toting their new lightweight, semi-automatic SIG 516 rifle.

The 130-strong unit has been developing new tactics with UK special forces, including abseiling from helicopters and tackling rampaging gunmen. They have been trained to shoot for the head instead of the usual target, the chest. They came out of the shadows in the wake of the massacre of 129 people in Paris on Friday . . . One expert described the counter-terrorism officers at Wembley as ‘effectively SAS officers in police uniform’.

Amid some of the tightest security ever seen at a sporting fixture, they took up key positions around the ground. Many of the officers chose to cover their faces because they sometimes work undercover. Their new weapon was selected to boost the power of police to respond to armed threats with increased accuracy while allowing them to move in confined spaces.

Their distinctive Jankel vans were last seen on the streets of the capital during the 2011 riots. The huge US trucks are effectively armoured vehicles, with huge amounts of space for officers and equipment.

Our guys tell us that the British special forces are the bomb (so to speak); fully capable of responding to terrorist attacks with speed, surprise and violence of action, while remaining operationally flexible. That said, the SAS-style cops aren’t first responders, are they? The people on the sharp end aren’t allowed so much as a folding knife for their own defense. How great is that?


  1. avatar COtto says:

    I read this and laughed at it with a co-worker. So much fail in that article I don’t know where to start.

    1. avatar COtto says:

      There is a reason I never turn to the british media for gun news. More epic journalistic fail in that article….

      1. avatar ANdrew Lias says:

        I doubt anyone that refers to AR-15s and MP5s as “single shot” actually served much of anywhere, at least not in a role that did much of anything combat wise.

        1. avatar ANdrew Lias says:

          Went and googled it, wow. I can’t believe they really are single shot where you have to actuate a lever every time you shoot. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen all week.

        2. avatar Sian says:

          That’s the only way you can own modern rifles on Knifemurder Island, if they’re disabled to straight-pull single shots.

        3. avatar defensor fortismo says:

          Well the problem is that they’ve demonized semiautomatics as being weapons of mass destruction, so they have to improvise with the terminology. I’m still not sure how mp5s made the list.

        4. avatar Tony says:

          No that’s the dumbest comment I’ve ever read! the term single shot is often used in Europe to describe semi-auto. Semi-auto MP5 is classified by H&K as the MP5SF) Their SIG MCX’s are simply semi-auto rather than selective fire!
          You’re mistake is believing what the media say and in a predominantly unarmed society the UK media knows even less about guns than thin the US.

      2. avatar Smith says:

        Also, that’s an MP5, not an AR.

      3. avatar Farmer Brown says:

        Yeah – it’s almost laughable. So, they have 130 people in these units? So, take out training time, sick time, holidays and maternity leave, and you’re down to about 80-90. Then take 3 shifts and you’re at 30. I’d have a hard time believing there’s *EVER* more than 10 cars on the road for all the Met area (people taking a crap, filling out paperwork, eating lunch). Then subtract all those ‘allocated’ to specific locations (Parliament, Israeli/US embassy, etc) and there’s almost none “mobile”. Of course, might be enough guys close enough for a “lone wolf” attack – although why they assume wolves come in singles is beyond me. Use multiple teams (like Paris), throw in a diversionary attack and block a road or two and you’ll have 45 mins of mayhem before they are effectively engaged.

        In reading a lot of Brits stuff the last week, I have decided that they Brits are more frightened of “the gun” than the terrorist. They are constantly at pains to point out (Met deputy commissioner was one notable) how all the “Special Force Units” from the DoD are unarmed – so that the “public need not be alarmed”. Strange attitude.

  2. avatar CGinTX says:

    Plus she speaks with a British accent. Dreamy.

    1. avatar Custodian says:

      Yes, these subject women with British accents is sexy.

      That said, these subjects will always be at the whims of Parliament and the crown.

      Down with the monarchy/theocracy. These people truly deserve what they have.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Do you suppose she’s been trained to be subjective?

  3. avatar John Goodwin says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a Sig MCX pictured, not the 516?

    1. avatar COtto says:

      did you miss the effective range on that?

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        I didn’t. A CT-SFO is effective with a rifle at ranges up to 116 yards.

        1. avatar Smokey Behr says:

          I guess my American-made AR-15 has a longer effective range, because I was hitting a 12″ diameter plate at 200 yards all day at the range on Saturday.

        2. avatar BDub says:

          The basic rifleman test in the Army requires hitting a torso silhouette at 300 yards with iron sights, am I missing something?

        3. avatar OODAloop says:

          Yeah, the funny thing is that if you read the article the pic is attached to, they’ve been deployed to guard a sports stadium at Wembley. With the 350ft effective range, then can barely make it from one end of the field to the other. The other odd bit is that she has a big loadout for the Glock (6 mags & 1 in the pistol) but only a single spare AR mag. You’d think they’d ditch a Glock mag or two and load an extra AR mag….

        4. avatar PPGMD says:

          Actually those are Lancer AR mags, he has four across the front, and one on the side in a downward position.

      2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Hitting an ipsc target at 400 yards with my AR pistol. Not all the time, but more often than not.

      3. avatar FTA says:

        Even with that barrel length, that is at least effective out to 300 yards, Shorter barrels don’t degrade accuracy (unless extremely short), just some velocity loss. Red dot sight makes it even easier. So much fail in that article.

      4. avatar David says:

        They did specifically say that they were trained to go for head shots. If they are doing that exclusively, then 116 yards might be accurate. The Glock 17 numbers then become highly impressive, 50 yard head shots with a pistol are no walk in the park.

    2. avatar Retired LEO says:

      Doesn’t look close to the 516 I sighted in a scope this weekend for a friend. Why have a less lethal (taser) for an anti-terrorist unit?
      Surprised they didn’t get bolt action rifles. M1 carbine makes more sense than a single shot AR platform

      1. avatar WuzNtMe says:

        The tasers are for the citizens, not the terrorists…

  4. avatar Jay says:

    WTF people even this is nothing new. Look up the Flying squads in northern Ireland on the 70’s. Better still look up what their shoot orders/SOP where.

  5. avatar Pete says:

    The reason we like to say the UK police is unarmed is because they are. There are only 6000 firearms officers in England and Wales. That equates to somthing in the realm of 1% of the total number of “bobbies”.
    And by the way, the Taser is only for use by the firearms officers.

    I would have thought this website did a bit more research.

    1. avatar Kirk says:

      They are unarmed, apart from the ones that are armed….

      Great logic mate.

      1. avatar Pete says:

        Ok, so by your estimates the average UK Citizen is just as well armed as the American citizen?
        If only 1% of a service has access to guns while on duty then it cannot be claimed by any sane standard to be armed, and that is my point, mate.

        In England and Wales the AFO’s who are the only ones who have access to firearms and tasers number about 6000, and they are not even permitted to keep their guns in holster while on patrol. it has to be locked in the van. The Scottish ones can carry while on duty and there are a different set of rules in N. Ireland.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          If 6000 have arms, they are not unarmed. Why are the rest not armed? There is obviously no overriding silliness preventing it, so why are they not armed? UK too cheap? What? Bobbies hire a lot of wannabe mass killers? Why?

        2. avatar Farmer Brown says:

          One has to live there and/or follow their media to understand.
          You being from Texas it’s something that’s probably so far from your world view you cannot believe it.
          Basically the average punter wants it that way.

          Basically to them (well, 99.99% of them) guns are just such an abomination that they should be wiped off the face of the earth – even in the hands of the police. Even their police commissioner is at pains to point out that any of their groups are ‘unarmed – so as not to alarm the public’.

        3. avatar Pete says:

          Again I would postulate that when 56 million people are being policed by 6000 armed officers, and that number include MOD police and Nuclear power station guards. That probably shaves of a couple of hundred so lets say 5600 to make the math easy. That gives one officers with access to firearms per 10 000 residents, not much.
          And taking into account that there are 121 000 police officers in England and Wales, that math makes it possible to run into police 200 times before you encounter an armed one. Thats like once in a lifetime.

  6. avatar Brian says:

    Heck, I’m just impressed they gave semi-reasonable effective ranges for the two firearms instead of just saying they can shoot out to 4 miles.

    1. avatar schernobyl says:

      Woah woah woah Antigunners and any sentence with a form of reasonable that doesn’t begin with un aren’t allowed .

  7. avatar Don says:

    I’m sure the two female police officers over there gunned down recently will sleep better in their graves for this.

  8. avatar lionsfan54 says:

    Where can I get bullet proof goggles? LOL

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      If you could find a pair, the glass would be so thick and heavy, they would probably break your nose!

    2. avatar CRF says:

      The goggles are probably rated to stop a .9mm round.

      1. avatar twency says:


  9. avatar Galtha58 says:

    How exactly will they stop a terrorist attack? They will probably arrive 5 minutes or more after the attack starts. Then they will have to figure out where the assailant is, how to neutralize him/her or just pick up the pieces and the dead bodies. By that time the attacker will probably have blown themselves up. This is eyewash and political theater in most cases. And militarizing the police to handle stuff like this is a terrifying idea if you really think about it. Why spend this money for training, tactical gear and salaries for these specialists when a few civilians with sidearms might be able to stop the attacks faster and with less bloodshed. This seems like extreme overkill as well as unnecessary and dangerous to freedom.

    1. avatar Sexual Tyrannosaurus says:

      It is pure security theater, and to instill the idea that only government agents are qualified to use firearms.

  10. avatar Chris says:

    “Tactical radio on a secure encrypted firearms channel” WOW I want one!!!

    Also remind me to steer clear of the Sig rifle with a max range of 350ft.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      No sweat! just keep 351′ away from her, and the bullets will expire and drop at your feet, well, actually, a foot away from your foot.

    2. avatar BillC says:

      I was making fun of the firearms channel too, but then a helpful British friend explained what they were trying to convey. FIrst, every Englishman knows the Daily Mail is garbage. Back to the “secure firearms channel”, it means that the officers who are actually carrying firearms, have their own radio channel, hence “secure firearms channel”.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Is that so that they will not be bothered by the unarmed officers screaming for help?

  11. avatar Gunr says:

    Wow! You mean there’s a broad inside all that stuff? Would have never guessed it, I’ll bet she’s got a moustache, and hair on her chest too!

  12. avatar Bruce L. says:

    I guess I didn’t learn the correct lesson from watching the Lone Ranger. Anyone in a mask is a Bad Guy until proven otherwise. If they want to be undercover, don’t dress as a cop.
    And I’m impressed that the 9mm is effective to 150 feet. I’m lucky to hit anything at 100 feet with my 9mm much less be accurate, but then I’ve always been a poor pistol shot.

  13. avatar Spencer says:

    Much the same has been said about the French police, especially after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack early this year. Yet when I was traveling all over France a year ago I saw lots of cops walking their beats and all had visible sidearms. Moreover, the vast majority of French cops were very fit and trim, unlike our over-sized donut-eaters.

    1. avatar Tyler from AR says:

      It may just be a product of sample size, because I don’t live in a huge city, but almost all officers (most cities I travel frequently to, county, and state) in this area are quite fit as well. Officers around here that are on the hefty side seem to be quite rare.

    2. avatar LM1045 says:

      Whoever told you French police was unarmed was utterly misinformed. Most French policemen patrol armed.

  14. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    “These aren’t the droids we want” (coming to a nation near you).

  15. avatar Frank says:

    Nice that I can sort of own my own equivalent here in the land of the semi-free.

  16. avatar Guest says:

    I notice that the brits are always bashing the AR and the 5.56 round but low and behold that’s what they’re arming their version of SWAT with,why don’t they just arm them with those wonderful rifles the british military uses?

  17. avatar BigBoy says:

    The problem is alway response time. The response time of “armed response teams” is an official secret because it is so slow.
    The streets of London are generally very narrow and often there is no place for autos to clear the road. Remember that most mass shootings are not designed to end in a battle with the police. Shoot and scoot in under 2 minutes will alway beat the armed police response unless they are alread down the block.

  18. avatar ANdrew Lias says:

    I will say, doesn’t 130 of these people seem a bit thin for a country that large?

  19. avatar Duane Jones says:

    Considering the weight of that bullet RESISTANT vest with those damn heavy trauma plates front and back REQUIRED to defeat any common AK rifle round (Level 4), a fully outfitted duty belt with pistol, several pounds of rifle/pistol mags with ammo, kevlar helmet and seven plus pound rifle + mag would be quite a load for any muscle bound US Marine to lug much less stand around hyper vigilant in a leery crowd for any length of time. The fatigue factor with weariness can and would take its toll quickly.
    Unless you have the physique of Rhonda Rousy hiding behind that mask, a mishap only takes a split second for a trained perp or two to overpower and turn all that hardware the other way.
    This overloaded cop/soldier is several LONG minutes away and asking her to sprint with this load more than a few feet/half a click is not physically possible.
    But this photo op looks good for all those sheeple in London when their day comes desperately praying for an instant responder to return fire with anything in sight.
    But she will get there later as a first responder when the shooting party is already over and body count begins.
    Yep! History repeats itself! Those much admired and beloved gun free zones didn’t work in Paris at all. And ain’t going to work well in London, either eventually.
    Ideology driven to change society intent on MAX mayhem and chaos doesn’t care what the laws are as it USES gun possession restrictions to an astronomical advantage for evil intent. DUH!
    The only thing that stops an evil pervert with a gun is a good girl with a gun even if she is from the gubmint and MINUTES away! And please hurry!
    Criminals prefer unarmed Defenseless victims! And liberal progressive politicians all STILL prefer UNarmed peasants. Puuuthethetic!

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Gear isn’t now what it used to be. Two level 4 plates plus the carrier can weigh 8lbs or less. With everything she has on, it’ probably less than 30lbs total.
      Contrast that with just a few years ago. My combat load, without my aid bag(another 40lbs), was 65lbs. At 35 years old I regularly carried it for 10 or more miles a day in 120 degree heat, occasionally sprinting, crawling, or generally working hard. It’s certainly not easy, but I’m not superhuman by any means.

  20. avatar thx855 says:

    Those eyes are dreamy.

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      Wait, those eyes…..Shannon?

  21. avatar jwm says:

    I’ll bet she’s got an operator as fuck beard under that mask.

  22. avatar barnbwt says:

    No callout for tactical balaclava and plausible-deniability-enhancing removable unit patch? Wouldn’t want the civvies to know their neighbor knows how to use guns, lest they…do something (like what, ask about them?)

  23. avatar RickyPauly says:

    A militarized police force in a country with no right to keep and bear arms. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Has anyone heard about how many dogs were shot by the Frogs on their latest shoot out?

  24. avatar Stuki Moi says:

    Just judging by the sheer childishness of this, and other cheesy attempts by Euro governments to show how “tough on terror” they are; no wonder the Jihadis are so confident in the ultimate outcome of this skirmish. If these parodies of videogame kung fu warriors are really “trained to shoot for the head”, it’s only because they are trained to be deployed solely as offensive snipers. Noone training combatants who may realistically find themselves in harms way, trains them to “shoot for the head,” since that will get them killed. But I guess it makes little miss “hail the government, feminism and every piece of progressive nonsense in it” Kevlar Barbie sound oh! so badass to the indocrinati. “Scotland Yard” probably spent 10 times more on marketing than armaments for this “special forces” trained boy/girl band.

  25. avatar Hannibal says:

    Only the police that protect IMPORTANT people are armed.

  26. avatar TruthTellers says:

    Tactical girls are hot. If I found out she had a Fenix LD12 somewhere on her I’d need a new pair of underwear.

    If this female officer is reading this, girl give me your radio frequency and transmit your classified dimensions.

  27. avatar Gordon says:

    Those poor British 5-0s got some seriously neutered ARs over there…

    350′ effective range on a SIG-516?

  28. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    He’s got a chamber flag in his cargo pocket, what more do they want from him?

  29. avatar Eric says:

    Looks like poor trigger discipline to me, unless I’m looking at the photo wrong and the finger isn’t resting on the trigger.

  30. avatar Bdk NH says:

    OAF security theater at its best. Shooting for the head, huh? If I had to go somewhere that required police presence in full battle rattle I would just stay home.

    You guys already covered the fact that rifle is an MCX. I think the kit is cool though. What is the tactical purpose of “gray” as opposed to black? Less threatening? She has a fast mag under her arm mounted upside down. Cool idea if it stays put and doesn’t stick into your side when crouch, squat or kneel. Going to have to try it.

  31. avatar Pencotron says:

    I cannot believe the pocket knife in her left thigh pocket was left out of the graphic.

  32. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I knew a girl with knee pads once.

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