TTAG Contest: How Many Armed Federal Agents Does Uncle Sam Employ?

AMTRAK SWAT (courtesy

According to, the Department of Justice is conducting an inventory of Uncle Sam’s firearms-enabled forces. Again, not the number of guns bought, maintained or funneled to fascist dictators, Mexican drug cartel members and Libyan “freedom fighters.” The number of people employed by the feds who’ve been issued a firearm and given the power of arrest. So . . . federal agents. “It is not clear when the data will be finalized, though the final release could take until early 2015.” We’ll wait. Meanwhile, whatdaya reckon? How many armed federales are living the ballistic lifestyle on your dime? Winner gets a box of ammo (their choice of caliber). Here are some clues . . .

Six years ago, the Justice Department found that 73 government agencies employed about 120,000 armed agents . . .

From 2004 to 2008, the government added about 15,000 armed agents, the earlier Justice report found. During that time period, an additional eight agencies began employing armed units.

One more hint: the number has not decreased.


  1. avatar Ralph says:

    How Many Armed Federal Agents Does Uncle Sam Employ?

    Too many by a factor of 10X.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Dammit… you posted “Too many!” before I could. 😀

  2. avatar Tom from Georgia says:

    You know it’s way the hell too many when they say it’ll take till 2015 to count ’em all!


    1. avatar Guy says:

      No, that’s just government efficiency.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        And with typical Government accuracy, the number will be off. See: DoD, which has not had an accurate inventory of anything since 1940.

    2. avatar BDub says:

      If they release those number is 2015 I would be amazed. It took them 4 years to release the last set.

  3. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    “One more hint: the number has not decreased.”

    I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  4. avatar Will says:

    Less than 3% of the population…

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Amen brother.

    2. avatar Guy says:

      Well done. I’m sure there’s some overlap in the fed/3% groups.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I sincerely hope so.

  5. avatar General Zod says:

    I’m going to guess 250,000. Because the numbers seem to be accelerating rather than simply increasing.

    1. avatar PeterK says:

      That’s my guess as well. I’ll go 240,000, then, haha.

      1. avatar BDub says:

        Are we going to count military personnel during a martial law scenario?

        1. avatar General Zod says:

          The story isn’t about the military, it’s about government agencies suddenly sprouting armed officers and tactical teams. Agencies like the Department of Education and the USDA…

    2. avatar Chip in Florida says:

      I grew up during the game-show years… I know how this one is played!

      I will bid 250,001.

      1. avatar Darkstar says:

        One dollar Bob!

  6. avatar Keifer says:

    My guess is that it’s more than we have on active duty in the armed forces. I’d guess 1.2 million give or take…

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      147, 650. Give or take.

      Wait. If some of ’em get offed by armed citizens, is that “give” or “take”?

      1. avatar Jeremy B. says:

        Thats called murder, more or less. Have we already forgotten Brian Terry?

        1. avatar Drew in Michigan says:

          It’s not murder if your being “Illegally Swatted”…just say’in

  7. avatar Jim R says:

    I’m going to guess 160,000. That seems pretty close to me.

    1. avatar Jeremy B. says:

      Based on historical levels and an increase due to creation of DHS, I gues 1 per 2,000 citizens. So 157,000-ish.

  8. avatar Renegade Dave says:

    168,000. That’s my guess.

    1. avatar Red Sox says:


      My real guess would be just north of 750k

  9. avatar Steve says:

    Too many.

  10. avatar k says:

    i know ttag hates LE, and i hate the federal gov as much as the next guy, but some of the federal LE agencys do good work, the FBI goes after sex traffickers and child pornographers, the postal inspecters service go after mail fraud, which is a bigger thing than you think, and really effects the elderly. the secret service took over a huge identity theft case that my small rural agency uncovered and couldnt do much with, becuase they have the time and resources to track down all the victims and follow the money.

    but yeah, too many federal agencys have armed agents, and most of thier departments shouldnt even exist (ATF), just dont forget about the good guys.

    1. avatar Jeff H says:

      This is like pointing out that a child molester takes his mother to bingo once a week.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        He was always such a good boy.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          See? He’s turning his life around…

      2. avatar William Burke says:

        Yes sir, it is.

      3. avatar Jeremy B. says:

        It’s more like pointing out that a gun smugglers long lost brother brought down a terrorist cell or caught a bunch of drug smugglers or stopped a counterfeit money ring.

    2. avatar BDub says:

      Shouldn’t the FBI be doing the Postal Enforcement as well? Why arm the Postal Service at all?

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Did you miss the memo? The FBI announced it’s no longer fighting crime (I know, it’s creating it…); they are 100% fighting “home-grown terrorists”.

        Which the FBI outnumbers 5000-1.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          ….are 100% about creating “home-grown terrorists” so they can then be arrested (formerly known as entrapment)

          Fixed if for you.

    3. avatar Josh says:

      I think that the FBI, Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals are the only federal LE agencies that really “need” to exist. Over the years so many regulatory agencies have developed independent departments/SWAT teams, helping to contribute to the incredible bloat in the size and cost of the federal government. As for my guess, I’d say 185,000.

      1. avatar Gene says:

        What about the Bureau of Prisons? Who other than Bureau of Justice Statistics is capable of enforcing the lawful use of the Chi Square Test?

    4. avatar Ben says:

      TTAG doesn’t hate LE. There’s an aversion to metropolitan and municipal police departments having automatic weapons and vehicles designed to withstand land mine detonations as well as superfluous arming of agents of certain government organizations that aren’t involved in the apprehension of those who break the law.

      From TTAG 2010:

      The Dept. of Education. Really?

      1. avatar Gene says:

        Truancy, I’d guess.

        1. avatar Ben says:


    5. avatar Steve says:

      I don’t hate LE (I work with them daily) and I don’t hate the federal government.

      Don’t confuse wanting a less bloated government with a less militaristic police force for ”hate”.

      1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

        Basically a limited, constitutional form of government. Shocker. The statist left seem to think that just because you don’t want big bloated government, you don’t want America. Because to them, America is big bloated government.

        “You either serve the American People or the Government. You cannot serve two masters.”

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          It’s not just the statist left. Statists are a problem; right or left.

  11. avatar Sdog says:

    My guess is 300,000.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      damn, that woulda been my guess. back to the drawing board…

  12. avatar Tom from Georgia says:


    We need to lop off about 2 zeros. Better yet, three.


  13. avatar Sean N says:

    Aren’t you supposed to like, put them all in a big jar so people can try to count?

    1. avatar bontai Joe says:

      Darn near got me in trouble at work. I think I strained myself holding in the laugh about the jar. That sir is FUNNY!!!!!

    2. avatar David Garret Peter Kuivenhoven says:

      lmao, you are old like me!!!!

  14. avatar TT says:

    178,311. That being said, it seems Uncle Sam would keep such a list handy at all times.

    1. avatar William Burke says:


  15. avatar Concerned_Soldier says:

    What about DoD in the case of a national emergency! So bump that # by 3/4 of a million!

    Ever hear the term DSCA?

  16. avatar JAMES says:


  17. avatar Elliotte says:

    I’m gonna say 175,000

  18. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Sadly, the number .gov will give us will be WAY short of the real number.
    I know one personally who will not make any of those lists.

    1. avatar LC Judas says:

      This is the problem in truth. Federal Government transparency attempts are a joke.

    2. avatar Full Cleveland says:

      You have it right Tom.

  19. avatar Steve Truffer says:


  20. avatar The average American says:


  21. avatar Another Robert says:

    OK, I’m gonna go with 350,000. I know for sure that it’s too damn many, most of the alphabet agencies could make do just fine with a small body of investigators.

  22. avatar Eric Usry says:


  23. avatar David Garret Peter Kuivenhoven says:


  24. avatar Mark says:

    145,273 or thereabouts…

  25. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    My guess

  26. avatar The mayor of Candor says:


  27. avatar bontai Joe says:

    They are going to come up with a number around 187, 213 and that is my guess, but I’d bet the “real” number is a lot higher.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      I often comment before reading the other comments. Today was no exception and we came up with similar guesses. lol

  28. avatar JD says:

    Probably around 330,000…

  29. avatar John in Ohio says:

    It’s like guessing the number of beans in a jar.

    My guess is 183,415.3 🙂

    1. avatar Marcus says:

      Who’s the poor sorry .3?!

  30. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Well there will be the official number, which I’d put at, at least 400,000, possibly more. Then there’s the “un official” number, which may be skipped altogether that exist inside the world of the Black Budget. This isn’t conspiracy theory BS, this is real life. And that number would probably include to the people and organizations that technically “don’t exist” or existence is skewed, like JSOC. Throw in all the mercenaries they hire, (they definitely don’t qualify as military) your probably looking around an additional 500,000 making the real number around 1 million or more.

    Oh if I win, hmm, 30-06 it is.

  31. avatar Freeheel says:

    They might want to use a bulk method of calculation. Maybe by volume or weight. That’s how they estimate grains of sand on the beach ;o)

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Perhaps the sample should be homogenized first. Anyone have a big blender?

  32. avatar Shane says:


    /.45 ACP please!

  33. avatar Nelson says:

    According to FBI’s own 2008 numbers [PDF], total number of Federal LE is somewhere around 120,000-ish, and state & local LE in America, including federal, is somewhere around 765,000 <— and that's supposedly post-9/11 Nazi-named DHS policestate Amerika has become.

    And, add in all the clerical shenanigans of including Coast Guard (though technically under DoD, officially under DHS now, and Dept of Transportation and Treasury, previously. lol) & US Border/Customs/ICE under the aegis of DHS, the Fed LE numbers may go up, even further, depending on how they actually count them.

    The most recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics quadrennial “Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008” shows that there were over 1.1 million persons employed on a full-time basis by state and local law enforcement in this country in 2008. Of that number, about 765,000 were sworn personnel—which is defined as those with general arrest powers.

    Now what percentage of that 800,000 to 1million-ish is full-time “sworn officiers”/armed vs. clerical/administrative/unarmed??

    WhoTF knows, seeing as how they’ve even armed the Dept. of Ed, USDA & Social Security with SWAT.

    They should just stop all the pretenses, and just bring back the BrownShirts and more Stahlhelm looking than the current PASGT-set.


    It’d make it a whole lot easier to identify, at least for those without historical amnesia, but still hanging onto their last bit of StaTHEISM, and still believes that this country isn’t facing a mathematically certain currency collapse/reset, where all these LE and state actors would de facto exist no more, by proxy, due to a drop-off in funding structure:

    All empires collapse from its own weight. Nobody escapes historical realities.

      1. avatar Nelson says:

        *slowly impressed*


  34. avatar Chip49 says:

    My forecast for 2014 is 153,000

  35. avatar Matt in TX says:


  36. avatar P_Bateman says:

    I will wager the number is approx. 200,000

  37. avatar Jerrick says:


  38. avatar LC Judas says:

    579,00 or so.

  39. avatar BDub says:

    “It is not clear when the data will be finalized, though the final release could take until early 2015.”

    Considering the 2008 audit numbers weren’t released till 2012, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  40. avatar StuckInCT says:


  41. avatar Sean N says:

    Oh, forgot my guess…

    When we consider all the alphabet soup agencies, and unexpected ones like the Department of Education (Yeah, seriously.)

    1.5 million.

  42. avatar mike w says:

    My official guess is 190,000. I’ll bet there is an opening for 30k more after the audit.

  43. avatar Jus Bill says:

    Counting armed Government contractors (like whatever Blackwater is calling itself this week), I’m guessing 750,000 worldwide.

  44. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    how many? Not enough willing to catch a bullet* for Herr AG Holder or OneBigAssMessAmerica when they order them into the cities/villages/countryside to begin the confiscation and/our rounding up of the masses for the camps.

    * in no way should my reference to “catch a bullet” be meant as a direct threat against LE but instead be construed as a metaphoric reference to suffering the slightest injury as a result of direct physical contact with the people they were sworn to protect. With that said, MOLON LABE !!

    1. avatar Full Cleveland says:

      Dirk Wiggler?

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Exactly. The funny thing is, they’re giving all this hardcore weaponry to the social security admin and DHS thinking that those agents will make good soldiers… hahahahaha….. They just don’t understand that it takes a different kind of person to handle explosions, machinegun fire and pure carnage and death. Those of us that can, are or were in the military, and most will not be with them…

  45. avatar David says:


  46. avatar William Burke says:

    +100,000 for putting freedom fighters in quotes. Peh. Today we are using them, zey are ze “freedom fighters”. When we need an enemy du jour, zey become “terroristes”.

    Zey can go back and forth, as the need arises.

  47. avatar John Fischer says:

    400,000 +/- 10,000

    .40S&W Please 😀

  48. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Latest data seems to be 2008….

  49. avatar William Burke says:

    What was the prize again?

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      No “prize” but we all loose (and pay).

  50. avatar Chuck (hates nj) says:


  51. avatar Matt W says:


  52. avatar middleaged mama says:


  53. avatar Shire-man says:

    They just keep adding them and buying more toys and weapons and clearance rates remain flat. More bodies to do less work. Well, less valuable work. I’m sure there are plenty of raw milk producers who will be raided in the coming years.

  54. avatar Paul B says:

    What ever is in the Military will be the matched number. O said he wanted his own army at the same strength as the us army so I will guess around 1.5 million. That will be after MS13, the Crips and the Bloods have been “deputized” into the federal forces.

  55. avatar Seth Long says:


  56. avatar RaynBama says:

    Mark me down for 350K.

  57. avatar Wendy says:

    Imma say 205,000.

  58. avatar jay1987 says:

    550,678 and Ill take mine in 12 gauge 00 buck

  59. avatar neiowa says:

    Six years ago, the Justice Department found that 73 government agencies employed about 120,000 armed agents

    There is NO WAY that was an honest count. Perhap “they” ment Sixteen years ago. and “About”??

    I’ll predict the qty is 6x the number of 11- series (infantrymen) on duty in the US Army/USMC (including Guard/Reserve).. That is be REAL defenders of the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Exactly. That’s who they’re afraid of.

  60. avatar BlackSage says:

    And yet we can’t secure our borders?

  61. avatar Gabe says:

    Whatever number they provide will be a lie. They’ll ‘forget’ agencies, miscalculate others, and just flat out mislead.
    What it truly is and what they say it is, either way it’s way to much. Nowhere is there mention of the ability of the federal government to establish ‘law enforcement’. Even if it serves a ‘righteous’ purpose, it’s not called for. Want it, pass an amendment. Else, leave it and the money for it to local, county, and state agencies. They can work together if something is bigger than one state.

  62. avatar Maineuh says:

    Is this the government agencies we know about or all of them? Ima go ahead and guess 200 grand.

  63. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Not more than the III%…

  64. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    155,000. Whatever the number it is to damn many.

  65. avatar S.CROCK says:


    9mm Federal HST please.

  66. avatar Jay W. says:


    .45 ACP

  67. avatar One If By Land says:

    Including all agencies, such as AMTRAK
    Tennessee Valley Authority Police and
    Library of Congress Police etc. but excluding the military and contract security services (not federal armed agents per se)….I’ll say ~148,001

    1. avatar Sean N says:

      Library of Congress Police don’t exist anymore.

  68. avatar Phil says:

    Whatever number they say x 2.5

  69. avatar Unarmed and Unnamed says:

    I wonder if they count them the same way the Japanese do for the whale population: by firing (on) them at the same time?

    My guess would be 155,000.

    Although the public has heard of plenty of previously unarmed or minimally armed agencies getting SWAT teams and the like (Education? Agriculture? Post office?) a 20,000 increase would sound about right for the report. I couldn’t imagine it stretching further than 167,000: it would simply be too much of an increase vs 2004-2008.

    That said, yes, there WILL be fudge.

  70. avatar koolaidguzzler says:

    Non-issue. But let’s go to bed tonight staring at the ceiling in fear of the federal govt coming through our doors. Suckers.

  71. avatar Ruddee says:

    Roughly 145,500……hmmmm, too damned many!

  72. avatar SB says:

    Normally dont post, but after all of the vitrol, decided to rebut some stupid.

    Most federal LEOs are there for a purpose, and it usually has to do with the fact that crime and corruption are pervasive in our society and without these LEOs our country would be falling apart faster than it already is. Also, the Bureau only focuses on crime that s politically sexy, and state and locals should not be forced to take on purely federal crime (like contract and grant fraud, or smuggling across the border, or stopping drugs on the high seas, etc.)

    Most federal LEOs that I know and work with are Republicans or Libertarians, and would be the first ones to refuse to commit unconstitutional acts against our citizens. Does that excuse the excesses that DO occur in enforcement of federal laws? Absolutely not. But that is what the constitution is for, to protect those who can protect themselves. Additionally, if you dont like politicians or the current Administration, then exercise your right to vote them out in November (seriously, go vote).

    So, as someone who has sucked enough sand for this country and now serves you, the citizenry, as a Federal LEO, realize most of us are like minded (albeit as long as you all believe in supporting and defending the Constitution…especially the 2nd Amendment).


    1. avatar fuque says:

      You can climb down off your cross now, as you will find many who are in LE or are married to spouses in LE myself included, not to mention fellow sand box suckers, who choose not to use it to prop up their self righteous view…..
      Many of us are very well aware of the federal employees attitude.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      without these LEOs our country would be falling apart faster than it already is.

      What comedy club are you at next so we can catch your whole routine. Oh wait! You were serious. O___o Oh my…

      Seriously though, I completely disagree with you. There is no way that all of these federal law enforcement officers (I refuse to insult lions, BTW) support the Constitution. Otherwise, they would have already realized that they are accepting a paycheck for a job that is unconstitutional. At best that’s theft and at worst it’s perpetuating tyranny. But, a sincere thanks for taking the time to comment.

  73. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I’ll guess between 600,000 to 700,000 actual Federal Agents. Plus the previously mentioned about 750,000 sworn police officers, but many may not be politically reliable. And add about 10x the total number in potential auxiliaries (snitches, drug dealers, gang members, etc).

  74. avatar Random_Commenter says:

    258,000 Federal LEOs in 2012 [not including Coast Guard (DHS) and the DoD personnel]. I highly doubt they will have the number for 2013 in 2014 or in 2015.

    Winchester Super-X Ammunition 45 ACP 185 Grain Silvertip Hollow Point please.

  75. avatar Pudd says:



  76. avatar fuque says:

    170,000.. Including the newly armed ( or soon to be ) Dept. of Veterans affairs,

  77. avatar crzapy says:

    Hmm I have no clue so … 184000.

    Oh and while we talk about armed Federal agents I will just leave this here:

  78. avatar dh34 says:


    Marlin .450 please

  79. avatar stilmatic says:

    Looks to the left.. Looks to the right… then once over the shoulder… leaning in now….. “One Dollar, bob”

    1. avatar Sean N says:

      The sweet childhood memories…
      Home sick from school…
      10:00am rolls around…

      Thanks for the smile.

  80. avatar Dave says:


  81. avatar Smaj says:

    Some higher ups in the federal bureaucracy that can still do math have concluded that a country that has 90+ TRILLION dollars in unfunded liabilities is a country headed for calamity, so they’ve concluded that those with a lot of guns and ammo and minions to use them will come out on top of whatever “correction” an economic collapse brings. IF something catastrophic were to happen, all bets are off on the outcome. Regardless, we are already a proto-police state and that is very disturbing.

  82. avatar ablevins says:

    381,000 plus at least 1,000 SWAT teams.
    Carrying 2.8 billion brand new dum dum rounds.
    Yup!Full auto burns ammo at a wicked pace!
    It took over 200,000 rounds fired to kill one man
    During the Civil War . . . Under Obama
    It will take 1,000,000 rounds per kill!

  83. avatar Excedrine says:

    We could have all just said “too many” and be done with it.

  84. avatar ablevins says:

    Now its 107 trillion in Social Security, Medicare, Medcaid, Drug program Medicare part D, Federal Pensions.
    If you include ALL Liabilites $ 222 trillion
    See Dr Laffer.
    See USA Debt Clock.

  85. avatar Andy says:

    Total nationwide including local , county , state , and Feds , 506,585 . Also it won’t be made public knowledge unless leaked , that there are quite a few different firearms missing out of federal inventory , but this count won’t be finished for a while either , because the Feds really never get in a big hurry over such a mundane task , but if it was to coerce , kill or take a citizens belongings cash or other things of value we couldn’t find brakes big enough to stop them ! Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  86. avatar Retired LEO says:

    Including local LEO’s that have US Marshall Service as add ons to state authority.

  87. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:


  88. avatar MatKep says:


    .50 BMG please, if I win.

  89. avatar Ike says:


  90. avatar Daniel S. says:


  91. avatar nimda007 says:


  92. avatar John Botts says:

    I’m saying 262,350…but it should be a lot closer to to 0.

  93. avatar JB says:

    207,528 is my guess

  94. avatar vioshi says:

    295,042. 9mm

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