What gun did Seal Team 6 use to kill Osama Bin Laden? HK416

Rumors have been flying around the interwebs about what gun was used to kill Osama bin Laden.

Bin Ladens compound

The first gun to have been reported as the weapon used to take down Bin Laden was the Sig Sauer P226 pistol. The mainstream media and Hollywood love the image of a Jack Bauer type super-commando using a pistol to take down a roomful of terrorists.

Jack Bauer

This infatuation with pistols has led many of the general public to believe pistols are far more deadly than rifles. So it was no surprise that the media began to report that Sig P226 was the gun used to takedown Bin Laden. Apparently sales of the Sig P226 have spiked …

There is nothing wrong with the Sig P226. It is a very fine pistol, but it is hard to believe that the elite of the elite would assault a highly fortified compound armed with a pistol in a relatively weak cartridge (9mm or .40 S&W) that is unable to penetrate even Type II body armor. The SEAL team members were probably carrying SIG pistols, but I doubt any where used.

Solider Systems later reported that a Colt CM901 chambered in 7.62x51mm was used to gun down world’s most notorious terrorist.

Colt CM901

Soldier System retreated their report soon after. The Colt CM901 was a romantic choice. We all like to think of black operation teams using highly sophisticated weapons, like the Colt CM901, that are not available to the general public. In truth, there is no incentive for even the most well funded commandoes to use small arms that have not been thoroughly tested and proven in battle by conventional forces.

Kit Up blog then reported that SEAL Team 6 probably carried the H&K MP7 submachine gun. This sub-caliber machine gun is said to be popular with special forces types. It fires the 4.6x30mm cartridge, capable of cutting through body armor, and has a high rate of fire.

Soldier System updated their original report, saying instead that the H&K HK416 rifle was used by SEAL Team 6 to kill Osama. Kit Up and other milbloggers agreed that this was likely the gun used.

H&K HK416 (in Norwegian Army configuration)

While not the most exotic gun, it is a highly regarded piston-operated version of the AR-15. It makes a lot more sense that the SEALs were using short-barreled carbines rather than a submachine guns or pistols. The HK416 is also notably used by the USMC as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

Unlike the Colt CM901 or MP7, civilians can purchase the HK416 as the civilian legal H&K MR556A1.

We will probably never know exactly what the SEALs used, but the HK416 is more feasible than most.

[Hat Tip: Sean, Ace of Spades, Lance, Traction Control, Boing Boing ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • And Human Soldiers were used – No, Klingons, no, Hobbits!
    Obama, 72 versions of everything!

  • Tyler

    Also, when SEALS carry a compact carbine, it’s usually a Mk 18. Navy VBSS teams lost their Mk 18s when Crane recalled them for SEAL use. Maybe my old rifle took the shot.

  • solomon & tyler, it was a typo, but I did link to the correct gun 🙂

  • mmm well on the 9mm those guys don’t use ball ammo..
    They use ap. explosive and who knows what.
    Multiple, accurate, ap 9s will do the job.
    At that level caliber is not much of an issue.
    Accuracy and penetration…
    .. head shots..


  • Nater

    Nominally you can buy the MR556A1. The reality is a bit different. I was looking at getting one, but due to the absolute lack of availability I went with an LWRC M6A3 for my piston AR needs. Paid $700 less, got a better stock and grip, and that neat plated bolt and bolt carrier to boot.

  • http://www.fsdip.com/website/VBRBelgiumHome/English/General9x19mm/The9x19AP63mmcartridge/tabid/337/Default.aspx

    The new approach to develop bullets, which can satisfy the VBR-FBI-CRISAT demands, asking for a big permanent wound cavity and a high incapacitation effect. This has a direct influence on the sabot choice. To increase the likelihood of immediate incapacitation the sabot must also take part on the wounding mechanism. This means that the penetrator and the sabot must penetrate a soft bulletproof vest. Two projectiles increasing the content of the permanent wound cavity and double the chance to hit a vital organ. To achieve this, the penetrator point and the sabot point are provided with the same angle. This allows the sabot to also penetrate the body armor.

  • mike
  • cc19

    It was the all-American M1911, serial number 1, using a single silver bullet, from the hands of Chuck Norris himself.

  • Thernlund

    I must be the only person on the Interweb that thinks that this whole topic is completely silly. Who cares what gun killed OBL? Pfff.

  • Riceball

    Typo in the last paragraph about the Sig, “. . . but I doubt any where used.” should read, “but I doubt any [b]were[/b] used.”.

  • Oh… I was so happy last night when this was first posted and I saw myself holding the HK556. Technically guess is was not a 416, thus the change. 😉

  • HB

    I was there – it was actually a Jiminez JA-25

  • Alex

    alright, I know the P226 is the weapon of choice for normal SEALs, but this is team six, not a normal SEAL team and its been said that its modeled after Delta force, so is it too much to assume that devgru adopted delta’s weapon of choice and used a highly modified m1911?

  • Deacon

    I think you got it right in one of those pictures… Jack Bauer did kill Bin Laden.

    Who cares what was used? Bin Laden is shark bait. It’s all about advertising for the companies that make these firearms. I can see a new wave of mall commandos and airsofters saying “this is the gun that killed Bin Laden.”

  • Larry Vickers on his facebook page says that his sources say it was a HK416.

  • Billy Bones

    It was a SEAL dog named Dave (DevGru).
    The picture can’t be released as the dog ate most of Bin Laden’s head after First biting his wife on the leg.

  • Badabbom

    I’d bet that it was a M4 carbine that was used. It’s familiar and it works. Probably the only thing special/different about it was that it was a flattop version with a red dot sight or similar.

    The other possibility was that it was a H&K MP5, again because it’s familiar and it works.

  • i agree that it is possible that a 9mm or a 40s&w could have done the trick,i doubt that such a weapon would be used in this situation.

  • jdun1911


    You joking right? If not I suggest you go back and do more research on the subject.

    Let use logic and brain power. Go pick up a 9mm bullet. Is it small? Yes it is. It’s .355 in diameter. Do you think that enough room to put explosive into it? I don’t think so.


    H&K MP5 isn’t in used anymore for SEAL.

  • subase

    Sawed off double barrel shotgun obviously.

  • cc19

    Hopefully it was indeed the Hk416. The steep $3,000 price tag of the MR556A1 makes it less accessible to all the Modern Warfare mall ninjas who want to pretend to be SEALs.

  • charles222

    Alex: DEVGRU when it was founded in the late 70s rejected the .45; it’s in Rogue Warrior by Marcinko, and, I think, Delta Force by Beckwith that Col. Beckwith strongly suggested to Marcinko that DEVGRU should issue .45s and Marcinko said no.

    But yeah, irrelevant topic really; me personally, I like to think it was really Ahnuld with his M202A1 from Commando that took the killing shot. :p

  • CW

    This is all random speculation… my speculation is on a suppressed custom-built 9″ AR variant in 300BLK, maybe with the AAC upper and suppressor on a Mk18 lower.

  • AnointedSword

    Just for the record, even the the great and mighty.45 wont penetrate certain body armor. I believe they went in with either m4s, subs, or something new we do not know about. It also depended on what they were facing. These guys have shot enough to know there is no such thing has a magic bullet. It is all about getting bullets down range and accurate.

  • Neal

    The MP-7 never made much sense to anyone who knows much about the round it fires. The 4.6 is designed to defeat body armor. Against a group of bomb-makers and gunmen who don’t usually wear even closed-toe shoes? Lolwut?

    But, whatever slammed a slug in Osama’s dome, that Belgian is good boy! Who’s a good boy? You are! Yes, you get a toy! Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?!

  • rk

    My money’s on the Mk18 mod 0.

  • jdun1911


    Almost every rifle caliber will defeat softbody armor which the 4.6 is design to do.

  • subase

    Yeah the Mk18 mod 0, no doubt, they even a picture of the navy seals using them on it’s wikipedia page.

    The HK416 is I believe mainly being used in Afghanistan for it’s resistance to dirt. Remember also it has that condensation freezing problem, unlike the traditional AR-15.

  • Sev

    Maybe they shot him with some thing big like 7.62 so osama’s head resembeled a rotten tomato more than anything. but it seems highly unlikely a gun chambered for that would be used, considering that it was CQB. maybe they used something that fired 6.8SPC? they are special forces after all

  • Marc

    I don’t think SEALs have much use for the lump of rust a 1911 would turn into rather quickly in a salt water environment.

  • Brandon

    I’m guessing Mk18. P226 makes no sense, I doubt a SEAL would rely on their secondary. I really doubt it was 7.62 or anything exotic. No need for armor piercing (especially since they were also focused on minimizing collateral damage)

    • dennisdeputyret

      Amen a man with common sense

  • Joe Secure

    First, if Chuck Norris killed OBL, he didn’t need no stinkin’ gun. Second, according to the descriptions of the head wound in the actual photos, it was a large calibre (meaning at least 9mm and more likely .45) capable of tearing away the top front quadrant of the skull. Different velocities, masses, calibres, etc. can make similar wounds, but given the nature of the mission, the target, and the team, they were surely using large calibre carbines with hollow points or modified fmj’s.

  • Nater


    I’m guessing a really high-end unit like DEVGRU would develop their own, custom 1911 pistol as Delta did. I don’t know of a reason why the fancy coatings that are applied to a P226 or HK45CT couldn’t be applied to a 1911. Hell, I’d actually buy one. I’m only mildy interested in paying thousands for a pistol that won’t shoot when a bit dirty (hand built 1911s). I’d rather have something with slightly looser tolerance, slightly looser groupings, and a whole lot more durability. That’s just me, though.

    • dennisdeputyret

      A The Kimbers with the k kote do have a selflubricating finish I have carried my kimber warrior for 14 years as a swat member. Its very accurate. It olds a 2inch group at 75 feet this is fired static standing. We shoot a minimum 500 rnds a week. Primary is m4 le6920 some of our group carry sig 220 45 but we all carry 45. It depends on your
      Stack position as to what primary weapon you carry. The second man usually carrys a shotgun as counter sniper if needed I used an ultra match Olympic arms 5.56 20in heavy barrel. If the call out was for a sniper I carried a Remington 700 in .308 w/ leopould 3x9x40 gold ring with post mildot rectical or a Savage 110 pps 300 wsm for longer flatter shots. 3x12x50 duplex leopould.

  • Destroyer

    I think the H&K 416 is a logical choice. Other SEAL teams use the Mk 18 SBR, though the 416 seems to be getting popular with other units and supposedly thats what DEVGRU uses. Its all speculation of course. I know the 416 would make an excellent suppressed weapon as well.

    I doubt they used M855 green tip ammunition. its not the best stuff available and many regular army units have access to Mk 262.

  • Samson

    High-speed low-drag types don’t care about pistols. They’re only used when your primary is out and you need to keep someone’s head down instead of reloading, or if something goes wrong with the primary. Like someone grabbing the barrel of your primary. You draw the secondary and shoot them in the face.

    Nobody uses the MP5 anymore. It doesn’t have a bolt hold open which fucks your reloads. Also the ergonomics are terrible. The Canadians we cross trained with hated them.

    Hk-416 is heavy. Crane bought some but Crane buys everything and plays with it for a while, literally they buy everything and not all of it works out.

    • dennisdeputyret

      Pistols are a last resort weapon. Even carrying out an injuref brother you practice using your main battle rifle. A whimpy 5.56 what you probably have only fired at paper targets. A 5.56 63gr will penetrate body armor with ease and its velocity within 30 feet opens a head like a tomato with a hammer.

  • subase

    Well considering it’s obvious Osama was executed then a pistol may very well have been used. I certainly wouldn’t trust tiny 5.56 bullets to do enough actual brain damage.

  • Bob Z Moose

    I’m late to the comment party, but here goes: who really cares? He’s dead, let’s make it a national holiday.

    @cc19: Why ya hatin’ on the mall ninjas? They keep the tacticool gun makers in business.

  • Nater

    They would have been something like 77gr HPBT bullets, which are going to do pretty terrible damage at point blank range.

    • dennisdeputyret

      No we are given nato ammo the standard 5.56 round is a 63gr fmj

  • charles222

    Or the Mk318 SOST, which is better suited to the shorty 416s or Mk18s these guys probably had.

  • charles222

    TBH just about any of the variety of rounds for the M4/MK18/HK416 is going to be devastating at the typical ranges inside a building. We’re talking feet as a general rule of range, not yards, and definitely nothing over 50 meters or so.

  • charles222

    [quote]In truth, there is no incentive for even the most well funded commandoes to use small arms that have not been thoroughly tested and proven in battle by conventional forces.[endquote]

    To be fair-Delta and SEAL Team Six did adopt the MP-5 more or less on the advice of European SF units; it certainly hadn’t been used in battle by anybody in the US military prior to them. I doubt the SEALs were rocking CM901s either given that the thing isn’t available yet as far as I know, but the MP5 (and MP7; I know from personal experience that SOCOM bought at least a few of these) does set a precedent for SOCOM issuing relatively untested equipment.

  • Jon

    I was talking to Chuck the other day and he admitted he HAS serial#1, and 49 silver bullets… 😉 But that’s all I could get him to spill.

  • joe

    im a member of team 5 its not 6 but its basically the same same family anyway what pisses me off is how people believe that one of our own would be stupid enough to burst into a room with just a sidearm drawn no and the fact that the top of his head was blow off a 9mm bullet does not leave a cavity that could do that the most likely weapons are the m4 hk4 16 mp7 or other weapons

    • Buck

      I find it hard to believe that a member of Seal team 5 can’t spell or put together a cogent sentence.

    • PDOG

      Your so full of shit.. “I’m a member of 5 ” Buahhahhahaahah oh man thats classic… MORON

      • Bill

        Your r not a 5 cause none of us ever say we are anything thus !!!!!!!!!!

    • PDOG

      I sold OSAMA his Glock 9 and he was really happy about it, couldn’t thank me enough! I really think that SEAL 5 has the latest wrist slingshot with a mushrooming ball of lead.. They really are on top of the SEAL WORLD, completely dominating the SEAL 6 and 7 teams and not even talking to the 8 and 9!!!!!!


    • dennisdeputyret

      Amen 5.56 1100m per sec leaves one hell of a hole even nato 63gr will remove a face

  • Mark

    Read the book “No Easy Day” it shows the picture of the load out that a seal team VI member uses including the MP7 and HK416. The HK416 is preferred as mentioned in the book……..

    • mario

      “No easy day” is far most the best military book I have read so far.

  • osamas brother

    All i know is it was prob a sig p226, it sure as hell wasnt a piece of junk 1911 in a non penetratin sucky ass 45.

    • dennisdeputyret

      You have probably never been in a gun fight I have and 45 is much more powerful than a 9mm. They used an M4 also smarty most spc ops do carry 1911s most noteably Kimbers I was a miltary armorer I serviced these weapons.

  • john doe.

    The SEALS are among the smartest men on earth, they knew they were going in hot in a building complex and they knew that carrying a assault rifle would not be a choice. Instead these very intelligent men trained for the particular mission for six months as they always do, knowing already that the terrorists would be using body armor under their clothing and using human shields, these super soldiers used a high powered sub machine gun capable of penetrating body armor, sub machine guns are used in closed quarters battle, where rifles would be hard to maneuver or would get stuck around tight spaces and or knock something down and give away your position. sub machine guns are preferred by special forces in closed quarters combat.

    • unknown

      Actually, team 6 had about 30 days with the blueprints of the building to train and did not know who the target was until about 24 hrs before the mission took place

  • Jenkem Jones

    The people who allegedly killed it have since been killed. And they didn’t leave so much as a sketch of the scene. It will remain a mystery.