Kicking Ass From The Air

The daily mail published photos of a Royal Air Force aerial security team deployed in London for the Olympics. The rifle is the British standard Accuracy International L115A .338 LM sniper rifle, resting on a nifty swivel mount.

The Benelli M4 shotgun, equipped with a EOTech holographic sight, is very interesting choice for aerial operations in a densely populated city. Mounted underneath the shotgun is what must be either a long range laser sight or a non-lethal laser dazzler. Can anyone identify the device? I would love to know what ammunition the shotgunners are packing, it must be a type of long range slug.

17,000 servicemen and woman from all branches of the MoD will be descending upon London during the Olympics (for comparison purposes, the British deployed 14,000 troops during the Korean War). I think it is safe to say London won’t be invaded between 27 July and 12 August, aerial shotgunners or not.

[ Many thanks to Jimflat6 for emailing us the link. ]

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.


  • Nathan

    Yeah, pretty sweet shot there in the first photograph. I’m surprised a brit would go anywhere downrange of a gun. 😉 Also, does the shotgunner need to be closing his other eye? I guess it’s probably just memory from training kicking in. I do the same thing sometimes.

    Those guys should just handle security on their own. The GB servicepeople have the training and attention to really make the events secure, as opposed to the private contractors who are getting in trouble left, right, and center for missing people of interest at checkpoints and (literally) falling asleep on the job. Sad, man.

    • 6677

      A small group of officials doing the usual testing managed to bring a handgun through 4 checkpoints the other day. A large amount of the new checkpoint staff don’t speak english. Of course we need people speaking a foreign language on each checkpoint for an international event but if they are working with a mainly english workforce it might make sense for them to be able to communicate aswell.

      As for the shut eye, habit maybe?

    • Mike

      Nah, with an EOTech, you don’t need to close either eye. Focus on the target and shoot it.

      The Benelli is too funny. First, there’s the shotgun in a helicopter at all. You don’t want to get a helo close enough to do crowd control with less lethal, since you’ll be close enough for someone to take the bird down with a rock or beer bottle. Even slugs have piss poor accuracy over any kind of range compared to a rifle. So forget a slug gun. Then there’s the EOTech, so the shooter can’t get a proper cheek weld.

      Whoever came up with this idea needs to lay off the video games for five minutes.

  • Guesting

    The british army rumour site have discussed these photos over the weekend.
    They have suggested that the Benelli Shotgun would be ideal for dealing with Microlights and small UAVs without the potential for collateral damage a longer range weapon system could represent. Imagine firing a light machine gun downward over london?


    • bbmg

      Oh that’s just brilliant. Over a century of incredible technological development and we’re back to men leaning out of flying machines with shotguns.

      Considering that the object of the exercise is to bring down a small aerial vehicle potentially carrying explosives, a few odd stray bullets shouldn’t be a major concern.

      It can have tragic consequences of course – Joseph Kanehoa Adams, John Kalauwae Adams, Joseph McCabe, Sr. and David Kahookele died when their car was struck by US anti aircraft shells the day pearl harbour was attacked.

      A couple of these well sited will do the job much better:

      • K!P

        But if The uav turns out to be a harmless hobbiest who tries to get a nice arial picture, it better to shoot it down WITHOUT masive collateral damage.

        Also, they might decide to shoot something a bit earlier.

  • swilliams

    It’s a Thales Green Light Optical Warner (GLOW). You were right it is a dazzler.

    • W

      good call!

  • Ben

    Saw these a few days ago, they’re packing some heavy gear and I think there will be a few MP5/7s on the ground as well as a few SA80A2s. It is a shame G4S weren’t able to do it and they had to take troops off leave, at least the lads seem to be having a good time. Something funny I saw in the article was that they said the Benelli was shooting 2 bore, which I’d love to see being fired semi-automatically from the shoulder 😀

    • 6677

      Caption says about two guys showing off their sniper rifles. Someone needs to check the picture before writing the caption I think

      • Ben

        No, someone just lives in the UK and bought the paper this was first in.

      • 6677

        Actually that is the news paper report on it…

        I live in britain, seen it on the shelves, several other papers have similar articles too (although I can’t find these 2 in other papers so far not that I’ve particularly tried.)

    • Uberyeti

      The Metropolitan Police have G36Cs and AR carbines too. I’ve seen them at the Underground stations.

  • calool

    I live in one of the army/air force tactical training areas, normally around this time of year the air is buzzing with tornados, c130s, lynxes, eurofighters and other assorted aircraft. With the olympics it’s empty, the last trace i saw of the air force was 3 lynxes flying south 2 weeks ago. It’s a funny situation when you feel something’s wrong because the sky isnt full of fighter jets and transport planes

  • Fred

    There are so many different loads those shotguns could be using. They likely have a few of each on board.

    • Reverend Clint

      Frag 12? Or am i having Battlefield 3 flashbacks?

  • raven

    I would also assume that the versitility of being able to load a shotgun with less than lethal or other specialty rounds for crowd dispersal is what makes having a shotgun on a heli a good idea. I would say there is more of a chance these people need to be protected from themselves versus being protected from a terrorist attack.

  • Dubbs24

    A .338 round to a boat engine would be cool to see but I would LOVE to see what some HV 12 gauge buckshot or a HV slug would do.

    • Other Steve

      Since boats don’t have exotic engines made of explosives…. Pretty much the same as any other engine, I would speculate the effects would be similar. A hole punched in on a good shot. Probably some smoke and a slow down. Probably not explosions and flames and people being thrown around, sorry.

      • Reverend Clint

        haven’t you heard of the all new Semtex 350hp outboard? It’s got explosive power and it gives you the bang for your pound.

      • Dubbs24

        Haha Chill Broham … Have I been watching too many B-List action movies, or have you? I was simply implying that shooting engines/other machinery is cool.

    • Dubbs24

      So I say I would love to see what a 12-gauge slug would do to a boat motor and I get flamed and ‘thumbs down’ed’ ??? Whats up? Last I checked someone else posted the crap about flames and explosions… You people are trolling douche bags

      • Cameron

        Post a crappy comment – 5 thumbs down

        Call TFL’s readership douche bags in response – 11 thumbs down

        What did we learn?

        They’re not all winners. Just appreciate the feedback. 🙂

  • Norm Walker

    The cap on the end of the Dazzler looks like an Uncle Mikes scope cap.

    • Other Steve

      Butler Creek.

      They make mostly crap, but I’ve seen $10,000 rifles with USO, Premier, Swarovski scopes all with butler creek caps on them. Pains me. Not saying they are good caps, they’re just some of the only ones out there.

      • W

        To be honest with you, Im less than impressed with butler creek lens covers. Mine broke off during relatively hard handling and they simply snapped off where the lens pivots. For what most hunters need, though, they are adequate.

    • Julio

      BC caps used to fail rarely, now they rarely last more than a few weeks of use. It’s almost as if someone at BC decided they’d make more sales by making their caps less durable. It may have worked for them, but I’ll never buy another set.

  • Norm Walker

    I found this over on Gizmodo

    All pilots have to be in constant communication with “Atlas Control”. Even those that are within 10 nautical miles of the outer boundary are expected to keep an ear on the Atlas frequency at all times.

    And what happens if they don’t?

    If interception is performed by a helicopter, it will approach the target on the left side and rock its aircraft, the target aircraft will be expected to rock its wings and follow the helicopter, failure to comply will result in the helicopter displaying a sign which reads “follow me” again, the target will rock its wings and follow the helicopter. A third attempt will then take place. The helicopter will alert the target with a green laser or fire a flare and failure to comply may be deemed to require an armed response.

    The helicopter will be armed with a sniper who will have several weapons at his/her disposal, this would be as a last resort.

    If intercepted by a Typhoon, the fighter will join the target at the left and rock its wings. As above the target needs to respond by rocking its wings and follow the Typhoon; if this does not happen the Typhoon will break from left to right on from of the target aircraft and failiure to comply will result in the Typhoon again breaking from left to right in front of the target whilst firing flares. The decision then will be taken as to shoot down the target.

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    Las I checked they did catch the pipe bomber.

  • gunslinger

    and yet the rifle competition will be with lasers?

    • gunslinger

      sorry, my notification update box wasn’t checked

    • 6677

      Only the pistols are lasers I believe. handgun ownership in britain, even by foreign visitors with permits for the weapons in their own country, is banned. Unfortuneately the government supposedly put effort into the olympics yet aren’t willing to allow a few exceptions.
      Non semi auto rifles and shotguns should go ahead as normal, with the exception of semi auto’s they haven’t quite been banned yet.

      • Paul

        While it’s true that private handgun ownership is banned in Britain, there ARE exceptions, for foreign security services on diplomatic protection duty, for example. I was given to understand that the pistol shooting being replaced with lasers was the decision of the IOC, and that it’s coincidental that the first games where it took effect was London.

      • JonMac

        Right, looking deeper, I was wrong about the Pentathlon – they are still using laser pistols for that. But the actual shooting events remain with firearms and air weapons.

    • JonMac

      NO. For the umpteenth time, THEY ARE NOT USING LASERS instead of firearms at this or any other Olympics, at least not yet.

      There was a plan to move over to laser pistols for the Modern Pentathlon, of which shooting is only a small part. This was quoshed, and none of the actual shooting events would have used them anyway.

  • Other Steve

    “the Arabs” should attack huh? Last I knew England wasn’t at war with “the Arabs”. You must have more information than anyone else, or you mistake a a few radical idiots for an entire region and religion, but that would make you either ignorant or a bigot.

    • C

      I love how Duchess of Dook then goes on to further embarrass herself/himself by inferring that Afghani insurgents (Taliban) are Arab. I’d love to see these “newspapers” he’s been reading for the past 11 years.

      • Phil White


        I’ve noted the offensive comments and deleted all of this persons post. I will continue doing so in the future. The Dook might as well go away because the comments will be gone at once!


    • 6677

      Duchess Of DOOK should be Duchess of stupidity. Since when have afghans been arabs??? Never. They are both middle eastern not arabs. We are not at war with “arabs”/middle eastern citizens, we are at war with the taliban and al queda who combined probably account for sub 0.01% of all middle eastern citizens. Whether or not we should be in that war has nothing to do with the olympics. Many of the foreign checkpoint staff aren’t middle eastern and are from eurozone countries. Are you gonna be a racist bigot to them too?

      Both include maps.

      I don’t believe theres such thing as enough down votes on bigotry posts.

  • Phil

    I’d bet that they have a number of lethal and non-lethal options onboard for the shotguns. I’d assume some rubber buckshot or rubber bullets as the primary, though. Aerial riot control.

    • mang

      Agree with Phil, Raven & M@. These shotguns are for nonlethal crowd-control rounds. I’d be surprised if they even had lethal shells in the aircraft.

  • Mike Knox

    Still, some eccentricity persists in old blythe..

  • Lance

    Like the idea of shot gunners using air platforms for shooting.

  • KLP

    I hope that’s purely a posed picture. If the sniper had to take a shot, that muzzle brake is gonna crap all over the other guy’s day.

  • Zach

    I mean, one of NYC’s assets is NYPD Choppers with Barrett 50 cal’s for air to air interdiction, so this shouldn’t be too surprising.

  • M@

    Don’t forget about the TASER XREP cartridges!

    Other LTL options could be viable if fired from above during a riot scenario. Rubber 00 buck fired at a downward angle could be interesting.

  • Peter Ball

    …in the middle of this whole story about the Olympic Games security, or lack thereof, I just saw in the news (CBS Evening News) the UK’s Home Secretary speaking before the House of Commons where she stated that “…we have the best armed forces in the World.”

    There are many adjectives that I would use to describe the UK military, most of them highly positive, but “best armed forces in the World” is not one that I will ever ever use.

  • Matt

    It looks like the guy on the rifle is shitting his pants.

  • Richard

    You all know one best anti terrorist militray units who not take photo opportunitys at Olympic Games bristish SAS gone be there to. There still best ant militray terrorist unit in world that other militray units send there special forces learn from. After what happen with iranian embassy 1980 should be strong reminder when terrorist invite SAS party there gone be ones leave party in body bags.

  • W

    calling afghans arabs is being a dip shit. Its like calling Canadians a Hispanic people. Utter stupidity.

    But Im sure you are quick to express your sentiment towards right wing white terrorists, like Anders Breivik.

    This is not excusing terrorism or siding with the taliban (what kind of fucking idiot would think that?), its merely highlighting the fact that terrorists come from all nations, faiths, ideologies, and ethnicities.

  • dougal

    The shotgun is for Londons pigeons ,cannot have them crapping on the great and good

  • Michael

    Brits are making sure they win the shotgun gold medal