Sydney Siege

It seems that every time an event occurs that receives a massive amount of media attention and has multiple law enforcement agencies involved, all the interesting small arms in use come out of the woodwork and make themselves available to the viewers around the world. It’s a pity that there is usually an event where someone is killed that is apart of these times, such as when the Ferguson riots and in this case, the two innocent victims in the Sydney siege. These photos are a compilation of photos in the news depicting the New South Wales Tactical Operations Unit. if you need a good recap of how it unfolded, Sky News has a good video report out.

The fact that any of this footage became available to the public is quite impressive, on the same level as when the SAS handled the Iranian embassy hostage crisis (which ironically, is just like Sydney in that a violent Iranian is taking hostages and gets cut down by law enforcement). Even if it is just the breeching and entering portion of the operation, it’s still fascinating. In this case the large blasts at the start of the video appear to be the shotgun in use by the hostage taker. Tragically, this is probably when the first victim of the crisis was killed when he tried to disarm the hostage taker. After some of the team is inside, you can hear the smaller reports of the M4s going off, and notice how most of the fire, if not all of it, is all semi automatic. None of this full auto fire going on in the movies.

This is another video from the siege, and shows alot more than the first video. Why didn’t the snipers on scene just shoot the gunman through the window? Contray to popular movie belief, when bullets enter glass, unless the target is right in front of the glass, there is no telling where that bullet is going to go. NRA Blog has a post about it as well as a report published in 1993.



This shooter-spotter team is seen throughout the day during the crisis with their Accuracy International AICS stock mated to what appears to be a Remington 700 action with a flutted barrel. I can’t really tell what the firearm on the spotters vest is, but judging from the precence of shotgun shells on other officers, I’m assuming its a pistol grip 12 gauge shotgun for breaching.


Guy on the right appears to have an H&K UMP .45 with an Aimpoint sight and surefire light mounted on the left side. His buddy seems to have two holsters, and really ought to be dual wielding. All these officers appear to be armed with .40 S&W Glock 22s as issued to the New South Wales police force.


A great comparison of various laser aiming modules in use by the police, black PEQ 1 on the left and tan PEQ 16 on the right. Notice the extensive use of ARC rails on most of the helmets of the officers.


The officer on the right here seems to be the outlier from all the other officers in this post, because he has a short barreled AR carbine, has a different uniform on than the others, and even appears to have a bandolier of 40mm smoke grenades.


The ARs in use by the Tactical Operations Unit are of some interest because there a great variety in diversity between officers. Whether this is unit driven or personal preference driven or a combination of both, it is not known. Most of the AR carbines seem to be either dedicated Barrett 5.56 REC7s or upper receivers of a different manufacture with REC7 handguards.One thing many of them do have in common are the original Colt buttstocks as is seen on the left in this photo.


This officer has the REC7 with an XPS EoTech, PEQ16 and shotgun shells but I don’t see a breaching shotgun. He also has a Magpul angular grip.


Someone is going to have to change batteries later on as they left their PEQ16 on!


You can see the distinctive handguard of the REC7 here. But the puzzling thing is the front sight post. Either the M4s are from another manufacturer and they added the REC7 handguards, or it was a contract for the police in the early stages of the Barrett REC7.


The same sniper as before, but his partner has a UMP40 (assuming .40 cal instead of 45 ACP so ammunition can be interchangeble with their Glock 23s in .40 caliber).


Magpul galore with the angular grip, magazine, and floorplate.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • Frank

    And no one in australia can own any of these. Liberty lies weeping.

    Edit: sans the glocks but with extended barrels

    • Porty1119

      Well, and the R700. Still.

    • bernardg

      They have their own reasons.

  • Full Name

    When did the trend start of good guys wearing ski masks?

    • Fruitbat44

      Generally thought that the SAS made it fashionable back in the 80’s.

      Other theories are protection from the effects of flash-bangs. Or from when the bad guys start going after the good guys families.

    • Bill

      Those are nomex balaclavas that protect against heat and flash burns from distraction devices and provide some protection from injuries in explosive environments like meth labs, plus light protection from debris. Bluntly, there is also an intimidation factor.

    • bernardg

      Yup, SAS already don it all the way back since WW2,

    • John Daniels

      Are they good guys? Are you sure?

      “Already a couple of the faithful have sent in checks for a foundation memorial to the innocents who perished at the hands of the ninja at Waco … I have been criticized by referring to our federal masked men as ‘ninja’ … Let us reflect upon the fact that a man who covers his face shows reason to be ashamed of what he is doing. A man who takes it upon himself to shed blood while concealing his identity is a revolting perversion of the warrior ethic. It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view.”- Jeff Cooper

      • David Sharpe

        I usually agree with Mr. Cooper, in that case I do not. There are many reasons a SWAT officer would hide their face, those reasons have already been discussed.

      • Bill

        Or you can have your face burned by sundry chemicals or detonations, or cut by flying glass, which really screws up your cheek weld. So far I’ve never made an entry with the Marquess of Queensbury in the stack, so his rules can stay back at the station. I’m a fan of Jeff Cooper, but he didn’t work the street, serve any warrants or make any entries, so while I use his shooting techniques pretty much exclusively, I’m not really interested in what he considered fashionable in personal protective gear.

      • Joshua Madoc

        Are you seriously implying that face masks are only for remorseless, godless, child-eating monsters?

  • Joshua

    Those are A.R.M.S. SIR rails on standard M4s.

    • Hey thanks for that, I honestly figured the rails were Barrett REC7s but with standard M4 front sights because Barrett rails and those are very similar.

      • Joshua

        No problem. It is not a rail you see very often now days.

        It is heavy, expensive, and outdate with weaver rail addons, but it came out back when its only real competition was the KAC RAS. So it was once cutting edge.

        Oh and that is the military version. Civilian version uses the basic delta ring.

  • Bill

    The Pep Boys hostage situation in california a couple decades ago illustrated the difficulty of precise fire through glass. Bullet development has improved, but it’s still tough, particularly given that there are so many types of “glass.” There are work-arounds, that either work fine, or fail miserably.

  • Bill

    Guys assigned to carry a shield will frequently carry two pistols, as they can’t reload easily with one arm tied up with the shield. It’s faster to just draw the second pistol

  • whskee

    Pretty sure you (author) meant PEQ-2A instead of PEQ-1 when referring to the long black laser. PEQ-1 is the SOFLAM Designator and not something anyone would hang on a rifle. Anyway, it’s cool these guys have leniency to use what they prefer, they’ve got a nice mix going on there between optics and lasers. I should mention also that the PEQ-2A is a odd choice to me unless they were running NVG’s (which I doubt due to the brightness there) since it’s an IR only laser/illuminator.

  • David Sharpe

    Where did you see a guy with two holsters? Was it in one of the videos at all?

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    In the article it says that “After some of the team is inside, you can hear the smaller reports of the M4s going off, and notice how most of the fire, if not all of it, is all semi automatic”, but I don’t think that was what most of the sound was. I haven’t re-watched the footage since the day so I might be wrong, but I seem to remember there was a team member who through in a couple of flash bangs before the team entered, and afterwards he stood at the door and kept throwing more in, probably about half a dozen (I think the guy doing this is behind the sign in the video linked at the top but was visible in other footage). The flashes also look too bright to be all muzzle flashes to me, and from the way that the reports are in clustered strings my guess is that they were 9-bang stun grenades or something similar.

  • Joshua

    To keep barrel shadow to a minimum. Notice it goes right to the end of the flash hider, this gives you the full beam of light instead of a huge barrel shadow.

  • Patrick Mingle

    “Someone is going to have to change batteries later on as they left their PEQ16 on!” and some photographer is going to have to change corneas!

  • Patrick Mingle

    I believe that he is probably the shield guy, I have heard of them carrying two pistols due to the difficulty of reloading while carrying the shield

  • JSmath

    Those help, but they don’t change the fact that glass erratically changes the course of any bullet projectile, which is what that quote was getting at.

    Right in front of the glass seems a bit too literal, but it’s a truly honest take on the matter. As little far back as 10 ft, there is huge risk that if the bullet is deflected even 5 degrees, what would have been an USPSA A-zone headshot instead comes to a stop in the lungs of a hostage on the other side of the room. It all depends on several variables the least of which would be the bullets impact angle to the glass, which due to wind and sometimes random events like early tumbling means you just can’t account for it.

    • JSmath

      When I say on the other size of the room, I don’t mean 500 ft to the left of the hostage taker – I mean just 5 degrees off trajectory, but far enough back and against the wall, such that they may have been indistinguishable from the background as details through glass looking into a building are.

  • Sulaco

    Watching all the goings on in Paris this week we now know where all the old Mini 14’s went! About every cop shown was holding a ranch style mini.

  • noob

    we have an Australian Federal Police. I don’t know what their tactical uniforms look like. We also have ASIO counter terrorism units, and a thing called TAG East that draws from the Army’s 2 Commando.

    • ALPHA525

      ASIO do have any CT force or DA capabilities. AFP SRG wear a dark subdued blue. The photo in question isn’t even Australian…it’s made its way into this thread by accident.

  • ALPHA525

    The photo titled “The officer on the right here seems to be the outlier from all the other officers in this post” is not only not from the siege it’s not even from Australia, hence the difference in uniform and equipment. For some unknown reason AAP/skynews Australia published this photo in an online article relating to the story….when it has nothing to do with anything remotely regarding the siege or NSWPF TOU.

    The UMP’s are .40cal as are the Glock 22’s.

    Holster on the vest is simply to be able to change between a vest and conventional belt rig when not wearing a vest. TOU don’t issue ”dual” pistols.

    The ”gunfire” the media reported was in fact several 9-banger flash bangs from various locations going in (the news only shows one side of the location being breached).

    ”Balaclavas” are worn for the safety reasons already mentioned combined with the fact TOU perform a wide variety of roles including plain clothes and covert operational support as part of their role.

  • ALPHA525

    That photo isn’t even Australian…the police SUV is quite clearly not Australian let alone NSW and the speed limit sign is in MPH….bit of a give away.

  • John Daniels

    Firefighters cover their faces to keep from being burned, not so they can more easily avoid repercussions for the acts of evil they commit while under government employ.