British Police Guards armed with SMGs

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While on my trip in the UK, I noticed a staggering amount of armed police officers guarding the gates to castles and palaces. These were not security guards but actual police officers. All were armed with Glocks and a couple of them were armed with either a MP5 or MP7, and this was at every place I went to.

 

 

This is at Windsor Castle. This gate is the exit for tourists. However it is a controlled entrance for certain vehicles. It is guarded by a couple of officers, one of which is armed with a MP5A4 with Surefire fore end.

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Here is a another gate at Windsor Castle and this officer is carrying a MP5A5.  DSC_0673

 

This is the gate guarding Whitehall in London. Again we see they are issued Glocks and MP5s.

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This guard is different. All the other guards I have seen wore white short sleeves but this guy has black long sleeves. And he is armed with a H&K MP7! He was just standing on the sidewalk in front of the Horse Guards in London.

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Edit: A reader noticed that this MP7 does not go to 11. It is semi-auto only. Also I just noticed that the iron sights are like that of a MP5 style. Not the standard folding MP7 dual function irons that I usually see.

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Sounds about right considering the sheer number of potential terror targets crowded with summer tourists from all over the world and the fact that a British soldier was beheaded in the street by jihadists in 2013.

    • Eugene

      Plus the British had a few decades or the IRA bombing soft targets

      • kyphe

        That did not really influence the arming of police to current levels, the routine arming of UK police happened after the troubles died down. We have not had a IRA caused casualty for 14 years or a fatality for 19 years.

        • forrest1985

          Yeah kyphe is right. This is all since 9/11 and 7/7. Nothing to do with IRA although the same “soft targets” haven’t changed.

        • Steve_7

          PSNI has been armed with guns completely since 1969, iirc. There are less AFOs now than there were in the past because of the Stephen Waldorf shooting. Back then it was pretty common for detectives to carry revolvers.

  • john huscio

    Doesn’t look like the mp7 is loaded

    • Ray

      They have a smaller magazine loaded with bigger ones in pouches if I recall correctly.

      • KestrelBike

        It’s also interesting that he doesn’t have an apparent sidearm holster like all of the other armed police shown.

        • Mr Mxyzptlk

          They do not carry any sidearm with the MP7, it was acquired in 2005 as a replacement for both the Brownings and L85s that they were using (these weapons are still kept but are specialist use only). If you look on his left thigh you will see that he is carrying an X26 Taser though. Kind of weird that it is a cross draw thigh holster, but I assume this is to do with the fact that the same holster is used by regular territorial force armed police who will have a Glock holster on the right leg.

        • John

          I read it was budget constraints. The present government in power felt that issuing a single weapon, rather than a primary weapon and a sidearm, would be more cost-effective for the military police.

          Of course, the round the MP7 uses doesn’t actually fit in anything BUT the MP7, but hey, it’s standard issue, so money was saved somewhere.

    • They offer flush-fit magazines for them.

  • Andrew Durkel

    Semi Auto MP-7. Interesting.

    • Tom – UK

      Is it possible it only fire on full auto? Not sure I can ever see it getting by these dayys but its worth asking the Q.

      • Andrew Durkel

        I was basing my comment off only the semi-auto pictogram being present on the selector. Full auto only on subguns are pretty uncommon these days. Most situations call for sustained and aimed semi auto fire.

        • forrest1985

          The Mp7 is only used by MOD police here in the UK and it is semi-auto only as they are still considered civilian police.

      • No. HK makes semi automatic only MP5s, MP7s, and G36 variants for UK police.

        • Dave C

          HK supplied semi-auto-only MP5s to the FBI in the 80s and 90s too. AFAIK, the Feds still have them someplace, languishing alongside the Tommy Guns…

          Many seasoned shooters will tell you that “controlled pairs” is better than full-auto. In police operations there is a whole slew of highly-paid lawyers attached to every projectile fired.

          Armed British police show up with the “good cop” a negotiator with a Taser-type weapon and a Glock, and the “bad cop” with a Glock and MP5SF carbine. G36s are not far away…

          I regularly use a 9mm carbine for HD and indoor or outdoor range sessions. Out-of-doors, inevitably, I’ll find some guy with an AR deriding it as a “range toy.” This leads me to scratch my head and wonder whether my interlocutor is a person who actually thinks he’s in the army, or a “contractor,” or some sort of “high speed, low drag operator” of some sort… Adequate for my purposes.

    • Nicholas Chen

      Good eye! I didn’t notice that.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Weird that the MP-7 would be made without FA select since its primary use is for protection services to throw a lot of lead as quickly as possible while escaping with their principle. If they are only giving the police semi auto weapons why not give them something with a bigger round and a larger more stable firing platform since concealment obviously is not a concern.

      • Wetcoaster

        I think the reason is as a more accurate / longer-ranged weapon than the handgun – the same reasoning behind the old Spanish Destroyer carbine or the semi-auto only AR-15s or pistol-cal carbines in the trunks of some US or Canadian cop cars.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if those MP5s were SA only as well.

        The gent in the black shirt is might be Ministry of Defence police instead of City of London police since you mentioned his location near a military facility.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I guess my question is why not have a full on assault rifle if concealment is not an issue since its more powerful and accurate?

          • Mr Mxyzptlk

            The reason is that the MP7 was acquired to replace both the L85 rifle and Browning pistols that the MDP were using so it needed to be compact. They still have pistols and L85s but they are more specialist weapons as opposed to the general issue MP7.

          • Wetcoaster

            In the inventory, shorter, lighter in a potentially crowded space. MP7s could be their standard issue long gun, for instance

          • Yallan

            Cheaper to practice with, easier to shoot. The best choice for a police since unlike soldiers they rarely carry or use their firearms.

          • cageordie

            It encourages accurate fire and discourages hosing down the bystanders and tourists in London.

          • Steve_7

            They’ve got G36Ks. Since the attack in France they appear to have emptied the armouries.

        • Anon. E Maus

          A semi-auto MP5 carbine isn’t a bad choice for security and defense duty, light, handy, accurate and powerful enough.

          Just wish they’d afford their citizens that same privilege.

      • kyphe

        Only weird from a US point of view. Cometary from the US appears to be obsessed with stopping power and the swiftest removal of any possible threat by the swiftest killing of the target. This is considered to be the only true way to remove any possible threat. That attitude is totally contrary to British policing and policing in Europe in general. the number of people killed in the UK by police in the past 20 years is just 36. In the US this year alone it is 229, last year it was 623

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          So British police use the MP-7 because it is less lethal than an assault rifle? That is ridiculous.
          The causes of police shootings in the US have more to do with our fundamentally different gun laws. To say police in the US shoot more people because they have assault rifles is simplistic at best.

          • kyphe

            I am saying they don’t use full auto as that would be classed as a willful killing. I never said anything about assault rifles, don’t make stuff up simplistic or otherwise

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Since the MP-7 was developed to defeat modern body armor I doubt the police chose it for its non penetrative characteristics.

          • kyphe

            It is designed to tumble and dump it’s energy.

          • Operational Support Unit

            We have fullauto Mp5s and other 5.56 and even 7.62 options, we also teach marksmanship I’ve taught on both sides of the water and without doubt have found that British AFO/SFO are better trained and better shots then their Americian counterparts, many I have found aren’t willing to listen to anything a “limey” has to say on firearms, despite their agency requesting we come and show them

          • Steve_7

            How many rounds does a typical AFO fire in practice per year? Last I checked it was typically 200. It’s obviously easier to train a smaller number of people to a higher standard.

            My personal view is that the UK and the US both do it incorrectly.

            In the US they arm everyone to the teeth because of paranoia about crime and in the UK they don’t arm enough officers because of paranoia about guns.

            My personal view is that Police Scotland were going in the right direction until they were stopped by paranoia about guns. I.e. some patrol officers trained to a high standard carry guns routinely.

          • Operational Support Unit

            a basic AFO will do 4 qualifications a year, consisting of two days at a time firing approx 100 a day, so that’s about 800 rounds but that’s the most basic level. which doesn’t sound a lot but that’s the standing outside a hospital room with a gun “guard” type role

            when you look at ARV (20-25 days a year training) you’re looking at advanced tactics and thousands of rounds, I don’t have exact figures but the brass is swept up bucketfuls at a time.

          • Steve_7

            That level of training is a lot more than many Americans seem to get imx. I remember showing some small town cop once how to field strip his Beretta, it blew my mind. I’m sure the larger departments do an okay job but there are a huge number of tiny ones. Have you seen the statistics on NYPD shootings? OMG. At least they keep statistics!

          • Steve_7

            The reason “carbines” are popular is because most AFOs only fire 200 rounds in training and it’s easier to hit your target than with a pistol.

          • RICH

            The cause of the amount of Ploice shootings in the U.S. is a direct reflection on the violence against the Police by the criminals. The majority of our violent criminals are, a) gang related and b) armed (illegally !).

          • RICH

            In any situation when you are confronting an armed criminal you want the tools necessary to eleminate the immediate threat that’s presented to you and the public as expediciously as possible. A simple rule of the use of force continum.

        • jay

          Actually, the reason Americans find a semiautomatic mp7 marginal at best, is because they have tons and tons of shooting experience and forgot more about guns than the bits know.
          The retarded agresive gun control and general attitude towards firearms in UK killed a lot of knowledge about firearms. Everything about firearms in Uk, is so politicized, that, ecept for some hardcore military units, performance is one of the last criteria when selecting a firearm for a law enforcement unit.
          In US it’s the other way around. People are a lot more confortable around firearms and there’s a lot less bullshit involved when selecting a firearm. It’s about performance, not politics.

          • kyphe

            Clearly you know nothing about the UK. Performance is everything, especially accuracy!

          • Tom

            I think you will find the most important thing is that its stamped H & K on the side.

          • kyphe

            H&K are popular choices for UK police but not universal by a long way. Sig SG550 is used as is the LMT-AR15, Pistols are glock, Sig and walther

          • Tom

            This is just a personal hunch but I am not sure that the decision to buy G36s was made after any sort of competition or value for money assessment but rather something less “honest”.

          • Fed24

            No, the UK has some very strict laws (technically European but I digress) about Public Sector tendering for equipment. You can actually go to a Government website to view all the tender details. The G36 has been selected by some UK Police Services (they don’t say Police Force now), recent German issues with the G36 probably wouldn’t of manifested themselves during procurement trials.

          • jay

            The pdw concept was introduced as self defense weapons for troops who’s main job is not fighting with a gun. This troops were usually armed with subguns and handguns. Those who’s job is to actually fight with a gun got more powerful asault rifles. You actually endanger more people if you have to shoot a bad guy multiple times with a marginal cartridge like the 4.6x30mm round.
            In this day and edge, with a huge number of good 5.56mm carbines, equipping first line of defense personnel with that mp7 means someone in charge of the procurement is uterly incompetent.

          • kyphe

            that gun is replacing a pistol , learn before talking.

          • Jay

            Oh yea, all of us Canadians are obsessed with maximum lethality. hahaha.

          • kyphe

            “You actually endanger more people if you have to shoot a bad guy
            multiple times with a marginal cartridge like the 4.6x30mm round” These are your words! Eat them!

        • Capn Stefano

          The brits don’t yet have vast ghettos and barrios full of violent 3rd worlders.. but they are catching up fast. The other difference over here is we shoot dangerous felons, not coddle them. I’m a citizen of Washington State and I carry a 10MM 15 shot automatic on the street. We have castle doctrine for our homes, and on the streets, stand your ground law

          • kyphe

            Brits simply don’t kill people, we have about half the murder rate of Canada per capita and are ranked 29th lowest homicide rate in the world based on population size. British police don’t kill people unless absolutely necessary, hell even British Criminals don’t kill people as a rule. Its is so uncommon that every person killed has a face and a family in the public eye, non are lost as meaningless statistics. Carrying any weapon in the UK is considered to be the act of a coward! Carrying a gun as a weapon is considered the act of a lunatic and a coward. It does not make you a tough guy to us, it only makes you considered dangerous, like a puppy with rabies. The gun ban in the UK was wrong because Brits did not shoot people with those legally owned guns and we have never had a gun crime problem. We have an immigration problem but they don’t come hear for the guns but for the welfare lol

          • Steve_7

            *Cough* you’ve clearly never been to any of the many ghettos that have existed in the UK in some cases since before the US was even a country. The difference is that significantly more effort is made to fix society in general.

            However, doesn’t always work, Google “London riots 2011”.

      • CommonSense23

        Full Auto isn’t getting taught that much anymore, even for sub guns. When you can train someone to easily shoot 4 or 5 accurate aimed shots a second, the need for full auto kinda disappears.

        • iksnilol

          + full auto in a crowded area sounds a smidge risky.

      • Bungameng

        The MP7 proprietary ammo has especially high armor penetration potential. So it still makes sense as semi-auto in place where attacker might have a body armor on.

        That is also why issuing MP7s (select fire) to as the car gun to the Czech police has been criticized. Much higher possibility of shooting through the criminal into someone behind than encountering a criminal with body armor.

        • wzrd1

          This is precisely why the semi-only model is used. Note the congestion of tourists. If an incident occurred and spray and pray ensued, collateral damage would also ensure, which would eliminate both trust in firearms officers and tourism.
          Meanwhile, semi-automatic is more accurate overall, one can control shot groups more easily and the risk of collateral damage is much lower.

          • Core

            I’ve used a handful of HK submachine guns operationally and the “spray and pray” discussion getting tossed around is nonsense. A trained operator can empty a magazine into a pie plate on full auto with nearly every subgun. Anyone 150lbs + can learn to do the same. Stopping a coordinated attack requires a special application of speed and violence of action. The fact that the police are carrying these weapons suggests the dynamic is shifting and a need for full auto may rear its head sooner than later. My weapons training was NSW and I have been an Expert Marksman since 1999. While in Iraq I shot with the Britts and Aus among others, and with an M16 with irons, I was able to out shoot the average Britt with a L85 with the integrated optic. Speaking from experience working high risk missions, speed and violence of action is required to survive. The enemy is hell bent on killing as many people as possible, willing to self sacrifice, and highly coordinated. They exhibit a history of coordinated close in attacks on civilians and personnel. Does your theory supporting semi auto close in weapons use still seem logical? Discussion of crime culture and gun control is irrelevant, we are dealing with an emergence of fundamentalists looking to slaughter innocent civilians. Being able to dump knife wielding attackers quickly is going to be critical. Dumping an attacker hyped up on adrenaline requires more than a few rounds center mass with a subgun. And the amount of tactical proficiency required to ensure headshot followups is not practical for The vast majority of patrol officers/security folks.

      • Scrumward bound

        Another point would be that in an inner city environment, police probably wouldn’t want to be using heavier rounds- pistol calibre is less likely to go straight through/ricochet and kill a bystander- British security forces are kind of nervous about that, due to all the bad press in Northern Ireland from civilians deaths of that kind.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          How hard is it to make a 5.56 round that doesn’t penetrate?

          • Jon

            You mean a blank rounds? 😉

        • Operational Support Unit

          5.56 & 7.62 are both available to UK police, in fact some units have something bigger for specialist use

  • Ray

    The Met (the Police force tasked in London) generally use MP5s, Glocks for their armed response teams. Outside of London they generally have a mixture of G36s, Sig 550, AR-15s of various types and assorted side arms. Some are even equipped with HK69s

    • Eugene

      That MP7 armed officer would be the MoD Police

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      The “HK69s” are actually s 37mm variant of the MZP-1 called the L104A1. They are riot weapons for firing CS gas and baton rounds.

  • Zebra Dun

    The Kool aid be wearing of.

  • Bill

    They’ve never revealed the percentage of armed officers, but it’s more than people think. There are plenty patrolling facilities – you won’t get though Heathrow without seeing them, and a bunch more in marked and unmarked cars, so a fair number aren’t really visible.

    Interesting contrast between UK and US cops: we get into more shootings, they get into more hands-on fights. Apparently a larger segment of their population is more than willing to swing on a cop. They’ve also told me that many of their stations have small bars in them, and having a pint of beer at meals is the norm. They may have been yanking the Yank on that one.

    • Tom

      In the 70s probable yes but now there is no way they would have a licensed premises in the station. Of course the police are the ones who issue the licenses so who knows.

      • The Forty ‘Twa

        The local authorities are the ones who issue them actually.

        • Tom

          Right you are. I was confusing the fact they can have them taken away with the idea of issuing them.

      • Marcus

        I am a member of a regiment in London and we have a constabulary included. We have a mess dining room and bar that is open too all members, we would always eat and drink together after work. Why wouldn’t we. Puritants don’t join up nor are particularly welcome in organsiations that represent the British public and traditions.

        • Operational Support Unit

          HAC good bunch of gents

    • Operational Support Unit

      I only know of one nick with a bar still in operation, and it’s used sparingly as that station is also the main firearms unit base for the area and alcohol/firearms don’t mix

    • Steve_7

      The statistics for AFOs are publicly known at least for the Met unless they’ve changed something recently. After the Waldorf shooting the number of AFOs became a very hot topic and for many years afterwards they would point out the number had declined substantially using graphs.

  • Trey C

    I was in a London airport several year ago talking on a payphone. I was looking down at the ground while talking and all of a sudden I see an MP5 come into view being carried by a police officer. Being a gun nut, I immediately knew what I was looking at, but it did surprise me, as I had not seen too many MP5’s in the wild before.

    • Wetcoaster

      You see them in Hong Kong airport too. I’ve seen an M16 in Taipei airport back around 2002 which surprised me. Only guns I’ve seen at a PRC airport were Type 79 SMGs belonging to what I think was a PAP armoured car picking up valuables also circa 2002. I suppose that does have more of a deterrent than the revolvers carried by the armoured car guards in Canada even if the guards didn’t look like they were wearing vests.

      • Matt

        Yes, in TW also at simple traffic roadblocks cops have M16.

        Mp5, beretta M12 are pretty standard SMG for police patrolling in europe around the world.

  • Giles Hill

    The guys outside the palaces are SO14 which protects the Royal family here and abroad, its residences, in addition to other Royalty and visitors. The guy in black is probably SO19 which is the Mets Specialist Firearms unit. SO19 support the Met’s still largely unarmed police officers in the course of their duties and act as SWAT. There are other SO’s which carry firearms like SO20 (Counter Terr) and Operational Command Unit (OCU) known as Aviation Security.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      The buy in black is Ministry of Defence Police rather than SCO19, the MDP are the only force who use the MP7. The MDP are responsible for policing MOD property and establishments, hence why they are outside Horse Guards.

      Horse Guards

  • Colin

    As a brit yes we like a pint (20FLoz proper pint) .Yes there are stations that have pubs in them brits like a pint. But if you don’t mind, do not show armed police faces cos some IRA terrorist READS THIS THANK YOU. guns not people. MOD POLICE semi mp7. Security is only as tight as the weakest link. fuss the fuss face. Ta.

    • Nicholas Chen

      Thanks for the clarification. Next time I will blur them out. But they are out in the public. And I was not the only one taking their pictures.

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        You can blur them if you want but there is really no need to. The kind of armed police that need to have their faces obscured are not dressed like this walking around palaces.

      • kyphe

        Plz Nick, ignore this persons rant, it is total trash.

      • Operational Support Unit

        I wouldn’t worry to much, if an armed police constable doesn’t want his photo taken then he will stop you, we are all over facebook and twitter so a blog isn’t any different

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      I think anonymity is probably not a major concern if they are standing around busy intersections in broad daylight.

    • David Neil

      What on earth are you gibbering about man? You can pass these fellas every day in most British cities, they are there to be seen.

  • Hank

    Just be careful with the camera when abroad. In many European countries taking photos like these of police and security will land you, at minimum in hours of interrogation.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      Not in London it won’t. These people are guarding tourist attractions, they are constantly having their photo taken. If you are doing it with a telephoto lens through a camouflaged hole in the side of a Ford Transit I would imagine that would raise a few eye brows though.

      • Hank

        Granted. And that is why I said “while abroad.” I’ve travelled internationally quite a bit, and lived in Russia as well. My wife lived in the UK. There are places and settings where taking photos will land you in trouble. All I said was be aware of that reality.

    • Martin Grønsdal

      do you mean in Belarussia? not in any other european country

      • Hank

        Never been there. I did, however live in Russia itself. You?

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      Non-european spotted!

    • mupps

      Never seen it happen here in Ireland or in any other EU state.. They have other worries besides photos being taken.

      • Hank

        Not seeing it and it not happening aren’t the same thing, of course.

  • M

    That mp7 stock is set to a real long length of pull….

  • Fruitbat44

    As a Brit I always find this sort of thing a little sad. And I harken for the days when bobbies wore helmets and carried truncheons in their trousers. (Sometimes the double-entendres write themselves.) They always knew the time, the way to the railway station – where the trains were on time – and they always smiled.

    And it was a time when villains came quietly with a resigned, “All right gov’ it’s a fair cop.”

    -sigh-

    But putting aside the rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia, those times are past, even if they ever really existed in the first place, and IMO as an armchair gunslinger, a semi-automatic carbine, like those MP5s & MP7s, firing either pistol ammunition or an intermediate round is the way to go for modern urban policing.

    • forrest1985

      Here here!

    • Operational Support Unit

      We’ve always been armed, can I suggest a very good book called London’s Armed Police by Waldren, he used to run SCO19, if anything for a period in the 90s between divisional AFOs going and the introduction of ARVs we were disarmed

      • Fruitbat44

        I think I’ve read “London’s Armed Police by Waldren,” I vaguely recall it as being a good read. But it’s the overt arming, the routine arming and the almost casual arming which has me sighing for those mythical “good ole days.” -sigh-

        FWIW I recall working at Heathrow during the early eighties, and we often saw bobbies walking through the terminals with their tunics bulging out over holstered revolvers. This was prior to the introduction with of the MP5 carbines.

        And IIRC, possibly from “London’s Armed Police” going back to the 1880s a London bobby on night duty, if he was trained and felt the need, could check out a revolver and six rounds.

        Even old, good ‘ole days aren’t what they used to be. -sigh-

        • Tom

          The practice of Constables and Sargents checking out revolvers themselves ended in the 1930s. None the less all Constables (well the male ones as the WPCs were not considered proper police) were all trained in the use of firearms and they could be issued firearms (normally S&W model 10s or 36s the later carried in the pocket of the tunic so as not to alarm the public) as and when needed from the armory in the police station.

          An interesting little fact is that PC Trevor Locke carried his model 36 when assigned to protect the Iranian Embassy and remained armed for throughout the siege eventually tackling one of the terrorists when the SAS assaulted the building.

          • Fruitbat44

            Interesting little bits and peices of history. Of course given the regional nature of the British police, other constabulary’s practices may have varied.

            As to PC Locke, I recall being vaguely surprised that he was armed. And I also recall speculation subsequently that if he had been overtly armed, he would have been the first casualty of the siege.

            How times have changed . . .

        • Operational Support Unit

          The practise of “night comforters” was officially ended in the late 1930s, with the outbreak of war it continued for officers guarding key sabotage points and Government offices- after the war the official system was divisional AFOs issued with a gun when needed from a store but it continued unofficially right until the 80s

      • Steve_7

        But it became more specialized after the Iranian Embassy siege.

        Back around 1990 I was stopped and searched in central London by a couple of DCs who apparently thought me and my friends might be burglars.

        Anyway one of the DCs was an AFO and made a point of flashing his holstered S&W 36 at us, not sure why, maybe to scare us, but didn’t really work given I had vastly superior weaponry in my flat (on FAC) and one of my friends was in US Special Forces and could have easily made him eat it.

        Lesson being, just because you’re an AFO doesn’t give you carte Blanche to be a pratt.

        • Operational Support Unit

          You maybe surprised at the background of many AFOs, your friend might have succeeded………. eventually

          • Steve_7

            I’m sure he was the best and brightest of Belgravia, lol.

  • John McPherson

    Having arrived on the overnight flight we got to the hotel too early to check in so we left our luggage with them and walked the neighborhood of St Johns Wood to see the housed there. Suddenly, an officer with the obligatory SMG across his chest blocks the sidewalk and opens a gate at a drive way. A large car quickly made its way out and down the street. The officer closed the gate and waved us by. This was my first day in London, and the idea of the unarmed police was forever vanished. We saw lots more that trip, all the major buildings and sites were well covered. Same for Paris last year, with the addition of trios of FAMAS armed military thrown in. They did seem to know what they were doing and were very alert.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    I went through Gatwick airport, and policeoffiers there sported HK416 and HK417. The 7,62 HK had a long range scope on it, and I wondered when he could put that to good use on an airport. Anyway, they were armed to their teeth.

    • forrest1985

      Interesting, when was this? Not doubting you but i had the unfortunate experience of flying to spain 2 days after the 7/7 london bombings. Gatwick airport had more armed police than passengers! Most were armed with G36’s, MP5’s and Glocks.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        Two months ago

        • forrest1985

          Thanks! Looks like they have replaced the g36 then possibly? 417 would be for any idiots on runway

          • Martin Grønsdal

            I saw more G36 before, C version

      • Operational Support Unit

        We’ve all had upgrades since Mumbai

    • Porty1119

      My guess is that the 417 would be used to deal with a potential threat out on the tarmac, at longer ranges.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        Could be

      • Tom

        As I understand it there has been some concern that terrorists might try and use a car laden with explosives to ram a plane/fuel tank/sensitive area (this happened a few years ago in Glasgow but the explosive did not go off and couple of locals gave the terrorists a good hiding) a 7.62mm is going to better at taking apart an engine than 5.56 or 9mm.

  • tony

    This low ready position is good for posing, but really tiresome after a while

  • forrest1985

    I had the unfortunate experience of flying to spain 2 days after the 7/7 london bombings. Gatwick airport had more armed police than passengers! Most were armed with G36’s, MP5’s and Glocks. The guy with the MP7 is MOD plod, the only branch that uses them and i believe they are all semi auto.

    • Dave C

      I had the unfortunate experience of flying in Spain after the ETA blew up a big piece of the Barrajas airport. More efficient security there than U.S. TSA…

      I had the unfortunate experience of flying through Heathrow during the cease-fire between the IRA and the Northern Irish RUC/UK etc. Since gangster/terrorists like Slab Murphy were blowing up the British financial sector of London, I got seriously jacked up in Heathrow! Quite the search, lemme tell ya…

  • J.T.

    Holy crap. Could he mount that Aimpoint any higher?

    • Dave C

      Mounted high so it completely clears the iron sights. Conventional shooting with a cheek weld: iron sights. Non-conventional/unconventional shooting from the shoulder but without a cheek-weld to scan and assess the threat with both eyes open, and a need to make a shot: the Aimpoint optic.

  • Rob uk

    A lot of our armed police in London and at airports also carry the G36 I think it’s the k model or whatever the sort version is called.

  • UberAlles, black leather

    cough…muslims…cough

    • Operational Support Unit

      Cough…paddies, scumbags and rioters….cough

  • RICH

    ALL I CAN SAY IS ‘ THANK GOD THEY ARE FINALLY ARMING THE POLICE !’ I SPENT THREE YEARS IN ENGLANE AND ALL THE ‘BOBBIES’ WERE ALLOWED TO CARRY WAS A SHORT BATON ! THAT WAS A LONG, LONG TIME AGO ! IT’S GREAT TO SEE THAT THE GOVERNMENT OVER THERE IS FINALLY WAKING UP TO REALITY ! ! !

  • Jim_Macklin

    At least, unlike most UK subjects, they get to shoot back at terrorists.

    • Keith Melton

      Till they become the terrorists of the unarmed citizenry.

  • wade

    At luton airport they walk around with semi auto g36’s, i was a bit surprised at the contrast between the cities and the country where i’m fairly sure that most police (west Mercia ) seemed to be unarmed….

    • Tom

      General rule is that UK police are not armed with anything more than an ASP type baton, CS or similar spray, and tasers (Exception being the PSNI and UKAEC) but all forces have officers trained in the use of firearms. Key areas such as airports and government buildings will have armed police stationed there.

      In big cities the armed police will generally drive around until called for where as in smaller constabularies the armed police often have to do general police work as well so you will sometimes see officers walking around with holsters but no guns (they leave them in the car) or with pistols only.

      • Steve_7

        But tasers, PR-24s and CS spray are all prohibited weapons, remember so not “only” they are far better armed than the average person.

  • Marty Ewer

    The height of the Aimpoint on that MP7 seems a bit excessive to me.

    • Marcus

      Because they are more likely to use the iron sights at close range.

      • Dave C

        +1 Marcus. These Aimpoint optics are not “co-witnessed.” The mount is open beneath the optic, so if shouldered with a stock weld, the iron sights can be used without any obstruction. If the LEO has the weapon shouldered, both eyes open, face not welded to the stock, the potential threat can be assessed with the red dot there for quick shooting.

        Different from much U.S. practice, that is all.

  • Marcus

    Look this is simple, they do not want a large calibre or full-auto as it raises the possibility of civilian casualties, it is for this reason they also have a low velocity round inside. There is no need for a larger calibre as it would not stop at the target an continue on to a civilian. They have radios and a nerby team of rapid reaction with HK516 nearby and Accuracy International Snipers on rooftops in dark blue shirts out of site, look up occasionally any you will see them; they are only made visible when the threat level is raised. It is consistent with the British tradition of policing by concent, and the overwhelming British public do not like our public areas to look like battlefields, we like to be able to go up to any on duty officer and ask for directions and make a joke with them too, this is part of their training and fosters an environment of collaboration and mutual respect between the police and public. Their APWT (Annual Personal Weaopns Hanling Tests) requires them to hit a 25 cm grouping of a moving target at 50 meters various rounds at short timings, amoungst many other tests. This is so if the target is wearing armour, they can take the head shot. It is this ability to spend their day serving the public and protecting them against any threat that is why they are so well regarded and they train other European nations and it is replicated in other nations now too as the model of best practice. We do not want our children aspiring to fire assult rifels in public places against their fellow man, we like them to look up to high professional standards, have integrity and respect for human life (and dogs too of course!). Simples.

    • Operational Support Unit

      5.56 & 7.62 are carried, the G36 and HK417 being two examples

  • Yallan

    UZI ALERT: Uzi look-alike spotted the Mp7.

  • Dave C

    What happened to the EOTEC sights on the Hockler MP5SF carbines? They all appear to be iron sights only?

    Time was, it was the MP5SF with a collapsible stock and an optic sight…

    • Operational Support Unit

      it varies by unit & agency, you’ll still see the 5 in that config

  • Alan Hodges

    I saw a G36C over there too.

  • john

    all police weapons in this country are semi-only, as far as I know.

    • forrest1985

      Yes they are

      • Operational Support Unit

        No they’re not 😉

        • forrest1985

          The plot thickens 🙂 do tell good sir!

          • Operational Support Unit

            See my comments below, but basically a number of units got them either post-Mumbai or pre-Olympics, depending on what the CC wanted

        • David Sharpe

          Yes they are, maybe not for highly specialized units, but for CO19, they are single fire.

          What unit uses true select fire?

          • Operational Support Unit

            “highly specialized units” doesn’t include CO19? (they’re not called that any more, SC&O19 now) Going right back to their days as PT17 they’ve had full auto capable MP5s, still got them and the SIG516s that they’ve upgraded to, most of the units that made up the Combined Response Firearms Teams for the 2012 Olympics had select fire weapons purchased for them, they kept them for use by the CTSFO, so that’s the main firearms team for London, 12 or so counties units, the various protection teams have MP5Kurtz and short-barrelled M4s of various brands

            CNC have select fire weaponry in 9mm, 5.56mm, 7.62mm and bigger (largest IIRC are the 30mm deck guns on the transport ships) I could go on

          • David Sharpe

            I don’t consider them Highly Specialized, they are guards, they stand outside the Castle, in the airports etc.

            According to everything I have read about them they use Single Fire MP5s

          • Operational Support Unit

            Read up on SC&O19 the ARV unit are first responders to everything up to and including terrorist assaults, whilst the Tactical Support Teams do hundreds of raids and intelligence lead operations every month the Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers (CTSFO) do everything including training hand in hand with the SAS, GSG9,FBI HRT ,sky marshal duties and also teaching world wide. they’re among the best in the world

            CO6 (diplomatic Protection) SO14(Royalty Protection) SO18 (aviation security) SO17 (palace of Westminster) and a couple of other units are the “guards” and they’re highly trained too

          • David Sharpe

            Do you have any links to say that they use select fire weapons?

          • Operational Support Unit

            I can suggest some books if you would like, not sure if there’s anything available online

  • Jon

    25 yards would be a fair comparison if you were comparing if with a pistol. To compare it with a rifle 150 yards would be fair.

  • Ryan Campbell

    The MP7 is MOD (Ministry of Defence) Police. It should be noted the Met are also usually armed with LMT AR15’s. Up North in Scotland it’s usually H&K’s, but the firearms tend to differ massively by region.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      Neither the Met or the City police use the LMT Defender as far as I know. However, they are used by some regional police forces, and more significantly they are the carbine used by the British Transport Police so you do tend to see them quite a lot in London around train and tube stations.

    • Operational Support Unit

      Sig516 for Met Specialist Firearms, LMT Defender for BTP (transit Police)

  • Keith Melton

    Circle is now complete. Disarm the populace, disarm the LEOs, rearm the LEOs, totalitarian reign over the populace.

  • Cesar

    Don’t be fooled by those MP5s… they are also semi auto like the MP7… they also carry G36C in semi auto as well.

  • supergun

    Never thought I would see police with guns at corners in the UK. Saw that in the Dominican Republic and that was unnerving. But will all the lunatics running around I agree with it. Good to see it. If there is a need for police to carry, shouldn’t the citizens be allowed to carry also????????????????

  • Capn Stefano

    How nice for the coppers, while your average citizen over there can’t even own a .38 revolver in their own home for self defense

  • Mark Riley

    I can’t be the only one that would be pretty pissed they gave us HKs without any redeeming qualities (select fire).

  • cageordie

    Yes, the British don’t do spray and pray as a tactic. You are expected to hit what you aim at and be responsible for your misses. Thames Valley plod have been using SMGs for at least 20 years. When I was with MoD(PE) in the 80s the MoD Plod weren’t armed.

  • ex that man

    A couple of points from someone who did the firearms roll at one of these locations.
    The law in the UK requires every use of force to be individually assessed before being applied. This rules out the use of full auto in most cases but not all. As previously hinted at, a officer would have a hard time justifying each round fired if his weapon was on full auto.
    There are full auto weapons, they are a tool for a certain risk.

    All weapons carried are in condition one. Round in chamber etc.

    The guys that you photographed don’t have personal issue weapons so take what is available from the armoury.
    I would always go for a fixed stock MP5 as I found the cheek wobbled about and affected accuracy with the sliding stock versions.
    mostly I was happy with iron sights, I liked the MP5 sights, but I worked at 2 locations where by the light was so poor i could not see my sights. At these locations I would try and get an eotech.

    Due to the amount of time the guys are on their feet some mistakenly go for the sliding stock thinking that it makes the weapon lighter. It doesn’t. Also they avoid the eotech for the same reasons despite it’s low weight.

    Police in the UK have always carried firearms from the outset. Just not every officer.

    These guys are photographed thousands of times every shift. No problems at all. Start taking photos of the physical security measures and you may get to chat to a nice police officer…

  • Steve_7

    They’re all semiautomatic, they’re referred to as carbines and they usually only load 10 rounds in the magazine. Home Office won’t allow full auto, except for the Met SRT. The reason for the different uniforms is they’re different police forces, the Met and the MoD.

    • Operational Support Unit

      Sort of right, there are 43 police forces in England & Wales, each with some form of Tactical Firearms Unit they have automatic weapons in the armoury for use in specific circumstances, 30 round magazines are sometimes 1/2 loaded but often fully loaded

  • RPK

    God save the Queen! With the hodge podge of people from varying parts of the world residing in Great Britian, it is no wonder law enforcement would be armed to the teeth. And, this is ONLY what was observed. Imagine what firepower is hidden away in reserve.

  • Jim

    Most police firearms here in the UK are restricted to semi auto and use 20 round magazines.

    This is to instill discipline and reduce overzealous use.

  • Dave C

    “Chill, Winston.”

    No contest.

  • buzzman1

    Whats up with this? I thought England was so safe after confiscation all firearms that even the police didnt need them! (hope you can pick up on the false disbelief)

    • Operational Support Unit

      Perfectly legal to own firearms in the UK

  • ghost

    London has werewolves, don’t you know?

  • Brian M

    I thought this was a SAFE, gun-FREE society where you were never in danger, let alone anything where a GUN could do any GOOD? Clearly that’s why the cops need to be armed more heavily than ever.