Ruger Precision Rifle used by UK Police

The Northumbria Police serves a population of around 1.5 million people and covers an area of more than 2,000 square miles in the North East of England.

Here you can see one of their “Firearms Officers” with a sniper rifle, over watching the runners on Tyne Bridge as the Half Marathon Great North Run progresses.

It’s sad to see that the UK Police have to call it a “Firearms Officer“, but my understanding is that carrying a firearm is something you volunteer to do as a Policeman in the UK. Please correct me if I’m wrong, or add information in the comments below.

According to Wikipedia the terms are: “Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO) to attend incidents where firearms might be needed and Specialist Firearms Officers are usually trained to a higher standard than an AFO.”


With budgets being what they are these days, it’s interesting to see that the UK Police went for a rifle with a lot of bang for the Pound.

I would have expected an Accuracy International over his shoulder, but to my surprise they are using the Ruger Precision Rifle.

It looks like they got a Leupold scope and Harris bipod fitted, a very basic setup – at least compared to a lot of target shooters!

Our Firearms Officers are among the officers on patrol today, keep a look out & make sure to say hello & get a selfie

It looks like a Ruger Precision Rifle in .308 Win, 20″ barrel, Gen 1.

So, it’s time to add another firearm to the list of Firearms the Police are using in the UK.

Red Arrows flying over the Tyne Bridge.

You can find some other options like Sako TRG M10, Tikka T3x TAC A1 and another Ruger in this recent TFB post.

Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


  • Rasputin

    Robust, functional, accurate… Why not save some tax-payer money for once?

  • Ryan Snow

    “So my crew was setting up lights and getting everything ready for filming when the Ruger employee decides a good idea to tell my crew how to do their job and put restrictions on the amount of booth space we had to use for filming – at this point I pulled the plug on the whole thing and we packed up and left. And in a blink of an eye Ruger lost a minimum of 100,000 or more views on my channel on this one product alone. You ever wonder why NO Special Operations or SWAT teams on the entire planet use anything Ruger makes ? Now you know why.” – Larry Vickers

  • iksnilol

    A disgrace to us overpriced European shooters everywhere.


    *grumbles* Leupold… kids nowadays *further grumbling*

  • Boudreux

    I’m surprised this specific officer isn’t using a DMR . . . what am I missing? Semi auto, accurate enough for these ranges vs. good value bolt action precision rifle?

    • Brett baker

      Have you ever heard BBC types talk about guns? It would be screaming about cops with machine guns/assault rifles.

      • MeaCulpa

        Paradoxically I’d say that I’ve seen more British cops with assault rifles or SMGs than with just pistols. Well it does make sense but it seems strange coming from a country where every cop in uniform carries a pistol.

        • forrest1985

          Increasing numbers of British Police are switching to G36C and an AR15 variant I can’t identify. Some are even using the Sig MCX (?) After the recent terror attacks In London I did email TFB photos Showcasing some of these firearms, but i guess they weren’t interested as I never heard back.

          • Mr Mxyzptlk

            They are actually tending to be switching away form G36Cs. The most common guns that are coming in are, depending on the force, LMT Defenders, SIG 516s, SIG MCXs, and have even seen a few Colt Canada CQBs (I assume ex military L119A1s that have been replaced by L119A2s).

        • Yeah, London was the first place I saw actual cops just strolling around with subguns and rifles. You never see that in America, unless there is a specific threat the only time you see rifles out on the street is when things go pear shaped.

          • Mr. Katt

            London is a muslim occupied city, run my a muzzie mayor — what else did you expect ?

          • This was before the London terrorist attacks. At the time it was a hold over from the “Troubles” as that hadn’t been completely sorted out at the time.

            Though one could argue that it still isn’t sorted out as there are still small factions that have claimed that they are still at war.

          • FarmerB

            I think “strolling around” is overstating it. Unless there is a recent alert/incident, my impression is that you only see armed police at extremely high value targets: Heathrow, Palaces of Westminster, number 10, etc. and a lot of them still have MP5’s.

          • It was in London. But I was just in DC a few months (both cases about a year after 9/11) before that around all the usual suspects that a tourists wants to see and I didn’t see a single rifle or subgun visible.

            Granted I know that they are there in patrol cars, in guard posts, and other places. But it was quite a shock to see officers just walking around with them in the open.

          • gruntox

            I lived in London on and off for 2 years in the mid 1990s .I always saw Bobbies armed with MP5s and troops with SA80s around major landmarks. I use to work in the city though.There was a little threat called the IRA who use to bomb London which everyone has forgotten about. So the terror threat in London is nothing new.You couldn’t find a public garbage can in the streets for love or money in the city due to the bomb threat.I worked bars and security.You wouldn’t let an old lady leave her bag behind for fear of an IRA ruse.

            I also use to see armed troops in the Paris metro and SMG armed Police in Spain and Italy.A little mob called ETA use to run around Spain and the Italians had the mafia.

          • If you look a couple of posts down (which is in reply to a racist deleted post blaming it on the Muslims) you will see I am well aware about the IRA.

          • French Balloon

            Thank you for keeping the bigots in check, Sir Cuckington.

          • FarmerB

            A number of countries have armed soldiers on the streets these days. France, Italy – even, at times, the U.K. Jesse, I’ve even seen armed army personnel patrolling Grand Central in NYC.

            When I first went to London in 1987, you used to get searched to enter a movie theatre. IIRC, they used to patrol Heathrow with MP5’s in those days as well. Hardly surprising, considering the terrorist attacks on airports in the 70’s.

        • kyphe

          The idea is that when UK police carry they generally do not engage in routine policing. If you do not need your hands free then a shoulder fired weapon is always preferable so as to better hit the target not someone else. It works out pretty well as the unarmed officers can get to grips while not having to worry about being shot with their own gun which would in almost every case be the only gun present.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            It doesn’t work well.

            You can’t float about in uniform in a marked police vehicle and not engage in routine policing. People still do silly things in cars in front of you, you still come across things in the street, you can still be the nearest unit to something needing an urgent response.

            Those of us who aren’t armed don’t have to worry about being shot by our own gun but we do have to worry about going up against people armed with firearms, carrying knives and all the other things people try to assault police officers with whilst the nearest ARV is an hour away on blue lights.

          • kyphe

            I have been speaking to my friends and family who are on the force and they generally disagree with your opinion and assessment and that is in an area quite above the national average of firearms incidents. Yes many officers are afraid of the legal liability but most just do not want to shoot another human being or have the escalation of threat that is the hallmark of US policing. If you are floating about in a marked police vehicle then your guns should be locked away and 15 min would be a long wait in this area for an ARV an hour would mean it is coming from another force in another city.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            A lot of cops are just as blinkered as the public because they don’t know any different. Things are slowly changing though, more and more officers are coming out and saying they would carry.

            We hold up the US as an example but if we look within our own borders the PSNI don’t run around shooting people for fun and escalating things unnecessarily. Their model works.

            Your guns won’t be locked away, just about every single force in the country now has what is known as standing authority for firearms officers to carry their pistol all the time. I think one force in the UK doesn’t have it at present and that may well have changed over the last few months anyway. You probably won’t be aware of the reasons behind that but there have been a number of incidents that have led to that position being adopted nationally.

            Some areas are far better than others for ARV response times. Don’t suppose that because the area you live in has 15 minute response times (which is still an eternity when seconds count) that the rest of the country is like that, especially more rural areas.

          • kyphe

            If the PSNI model as you call it could ever be said to work it may have something to do with the ever present threat of summery execution in the street, so never a good idea to use that exceptional situation to propose a general precedent anywhere else in the UK. Standing authority is nothing new but you simply don’t see AFOs dealing with domestics and drunks with a sidearm on their hip in this metropolitan area. Are you claiing to be an AFO btw? I can just imagine all the legal claims of PTSD after feeling threatened by an armed officer. Ofc terrorism has changed a lot of peoples minds on the subject along with the rise in gang crime. I believe the gov are going to have another nationwide survey of officers relating to routine arming following the Manchester bombing and the vehicular terror attacks, so we will see if you are right or not pretty soon.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            Northern Ireland isn’t a bad place to look to. They operate within much the same framework that we do in the rest of the UK and manage to go about their daily police duties armed without popping shots off left, right and centre. If they can do that in the context that they police in why couldn’t we manage on the mainland?

            It’s worth pointing out that the threat level to police specifically is the same in NI as it is in GB. Different folks trying to kill us but police officers are a target in NI and on the mainland as we’ve seen.

            You maybe don’t see it where you work (which I’d point out doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen) but it happens elsewhere. You’ve only got to see some of these fly on the wall documentary type things to see armed officers being deployed to routine calls in some forces.

            I would regularly come across things when crewing an ARV that you just have to deal with. You can’t just drive past a bunch of drunks fighting on a Saturday night because you are carrying, as a police officer that isn’t an option. As for claims of PTSD because people have seen armed police, they’d get laughed out of court in short order if they ever got that far in the first place.

            The Police Federation are the ones doing the surveys. There isn’t a right or a wrong answer to the question either but I believe what I do as the result of my experience over the years, both armed and unarmed.

  • Tim

    Well, bless their British hearts.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Looks like he could use some belt keepers. Unless he’s trying to go for the western gun belt look.

    • The Forty ‘Twa

      Was my preferred method of wearing a duty belt. Don’t think any of my colleagues ever wore belt keepers.

  • Stuki Moi


    Good for Ruger and their customers. It’s always nice to have customers that can be counted on to give product feedback about potential issues in an organized, standardized and normalized way. Departmental sales and usage tends to provide that.

    • Yeah it makes it quicker to organize the usual post-release Ruger recall.

  • Graham2

    I can’t remember the last time UK police officers used any of their sniper rifles and long may it continue!

    • James Kachman

      I should hope they practice somewhat frequently…. 😉 Long may it continue!

    • Tony

      I can

  • Rocky Mountain 9

    Why is a precision rifle with a Leupold optic, Harris bipod, and sling a “very basic setup”? What else could you possibly need for this situation?

    • An AI rifle, an Atlas Bipod, and a S&B Scope. That would probably double the price.

      • FarmerB

        The scope would pay for his whole rig, including sling and cleaning kit 🙂 given the amount of times they’d be expected to use a rifle in anger and the cost differential, using top end kit would be a waste.

    • iksnilol

      Why would i use a Leupold? Am I trying to be a cheapskate here? Have some professional courtesy towards whatever you are killing.

      • Mr. Katt

        Leupold – when you care enough to use the very best on your target. : )

        • iksnilol

          But Leupold is cheap. It’s like the Hi Point of precision optics.

          “Very best…” Now that’s a good joke.

          • AlanHan

            Leupolds are cheap? Not the good ones. Ask any police purchasing agent.

          • iksnilol

            Oh honey, check out the S&B catalog.

            Leupold is cheap… and that gold ring thingamajig looks trashy (clashes with everything that isn’t a Mexican cartel gun).

          • AlanHan

            2,500 to $3,800? They’re both expensive, in a world offering so many $200-1,000 scopes. Honey. You’re not supposed to leave the gold ring gold…. Still, I have to compliment the extent to which your use of English slang has improved in two years, as revealed in other recent posts. I note, though, that you alternate between comments adopting a gun/glass snob POV, then alternatively a very practical point of view. I chalk this up to your dual national bases. Nothing foolish about practicing a diverse linguistic repertoire.

          • iksnilol

            Well, I shoot both snobby guns (German target guns) and really inexpensive guns (Yugoslavian gray market). So you’re on target there (pun intended).

  • Tom

    “It’s sad to see that the UK Police have to call it a “Firearms Officer“”

    And just what exactly is sad about a country where the police are able to do their job without the need to carry lethal weapons?

    • The Forty ‘Twa

      We should carry firearms in this country though, we’ve just kidded ourselves on that we don’t.

      I’ve policed armed and unarmed here and it really is madness that we don’t have routine arming. We send unarmed cops to knife calls and tell them to run away if the threat is too high and only then will armed officers be deployed (who can be well over an hour away outside of the big cities).

      Unarmed cops aren’t trained or equipped to deal with calls involving weapons according to our own procedures and yet we still get sent anyway because bosses are so scared of deploying armed officers that they’d rather we end up dead then they get criticised in the media for an armed deployment.

      I can understand the public thinking unarmed policing is great because they don’t have the faintest idea what it is that we do. They are constantly told that we’re the best police in the world and so on which is frankly a load of rubbish. If we’re the best police in the world why are we not training and equipping our officers to protect themselves and the public from the threat they face on a daily basis? Why do officers have to resort to using things like wheelie bins to protect themselves from people with knives?

      What I don’t understand is why some of my colleagues think the current situation is anything other than ludicrious. A lot would carry if they weren’t so worried about the threat of prosecution but there are plenty that seem to think a can of silly string, a stab vest and a rattly metal stick make them invincible. It turns out turkeys do vote for Christmas after all…

      Anybody that thinks unarmed policing works is kidding themselves on.

      • “What I don’t understand is why some of my colleagues think the current situation is anything other than ludicrious.”

        Culture, UK policing has the is a culture of the gentlemen police officer, “We don’t need to use excess force like guns, we aren’t like those bloody Colonials.”

        • FarmerB

          Funny that when the Brits went to set up and run all those colonies, they were armed to the teeth.

      • AlanHan

        As a US attorney who once visited Lincolns Inn and studied the evolution of UK gun laws, it is as clear as day that the UK, domestically, shifted from trusting its poorer working class (aka “lower orders) to fearing them tremendously. A farmer cannot use a shotgun to ward off a criminal, and his local police do not carry weapons. And yet, I had the bizarre experience of seeing a weapons van pulling up instantly during an apparent threat in The City. So machine guns are instantly on call for the investment bankers, but for everyone else? “Keep your head down and down draw the attention of the YOBs.” The upper-middle class has clearly been kept on the side of the Uppers by policies assuring that the poorest sort are uneducated ruffians. No?

        • The Forty ‘Twa

          I think you might be overthinking it a wee bit turning it into a class issue. The simplest explanation is usually the best!

          • AlanHan

            I am not sure how else to classify the motives behind the change in UK firearm laws apart from class. Even Blackstone recognized the right to keep and bear arms as “The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at
            present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to
            their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which ….(ed)….is indeed
            a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of
            resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws
            are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

            That “oppression” means by criminals, not the Crown. Yet the Act of 1937 removed self-defense as an acceptable justification for obtaining a pistol, rifle, or shotgun under 20″ in length….on one’s license. The chief constable was put in charge of firearms licensing for his district. What this meant, as a practical reality, was that a person against whom the influential had a grudge was not going to lawfully obtain such a firearm.

            I would call that a class basis. I would also agree with those scholars who found the 1920 act to have been motivated by a fear of rebellion following the grotesque slaughters of WWI. I doubt there is. scholar who did not come to such a conclusion.

            In short, the successive statutes have left the City and the major estates secure, but require the ordinary folk to do without an armed police person or so much as a stick, if intended for defense. “Damned plebs simply cannot be trusted.” We can disagree. I couldn’t even see the “simpler” explanation, in light of the social facts.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            We’ve talked ourselves up as being the best police in the world and arming officers is essentially us having to admit that it isn’t the case. You can try to turn it into a class struggle all you want but nobody wants to be the person who goes down in history as the who armed the police in the UK.

          • AlanHan

            I completely sympathize with your plight. Perhaps you are actually the best police in the world. It may just be that the greatly changed population you must now police has caused the new requirements? I’d bet you can’t say that without being sanctioned. Life. I’m not the least bit smug. It seems that virtue signalling by politicians leads eventually to mandatory denial (the Rotherham Syndrome), then decay. There simply must be a better way. Best of luck.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            I don’t think it really has anything to do with immigration in a lot of cases. It probably depends on where in the UK you work as to who you tend to come across. It isn’t something you can pin on any one factor.

            The vast, vast majority of offenders I have to deal with are young white British men because it is an area with very little in the way of immigration. Working in somewhere like Birmingham or London things would be radically different.

            When I was younger if you annoyed the local police you got a clip round the ear. If you did something more serious to got an absolute kicking. It’s not something I could condone in this day and age but there was a degree of what some would call fear and others would call respect in those days. I’m glad we’ve moved away from that because I didn’t join the police to put somebody in a cell and nearly kick them to death.

            For kids now it is very different. They get arrested by the police, get a slap on the wrist at court and are released to do it all again. So the next time they land a punch on a cop whilst being arrested, get a pathetic sentence and do it all again. Except this time they think they’ve got away with everything else so they will threaten a cop with a knife because the justice system doesn’t take what they do seriously.

            It just breeds a class of criminal who has no respect for authority because they get away with so much. It doesn’t matter if they are white, black or whatever else, there don’t seem to be any consequences.

      • Tom

        Rightly or wrongly your opinion is out of step with the majority of UK police. In the UK the police operate by consent so if the people do not want armed police then unarmed police is what they will have.

        In the last 10 years 11 UK Police officers have died in the line of duty, Most recently PC Keith Palmer GM who was stabbed during the recent attack on the Palace of Westminster would having a firearm have actually saved him? Would a gun have saved PCs David Phillips or Andrew Duncan who were run over by a car?

        There are certainly arguments for arming all/more of the police but for the most part unarmed policing works well [in the UK]. I doubt you will find many in or out of the Police service who believe the cost of arming and training all police officers would not be better spent on other things.

        Again I would ask just what is sad about the idea that a country is able to police its people without the need to resort to firearms?

        • The Forty ‘Twa

          The numbers who would carry are creeping up, more and more are saying they would do so. It was virtually unheard of to support routine arming when I joined (I certainly didn’t) but almost everyone on my team supports it.

          Policing by consent and routine arming are not mutually exclusive. They police by consent in Northern Ireland which it is important to note is part of the UK. They police by consent in Australia. They police by consent in Canada. To be honest they police by consent in most modern democratic nations and manage just fine but we pretend that it means not carrying a gun when the reality is there is so much more to the concept of policing by consent than that.

          In any case, recent polling puts public support for routine arming at over 70%. The public don’t want an unarmed police service.

          From what is being shared internally amongst police forces in the UK at present I think PC Palmer probably would have had a fighting chance. Of course a gun won’t stop officers being killed but then you are just erecting a strawman there. Nobody believes that.

          It all rather misses the point though, deaths make the headlines but it is the routine day to day stuff that we attend that is just as important. I attend knife calls day in, day out which meet the criteria for armed deployments but we don’t for various reasons.

          The training given to unarmed officers is to back off when faced with a knife and call for armed support. I can’t defend us not being trained and equipped to deal with situations we have to face day in day out. Is that really an example of unarmed policing working well?

          At the end of the day I really don’t think unarmed policing works well at all. We fail the public but not being able to protect them and I feel we are being failed by the organisation which puts us in a position where we have to face threats that the organisation themselves tells us we are not trained or equipped to deal with on a daily basis. The cost of providing officers with the necessary training and equipment to better protect themselves and the public is something that I suspect most would support.

        • Tony

          Tom, I was a Metropolitan Police officer for 33 years, both as an armed and an unarmed officer and frankly I’m sick of the old ‘policing by consent’ platitude. Do the Dutch not police by consent or the Swedes or the Spanish? You say that the public don’t want us to be armed and yet, as a UK citizen, I’ve never been asked, have you?

          Likewise the ‘a gun wouldn’t have helped PC Pat Dunn or PC Keith Palmer’ nonsense that is always wheeled out by senior officers and politicians, whenever an officer dies in the course of their duty, is equally annoying and misses the point. Perhaps a gun wouldn’t have saved them but what about the unarmed officers that rush to their aid?

          Had an armed close protection officer not been close by at Westminster, who knows how many other unarmed officers or members of the public would have been killed. Would you want to have been the officer that survived because they ran away from the danger when your colleague or an MOP died by wading in? Could you live with that?

          We are still part of Europe (for the time being at least) and covered by its human rights legislation, so why is it then that a community police officer patrolling the cobbled streets of Bruges is entitled to carry a pistol for is own protection when an officer responding to calls in a UK city with a gun crime problem is not?

          UK police are pretty well mandated by Health and Safety legislation to wear body armour (an acceptance that they may get stabbed or shot) but aren’t issued with the appropriate tools to protect themselves or the public. Would we let a worker onto a building site and insist that they wore a hi-viz jacket and steel toe capped boots but refuse them a hard-hat?

          When Lee Rigby was killed it took an ARV 15 minutes to reach the scene and shoot the suspects. Regular patrol officers were at the scene within minutes but had to wait behind their incident tape and watch the public, they were sworn to support, remonstrate with the terrorists and effectively do their job for them…How can that be right?

          As a former firearms instructor, I know that arming all front line officers would be a mammoth task and would take a long time to implement but using ‘policing by consent’ and ‘our system of policing is the envy of the world’ as an excuse for ignoring the issue is negligent. It will have to happen and they need to start preparing now before its forced on them.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            I can think of one Tony with 33 years service in the Met who is well known to the police firearms community in the UK. That wouldn’t be yourself would it?

      • Tony

        Spot on. The last time the UK police were the ‘envy of the world’, we were driving police cars made in Coventry and detectives wore trilbies and macintoshes.

        We are one of only 5 developed nations in the world whose police are routinely unarmed. New Zealand and Norway at least train all of their officers and guns are available in vehicles (In the case of Norway, patrolling officers have been carrying recently as a result of the increased terrorist threat.)

        The Garda in Southern Ireland have copied the UK model and now have ARVs and SFOs but bizarrely their detectives are all armed (weird!) and then there’s Iceland, which is hardly a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and has virtually no gun crime. None of the countries mentioned are as densely populated or as multicultural as the UK, nor do they have the same degree of violent crime.

        Here in the UK, regardless of the current terrorist threat, we have feral youths riding around our cities on mopeds armed with guns, machetes and acid attacking passers by for their iPhones, armed rival drug gangs embroiled in turf wars and a problem with alcohol and drug enhanced violence.

        We need to stop kicking this particular can down the street and at least start preparing to routinely arm our officers. If we don’t, an event will force it on an ill prepared police service and the result will be poorly recruited and poorly trained and equipped officers patrolling our streets.

    • I M Deplorable

      I seem to remember a video of an unarmed french police officer laying on the ground with his hands up being executed by the bad guy. Before the bad guy went on to execute over 100 more people.

      • Tom

        Not sure if you are thinking of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the footage of Judicial Police officer Ahmed Marabet (who along with another police officer, Franck Brinsolaro was murdered during the attack) being killed. Ahmed had been armed but was wounded in the shoot out.

        Or perhaps you are thinking of the attack on the Bataclan where as far as I am aware no police officers were killed.

        No one can deny that the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun but we should not fool ourselves into thinking that guns make those good guys invincible.

    • Tony

      Tom, tell that to the unarmed BTP officer that was first on scene at London Bridge and who, armed only with a baton, sustained life changing injuries and will now be medically discharged from the job. It may have only taken the ARV’s 8 minutes to arrive and eliminate the threat but it still wasn’t quick enough for him. What if the attack had been…say Brighton? how many members of the public or unarmed bobbies would have died or been seriously injured before one of the two ARVs that patrol the whole of the county of Sussex arrived on scene?

  • Mr. Katt

    Hold on a sec . . . . didn’t outlawing private possession of firearms solve crime ??? Oooooh, that’s right – criminals ignore laws so innocent folks have to bear the brunt of it. Yeah, that makes sense . . .

    It’s called STUPIDITY.

    • Lance

      If you believe that laws only exist to stop people doing things then you are a fool.