SIG MCXs among British Counter Terror Cops

by Miles

The Daily Mail has an excellent group of photographs concerning an elite Scotland Yard unit that was set up before the Paris attacks, but has increased its tempo of training to counter such attacks as in Paris. Britain has this thing known as SFOs, or Specialist Firearms Officer, and these guys have “CT-SFO” on their vests, which means “Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officer”. Essentially SFOs are the only members of British Law Enforcement that can carry firearms on the job.

Regardless, what we see here is probably the first operational use of the Sig Saur 5.56x45mm MCX that has reached the mainstream media. The unit also has SIG 516 rifles, which can be differentiated from the MCX with the telescoping wire buttstock without the traditional buffer tube. In these pictures you can see the 516s with Magpul buttstocks installed. I’m curious as to why a unit would have both types of carbines instead of just one. I would think the logistical nightmare would be compounded even more so with two different logistics trains. In addition, I also don’t really see why the Brits would want the MCX if they already have the 516. Traditionally wire telescoping butt stocks are great for Paratroopers who need that weapon as short as possible, but cops aren’t exactly jumping out of airplanes so the 516 would be just fine for them.

I thought American news outlets made gross firearms errors, but it seems British news outlets might just be worse. Apart from labeling every MCX as a 516, they list the Glock 17s with a range of 150 meters, goggles withstanding rounds and an encrypted firearms radio channel?

The marksmen were also toting their new lightweight, semi-automatic SIG 516 rifle.

The 130-strong unit has been developing new tactics with UK special forces, including abseiling from helicopters and tackling rampaging gunmen.

They have been trained to shoot for the head instead of the usual target, the chest.

They came out of the shadows in the wake of the massacre of 129 people in Paris on Friday.

The heightened terror threat was confirmed last night when another friendly – between Germany and the Netherlands – was called off very late because of a ‘concrete’ bomb threat.

No risks were taken because three of the seven Paris suicide bombers had targeted a fixture at the Stade de France between France and Germany.

Last night’s match began with English and French fans uniting to sing France’s national anthem, La Marseillaise.

One expert described the counter-terrorism officers at Wembley as ‘effectively SAS officers in police uniform’.

Amid some of the tightest security ever seen at a sporting fixture, they took up key positions around the ground.

Many of the officers chose to cover their faces because they sometimes work undercover.

Their new weapon was selected to boost the power of police to respond to armed threats with increased accuracy while allowing them to move in confined spaces.

Because you aren't tactical until you have tactical ducktape. This is a Glock 17 in an Italian Radar 1957 Holster.

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

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  • Kivaari Kivaari on Nov 25, 2015

    The Brits are really anal about guns. Every cop should have a handgun, and know how to use everything in inventory. Brits are either afraid of guns or simply will not spend the money and time it takes to train people. We are in a new era where terrorist and common criminals outgun the cops. There is no reason cops anywhere should be outgunned by thugs. Brits do have issues with cops using force to stop crime. Whether they kill a kid running to catch a subway or shoot a man trying to attack other cops. The second case involved an IRA-type coming at a cop with a club. The OFFENDING officer, had spun around and fired a rubber slug from a 37mm launcher hitting the attacker. The attacker was hit below the ribcage ad died. Brits charged the officer with murder. Insane action by UK weenie administrators.

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    • Kivaari Kivaari on Nov 28, 2015

      @Tony Quintus Tony, Brits and Irish have a very high rate of crimes against persons than other European and North American English speaking populations (excluding inner-city dwellers). Americans outside of urban blight areas have very low crime rates. British Isle dwellers have some of the highest excessive alcohol use, and that leads to more violence in the
      "normal population". If you think American police are "militarized" you should look at Paris and Brussels these last two weeks. We have very few cops walking around packing machineguns unless there are riots or SWAT actions going on. British police have a long history of using excessive military force upon civilians, especially in the colonies. Europeans have armored weapons truck mounted with water cannon. I've never seen a dedicated water cannon truck in the USA. The use of fire trucks 50 years ago was an anomaly. Firemen do not like risking $500,000 pumper trucks giving people a shower. When Brit cops do use guns, they often use them improperly. We don't send in the SAS to retake Iranian Embassy grounds with high explosives, and shooting surrendering terrorist there or Spain (Gibralter). Now Philly PD did use explosives once and it cost them dearly.
      Using surplus armored vehicles is a proper use. Like yesterdays shooting in Colorado Springs. Armored vehicles are used to get to and protect downed victims and insert a team.
      A typical cop in America will never fire his weapon at a person in an entire career. I served on and off from 1968 to 2002. I never shot anyone. I fired one round to distract a shooter. And killed several injured animals. We even carried a .22 rifle for animal dispatching. I used a gun to stop a knife attack and kidnapping and an assault with a pipe. No need to shoot, but it gives you an edge against armed subjects that know you can reach out and touch them.
      Brits need to restore order. Liverpool had (in a 1992 study) the highest rate of crimes against persons than any other industrialized nation. UK has or had the highest rate of home invasion robberies in civilized nations. I wont count Mexico, even though they have high rates of all violence, it is technically a disarmed populace, since good people can't own guns. Crime would go down there and Chicago if good people were armed.

  • Itsmefool Itsmefool on Nov 28, 2015

    So will the Brits get the .300 Blackout kits before us, too? And by us, I mean those who didn't get one of the very limited kits from Cabela's earlier this year!