SWAT Van |
Typical Loadout |
SWAT Medic Gear |
SWAT Water Ops |
SWAT Scout Gear
By the very nature of the name, SWAT teams deploy more exotic weapons and equipment than standard patrol units. The weapons and equipment presented here is a general overview, not meant to be entirely representative of every tactical unit. Typically, SWAT teams are formed along lines not entirely unlike high-speed special operations forces in the military.
Handguns in some cases make up the primary weapon deployed by SWAT. Handguns used by SWAT are typically the most reliable weaponry on the market. Examples of SWAT handguns include Sig Sauer, Glock, Beretta, H&K, and Colt.
While these weapons are primarily semi-automatic, revolvers still have their place on SWAT teams. An example would be in automobile hostage rescues, where pressing the barrel of a semi-auto up to a windshield can cause the mechanism can disengage and render the weapon inoperable.
Long guns form the primary backbone of SWAT firepower. Included in this category are shotguns, submachineguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles.
Subguns are used extensively by SWAT teams and make up the majority of long guns carried by most teams. Subguns are easily manuverable and carry sufficient ammunition when there is a high risk of CQB. Primarily, subguns are employed to counteract heavy firepower used by todays most violent criminals. These include weapons such as the H&K MP5 series, Colt M177 and M4 carbines, Ruger Mini 14 series, and Beretta M12.
Assault rifles are in a slightly different category than subguns, being larger and somewhat less manuverable in tight spaces. While employed less frequently, assault rifles have the advantage of being able to hit targets at range and are generally more controllable than their smaller subgun counterparts. Examples deployed with SWAT includes the Colt AR-15 series and HK 53/33.
Shotguns are employed for numerous different uses in SWAT. Shotguns are very versatile weapons and for that reason are favored by entry teams. Buckshot rounds may be used for several different purposes. Shotgun uses include using special breaching rounds to breach door hinges and locks, using gas rounds to launch tear gas into structures, and even using flares in nighttime operations. The most common breaching technique is to use a pistol-gripped shotgun with special magnesium "TKO" round that will disentegrate on impact.
Sniper rifles are employed by sniper/observer teams with SWAT. Sniper rifles are long range, medium caliber rifles designed for pinpoint accuracy. They are usually bolt-action and are outfitted with a high-quality optical scope, bipod, and in some cases an attached rangefinder. The Remingtom Model 700 in .308 (7.62) or .300 WInchester Magnum is a popular sniper system. Other popular rifles include those made by Savage Arms and H&K.
Other Specialized Weapons
SWAT teams employ a wide variety of less than lethal weaponry to fight crime. These weapons give SWAT the advantage of neutralizing a subjects ability to fight back without using deadly force. Some of these type of weapons include 37mm and 40mm gas guns, air tasers, strobe devices, sting grenades, flashbang grenades, and sticky foam.
Of these weapons, tear gas and flashbang grenades are the most commonly deployed operationally. Flashbangs are used to stun and disorient subjects usually during dynamic entry operations. A typical flashbang puts out 175 db of noise at 5 feet, along with about 2.5 million candela of light. This will cause disorientation, temporary deafness, and temporary blindness, allowing SWAT officers to quickly gain control of a subject.
For gas rounds, both 12 gauge and 37/40mm OC and CS rounds are most commonly used. As a side note, any shotgun used for less than lethal applications or gas deployment should be merked and used for that purpose only. This is so the rest of the team knows the operator with this weapon does not have instant access to lethal force and will require a cover man at all times.