List of police firearms in the United Kingdom

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Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
Types of agency
Types of agent

Most British police officers are not routinely armed.[1] Instead, they rely on specially trained Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO) to attend incidents where firearms might be needed. Specialist Firearms Officers are usually trained to a higher standard than an AFO, because they are likely to be the officers required to enter besieged premises. The vast majority of firearms used by British police are semi-automatic. Police use of force regarding firearms is governed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Weapons used by Home Office police forces[edit]

Firearms used by police officers vary between police forces in the UK. The Chief Constable and Police authority of each force decides the number of firearms officers and type of police firearms available.

In 2010, 5.56mm calibre carbines were widely introduced in case of a Mumbai style terrorist attack.[2][3]

Firearms issued to Authorised Firearms Officers include:


  • Glock 17 pistol.
  • Glock 26 pistol. (issued to plain clothes officers of London's Metropolitan Police).
  • Glock 19 pistol. (issued to South Yorkshire Police as a variant to the Glock 17 pistol).
  • SIG Sauer P226 pistol. (issued to Birmingham Police)
  • SIG Sauer P229 pistol. (issued to West Midlands Police)
  • SIG Sauer P250 pistol. (issued to Cleveland police in 9mm, however not to Durham constabulary despite them sharing an armed response team)

Carbines and rifles[edit]

An officer of the Metropolitan Police Service guarding Downing Street with a MP5SFA3 semi-automatic carbine. It has an EOTech 512 holographic sight attached.


Grenade Launcher[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

Unlike territorial police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, the Police Service of Northern Ireland routinely arms all of its officers.[22] Officers are issued the Glock 17 pistol, phasing out the now obsolete Ruger Speed-Six revolvers previously issued. Historically, long arms were routinely issued: either the Sterling submachine gun and later Heckler & Koch MP5, or rifles such as Heckler & Koch G3s, G36 K and C variants, or HK33s. The latter replaced Ruger AC-556 select fire rifles. Long arms are still routinely carried in areas of higher threat such as North and West Belfast or various border areas.

Weapons used by non-Home Office police forces[edit]

A Ministry of Defence Police Officer on duty with an SA80 L85A2

British Transport Police[edit]

Most British Transport Police officers are unarmed. British Transport police AFOs carry:

Belfast Harbour Police[edit]

Like the PSNI, Belfast Harbour Police officers are issued the Glock 17 pistol.

Belfast International Airport Constabulary[edit]

Like the PSNI, officers of the Belfast International Airport Constabulary are issued the Glock 17 pistol whilst on duty. Officers are also authorised to carry Heckler & Koch MP5 support weapons, similar to those used by the PSNI prior to the adoption of the Heckler & Koch G36.

Civil Nuclear Constabulary[edit]

Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) officers are routinely armed while carrying out their duties. CNC officers carry:

CNC officers also operate the armament on board the ships of the company Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited,[24] which specialise in transporting spent nuclear fuel and reprocessed uranium on behalf of the British Nuclear Fuels organisation.[25] Such ships have an on-board escort of armed police.[26][27] The Civil Nuclear Constabulary use a range of heavier weapons up to automatic cannon of 30mm calibre deployed on the ships.

Ministry of Defence Police[edit]

Historic firearms[edit]

In the past, police have been issued:


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  16. ^ "Armed police swoop on Hampshire community (From Daily Echo)". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  17. ^ Sculthorpe, Tim (3 August 2016). "ISIS, meet the C-Men: Scotland Yard shows off the first of 600 awesomely armed (and masked) Counter-Terrorism firearms officers who hit the streets today in vans, boats and MOTORBIKES". Daily Mail. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  18. ^ Musson, Chris; Gray, Rebecca (28 March 2017). "ARMED ALARMED Scots cops don't have tools to deal with two neds never mind terrorists as they call for armed officers". The Scottish Sun. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Chester Chronicle: Chester News, Chester FC, Sport & What's On". Retrieved 2015-04-30.
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  22. ^ "Northern Ireland". Encarta. msn. Archived from the original on 27 August 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007. Unlike police forces in the rest of the United Kingdom, the PSNI is an armed force.
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  24. ^ "PNTL Fleet". Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  25. ^ "Nuclear fuel ship docks in Japan". BBC News. 27 September 1999. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  26. ^ Brown, Paul (20 January 1999). "Nuclear fuel ships to be armed with heavy guns". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
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