Which calibers are often used in crime

Rifles for anti-terrorism use by the police

From Marc Roth[1] Since the terrorist attacks "Paris I" and "Paris II" there has been an armament in the area of ​​police hand weapons across Europe. Initially, long police weapons, such as submachine guns and automatic rifles, were primarily procured in the area of ​​specialized and special forces. In addition to new and subsequent purchases of variants of the G36c and G36k assault rifles, variants of the Heckler & Koch assault rifles G38 (HK416A5 and A6) and G27 (HK417A2) also found their way into German police units in 2015/16. Since 2016, an increased interest in equipping with long guns has also been clearly recognizable among regular police forces. In parallel to the subsequent purchases of MP5 variants, the MP7 submachine gun in the new 4.6mmx30 caliber was also introduced in large numbers to regular police forces in one federal state, thus beginning the widespread replacement of the MP5. [2]Military scenarios as police situations - establishing equality of arms with the enemy as part of the duty of care for the officer ...? Based on the knowledge that military scenarios known from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have meanwhile become part of the police's range of tasks through terrorist attacks and acts of amok, [3] the selective equipping of regular police forces with rifles for certain special situations without alternative. In addition to ballistic vests of higher protection classes, especially in terrorist situations, motor vehicles as a means of transport or crime, as well as enemy cover of all kinds, are to be expected. If the respective means of deployment cannot combine sufficient penetration power with the corresponding subsequent energy output, the perpetrators will continue to operate unimpaired and as a result people may be injured or killed, although this could have been avoided if the necessary, heavier hand weapons were available. Since in the terrorist attacks, which were carried out with handguns, variants of the Kalashnikov assault rifle in the medium caliber 7.62mmx39 were almost always in use, equipping with rifles for one's own forces to establish "equality of weapons" or "superiority of weapons" is necessary. Operating range, energy output and penetration power are the logical consequences. There is agreement among experts that the equipment with modern police and submachine guns as standard armament for the regular police is a sensible or mandatory measure, but for special situations the availability of rifles for regular forces is inevitable. 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifles in the German police - "Status quo" and "Quo vadis?" The rifles G1 [4] and G3 [5] in caliber 7.62mmx51 NATO are still in use in relatively small numbers by the regular police. While the BPol, as the successor to the Federal Border Police, primarily uses the G1, the other federal and state police forces use the G3 almost exclusively in the area of ​​regular forces. Both rifle models were introduced by BGS and Bundeswehr in the 1950s and thus have a total useful life of around 60 years. The G3 leads a rather neglected existence in the regular police force, quasi as a "necessary evil" for the only police practice relevant scenario for a rifle in caliber 7.62mmx51: killing escaped slaughter cattle. Accordingly, the “state of preservation” of the rifles is unfortunately often rather “manageable”; Deformation ammunition, as it has existed for years for the police pistol cartridge 9mmx19, is often not available for the old G1 and G3. Therefore - if at least hunting ammunition for cattle killing is not procured - military ammunition with full-jacket soft-core projectiles and a correspondingly high risk of over-penetration or danger to the environment must be used. Modern short-barreled assault rifles, such as the G27k, have recently been used exclusively by specialized and special forces. In the caliber range 5.56mmx45 NATO, especially as a result of the school rampage from 2002, more modern rifles were also procured for regular police forces. The most widespread among German police forces is the G36, in the shorter versions G36k and G36c. In recent years, the G38 (HK416A5 and A6 [6]) with short tubes has also been introduced for some special forces. The bulk of the modern 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifles are naturally used by the specialized (MEK / BFE +) and special forces (SEK / GSG9 / ZuZ) of the federal and state governments, as well as the personal protection forces abroad (PSA) of the BPol. Apart from semi-automatic precision rifles in caliber 7.62mmx51, the police rifles are almost exclusively versions with short or medium barrel lengths, usually with a folding stock or retractable shoulder rest, as these are unavoidable requirements for transport in vehicles and use in buildings . System approach as a core element of police long weapon concepts A police rifle system should above all include the following coordinated system components: - Weapon family, identical / similar operating and dismantling drill for rifles with different barrel lengths and ideally also across calibres; as well as launcher module 40mmx46 LV - attachments to reduce the acoustic and optical signature for training and use [7] - police special ammunition 5.56mm / 7.62mm: precision, deformation, hard core (AP) and tracer [8] - launcher ammunition 40mm for police purposes: NLW -, irritant, luminous, marking, explosive splinters and explosive splinters multi-purpose cartridges - day vision optics - night vision / thermal imaging optics - laser light modules - other accessories (tactical straps etc.) 40mm attachment, the system approach was implemented in such a way that the HK269 can be mounted on all current Heckler & Koch rifles in seconds without modifications or special adapters; these are the models G36, G38 (HK416A5 / A6) and G27 (HK417A2). Ballistic helmet visors and respirators - special ergonomic challenges for police long guns Helmet visors and protective masks have long been an integral part of the equipment of special forces. In the meantime it is foreseeable that these protection options will also prevail among regular forces [9] and thus the hand weapon systems must be designed for this. Specifically, the long guns should have so-called helmet shoulder rests, which prevent the lower edge of the helmet visor from standing on the shoulder rest due to their characteristic downward curved shape. As a result, target acquisition is otherwise made impossible because the officer can no longer reach the line of sight with his eye or the helmet visor pushes the helmet up or into the neck of the wearer in such a way that the chin strap puts an unbearable pull on the head generated; but at least there is a risk that the officer's neck / chin area will no longer be protected by the helmet visor that has been pushed up. Exactly this scenario resulted in a life-threatening shot in the neck by a criminal when a young police force was deployed. In particular, the MP7 submachine gun and all variants of the G36 rifle can be equipped with a so-called helmet shoulder support. The weapon family G38 (HK416) and G27 (HK417) has a continuous shoulder rest tube due to the design, which cannot be moved down because of the locking components running in it. Therefore, this weapon family is particularly suitable for helmet visors of low height. Police rifle ammunition - system compatibility - missing "technical guidelines" For the police pistol cartridge 9mmx19, as well as the pistols introduced by regular police forces, police-specific "technical guidelines" have been continuously developed over decades; At the same time, the system compatibility of the TR ammunition with the MP5 submachine gun is guaranteed. For rifles used by the police in the calibers 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO, there are currently no such “technical guidelines” for weapons or ammunition. When procuring police rifles, the system compatibility of the weapon in connection with the desired types of ammunition should therefore always be checked. This is all the more true since NATO-standardized ammunition [10] is rarely used in the police force, but rather numerous special ammunition, such as deformation and precision cartridges, which have only been militarily qualified as automatic weapons in exceptional cases. Many types of ammunition for rifles previously used by special forces in Germany have therefore only been tested according to the civilian CIP or US SAAMI standards. The problem here is that CIP and SAAMI practically only check the geometric loading capacity of the cartridge in the chamber and that the gas pressure values ​​are adhered to. The functionality in automatic weapons [11] and climate stability are - in contrast to the NATO standards - unfortunately not a test criterion. In practice, therefore, the problem often arises that civilian hunting and sports ammunition is procured solely because of their special projectiles and then functional problems arise in the automatic weapons. On the weapon side, you should therefore only choose models that are compatible with NATO ammunition. On this functional basis, technical delivery conditions for the special police ammunition can then be drawn up and, in connection with the weapon used, appropriate acceptance tests can be carried out at the ammunition manufacturer, as is also common for police pistol ammunition and in the military sector. The police rifles G36, G38 (HK416A5 / A6), G27 (HK417A2) and G28 in calibers 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO All four rifle models have now been introduced to German police units; in the case of the G36, for around 20 years. G38 and G28 have been introduced to the special forces of the Federal Customs Administration (ZUZ), G38 and G27 also to a large state police. The G27k is used together with the G28 by a special federal police unit. All weapons are so-called indirect gas pressure chargers with an impulse rod drive [12] in connection with a rotating head lug lock. The rifles have a hardened and chrome-plated barrel; all types of ammunition used by the Bundeswehr in both calibers can be fired. All rifles are also available as pure semi-automatic versions, are matched to NATO ammunition and pass the NATO projectile test according to AC225 / D14; The G36 is system compatible with most types of police ammunition from German manufacturers, especially from RUAG. G38 (11 "pipe length) and G27 (16.5" pipe length) were introduced in 2016 by a large German state police; The manufacturer certified system compatibility, especially for the RUAG police cartridges Styx Action, Final and AP (hard core); The G27 is still system compatible with the Bundeswehr hard core cartridge DM151 from MEN. The G28 precision rifle can be used in conjunction with the RUAG police precision cartridge Swiss P Target 10.7g / 168gr HPBT. G38, G27 and G28 have a mechanical firing pin or drop safety device as standard, this is also useful for the G36 because of the civil ammunition with soft primers that is sometimes used in the police sector and is therefore available as an equipment option. For use in connection with muzzle signature dampers, G38, G27 and G28 are equipped with manual throttle adjustments, which have the positions N = normal operation (without muzzle attachment) and S = signature damper operation. For physical reasons, regardless of manufacturer and model, the use of damping muzzle attachments due to the massive gas backlog leads to increased contamination of the weapons, especially in the housing and breech area. The cleaning and lubrication intervals are therefore shorter. Signature damper as occupational safety and operational means Since according to the relevant occupational health and safety regulations, it is primarily the noise sources that have to be insulated, signature dampers are inevitably moving more and more into the focus of handgun concepts in the police sector. Even if these usually increase or shift the weapon weight and center of gravity towards the front, there is ultimately no alternative to noise-reducing muzzle attachments for reasons of occupational health and safety and tactical reasons in the medium and long term. The experience of the last 15 years has shown, especially with the operations of special forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, that signature dampers will be an indispensable part of handgun concepts for many reasons in the future. The “ranking” of the reasons why special forces use silencers is interesting: 1.) Self-protection by preventing the opposing optical reconnaissance: Hiding one's own optical muzzle signature (muzzle flame) in fire fighting. 2.) Self-protection by avoiding "friendly fire": since the opponent usually does not use signature dampers, the localization of the positions of own and opposing forces is considerably simplified, especially in confusing situations -> loud bang and muzzle flame: probably opponents or own regular forces (with pistol or MP5), muffled bang and no / little muzzle flame: it is very likely that you will have your own strength. Even their own forces (without shock absorbers) can possibly differentiate civilian police forces with rifles from terrorist attackers. [13] 3.) Self-protection by maintaining verbal communication with one's own forces within shouting distance: without a signature damper, after a few shots, at least a temporary partial deafness of the shooters and bystanders occurs. As a result, communication is only possible to a limited extent or not at all; the risk of potentially life-threatening wrong decisions during the fire fight due to misunderstandings or failure to listen to important instructions / information by one's own strength increases massively. 4.) Self-protection by preventing the opposing acoustic reconnaissance: Reduction of one's own acoustic muzzle signature (muzzle bang) in fire fighting. 5.) Health protection: dampers as "weapon-side hearing protection" for training and use; In the past 20 years, the proportion of training with a sharp shot has increased massively. This is also to be realistically expected from the police force in the next few years. When firing short-barreled rifles in particular, there is significantly greater noise exposure than with the long barrel lengths that were common in the past. This is further increased in rooms by sound reflection. [14]Police use of the cartridge 7.62mm NATO - mandatory for special situations ... Since the procurement of explosives and their ingredients has been made more difficult legally and in fact in Western Europe in recent years, experts agree that vehicles of all sizes are becoming increasingly attractive as a means of crime for terrorists due to their easy availability and inconspicuous relocation to the scene of the attack. After the “Nice” incident, this was also confirmed by the most recent terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market on December 19, 2016, as well as that in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017. In this context, it is also known from so-called checkpoint locations and other attacks with cars during the operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, but also Israel that the attack vehicles used there - often not recognizable from the outside - partly with makeshift armor, e.g. welded in or by means of Wire-fastened steel plates in the area of ​​the doors and the engine compartment. In the "worst case" several vehicles can attack at the same time. Shots in the engine block with hard core ammunition in the caliber 7.62mm NATO then offer the greatest chance of success in stopping the vehicle; As the only common standard ammunition, even with soft-core and police deformation bullets, it reliably penetrates windshields with minimal angular deflection and projectile mass loss, as well as sufficient residual energy so that the driver and other perpetrators can be neutralized before leaving the vehicle. If it cannot be prevented that perpetrators leave the assassination vehicle, they can then be fought with the 7.62mmx51 caliber with low environmental hazard with police deformation ammunition, even if the perpetrators wear ballistic vests of higher protection classes, which cannot be penetrated with calibers up to 5.56mmx45 can. Conclusion Kalashnikov rifles in caliber 7.62mmx39 have been used in almost all recent terrorist attacks.Vehicles always played a role as a means of transport; In the future, it must be expected that these will also gain in importance as a means of crime, as well as that terrorists will wear protective vests in the future, which stop the 9mm and 5.56mm projectiles in particular. Equipping regular police forces with rifles in the calibers 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO therefore appears to have no alternative for the purpose of establishing “equality of arms”. Ultimately, however, ballistic superiority can only be achieved with short-barreled rifles such as the G27k in caliber 7.62mm NATO: with a muzzle energy of around 2,500 joules, it performs considerably more than the Kalashnikov, and even with deformation ammunition can reliably penetrate vehicle doors, windshields and even improvised light ones with hard-core ammunition Armor.




P30 / SFP9












































Muzzle energy




Approx. 600y


Approx. 500Y


Approx. 1,050Y


1,450 yrs


Approx. 2,000 years


Approx. 2,500 years


Above all, the police presence with 7.62mm rifles would force terrorist attackers to wear heavy protective vests (usually with ceramic protective plates) - this would at the same time significantly reduce their mobility, stamina and escape speed on foot and thus the chances of arrest or increase neutralization significantly. The creation of "Technical Guidelines" (TR) for police rifles and ammunition based on the model of the TR police pistol cartridge 9mmx19 and police pistol 9mmx19 would be an effective measure.


[1] The author is a publicly appointed and sworn expert for military and police portable firearms and ammunition from 1945 and as an authorized signatory in the functions of head of product strategy and head of special tasks at Heckler & Koch GmbH. In this role he advises, among other things. Military and police special forces for around 15 years, between 2003 and 2013 mainly US Special Forces in connection with their anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he was project manager for the MP7 from 2002 to 2004 and project manager for the G27 rifle (HK417) in 2004/2005. [2] See article in "Polizeipraxis", edition 2/2016, pages 16 to 24, "Die Nahbereichswaffe MP7" [3] See article in "Polizeipraxis", edition 2/2016, page 16, "Die Nahbereichswaffe MP7" [4] Former standard rifle of the Federal Border Police (BGS, today BPol), introduced in the early 1950s. Later the Bundeswehr's first standard rifle, replaced by the G3 rifle in 1958. The commercial name of the G1 is FAL; Manufacturer: Farbrique Nationale / Belgium. [5] Bundeswehr standard rifle from 1958 to 1996; there to this day, mainly in foreign missions of the Bundeswehr as a semi-automatic precision rifle in the G3A3ZF-DMR variant (Designated Marksman Rifle) in use since 2011, also as a "heavy assault rifle"; Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch. The A5 version has the lighter standard assault rifle barrel, while the A6 has the heavy outer geometry of the commercial rifle MR223. The A6 therefore shows an even more moderate recoil behavior, especially with so-called double shots, and can thus be held in the target even better after the first shot, so that the second shot can be made even faster and more precisely. [7] Not required for 40mm launcher module [8] On the ammunition side, the use of tracer ammunition for non-verbal target marking and as an optical charge level indicator for the shooter also makes sense from the police. It has been known since the heavy battles of German infantry forces in Afghanistan that they often load the last 1-5 rounds in the tracer ammunition magazine in order to always have a reliable indicator of the level of the magazine in the stress of battle: as soon as they fire a tracer from their own weapon see, they know that a (possibly tactical) magazine change must be carried out. This can massively reduce the risk that the weapon will be empty in critical moments. These considerations can be transferred without restriction to regular police forces who have to fight the fire in the highly stressed “terrorist situation” scenario. [9] At present, the equipment concepts primarily focus on ballistic helmet visors; However, it is foreseeable that protective masks will soon also be discussed as part of the vehicle-based "First Response Kits". If opponents have to be arrested or fought, for example after an explosive attack in an object full of smoke and smoke, a respirator is mandatory. However, there is the general problem that the numerous additional items of equipment not only result in a massive increase in training costs, but above all the storage space in the emergency vehicles is no longer sufficient to carry all additional items of equipment. [10] With full jacket soft core or full jacket double core bullets. [11] For this purpose, there are military so-called "port pressure" specifications, which check the gas pressure required to drive automatic weapons using special gas pressure measuring tubes. [12] So-called “pusher rod”, which in comparison to direct gas diversion systems (so-called “direct gas impengion”) requires the least amount of cleaning and lubrication. [13] Currently, one of the main concerns of civilian police forces is to be shot at by their own forces in the mostly complex and confusing terror and amok actions due to misidentification (so-called "friendly fire"), because colleagues can easily deal with terrorists in extreme stress could confuse them. [14] Years ago, the main reason for retirement in the Israeli armed forces was irreparable hearing damage as a result of exposure to blasts. In addition to the welfare aspects under civil service law, the “inefficiency” of such personnel losses is also obvious: after years of cost-intensive training, personnel (often even experienced personnel) can be avoided forever and practically “without interference” - in the Anglo-American language area, this is also called such conditional personnel losses "Peacetime victims".