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SAS - Counter-Terrorism - Weapons & Equipment

Counter-Terrorist Weapons

For CT work, the SAS assaulters favour the HK MP5 sub machine gun and the Sig Sauer P226 pistol. The 9mm fired by these weapons is ideal for CQB as it will not usually pass through a target or wall.

Other weapons include a remington shotgun loaded with 'hattan' rounds designed to shoot off door hinges without putting hostages at risk, stun grenades and tear gas canisters. Arwen 32 riot guns are also carried. Torches will often be attached to their weapons to enable them to see in darkness and as an aiming aid. Laser aiming devices may also be attached.

SAS snipers use L96a1 bolt-action rifles and scoped G3 rifles. They will normally deploy with 2 rifles, one fitted with a day scope and one with a night scope. A selector is attached to the rifle and is wired to a radio unit which transmits to a special receiver and display unit monitored at the local HQ element. The SAS sniper presses the selector to indicate his readiness to fire on a given target.

SAS CT Clothing

SAS assaulters wear specialised clothing to protect and assist them during a anti-terrorist operation which consists of:

c100 helmet with sf100 respiratoir
ac100 helmet + sf10 gas mask
  • flame retardant carbonized viscose undergarments.
  • one-piece assault suit made of flame-retardant Nomex 3
  • fireproof knee and elbow pads.
  • bullet-proof armoured waistcoat designed to stop a round and also absorb its kinetic energy.
  • ceramic armour plates covering the front, back and groin
  • ac100 armoured helmet able to stop a 9mm round at close range.
  • sf10 respirator providing protection against CS and CN gas and smoke. The sf10 incorporates anti-flash lenses, internal mic and interfaces for external oxygen supply and radio systems. It can be fitted with filters for protection from chemical and biological attacks.
  • assault vest and harness featuring magazine pouches and rings for attaching stun and tear gas grenades.
  • abseil harness featuring special rings for hooking up to ropes
  • respirator pouch - sometimes carried although in most circumstances the gas mask will be will shoved up a trooper's arm when not worn.
  • radio harness - each assaulter is wired with a radio mic and headset. The headsets also serve as ear defendera to protect against loud noises such as gunfire and explosions. They contain microphones which still allow low decibel external sounds to be heard.

Breaching Gear

SAS assault teams will employ sledgehammers, battering rams, pneumatic tools and explosives to make entry into a terrorist stronghold. A range of ladders are available for gaining entry through windows, or into airplanes. The SAS also employ ropes when either fast-roping down from helicopters or abseiling down the side of buildings.

Frame charges

These are pre-prepared EDX charges covered in foam and fitted with self-adhesive strips for quick placement against doors, windows or walls.

Thermal Lances

Thermal Lances uses a consumable cutting cable (kerie) ignited via oxygen arc to rapidly cut through metal, such as steel doors, locks, bars etc. The oxygen tank can be carried by an SAS assaulter in a back pack. Since the system supplies its own oxygen, it can be used underwater.

Pneumatic Door Openers

These devices use compressed air to power cutting or levering gear and are used to cut through locks or prise open doors. These are large and cumbersome devices but can be quite quiet in operation.

Wall Breaching Cannon (Harvey Wall Bangers)

wall breaching cannon
Wall breaching cannons are preferred over explosives as they pose less risk to hostages on the other side of the breach.

The Harvey Wall Banger fires a water-filled plastic projectile at high velocity against a wall, causing a breach. The projectile is designed to immediately lose all kinetic energy once the breach is made. It is as much safer method of breaching than using explosives which can put hostages at risk if too much is used.


Aside from the above, SAS assaulters also carry lock picking devices and crowbars as well as sledgehammers to smash their way in through doors or windows.

Assault Platforms

The SAS CT team has several 4x4 vehicles (Land Rovers and Range Rovers). These specially modified vehicles are kitted out with secure communications and can be fitted with assault platforms - extendable ladders fitted to the roof racks of the vehicles. SAS assaulters can be driven at high speed up to the terrorist stronghold, be it a building or plane, the men either clinging onto the side of the 4x4s on special hand-holds or stacked on the assault ladders. The ladders will be set to the exact height of the entry point being stormed, allowing for rapid assaults.

Other Gear

SAS assaulters also carry plasticuffs - plastic ties for quickly securing prisoners and hostages.

Another useful item are glow-sticks - short plastic tubes full of chemicals that glow when broken. These are used to mark out cleared areas.

« SAS counter terrorism

+ info on c100 combat helmet
+ info on sf10 respirator
+ info on thermal lance and harvey wall banger
   (website of clucas - manufacturer of both items)
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