From the new book Guns of the FBI, take an insider’s tour into the G-man’s world of firearms and training with these 20 historical photos.

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The H-S Precision HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) .308 sniper rifle is today’s current-issue for Bureau SWAT team snipers. It’s a far cry from the agency’s first sniper rifle — a Remington pump-action Model 760 with a 4x scope! Photo: H-S Precision

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The classic FBI hip shooting position seems awkward now. One wonders why it lasted so long. It couldn’t be used effectively if the target was at an angle up or down to the shooter, as on a stairway. Photos: FBI unless otherwise noted.

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Lester Limerick, an FBI gunsmith, later became the supervisor of the Gun Vault and held that position for many years.

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Agents are now taught the Isosceles position and shoot Glock G17 and G19 Gen 5 9mms.

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New agents fire ARs on semi-automatic only. Iron sights are used on the training ARs. The yellow painted stock identifies this as a school gun.

NAC 15-12 Firearms Training

Agents are required to shoot onehanded with both strong and weak hand. Note: In training and during the PQC (Pistol Qualification Course), the agents are required to wear a jacket to cover their handguns.

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The FBI Firearms Training Unit staff in the mid–1960s. Front, L to R; Al Booth, Don Hoeting, Don Warter. Back; Bill Ahrens, Bob Cohrs, Bob Monroe, Larry Schmidle.

BFTC 16-03A shotgun training

The tactical shotgun still has a place in the FBI, but training is done more for familiarization than actual use.

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FBI Agent Walter Walsh’s registered .357 Magnum revolver. Photo by author

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An old postcard shows what an agent might have seen at the old FBI Academy.

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A well-known sight to students as they arrive at the FBI Academy.

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Author during ammunition tests with shot up ballistic gelatin.

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These three rounds were the principal subjects of the ballistic testing at Quantico — 9mm, 10mm, and .45 Auto. Photo by author

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Delf “Jelly” Bryce had killed several men while with the Oklahoma City PD and more while with the FBI.

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After the Underhill shootout in December, 1933. Front row, L to R, FBI Special Agent in Charge Ralph Colvin and Detective D. A. “Jelly” Bryce, OKCPD. Back row, Special Agent Paul Hansen, Detective Clarence Hurt, OKCPD and Special Agent Kelly Deaderick. Not pictured was Special Agent George Franklin.

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Baby Face Nelson’s mug shot. He would kill two FBI Agents and countless civilians before he died.

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Special Agent John W. Core firing a Colt Monitor at Quantico in 1936. His son would fire what is probably the same gun five decades later.

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New agents in the mid–1980s firing S&W Model 13s.

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This set of bookends was made by the Gun Vault and FBI Exhibits Section, using two Colt Official Police revolvers from excess stock. The set was presented to Director J. Edgar Hoover and was displayed in his office for many years. Both revolvers were part of a shipment from Colt to the FBI dated February 23, 1951. This set was shown in the Rock Island Auction Company catalog of September 2015. Photo courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company

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This S&W Model 19, heavily engraved, was presented to FBI Director Hoover in 1958 by William Sweet, a Smith & Wesson sales representative. The gun was sold by Rock Island Auction Company in its December 2017 catalog. Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Co.


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Take a Guided Tour of the FBI’s Gun Vault!

Get the untold story of America’s top cops, their firepower and how they use it in Guns of the FBI: A History of the Bureau’s Firearms and Training. The expansive and exclusive study takes you through the locked doors of the clandestine agency for an agent’s eye-view at the tools of the G-men’s trade. From the revolvers that battled John Dillinger to the sniper rifles that combat terrorism today, never has the shooting public gotten a more explicit look at the FBI and its hardware. Learn more