NYPD May Use .50-Caliber Rifles As Part Of Anti-Terror Capabilities

Commissioner Kelly Rattles NYC Wide Awake During Interview On '60 Minutes'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s top cop shocked everyone recently by admitting the NYPD could shoot down a plane.

On Monday, CBS 2’s Lou Young got an explosive, first look at the very weapon that could do it.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

It’s extreme security, for an extreme situation.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly may have been referring to several semi-automatic versions of the massive .50-caliber rifle when he spoke of the NYPD’s ability to take down an aircraft. It’s a weapon that can do the job.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: The NYPD’s Firepower

The subject came up Sunday night on “60 Minutes.”

“I mean in an extreme situation you would have some means to take down a plane,” Kelly told Scott Pelley, who then asked straight out if the NYPD has that capability. “Yes. I prefer not to get into the details but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation,” Kelly said.

.50-caliber rifle

May this be the NYPD's weapon of choice to shoot at potentiall hijacked planes? It's a .50-caliber rifle. (Photo: CBS 2)

The weapon — a Barrett l-82 A-1 — fires its heavy projectiles accurately up to two miles. Anti-aircraft rounds come in two types. The silver tip is for a cockpit windscreen and blunter hollow-point is for piercing an aircraft skin or engine.

Planning experts presume any plane it shot at would be stationary on a tarmac or taxiing prior to take-off.

“Usually in a hostage or a barricade situation on a tarmac in an isolated area the use of that weapon could be quite effective, but in a populated area with a plane coming down and certainly with the target moving the way it would be this would be a dangerous event,” security expert Harvey Kushner said.

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Although other departments in the area have these guns for use from the ground sources tell Young only the NYPD trains its marksmen to shoot from helicopters as the military does. The police commissioner said New York can’t always wait for help.

“Were the number one terrorist target on this country. That’s the consensus of the Intelligence community. We’re the communications capital. We’re the financial capital. We’re a city that’s been attacked twice successfully. We’ve had 13 terrorist plots against the city since 9/11. No other city has had that,” Kelly said.

The weapon is 30 pounds of unbalanced unwieldy metal. In an aircraft the barrel would have to be supported by a sling. The NYPD has roughly a dozen marksmen trained in the use of the .50-caliber.

The 50 caliber rifles are effective, but they aren’t cheap. Even with bulk discounts, the weapons can cost upwards of $8,000 apiece.

Kelly’s bombshell revelation comes on the heels of him speaking exclusively with CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer about other gadgets the NYPD has at its disposal, including its own 1,000-man army, light-armored battle vehicles and the capability to use a submarine.

Kelly has also made it clear he wants more NYPD officers as soon as possible.

What do you think of this claim by Commissioner Kelly? Sound off in our comments section below…

More from Lou Young
  • WwWOWwW

    Yuck! Oh please, a bunch of Danny Devito’s and obese JLO’s working for the NYPD. Let them try and take down a plane, it will turn into the biggest “friendly-fire” mishap in history! If nobody has noticed yet… If you suffer from -DownsSyndrome- you got a “shot” t being the next big cop! Cut it out people, get smart!

  • Adam Easter

    Guessing is not newsworthy……Have proof or find proof. THEN report is need be.

  • DanTe

    Stupid reporting from stupid libs who don’t know what a gun is even if it’s shoved up their arse.

    .50 caliber on a helicopter will NOT take down a fast flying jet. Libs: It’s a Mental Disease.

    • danny

      Please explain to me how you blame the Libs. It was the commish that made the claim. I’m a lib and I know you can’t shoot a plane like that. You can’t even shoot a gun from a moving car and hit your target. That’s just Hollywood effects. I think you just like to blame somebody for something. Typical know it all. WahWahWah! It’s always somebody else s fault, not mine!!

  • N Y P DrP I G S

    Cops are pigs, Enough said. Oink oink.

  • Happy feet cookie

    They should put some of these big guns in brownsville or east new york

    • injun


  • NYC42A

    I have had the pleasure of shooting with police officers who could hit a pie plate at 600 yds. Knocking out a plane with a semi-auto 50 cal should not be a problem.

    • zackdoc

      Excuse me, but I’ve been shooting for about 50 years, having started on the family farm at 8 years of age- and a pie plate at 600 yards is really no big deal unless it’s free-standing & I’m sure you don’t mean that. Seems like standards have slipped over the years.

      • NYC42A

        Try it from a moving helicopter and let me know.

    • Pole sitter

      Come to the fire house and hang with some real men. We are the true heroes! . Fdny rules!!!

  • Joel

    Lot of conspiracy nuts on here…



    • dhimmi doc

      America WILL be iz lam’s gra ve-y ard

  • k

    Corrupt DEA where stealing drugs from evidence vaults and reselling them to cover extensive credit card debt.
    They also are creating suspects by planting evidence just so that they can steal from them.
    Given the choice of suspension or dealing with their debt most DEA are thinking outside the box.

  • fartymcfly


  • Jimme

    Good to see the City doing everything it can, Never Again !!!! And John I am sure some of those 50k strong have your IP,, email and even home address by now.

    • I Am An Airline Pilot

      Wow, that make me really feel safe, to know that closed minded asses like you would even say something so insidious like that

  • John

    Screw you NYC, your a pathetic excuse for anything American.

  • M S a v a g e

    I guess it is now official. Though we have known about this since the first test in July 1996 over airspace south of Long Island.

    • Stephen M. St. John

      The current town supervisor of Southampton caught by chance the cruise type missile in a photo. A retired US Navy officer saw the after-burner from near Norwalk CT, which proves it was not a shoulder launched variety. For more about the TWA Flight 800 shootdown, see http://www.show-the-house.com/id13.html.

  • Rugbyball

    Probably a stinger missile mounted on one or more of there NYPD Helo’s .
    Many who fly the NYPD Choppers are military trained with some still in the reserves. So it would not shock me at all and it would make the defense very mobile.

    • Rugbyball

      Man was I wrong, but really a single Semi-Auto .50 Cal from a chopper. Make that 6 full auto .50 Cal’s and make the chopper a P-47 and then I would believe it more.

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