Border Patrol Agent

Equipment used by U.S. Border Patrol Agents


Border Patrol Agents are issued the H&K P2000 double action LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) pistol in .40 S&W caliber. It can contain as many as 13 rounds of ammunition (12 in the magazine and one in the chamber). Up until 1994 the Border Patrol issued its Patrol Agents a .357 Magnum revolver as their duty sidearm, a Smith and Wesson or Ruger model large frame, six shot revolver. The Border Patrol preferred this weapon because it did not jam in harsh conditions, like those of the southwestern border, and also because of the strong “stopping” power of the .357 Magnum cartridge. Although up until 1994 Patrol Agents could purchase a weapon from the agency list of approved authorized personal weapons for duty carry. This list included the Glock Models 17 and 19 pistols in 9mm, the SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in .45 ACP caliber, the Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver, and the Smith & Wesson Model 19/66 .357 Magnum revolver. The Border Patrol adopted the Beretta Model 96D, a .40 S&W caliber semi-automatic pistol (modified for Double-Action Only) (with a 12 round capacity magazines) as its duty issue sidearm in 1995. The .40 S&W caliber jacketed hollow-point cartridge was adopted because of its excellent “stopping” power and its superior ballistic characteristics over the 9mm cartridge. In late 2006 the H&K P2000 pistol was adopted as the Border Patrol’s primary duty sidearm. The H&K Model USP Compact pistol and H&K Model P2000SK (sub-compact) and Beretta M96D .40 S&W caliber pistols are authorized as secondary sidearms.

Like many other law enforcement agencies, the 12 gauge Remington Model 870 is the standard pump-action shotgun. The Border Patrol issue Model 870 has been modified by Scattergun Technologies to Border Patrol specifications including: an 14-inch barrel, a five-shot capacity magazine, a composite stock with pistol grip, and night sights with a tactical “ghost-ring” rear sight. The old Border Patrol “anti-bandit” units used to use a 12-gauge, semi-automatic shotgun with a sawed-off barrel. This weapon had the designated name of a “Sidewinder.” The USBP anti-bandit units were decommissioned in the late 1980s.

Border Patrol Agents also commonly carry the .223 caliber M4 Carbine and the H&K UMP .40 caliber submachine gun. The .308 caliber M14 rifle is used for mostly ceremonial purposes and by BORTAC in special situations.

As less than lethal options, the Border Patrol also uses the FN303. The Border Patrol also uses compressed-air cartridge powered guns that fire plastic pellet balls containing OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) Pepper dust. The plastic pellet balls burst on impact spraying the suspect with OC Pepper dust. This dust stings the eyes, skin, nose and throat and causes the eyes to water severely thus temporarily disabling a suspect. The Border Patrol also issues its agents OC Pepper spray canisters, tasers and a collapsible, telescopic (or telescoping) steel police baton.

Unlike in many other law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Border Patrol operates over 10,000 SUVs and pickup trucks, which are known for their capabilities to move around in any sort of terrain. This vehicles may have individual revolving lights (strobes or LEDs) and/or light bars and sirens. An extensive modernization drive has ensured that these vehicles are equipped with wireless sets in communication with a central control room. Border Patrol vehicles may also have equipment such as emergency first aid kits. Some sectors make use of sedans like the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor or the Dodge Charger as patrol cars or high speed “interceptors” on highways. The border patrol has appox 2000 sedans. The Border Patrol also operates ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and small boats in the riverine and coastal environments.

In 2005, all Border Patrol and ICE aircraft operations were combined under CBP’s Office of Air and Marine. All CBP vessel operation in Customs Waters are conducted by Office of Air and Marine.

Color schemes of Border Patrol vehicles are either a long green stripe running the length of the vehicle (older vehicles) or a broad green diagonal stripe (newer vehicles) on the door. Most Border Patrol vehicles are painted predominantly white. During the 1960s to mid 1980’s BP vehicles were painted a light green.

The Border Patrol also extensively uses horses for remote area patrols. As of 2005, the U.S. Border Patrol has 205 horses. Most are employed along the Mexico–United States border. In Arizona, these animals are fed special processed feed pellets so that their wastes do not spread non-native plants in the national parks and wildlife areas they patrol.

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