By Jamie McKinnell
SYDNEY, Dec 18 AAP: The Colt M4 Carbine is a semi-automatic firearm designed for lightweight mobility, speed of target acquisition and "potent" firepower capability, according to the manufacturer.
WHO USES THEM?
The M4 is the weapon of choice for the US armed forces and is currently used by the NSW tactical operations unit. It will now be used by the riot squad. It was the gun involved in the police response to the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege.
HOW POWERFUL ARE THEY?
The M4's rate of fire is between 700-950 rounds per minute with an effective range of 600 metres. Their overall length is 75-83cm, depending on the stock, and they weigh 2.7 kilograms.
WHEN WILL THEY BE USED?
Generally in active armed offender situations, which often involve terrorist threats. However, police have also cited the weapons' significant "deterrent" effect and say riot squad officers may be deployed with the guns at large gatherings such as New Year's Eve, but only with the commissioner's approval.
WHY DO WE NEED THEM?
Commissioner Mick Fuller says the organised crime and terror environment in Australia has changed. His deputy, Dave Hudson, says that means the force needs to "think differently" and "deploy differently". The current Glock weapons used by most police are ineffective at distances over 25 metres and Mr Hudson says most overseas incidents involve distances of 25 metres and sometimes up to 100.