Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (Italy)

Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (Italy)
October 15 16:23 2011 Print This Article

Gruppo di Intervento Speciale is an elite Special Operations counter-terrorism tactical response unit inside the Italian Carabinieri military police, first formed in 1978. In 2004 the GIS evolved into a special forces unit.

The unit has taken part in counter-terrorism operations and VIP, executive and dignitary protection security details in Afghanistan and Iraq.


In the fall 1977 the Carabinieri’s HQ decided to establish a CT Unit to counter the growing terrorist phenomena. Few months later, the GIS “Gruppo Intervento Speciale” was born. GIS is the Carabinieri CT Unit and it responds directly to the Carabinieri’ HQ and to the Ministry of Interior. The focus of GIS has always been on very high risk CT operations, such as the storming of hijacked aircraft.
In 1998 a group of GIS operators was deployed in Albania

with the mission “ALBA” after the riot, like immediate reaction force and CT function.

Organization and recruitment

The 100-man GIS has 3 operational sections and 1 sniper/reconnaissance team. Every section is divided into detachment of four men. In every moment there’s a section ready to leave the base in 30 min. Sniper

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team is usually formed by two snipers, equipped with Mauser 86SR, and by a scout, usually with a semi-automatic H&K PSG/1. During action men alternate in the scout role.
Every GIS soldier is a volunteer from the 1st Carabinieri Airborne Regiment “Tuscania”. As first selection, all candidates go to an interview with a GIS high officer to verify their motivation, which is a key element. The soldiers who pass the first selections go to a basic course which last 5 months. A great amount of time is devolved to martial arts (Wushu and Thai boxing), explosives, tactics, English language, topography, terrorist ideology and photography as well as combat shooting. They use FATS (Fire Arms Training System), a laser-system which project on a screen interactive images and can record all students’ reactions. Usually during this first course 50% retires. From those who pass, only the best ones are selected to progress to a six-month long Specialization Course, after which they become operative members. They are trained in combat driving too (reportedly held at Ferrari’s famed factory and speed roadway).


GIS has very good relations with many top class CT units in the world, amongst these are Great Britain’s 22nd

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SAS, Spain’s GEO and UEI, France’s GIGN, Germany’s GSG-9 and SEK, Belgium’s ESI, Austria’s GEK and Holland’s BBE.


GIS is equipped with many sophisticated weapons and tools. Beretta 92F and H&K MP-5 (in A5, SD3 and KA4 versions) are the most common weapons, but they use also Beretta M12, Steyr TMP, S&W Patrolman .357 Magnum. Among the shotguns they prefer SPAS 12 and 15 and the PA3. In their arsenal there are also Beretta SCP 70/90, Colt M4 SOPMOD, SCAR-L, SCAR-H, UMP-45, MP-7, M249 and Steyr AUG but are not used often. Snipers use Mauser 86SR equipped with a Syncrofire system which make all rifle shoot simultaneously. Recently GIS bought also some Accuracy International AWP Suppressed.

Note: In Italy there isn’t a unit that is primarily responsible unit for CT duties. GIS and Police State’s NOCS live together like State Police and Carabinieri does. Carabinieri indeed are an Gendarmeriewhich has the task to guarantee public safety and to make the state law to be respected, as well as MP common tasks. So both Carabinieri and State Policemen patrol the Italian streets and both of them have a CT unit. The only difference between them is that NOCS can operate only inside Italian borders, while GIS can be called outside Italy working with “Tuscania” Regiment, when host nation agrees.

  • Beretta M92-FS, standard handgun
  • Glock 17 and 19
  • Smith & Wesson Model 28 .357 Magnum revolver (for backup in VIP Protection duties)
  • Benelli M1 Super 90
  • Benelli M3 – replaced the older Franchi SPAS-12, Franchi PA-3, Franchi PA-7/PA-8 series and Beretta M3P shotguns
  • Benelli M4 Super 90 – replaced the Franchi SPAS-15,[citation needed]
  • Beretta PM-12 series submachineguns, still in arsenal yet mostly superseded
  • Heckler & Koch MP5, the most common weapon to equip GIS operators
  • FN P90 (in limited quantities)
  • Steyr TMP (employed for VIP Protection duties)
  • Heckler & Koch MP7 (in limited quantities, most probably tested to supersede the Steyr TMP)
  • Beretta 70/90 Weapons system
  • Steyr AUG – adopted for ease of use from vehicles and helicopters, now mostly superseded
  • Bushmaster M4 carbine – procured in limited quantities jointly with the “Tuscania” Regiment to supersede the Steyr AUG
  • Heckler&Koch HK-53 – mostly superseded (last seen fielded during Operation Ancient Babylon, sometimes paired with the British-made Istec ISL-201 40 mm undercarried grenade launcher)
  • Heckler&Koch G-36 family of weapons (in limited quantities)
  • M203 grenade launcher, either under-carried or in Stand-alone configurations – interface/mounting system for weapons, as well as some parts (most notably the receiver) manufactured in Italy by PMAL (Polo di Mantenimento delle Armi Leggere, Italian Army arsenal) in Terni
  • SCAR-L
  • SCAR-H
  • M-249
  • Heckler & Koch PSG1
  • Mauser 86-SR
  • Barrett M82 – procured in limited quantities jointly with the “Tuscania” Regiment”

The wide array of missions and duties tasked to the GIS, its military status and its growing participation in international peacekeeping/peace enforcingoperations, allow the unit a high degree of autonomy in selection and procurement of weapons and equipments, unmatched by most law enforcement Special units. Some of the weapons recently tested by the GIS for adoption include the Beretta Cx4 Storm and Rx4 Storm semi-automatic carbines (both dismissed), the FN Mk-16 SCAR-L and possibly the IWI Tavor, although this remains unconfirmed.

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1 Comment

  1. Gabriel Harvin
    December 02, 23:22 #1 Gabriel Harvin

    I would like to be a member of the Gruppo di intervento speciale

    Reply to this comment

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