back to article On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

So no, there will not be an electric quadcopter delivery drone delivering your Cyber Monday packages in 2015: nor even in 2025, most likely, as even Jeff Bezos more or less openly admits if you look at what he actually said. Yes, there are homes to be found - more of them perhaps in United States than in other places - where …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Article Author

    No need to apologize. The vast number of Americans cannot shoot and are ignorant of their own weapons. The US military is full of people who adopt the point-and-spray method for taking down targets and run through a thirty round mag in two and a half seconds.

    There's a reason their country scored twenty-eighth in the world in education.

    1. Alan 6

      Re: Dear Article Author

      "There's a reason their country scored twenty-eighth in the world in education."

      The UK was 26th, US 36th

      1. RISC OS

        Re: Dear Article Author

        I guess he comes from either the US or the UK

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Article Author

      Actually, we're busy demonstrating that we're not that clever either.

      If you dislike the drones coming near your place, order some goods for your neighbours, or to a known place. It's there they will have to get close to the ground to deliver the parcel, at which point even a normal handful of chains is enough to take the thing down. No need to get involved in long distance targeting and worrying about projectiles going astray - far too much work.

      After you've caught a few, I reckon they will switch to standard van delivery. Sorted.

      While I'm here, any more problems you want me to solve?

      1. kraut

        Re: Dear Article Author

        <blockquote>. It's there they will have to get close to the ground to deliver the parcel, at which point even a normal handful of chains is enough to take the thing down.</blockquote>

        We're talking about a country where you can get away with shooting a teenager for the crime of wearing a hoodie while black, and aggravated walking through your neighbourhood.

        You want to stand close to your neighbour's yard and shoot across their property to hit a parcel delivery vehicle? You go right ahead, son, but I don't much fancy your chances.

    3. Eddy Ito

      Completely missed the target

      Even if most can't shoot and wouldn't know a lock from a stock from a barrel at least some of us know what the whole point of the drone delivery story was but don't worry your AC head over it, I'll give you a hint. Consider exactly what he said on one of the most highly rated television shows, just after the showing of a very popular televised game which just happened to be played on the evening before a day that has come to be known in the U.S. as Cyber Monday and shortly after the start of the busiest shopping orgy of the year.

      There's a season where the best press is free and Bezos sure knows a turkey shoot when he sees one sets one up.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Article Author

      You have failed to mention the PUNT GUN, yes Punt and not with a C.

      This is a glorified appendage of a cannon attached to.... A Punt, not C*nt which can take down a whole flock of ducks not f*cks.

      I understand that you were in the RN, bad careers advice. Having once had the misfortune of working with the Navy I spent a little time at HMS Cambridge, the gunnery school just outside of Plymouth (no longer there) watching some RN Gunner types trying to hit a stationary rock (Island) with a big gun.

      It was painful to watch, Nelson would have turned in his grave.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Article Author

      Most redneck yanks have an arsenal of weapons from which they can fill the air with lead.

      A flock of ten rednecks with automatic military grade squirrel hunting rifles namely 10x M240 at approx 800 rounds per minute with a range of over 3kms, could place 8000 bits of lead a minute in the path of the drone.

      Or the M2 which has a lower rate of fire but heavier bits of lead though it only has a range of around 2000m.

      Light aircraft beware.

      Sadly very little of the squirrel would be left to barbecue.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: AC @ 21:25

        The M2 Browning has about twice the effective range of the M240, and rightly so.

        I should know. I just looked it up on Wikipedia.

        1. R 11

          Re: AC @ 21:25

          Look it up again. Now it's got three times the effective range!

    6. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: Dear Article Author

      Dear AC...

      I'd say that you have been watching too many movies and/or don't understand suppression fire.

      (Scout Snipers 'One shot, One kill')

      But more to the point...

      If the 'gun toting home owner' is in the military and has access to experimental arm... glaze the target for range, then launch a proximity 20mm grenade or exploding round...

      1. Phil W

        Re: Dear Article Author

        @Ian Michael Gumby

        "glaze the target for range"

        I fail to see how coating the target in sugar helps to establish range.

      2. kraut

        Re: Dear Article Author

        The military generally take a rather dim view of you taking their toys home to play with.

        Otherwise lots more GIs would do the school run in these.

    7. Stuart Van Onselen

      Re: Dear Article Author

      people who adopt the point-and-spray method for taking down targets

      Not anymore, I believe. They've actually deleted the full-auto mode on the M16, leaving just the semi-auto and 3-round burst modes. And they've trained their soldiers accordingly, so that they're now more deadly with 3-round bursts than they used to be with full-auto (not hard, because full-auto just wasted bullets, as you noted.)

      1. N2

        Re: Dear Article Author

        @ "Not any more, I believe. They've actually deleted the full-auto mode on the M16, leaving just the semi-auto and 3-round burst modes. And they've trained their soldiers accordingly, so that they're now more deadly with 3-round bursts than they used to be with full-auto (not hard, because full-auto just wasted bullets, as you noted.)"

        Agreed, the M16 is a nice weapon. In a similar move, years ago they shortened the barrel of the Bren gun to give it more spread because you killed them three or four times with the long barrel version.

    8. Great Bu

      Re: Dear Article Author

      Can I get me one of these on eBay ?

    9. Jim 59

      Hagman could do it any day

      An army marksman could do it in single shot mode. Drone would be low, slow, large.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

    I'm not advocating the shooting down of drones, but as a fun exercise let's give thought to what could take a delivery drone out of the sky. Think of it as a mini SPB project.

    First idea: Another drone. The offensive drone zeroes in on the target Amazon drone by noise, visual or other electromagnetic signature. Since the offensive drone doesn't have to travel as far as the Amazon drone, it can travel faster, or be made sturdier. It's 'weapons systems' could be in the form of dental-floss like filaments to disable the Amazon drone's rotors, or perhaps the offensive drones rotors could act as blades.

    1. M. Poolman

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      The new Robot Wars - in glorious 3D !

      (seriously beeb, have a think about it)

    2. tony72

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      I wonder if one of those TrackingPoint smart rifles would work on drones? The blurbs talk about hitting a moving target at 1000 yards, but I think they had things like deer in mind rather than drones. I imagine the software could be adapted if they wanted to do such a thing.

    3. Tom 35

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      Barrage balloons?

      A flock of trained attack Ravens?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Barrage balloons?

        Hmm, a balloon with lighter fluid could make a mess. Talk about going down in flames..

        Alternatively, a balloon with acetone. Dissolves most ABS ..

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          How about fighting kites?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

            I better dust off the old Peter Powell stunt kite...

            1. Boothy

              Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

              Make sure it flies over water, and let the shark mounted lasers do their stuff......

        2. J__M__M

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          Barrage balloons?

          I'm sure Bezos already has his "lab" or whatever he called it working on cable cutters...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Labradors and strategically planted trampolines.

      3. Adrian 4

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        A party popper

    4. Christoph

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      A couple of rockets dragging a very light net up in front of the drone. Or possibly use firework mortars?

      1. Tom 260
        Big Brother

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Maybe 'rescue' an 88mm German anti-tank/anti-aircraft gun from a museum, along with some flak rounds, see if you can take the drone down that way... Of course, the FBI/ATF may have something to say about that.

        Alternatively, wait for a heavy rainshower to soak the cardboard packaging, such that it is now too heavy for the drone to fly at a safe altitude, and have at it with the duck hunting guns.

      2. DiViDeD

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Trouble is, most of these ideas would cause some serious damage to the Amazon, interfering with part 2 of my plan, which is: How much could you get for a functioning Amazon delivery drone on FleaBay?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      "Think of it as a mini SPB project....First idea: Another drone."

      This is an opportunity to let my inner redneck loose!

      Second idea: AIrbust shot gun shells filled with aluminium pellets (lower density metal to reduce the lethality beyond the kill sphere, he suggests hopefully).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Third idea: Cheap remote control aircraft. Just ram the drone, and accept the loss of the toy plane. Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision, like a reuseable airborne battering ram.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          "Or could be even more fun trying to make the R/C aircraft tough enough to keep flying after the collision"

          No need to make it tougher, just add a ram made out of sacrificial material such as cardboard or polystyrene, which should be tough enough to jam rotor blades, but cheap and easy to replace.

        2. John 110

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          Just press the bellpush on my Siemens cordless doorbell. Bloody thing hunts across the radiowaves so badly that all my neighbours doorbells ring before mine, so jamming the drones signal would be child's play.

      2. FartingHippo

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Trebuchet firing a net made from wire, with perimeter weighted with something heavy and with small cross-section. Would need some sort of guide to impart spin as it was launched.

        Also, the whole assembly would need mounting on a turntable.

        Or, alternatively, use this new pulse weapon. This actually looks perfect for the task in hand, assuming a little more range could be squeezed out.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          @Jan 0

          Haha, I do know what string is, and bailer-twine too! Dental floss is strong and light, and also cheap compared to fishing line. If you've ever used a mini RC helicopter to take down out-of-reach cobwebs in an old cottage, you'll know how string spider silk is, too (but it doesn't have the bulk to quickly disable the chopper)


          The plane could go faster, but the target drone might be more agile. Let us not disagree, let us test!

          @Farting Hippo

          I like it! Perhaps a bolas might also do the trick if we can't sort out the spinning net mechnism

          1. shovelDriver

            Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

            Some dental floss IS fishing line. And . . . have you ever actually compared the cost of a reel of fishing line to a packet of dental floss?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          "Trebuchet firing a net made from wire, with perimeter weighted with something heavy and with small cross-section"

          Human heads? Outside of Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan you might have to reuse them, rather than have fresh for each shot.

    6. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      Ahem, "dental-floss like filaments'

      <youth of today>does nobody remember "string"?</youth of today> Some people need a clew.

    7. auburnman

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      I have wildly optimistic visions of someone strapping heli blades and an automatic lid to a dustbin and swallowing the Amazon drone in flight, like a low budget re-enactment of You Only Live Twice.

      1. cosymart

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        Low budget re-enactment....splutter! Any lower budget and the actors would be paying to take part.

    8. korikisulda

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      Weeeeeell, only puny guns. How about Goalkeeper CIWS? Or perhaps Shilka if we're on a budget.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      Hmm, a fairly focused jammer could work, provided the own onboard services are kept online. The clever ones rely on GPS for flying home, so I suspect there may be an issue if you zap its ability to know where it is (also prevents any recovery effort). After that, reeling off some dental floss or small chains will take out the device. Or a weighted net.

      And it MUST carry some sort of pirate flag. This has to be done in style.

      1. Shades

        Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

        AC wrote:

        "The clever ones rely on GPS for flying home, so I suspect there may be an issue if you zap its ability to know where it is"

        Is it not possible to flood a GPS receiver so it thinks its moving even though its not? For example if the drone is flying north then would it be possible to bombard it with a signal that keeps changing as if the drone is flying north, even though its actually now stationary? Monitor it enough for course corrections to keep it (relatively) in one spot and eventually it should land, thinking its reached its destination.

        Thats how I'd theoretically do it, nowhere near where I lived of course, if I was so inclined.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

          It's like I'm really reading Wile E. Coyote's list of ideas, soon to be implemented using trusty ACME wares.

          ACME - Arming Coyotes since the Mid-Eighties!

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      It is not that difficult to put together a bit of kit that can follow a target moving through the air especially if it is something with a nice RADAR reflection. Add another bit of kit that sends a projectile and bang, the drone is an 'ex drone'.

      Most of this stuff can be picked up Military surplus in the US without too many awkward questions being asked by the powers that be.

      Here? you have to make a lot more yourself.

      Just don't go aiming it at anything BIG or official. No Laser Target aquisition either as that will get you a spell at HMP.

      It is all an awful lot easier than it was <redacted> years ago when I looked into this sort of thing as a student.

    11. Mephistro

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      A compressed air cannon, like those used for preventively causing avalanches in the Alps, shooting a big cartridge including a weighed net, similar to the ones proposed in former comments, in a parabolic trajectory , plus ranging and pointing hardware, plus software for calculating the shot. If you wait a few years, you'll see many similar devices in the market, as there is a definite need for them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A compressed air cannon ... ... ... a weighed net,

        Would those work against mobile phone users too?

        (by the way, teacher says, "You mean weighted.")

        1. Martin Budden

          Re: A compressed air cannon ... ... ... a weighed net, @ Thad

          (by the way, teacher says, "You mean weighted.")

          To be fair, you'll also need to weigh the net to help calculate the launch velocity (and therefore trajectory).

    12. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Standing on a Segway flying drone...

      That's the way to do it - get up there yourself, give chase, and pot the bugger from astern. Although technically this may fall outside the definition of "drone".

      Also there's the risk of being shot oneself by another drone hunter, preferably by mistake.

      Now, where's my flying Segway? ...oh, -not- a first... no surprise, I suppose.

    13. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      How about some form of GPS jammer or spoofer? Most of these sort of drones are likely to be quite dependent on GPS.

      Otherwise, live somewhere high up and windy. That'll make it tricky for them nasty little quad-copter courier drones.

      Failing that, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    14. 404

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      A directed frequency fuzzer? Nice cone of silence where navigation signals are lost?

      Hmmm... sounds like a project coming up


    15. Uncle Siggy

      Re: Guns won't work, so let's look at alternatives...

      Practically: Radio transmission jamming

      Impractically: tractor beam

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. beep54

    Just hadda go'n knock all the fun outta ever' aspect of that story, dincha?

    1. Psyx

      I love the way the bootnote telling us just how awesome Lewis is weighs in as being nearly as long as the article.

      Frankly, the article and bootnote read as an ego-pumping exercise for Lewis. I can't wait for next week's article: "Why you can't satisfy your wife and I can".

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I can't wait for next week's article: "Why you can't satisfy your wife and I can".

        I wonder how the CV section of that particular article would read...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re Why you can't satisfy your wife and I can

        The secret will be... nuclear power, of course!

        1. Scott Pedigo

          Re: Re Why you can't satisfy your wife and I can

          Well, both do involve rods being inserted, and something being split.

  5. tomban

    But if it does, nobody is going to be shooting the drones down.

    It does seem to happen though:

  6. FutureShock999

    Brits forgetting their past?

    How can a Brit forget the best way to take down an incoming aircraft at low levels?

    A barrage balloon. Or many of them. Pretty sure they would do a number on a drone. Just not as much fun...

    If you want to ensure you snare a drone, circle your balloons around an address (doesn't have to be your own!), place your order, then watch the fun...

    1. JLH

      Re: Brits forgetting their past?

      Barrage balloons brough down aircraft as they held up a steel cable, with a weak link at the bottom.

      If an aircraft struck the CABLE it would break off and drag the aircraft down.

      I suspect an octocpter thing would simply bounce off any cable or balloon.

      Sorry - don't mean to be all technical and snidey, and I've never even seen a barrage balloon.

      Just think it is interesting to learn the real mechanism of how they worked.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Brits forgetting their past?

        The solution I had in mind was similar in concept to a barrage balloon, but based on a quadcopter instead of a balloon, for the sake of manoeuvrability. Instead of chains fixed to the ground, the quadcopter would trail dental floss - much like a jellyfish's tentacles - to tangle in the target's rotors.

        I've liked the responses to the challenge... maybe Farting Hippo's net concept could be used with rockets?

        1. Miek

          Re: Brits forgetting their past?


        2. Ian 55

          Re: Brits forgetting their past?

          'Jellyfish' barrage copters - yes, that's what I thought of too.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Octcopter

          What a wonderful word!

          As long as one doesn't have to say it more than once. "Red Lorry Yellow Lorry," a couple of generations on

  7. Michael 28

    Don't overlook the possibilities.

    Domino's pizza deliveries... during hostage scenarios?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Domino's pizza deliveries

      That would require an innovative way of not only destroying the drone, but also recovering the payload....

      <Homer>mmmmmmmmmmm Piiiiiizzzaaaaaaa</Homer>

    2. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Don't overlook the possibilities.

      "Domino's pizza deliveries... during hostage scenarios?"

      What use the dry hard(board) thing in the box as a Frisbee and skim it at the drone? At last a use for them.

  8. foo_bar_baz

    Hand held shotgun?

    You lack imagination

    1. Scroticus Canis

      Re: Hand held shotgun?

      My thoughts actually turned to a one or two bore punt-gun - large mounted (on punt) shot gun used for decimating a flock of duck or geese, one bore = 1lb of shot, two bore 1/2lb of shot.

      Acceptable for drones but damned unsporting for wildfowl, thankfully not in vogue nowadays.

      1. sam bo

        Re: Hand held shotgun?

        " decimating a flock of duck "

        So, 1lb of shot and you only get 1in 10 birds - doesn't sound that unsporting.

  9. midcapwarrior

    remote control rockets

    If you knew the speed of the drone then it would become a math equation to use high end hobby grade rockets.

    You may have to mod the payload to make it more destructive but definetly within range.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: remote control rockets

      The mathematical equation requires data... wind speed, for example, can vary along the path taken by the rocket en route to the target. I don't know what the limitations of laser anemometers are, but it is plausible that they might allow the margin of error to be reduced - if indeed said margin is too high.

  10. Alistair Dabbs

    Rabbit season, duck season

    I'm not sure about this. France has a vibrant hunting scene and during the season, they'll shoot everything that moves, even in their back gardens, sometimes (by accident) their own dogs or indeed each other. Surely a drone is going to get hit eventually, purely by chance.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather than "Pull!"

    There will be a mottly crew of lads with home made EMP rifles (off utube innit)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rather than "Pull!"

      Sounds like fun to me!

      Step 1) Build Drones

      Step 2) Build EMP gun

      Step 3) ?

      Step 4) Profit!

  12. James Pickett

    But the one you're most likely to hit is the one bringing your Christmas present.. :-(

  13. Johnny G


    "Member of the pistol club at university, mostly shooting .22 target weapons "

    Please don't use the word "weapons" in this context. It is not a weapon, it's a piece of sporting equipment. Saying something like that is discrediting to you.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Weapons

      Huh. There are plenty of 'pieces of sporting equipment' that make good weapons;

      even the target gun that you seem to despise would bring a new perspective to you if someone wrapped one around your ear.

      Some people can kill you with almost anything, it just takes a little imagination.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Weapons

        There are plenty of 'pieces of sporting equipment' that make good weapons

        My rugby kit which hadn't been washed since the start of the seaon made for a good biological weapon at the airport security station returning back from the end of season tour.

        I , in all fairness, did warn the security guardette not to go into my kitbag but would she listen?

      2. Johnny G

        Re: Weapons

        You’re missing the point. To clarify…

        Of course “anything” can be used as a weapon, but in the case of a pistol club, the .22 is NOT being used as one.

        I’m pro-firearms. By describing it as a “weapon” you are giving the left-wing “anti” brigade something to get their teeth into and all you are doing is encouraging negative press about a perfectly great sport.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weapons

      A .22 entering a skull will bounce around inside instead of exiting, thus causing massive tissue damage. Anything that can be used for harming a person is a weapon, including a club.

    3. ItsNotMe

      Re: Weapons

      Hate to break it to you...but the Military M-16 is .223 Caliber...and the M-16 is definitely a "weapon".

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Weapons

        An 'offensive weapon' in the UK is whatever a police officer at the time decides is one, depending on context. Carrying a cricket bat to a park in the afternoon? Sporting equipment. Carrying a cricket bat at 3 AM outside a nightclub? Offensive weapon.

        Shotgun properly secured in boot of car on the way to a shoot? Sporting equipment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Weapons

        A rifle of any kind is a weapon... But there is more to an ammunition cartridge than just its calibre.

        The NATO standard ammunition, for killing people, is a much larger (longer) cartridge than the sporting .22, packing more propellant and producing far higher kinetic energy > muzzle velocity > range > accuracy > lethality.

        So in simple terms the bullet is a similar diameter but is a different shape depending upon purpose and travelling at different speeds.

        Don't compare apples with oranges!

      3. Psyx

        Re: Weapons

        ..22 rimfire != .223 NATO.

        1. foo_bar_baz
    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weapons

      Anything can be a weapon in the right hands...

    5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Weapons

      /k/ please go.

      If it can drill a hole in your braincase, it is a weapon.

      But on the other hand.

      > Thinking that .22 LR is any way equivalent to .223 NATO.

      > MFW

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Weapons

        In that case then let's ban all drills and drillmotors and while we are at it all screws, nails and the tools used to insert them too.

    6. sam bo

      Re: Weapons

      "It is not a weapon, it's a piece of sporting equipment. "

      Your own Mafia would disagree with you. Favoured WEAPON for execution of "songbirds".

      And no, an execution is not considered a sport in my country.

      1. Psyx

        Re: Weapons

        Bit of a myth, that. .22 rimfire has a habit of bouncing off skulls.

        Why use one?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Weapons

          There are more than several reasons why the Mob prefers to use a .22 Cal pistol...

          1) No copper sheathing on lead bullet so it deforms to the point of fracture when it hits bone. This makes it almost impossible to identify which gun it came from.

          2) Easliy obtained subsonic rounds make it quieter than an air rifle in many cases.

          3) There are so many guns that shoot .22 Cal rounds that tying the bullet or casing to a particular gun owner is very difficult.

          4) Most newer .22 pistols will take .22 "Long Rifle" rounds with twice the powder of a .22 short making the "bounce off skulls" statement far less likely.

          5) .22 Pistols can be very small, light and easily concealed under clothing, unlike larger caliber handguns.

          6) Ownership of a .22 is easy to explain to the plod as they are used for target practice not for firepower.

          7) Bullet can be easily modified to become hollow point or be filled with other materials for additional lethality.

          8) Ammo is cheap, easily available, no one questions buying .22 shells because it can be for rifles rather than just for pistols. Can't say the same for hollow point .44 magnum rounds.

  14. Daedalus

    Oh deer!!

    In certain parts of the USA deer hunting is only allowed with shotguns firing "deer slugs". These were once single large ball-like slugs with limited accuracy, since the barrel is not rifled. However modern ammo features sabot rounds where the slug gets its spin from the detachable plastic housing that contains it as it proceeds down the barrel. These rounds are supposed to be almost as accurate as standard rifle rounds.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Oh deer!!

      The round you describe increases your range and accuracy, but what you lose is the spread of shot with conventional shotgun rounds. Okay for a large target ( a deer) but not for a small, distant and fast target (duck or drone).

      I'm aware that there is quite a variety of specialist shotgun ammunition available to law enforcement / military organisations.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sabot

      The sabot cannot impart spin by itself. The barrel would still have to be rifled.

    3. Psyx

      Re: Oh deer!!

      "These rounds are supposed to be almost as accurate as standard rifle rounds."

      If your rifle is only as accurate as a smoothbore sabot round, I recommend straightening the barrel.

  15. jai

    why distruction

    I don't get why you'd want to blow the drone out of the sky? Surely a better plan is you find a way to bring it down to the ground in a controlled manner. if you shoot at it and hit it, you're just as likely to put holes in the PS4 or XboxOne that it's carrying underneath, no?

    then again, if you're not interested in half-inchin' the parcel for yourself, and so not concerned with a delicate return to the earth, then setting off an EMP should work shouldn't it?

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: why distruction

      Or just take the drone hostage. Wait for it to land to drop off your Three Wolf Moon t-shirt or whatever, then throw a big tarp over it.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: why distruction

      >I don't get why you'd want to blow the drone out of the sky?

      (a) for sport

      (b) for a thought exercise. Of course, adding the constraint that the parcel must be undamaged adds to the challenge!

      I'm leaning towards (b) myself

  16. Tanuki
    Thumb Up

    I wonder who'll be the first to produce a portable version of Dr. Crow's "Unrotated Projectile" of WWII-vintage?

    (Of which it was said by a high-ranking British official after witnessing an entire battery of them being test-fired "I don't know if it will scare the Luftwaffe but it certainly scares the willies out of me!")

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Thanks for bringing the UP to our attention Tanuki!

      "A small cordite charge was used to ignite a rocket motor which propelled the fin-stabilized 7 inches (18 cm) diameter rocket out of the tube to a distance of about 1,000 feet (300 m) where it exploded and released an 8.4 ounces (240 g) mine attached to three parachutes by 400 feet (120 m) of wire. The idea was that an aeroplane hitting the wire would draw the mine towards itself where it would detonate.


  17. Damien Thorn

    What if...

    I made a remote control plane and painted a little dude inside and flew it into a drone :D Could call it a Kami-Kamazon mission :D

    Or if i built a custom dual shotgun cartridge mechanism that could fire from the wings of a RC spitfire :D

    OR i bought a nice rocket and turned it into a missile with some available kit.

    Personally i think you would get into MORE trouble for making any such thing, go to jail for a very long time, than if you actually used it to shoot down the drone. They dont like people having things like that.

    And finally: No one is dumb enough to fire a gun in a built up area anyway, the chance of hitting someone is FAR too high for even the most STUPID person to consider it. So not only will no drones actually fly, there are ways to take them down, but no one is stupid enough to try.

    1. Darryl

      Re: What if...

      Wow, you have a lot more faith in humanity's sense than I do.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: What if...

      And finally: No one is dumb enough to fire a gun in a built up area anyway, the chance of hitting someone is FAR too high for even the most STUPID person to consider it.

      You've clearly not spent a lot of time in the US then! It's not unusual in some places (Detroit for one) for guns to be fired into the air.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What if...

        Detroit (and the whole USA) has nothing on hundreds of OTHER countries where shooting your AK74 up in the air (Not AK47) is a recognized form of celebration (that usually results in one or two critical injuries each night).

        But then SOMEONE just HAD to take another OBLIGATORY swipe at the USA.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: What if...

          But Detroit has Michael Moore doing movies about capitalist 'sploitation. That outweighs even a Cannibal Humanoid Underground Dweller attack.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Re: What if...

      No one is dumb enough to fire a gun in a built up area anyway

      Gosh, what planet are you from?

      It can't be this one as on Earth there are lots of people that dumb, and dumb enough to fire them straight up with no thought of where they may land.

      When you get gun toting idiots and alcohol in the same place then bullets will tend to go in all sorts of directions.

    4. Psyx

      Re: What if...

      "And finally: No one is dumb enough to fire a gun in a built up area anyway, the chance of hitting someone is FAR too high for even the most STUPID person to consider it. "

      I admire your faith in humanity.

      However, last week called to say that you're wrong:

  18. Aitor 1

    Difficult, not impossible.

    I would like to remind you about the pasanger pigeon... ;)

    As for shooting them down with 12 gauge.. well, in Spain it is usual to have "postas".

    You can read an rticle about that ammunution here:

    I guess you already know it.

    Even so, I do have to recognize thet the maximum practical range is still 200 ft, or about 220 yards. In horizontal, of course. Something 200 ft in VERTICAL would be almost 100% safe.

    As for using a rifle, well, I think that some 15 years ago I might be able to hit such a drone at 100m, in

    slow movement.

    Of curse, I would be unable to use a sight unless i was moving towards me, as anyone who has tried that kind of shot knows (as in being very difficult to locate & follow target... and to predict position).

    Still, I guess they would get shot from time to time.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Re: Difficult, not impossible.

      "maximum practical range is still 200 ft, or about 220 yards"

      200 ft = 67 yards

      220 yards = 660 ft

      There has been some miscalculation here...

      1. 's water music

        Re: Difficult, not impossible.


        mistype more like. 200m ~= 220 yards. OP talsk about ranges in m elsewhere in post and is writing for an anglo audience

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: Difficult, not impossible.

          yep, My fault! didn't check.

          Anyway, yes, at 200 ft altitude the drones are safe.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much does a Sidewinder missile run to these days?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How much does a Sidewinder missile run to these days?"

      Dunno, but as most of them are infra red seeking, and designed to head up the exhaust of a gas turbine I wouldn't expect them to be much use against a parcel drone. Even the radar guided versions relied on target illumination by a proper radar set, so factor that into your shopping list, and hope that Amazon don't use stealth delivery drones.

      1. Psyx

        "designed to head up the exhaust of a gas turbine"

        Modern ones will quite happily lock on to the front of one too, if that helps!

        But that has me thinking that some form of unguided rocket with a continuous rod warhead may be the way to go:

  20. Purlieu

    At last a use for the Raspberry Pi

    As a guidance computer heat/image seeking on the mini-RPG

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: At last a use for the Raspberry Pi

      Waiting for these to be banned once someone takes an autoguided potshot at a US NAVY FUCK YEAR fregate.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Talk about timing:

  22. Mr Fury

    No Stop the Pidgeon reference?

    Dick Dastardly would be sad, meanwhile Klunk sounds like I'm installing Windows 8.1 on him.

    Zilly will explain it later no doubt...

    And of course they were called the Vulture Squadron!

  23. Lamont Cranston

    What about all those rocket launchers that were mounted around London

    during the Olympics? Someone's probably itching to let a couple of those off.

  24. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Moving target

    Perhaps not so much if it's "coming straight at you".

    I'll willingly admit that my own warfare experience was limited to Battle Zone and is a few decades dusty.

    If one wanted to shoot a drone down it seems the obvious thing to do is to launch another, resplendent with on-board gun, and give chase.

  25. James Micallef Silver badge

    Drones for delivery

    Putting aside for a moment the (very entertaining) notion of how you would go about plucking airborne drones from the sky, and back for a moment to the possibility of delivery drones themselves...

    I am 99.999% sure that we will never see airborne delivery drones from the likes of Amazon. Why? Because it will be a lot more cheaper and reliable to have ground-based drones aka self-driving delivery vans. The technology is pretty much in place already thanks to Google, Nissan, Bosch etc, the mapping is in place and improving steadily, in fact the only thing that is missing from that particular puzzle is a 'localized' drone* that can get the correct package from the back of the van to your doorstep.

    So really what is needed is standardized mailboxes (standard dimensions and different-sized standard openings) with machine-readable labels that can be locked by the owner, and easily accessible from the road. That covers a fair chunk of US suburbia.

    *currently, meatbag

    1. Stu

      Re: Drones for delivery

      I'd like to think it's possible, I own a medium sized quad myself, used primarily for aerial photography and screwing around in the sky.

      Remember it's only been a few years since the advent of LiPo batteries that are capable of providing the many Amps needed for flight without melting, and maintain flight for, on average for me at least 15 mins with a reasonable load underneath (5000mah battery).

      That makes a 7.5 minute fly out time, and the same in reverse. As for pushing my quad as fast as it'll go, that drains some more battery life, but I'm easily making around 30-40mph. I can't be arsed to do the maths, but that accounts for a pretty small area of effect TODAY, as for tomorrow with better battery technology, I don't see how it couldn't cover at least 15-20 miles. As always battery tech seems to be the limiting factor.

      Plus I don't buy the whole, "no landing sites" argument. When I first tested my quad after fitting the GPS module I tried out a return-to-home operation. I cocked up and didn't know how to take it out of RTH failsafe mode, it guided its way through some tight fitting gaps and landed, realising obstacles in the way as it attempted to land, and that's with a simple altimeter, not a downfacing radar or anything sophisticated.

      I reckon even with todays tech that a quad needs no more than about 6 square feet patch with line of sight to the sky, plus future brains can work out whether it's flat enough to land safely.

      The benefits are easy to see, no traffic to sit in and add to, a relatively straight line route to your destination, you're pretty much guaranteed to be using an awful lot LESS energy than a hefty great delivery van, only hauling the smaller products, not to mention ultra quick delivery times.

  26. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    delivery charges in grammes or grains?

    "30mm Oerlikon cannon"

    Yes please. Or at the risk of invoking wheelguns vs automatics, Oerlikon's Millenium cannon. Or nothing says 'keep out of my backyard' like your own Skyshield system. But although fun, I can't help thinking a spot of hacking would end up more lucrative

  27. Ken Y-N

    Being a bunch of geeks here...

    Shouldn't we be talking about overriding the GPS signal to guide it safely to our own destination? If the Iranians can do it with a military drone, it shouldn't be much problem to knock up a Raspberry Pi-based solution?

  28. paultnl

    This might work

  29. Scott Kirwin

    Anon Coward

    Vast number of American gun owners are ignorant of their own weapons? And the vast majority of elitist anonymous cowards don't know what they are talking about. Moron.

    A Brit who knows his guns is about as rare as a tea drinking American, and it's a pleasure to meet one. I own several weapons of various calibers but none would reach more than one or two hundred feet with any sort of accuracy, and then only against a stationary target. The best option would be a semi-automatic shotgun firing rifled slugs along the lines of a Saiga 12. But then there's the issue of gravity and a spinning solid mass. Shotgun shell shot will fall harmlessly to the ground; not so a spinning bullet fired on a parabolic trajectory.

    Aside from safety issues, the legality of the ownership of the airspace above your property has been pretty much determined since the days a century ago when farmers claimed ownership of the air above their farms all the way to the heavens. While an American property owner owns the ground below her feet down to the core of the planet, a reason why fracking is much more popular here than it is across the pond where property owners do not own the mineral rights below ground, she only owns the air above her property for as high as she can reasonably use. That usually means 100-300 ft max.

    Law-abiding gun owners such as myself may entertain such flights of fancy as shooting down drones, but none of us are going to take an AK-47 and spray and pray at a drone delivering Anon Coward's anal beads. Not only do we understand the damage a 7.62mm round can do and never shoot in the air with a rifle or handgun, we also know the law.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LP knows his weapons but does he know...

    Why Iceland has such a low rate of violent crime versus USA?

    "Armed, not dangerous... Why Iceland has such a low rate of violent crime "

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: LP knows his weapons but does he know...

      The article you linked to provided no answers to their low gun violence rate but I would offer that in a society where great education & healthcare, common sense and high employment opportunities abound, ALSO creates a society where the mental and physical stresses that affect people adversely are far less prevalent.

      Gun crime in the US is primarily driven by drug addiction and unemployment. Iceland has almost none of those issues or where it does, they get more than adequate treatment.

      This is NOT TRUE of the USA where I am from.

      Roughly 19,500 gun deaths of the total 38,000 yearly are due to SUICIDE.

      Now 38,000 divided by 310 million is 1.2 %

      On the other hand, there are 98,000 annual deaths (or roughly 3% or DOUBLE the gun deaths) due to "Preventable Medical Errors" in the USA.

      I would postulate that Iceland has MUCH better Mental Health than the US does.

  31. Anonymous John


    How would the drone put the "Sorry you were out" card through your letterbox? That's what I would call GPS accuracy.


  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never thought that drones would be delivering from delivery centres. In my head I pictured the delivery van driving into the neighborhood, and the driver then deploying the drone for the last mile.

    But, I'll accept that I got it wrong.

    In terms of shooting the drones, I figured that they would be shot after dropping off the parcel, which they have to do from some low height so as not to break it. Or are they going to use parachutes from 100ft up?:)

    I suggest that the shooting down of drones is already well understood by the military, who have to have a plan against use of drones in the battlefield. Thinking of ways to bring them down from range, in a built-up area, will be fun to some. Home made directed EMP?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Same here, my first thought on hearing of this Amazon plan was that they would be based on a 'carrier' truck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I never thought that drones would be delivering from delivery centres. In my head I pictured the delivery van driving into the neighborhood, and the driver then deploying the drone for the last mile."

      Not even the last mile... I see this as an ideal solution to avoid packages having to be returned to the depot or left with a neighbour because they only deliver during normal working hours when, as the name suggests, people are working and therefore not at home.

      All thats needed is the ability to flag your account to say that you have a secure yard or garden behind the house where packages can be left, and the card through the door could just read "while you were out, we deposited your pacel in your back yard".

  33. Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum

    Wow, pretty ignorant comments here.

    As for the writer with the 'special' CV, take a look here (4 private drone kills and that was over 1 year ago):

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Experience has shown that some of our US readers may doubt that any Limey journo wiener could know anything of guns, weaponry, tactics etc. So, for the record, your correspondent's death-tech CV:

    With all that TA experience you would have thought they would have covered AAAD and why you should be firing your weapon at enemy aircraft. Instead we seem to have an article which supports/advocates the tactics that were in use before 1982, and the fateful events which reminded the British Army why shooting at a fast jet with a WWII 9mm machine gun is still a good idea.

  35. GrumpyOldMan

    Robot Wars 3D...

    Now there's an idea - I really like that one! A flying Sgt Bash or Matilda! Creative juices flowing already.... ! Come on Auntie - give it a go! If the HSE don't get to it first of course!

    Or the local RC club getting together and building a whopping great anti-drone chopper? Look on YouTube at some of the monster RC stuff flying! Speed is not an issue if you have 2 jet engines!

  36. DrXym

    So ludicrously impractical

    These quadcopters would struggle to land anywhere in an urban environment, let alone somewhere where they could usefully deliver somebody a package. I suppose someone could schedule to be at some prearranged drop off point but that hardly sounds practical either. There is also the small question of weather. And of weight / volume. And cost. And safety. And temptingly shootable drones flying around.

    I think it would be more practical to consider larger unmanned cargo carrying drones which fly between depots with the delivery through a more conventional means thereafter. Perhaps on a large scale that would prove to be viable.

  37. HKmk23

    In a light hearted vein

    I would suggest that an SP12 shotgun with a flechette round (12 or 24 steel mini arrows) - SP 12 automatic shotgun (self loading) has 20 round drum magazine. So 480 steel mini bolts in the air in five seconds ought to fetch down said drone.........what state the retrieved goodies would be in is another matter altogether.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a light hearted vein

      As a friend mentioned to me, would a holed 'Three Wolf Moon' T-shirt and 'Horses Head' mask be much of a problem?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a light hearted vein (Perhaps a Punt Gun is in order sir?)

      Try this on for destructive

      This gun exterminated the Passenger Pigeon and could take out 50 ducks at one time.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overlooked Something.

    Admit it - it would be fun to try and knock one out of the sky though ;)

    1. sam bo

      Re: Overlooked Something.

      Why stop there then, hi-jack an Amazon van today.

      In for a penny, in for a pound.

  39. N000dles

    Could save shooting something else though....

    I normally only think of needing a gun in my yard for one reason. A bit off tangent but I could definitely see a use here that does away with the need for a firearms. Instead of shooting at the drones or the neighbourhood cats who kill all the local fauna there could be a dual use here. Just capture the offending cats instead and rig them up to the drone for the return journey back to the warehouse. I for one would accept drones buzzing around if it meant no more shredded pigeons to clean up.

  40. Martyn 1

    One of these:

    would bring it down, only if it comes within 50m though :-(

  41. John Deeb

    EMP option?

    How-to for EMP weapon stunningly accessible

    The usual DIY ray guns won't provide the required range AFAIK. Perhaps the 300 Megawatts EMP150 would do the trick? As a bonus you can take out all kinds of electronic annoyances in your vicinity. Pricey and not available for consumers though.

  42. Tridac

    Another way might be to jam it's gps with a medium powered pseudo random pulsed carrier aimed at it around the rx frequency. That, or an ex mil airborne radar, complete with dish and trimmings, pointed directly at it. to flatline or even fry the mixer diode in the gps receiver and perhaps other sensitive electronics as well.

    You don't need to use brute force methods - just find the major weakness :-)...


  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BADASS Launcher

    Ballistic Anti-Drone Aerial Silly String Launcher.

    Variation on the UP. Take 1 projectile designed to pressurise and release a substance through a series of nozzles whilst in flight. Designs exist even if the projectiles aren't supposed to any more. Load up with silly string, fire in general direction of drone to gunk it up. Might take a few iterations to work out optimum string composition, pressure and rotation rates to avoid creating variations on the sticky or bouncing bombs.

  44. Nile Heffernan

    " Rifle bullets remain effective over much longer distances, but hitting a small fast-moving faraway target with a single bullet isn't practical and nobody even tries."

    When you have a little spare time, look up the origin of the word 'sniper': an 18th-century countryman with a single-shot long gun (not necessarily rifled, though this was standard by the 19th century) who could bring down snipe - a small fast-flying member of the duck family.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Upvote for explaining what rifles were designed for, to people who don't even want to have a clue because they are so anti-gun.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Not knowing what rifles were designed for doesn't automatically preclude people from objectively noting how they are sometimes used.

        Since the domestication of animals for meat in some parts of the world, many animals have been hunted as much for sport as they have meat. Indeed, this sport was a often privilege, defended against humans of lower status by the use of force. The people who commissioned the first rifles -made by skilled artisans - were powerful individuals with resources to spare, when an average member of their society was just scraping by.

        Of course, in some parts of the world wild animals might eat you, thus making the carrying of forearms a good idea (and in some places, mandatory), but generally our species' habit of displacing such creatures has negated those concerns.

    2. sam bo

      might also look up "Lee Harvey Oswald".

  45. volsano

    The crazies, who will sit in their garden all day cursing the government that granted Amazon the freedom of the skies, still have options if they want to contest the airspace above their sovereign back yards.

    Electronic countermeasures to mislead the drone. The drone might land in their garden or fly off in an wrong direction. The ECM could be mounted on permanently-aloft balloons.

    Killer kites.

    Suicide drone conducting a kamikaze attack.

  46. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Have you seen how much Hogwarts wants for the patent on this?

    Real patent trolls are not to be messed with!

  47. a well wisher

    "A quadcopter is on the same rough speed and size scale as a wildfowl, and rather less vulnerable if anything: most can keep flying having lost a rotor disc"

    You sure ?

    The quadcopters i fly get distinctly 'out of shape' if the props aren't balanced let alone lose a whole rotor !

    A hexcopter might just cope might cope without one rotor ?

  48. TopOnePercent


    The author appears to have fallen into the trap of assuming there would be a single redneck taking the potshots at a single drone.

    If billy bob and holley sue get the cousins round for beer n Q, you might be dealing with 30 or 40 rednecks. Something more akin to flak then.

    The drones are likely to hold something of a constant speed overhead, allowing the redneck shooting party to try aiming the flak progressively further in front of successive drones until they start scoring hits. Those hits would then be unlikely to all strike a single rotor.

    I'm not for a minute suggesting this would happen to every drone, or even most of them, but I do think it would happen to one or more drones.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Rednecks

      How many failed Amazon deliveries would it take before I was allowed to call in an airstrike on the neighbours?

    2. Jtom

      Re: Rednecks

      'Redneck' suggests a rural area where these would not be practical (subscriber and business too far away). Change your slur to one describing an inner-city dweller and you may have a point.

  49. Pat Volk

    Black Friday, start of deer season.

    Be vewy quiet... I'm hunting packages...

    Two kites, a net, and an e-bay account. Sorta like drift netting.

    What would happen if you ordered 50 items, including a boom box pre-loaded with "Flight of the Valkyries" playing, to a neighbors house, specifying delivery between 11:45 and 12:00. What if that neighbor was nice enough to let you use his yard to dry some wet fishing nets?

    (knowing Pennsylvania, you'd need to get a license, and the limit would be 3 drones)

  50. Brian Miller

    Shoot the drone when it's in range!

    The drone isn't shot on the wing, it's shot on the rise. Let it deliver the package to the neighbor's house, then shoot it.

    As for landing accuracy, I'm sure that a delivery drone would have a camera to observe for a landing target. The GPS just needs to get it within 15ft.

    And as for drones out of 12-guage range, that's what the USB-activated Raspberry PI-controlled SAM is for.

  51. chivo243 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    three dimensional thinking not needed

    The real vector for attack on one of these “delivery drones” if they are not armed, and not operated by a person, would be wait until they land, then use a net or cables to neutralize the drone.

  52. Dan Paul

    The REAL reason Amazon drones can't happen....

    Because with a charge that lasts only 40 minutes tops, their Octocopter drone delivery system will definitely need to be located INSIDE New York State (and subject Amazon to paying state sales tax)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, adding my suggestions.

    A) Your own mini-drone with an EMP grenade or a taser.

    B) Order something for your neighbor, and set up your backyard fire hose.

    C) Falconry--train your bird to attack the Amazon smile icon :)

    And B) has the benefit of being pretty non-lethal...

  54. IGnatius T Foobar

    Make the target come to you

    All you have to do is make the target come to you. Order something by Amazon Copter, and when the drone lands on your lawn, it gets blown to smithereens.

    Or you could just order something via the traditional method, and blow up the delivery guy's truck.

  55. sisk

    I do know a guy who claims in public to be able to bring down pigeons out as far as 100 yards with a .223 rifle. And he can back it up. Mind you this guy can also reliably hit a dime at 300 yards and makes a fair bit of money doing so whenever there are new gun club members gullible enough to bet he can't. Any normal person wouldn't have a chance. I don't know how he learned to shoot like that, but I've never seen his equal.

    Then again, he's also likely to slap you if you suggest that you might be firing a gun at drones -- or anything else -- in a populated area, so I highly doubt he's going drone hunting any time soon.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't shoot them, you net them

    They have to land or hover very close to the ground to deliver a package. Drop a net over it and take the package and the almost certainly far more valuable drone. Much easier and less risky than trying to drop a net over the UPS delivery guy (and he's probably not worth much in ransom)

    The net will cause the blades to stop on the craft, then you can quickly disable it and put it inside a container that will block its signals from getting out until you have time to do proper surgery on it to extract the valuable parts and throw away the rest. Or toss it in the dumpster because you hate drones.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting electric drones from distribution centers to rural houses

    They wouldn't have to fly direct. A delivery vehicle could go part of the way, then multiple drones go the rest of the way to the individual houses. Saves the delivery vehicle having to drive out to each one individually, while still staying within electric range. The drones return to the vehicle, perhaps at a different location if has its own deliveries to make of larger items that a drone can't carry, and are driven back to the distribution center.

    I still think the idea is rather silly and fraught with many problems, but this particular one Lewis picks out isn't one of them.

  58. Ian Michael Gumby


    I don't know if you've shot magnum loads... Or slug guns... ;-)

    But 300ft == 100 yrds. While the real effective range for a hunter is ~45-50 yards using shot and ~100-150 in a slug gun, it only takes 1 pellet to do enough damage. (The pellets would travel further than the effective range, however the shot pattern would be for shit.)

    Think that the drone would have a shroud around the blades, the idea of getting a line to jam the rotors is going to be hard if not impossible.

    However, a slug gun could hit it or at least the package and then the debris could clog the rotors if not the slug.

    Keep in mind that the drone is going to fly slow enough and will not alter course so you could get a couple of shots off.

    NOTE: I am not recommending that one fire a slug gun in to the air, however... its possible that a full chocked magnum could send a lucky pellet to take out the drone.

    Personally I'd suggest a remote control airship with a small explosive device to spread chaff.

    Or if you are experienced with a kite... you could use it to take one down...

    (Assuming that the drones would fly overhead on a regular basis at roughly the same time each day...)

    Of course Amazon would probably sue you for shooting down their drone.

  59. dan_in _ohio

    Good Article.

    As an avid Trapshooter, I can attest to the accuracy of the Shotgun information listed here. Hitting a clay at a distance of 50+ yards IS POSSIBLE but, the chances that there is enough kenetic energy left in the shot to actually break it comes more under chance that the target has a weak spot than anything else. Even with a trap gun that is ported, back bored, and has had every trick that a fine gunsmith can dream up, is not going to help much. Using shot of a larger diameter than is ATA legal (more than 1 1/4 oz of 7 1/2 shot 3 DRAM load) might help but, I'm not into the self abuse of shooting high power shells on regular basis (recoil in NOT your friend.)

    BTW lead shot is not outlawed or hard to find in the US & we use machines that sift the ground and recover much of this lead.


  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud shooting

    This is looking at shooting from the wrong direction (i.e. below). In the spirit of the Amazon Cloud, during slow sales times, drones could be rented out for extrajudical ki^H^H^H^H the war on terror.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Wont shoot it down? Really? AW50 Anti Materiel Weapon would - with a choice of round available too...! Which the author of an EOD background should know.. it's all about Trajectories and knowing your weapon system's capabilities. (Not just signing it out of the armoury for APWT..)

  62. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Not with a bang,....

    That should do the job nicely. Not only that but you'd get a free quadcopter and whatever it was delivering too. Some of the net-guns could be pretty effective too.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Delivery vans

    Did they have the same savage mentality when companies started using vans on the road?

  64. Nameless Faceless Computer User


    Typical U.S. Government mind puck. Send out a few drones to spy on people and locals use them for target practice. But, put a big, happy smiley face on it to deliver your new Kindle and suddenly drones are your friend. You wouldn't shoot at the U.P.S. driver, would you? Well, most wouldn't.

  65. DropBear

    Operator countermeasures...?

    I can just about envision the Amazon commissioning software's user guide: " 'shotgun' icon then click and drag on the map to designate an area inside which all drones should fly executing random evasive patterns at all times..."

  66. gunsmoke

    please take this in good humour...

    reading some of these comment, was marvelous fun;

    BUT, why is it no one has admitted to perusing the AMAZON catalog for the kit that your after,

    I despair,

    geekery and redneckery will never have a succesful relationship....

    CUE: Bob Dylan; Eve of Destruction

    Keep CALM


    knock the laughter up a notch.

  67. 080

    This is a tech site..

    Come on techies, no need for silly little guns, just hack the Drone control system and dump the goodies either in the river or your back garden then send the drones off into the mountains never to be seen again. No bangs no evidence.

    1. Salts

      Re: This is a tech site..

      Have a look at todays RPi post just what you ordered

  68. chris lively

    Author missing an important point

    Like most people in the world, the American public isn't exactly 100% up on current events. Yes, we have constant news cycles telling us how that cute panda is doing in China or how many terrorists have blown themselves up.

    However, it's more likely that the average American has heard that the government is using drones to watch and/or attack people than they will have heard about Amazon's drone delivery service. They are also not likely not to know that the US drones are not targeting people on our own soil... And they are even less likely to know how to tell the difference between the two even if there is a large Amazon logo painted on it.

    With that in mind, take your average redneck and fly a drone over his head. You can bet he will try to take a pot shot at the thing whether he knows he can hit it or not. Which is the dangerous part as he is more likely to injure himself or a neighbor than the drone.

  69. Stevie


    I heard about this drone idea on Monday from a colleague, and responded "doesn't make any kind of sense."

    We engaged in a lively and frank exchange of views during which I forcefully made the point that even though I hadn't any firsthand knowledge of the story I did have firsthand knowledge of VTOL aircraft of the small kind and the fact that having to pay for keeping its own weight in the air before you factor in payload meant that it would be a non-starter vs goodole wheels.

    I went on to mention that if Amazon were truly looking to spend money they could do worse than partner even more closely with the Post Office (a recent agreement has the USPO delivering for Amazon on Sundays) because all the costly route discovery and traversal infrastructure had been taken care of by the taxpayers.

    Amazon Delivery Quadcopters. I sometimes wonder if my fellow IT practitioners actually have any sort of intersection with the real world at all.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EMP cannon

    Nuff said :-)

    Failing that, a drone with vacuum tube avionics, heat seeking and an EMP gun would down anything.

    Hack *2, have the drone intercept the falling enemy drone and grab it with a powerful NIB magnet, make a soft landing so the enemy drone can be dismantled and examined.


    1. Stevie

      Re: EMP cannon

      That's an excellent plan sir, with only two drawbacks:

      1) We don't have an EMP cannon

      2) EMP cannons don't exist outside the pages of "Pulse Cannoneers of the Galaxy Rangers"

  71. Jtom

    Good lord, people. First of all, no one is going to be firing weapons in an urban environment (except in Detroit and Chicago!). Fire one in my neighborhood and the police would be here in short order to haul you away.

    There is no reason for drones to fly over pivate property, when they could easily be programmed to fly over public roads until they reach their destination. Most objections vanish with that alone. A cellphone sending video back to the drone's user would provide an easy measure of security.

    No, Amazon doesn't have warehouses suitable or using drones, but expand your thinking. These would be great for pizza delivery. Drug stores could deliver to home-bound customers (ok, make it illegal to transport narcotics this way). Even WalMart has the potential to deliver goods this way. There are uses for drones, and they are not expensive - so they will be tried. IMO, they will succeed for some applications.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call BS:

    A quadcopter is on the same rough speed and size scale as a wildfowl, and rather less vulnerable if anything: most can keep flying having lost a rotor disc, while a bird can't keep going having lost one wing.

    The quadcopter that can keep flying with even just one rotor even just somewhat out of balance is a tricopter with an extra rotor.

    Not to mention that the drone in question has to fly pretty low to drop off a package or see anything through a window, and has to be moving slowly to do so.

    But the easiest way to counter down one of those magic drones that some people worry about is to mount a net or other fouling device on a drone of one's own and intercept.

  73. J__M__M

    Hey Limey journo wiener, you missed the point

    Scoring a direct hit is nice, but not nearly as important as being a good sport and trying your very best.

  74. doctechnical

    I'd never hunt for Amazon drones using a firearm! That's silly.

    I'd use a Tesla coil.

  75. Michael E. Stora, Ph.D,

    Lead birdshot still allowed for non-migratory game

    Non-toxic shot is required for hunting migratory game birds (like ducks) because they fall under Federal jurisdiction and the Federal law applies. Lead birdshot for hunting non-migratory birds and small mammals is commonly available. Tungsten shot can be around a couple dollars a shell. Even where not required the Tungsten composite alloys' greater density and hardness (they remain more round despite the violence of discharge) allow the use of very tight chokes for hunting predators like coyote and bobcat at 70 yards or more (~65+ meters). Special shot intermediate in size between birdshot and buckshot (between 5 and 6mm) sell for $4 per shell in quantity (more in smaller boxes). It's not cheap but does not require one to be wealthy.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1. Pheromones

    2. Play a recording of a female Amazonian delivery drone

    3. Fly paper - very strong fly paper. Either hanging like a web or on the ground at the delivery point

    4. air-burst aerosol fuel explosion (not so good on the capture but possibly an effective take-down)

    5. Trained kestrel

    6. Paintball gun on automatic (large number of paint balls filled with gorilla snot/acetone/napalm, instead of paint)

  77. AcidBuddha

    Microwave guns

    I just thought I'd pop by and add my two cents:

    Microwave guns made from wire mesh / tinfoil and microwave emitters from cheap $50 microwaves (probably bought from

    As long as the shape of the waveguide is correct, it should be able to reach a drone at 300ft. If one emitter is not powerful enough, add more until you have enough power, using reflectors to combine the beams.


    - Cheap to build

    - Effective against electronics

    - Point and click

    - Line of sight operation

    - No ballistics to take into account

    - Infinite ammo

    - Output capacity can be increased as required


    - Requires a power source

    - May reflect off rain, telegraph poles, etc

    - May also disrupt nearby electronics such as phones, computers, etc

    - Might give you cancer

    - Might burn you

    - Might electrocute you

    - Might catch fire

    - Might explode

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