Friday, September 20, 2013

Elite Military Units and the AR Weapon Platform: Joint Task Force 2, Canada

In the Bible, in the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon writes, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born for times of adversity."  In a world facing the threat and experiencing the reality of terrorism, this truth can be encouraging and empowering.  Many nations came to the aid of the United States following the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.  A few of those nations have been with us from the very start and are still fighting this evil along side of us; one of those nations is Canada.  In this post, we will provide some information on their military's elite special operations unit, Joint Task Force 2.

Defending against terrorism is often the impetus for the creation of special operations units.  It takes highly trained individuals with specific skill sets and integrity to staff these teams.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canada's federal law enforcement agency) had a Special Emergency Response Team as early as 1986, but the Ministry of Defence decided to move this special operations capability under the direction of the military rather than the RCMP around 1992.  This decision was made at least in part due to the ability to draw recruits for an elite special forces unit from the much larger source that the military provided.  Under the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, Joint Task Force 2 became operational in 1993 and has grown in size and "op tempo" since. 

JTF 2 is based on a 200 acre facility in Dwyer Hill, near the national capital of Ottawa. The unit has been active in theatres such as Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  Much like their U.S. "counterparts" (DEVGRU and/or Special Forces Detachment-Delta), JTF-2 is highly secretive and the Canadian government and military does not release much confirmable information regarding unit size, tactics, training, etc...due to operational security considerations.

Official military unit recruitment advertisements mention 3 distinct
personnel categories of which the unit consists.  Category A members are "assaulters"  (obviously tasked with direct action and who make up the core of the unit in terms of tactics and performance).  Category B members are "technical specialists" that provide support to Category A personnel, and from this information appear to perform very specific tasks such as mobility (similar to U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Combat Craft Crewmembers).  Category C members are strictly unit support personnel.  Category A and B recruits receive four phases of selection.  The first two are mostly administrational and investigative. The third is a high stress diagnostic phase to measure the potential the recruit will succeed in the final phase, where unit specific training is provided.

Like most special forces units, JTF 2 has more freedom in the selection of weapons they may use than their conventional military counterparts.  Photographs taken in the War on Terror (OEF and OIF) show Canadian special forces members using the Colt Canada (previously Diemaco) C8SFW and C8CQB rifles. The SFW model has a 16" heavy profile barrel and can be mounted with the Heckler & Koch AG-C 40mm grenade launcher.  The CQB model is very similar to U.S. Mark 18 Mod 0 rifle; it has a much shorter 10.3" barrel, making it ideal for close quarters battle tactics. These are typically enhanced with optics from ELCAN (C79 sight) and EOTech.  More information on these weapons can be found in previous blog posts in this series on British and Norwegian elite military units that employ the AR weapon platform.

Members of JTF 2 have provided "hands on", immense assistance to U.S. special operations units in the fight against terrorism.  For detailed accounts of their activity and operations, please link to this article from the Toronto Star newspaper, online.

We hope you are enjoying this series on special operations units that use the AR weapon platform and want to thank you for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or the parts we offer at, please contact us.

Information and images presented in this article were acquired from,, The Toronto Star (Allan Woods, 20100425), and The Ottawa Citizen (David Pugliese, 19930602).

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