Stunning video of machine guns shooting at target drones shows how difficult hitting a remotely piloted aircraft can be

This video shows how difficult shooting down a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) can be.

Along with larger UAVs, armed forces around the world also employ several types of smaller remotely piloted planes. Such drones are used for a wide variety of tactical missions, including battlefield surveillance and targeting.

When we posted the images of the bird-like drone believed to be used by the U.S. Army in Pakistan and Iraq someone argued that these small aircraft, more similar to a RC model than a standard UAV, could be an easy target for small arms fire.

This video shows that, given to skilled pilots, these tiny planes can be extremely difficult to hit, even for some trained shooters, thus explaining why they are used in combat quite often.

Filmed during a shooting event at Big Sandy range, in Arizona, the footage shows several MGs shooting at a small drone flying back and forth along a 1/4 mile firing line at day and night.

“I’m sure to those who have never shot a machine gun outside of Call of Duty, it looks like it would be easy to shoot these down,” says the uploader in the about section of the Youtube video. “The vital components of the plane like the engine, battery, receiver, fuel tank, etc. are very small. The main body of the plane is pretty tough and can take numerous hits without affecting it.”

Hence, unless you have plenty of ammo, skilled shooters and patience, such small drones flying over your position can be extremely difficult to shoot down.

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About David Cenciotti 4450 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. Brave Guys. Shooting at showing that does not shoot back. I am RC Modeler and would like to rectify that . But I think that is not going to happen.

  2. Looked like three guys shooting,one going rambo standing reflex, so I would call that 2 actual shooters. Regardless two points, 1. UAV operators have to fly stable controlled patters not spinning curving patters, 2. looking at the after report there was actually allot of hits in the UAV.

    So this is cool looking but in the real world deployed UAV fly controlled stable routes (often under AI) with no situational awareness to know they are being shot at and the aggressors/defenders will either have one pass or multiple orbits to target.

    My takeaway from the video was those trying to shoot down a UAV they need tracers and incendiary rounds. Tracers would make a big difference in targeting (why every AAgun fires tracers) and incendiaries would make many of those wing hits critical hits.

  3. SERPENTINE!!!! Gee, That’s quite a big pile of shot up drones!!! Wonder if any are duck hunters.

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