On the basis of experience alone, GIS is one of the worlds premier Counter-terrorist teams. Since thei inception in 1978, they have been in action against groups such as the Red Brigade and the Sicilian Mafia on a regular basis. Operators in the 100 man GIS force are drawn from the Carabinieri; but only if they have an outstanding military record, have passed an exhaustive security check as well as a board of psychiatrists, physicians, and senior GIS officers. This alone accounts for 40% of the attrition rate of potential candidates for GIS.
After this first phase, candidates attend a two week selection process. If
they pass, there is an additional ten months of training before aspiring
operators are qualified to be members of GIS. Courses in that ten monthes
range from terrorist ideology to combat shooting and combat driving
reportedly held at Ferrari's famed factory and speed roadway
Operators in GIS are not lacking for weapons in their fight against terrorists. The MP-5 sub-machine gun family ( mainly the MP5 A3 and MP5 SD3 ) is a new addition to the GIS arsenal. The Beretta SC70/90 5.56 assault rifle is carried for more conventional deployments. Another Beretta carried by GIS is the model 92 SB 9mm automatic pistol. Revolvers such as Smith & Wesson's .38 caliber and .357 magnum are also favored by operators.
GIS also utilizes heavier weapons such as shotguns and sniper rifles; snipers are equiped with either the HK PSG-1 or the Mauser SP86 7.62 rifle. In addition, the Barret M82 .50 caliber sniper rifle is now being made available to GIS operators. Shotguns issued include the Franchi SPAS 12 and 15 12-gauge and PA3 riot shotgun.