Behind the Secret Service

LIFE Magazine, as it is wont to do, assembled yet another of its utterly interesting photo essays. The topic this time? The Secret Service. Updated.

A few of the more interesting photos showcase the agents performing their other important duty, that being what LIFE writes is "taking down counterfeiters, fiscal gangsters, and ID thieves." For this they shed the trademark suits in favor of SWAT gear, gadgets and guns:

[T]he weaponry available to agents is among the most advanced and lethal on the planet, including SIG Sauer P229 pistols fit with huge .357 cartridges; classic Remington 870 shotguns; light (7 lb.), 30-round, state-of-the-art M4 carbines; Uzis; and the compact, thoroughly nasty-looking Belgian FN P90 submachine gun with a top-mounted magazine of armor-piercing rounds.

Also cool is that The Beast (the Presidential Limo, complete with 8-inch armor), along with a number of other vehicles known as the "Secure Package," travel the globe with the President (by way of huge C-5 or C-17 military transport planes), so that he and his entourage can travel safely in strange lands. These vehicles are quick, agile, and contain a number of important electronics, gadgets and communication tools, to be used if the motorcade becomes fractured or the Secret Service needs to spirit the Prez off at high speeds.

More gallery in the source link, so check it!

Update: A brief editor's note: I neglected to mention that the photographs from this gallery were the work of photographer Brooks Kraft. Kraft has worked with U.S. presidents for the past decade, and his duties as White House photog for TIME Magazine mean he has one-of-a-kind access to POTUS (hence the amazing pics!). He must also be good pals with these men in black, huh? - j.l. [LIFE]