Law enforcement officers face danger on a daily basis. During a 10-year span ending in 2013, law enforcement officers in the United States averaged one death every 58 hours, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That same decade, there was an average of 58,000 cases of assault against officers each year. Because law enforcers come into contact with so many violent offenders, they rely on guns to protect others and themselves.
The Rise of the Glock
In the 1980s police felt revolvers weren't effective enough and began buying Glocks. Whereas a traditional revolver holds only six bullets, a Glock 17 can hold 17 rounds. A Glock's trigger pull is only about 5 pounds -- less than half of what's required to fire a traditional revolver, notes Popular Mechanics. The guns are made of plastic, which makes them durable but lightweight. They can be used in extreme temperatures and are still reliable when they're not cleaned, which helps ensure officers' safety. The Glock 19 has become a top choice for the nation's largest police departments, including New York and Chicago, that allow officers to select and purchase their service weapons.
Sig Sauer Gains Broad Support
Sig Sauer designed the P220 for the U.S. Army. The company didn't win that contract, but after adding an ambidextrous magazine catch and increasing the round capacity, the upgraded version, P226, has become extremely popular among law enforcement officers. It's used by municipal police departments, the Texas Rangers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Air Marshalls and the FBI. The combat handgun has a 4.4 inch barrel making it easy to conceal and has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to handle. The Sig Sauer P226 is also designed so the hammer automatically cocks if the slide is moved during recoil, notes Tactical Life.
The U.S. Army and police departments spanning from Maryland to California use pistols from Beretta's Model 92 series. Officers in Los Angeles wield the 92F and the 92FS, and 92FS-stainless steel, which have enlarged hammer pins. These 9mm guns are easy to disassemble and reassemble. They have a double-action first trigger pull, followed by a single-action trigger pull and the magazine holds 15 rounds, according to the Officer.com website. Many police departments also use tactical pistols from Beretta's Px4 series, which include features like sweat-resistant stainless steel barrels and a special design to minimize muzzle jump and recoil, which makes make them easier on officers' hands.
New on the Scene: FNS-40LS
In 2013 the Baltimore County Police Department became the first U.S. police force to purchase the FNS-40LS (long slide) as a service pistol. This striker-fired pistol comes equipped with attractive features for law enforcers, including a five-inch stainless barrel and extended sight radius, which improve shooting accuracy. It has a double action trigger and can only fire if purposely pressed, according to the Police Marksman website. The FNS-40LS has a fully ambidextrous magazine release and slide stop, an extractor that can be found in the dark, and a design that allow it to be used for hours of training of without chaffing an officer's hand, the Police Marksman adds. Each gun also comes with a heavy duty carrying case, two interchangeable backstraps and three 14-round steel magazines.
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund: Law Enforcement Facts
- Popular Mechanics: Why the Glock Became Americas Handgun
- Tactical Life: Big 10 Protection: Duty Guns of America’s Largest Police Departments
- Criminal Justice Degree Hub: What are the Most Popular Guns Used by Law Enforcement Professionals?
- Los Angeles Police Department: I Want to Know
- Officer.com: The Beretta 92F: Legendary Lawman Weapons Next Evolution
- The Police Marksman: Gun Review FNH-USA FNS40 Long Slide
- FNH USA: Baltimore County Police Department FN Pistols As A New Service Fireare
- Photo Credit Colin Anderson/Blend Images/Getty Images
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