In their day, revolvers ruled. Cops nationwide universally carried Smith & Wesson or Colt .38s and .357s on duty. As the war on drugs exploded in the 1980s, the bad guys bought superior firepower and weaponry. LE agencies were outgunned, so they raced to transition to semi-automatics with higher capacities.
Gun-makers responded by producing myriad weapons chambered in multiple calibers, allowing LE agencies options for what their officers would carry. Now LE officers in America are armed with a variety of sidearms, all focused on their crucial mission of protecting and serving citizens.
Let’s look at some of the duty guns officers of the 10 largest police departments in the U.S. carry.
The NYPD, the largest police department in America, has more than 40,000 officers—in effect the fourth-largest army in the world—equipped with some of the best 9mm weapons on the market, all using Speer’s 124-grain Gold Dot hollow-point +P load.
NYPD officers buy their own guns, and can choose from three options: The Glock 19, the S&W 5946 and the Sig Sauer P226 DAO. They all have double-action-only (DAO) triggers and inherent safety features. Reportedly some 25,000 officers have chosen the Glock 19. A variant of the 5906 line, the stainless steel, full-sized S&W 5946 features a magazine-disconnect safety, an ambidextrous thumb safety, a one-piece wraparound grip, and either fixed sights or with a rear sight fully adjustable for windage and elevation.