Glocks are by a wide margin the most commonly used sidearm in American law enforcement, filling the holsters of more than 65 percent of the nation’s cops.
It’s not hard to see why: Simply designed, they’re simple to use and relatively easy to master; and, with fewer parts, they’re easier and cheaper to maintain. Featuring (in their Gen4 iterations) interchangeable backstraps, they fit multiple hand sizes, allowing for wide departmental use. They’re accurate, and they’re high capacity, with all but a few Glock compacts holding 10 or more rounds of 9mm, .40 or .45 ACP ammunition.
Thanks to its Safe Action trigger system, a Glock is both highly safe (never firing if dropped) and, with no external safety to disengage, quick to bring into action. Lastly, but hardly least, they’re famously rugged and reliable. When called upon, they work, and work well. For the officer who finds him or herself in a life-or-death situation, a dependably functioning firearm is a tool of obvious, inestimable value.
Glocks dominate the law enforcement landscape, but sales have by no means peaked. Every year, non-Glock agencies make the switch, recognizing what so many departments long ago discovered—that Glocks are far and away the best sidearm suited to serious police work. In the following pages, we take a look at eight recent LE converts, crisscrossing the country, and the seas, to uncover PDs both large and small that, having evaluated their needs and weighed their options, took the step trodden by so many brother agencies the world over: They opted to go Glock.
Atlanta, Ga., PD
Glock’s North American headquarters are located in Smyrna, Georgia. Roughly 15 miles away is Atlanta, the country’s ninth-largest metropolitan area. As befits a large, modern city, Atlanta has a sizable police department, with nearly 2,000 sworn personnel assigned to a wide variety of units, from uniformed patrol to SWAT to K-9. In 2013, the Atlanta Police Department (APD), looking to upgrade on its standard-issue sidearm, made the call to Smyrna and requested a set of Glock 22 Gen4 pistols for testing and evaluation. After conducting a very rigorous, 6,000-round torture test, which the G22s aced flawlessly, the APD “pulled the trigger,” so to speak, placing the largest U.S. departmental order yet seen for a Glock Gen4 pistol.
Why the G22 Gen4? With its 15+1 capacity, Safe Action trigger, 360-degree grip texturing, interchangeable backstraps, dual-recoil-spring assembly for reduced recoil and hard-hitting .40-caliber payload, the G22 Gen4 is accurate, controllable and powerful—a serious, big-bore sidearm that’s also easy to use and master. According to APD firearms instructor Sgt. M. Banja, “The [G22 Gen4] performed significantly better in the hands of a poorer shooter” than the duty sidearm it replaced.
The G22 isn’t the only Glock autopistol the APD is purchasing. To the department’s SWAT team will go the Glock 21 Gen4 in .45 ACP, while a cache of compact Glock 26 Gen4s is being reserved for officers on special assignment.