Few things are more symbolic of a police officer’s authority than the duty pistol he or she carries. From blued-steel wheelguns to modern polymer pistols, the handgun has been an essential law enforcement tool throughout history.
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Here are 15 of today’s most popular law enforcement handguns, in alphabetical order, for service and backup duties.
Chiappa MC27 9mm
By Dave Spaulding
Chiappa’s MC27 is a DA/SA pistol with a thumb safety that acts as a hammer-locking device instead of a hammer drop. For those that like “cocked and locked” carry, this is welcome news. For those who like to decock their pistol via a spring-loaded lever, the news is different, as the hammer must be manually lowered with the thumb. The MC27 is manufactured in Turkey by Girsan and imported into the U.S. by Chiappa, and as their collaboration advances, changes will be made—one of them being the introduction of a manual, Sig Sauer-like decocking lever. Speaking of Sig Sauer, the MC27 is reminiscent of a Sig P229 in both looks and fit. The grip is very pleasing for a doubles-tack pistol and has an excellent grip angle.
The grip panels are lightly stippled and rest in the hand quite well. The magazine well has a sharp edge around the bottom and really needs to be beveled, but this is a small problem that is easily handled. The magazines, made in Italy, are robust and hold 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition. The DA trigger has a stout 12-pound pull, while the SA trigger pull proved to be a pleasing 4.5 pounds with a reasonable 0.25-inch reset. For those who like the feature, the MC27 has a second-strike capability, but I must admit that I come down on the side of the “tap-rack” when any pistol misfires. Slack on the DA trigger was minimal, and the gun shot quite well after a few hundred practice rounds.
The white three-dot sights on top of the slide are large and easy to see, with the rear having a Novak-style ramped back. The slide lock/release lever is large and easy to manipulate and also acts as the takedown lever for field-stripping. It should be noted that the MC27 also comes in a DAO version, with the primary differences being the lack of the hammer spur and safety lever. The frame encompasses the slide like a CZ pistol, making the frame “tall” on each side. I like this feature, as it allows me to get a solid, thumb-forward grip without interfering with any of the pistol’s operational levers or controls. Like most modern pistols, the MC27 has a Picatinny rail cut into the dust cover of the aluminum frame for easily mounting lights, lasers or combination units.
The MC27’s cold-hammer-forged, polygonal- rifled barrel is 3.9 inches long and has a nice feed ramp that will feed all types, styles and configurations of modern 9mm ammunition. With an overall length of 7.25 inches, a height of 5.5 inches and a width of 1.3 inches, the MC27 is a medium-sized pistol that can serve in either duty- or concealed-carry roles. It should be noted the MC27 fits nicely in many holsters made for the Sig P229.
For more information, please visit ChiappaFirearms.com.
Colt Mustang XSP .380 ACP
By Jorge Amselle
With its high-strength, all-polymer frame, the XSP is almost a full ounce lighter than its already lightweight predecessor, the Colt Mustang Pocketlite. At the front there is an integral SAAMI-spec rimfire accessory dovetail mount. Specifically designed lights and laser units to fit this rail are expected and will significantly increase the versatility of this tiny pistol. The triggerguard is distinctly squared off and features an added lip at the front bottom section.
At the rear of the triggerguard, just below the magazine release, the frame has a smooth indentation that allows for a slightly higher grip on the gun. In my case, I was able to get two full fingers onto the grip. This not only makes the gun more comfortable and controllable to hold and shoot, but it also raises the hand to be more in line with the axis of the barrel, which helps to reduce muzzle flip and perceived recoil. A channel has been carved out on the left side of the grip to provide faster and easier access to the magazine release, and there are molded thumb rests at the top of the grip on both sides.
The grip panels are, of course, part of the frame, a fact some shooters may dislike, as they cannot customize their grip choices. However, these are very comfortable and fill the hand while not being overly wide. The sides of the grip feature a pebbled texture, while the front and rear sections feature some aggressive, molded-in checkering that helps you maintain control of the pistol even under inclement conditions. At the rear of the grip is a well-designed beavertail that is comfortable and allows for a high handhold while preventing hammer bite.
The slide on the Colt XSP also carries its own distinct improvements. Machined from solid stainless steel bar stock using CNC equipment, Colt achieves very high tolerances. The ejection port has been lowered to provide for reliable ejection, and the slide serrations have been widened and deepened. This makes weapon manipulation much easier and faster for reloads or in case of a malfunction. The slide also features a sweat-, weather- and corrosion-resistant satin black finish in what Colt calls “diamond-like carbon,” or DLC. As to be expected, it is very attractive and well applied.
Another improvement comes in the sights. These are described as “high profile,” but they seemed pretty small to me. They are real sights, which is nice to see on such a small pocket pistol, and both the front and rear sights are dovetailed into the slide. This makes it much easier to change the sights later to something the user may prefer. The sights that are included are plain black, which would make them very hard to pick up in a low-light situation. A high-visibility front sight would be a welcome improvement.
For more information, please visit Colt.com.
Glock 22 Gen4 .40
By William Bell
The .40-caliber Glock 22 was introduced in 1990. Unlike a number of contemporary .40s that had 10-round magazines, the G22 boasted a 15+1 capacity, and for a service-sized pistol with a 4.48-inch barrel and an overall length of 7.95 inches, it had an unloaded weight of 25.59 ounces—due in large part to its polymer frame and integral grips. Trust me, when you’ve been wearing a duty belt as long as I have, any weight reduction is a blessing.
As cops transitioned from DA revolvers, a lot of administrators felt that having an autoloader that was simple to operate and shoot, like the older wheelguns, was a good idea. The Glock Safe Action is, in simple terms, a striker-fired mechanism where you pull the trigger and it shoots—there’s no safety to manipulate, no hammer drop to remember when the shooting is done. Passive internal safeties keep it from firing unless the trigger is intentionally pulled, and different trigger pull weights are available; 5.5 pounds is standard.
Another feature is the barrel’s hexagonal rifling, which does not have conventionally cut lands and grooves. The rifling has a right-hand, 1-in-9.84-inch twist and provides a better bullet seal in the barrel, which increases velocity and potential accuracy. The G22’s sights are fixed, with a white-dot front sight and a white-outlined rear notch. Night sights are available, and I’d take them, as they are in a three-dot configuration and made of steel.
My test gun, as its name implies, is a fourth-generation G22. The Gen2 came along in 1988, and the most obvious features were checkering and memory grooves on the frontstrap of the grip frame, plus serrations on the backstrap. In the late ’90s, the Gen3 came along, which added small thumb rests, an accessory rail and a loaded-chamber indicator. The Gen4 (circa 2010) evolution added interchangeable backstraps for better individual ergonomics. They come in small, medium and large sizes to accommodate different hand sizes, and the “checkering” on the front, back and sides of the grip consists of tiny, raised squares that provide a remarkably firm grip surface. Another exterior feature is the magazine catch, which has been enlarged for easier purchase and is reversible for left-handers. Internally, the G22 Gen4 now has a dual recoil spring assembly. This spring-within-a-spring setup better absorbs the shock of firing and recoil, thus providing a longer service life for the pistol.
For more information, please visit US.Glock.com.