Police in the United States have a dangerous job. For many Americans working in law enforcement, duties often include conducting traffic stops, patrolling high-crime areas, and arresting suspects – tasks that are inherently risky and unpredictable. Partially as a result, police in the United States are issued firearms which they are authorized to use when necessary. (Here is a look at the 23 most dangerous jobs in America.)
Because law enforcement officers rely on their service weapons, police departments typically have a basic set of standards for the firearms they issue or approve. These often include physical dimensions, stopping power, reliability, accuracy, ergonomics, and weight and distance of trigger pull. Cost is also a common consideration. Gunmakers that can meet these requirements have a ready market with law enforcement agencies across the country.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed firearms used by police departments and sheriff’s offices in cities across the country, as well as those used by federal law enforcement agencies, to identify some of the most popular police firearms. The list consists mostly of standard-issue pistols, but also includes auxiliary weapons, such as shotguns and backup handguns.
The two gunmakers that appear most on this list are Glock and Sig Sauer. Austrian gunmaker Glock has been selling firearms in the U.S. since 1988, and many police departments use Glock handguns for their magazine capacity, accuracy, light weight, and steady trigger pull. Handguns made by Sig Sauer, a company that was founded in Germany in 1976, have similar attributes, and are also notable for added safety features.
In the United States, handguns chambered for 9mm ammunition are best sellers in the civilian market – and 9mm pistols are also favored in the law enforcement community. Many departments have moved away from .40 and .45 caliber ammunition, as 9mm can offer similar ballistics performance at lower cost, greater magazine capacity, higher rates of fire, and reduced recoil. (Here is a look at the most powerful handguns.)
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