Over the past few centuries, policemen and their trusty handguns remain inseparable. Especially during the most critical situations, handguns turn the tide in favor of the police.
In situations where lives are at stake, police opt to use their handguns to end the threat. It is crucial for them to carry firearms that can effectively neutralize criminals.
With the rich history of handguns, you may be wondering what the top 10 police handguns are?
Even if semi-automatics are today’s top options, there are older handguns worthy of inclusion in an all-time list. Keep on reading below and get to know the 10 important handguns that helped shape law enforcement.
Top 10 Police Handguns
With the history of handguns dating back to several centuries, it is hard to come up with a definitive top 10. One handgun model can easily take the spot of another. However, there are police issued guns that left a lasting mark.
1. Flintlock Pistol
Let’s start with one of the oldest pistols the U.S. Marshals Service used. The Flintlock became the most popular choice back in the late 1700s. It’s lock or ignition mechanism was flint.
The good thing about flint during that time is that it ignited gunpowder in an instant. It also worked under different weather conditions.
The flintlock pistols became the standard weapon of the Marshals Service. They carried the firearm for several decades up until the mid-1800s.
A little trivia: the flintlock pistols of Simon Bolivar sold for over $1.6 million at an auction.
2. Colt Single Action Army
The Colt Single action became a legend not only because of what it brought to the table. It became a legend also because of the legendary names that carried it on their sides.
Three names come into mind whenever the discussion revolved around the Colt Single Action: Pat Garrett, Bill Tilghman, and Bat Masterson.
Garrett was an ex-Texas Ranger as well as a sheriff in Lincoln County. His name reached legendary status after neutralizing Billy the Kid. He took down the Old West outlaw using the Colt Frontier single-action .44-40.
The handgun featured nickel plating and a 7 and 1/2-inch barrel.
Tilghman, on the other hand, carried a Colt Single Action .38 special. The gun featured a 5-inch barrel. Tilghman partnered it with another handgun: the Colt .45 caliber.
His gun also showcased pearl grips with diamondback rattler embossing.
Meanwhile, Masterson used eight different single-action Colts. But he had two most notable ones.
First was the 1882 Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolver. Next was the Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber LC revolver.
The first one featured nickel plating while the other one used gold plating. The nickel-plated handgun also featured ivory grips and a 4 ¾ barrel. It also sold for $85,000 at a 2015 auction.
The gold-plated revolver, on the other hand, showcased longhorn grips.
3. Colt New Police
This handgun became valuable for the New York Police Department. Back in the late 1800s, Theodore Roosevelt who was then New York’s police commissioner, armed the police force with new guns.
He ordered 4,500 units of the Colt New Police .32 caliber. The handgun featured 4-inch barrels. It also came with six rounds of ammo.
The guns also offered a more personal touch. They each came with a unique serial number. The numbers matched those of the officer’s badge numbers.
The handguns also came with a “New York Police” engraving on their backstrap. The idea behind the engraving and the serial numbers was to promote accountability.
4. Model 27
When the 1930s arrived, the popular choice was the Colt New Police. Then the bureau decided to issue the S&W .357 Magnums.
Later on, people started to call the magnums as Model 27s.
The Registered Magnum featured a balance of power and performance. It also came in over 20 different barrel lengths. Moreover, it also showcased different types of grip, finish, and front and rear sight options.
During the height of its popularity, the manufacturers marketed the Model 27 as “The Most Powerful Handgun in the World.”
Later on, the Registered Magnum evolved. The Model 28 Patrolman succeeded the model as the top choice in 1954. The handgun was a hit being the more economical choice.
Despite the departure of the luxury features, the Model 28 still retained the power.
5. Glock 19
This handgun first came out in 1988. Australian company Glock manufactured the handgun that showcased a lightweight body. Because of its weight, the Glock 19 became an instant hit among police officers.
The Glock 19 carried a magazine with 15 rounds. Despite this, it still weighed a total of 30 ounces.
On top of its lightweight design, the Glock 19 also excelled in terms of versatility and durability. It was also easy to clean and maintain.
But most important it offered better accuracy despite its remarkable stopping power. Whether it’s a bank robbery or a pursuit of a car thief, the Glock 19 is a worthy companion for officers.
6. Sig Sauer P226
When we talk about some of the best modern semi-automatic options, the Sig Sauer handguns are always in the conversation.
Today, the Sig Sauer P226 is still one of the favorites. It features 15 rounds, which is larger than its predecessor, the P220 offered. It also comes with a longer barrel that adds accuracy.
In addition, the P226 offers an ambidextrous catch. This allows left-handed law enforcers to carry the gun without adjusting to the grip.
Other notable handguns from Sig Sauer are the P229 and the P250. The P229 is the handgun of choice among Secret Service agents. The P250, on the other hand, is what the Air Marshals use.
7. Smith & Wesson M&P 9
In 2013, the entire Los Angeles police force started carrying the Military & Police (M&P) 9. Manufactured by Smith & Wesson, the M&P 9 became an easy favorite. The police loved its personalization offerings.
The handgun features a Picatinny rail under its muzzle. This allows users to clip in their other accessories. Some of these accessories include flashlights and laser lights, among others.
When it comes to safety, the M&P 9 makes room for some key upgrades. Officers can install the loaded chamber indicator to prevent any accidental firing.
Much like the Sig Sauer P226, the handgun also features ambidextrous controls.
8. Ruger LC9
Police officers also carry firearms even when they’re off-duty. One of their favorite off-duty handguns is the Ruger LC9.
The handgun is small and compact. The size gives officers the opportunity for concealment. It offers a chance for a surreptitious draw when assailants get to draw first.
It measures six inches long and weighs 17 ounces. It also offers safety features. It comes with a loaded chamber indicator, as well as a magazine disconnect safety.
Officers who attempt to foil a felony or robbery while off-duty find the Ruger LC9 an easy companion to carry.
If you are looking for a small handgun that packs a punch, this is a good option.
9. Heckler and Koch HK45
The German builders of Heckler and Koch handguns abide by a motto: “No Compromises!” Thus, the HK45 handgun does not compromise when it comes to its features and performance.
Its design offers versatility and power for its user. The gun was originally meant for the military. Hence, it provides power, accuracy, and durability.
Similar to the M&P 9, the HK45 also offers customization options. Officers can clip laser lights and silencers during their operations.
But the most notable feature of the handgun is its recoil reduction technology. The technology reduces gun recoil by 25%. Less recoil means quick realignment and better accuracy.
10. Colt Rail Gun 1911
Last but not least is the Colt Rail Gun 1911. This masterpiece from Colt combines contemporary enhancements with timeless classic design features.
It is basically an M1911A1 .45 ACP handgun. It does, however, come with an M1913 Picatinny rail on its frame’s dust cover.
Similar to the M&P 9, the Colt Rail Gun 1911 also allows officers to mount some key accessories. It also has a 5-inch long barrel and double-diamond, checkered hardwood grip panels.
Lefties will also find the handgun very friendly.
So there are 10 of the finest police handguns in history. Sure, there are other firearms worthy of making the cut. But these 10 leave some of the most lasting of impacts.
Keep in mind that the police and military people also use rifles and shotguns. They also invest in different accessories like Spikes Tactical barrels and muzzles.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
If you are a private citizen and you wish to buy a handgun, you need to be aware of the existing laws in your area. Before arming yourself with a gun, make sure to arm yourself with knowledge. Feel free to try out any of the firearms in our list of the top 10 police handguns.
We encourage you to check out our other blog posts on gun laws and other important legal topics. We also tackle topics like criminal law and what you should do after an auto accident.
We also discuss laws surrounding DUI, eviction, loans, and liabilities, just to name a few.
Let’s face it, many of us adults made some pretty silly mistakes in our youth before our brains were fully developed that we would give anything to take back. There are also those of us who made errors in judgment or were involved in complicated situations that resulted in some run-ins with the law.
Most felons are not bad people. They are people who made some mistakes or were even mistreated by the justice system. Having the right to bear arms is one of our fundamental constitutional rights as Americans. It is the substance from which this great Nation was born; freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms.
Yet, for felons, that right has been rescinded. So what are you supposed to do if you were an avid hunter before your incident and you just have to get that eight point during deer season or that turkey for your families’ Thanksgiving feast?
Well, in the state of Minnesota, you have some options. Regaining gun rights is a complex area of law which involves both state and federal statutes but it can be done. It is always best to consult an attorney regarding the restoration of your gun rights as you may have been misled by whoever told you that your gun rights were taken away. Many attorneys have free consultations and can point you in the right direction.
According to Minnesota state law, gun rights may be restored to a felon “automatically” if the crime that caused them to have felony status was non-violent. But do not be disillusioned; there is little that is automatic about this process.
As with most legalities; the restoration of a felons gun rights in Minnesota generally starts with a petition. This is where having a good Criminal Defense Attorney Comes in handy.
Under §609.165 subd. 1d RESTORATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS; POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION; Judicial restoration of ability to possess firearms and ammunition by felon.
“A person prohibited by state law from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition because of a conviction or a delinquency adjudication for committing a crime of violence may petition a court to restore the person’s ability to possess, receive, ship, or transport firearms and otherwise deal with firearms and ammunition.
The court may grant the relief sought if the person shows good cause to do so and the person has been released from physical confinement.
If a petition is denied, the person may not file another petition until three years have elapsed without the permission of the court.”
In layman’s terms; you must have a non-violent felony, show proof of release from physical confinement and “good cause” for restoration of your gun rights.
So, what exactly is “good cause”? Minnesota courts have not provided a definitive example of “good cause”. However, many felons have had their rights restored with the court based on any of the following:
- needing a firearm for employment purposes
- because there is no reason to believe that you cannot be trusted to own a firearm
- needing a firearm for hunting
It is imperative to have a few character witnesses and it helps if those witnesses have good credentials, (such as a doctor or attorney). Often times it is a good idea to get a mental health evaluation and ask the person performing it to give you a written statement as to their opinion on whether or not you should be able to have a firearm at such time of the evaluation? However; this is entirely up to the evaluator as to whether or not they feel comfortable doing this for you.
Your character statements and explanations should be attached to the petition that you are submitting to the court of your local township, city or village. Your local court clerk can help you procure the paperwork that the specific court requires.
The firearm rights restoration process in Minnesota can take from seven to eight months, depending on your particular circumstances, the court’s workload at the time of your petition, and whether there are any objections from the government.
The court may set a hearing date if your petition has not been denied. You will get a letter in the mail several weeks before the date. If you have an attorney; you may not be required to attend but always double check with your attorney.
Be meticulous, have patience and hire a great gun rights attorney. If you are denied from the first petition; you may not reapply for three years so choose wisely as to whether you want to tackle this yourself or pay a professional.