Why Do Police Agencies Prefer Glock Pistols?

If there’s one issue that gets gun enthusiasts riled up, it’s the endless debate over which handgun is the best one for police officers. For decades, the weapon of choice was the Smith & Wesson .38 revolver.  Then, changing times and better armed criminals made stopping power and round capacity more important than ever.  While the venerable .45 ACP and the 9mm have their fans, these days, most law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have chosen Glock pistols for their standard issue sidearms.

The most commonly cited reason for this is that Glock offers huge discounts to law enforcement departments, many of which are forced to go with whatever is cheapest due to budget constraints.  While this is part of the answer, Glock fans are quick to cite the brand’s other strong points, such as:

  • Ability to fire the .40 S & W round – While many would disagree, numerous ballistics authorities believe that this round, in the form generally carried by law enforcement officers, represents the best overall choice for stopping power, accuracy, and ease of use.
  • Durability and dependability – While many still criticize it as a “plastic toy gun,” the polymer-based Glock has proven to be exceptionally rugged.  It holds up to extensive firing without jamming, requires a minimum of maintenance, and shrugs off abuse.

  • High ammo capacity – The Glock 22, which is carried by 60-70% of American police officers according to some estimates, holds 15 rounds in a standard magazine.  By contrast, the old favorite, the S & W Model 10, held six bullets in a rotating cylinder and required reloading one round at a time.  In an age where even a simple traffic stop can turn into a shootout with armed gang members, having that much firepower on hand is reassuring.
  • Safety – Glock pistols have three independent safety features to prevent accidental discharge, including safeties on the trigger and firing pin.  A drop safety is also included.

    Due to all of the above reasons, as well as attractive pricing, most police departments have adopted the Glock as their standard issue weapon.  Fans of other firearms will of course continue to disagree, making the issue far from settled.

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