Various calibres used by police

I was at Ft.Lauderdale Airport buying coffee when 2 Broward County Sheriff deputies came to do the same. The female had a Glock and a much older man had a huge wooden handle revolver, which my friend standing next to me estimated to be 357 Magnum (I can’t guess based on the grips alone). I asked the male deputy if people had a way to choose a sidearm within his department. He said he and a couple others were grandfathered due to many years of service but the new guys had no way to choose. I have not seen US police with a revolver since late 70’s. What are the large uncommon calibres still left in service?

I’m sure with some of the smaller agencies they still allow their officers to carry whatever service handgun they can qualify with so I can imagine that some officers could still be carrying 44 Magnums, 41 Magnums and 45 Colts (hopefully in modern DA revolvers and not SD revolvers).

Probably unanswerable. The larger and mid-size cities and the state police agencies in the US are probably a lot more standardized on weaponry, and I’d say most use .40 S&W, .357 SIG, or 9X19 automatics. Small cities and counties (at least the small ones) are likely to be a lot more flexible. I’ve seen some rural Sheriff’s deputies and constables here in Texas carrying .44 Magnums (both revolvers and Desert Eagles) and .357 Magnum revolvers. M1911 .45s are popular too, and SWAT Teams like them. The officers operating along the Rio Grande (Mexican border) all want to carry the heaviest stuff they can get their hands on. Many PDs allow officers to carry about anything they want (within reason) as off-duty weapons. I know one that carries an EAA Witness in .45 ACP in his car due to its having a higher magazine capacity than the M1911. About as close as you can come to using the long-dead Bren Ten.

Texas DPS (State Police) is now launching six gunboats along the Rio Grande and the lower Gulf Coast equipped with M240 7.62 MGs. And with considerable justification. See: … -gunboats/

To extend this somewhat to US police use of rifles, I understand that .30-30 is still a common calibre in some states. Can anyone comment on this, and add any info about rifle calibres which are popular with the police other than the ubiquitous 5.56mm and 7.62mm?

I believe Gary Gilmore was executed in Utah [1977?] with 30-30 rifles using Winchester 150 Gr Silver tip ammo

I doubt seriously that many, if any, .30-30 rifles see law enforcement use in the US at present, outside of possibly at some of the more rural Sheriff’s offices. And there may be a few M94s still reposing in LE armories in odd locations. No one wants “Cowboy Guns.” There has been considerable Federal Law Enforcement grant money made available to many state and local law enforcement agencies, and some of that funding has gone into LE weapons upgrades. AR-type rifles are the norm about everywhere, and of course there are many agencies equipped with bolt-action tactical rifles for sniper use. I’d say a great portion are derived from the Remington 700 and are chambered in .308. This caliber is fully adequate for police use, especially in urban areas where sniper engagement distances would seldom, if ever, be much more than 100 yards. Some SWAT-type units may also have SMGs such as the the HK MP-5, but more are equipped with M4-type carbines.

In shotguns, the typical LE standard is a 12 gauge Remington 870 pump gun.

In Maine, and probably other states, the Game Wardens will sometimes carry .357mag or .44mag and I was told that this is due to the fact that the most common reason for drawing their weapon is to put down a severely wounded animal from a collision with a vehicle. Since large moose is a potential here in Maine, they might want a large caliber / heavy bullet for that kind of thing as opposed to a 9mm. Seems like 9mm would probably do the job, but the opportunity to carry a Dirty Harry type revolver must be too much for some wardens to pass up.

Texas DPS and NYPD both recently acquired a lot of Mossberg shotguns. Any shotgun besides a Mossberg 500/590 or Remington 870 variant is rare in US law enforcement. Many agencies have discontinued use of the shotgun altogether.

Any issued patrol rifle besides an AR15/M16 or Mini-14 pattern in 5.56/.223 is relatively rare.

Industry-standard for the police sniper rifle is a Remington 700 pattern in .308; several large standing teams I know use the 20" 700 Tactical. Some progressive teams are fielding the 6.8x43SPC in various firearms, mostly M16/AR15 pattern rifles, and using semi-auto .308s.

As for ORW (Old/Rare/Weird), I carried a 10mm on duty up until 2006. I believe there are still 10mm firearms ‘grandfathered’ with FBI (S&W pistols, H&K Mp5/10.

A 12ga slug is almost always used here for downed animals; even larger pistol rounds are lousy at quick kills.

The .357SIG is lagging in popularity, but several large agencies (TX DPS, FAM, USSS) still issue it. 9mmP, .40SW and .45ACP are the most common police service handgun cartridges, with loads from Speer, Federal and Winchester in most of them.

I find it interesting that the US LE cartridge market seems to have stagnated/stabilized…for a while there, we were looking for that next/best thing (.41 Magnum, 10mm, 5.7x28 [ha])…for at least the last 10yrs or so I haven’t noticed any new or weird sidearm cartridge make significant inroads in US LE.

I remember reading that some LE agencies were flirting with the .45 GAP for awhile, but I think that round is essentially deceased at present. I couldn’t see much point in it, other than the OAL was the same as the .40 S&W and 9mm, so it could be used in pistols of the same frame size. That’s about the only thing new I remember. I know the FN 5.7 was under consideration by some, and I had read that the US Secret Service MAY have used some. You can’t say it’s ineffective, considering what happened at Fort Hood.

The .45GAP is used by the SC Department of Public Safety (formerly the Highway Patrol) as their uniform service weapon. Not sure if any other state agencies here use it or not but I believe most others use the .40. In my area, most private security companies even use semi-auto pistols now instead of revolvers but some of them still carry huge Hog Legs in .357, loaded with .38’s. (Several companies I have questioned see the sidearm as a deterrent, not a tool, so there is no need for them to go to the expense to re-equip.)

I’ve seen some private armed security contractors use .22 revolvers, such as old H&Rs and Iver Johnsons. All they want is something that fits into a holster, with no intent of actually using it. Most USAF bases (and I guess Army and Navy bases also) now use private contractors for base security, at least to the extent of guarding base entry gates, operating base access pass offices, etc. Those guys are required to carry the standard Beretta M9, or the civilian M92 equivalent.

British Police (just for the record) use Glock 9mm

others, historically

.32 Webley MP up to late 50s Not carried in a holster, the uniform had big pockets on the front
.38 Enfield WW2 and up to 50s
.455 Webley WW2
.38 S&W mod 10 till about ten years ago
.38 S&W mod 64 2" detectives and plain clothes up to about ten years ago
Walther PPK 9mmK Royal protection group
Glock 9mm current and MP5 carbines
9mm Browning MOD police current

Those of you wo don’t think British police carry guns wait for the footage of the 2012 Olympics

British Police … 29,r:5,s:0

Prior to WWII, it wasn’t uncommon for many police officers in the US to carry handguns chambered in much smaller calibers than at present, such as ,32-20, .38 S&W, .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long. I know of one old detective, who was a neighbor, (this goes WAY back) who said he carried a .25 Colt auto as his duty gun. When I was a youngster, the security guard in the main local bank also carried a .25 Colt auto in a belt holster - I used to look at it every time I went with my parents to the bank. I guess the bad guys must not have been as tough back then as they are today. I’m sort of the same way - My CCW is a .25 auto, only because I don’t expect the need to use it, and it is very easy to conceal in a pants pocket, as I don’t ever (or hardly ever) wear a suit jacket or an overcoat. I remember that James Bond’s initial pistol was a .25 Beretta. If it’s good enough for Jimmy, it’s good enough for me.

[quote=“VinceGreen”]British Police (just for the record) use Glock 9mm
Two you missed which they also use:
5.56mm HK G36 carbines.
37mm HK rifled grenade launchers (L104A1).

Ah, but it proved inadequate when he actually had to shoot someone, so he swapped it for a Walther PPK…

—OK this may be long on hearsay and short on citation, but as of about a year ago, it appears that the 10mm (10x25) was still in the game in a few places. Someone went to a bunch of gun forums asking about official use of the 10mm back in 2010 and 2011. I just followed him around the web and cut and pasted some of the comments. For those that are not into Glocks, the G20 is the full sized Glock in 10mm and the G29 is the compact 10mm Glock. There were several comments about hand me down 10mms filtering down to small town police forces from the state police units that jumped on the 10mm bandwagon back in the late Eighties/ early Nineties.
—There were also several comments saying that the 10mm was a locally authorized caliber, so long as the officer paid for it personally. Authorized cartridges probably vary from force to force, but I would bet that thanks to local police bureaucratic independence, everything from the .38 Special up to the .50 AE is allowed to be carried somewhere. Working from memory (for what THAT is worth) the Spokane, Washington Police carried the 10mm into the Twenty First Century, but I am sure the switched shortly after Y2K. There was a story on the local news about an FBI agent that lost an H&K MP-5 in Spokane back about seven years ago. He left it in his unlocked official vehicle and it vanished. It was interesting that the local news channel reported it as a 10mm semi-automatic assault weapon. I am mostly deaf and read those words on the closed captioning. I kind of think that the reporter felt that “semi-automatic assault weapon” sounded better than “machine gun”!

10mm in Official Use from Net Gun Forums:
Baytown, TX Police Department
Albuquerque J.P.D. and Anniston P.D according to Wikipedia carry it.
Danish Slædepatruljen Sirius
Billings Montana P.D.
Not PD but, Federal Game and Fish officers in South Dakota carry the G20
We have a local PD here in SW Virginia that carries G20s

There are a few Police Departments who do issue the 10mm although they definitely in the minority.I am aware of PD’s in Minnesota,Montana.New Jersey,Oklahoma,New Mexico,Texas,Alabama,Colorado,Florida and even California who do issue the Glock 20 to it’s Officers.

The Greenland/Denmark Sirius Patrol Special Forces Units use the Glock 20 on their long recon missions due to the chance that they might encounter a Polar Bear.

Curt Laws

I must confess to being slighty amused by the comment about carrying a Glock 20 in case they encounter Polar Bears! Thats liable to get you a mention in the next Darwin Awards.

Eh, the Glock is only for show imho. The real deal is -wait for it… a US model of 1917(!) Firing common hunting ammo. They tried a lot of rifles but the only one standing up to the cold were the good old M/53(17) as we call it i Denmark. Rumour has it that some where even chromed for long time storage in the depots along the route, But I have never seen one.
Since Sirius patrols serious Nanoq* country they ought to know what works :-)

*Bear in inuit/Greenlandic

If you look at the pictures I posted of the British police. Espescially the one on the left. Why would any “cop” wear a pistol that loose on his person?
In New York this summer, chatting to a NYPD I asked him the same question. His reply was thats the uniform but he was not happy with it. He regarded it as a liability. He would be happier with a button down holster but he wasn’t given a choice. In a rough scrabble that happens more often than enough he has to keep one arm free at all times to protect his pistol and that cramps his style.