Master List of State-Issued Pistols

While it’s hard for some of the younger folks to imagine now, there was a time in the early days of the internet when serious “gun guys” didn’t have many places to go in cyberspace for quality information and discussion on firearms and related topics.1

There weren’t a lot of “content creators” on Al Gore’s internet back then, and there certainly weren’t any “influencers.” Actually, the best digital gun stuff was generally found in the forums populated by knowledgeable enthusiasts and professionals.2 I was an active member of several of these forums, back in the days of dial-up modems and Gateway 2000 PC’s, but the one I probably enjoyed the most and the longest was the forum on Evan Marshall’s StoppingPower.net website.

In my opinion, the StoppingPower.net forum was notable for the quality of the discussion and the maturity and gentlemanly conduct of its participants. There were plenty of other places on the web where foolishness, chest-beating and ignorance were on full display, but neither Evan nor the forum’s residents were tolerant of such nonsense. The result of this self-policing was a more exclusive, more respectful, and more serious community of friends. It was a great place to exchange information and ideas with trusted associates.

Lost and Found

My former StoppingPower.net forum pals may recall that I used to maintain a continuously-updated list of the handguns issued by state police organizations across the Union. It was interesting to watch the list evolve over time, and see how trends developed and changed as agencies switched out their issued equipment.

Evan closed StoppingPower.net shortly after RevolverGuy got its start, so that list of state-issued pistols hasn’t been readily available to reference for a while. As such, I thought it might be fun to update the list for the RevolverGuy audience, and for posterity.

We all love our revolvers, of course, but we appreciate and use the bottom-feeders too, and it can be instructive to monitor what our public sector friends are carrying. RevolverGuy extraordinaire, and friend, Grant Cunningham used to say, tongue-in-cheek, “The earth isn’t flat. Your gun shouldn’t be, either,” but RevolverGuys like Grant and us appreciate real diversity, and there’s plenty of room in our lives for the self-chuckers, too–even the soulless, plastic ones! As such, I hope you’ll forgive this brief transgression into AutoloaderLand.

Grant Cunningham was the Founder, Shop Foreman, Grand Poobah and Chief Bottle Washer of the Revolver Liberation Alliance, which playfully promoted the use and advantages of revolvers at a time when autopistol fever was running high. Revolvers seem to be trendy again, and we’re experiencing a bit of a “Revolver Renaissance” these days, but guys like Grant kept the revolver candle burning at a time when most American shooters were flocking to autos. Image courtesy of Grant Cunningham. https://www.grantcunningham.com/

The fine print

Before we get to the list, there’s a few points I’d like to clarify about the information I’ll be presenting.

First, I’m pretty confident in the accuracy of the list (as of February 2024, when I did the research), but I can’t be 100% positive about some of the states. I’ve reached across the industry to get the most accurate information I can, but some agencies are hesitant to discuss the details of the firearms their personnel carry, so I’ve had to rely on secondary sources for some of the entries. Additionally, lists like these often have a short shelf life, because equipment is constantly changing, without notice. So, if you detect an anomaly, please let me know so I can investigate and correct it.

Second, please understand that the list I’ve assembled is limited in scope. My aim is to present information about the full-size firearms that are primarily issued to highway patrolmen, state troopers, and state policemen for uniformed duty.3

Many states issue a full-size pistol for uniformed patrol officers, and a compact version of the same pistol for investigators, administrators, officers with hand fit issues, or personnel in special duty assignments. In example, California issues Smith & Wesson M&P40C pistols to some highway patrolmen, Colorado issues Shadow Systems MR920/CR920 pistols to some troopers, and Texas likewise issues Sig Sauer P320 Carry pistols to some of its troopers. Additionally, several states issue subcompact pistols as backup or off-duty guns (i.e., Indiana and Ohio issue Sig P365s, and Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana issue Glock 43s). The list I’ve assembled does not address any of these firearms, and only cites the larger, service-size pistols primarily issued for uniformed patrol duties.

Third, there may be personnel serving with these agencies who are permitted to carry previously-issued/approved pistols that are grandfathered for duty use. Some Louisiana troopers continue to carry the .40 S&W Glock 22, for example, and some Texas troopers continue to carry their .357 Sig P226s, even after these agencies transitioned to 9mm pistols. These grandfathered firearms are not addressed by this list either, even though they may currently be in service with some members of the agency.

Fourth, some agencies issue a standard pistol to their personnel, but maintain policies that allow individual officers to purchase other firearms from an approved list, and carry them on duty. In Oklahoma, for example, the Sig Sauer P320 is the standard issue pistol, and the state will only provide 9mm ammunition to its personnel, but troopers may carry other firearms from makers like Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, or Heckler & Koch, in calibers ranging from 9mm through .45 ACP, at their own expense. The list does not attempt to describe any such optionally-approved firearms or calibers.

Fifth, I’ll make no concerted attempt to differentiate between generations of Glock pistols in the same family of guns. The popular Glock 17, for example, may be issued in Third, Fourth, or Fifth Generation guise, but will only be reported as “Glock 17” on the list. Complaints may be submitted directly to the estate of Herr Glock or the editor at ARFCOM.

Sixth, some agencies issue weapon-mounted lights (WMLs) with their duty pistols (i.e., Colorado issues Streamlight TLR-7As, while Georgia and Massachusetts issue Nightstick 550XLs), or have programs where officers/troopers can purchase their own and qualify to carry them on duty (as in California). The list does not attempt to track WML use/authorization.

Lastly, some agencies issue optics (“red dot sights”) with their duty pistols, or have programs where officers/troopers can purchase their own and qualify to carry them on duty. The list will cite instances where the state is known to issue an optic with the duty pistol, but does not attempt to track programs where approved optics are purchased and used by individual officers.

With the ground rules established, let’s get to the list.

The MASTER LIST

Alabama:  Glock 17 and Glock 45 (9mm)

Alaska:  Glock 17 (9mm) (MOS version, with Holosun optic)

Arizona:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Arkansas:  Glock 17 (9mm)

California:  Smith & Wesson M&P40 (.40 S&W)

Colorado:  Shadow Systems XR920 (9mm) (with Trijicon RMR optic)

Connecticut:  Glock 45 (9mm)

Delaware:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

Florida:  Glock 45 (9mm) (MOS version)

Georgia:  Glock 45 (9mm) (with Trijicon SRS optic)

Hawaii:  (Dept. of Law Enforcement, Sheriff Division) Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

Idaho:  Glock 19 (9mm) (MOS version, with Holosun HE508T optic)

Illinois:  Glock 22 (.40 S&W)

Indiana:  Sig Sauer P227 (.45 ACP)

Iowa:  Smith & Wesson M&P40 (.40 S&W)

Kansas:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Kentucky:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Louisiana:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Maine:  Heckler & Koch HK45 LEM (.45 ACP)

Maryland:  Glock 22 (.40 S&W)

Massachusetts:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm) (with Sig Sauer Romeo 1 optic)

Michigan:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Minnesota:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Mississippi:  Glock 17 (9mm) (MOS version)

Missouri:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Montana:  Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 (9mm)

Nebraska:  Glock 45 (9mm)

Nevada:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

New Hampshire:  Smith & Wesson M&P45 (.45 ACP)

New Jersey:  Glock 19 (9mm)

New Mexico:  Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 (9mm)

New York:  Glock 21 (.45 ACP)

North Carolina:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

North Dakota:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

Ohio:  Sig Sauer P320 Pro (9mm)

Oklahoma:  Sig Sauer P320 Pro (9mm)

Oregon:  Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 (9mm)

Pennsylvania:  Walther PDP (9mm) (Compact, and F-Series, with Aimpoint ACRO P-2 optic)

Rhode Island:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

South Carolina:  Glock 17M (9mm)

South Dakota:  Sig Sauer P226 (.40 S&W)

Tennessee:  Glock 45 (9mm) (MOS version)

Texas:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

Utah:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Vermont:  Smith & Wesson M&P40 (.40 S&W)

Virginia:  Sig Sauer P320 (.357 Sig)

Washington:  Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 (9mm)

West Virginia:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Wisconsin:  Glock 17 (9mm)

Wyoming:  Sig Sauer P320 (9mm)

a few observations

Plastic rules! The last of the issue pistols with metal frames are gone, replaced by guns with polymer ones. With all the gear that lawmen have to carry these days, I’m sure the weight savings is appreciated (although it may be lost in the noise, since lawmen generally seem to be carrying more ammo now, too).

Glock rules! Glock equips 50% of the state agencies, with nearly twice the sales of their nearest competitor (Sig Sauer, at 26%). This is consistent with the prior list, where Glock accounted for 48% of the guns, and Sig Sauer accounted for 30%.  Like Glock and Sig, Smith & Wesson is holding pretty steady, at 16% of the current total (18% on the prior list).

Previous iterations of the list showed a greater interest in .40 S&W (only 12% now, down from 46%) and .357 Sig (only a single agency now, down from 12%) firearms among state police agencies, but it’s very clear from this update that the 9mm’s popularity is at an all-time high. Despite all the ink (pixels?) used to justify the transition on the basis of the ballistic advances in today’s 9x19mm duty ammunition, I suspect the 9mm’s moderate recoil (which saves both the shooter and the gun, and facilitates improved range scores that make administrators happy), increased capacity, lesser cost, and greater availability are truly the most important factors in its adoption. I think the 9mm works as well as we can expect a handgun round to perform, but also think the move towards the caliber is more about logistics, hiring practices, and training burdens, than ballistics.

Less than 10% of state police agencies are issuing .45 caliber pistols at the moment, which is down from the last accounting (18%). The .45 caliber tide seems to rise and fall over time, but John Browning’s opus cartridge never really goes away. Today’s new hotness seems to be 9mm pistols that can stuff half a box of ammunition (or more!) into extended magazines that would permit a stacked hands grip on the gun, like a baseball bat, and I don’t think the 9mm is in any jeopardy of being displaced as the leading police cartridge until the next revolution in firearms technology. But as sure as the sun will rise, the .45 ACP will make another comeback somewhere down the road. It always does, usually after a few shootings where bad guys refuse to cooperate when they’re hit by lighter and smaller bullets, and the troops start looking for a bigger stick to hit them with. It seems every generation goes through some version of this cycle, and we’ll see it again before long, so don’t sell off your stash of 230 grain Hydra-Shoks just yet.

The previous version of this list didn’t list a single pistol with an issued optic, but 12% of the agencies on the list now issue one as standard, and another 10+% of agencies are issuing optics-capable pistols that can be readily outfitted with one. My experience in training law enforcement officers throughout the state of California indicates that a strong and rising minority of deputies and police officers are carrying optics-equipped pistols on patrol (maybe as much as 30% – 40% statewide, even more in some regions or departments, and rapidly climbing), and I have no doubt the trend of mounting TV screens to the blaster will accelerate at the state and national level in the years to come. It will be interesting to revisit this list in a few years and see what the numbers look like then. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that when the legacy pistols on this list time out and get replaced, the new guns will at least be optics-ready, if not optics-equipped.

Round up

Since I’m busy making predictions, I’ll add another one. While the revolver will never return as a standard-issue arm for any of the agencies on this list, they’ll continue to be carried on ankles, in pockets, tucked behind Sam Brownes, and stuffed into patrol bags, nooks, and crannies as backup guns, extra guns, car guns, and off-duty guns for officers and troopers that need a compact, powerful, simple, and reliable option for defense.

One more from Grant, just because it makes me laugh! https://www.grantcunningham.com/

The autoloader may dominate police duty holsters, but the earth is still round, as brother Cunningham reminds us, and at least one of your guns should be, too.

*****

endnotes

1.) I suppose one could cynically argue that not much has changed in that respect. While  we’re almost drowning in social media accounts, video channels, blogs, podcasts, internet sites, subscription services  and other hangouts for our gun tribe these days, there’s still a lot of chaff out there for a serious guy to get through. It does seem, at times, that there’s a lot of know-nothings with fancy presentations just cluttering up the interwebs, but we’re also blessed to have some really great content and creators out there, too. There’s no shortage of good material out there for gun guys to enjoy, despite the best efforts of the tech weenies to stifle it.

2.) An early standout, in my opinion, was Dean Speir’s (“Waldo Lydecker’s”) The Gun Zone, which combined Dean’s witty and sharp-tongued editorials, some great investigative reporting (not only from Dean, but from respected writers like Charlie Petty), and a supporting TGZ forum that attracted some of the most serious gun guys in the industry.

Eventually, The Gun Zone forum took on the life of a vagabond, and found itself crashing on the couch of several different friends. If my memory serves me right, the founder of Panteao Productions hosted the forum on his servers for a while, before it was adopted by a Long Island-based shooting club, and after that, I can’t remember where it went. The EOTAC clothing company also hosted it for a while (h/t Daniel Watters for clearing up my hazy memory about that) somewhere in there. I was sad to see it go.

3.) The equipment carried by highway patrolmen, state policemen, and troopers sometimes varies from the gear used by local officers and deputies. This is often the result of differences in agency culture (state-level organizations tend to be larger, a little more traditional, and more insistent on standardization), jurisdiction (there’s often more variety in geography, climate, and working conditions at the state level),  and mission (i.e., highway patrolmen tend to do a lot more vehicle stops than local officers and deputies).

These differences can have a significant impact on equipment selection at the state level. For example, we’ve traditionally seen highway patrol agencies lean towards issuing heavier calibers (or more powerful ammunition within a given caliber), because they get into lots of gunfights around cars, and want ammunition that will penetrate deep into them. This contrasts with many municipal agencies who have equipped their personnel with lighter calibers (or less powerful ammunition) due to concerns about errant and overpenetrating rounds endangering others in dense, urban areas.

Similarly, the large state police organizations, with their paramilitary roots and cultures, tend to place a premium on standardization, and tend to be more conservative in their choices than many smaller agencies at the local level. You’re more likely to see a liberal weapons policy, that allows for more individual choice and discretion, at a small municipal agency than a large state agency. Additionally, you’re more likely to see leading-edge technology, like a handgun optic, on a pistol carried by a deputy or police officer, than you will on a pistol carried by a trooper.

The point of all this is that we can draw some conclusions from the data in this master list of state-issued duty guns (and we will, a bit later), but we have to keep it in context. There’s certainly a lot of overlap between federal, state, county, and municipal agencies when it comes to trends in selecting police duty firearms, but we’d be wise to avoid making any generalizations about the greater law enforcement community, based on this sample of state agencies.

credits

Featured image courtesy of Safariland.  Make sure to check out their new SafariVault holster, which is their latest duty-rated security holster.

 

Author: Mike

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is a bonafide revolver nut, a certified law enforcement instructor in handgun, shotgun, patrol rifle, less-lethal, and diversionary device disciplines, and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, the definitive study of the infamous, 1970 California Highway Patrol shootout in Newhall, California. Mike wrote the "Tactical Analysis" column at Police1.com for 8 years, and enjoys teaching both armed citizens and law enforcement officers.

61 thoughts on “Master List of State-Issued Pistols”

  1. Although a revolver enthusiast, I own more than a few “flat” handguns, too, but no “soulless plastic ones”. If someone gave me a plastic gun I’d sell it quickly and use the money to buy a real (e.g., all metal) gun.

    1. Understood, my friend. I’ve been carrying the plastic guns for decades though, and they work. Nobody will write a Skeeter-style story about them, but they’re great tools.

      1. Dear Sir: I wish there was some way to revive/republish the biggest writers’ names in shooting history. I am thinking of Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton. I used to own Mr. Keith’s fascinating autobiography, “Hell, I Was There!” But I somehow mislaid it. “The Letters of Elmer Keith” is also a great read. Mr. Skelton’s books seem to be out of print as well, and copies on Amazon or Ebay were outrageously overpriced.

        1. I’m not sure who owns the publishing rights to those, Lee. It would be nice if they’d do another run though, wouldn’t it?

  2. Thank you Mike for updating this info and the article. It seems to be asked in places all over Old Al’s internet.

    Now you have to work on a historical list of what the agencies have used in days gone by.

    Got to know where folks have been.

    1. Tony, I’ve got bits and pieces of that, but not the full account. That would indeed be a good project someday . . . maybe after I retire!

  3. Mike,
    Interesting article. I suspect the tide will begin to flow back to .45 ACP as well. Regarding the Idaho State Police they are currently carrying the Glock 19 MOS with a Holosun sight. Prior to that they carried the Glock 21. I was sad to see them go away from the .45 ACP. In talking with their firearms training staff in District 2 it has been a good transition so far as scores are up with the dot sight and the G19 fits the average Trooper better than the G21. Thanks for all your hard work and the information you put out!

    Morgan

    1. Thanks Morgan, I’ll update it from the G22 that’s currently listed.

      Can you confirm if this is an agency-wide shift, or will there continue to be grandfathered guns in use? Also, can you confirm the Holosun model?

  4. The truth is I’m a product of my generation, Mike, and have many of the same biases. One is an aversion to just about anything made of plastic. For instance, some sixty years ago (as well as today) the cheapest junk sold in grocery and hardware stores was always plastic and placed near the checkout stands for impulse buyers to purchase. Yet not all people of my age group (70+) think like I do, that is, old school–well, maybe we’re dinosaurs.

    1. Hah! No worries, my friend, and no explanation necessary. I’m actually in the same boat. Most of us are, which is why we’re RevolverGuys, eh?

      In my profession, the world is moving towards plastic airplanes flown by computers, instead of metal ones flown by pilots. I’m a product of the old school and appreciate both aluminum and stick & rudder skills. Time marches on, but I’d be rather happy to get left behind, sometimes.

      Don’t even get me started about the ridiculous level of tech in cars today . . .

  5. That’s an interesting list. I’m still a big fan of the. 40 Short&Wimpy, but it’s kind of a handful in a plastic pistol; it needs some weight to absorb the snap. Still, I’m kinda sad to see its decline.
    On the subject of plastic versus metal: When I was a young agent in my 20s I could and did carry a K-frame or a 1911 all day. As time marched on and I incurred dings and dents from fights, falls, and car crashes, not so much. By the time I retired I was very glad to be carrying the issue Glock 19. Now that I’m the same age as old people, a plastic 9mm or an Airweight J-frame is close to perfect.

    1. 1811, I hear ya. The weight savings is definitely appreciated, particularly as the odometer creeps up there. As much as I love my S&W Model 19, the Glock 19 is much more efficient, carrying nearly 3X the capacity in a smaller and lighter package.

      I like the .40 S&W as well, but I’m selective about what I shoot it in. I never found it to be a good match with Gen 2/3 Glocks of any size (22, 23, 27), but it behaved very nicely in my issued HK USP-C, and my personal Sig P229 (better in the HK than the Sig). I’d be very interested in trying one of the new Gen 5 Glocks in .40 caliber, as they have heavier slides that are more appropriate for the cartridge. I bet they shoot much better than the Gen 3 guns I’m familiar with.

      Jim Cirillo used to comment that the .40 S&W was launched in the wrong guns. Instead of squeezing it into 9mm frames, it should have been put into .45 caliber frames. He was probably right, from a maintenance and reliability perspective, but the 9mm-size frames were a big part of the appeal and the cartridge wouldn’t have achieved its remarkable success if it had been launched in the bigger guns.

  6. Back in the revolver days, agencies seemed to hold onto their guns forever. When I was first sworn in in 19(mumble-mumble), I was issued a pre-Model 10 M&P .38 Special that was older than I was. The agency didn’t upgrade its inventory till 1986 when it bought and issued .357s. Now, when they mostly carry polymer 9mms that will last forever, they change guns every few years. I guess spending other people’s money makes it easier to go for the new hotness.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking that! The feds are the worst, as they won’t even try to recoup any of the investment by surplussing the old ones. They just collect and destroy them, then raise your taxes to cover the new toys.

      My issued HK was in perfect shape when they took it back. There were another two or three generations worth of service life left in that gun, if you just changed out the consumables (recoil springs, magazines) on schedule.

      But they turned it into scrap, anyhow. Stupid.

      1. I had the same experience. When I was first issued a handgun, it was the S&W M66 which I trusted to take care of any problem that might arise. When it was time to “upgrade” to a 9mm, Janet Reno ordered that they be cut up rather than sold to us because she didn’t want “more guns on the street.” So much for watching out for the taxpayers (not to mention employees).

  7. Thank you for that enlightening compilation. The choices of state agencies seems to follow whatever wind is blowing in which direction. My sympathies to those issued the Sig 320.

    At one time it was either S&W or Colt or Ruger in .357 Magnum or .38 Special. A new hire coming on in the late 70s to early 80s would generally be issued a gun that had already seen many years of service, as Old 1811 aptly pointed out. Toting a M66 was innocuous until age, injuries, surgeries, and general wear and tear started creeping into the picture.

    Then in the middle 1980s, the U.S. military adopted the Beretta M9 and secondary, the Sig P226 (M11), and it seemed like everyone went whole hog for the Beretta, the SIG, or S&W autoloaders. Then the Glock appeared on the U.S. market, and the tsunami began. With the total militarization of the police, and the seemingly requisite combat load of 4 extra magazines, multiple handcuffs, tasers, OC, zip ties, radio, body armor . . . it’s easy to see why the plastic fantastics and synthetic duty gear have taken over.

    Production of bottom feeders has become an exercise in efficiency and simplicity. Anyone who has detail stripped a Glock will see what is meant. Injection molding the receiver takes no time at all compared to machining a pistol receiver from billet aluminum. For a Glock, the most machine intensive parts are the barrel, slide and extractor.

    Revolvers are, compared to semi autos, not efficient; and revolver production is far from an efficient process. Granted MIM and computer controlled machining streamlines things, but you’re still assembling a device that requires precision fit and timing. There are two major areas where the revolver does rule, and where I think it always will rule: First is where there is a need for something very small and light to stash in a pocket for those elevator encounters. Second is for folks who are not gun ‘enthusiasts’, but want a reliable, easy to use, and very safe platform for home defense and to ride in their car. The K-frame size .38 Special (stoked with wadcutters) fills the bill.

    I carried a Glock 19 from 1995 to the present. My second gun was always a S&W J frame .38 Special, currently a M37-2. I might walk outside the house without my Glock, but I’ll always have the J frame. There’s no such thing as “too many J frames.”

    1. Amen, brother! The snub revolver is irreplaceable. Nothing does its job as well.

      There’s a big push in LE to substitute the micro-compact and subcompact pistols for the snub revolver as backup guns, but I don’t expect the snub will disappear. It does a lot of things much better than the small autos can, and some things the small autos absolutely can’t do at all.

      Everything is a trade off, but when I do the math for myself, the snub revolver comes out ahead of any of the autos as a backup gun. My J-frames aren’t going anywhere. They’re here to stay.

      1. Yep. One of the main things a J-frame or LCR can do is shoot through a coat pocket. I used to work with a guy who practiced shooting his 638 through the pocket of an old windbreaker. He had a leather glove on his off hand to stamp out the flames.

      2. As far as nothing doing a J-frame’s job as well, I met a female deputy in the 70’s who was an excellent shot with it. The males who worked with her were somewhat intimidated by her as her standard protocol was firing three rounds as fast as she could. She rode the recoil such that the first round was to the groin, the second round was to the chest and the third round was to the head. The fourth and fifth rounds were spares she never needed. She only needed it for real once but all her range practice paid off. A K-frame with six couldn’t have done any better (M19 was standard issue).

  8. FWIW, during the relatively brief period that USBP issued the HK P2000 (with the LEM trigger), one BPA was thrown from his ATV and landed on his. The grip frame broke off on the impact. As rare as that is, I don’t recall any similar reports with steel- or aluminum-frame pistols.

    And, in the days before LASD transitioned from revolvers to the Beretta 92F, deputies could take what I recall as a two-day course that qualified them to carry any S&W DA/SA 9mm, a 9mm HK P9S or an HK P7 off duty or when working “soft clothes.” Interest in the P9S evaporated after a story made the rounds that an SEB/SWAT deputy had used one as an impact weapon, causing the slide assembly to fly off, apparently as the polymer frame flexed.

    1. Should’ve used his Motorola radio! 😆

      It’s a point well taken though, Stephen. Such incidents are rare, but they do happen.

      When I was working with Safariland on a few writing projects, I learned of polymer-framed firearms made by certain makers that would fail during Safariland’s holster retention tests, with the grip frame breaking clean off the gun, when subjected to hydraulic pull force testing (fortunately, the receiver and slide assembly stayed trapped in the holster). Such a failure during a fight with a suspect could be disastrous for the officer, particularly if he chose not to carry a backup weapon.

  9. Mike to help you start with your historical list of state issued handguns.

    Idaho State Police was organized in 1939.

    The first issued handgun was the S&W 38/44 Heavy Duty with 5″ barrel

    In the mid-Fifties ISP switched to the S&W Model 28 Highway Patrolman

    In 1979 ISP went to the S&W Model 65 (357 Magnum)

    In 1991 ISP joined the semi-auto crowd with the adoption of the S&W 4586 DAO (45 ACP)

    In 2000/01 ISP switched to the Glock 21.

    My father purchased his Model 65 for a nominal fee when the 4586 came online. He was part of the selection committee the previous year (1990) and the number one recommendation of the committee was the SIG Sauer P220, but the 4586 was more affordable and the folks making the decision had a sentimental attachment to S&W.

    When dad retired in 94 from ISP he was gifted the 4586. I inherited the 65 and 4586 and they’re keepers.

    1. Jeff, thank you so much!! That’s outstanding info, and a great start on a future project. It’s great to hear from you again!

  10. I’m a city cop in Idaho and my agency issues the GLOCK 45 (9mm) with weapon light and Steiner red dot sight. Before the G45 I carried the GLOCK 19 for 13 years. Before that I carried the SIG P220. I collect revolvers and I like revolvers, but I also like the 9mm Glock pistols. I shoot them well and I have confidence in my ability with them. I always qualified with the P220 but I have consistently higher scores with the 9mm Glock pistols. I know scores aren’t everything, but short of going through an actual gunfight it’s something. My agency has had a few officers involved shootings since we went to the 9mm and in each case the suspect went down, and our officers were still standing so that’s something I suppose.

    1. Jeff, I’m always pleased to hear stories about the Good Guys coming out on top. We pray for you and your fellow officers every night in this household.

      A Steiner RDS is not a cheap investment! Kudos to you guys for picking top shelf gear.

      1. In 2022 we got a new chief. He was a lieutenant with L.A.P.D. before moving up to our area. He doesn’t believe in doing things on the cheap and he is a very capable administrator and politician. I know it’s fashionable to sneer at politicians, but politics are a reality, and we need people in charge who are good at politicking. I’m not I should add.

        Since being appointed he’s been able to coax money out of our city council for the most amazing things…such as those Steiner weapon sights. Also pay raises and more officers which we desperately need. Since I joined my agency in 2000 the city has grown from 25,000 to almost 80,000 residents.

        1. Sounds like a good Chief, Jeff. I hope you get to keep him a while. We’re busy exporting good cops from California, because none want to stay in this dumpster fire of a state. I don’t blame him for fleeing to America!

  11. Thank you for putting this list together, Mike. It’s always interesting to see what handgun each state police organization issues. Reading Jeff Cordell’s comments made me realize that NM and Idaho followed a similar path. NMSP transitioned to semiautos away from the S&W 686 issue revolver in 1988. The firearms selection committee formed had also recommended the Sig P220 in .45ACP, the Chief at the time decided to go with the S&W5906 9mm. The 9mm cartridge was not enjoying the popularity and trust then that it does now. This decision wasn’t favorably viewed by the officers being made to turn in their revolvers. After only a few years, NMSP began issuing the S&W4506 in .45 ACP in 1991. If you start down the “historic list” road of agencies, that may turn into a project for another book!

    1. That’s what I’m afraid of, buddy! I’ve already got one that’s loooong overdue and no time to finish it! The last thing I need is to add another one!

      I always liked the P220, and felt Arizona DPS had an excellent policy in the late 80s and early 90s, where troopers could choose between a P220 or P226. No matter which side of the caliber fence you were on, you could pick a choice that would make you happy.

    1. Yes it did, and it was a reasonable choice from the agency’s perspective, given the logistics of it, but I still liked the previous options better.

  12. Really cool article Sir!! In my police days as a city cop in NM, I was issued a Glock 17 and carried a few different generations of it through the years. I was allowed to qualify with and carry my Smith M19 and carried it on patrol and as a detective. The difference in the amount of ammunition carried between the two guns never made a difference with me. I always felt comfortable with my .357 and still prefer it over a semi auto.

  13. Fascinating! Especially because in my 30 years I always had to buy my own duty gun. When I was hired in 1988, my choices were limited to 9mm or .45 or .38 Special/.357 Magnum (issued .38 +P) and a semiauto had to have a double action trigger.

    My only .45 choices were the S&W 645 or the Sig P220. Having limited funds, I chose the 645 and carried it for almost two years before the Chief made the decision that the entire department had to switch to Sig Sauer pistols in either 9mm or .45 acp.

    I had to sell my 645 and buy a P220. I carried the P220 for another 21 years.

    A new Chief allowed striker fired pistols and I switched back to S&W, this final time to the M&P Professional 5-inch barrel .40 caliber. I carried the M&P until I finished out my career.

    I still have my Sig P220 and my M&P and I pine for the memory of my big stainless 645.

    1. Steve, I know you shot all of them exceptionally well!

      I wish you could have kept your 645. You could buy another one, but it wouldn’t be the same, would it? I’ve got a copy of my old issue HK USP-C that I had to turn in, and it’s a great gun, but it’s not the old friend I put all the miles on.

  14. Ten Driver! I remember you!
    I was a regular on Stopping Power and (especially) on The Gun Zone forums. Dean Speir’s insistence on using even basic English made TGZ a treat.

    Poster: “…a light on my Glock’s.”
    DS: “On your Glock’s WHAT?!”

    Oh boy! I loved that sort of thing from him, but that man was perhaps more polarizing than our 45th president. I sure hated to learn of his passing.

    FWIW, the Indiana State Police uses the Sig P365 as a backup gun.

    1. Haha! Dean kept us all entertained, didn’t he? Well, except the people he angered, instead!

      Thanks for the tip about ISP. I updated the paragraph on BUGs with that info.

      Glad to see there’s still a handful of us old forum haunters here!

  15. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the tribute to TGZ, Dean, and Charlie. For what it’s worth, it was once hosted by the clothing vendor EOTAC, not the holographic sight company EOTech. EOTAC’s sponsorship of TGZ ended soon after they were bought out by Cerberus/Remington.

    1. Sir, MANY thanks for clearing up my hazy memory of that! I’ll go back and correct it immediately. I remember seeing your fine contributions on TGZ and in the forum as well—there were some real quality folks contributing to the effort!

  16. Evan Marshall’s StoppingPower forums were by far the best gun forums ever and I really miss them. Among the reasons I am a big fan of RevolverGuy are its similar civility and knowledgeable discussion. Keep up the good work and your high standards!

    1. Thank you Sir, that means a lot! I had a good role model to follow, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to duplicate the recipe. Much of that credit goes to our readers!

      I’m probably biased, but I honestly think we do things differently in the revolver culture . . . and by differently, I mean better!

  17. As kind of a footnote, my WA state agency–a sheriff’s office with about 250 commissioned–transitioned from revolvers and personally owned semis to non-rail Glock 22s, then to G22s with rails ( many malfunctions when lights were added) to Smith and Wesson M&P .40s (less malfunctions, but still too many) to M&P 2.0s, still in .40, and are now going to metal Smiths–last I heard, in 9mm.

    I carried one or another Colt 1991A1s until assigned to a rural beat with minimal backup, then carried one or another G21 until shoulder problems caused me to transition to left side carry of the issue Smith until retirement.

    My original issue non-rail G22 is in my safe as I write this and still going strong. I have no idea of its round count, as it was a beater when it was issued to me.

    I, too, miss Dean, and his nom de plume Waldo Lydecker.

    1. Lobo, those darned G22 Gen 3s really struggled with the lights, especially Streamlights, because of their mount. As you know, that’s what drove the Gen 4 development (and even that got off to a bad start, with recoil spring issues making the gun unreliable).

      I think you were much better armed with your Glock 21 and 1991A1.

      I’m glad you made it to the finish line. Thank you for your LE service!

  18. If you’re a youtube fan, you may know of a channel called “Kentucky Ballistics.” The youtuber (is that the proper term?), a guy named Scott, is an ex-Kentucky State Police trooper, and recently posted a video where he fired all the KSP duty pistols since 1990 (a Smith 686 in .357, a Smith 1076 in 10mm, a Glock 35 in .40, and the current Glock 17 in 9mm) into ballistic gel to compare their performance. An interesting detail is that the Glock 35 he uses is the same one he was issued and carried while he was a trooper. (Apparently, KSP is one of those agencies that will let you buy your pistol when you leave.) At any rate, it’s an interesting video, and the channel is fun.

  19. I think it’s a shame no one uses the Springfield XD (SA’s branding of the Croatian HS2000 pistol).

    I recently got into the XD series after avoiding striker-fired pistols for the longest time. As someone who’s primarily shot and carried revolvers, I do not like the light and short (by comparison) triggers on striker-fired pistols; particularly so when the majority come with no safety.

    With a revolver, or a DA/SA pistol, the long and heavy double-action trigger pull is the safety. You also have the option of keeping your thumb on the hammer when re-holstering. On a striker-fired pistol, you have no safeguard if something gets caught in the trigger.

    The XD pistols, on the other hand, have a grip safety. This, FOR ME, adds extra safety when re-holstering and makes me feel more comfortable when re-holstering. That, along with good ergonomics and ambi controls, is what drew me to the XD series over Glocks or anything else.

    1. Thanks Axel. I don’t mean to sound critical of your choice, but would like to share a few thoughts about this with the greater audience.

      I have a little bit of time on the early XD-series guns, but have not had the opportunity to shoot the latest improved models (XD-M, etc.). While they shot well, and were reliable for me in my limited experience with them, they have not developed a good reputation for reliability in the LE and training circles I frequent. I’ll point you towards Greg Ellifritz’s evaluation of the guns, as an example of the feedback I tend to get, more often than not, when discussing XDs for general issue. Look for, “The Springfield XD — A Polemic.”

      I don’t know of any American law enforcement agencies, Federal, State, or Local, that issue these guns to their troops. There may be some out there, but I’m unaware of any, and that gives me pause. Just because a gun is issued to cops, doesn’t make it good, but when an entire industry avoids a product, for whatever reason, I have to consider the importance of that. It could be something as simple as they’re more expensive than competing products of similar quality, but I know lots of agencies that issue guns like HKs and Staccatos who weren’t turned off by price tags, yet I never see any XDs in police holsters.

      The grip safety is definitely unique amongst the striker guns, but also a common source of reliability complaints. I’ve heard a number of reports of “locked up” guns when the grip safety malfunctioned. Additionally, I’m aware of issues in training where a weak or improper grasp (a rushed grip, a support-hand grip, a smaller hand, etc.) failed to deactivate the grip safety. I’ve had defenders of the gun insist that this is a “training issue,” but I do worry there might be a potential for an injured shooter, or someone rushing to draw the gun under duress, to fail to depress it properly.

      The grip safety does add an element of safety during holstering, if proper technique is used. That technique would require you to place your thumb on the back of the slide, over the cocking indicator, to move the web of your hand, and your palm, off of the grip safety. If you clear your hand from the grip safety in this manner, then it will add an extra layer of safety as you holster.

      However, those Negligent Discharges we see during holstering are often preceded by a breakdown in proper technique/procedure, so I’m left wondering how much assistance the grip safety really is in that scenario. Presumably, if you can remember to move your thumb to the rear of the slide before holstering, you can also remember to remove your finger from the trigger. It seems unlikely the trigger finger will be forgotten, but you’ll remember to move the thumb . . . not impossible, just unlikely.

      Just so I’m fair, the same situation exists with the “Gadget” (or Striker Control Device) for Glocks that I like and install on mine. It protects against NDs if you remember to move your thumb before holstering, but if you can remember that, then you can probably remember to take your finger off the trigger, too.

      I suppose both devices are useful to protect against foreign objects getting into the trigger guard during holstering, and tripping the trigger, presuming you remember to move the thumb to its proper place. I’ll give them that.

      None of this is intended to be critical of your choice. The improved fit and ergonomics these pistols have provided for you are very important. The more natural grip angle is also a strong selling point for people who have difficulty adapting to the more radical grip angle on the Glock—the XDs naturally point better for some folks, and that’s important, too.

      Manufacturers make a variety of guns with a variety of options, because we’re all different and have slightly different needs. I won’t begrudge anyone who makes a different choice than me, after careful consideration of their needs, and the pros/cons of the solution.

      I do, however, think there are important reasons we don’t see any XDs on this list. I think there are better choices for a general issue gun that will be put in the hands of hundreds or thousands of personnel.

      1. Fair enough. I’m not LE/military, so I cannot comment on any of that. I know that the Beretta 92 didn’t have the greatest reputation amongst military circles for the longest time, but all the civilian shooters I know that have one love it. Maybe certain guns hold up differently in LE/military training.

        I’m also not going to pretend my tastes are indicative of most people. If I hadn’t discovered the XDs, I would continue sticking solely to revolvers, because I can’t find a pistol that suits what I want. I don’t like thumb safeties, I don’t want to have two trigger pulls, and I don’t striker-fired pistols with their short and light triggers (relative to revolvers).

        I’m not worried about remembering to take my finger off that trigger when I’m re-holstering; that’s a non-issue. If someone is keeping their finger on the trigger when re-holstering, they need to relearn firearm safety; in my opinion. The XD’s grip safety, as you pointed out, protects against something getting caught in the trigger guard when re-holstering. I’ve seen and heard enough anecdotes about people getting “Glock leg” that I refuse to carry any Glock or striker-fired pistol without an additional safeguard; something that’s not a thumb safety. I know Chris Baker from Lucky Gunner has mentioned concerns like these before in some of his videos on appendix carry and DA/SA autos.

        Yes, I know people will probably mention something along the lines of, “This is a non-issue if you have a proper kydex holster!!” That’s great and all, but it’s not enough for me. Even though I said I don’t want to learn two trigger pulls, if I were to seriously considering transitioning to autos full-time from revolvers, I would probably have to go with a DA/SA pistol. If HS Produkt (SA is the importer) wants to eventually discontinue the XD series in favor of their new Echelon pistol, then I’m going to end up being left high and dry. A DA/SA will be my only option at that point for me, since as I said, I will not carry any striker-fired pistol without an extra safeguard.

        1. Axel, thanks for understanding my intent and focus with my reply. Again, I meant no criticism of your choices.

          Yes, some guns hold up to general issue in large organizations much better than others. The guns that don’t are still useful in certain applications, just not for that job.

          You mentioned the M9/92F. That’s an interesting study in itself, if you’ll allow a digression.

          I transitioned to that gun from the S&W Model 15 around 1988 in the Air Force, and the M9 quickly developed an excellent reputation for reliability, with the exception of the early “slide failures” that were incorrectly attributed to a flaw in the gun, when the real problem involved webbed feet and high volumes of overpressure ammunition. Beretta “fixed” the problem with an oversized hammer pin that was designed to capture or redirect any slides that wanted to become missiles, and all was good . . .

          . . . Until OEF/OIF, when the crummy Checkmate-produced magazines, which DoD purchased in a lowest-bidder contract, began to choke on the powdery desert sand. The mags were phosphate-coated/parkerized on the inside of the tube, and the rough surface would make sandy magazine followers jam in the tube. This didn’t happen with the earlier Beretta-produced mags, which were blued and slick on the inside of the tube. The Checkmate mags (and DoD’s generally poor maintenance practices, which involved never replacing wear items like recoil springs and mag springs) were the real problem, and the mags eventually got phased out, but they left the M9 with a hangover reputation as being “unreliable” in some quarters. Beretta “fixed” the problem again, by developing a “sand resistant” mag that used a new follower and a slicked up tube on the inside, to reduce friction. They probably could have just sold original design mags to DoD, but the new product was slightly better and, most importantly, made everyone feel better.

          The truth is that the M9 is probably the most reliable handgun the DoD has ever fielded, and deserves great credit for its performance (with appropriate mags). Any problems we experienced with the gun could normally be traced back to poor maintenance (like the broken locking blocks, which usually failed long after the recoil springs had exceeded their service life, allowing the gun to beat itself to death) or bad, non-OEM mags.

          The new darling in DoD is the M17/18, but it’s troubled and the troops would be MUCH better armed with the old M9s, I think.

          Circling back to your issue about finding an auto that operates in a manner that you’re comfortable with, I think the sweet spot for you might be a trigger system like the HK LEM or the Sig Sauer DAK. These are long-action, hammer-fired guns with medium weight trigger pulls that are the same each time. You’ll never get closer to the feeling of a good DA revolver trigger than you will with guns like these.

          I carried the HK USP-C with the LEM trigger at work for 18 years and loved it. I wish I hadn’t been required to exchange it for a Glock. I’ve had a Sig P229R with a DAK trigger for nearly as long, and while I like it, I prefer the HK LEM system. Either one would solve your problem nicely, I think. You should take a look at them.

          In smaller pistols, the Kahr autos also have very good, “Double Action Only” triggers that will remind you of a good S&W revolver. Definitely worth a look.

      2. I’m not a fan of the XD, but in fairness I have to say that at one time it was authorized by both Chicago and Houston PD. Don’t know if it still is. (Chicago doesn’t issue pistols; every officer must buy their own. The “authorized” list is basically striker-fired 9mms from Glock, S&W, Sig, and Springfield.) I don’t know how Houston does things, but the article I read made it appear that they issue a pistol but each officer has the option to carry a personally owned gun off an “approved” list. I’m sure someone here can either confirm or refute this.

        1. Thanks 1811. It would be interesting to see how many officers in those agencies chose them for Patrol. I’ve never seen an XD on patrol in either city, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being used there.

          1. I carried one or another XD tactical .45 on duty for a brief period. The guns were accurate and reliable. I consider the XD a single action striker fired pistol despite the multiple (including thumb) safeties. Locking the slide back required the grip safety be depressed, something I did not fully appreciate at first. Once I did, I went back to my Colts and Glocks

  20. Thank you for the detailed history of the M9, as well as the recommendations. I’m not familiar with HKs, aside from the USP and MK23 (I played Metal Gear as a kid), but I have seen Sig DAKs before.

    1. HK makes the USP series, P2000 series, and P30 series guns with a variety of trigger/safety/decocker variants, one variant of which is the “LEM” (law enforcement module). The LEM is a pre-cocked, double action only trigger system with a long, but lightweight (circa 8# for the “Heavy” LEM, which is standard, and circa 5# for the “Light” LEM, which is uncommon) trigger pull. There is no safety/decocker on the LEM trigger guns. A restrike capability exists, but the trigger pull will be heavier (about 12#) if the slide hasn’t cycled to pre-cock the internal hammer yet.

      These are fantastic guns and the LEM is a fantastic trigger. As a DA revolver shooter with an aversion to striker-fired systems, I think you would really like the LEM.

      The Sig DAK is generally similar in concept, as a double action only trigger with a long, but lightweight pull. The most significant practical difference between LEM and DAK is the DAK trigger must fully return to the forward position to get the benefit of the light pull. If you “ride the sear” on the DAK and don’t let the trigger move to the full forward position, the pull weight will actually increase. This is different from the LEM, which will provide the light pull even if you just allow the trigger to move far enough to reset the sear engagement (“ride the sear,” “shoot to reset,” etc.).

      The DAK works a lot more like a DA revolver trigger, because it must be fully reset.

      I think either of those systems would appeal to you, based on your description of your needs.

  21. I live in NYS, and I have chatted with NYS Troopers about their Glock 21s. They seem to like them, but one Trooper told me of a rumor to replace the 21s with Glock 47s—back to the 9 mm, but with a (unknown by me) red dot on the receiver. The 17 slide on the 19 frame makes the 47, no?

    1. Not quite, Saint. The G47 is basically a Gen 5 G17 with a slightly shorter dust cover section on the frame. Outer dimensions (height, length) are identical to G17.

      This will allow you to put a shorter G19 slide on the G47 frame (kinda like making a “Commander” version of the G17), if you want. Conversely, you could put the longer G47 slide on the shorter G19 frame, as you indicated.

      It’s a neat parlor trick, but I’m not sure if many will actually do it. In theory, it would allow an agency to “mix and match” components, but does that ever really happen in the real world? I’m dubious.

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