Out of the thousands of firearms that Guns.com sold this year, the most popular category was for semi-auto handguns, which is not surprising as that category has consistently seen the highest production numbers by the domestic firearms industry for the past several years.
Want to take a guess at the top 10?
Spoiler alert: it includes a single Taurus and Ruger, two Sig Sauers, two S&Ws, and four Glocks…
While your best and most effective bet in the majority of hairy self-defense scenarios (barring something laser-guided or belt-fed) is a rifle– preferably a few different ones in a range of calibers– in a pinch a handgun is better than verbal judo, a pointy stick, or the lid off a can of sardines. With that in mind, I made a list centered on pistols and revolvers that are 1) modern, 2) accept common ammunition, 3) have spare parts that are readily available, 4) proven, 5) are simple to manipulate, and 6) easy to maintain.
Sure, each of these has their haters, but most importantly each type has a huge crowd of fans and users that have kept them in regular production for decades.
More in my column at Guns.com
Pretty much the whole reason we have the .40S&W round is due to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the 1986 Miami Shootout. Well back in 2014, I looked at the FBI’s potential $85 million DOJ contract solicitation for a new handgun and called it for Glock.
The contract calls for a family of guns in four classes.
The guns are in four types:
* Class One Pistol: barrel length between 3.75″ and 4.25″; with a minimum magazine capacity of 13 rounds.
* Class Two Pistol: barrel length between 4.5″ and 5.5″; with a minimum magazine capacity of 15 rounds.
* Class One Training Pistol (Red Handle): deactivated with full articulation, red receiver and slide, night sights.
* Class One “Man Marking” (a.k.a., “Simunitions”) pistol: blue slide or slide with blue inserts.
As you look at the above and think of specs, it seems that the required guns are almost custom-written from Glock’s catalog. The Glock 19, with its 4.01-inch barrel and 15-round standard magazine capacity would seem to fit the bill for the Class One Pistol nicely. The Glock 34, the company’s “Practical/Tactical” 9mm, with its 5.31-inch barrel and 17 shot magazine would seem a close fit for the Class Two Pistol. This could also be met very closely by the G17.
Not all agreed with me– with many gun writers calling it for SIG, Smith or even FN– but in the end it seems that, with the award last week posted by the GSA, Glock it will be.
In another instance of large, professional law enforcement agencies going Glock, the Michigan State Police is setting aside their gently used 40 caliber Sig Sauers and, after testing 39 potential replacements, went Glock 17.
With the National Guard called up for World War I and the state militia being lumped in with that group by the Dick Act, Michigan was left without any form of state-level law enforcement as the troops marched off to France. This led the governor to establish the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force in 1917 and the 300 “troopers” were organized in units around the state on horseback, foot patrol, and using early Detroit-built Ford and Dodge autos.
Back in 1917, they were the Governor’s muscle
Nearing their 100th anniversary and more simply termed the Michigan State Police these days, the agency now has 29 posts and employs 1400 sworn and 850 non-sworn employees. For the past decade and change they have carried the SIG .40s (226, 229) for both uniformed and investigative (Criminal Investigation Division and Intelligence Sections) troopers since the 1990s.
Well the last part is subject to change.
Read the rest in my column at Glock Forum
Pretty much the whole reason we have the .40S&W round is due to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, after two decades of flirting with that caliber (while still seeing the .45ACP on the side), the Bureau has a wandering eye to go back to something from its 9mm past– and it looks like it may be tilted to Glock.
On April 11, 1986, pair of hardleg bank robbers, William Matix and Michael Platt, were cornered by a team of eight FBI agents in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade. Military vets, both Matix and Platt knew how to use their hardware and to one degree or another had the G-men outgunned. The resulting epic shootout left the two bad guys dead, but sadly seven of the eight FBI agents were hit in the process– two of them fatally. The lawmen carried 9mm pistols (S&W Model 459s) as well as several variants of .38 special revolvers and a shotgun. The two bad guys were shot more than 18 times before they went down for the hard goodbye.
This bad day in Miami led the Bureau to rethink its weaponry. Soon they started calling for more powerful guns, which led to a brief fling with the 10mm Auto in the late 80s in the long-framed S&W Model 1076. This round, a little too stout for everyday use and hard on small-framed officers, was downloaded to the same size (but ballistically weaker) .40S&W load in the 1990s—, which was specifically marketed to the FBI first, who immediately began testing the round.
In 1997, the Bureau went all-Glock with the 2nd Generation Model 22/23 and New Agent Class 98-1 in October of 1997 was the first issued with the new guns. With the exception of HRT and Special Weapons guys who carry about anything they want to, most of the agency has been carrying issued-Glocks for over two decades. Since then the FB of I has been on team 40 Glock, with the 22/23 being issued, and agents allowed to carry the subcompact Model 27 if they personally owned it.
Well, that may be changing.
Read more in my column at University of Guns