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The Very Latest in Firearms

Written by Steve Tracy

Manufacturers brought out several brand new firearms of particular interest to law enforcement at the IACP Conference in Chicago and teh SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Improvements, options and additional calibers for existing models were also presented for examination and handling by the conference's attendees.

Many of the new features can make reliable old standby service model firearms even more desirable for the needs of patrol and tactical officers. Duty guns offered in the popular .40 S&W caliber continue to multiply each year, the AR-15 rifle derivatives continue to evolve into short barreled, niche weapons for entry and warrant service, and more choices in the small backup and off-duty weapons category keep springing up.

Beretta USA 

The Nano is the first striker-fired pistol from Beretta made with a fiberglass reinforced technopolymer frame. The Nano is a modular 9mm handgun with a low-profile design that is snag-free for a smooth draw from concealment. Adjustable sights and excellent ergonomics help make the pistol user-friendly despite the gun’s diminutive size.

Colt Defense

Colt’s new SP901 rifle offers versatility beyond just swapping uppers on AR-15 lowers. The SP901 is a fully ambidextrous AR with magazine release, bolt catch, and manual safety equipped for left or right handed officers. The gun comes as a 7.62x51mm NATO (308 Win) with a chrome lined, fully floated, 16-inch heavy barrel and flash hider that can reach out and hit a threat with serious .30 caliber stopping power. Fully adjustable flip-up sights mounted on a quad rail and a collapsible stock complete the tactical look of the weapon.

The amazing innovation of the SP901 is that it also accepts Mil-Spec Colt upper conversions in 5.56x45mm NATO (223 Rem) by use of a magazine well adaptor. Standard AR-15 magazines will function inside the larger .30 caliber mag well. Several different barrel lengths and configurations in 5.56mm are also available.

Colt’s law enforcement representatives spent three days at the IACP Exhibition constantly swapping the SP901’s parts around to showcase its versatility. The single serial numbered rifle can be issued to an individual officer and the gun can be reconfigured for any number of tactical situations, including sniper mode, patrol rifle or short-barreled entry weapon.

Colt also re-introduced their 380 ACP caliber Mustang Pocketlite. This 13.7-ounce pocket pistol operates in similar fashion to full-size 1911 pistols. The bar stock stainless-steel slide and aluminum frame, finished in electroless nickel, create an appealing appearance.

Daniel Defense 

Known for their extensive line of AR-15 components and accessories, Daniel Defense also produces M4 style rifles. At the IACP, they showcased their Professional Operator Solutions Law Enforcement Packages which all include the DD vertical grip, front and rear Magpul MBUS Back-up sights and MOE adjustable stock, a Bushnell Elite Tactical TRS-25 Mini Red Dot sight with mount, six 30-round PMAGs, and an Uncle Mike’s Rifle Assault Bag. All of Daniel Defense’s Law Enforcement Package rifles have 1-in-7 inch twist, cold hammer forged barrels.

The Designated Marksman Package (DMP) offers an 18-inch free floated barrel and includes a Bushnell Elite Tactical 2.5-16x42mm Mil Dot scope with rings and a Bobro Engineering QD bipod.

The Patrol Rifle Package (PRP) has a 16-inch barrel with a carbine-length gas system and a traditional front sight block. The Light Weight Package (LWP) is similar to the Patrol Rifle but with an Omega X rail with a front flip-up sight. The Special Services Package (SSP) is intended for SWAT, SSU, gang, undercover and tactical units with its short 11.5-inch barrel.

General Dynamics Simunition 

Simunition offers several kits for popular police duty pistols and they presented a new conversion kit for the increasingly issued S&W M&P pistol. The kit includes a lightweight, blue anodized slide and barrel system. Departments armed with the M&P now have the option of training with force-on-force marking Simunition.

General Dynamics also presented a new round in 5.56mm and 7.62mm called the Short Stop. As its name implies, the round does not travel as far as standard ammunition, but is still accurate to 100 meters. The lead-free, frangible, copper-filled polymer bullets have a unique bullet profile that slows their speed dramatically. While a standard 5.56mm round may travel well over 3,000 meters, the Short Stop falls to the ground at a maximum range of just 600 meters.

The Short Stop round is an ideal choice for ranges where a stray round over the berm could hit a person or property thousands of meters away. The Short Stop rounds require no weapon modification and are non-toxic. They also lower the indoor range danger of ricochet and splash back and decrease damage to range infrastructure and targets.

Glock 

Several new Glock pistols, including the Model 21 in 45 ACP, have received the Generation 4 (Gen4) makeover. These updates include double recoil springs, enlarged magazine release button, rough textured frame, and a smaller frame with additional backstraps. Soon, most all the Glock pistols, of most all sizes, will be upgraded to Gen4.

Kimber 

The Solo pistol is Kimber’s entry into the micro-compact, single-stack, 9mm off-duty / backup police market. The Solo’s smooth and light trigger interacts with its striker-fired system for a consistent firing mode throughout all six rounds of its magazine capacity.

The light and tiny pistol has three dot sights, both an ambidextrous thumb safety and push-button magazine release, an aluminum frame mated to a stainless-steel slide and 2.7-inch barrel, a rounded exterior for pocket carry, and Model 1911-style ergonomics. Designed to function with 124-grain and 147-grain 9mm hollow point ammo, the Solo weighs only 17 ounces unloaded.

The Micro CDP is Kimber’s entry in the tiny 380 ACP caliber field. The handsome Custom Shop version at the SHOT Show featured outstanding Meprolight night sights and Crimson Trace laser grips. The pistol operates in a manner similar to Kimber’s extensive 1911 lineup with an ambidextrous thumb safety.

LaserMax 

Ever smaller concealed-carry pistols are all the rage today for off-duty and backup police use. LaserMax introduced its diminutive Genesis laser, which weighs only 1.5 ounces. Its pulsating green laser is more easily seen by the human eye and the unit is rechargeable. An AC power supply is included and the Genesis laser fits on virtually any firearm with an accessory rail, including the smallest pistols available.

O.F. Mossberg & Sons 

At the SHOT Show, Mossberg introduced a tactical take on the traditional southwest law enforcement gun – the lever action .30-30 Win rifle. Their new Model 464 SPX gets an M4 stock, fiber option sights, a tri-rail forearm, and a flash hider. The .30-30 Win, a popular deer cartridge has about 75 percent of the power and recoil as the 308 Win sniper cartridge.

Sig Sauer 

At the request of police departments already stocked with replacement parts for direct gas impingement AR-15 rifles, Sig Sauer presented its own version of a cost-effective patrol rifle. The budget-minded M400 is a 5.56 NATO rifle available in standard or enhanced versions. An ambidextrous magazine release is built into the forged aluminum lower receiver for use by left or right handed officers.

The 16-inch chrome lined and phosphate coated barrel is standard along with an M16A2-style carry handle with adjustable rear sight. The enhanced version comes with Magpul collapsible stock, pistol grip, forearm and an adjustable rear sight installed on a top rail. (See the cover article in the January 2012 issue of LAW and ORDER.)

Sig has also expanded its already prolific 1911 lineup with the 1911 Ultra. This 45 ACP has a 3.3-inch barrel and shortened grip length to compete with other compact .45 caliber 1911 pistols.

Smith & Wesson 

The new E-Series of 1911 pistols were available for handling at S&W’s IACP booth. Several full and reduced size examples of their “Enhanced” version of John M. Browning’s 100-year-old design were on display in both stainless-steel and lightweight scandium frames.

A precision fit trigger, chamfered and recessed muzzle, “fish scale” scalloped front and rear slide serrations, extended ambidextrous thumb safety, and beavertail grip safety are some of the premium features of the E-Series. The shortened 4.25-inch barrel model is complemented by a bobtailed frame for better concealment and recoil management.

Springfield Armory 

The XD(M) pistol is now available as a competition model with a 5.25-inch barrel in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. Its slide features a top lightening cutout, a fully adjustable rear sight, and a fiber-optic front sight with both red and green replacement filaments. The match barrel is select fit for even greater accuracy. The longer sight radius offers a model that police competition shooters can utilize while still maintaining the same manual of arms as the XD(M) they carry on duty.

At the SHOT Show, Springfield surprised the market with a single-stack, 45 ACP pistol called the XD(S). This super-compact and concealable power package has a 3.3-inch barrel and all the features of the XD series of pistols. When thin 9mm pistols are all the rage, Springfield went the route of big bore backup and off-duty power with this new .45 caliber handgun.

Streamlight  

TLR-1 and TLR-2 weapon-mounted tactical lights are popular with police for use in conjunction with their pistol’s Picatinny rail. Streamlight introduced a new Contour Remote end cap for use with Glock Model 17/22 full-size and Model 19/23 compact pistols. Replacement of the standard end cap with the new Contour Remote allows activation of the tactical light via a pressure switch that contours under the trigger guard and onto the front of the grip. Streamlight said the new switch will not interfere with duty holsters.

Sturm, Ruger and Company 

Ruger’s SR9, LCP, LC9 and LCR are truly innovative designs of interest to law enforcement. However, the Connecticut manufacturer traveled back 100 years for their latest pistol. The SR1911 is a stainless-steel, full-size, 45 ACP pistol that comes standard with 3-dot Novak LoMount Carry sights, a beavertail grip safety, titanium firing pin, and skeletonized trigger with adjustable over-travel stop. The precision CNC-made stainless-steel barrel and bushing are produced from the same bar stock for improved accuracy.

The SR-556 gas piston AR-15 style rifle is now accompanied by an SR-556E (Essential) version that is less expensive due to its standard grip, plain forearm, and lack of sights. Since its introduction, a carbine model (SR-556c) and a 6.8mm SPC caliber version have been released. For the officer desiring a basic model to build on, the Essential Ruger rifle is an excellent choice.

Also on hand at the Ruger booth was the Gunsite Scout Rifle. Based on Colonel Jeff Cooper’s concept, Gunsite and Ruger teamed up to create a bolt action rifle in 308 Win caliber with a detachable 10-round box magazine. The rifle weighs only 7 pounds and features a ghost ring rear sight, protected post front sight, flash hider and a black laminate stock with removable recoil pad spacer for a shorter length of pull.

A forward-mounted Picatinny rail provides for the use of a low-power, intermediate eye relief scope. The forward mount means an officer can keep both eyes open and retain peripheral vision in case another threat materializes.

Surefire 

Known for their tactical flashlights, Surefire has entered the high-capacity AR-15 magazine arena. Two new magazines holding 60 and 100 rounds were on display at their booth. Both magazines are designed to fit in any Mil-Spec rifle, fully loaded and with the bolt closed.

The proprietary internal spring and follower design allows the magazine’s 4x2 quad stack configuration to be stored fully loaded. The magazine’s floor plate is removable to allow internal cleaning. These magazines allow a higher rate of fire for police special units and eliminate the need for cinches, clamps or other types of magazine couplers.

Walther 

The new Walther PPQ in 9mm and 40 S&W is a polymer frame, striker-fired pistol with an ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release. It comes with three interchangeable back straps and has many features desired by law enforcement, including 3-dot sights (or available night sights), a Picatinny rail, front and rear cocking serrations, and a high-capacity magazine.

Two features distinctive to the PPQ are its cross-directional textured grip and its extremely short trigger reset. Walther advertises the trigger pull at 5.5 pounds with only 0.4-inch travel and a 0.1-inch reset between fired shots. Dry firing the display pistol proved the trigger to be exceptional in every respect.

Windham Weaponry 

Some former Bushmaster employees have regrouped to form Windham Weaponry in Maine. They offer many variations of the AR-15, and offer a wide variety of weapon accessories. Upgraded sights and quad rails from Diamondhead are available to outfit the AR-15 in any manner desired. Their entry level SRC patrol rifle comes with a transferrable lifetime warranty.

Steve Tracy is a 22-year police veteran with 20 years of experience as a firearms instructor. He is also an instructor for tactical rifles, use of force, less-than-lethal force and scenario-based training. He can be reached at steventracy@hendonpub.com.

Published in Tactical Response, Mar/Apr 2012

Rating : 10.0


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BerettaColtDaniel DefenseGeneral DynamicsGlockKimberLaserMax Inc.O.F. Mossberg and SonsSig SauerSmith and WessonSpringfield ArmoryStreamlightSturm, Ruger and Company SureFireWalther Windham Weaponry
 

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