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Hendon Publishing

What’s New in Firearms

The IACP Conference Exhibition Hall in Orlando, Fla., was brimming with several brand new firearms of particular interest to law enforcement. 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 seem to multiply each year. The AR-15 rifle derivatives continue to evolve into short-barreled niche weapons for entry and warrant service. Even more choices in the small backup and off-duty weapons category continue to spring up each year.

Beretta USA

Beretta’s PX4 Storm pistol, available in 9mm and .40 S&W calibers, had previously been available as a full-size duty gun and as a sub-compact off-duty or backup pistol. But Beretta had a new medium-sized version of the PX4 on hand that is termed a compact and falls in between its two other sizes as a sort of medium-sized pistol.

Century Arms Inc.

The Centurion 39 Sporter Rifle in 7.62x39mm caliber is a 100 percent American-made, semi-automatic version of the robust AK-47 design. It touts a machined 4140 ordnance steel receiver; a longer buttstock; a high visibility red front sight post; a new design rear-sight-adjustable for both windage and elevation; a quad Picatinny rail for mounting optics, lights, lasers and vertical grips; a 16.5-inch barrel; and it comes with two Tapco 30-round magazines. The Centurion 39 offers better stopping power than the .223/5.56 NATO round through use of its larger caliber, and the carbine is priced less than other larger caliber patrol/entry rifles (usually in .308 caliber).

DeSantis Holsters

This family-owned and -operated holster maker specializes in law enforcement and offers departments options tailored with custom finishes and logos. DeSantis had its new “Enterprise” holster system on display in its booth. This injection-molded duty holster features a trigger-finger-operated, level 2 safety switch that releases the handgun when it is drawn. While the holster is designed for a specific duty handgun, it will accommodate that handgun with any brand of tactical light attached to its Picatinny rail. The modular Enterprise holster can be used as a hip holster on a duty belt, as a thigh rig for tactical/SWAT use, or attached to a vest for military-style chest carry.


The new Generation 4 pistol from Glock offers a novel multiple backstrap for its full-size G17 (9mm) and G22 (.40) pistols that should allow the handgun to fit more officers’ hands. The standard “small” grip is the fixed polymer frame. Two additional backstraps are provided with each Gen 4 pistol and can be added onto the rear of the pistol to provide for two larger grip options. The additional backstraps are retained by driving out a pin and then securing it again once the desired size grip is attained.

The Gen 4’s new magazine release is enlarged for easier activation and reversible for left-handed officers. A rough textured frame (RTF), different than the previous RTF, enhances grip traction on both pistols. A more robust dual-recoil spring offers reduced recoil feel for the user.

Kahr Arms

The PM9 (9mm) and PM380 (.380 ACP) pistols are available from Kahr’s Custom Shop with a highly polished silver slide, accented by a black chrome scroll inlay. Kahr had recently purchased Magnum Research and had the Micro Desert Eagle .380 ACP pistol at its booth. Kahr will be sprucing up the Desert Eagle line of pistols, and there may be more pistols of interest to the police crowd in the future.


New “Super Carry” 1911 .45 ACP pistols from Kimber were presented in all three new models: the full-size Custom; the 4-inch-barrel Pro; and the short-barrel, short-grip Ultra. The Super Carry differs from the rest of the extensive Kimber line because of its rounded mainspring housing and frame (for shooting comfort and added concealability) and a lightweight aluminum frame.

The Super Carry also comes standard with ambidextrous thumb safeties; Kimber’s “carry melted” edges; tritium night sights equipped with a cocking shoulder; a solid aluminum match grade trigger; and specific Super Carry serrations on the slide, front strap and flat top strap. The Super Carry 1911 pistols from Kimber are lightweight and powerful .45 caliber weapons for both duty and off-duty police use.


The pump-action 12 gauge Models 500 and 590 shotguns from Mossberg have improved versions targeted for law enforcement use. The latest tactical models on display featured easy-to-see and -use ghost ring rear sights and bright painted front sights. The scattergun’s forearm features Picatinny rails on each side for lights and lasers and a bottom rail for mounting a vertical grip.

A pistol grip incorporated into the shoulder stock helps manage recoil, and five extra shotshells can be securely mounted for quick reloading on the stock’s side. Porting of the barrel at its muzzle is included and helps reduce recoil. A non-rail forearm is also offered with an attached synthetic hand sling that aids in retaining control of the shotgun. The semi-automatic Model 590 shotgun will also offer many of the features available in Mossberg’s pump-action law enforcement shotgun.

Sig Sauer

Sig Sauer introduced two versions of its new P290 at the IACP Conference. The subcompact 9mm, double-action-only pistol has a very thin profile due to its 6-round, single stack magazine. Its overall size makes it one of the smallest 9mm pistols on the market. The P290 will be available in two-tone or all-black finish and will offer excellent standard three white dot or Siglite night sights.

The polymer frame has removable grip side plates which allow customization with replaceable panels made of aluminum or wood, or with the addition of an officer’s initials or department name/logo. A second version comes equipped with a laser under the muzzle and was also on display. Extra 8-round magazines with grip extensions are also planned.

The new E2 grip contour for the P226 pistol was displayed and offers a grip that feels very comfortable and ergonomic. The E2 grip provides an improvement that reduces the trigger reach for those with small hands. The new grip panels snap onto the frame and do not require grip screws. However, the old-style factory grips can still be screwed onto the new E2 frames as they do have threaded holes to accommodate the previous grips.

Smith & Wesson

The “Bodyguard” name is back at S&W as the company introduced its first polymer and aluminum frame snub nose .38 Special +P revolver along with a tiny .380 ACP polymer frame semi-automatic. Both Bodyguard models are factory-equipped with an Insight laser that has ambidextrous operation switches.

The lightweight Bodyguard revolver is an all new design that shares nothing with S&W’s old standby J-Frame revolvers. Modern features include a removable front sight; an innovative cylinder release at the top of the frame’s rear (great for left-handed shooters); a light and smooth double-action-only trigger pull for its hammerless design; a comfortable, fully cushioned rubber grip; and an ejector rod long enough to fully eject spent cases.

The tiny Bodyguard .380 ACP features dovetailed front and rear sights that are actually usable, a 1911-style thumb safety, a repeatable double-action trigger pull, an ergonomic grip that feels great, last shot slide hold open release, and an easy-to-use take-down latch.

When it comes to its M&P15 (AR-15 style) line, Smith & Wesson presented a fully automatic, select fire M&P4X rifle and a new M&P15 TS with a heavily vented, round profile Troy TRX Extreme Handguard which still mounts Picatinny accessories.

Sturm, Ruger & Company

Ruger continues to expand its law enforcement lineup of firearms. On hand at the IACP Exhibition Hall was the .40 S&W caliber version of its excellent SR9 duty pistol. The new polymer-framed semi-automatic is aptly named the SR40 and should appeal to the more than 50 percent of American police officers who already prefer the .40 caliber cartridge. Ruger representatives stated that they have found the SR40 to be the lightest recoiling .40 caliber pistol on the market. The ergonomics of the pistol’s thin grip feel great in the hand, and it’s amazing that the factory magazine holds 15 rounds of .40 caliber ammo.

A new compact version of the SR9 was on display in both two-tone stainless steel and an all-black version. The new 9mm compact is named the SR9c and sports a 3.5-inch barrel compared to its big brother duty gun’s 4.14-inch barrel. The shortened grip holds a 10-round magazine, but the full-size 17-round duty magazines also fit, and a finger grip extension makes the compact feel almost the same as the full size.

The .357 Magnum chambered version of the LCR was on display right next to the .38 Special +P version that was released in 2009. The more powerful chambering is made tolerable by the use of the Lightweight Compact Revolver’s polymer grip peg. The small peg makes good use of the Hogue Tamer grips, which provide a considerable amount of soft rubber to cushion recoil in for the hot .357 cartridge.

The SR-556 gas pistol semi-automatic rifle has two additional new models of interest to law enforcement. The SR-556C is a carbine version with a 2-inch shorter barrel and non-removable flash hider. The rifle is also slightly lighter due to a thinner barrel. This compact version will be more attractive to entry units because it is more maneuverable, while the standard, longer barrel version makes for an excellent patrol rifle. The standard SR-556 is now also available in the 6.8mm SPC cartridge.

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 and less-lethal force. He can be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Feb 2011

Rating : 10.0

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