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Tactical Response

Thanks to TV even civilians know that SWAT stands for special weapons and tactics, but what makes SWAT weapons so special?

March 01, 2002  |  by Roy Huntington


Mossberg has been a strong player in the law enforcement market and has established itself in the military.

Before there was light-kicking “tactical” buckshot, the U.S. Armed Services established Mil-Spec 3443E, a brutal and unforgiving torture test with 3,000 rounds of full-power, 12-gauge buckshot. Mossberg passed the test and became the issue military shotgun.

Now, twenty years later, the state-of-the-art Mossberg 590 series of shotguns is still one of the leaders.  Features such as dual-action bars, corrosion-resistant, Parkerized finish, straight-through magazine tube cleaning and an ambidextrous tang safety help to keep things simple and rugged.

The additional choice of a 14-inch barrel length (class 3 regulations apply) and Marine and DAO versions makes the Mossberg shotgun series versatile enough to meet the needs of a tactical or special ops team.

Mossberg 590 Shotgun

Gauge: 12
Barrel: 20 inches
Weight: 6.75 pounds
Stock: Synthetic
Chokes: Cylinder bore
Sights: Ghost-ring, bead
Magazine: 6+1 rounds


The name Remington is virtually synonymous with law enforcement. From the ubiquitous 870 shotgun to tactical rifles, Remington has been in the game for decades. There may be a reason for that, too. Remington's designs simply work and legions of tactical teams the world over rely on Remington for performance...and their lives.

The latest in rifles from Remington are the 700P and 40-XB tactical rifles with upgrades and new calibers. The Model 700 Police short action in .223 and .308 are classics and the Model 700 long action has been enhanced by the addition of the .300 Remington Ultra Mag.

The Tactical Weapons System (TWS) is a complete package from Remington. The 700P rifle, Du Pont Kevlar and fiber glass stock with aluminum bedding block, Leupold Vari-X III scope, flip open lens covers, Harris Bi-Pod, Michaels Quick Adjust sling, and Pelican hard case round out the kit. It's virtually a precision rifle system "to go" and is available in .308.

Autoloading shotguns have become the first choice of most entry teams when a shotgun is called for. The Remington 11-87P Tactical Shotgun with rifle or ghost ring sights is a top choice. The 11-87P's polypropylene stock, matte-black finish, bold checkering and recoil pad is all business.

The soft-recoil of the autoloading shotgun means quick follow-up and solid target retention. Eighteen-inch barrels come with extended magazines (7-shot) while the 14-inch barrel handles five rounds.

Remington 700P Light Tactical Rifle

Caliber: .308 and .223
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Barrel Length: 20 inches
Rifling Twist .308: 12 inches
Rifling Twist .223: 9 inches
Stock: Composite
Magazine: 5 rounds (blind)


Justly famous for its line of duty handguns, SiG also offers top specialty rifles. The SiG Commando (SG552) is a gas-operated, autoloading select-fire rifle in .223. The Commando features an ambidextrous safety lever, select fire (singles, triples, or full auto), a folding stock, lightweight, transparent magazines, and a patented system of magazine stacking and changing.

The no-holds-barred tactical rifle from SiG, the Sauer SSG3000, is unusual in construction and performance. A surprising design feature is the ability to change a barrel in less than two minutes, yet the rifle will shoot sub-minute groups. Additionally, the McMillan fiber glass stock is fully adjustable, as is the trigger.

The SSG3000 is offered in three "packages" to law enforcement. Level I is just the rifle and carrying case. Level II includes a Leupold Tactical Vari-X III scope, Warne QD rings, Harris Bi-Pod, and carrying case. The Level III includes the above, but offers the Leupold Mark 4 M1 scope. All rifles come with a 5mm T-wrench for disassembly. Another innovation is the .22 L/R conversion kit. It allows training with a full-weight rifle at reduced cost and range.

The SiG Pro semi-automatic pistol, while affordable, was not built to a price-point. Instead, it was designed from the ground up to take advantage of lightweight polymer construction technology.

Based on SiG's famous P210 pistol, the SiG Pro series features interchangeable grip profiles, a stainless steel machined slide (finished with SiG's black Nitron finish) and a fire-control unit that is exchangeable to transfer between DAO and double/single action.

The SiG Pro series is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SiG. The SP2340 accepts conversion barrels allowing an easy switch between .40 S&W and .357 SiG.

SiG Commando SG552 Rifle

Caliber: .223
Overall Length: 28.7 inches
Barrel Length: 8.9 inches
Weight: 7 pounds
Rifling Twist: 7 inches
Magazine: 5, 20, 30 rounds

Sturm, Ruger, and Co.

The ruggedly constructed P-Series of semi-auto duty pistols from Ruger continues to deliver the goods in the field.

The P90, a .45 ACP single column design, has an aluminum alloy frame, hard-coated, and it delivers surprising accuracy for such an affordable duty gun.The M77 MkII VLE is Ruger's Law Enforcement tactical rifle. The rifle is based on the M77 MkIIVT target/varmint rifle, but it offers a few enhancements. All the metal work is a flat black finish vs. the flat gray color of the VT rifles. The VT and VLE rifles have a laminated stock that is contoured with a very wide fore-end. The barrel is a 26-inch medium weight.

The scope mounting system is typical Ruger, with integral scope mounting milled cuts for the provided rings. The VLE also comes standard with a Harris Bi-Pod.

Ruger M77 VLE Rifle

Caliber: .308/.223
Length: 46.0"
Weight: 9.51 pounds w/out optics
Barrel Length: 26 inches
Sight: Integral Scope base and 1-inch rings
Stock: Grayed laminated wood
Accessories: Harris Bi-Pod included
Magazine: 5 rounds

Wilson Combat

Custom doesn't always mean a two-year wait. Wilson Combat, famous for its reliable defensive and competitive pistols, offers a series of semi-autos and revolvers geared specifically for the tough world of the street.The CQB (close-quarter battle) is a tough-as-nails fighting pistol built on the 1911 design.

With one-inch-at-25- yards precision, Wilson's Tactical Combat Sighting system with tritium, crisp trigger, and beveled mag well, the CQB is the choice of many professionals. The two-tone "serious" look is achieved by coating the slide with Wilson's Armor-Tuff in matte black and the frame in OD green Armor-Tuff.

Since acquiring "Scattergun Technologies," Wilson has expanded its line of fighting shotguns and offers a model to meet most needs. Available with Sure-Fire lighting systems, ghost ring sights, synthetic stocks and more, the Scattergun Technolgies shotguns are as distinctive as they are tough.

While not complete, this quick overview may help to spur further investigation. A solid knowledge of "what's available out there" is tantamount to success when a new equipment purchase is on the front burner. Take the initiative.

Wilson Combat CQB Pistol

Caliber: .45
Barrel Length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.63 inches
Height: 5.75 inches
Width: 1.31 inches
Weight Empty: 38 ounces
Weight Loaded: 44 ounces
Magazine: 8 rounds

Roy Huntington is a retired San Diego Police Officer, an active member of Police Magazine's Advisory Board and a frequent contributor.  He also says he's enjoying retirement immensely these days ...

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