Why would a tool specifically designed for military special forces units be of such interest to police? Simple; in many cities today, some SWAT or police actions resemble military small unit operations more than city police work. Good or bad, right or wrong, it's the reality of today's streets, and cops have to have the tools available to counter these new and increasing threats. Any agency that closes its eyes to new developments in technology needs to have its eyes opened. Unfortunately, that process often entails a traumatic event in their city.
It would be easy to dismiss the Corner Shot as a high-tech gadget, but keep in mind high-performance flashlights, programmable radios, infrared imaging, DNA evidence, mobile data terminals, and even that backbone of police work today, the semi-auto duty pistol, all began life with corresponding naysayers who dismissed them as unnecessary gadgets.
The Corner Shot contains various accessories: a variety of detachable cameras (zoom, day-night, thermal), audio/video transmission kit, visible and IR lasers, tactical flashlight, a laser, and more. Manufacturer's specs call for the Corner Shot to be effective and accurate to 100 meters with 9mm, .40-caliber, and .45-caliber pistols. It accommodates virtually any make of semi-auto duty handgun, including Glock, SIG, CZ, Beretta, FN, Heckler & Koch, just to name a few.
Unfolded, the Corner Shot looks and acts much like a pistol-caliber carbine, so I believe accuracy would be similar. However, ballistics are still what you'd get from pistol-length barrels, since the "gun" part is simply your duty pistol.
The Corner Shot Module (CSM) body is molded from polyamide, glass fiber and glass globules, which I guess is a fancy name for different kinds of plastics and fiberglass. But it seemed robust when I handled it, and I believe it would stand up in the harsh world of the working cop with no problems.
Bending the Corner Shot to the desired angle or direction requires only a quick manipulation of the foregrip (sort of like using the lever on a lever-action rifle). The front part bends as much as 62-degrees, placing the pistol and video camera "around the corner" and pointing at the threat, while you nest safely behind a wall. A quick flick of the foregrip straightens it all out again and you end up with a muzzle-heavy "pistol-carbine" to handle threats from the front. The switch-change process takes about as much time as racking an 870 shotgun.
When in the straight mode, you can use your pistol's sights, change magazines, and otherwise use it like a short-rifle. If you need to peek around a corner, a flick of the wrist turns the Corner Shot into a "bent" gun again. It's actually very slick and works easily. It would take some getting used to, of course, but so do most things.
You can also put optics on the Corner Shot, and it comes with a bipod. Since it runs on electricity, it does need batteries and while the initial versions used lithium batteries, the new versions will have a rechargeable system. There's also a monitor hood and shading sleeve to give a user decent screen visibility in direct sunlight.
Metal parts are blued and the folding stock can be had as either the stock version, or a Galil or M4/M16 version. The trigger has a safety, and everything is nicely dust-tight and waterproof.
One way that the Corner Shot varies from a normal pistol-caliber carbine, other than the bending action, is that it requires the operator to carry some additional gear. Corner Shot has given this some thought. While each system comes in a hard-shell case, along with a manual and other goodies, a soft-case backpack is available as an option so that you can have spare parts (like cameras, etc.) on hand. A flash suppressor, silencer, paintball kit, non-lethal kit, and various day and night sights are also available.
The Corner Shot is essentially a custom-built system and it can be tailored to your own agency's needs, with many options and modifications. System price is based upon a wide range of variables so it's best to contact the company directly for a quote.
Based upon my own experience with short rifles and handguns, I formed an opinion of how the Corner Shot would handle in the real world. I predicted it would feel awkward at first, but with some practice, its tactical value and handling qualities would be appreciated.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I did not have the opportunity to personally fire the system. But I was able to speak with several officers who were able to attend a test fire of the Corner Shot, and their opinions confirmed my own. They said at first they had their doubts, but once they got some trigger time on the system and got over, as one cop said, "the weirdness of it all," they found it to be very accurate in both "corner" mode and as a carbine. One officer said, "There's been a few times when I've peeked around corners that I wished I had something like this."
And for Corner Shot maybe that's the best endorsement of all.
Roy Huntington is editor of American Handgunner magazine and a member
of the Police Advisory Board.