Remington Arms has had a long, distinguished, and mutually beneficial relationship with America's law enforcement community. The company (known as "Big Green" in some circles for its green corporate identity) dominates the police shotgun market with its Model 870 pump gun.
In keeping with its tradition of supplying police officers with easy-to-use, rugged long guns built for specific police applications, Remington recently introduced the Model 7615 rifle. The Model 7615 is a pump-action rifle that's being marketed as a patrol rifle for agencies that can't carry so-called "assault" weapons outside of tactical units.
A Growing Demand
Unlike in many foreign nations, in the United States police are looked upon as officers who enforce civil laws and not members of some para-military gendarmerie. For this reason, the vast majority of American law enforcement agencies have traditionally steered clear of presenting a para-military image with the uniforms and weapons available to their street cops.
Accordingly, American police officers have traditionally been armed with a handgun, a revolver back in the day and more recently a semi-auto pistol. From the beginning, officers often found themselves in situations where the iron on their hip was not enough to respond to a threat. A handgun is useful as a defensive weapon and badge of rank, but it is, in fact, a very poor offensive weapon and, of course, it offers the user very limited range.
This is why law officers in America have always carried both long guns and pistols. Back in the days of the Wild West, the traditional long arm of the town marshal or sheriff was a lever-action carbine such as the Winchester 30-30. These short, handy, rapid-fire weapons remained popular with police well into the 1960s. But with the increase in violent crime in the 1920s, some police agencies gravitated toward more powerful weapons such as the Remington Model 8 rifle.
The turbulent 1960s saw increased interest in equipping officers with some kind of long arm, but police administrators chose instead to create special tactical teams and arm them with rifles, limiting patrol officers to shotguns and pistols.
That philosophy started to change after the watershed moment for contemporary police firepower: the North Hollywood bank robbery and shootout.
Every cop now on duty is very familiar with what happened that day. Two men robbed a bank while wearing body armor and shot it out with officers of the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly an hour. The robbers were armed with full-auto military rifles, the cops with semi-auto pistols and ammo that could not pierce the bad guys' armor. Thousands of rounds were expended, but the incident didn't end until officers from the SWAT team showed up with heavier weapons and killed both robbers.
North Hollywood, Columbine, and other active-shooter incidents have led many American law enforcement agencies to permit their officers to have rifles on patrol. Some agencies limit access to these weapons to patrol supervisors. Other agencies restrict their officers' firepower to pistol caliber carbines, which give the officers better range than they would have with their sidearms, but don't have the armor piercing capability of rifles. And still other agencies issue or allow their officers to purchase and carry AR-15s.