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Features

Handguns 2008

POLICE Magazine takes a look at new handguns for duty or personal use.

January 01, 2008  |  by POLICE


FNH USA

FNH USA is known for its military small arms such as the M2 and M3M heavy .50 caliber machine guns. Now the company is venturing into true small weapons, aka handguns for duty, with the FN P series.

The P Series is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. The pistols are polymer framed with interchangeable back straps to fit a wider variety of users' hands. The FNP 9 and 40 are available as double-action only, single-action only, or traditional double/single action. At present the FNP45 is available in DA/SA.

Operating controls on the P Series are straightforward, with the safety/decocking lever at the rear of the frame, the slide stop, and the take-down lever just above the trigger. The polymer frame is made with a light rail molded in. To ensure durability, the FNPs stainless steel slide has a matte black industrial finish. The FNP has front and rear cocking serrations to make manipulation of the slide easier. Overall the FNPs are nicely sized and fit the hand well. With their military heritage the FNP series pistols are built to survive the war on the street.

Glock

Glock, easily the most recognizable name in law enforcement firearms, did something radical in 2007; it reconfigured one of its pistols. With the renewed interest in the .45 ACP, Glock answered complaints about the G21 and trimmed it down to make the Glock 21SF-Short Frame. The new 21SF is 0.12 inches shorter and smaller than the standard G21. The trigger distance is 0.08 inches shorter too. These dimensions may not seem like much, but they make a pretty substantial difference. The rest of the G21SF is all Glock and it will fit your leather for a G21.

I was skeptical of this new Short Frame until I handled and shot the G21SF. There is a huge difference. The G21SF fits remarkably better in the hand than the normal G21 does. This translates to more comfortable shooting and more accurate shooting. If you currently issue Glocks and are considering a .45 ACP, the G21SF is worth a look.

Heckler & Koch

Heckler & Koch is another European firearms manufacturer with ties to the military and law enforcement here in the U.S. With the introduction of the HK45, H & K hopes to see more of its pistols riding on duty belts. The HK45 carries on the tradition of the USP, with new innovations and a more slimline feel and look.

The HK45 is offered in 10 variants including Single-Action Only or Law Enforcement Modification double-action only, which has been very successful on the USP line of handguns. The HK45 can be fitted with ambidextrous controls if the operator prefers. The HK45's frame includes a Picatinny light rail, more aggressive texturing, and interchangeable back straps to fit more users' hands.

The heart of the HK45 is its polygonal rifled barrel, which cleans easily and is accurate. To allow for quick follow-up shots and comfort during long range sessions, the HK45 uses a unique internal mechanical recoil system. To allow for accurate placement of shots, H & K's sights are a bold post and notch, with luminous dots (simply charge them with your flashlight) that perform well in a wide variety of lighting conditions. The HK45 is built with the input of real-world Special Operations troops for the real world. Whether on the street, in combat, or at a shooting competition, the HK45 will serve you and your agency well.

Kahr

The Kahr Arms Co. of Blauvelt, N.Y., is one of several manufacturers that offers a line of compact pistols that can serve as backup, concealed carry, and off-duty weapons. Justin Moon is the man behind the Kahr family of guns. Not only is he the president and CEO of Kahr Arms, he is an avid shooter and gun designer. He takes pride in his company's products.

Constructed of stainless steel with polymer grips, Kahr Arms' TP4543 features trigger-cocking double-action-only operation. It also has a lock breech, "Browning-type" recoil lug, passive striker block, and no magazine disconnect.

The TP4543 comes with drift-adjustable white bar-dot combat sights, while the TP4543-NOVAK version comes with a rear Novak low-profile, two-dot tritium sight and a front tritium sight for operations in low light.

Kel-Tec

George Kelgren, Kel-Tec's owner and chief design engineer, built on Kel-Tec's design for its popular lightweight P-11 to create the PF-9 pistol. It is 36-percent slimmer than the P-11, yet packs a punch. This 9mm semi-auto has a single-stack magazine with a capacity of seven rounds plus one in the chamber, its grip measures just .81 inches wide, and it weighs less than one pound fully loaded.

The pistol's frame is molded from tough, impact-resistant DuPont ST-8018 polymer. The firing mechanism is housed in a block of 7075-T6 aluminum and pins pass through both the polymer and aluminum housing to unitize the parts.

A special free-floating extension spring powers the PF-9's hammer. And a lightweight firing pin ensures the gun will not accidentally discharge if dropped on its muzzle.

While the slide may look as though it is made from stamped and welded metal, it is actually machined from a forging of 4140 steel. Both the front and rear of the slide have been rounded to aid in carry comfort. Kel-Tec outfits the PF-9 with low-profile sights and a rail for mounting accessories or lights.

Kimber

Kimber took the shooting community by storm years ago and continues to do so. This year Kimber became the manufacturer of the LAPD's Special Investigation Section's sidearm. The SIS 1911 was a joint venture of the SIS unit's members and Kimber, with technical advice from Larry Vickers and Hilton Yam. The result is not one but four pistols to meet individual and tactical needs. The SIS 1911 is offered in the full-size 1911 SIS Custom, full-size light rail SIS Custom/RL, the commander size SIS Pro, and the officer's size SIS Ultra.

Every member of the SIS family looks like a 1911 from a custom shop with custom SIS night sights, an SIS hammer, SIS pattern serrations, and 30lip front strap checkering. The pistol is finished with a stainless steel grey Kim-Pro finish. This finish is tough, durable, and gives the SIS 1911 a truly distinctive look. With its heritage, the Kimber SIS 1911 should be a fine shooter and serve you for years to come.

Sturm Ruger

For years Sturm Ruger has been synonymous with American-made firearms. Many departments issue Ruger's Mini-14 as their patrol rifle. For 2008, Ruger wants to become known for its duty sidearm, and it intends to do so with the SR9 pistol.

The SR9 was built with duty and personal protection in mind. This striker-fired pistol has an ambidextrous manual safety and magazine release with the feel of a 1911. The back strap can be removed and flipped to give the user a flat mainspring housing or an arched mainspring housing to adjust the fit and feel to your preference. The SR9 has been built from the ground up to offer the user a thin, reliable, affordably priced handgun and to compete with the other manufacturers of polymer, striker-fired pistols. Initial intel tells me the SR9 is doing just that.

The SR9 has dovetailed front and rear sights to adjust for various ammunition loads and to install sights that fit your needs.

As this issue hits the mail, SR9s are on the shelves of dealers, distributors, and law enforcement wholesalers—something that rarely happens in the industry. Give the Sturm Ruger SR9 consideration for a new duty weapon.

Tags: Pistols, FNH USA, Heckler & Koch, Glock, Kahr Arms, Kel-Tec, Kimber, Sturm Ruger

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