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Handguns: 2011

From backup guns to full-size duty pistols, manufacturers are delivering innovative police handguns.

January 13, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

DoubleStar's Model 1911 is a good choice in the centennial year of a pistol first designed by John Moses Browning. Photo courtesy of DoubleStar.

The relationship between American police officer and handgun is unlike that of any other profession to any other tool. For an officer, a duty weapon is almost as much a symbol of his or her authority as a badge. Officers carry handguns because the people of the United States via the government have given them the authority to use deadly force to protect innocent lives or protect themselves.

All sworn law enforcement officers carry at least one handgun. Smart ones carry more than one, if they're allowed to. That's why so much of the handgun market is focused on providing cops with handguns.

The following is a quick look at some of the service weapons and backup guns now being offered by the firearms industry's top manufacturers.

Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact

Introduced two years ago but still very current, the PX4 Storm Subcompact is still one of the most innovative handguns on the market. The PX4 Storm Subcompact is available with three different trigger systems, three different operating mechanisms, three different sizes of magazine release buttons, two different safety levers, three different backstraps, and a wide variety of sights. Writing in a September 2008 Arsenal review Nick Jacobellis praised the PX4 Storm Subcompact as "accurate, flawlessly reliable, and comfortable to shoot."

DoubleStar 1911

As any gun enthusiast can tell you, the Model 1911 pistol passes the century mark this year. That means you're going to see a lot of them, even more than usual, at this year's Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT). And many shooters will be tempted to purchase a 1911 for their collections. If you find yourself feeling some 1911 lust, then check out DoubleStar's model. This no-nonsense 1911 is simple to use, rugged, and accurate. Best of all, it's affordable. In the January 2010 Arsenal Dave Bahde wrote: "So long as I did my job, this pistol put my shots where the front sight was placed. The sights are easy to pick up, even with my 50-year-old eyes."


Last year FN Herstal refined its FNP line of polymer framed handguns and relaunched them as the FNX 9 and the FNX 40. The FNX models offer better ergonomics than the FNPs, a low-bore axis for flat shooting, and less recoil for improved control. Lefties will like the fact that the FNX models offer fully ambidextrous operation. Like the FNPs, they are also customizable to a wide variety of hand sizes using included interchangeable backstraps.

Glock Gen 4 Pistols

The talk of last year's SHOT Show-other than the horrible layout of the convention facility-was Glock's Gen 4 models. This year the company is expected to expand the Gen 4 line. The Gen 4 models have improved ergonomics, including a better grip angle. They are also customizable to a shooter's hand size via a set of included interchangeable backstraps. But the real selling point on the Gen 4 models is reduced kick. Glock's captive recoil spring system makes the Gen 4 shoot a lot softer than previous Glock designs.

CONTINUED: Handguns: 2011 «   Page 1 of 3   »

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