Police across the globe, especially those in the United States, have many choices in terms of firearms. The unfortunate truth is that not everybody is going to come quietly and things can go from 0-100 really quickly. So, police officers need something to defend themselves in case things got hairy. 

In the United States alone, 62 police officers passed away from gunfire while on duty in 2021. To make the figure more impactful, about 1 officer goes down every 6 days on average. Over 60,000 law enforcement personnel were assaulted while serving in 2020 alone. As a reminder, these numbers are just from the United States. 

Evidently, being a police officer is not a risk-free job. They have a duty to protect the innocent and keep the less-than-innocent ones off the streets. For this reason, they need something that they can rely on when they hit the streets.

With this in mind, I have here a list of 8 pistols that have been a constant companion of many police officers.

8. Beretta Model 92

Beretta is also one of the oldest gun manufacturers in the world that has stood the test of time. Their firearms dated back to the 16th century, so this Italian company has plenty of experience. They expanded to become a multinational corporation that offers both the police forces and militaries across the globe reliable and high-quality firearms.

One of them is the Beretta Model 92 which was introduced back in 1975. It features that classic Beretta-style open-side design and the whole unit is lightweight aluminum alloy which is like the material used in aircraft. That means, the Beretta Model 92 is one of the most durable pistols in the world.


One notable downside is the fact that the gun is bulky. For this reason, Beretta introduced the 92SB in 1981, which is more compact and lightweight. There is also an automatic model called the 92C, introduced in 1990. The 92C is intended to level the playing field when semi-auto and automatic weapons started popping up.

7. Colt M1911

As the name suggests, the original M1911 was designed back in 1911 and it became the standard sidearm of the US military from 1911-1986. During that time, about 3 million M1911s were produced. It is chambered in .45 ACP and is semi-automatic, which explains why it is so popular. While the US military eventually moved on to the Beretta M9, many police officers still swear by the M1911 to this day.

6. Glock 19

This Austrian handgun was introduced to the market way back in 1988. The fact that it is still relevant today goes to show how potent this little sidearm really is. Part of its success is its lightweight design. It is basically a Glock 17, toned-down.

Police officers loved the Glock 17 but found it to be too large and difficult to conceal. So, Glock came up with the Glock 19 which brings down the length of the barrel by around 4 inches. They also managed to reduce the heft down to about 30 ounces. In terms of size, the Glock 19 is about 7 inches shorter than the Glock 17. The best part is that all of this is achieved without any compromises to magazine capacity. You still get 15 rounds.

On top of all this, the Glock 19 is surprisingly accurate, durable, and versatile. It features a simple, no-nonsense design. With practicality at the forefront, the gun is very easy to clean and can hold up well even in extreme temperature conditions. Simply put, this is a nice piece for all police officers across the globe. Some police officers also said that the Glock 19 has more stopping power than its predecessor. Although shot placement is more important than the bullet size, the Glock 19 is also more accurate as well, so you can be confident that you can nail those critical shots.


These are some of the big reasons why this little firearm can be found on off-duty or undercover officers.

5. Glock 22

After the Glock 19, we have the Glock 22. In terms of looks, both are almost the same. Although the latter has a barrel that is a few inches longer, you probably cannot tell just by eyeballing it unless both are placed side by side. The Glock 22 is also a few ounces heavier than its predecessor. It was introduced in 1990 and was adopted by the military. Law enforcement followed suit in 2006. So, what do you get with a bit of extra heft? More power.

Some police officers prefer the Glock 19 over the 22 purely because the 19 is easier to conceal. If concealment is not a concern, then many of them would go for the Glock 22. The reason is that the Glock 22 can shoot both .40 Caliber and 9 mm. This is a new feature on the Glock 22 – no other Glocks before it has this capability. Simply put, you can shoot 9 mm out of a .40 caliber Glock mag with about 90% reliability, although if you want to shoot 9 mm with the Glock 22 all the time, you need to spend a bit on a new barrel, magazine, and possibly the extractor.


This, among other reasons, is why you see this thing strapped to the side of police offers across the globe.

4. Heckler and Koch HK45

Founded in 1948, this German gun manufacturer prides itself on its commitment to excellence and innovation. Fun fact: Their motto translates to “No Compromises!” in English, which goes to show how they absolutely will not cut corners and fully dedicate themselves to producing quality firearms.

One such firearm is the HK45 and a lot of police officers love this little piece. It is powerful and versatile. It was originally designed for the military, meaning that it heavily leans toward durability, power, and accuracy. Many police officers like the HK45 because of the myriad of customization options available. For instance, the accessory rail allows for laser sights or lights and the gun can take silencers as well. This is why the HK45 is a good option for covert operations. It also features a recoil reduction technology which reduces recoil by 25%.


3. Ruger LC9

This American company has been making pistols, revolvers, and rifles since 1949. Police officers love the LC9 as an off-duty weapon. It weighs 17 ounces and is 6 inches long, it is the smallest pistol on the list. It is a step-up from its predecessor to allow for 9 mm capability because .380 ACP is simply not enough.


2. Smith & Wesson M&P 9

This American gun company has a history that spans over a century. In fact, their first gun was made in 1852, so it goes without saying that they know a thing or two about making guns. They have supplied American troops with sidearms in pretty much every war since the Civil War.

Nowadays, Smith & Wesson supplies police forces across the globe and they are successful in their endeavor given how they are pretty much a household brand name at this point. One of their most popular firearms is the Military & Police 9, or M&P 9 for short.

In 2013, the entire Los Angeles Police Department made the switch to the M&P 9 completely. For context, they are the second largest police force in America. If they believe that the M&P is worth all that hassle, then it certainly is worth it for you.


So, what makes the M&P 9 so great? For one, you have the customization. You get a Picatinny rail under the muzzle for all sorts of accessories such as laser sights and flashlights. It also features ambidextrous controls, so everybody can use this handgun without a problem. In terms of safety, you get some upgrades such as the loaded chamber indicator.

1. Sig Sauer P226

The original company, SIG, took root in Switzerland back in the 1850s. They manufactured muskets for the Swiss army but the owners wanted to expand. Unfortunately, thanks to Swiss law, their hands were tied. They then decided to partner up with a German company, Sauer & Sohn, and this is how Sig Sauer came to be. Officially created in 1985, the company is the American face since.

One of their best-selling products is the P226. It was designed to be an upgrade to the P220, and it is better in every aspect. The idea was that the P226 would be issued to military officers only, which is reflected in the design. You get 15 rounds in the magazine and it features ambidextrous controls that make it a perfect option for left-handed shooters. The extra barrel length also helps with accuracy, which is why agents such as the US Coast Guard, FBI, and Navy SEALS all love the P226.


And there you have it, folks. These are my top 8 picks for the best pistols police choose for their own protection. These pistols got the stamp of approval from the law enforcement or military, sometimes both, which goes to show how versatile and reliable they are. If they are good enough for the people who have to use their guns while doing their job, then they certainly are good enough for you.

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