Written by INTELLEO | Follow

One of the most important pieces of police officer’s uniform is their sidearm. Their duty weapon could be the reason they live or die. In an occupation where every second counts, it’s crucial that law enforcement officers have a reliable firearm on their hip. Since this is an essential piece of an officer’s uniform, agencies are careful with the type of firearm they choose for their officers to carry.

Since the 1980’s, law enforcement agencies have transitioned from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols. Today, these are some of the top 5 handguns that police carry while on duty:


Introduced in 1990, the G22 was the most popular model for law enforcement agencies. This .40 caliber pistol was safe, durable, and affordable for officers to carry as their sidearm. Through the different generations of the GLOCK 22, it has remained one of the top police handguns.


Recently, agencies have begun to transition to a small caliber pistol like the GLOCK 17. This 9mm GLOCK semi-automatic pistol is “the mostly widely used law enforcement pistol worldwide,” according to GLOCK. The GLOCK 17 Gen5, the most recent version of the popular firearm, has certain features and upgrades that come in handy for law enforcement officers. For example, the slide stop is now ambidextrous. This new feature can make ordering firearms more cost effective for agencies.

To learn more about the GLOCK Gen5, click here.

Sig Sauer P320

Awarded “Handgun of the Year” in 2016 by the American Rifleman Golden Bullseye, the Sig Sauer P320 has become one of the top handguns for police AND military. In January of 2017, the Sig Sauer won the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System competition and contract.

Because the U.S. Army purchased the Sig P320, it immediately became a popular choice among law enforcement agencies. Most often agencies pick their standard issue firearms based on those chosen by federal agencies because extensive testing – that most agencies can’t afford – has already been done.

Smith & Wesson M&P9

Recently upgraded to the Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0, this pistol is proving to be an excellent duty weapon for law enforcement. According to reviewers, users love this firearm for its aggressive grip, smooth trigger pull, as well as its accuracy and dependability – which is what really counts when it comes to carrying on duty.

Sig Sauer P226

While they are transitioning to the GLOCK 19, the known pistol of the U.S. Navy SEALs is the Sig P226. This anodized alloy framed pistol is also one of the standard issue firearm choices for the New York Police Department, the largest police department in America.

This firearm has a decocking lever above the magazine release that allows the hammer to be dropped safely, making it a popular choice for military and law enforcement organizations.

What other weapons do police officers carry?

More often than not, lethal isn’t the force necessary in a law enforcement encounter. For these situations, police officers need non-lethal weapons to protect and serve. Officers often carry a taser, pepper spray, and sometimes a baton.

For more questions about what police officers carry, check out our blog on police supply needs.

Topics: 9mm Glock, INTELLEO, police handguns, glock pistol


Written by INTELLEO