P&SN Presents its 31st Annual Roundup Covering New Firearms and Equipment of Most Interest to Law Enforcement
For more than 40 years, the SHOT Show has served as the launching point for new guns and related equipment of interest to the law enforcement professional. This year’s show was held in the Venetian Expo Center in Las Vegas and, to say the least, it was a bit different from those of the past. Last year, the show was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, instead, we were provided with a virtual SHOT Show event. We were optimistic that this year’s SHOT Show would be bigger and better than ever, with over 2,000 exhibitors participating. However, at the last minute, an uptick in the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the plan. Multiple numbers of manufacturers, both large and small, chose not to attend because of health concerns for their employees and that certainly put an odd spin on the show. Others had a much diminished presence.
Nonetheless, the show was a success. In 2021, there were very few new products introduced because the manufacturers had their hands full trying to keep up with the unprecedented demand for firearms and ammunition. Although we are not out of the woods yet, things have improved a bit and there were a number of new guns to check out, along with ammunition and other accessories. Let’s take a look at some new products due to hit the market in 2022.
Since it was introduced in the 1970s, the Beretta Model 92 has evolved into one of the most iconic pistols of all time. In the M9 format, this pistol served as the standard sidearm of the US Armed Forces for over 30 years. This year, Beretta has introduced two variants built on this popular platform. First up is the M9A4 Centurion. The Centurion features a full-length grip frame, but with a slightly shorter slide which reduces total length to 8.3 inches. The most notable feature of this pistol is a slide cut for the mounting of a red dot optic. Five different plates will be available from Beretta so the end user can affix just about any of the popular red dot optics. The M9A4 sports an FDE finish and is chambered for the world standard 9mm Parabellum.
Another new entry is the M92XRDO Compact. Last year, Beretta introduced the full-size M92XRDO and it is no surprise that a smaller copy ideally suited for concealed carry followed. Overall length is trimmed back to 7.75 inches and a slightly abbreviated grip frame aids discreet carry. The F style decocker/safety lever is standard, but the pistol can easily be converted to the G decocker-only type. Slim Vertec grip panels, a Picatinny rail and front slide serrations are standard.
The law enforcement community may not be all that familiar with B&T, but this firm continues to push the envelope on the development of cutting edge firearms and suppressors. Founded in 1991, B&T AG (formerly known as Brugger & Thomet) turns out a number of innovative weapon systems and, in 2019, was awarded a contract from the US Army for their APC 9K. This is the first submachine gun the Army had purchased in over 50 years as the B&T submission competed favorably over models submitted by more established manufacturers. Law enforcement agencies using their products include the Miami Beach, FL, Police Department; the Westchester County, NY, Police Department; and the Lake County, IN, Sheriff’s Department. These firearms are manufactured in Switzerland and brought to the US by B&T USA.
At the recent SHOT Show, I had the opportunity to examine their SPC9 (Special Purpose Carbine) and came away favorably impressed. Unlike some other carbines, the SPC9 is not an adaptation of a sporting arm, but an entirely new design optimized for law enforcement applications. The SPC9 combines many of the attributes of the MP5, APC9 and the AR platforms and it offers excellent ergonomics and handling characteristics in a versatile delivery system. The SPC9 utilizes a unique delayed blowback action which uses a hydraulic buffer to tame recoil and enhance performance while suppressed.
Although short barrel rifles have encroached on the use of SMGs and 9mm pistol caliber carbines, they can still fill a very useful niche. In 9mm format, the SPC9 is much easier to effectively suppress. The folding stock SPC9 PDW would also prove very useful in tight places or vehicles.
FN America, LLC
FN America, LLC is a most unique firm which manufactures rifles, pistols, shotguns, and less-lethal launchers for the law enforcement market. In my experience, all have proven to be top-shelf.
One of the bigger surprises of the SHOT Show was the reintroduction of the High Power pistol. Rather than just put out an exact copy of the original, FN went to great lengths to update this classic design. Rendered from all steel, the new High Power features ambidextrous controls and magazines with a 17 round capacity. The magazine disconnect safety has been eliminated which further enhances the crisp single-action trigger. Models will include copies in stainless steel, black or FDE.
About 20 years ago, FN introduced the 303 Less Lethal Launcher which has proven to be in a class of its own. This year, the 303 Tactical Launcher has been given a number of upgrades, including various options in stock configurations to better suit specific needs. Fully adjustable polymer sights are standard and are mounted to a rail which accepts red dot sights, lasers and white lights. The air operating system has also been improved to reduce maintenance.
But, of late, the biggest buzz about FN is the fact that the LAPD has recently moved to adopt the 509® MRD-LE as their standard duty pistol. Without question, this is huge. The commercial market typically follows trends similar to law enforcement and having one of the largest and most prestigious departments in the country select your pistol may very well put you over the top. GLOCK®, Smith & Wesson® and SIG SAUER® have typically enjoyed the biggest piece of the law enforcement pie in recent years, but now a very worthy competitor has made a big impact.
The FN 509 MRD-LE is a very well put together gun which came through a grueling 20,000+ round test without a malfunction. This 9mm striker-fired pistol is optics ready with suppressor height sights and features a four inch barrel. Magazine capacity is 17 rounds. No doubt, we will be hearing of more agencies taking a hard look at the 509 MRD-LE in the near future.
Mossberg is a name we typically associate with shotguns rather than handguns, but they hit the jackpot a few years ago with the introduction of their micro-compact semiautomatic pistol. New this year is a downsized version called the MC2sc™, a really small pistol well suited to deep concealment. This striker-fired design is built on a polymer frame with a black DLC finish, stainless steel slide and barrel.
Total length of the MC2sc is 6.25 inches and it tips the scales at 19.5 ounces unloaded. Two magazines are provided which yield a total capacity of either 11+1 or 14+1 total rounds. The MP2sc is optics ready and 3 dot white sights are standard, although there is a model with TRUGLO® Tritium sights available as a factory option. An integrated trigger blade safety is standard; however, a model with a crossbolt safety can also be had. The flat profile trigger features a tactile reset and breaks at about 5.5 pounds.
Another big surprise for 2022 is the introduction of the Savage Stance micro-compact. Although most people associate Savage with rifles and shotguns, at one time, they were a cutting edge manufacturer of pistols.
The Savage Stance is a small, very thin, 9mm pistol designed for discreet carry. Like many other pistols of this type, it is a striker-fired design with a user-friendly, crisp trigger with a short reset. The slide is made of stainless steel with a Melonite finish and is mated to a stainless steel chassis with a glass filled nylon grip frame. Sights are a snag-free design and consist of an orange dot front with two white dots on the rear sight. The Stance will ship with a flush mount, seven round magazine and an eight round magazine. An extended ten round copy will soon be available.
Smith & Wesson
Last year, Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P® Shield™ Plus which played to rave reviews. In the hand, the Shield Plus really didn’t feel much different than the original Shield, nor did it compromise concealment qualities in any way. The good news, of course, is that the Shield Plus yielded a significant boost with 10 +1 round capacity in a flush seated magazine and 12 +1 in a slightly extended version.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, S&W has put yet another spin on the Shield. New this year is a Shield Plus chambered for a brand-new cartridge called the 30 Super Carry. Developed in cooperation with Federal®, the 30 Super Carry launches a 100-grain .312 diameter bullet at 1200 fps. Muzzle energy is roughly on par with the 9mm Parabellum.
So what, if any, advantage does this hold? Because the cartridge case is of a lesser diameter, more rounds can be held in the magazine and the Shield Plus so chambered will have a capacity of 12+1 or 15+1 rounds. Federal and sister companies Remington, Speer and CCI will load both duty quality and practice ammunition.
Another surprise from Smith & Wesson was the introduction of the CSX™ 9mm micro-pistol. The CSX stands out from the rest of the pack for a number of reasons – most notable is the fact that it is a single-action pistol which can be carried cocked and locked. Another major deviation from the pack is that it is built on an aluminum alloy rather than a polymer frame.
A pair of magazines completes the package, including ten round and 12 round sticks. At a mere 6.1 inches long, the CSX is ideal for users looking for a small 9mm hideout pistol.
There has been a popular demand for an M&P pistol in 10mm and that is now a reality. The M&P M2.0™ represents a number of improvements in this popular line and I was especially impressed when handling the new 10mm copy. High on my list is the fact that the M&P 10mm actually fit my medium-size hand very well. Two versions will be available: one with a four inch barrel and the other with a slightly longer 4.6 inch barrel. The pistols are optics ready and will come with suppressor height sights. The magazine capacity is 15 rounds.
Thirty years ago, the 10mm and handguns built for it were pushed to the back burner by the .40 S&W. In recent years, the 10mm has enjoyed a spike in popularity while the .40 S&W’s star has crashed. For 2022, Winchester has introduced a new 10mm load in their USA Ready Defense line with a 170-grain Hex-Vent hollow point bullet. It is unlikely that 10mm handguns will ever be huge, but they are often in use by law enforcement officers who may have to deal with large, unpleasant animals as well as criminals.
Some people would lead you to believe that shotguns are obsolete as a viable police weapon system. I would submit that their role is changing, but they will long be part of the law enforcement scene.
Introduced at the tail end of last year, the M&P 12 Shotgun is a horse of a different color. While most police shotguns are an adaptation of a sporting design, the bullpup, pump-action M&P 12 is indeed very different. With a total length of 27.8 inches, the M&P 12 is designed so that the user can maneuver in very tight places such as a hallway. Twin magazine tubes are utilized and a button switch is used to select the proper magazine. One can load one tube with buck shot and the other with rifled slugs and select the optimum load for the situation. Capacity is six, three inch shells per tube or seven 2 ¾ inch shells. The M&P 12 can also handle the new abbreviated length mini-shells.
A Picatinny rail sits on top for the mounting of iron sights or optics. Both modified and improved cylinder choke tubes, as well as a wrench, are provided and any Remington compatible tube may be used with the M&P 12. The safety selector is ambidextrous.
A few months back, Springfield Armory introduced the SA-35™, an updated version of the John Browning/Dieudonne Saive P35 pistol. For those who favor steel and walnut over polymer, it doesn’t get any better than this timeless design.
In designing the SA-35, Springfield Armory made a number of improvements, yet still captured the character of the original. Forged steel parts are utilized in its construction along with improved ergonomics and enhanced controls. The magazine disconnect safety has been discarded and the trigger of the SA-35 is superior to that of the original. Better sights and an improved feed ramp for reliable function with modern ammunition is also part of the package. The magazine capacity has been increased to 15 rounds.
Two years ago, Springfield Armory launched the XD-M® Elite Series which boasted a number of refinements over the standard models. The line has continued to grow and, a few months ago, the 3.8 inch Compact OSP™ Series 10mm and the .45 ACP models were added to the line. These pistols feature aggressive slide serrations, match grade barrels, a removable magwell, plus an ambidextrous slide stop. Trigger action on most striker-fired pistols is subpar; however, the flat face META™ system is in a league of its own.
These pistols can be had as optics ready or complete with a HEX™ Dragonfly optic. Magazine capacity is 11 rounds in the 10mm and ten rounds in the .45 caliber version.
Another new addition to the Springfield line is the Hellion™ rifle. Based on the VHS bullpup which has been in service with the Croatian Armed Forces for several years, the Hellion is a compact, semiauto design chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge. Because the action is located behind the trigger group, the Hellion is a handy 28.25 inches in length, even with a 16 inch barrel.
The controls are ambidextrous and work in concert with a reversible case ejection system to allow the Hellion to be fired from either shoulder. That is a very important quality for this left-handed shooter. A set of rugged iron sights are standard and red dot or magnifying optics can be easily affixed to the Picatinny top rail. The polymer forend contains nine M-Lok® slots for the mounting of accessories. A 30 round PMAG comes with the Hellion and it will accommodate standard AR pattern magazines.
Bullpup rifles do afford a number of advantages over more traditional rifle configurations. Clearly working a tight spot is much easier and the full-length 16 inch barrel offers much better external and terminal ballistics when compared to a more conventional SBR or a submachine gun which fires handgun cartridges. The Hellion is indeed different, but it appears to have much to offer.
Lights and Red Dots
White lights and red dot optics remain a hot ticket for 2022. This category continues to evolve at a very rapid pace and I have identified just a few of the new products which might interest the law enforcement professional.
Streamlight® offers an extensive line of weapon mounted lights and this year’s new offerings are designed around smaller pistols designed for discreet carry. New this year is a TLR-7® Sub for the Springfield Hellcat®. This innovative WML puts out 500 lumens of intense white light and runs off of a single CR123A battery. A TLR-6 is now available for the Taurus GX4™, as well as many other small pistols without an accessory rail. It, too, features an ambidextrous, rear mounted switch. It also includes a red laser aimer for target acquisition. Power is supplied by a pair of CR-1/3N batteries and the light does not have to be removed from the pistol when there is a need to replace them. More information and images of these new items are featured in the “Product Highlight” column in this issue which can be found on pages 18-19.
There is no getting around the fact that red dot optics are the wave of the future and use by both departments and individual officers is in full swing. In the not so distant past, the cost of a quality red dot optic was as much as, or even more than, the pistol it was mounted on. That has all changed and there are now quality options which can be had that won’t break the bank.
AMERIGLO®, an industry leader in traditional pistol sights, recently introduced the Haven™. This new offering is a very well-thought-out design with a large window and a 3.5 MOA red dot. The Haven also features an adjustable LED and mounts to the pistol using the popular RMR footprint. The fact that you can replace the side loading CR2032 battery from the Haven without removing it from the pistol is another big plus.
Holosun is an extremely innovative company turning out red dot optics and their new SCS (Solar Charging Sight) is indeed a game changer. Instead of a traditional internal battery, the SLS uses a solar cell for power. This enabled Holosun to build a red dot with a much shorter body that it can be co-witnessed to the factory iron sights. The cell is good for 20,000 hours of runtime. An innovative auto adjust feature of the SCS is designed to compensate for shortcomings when using a white light in conjunction with the optic. The Holosun SCS will be available for a number of popular pistols in use by law enforcement.
Also new from Holosun is the EPS and EPS Carry. These optics feature an enclosed emitter for better protection from the elements and debris. The EPS Carry features a rear sight which should allow the user to use the factory front to co-witness. These units utilize the same mounting footprint as the 507/407K.
Technology continues to march on. The gear we have available today is light years beyond the six shot revolver which I carried when I first got into this racket and we can expect more innovation in the future. When that happens, you can read about it here.
Captain Mike Boyle served with the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement, and has been an active firearms instructor for more than 30 years. He has been an assistant police academy director and remains active as an academy rangemaster and instructor. Mike has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) since 1996. He is the architect and coordinator of IALEFI’s Master Instructor Development Program.