Glock 21 Gen4
In 1990, the SIG P220 and the S&W 4506 were neck and neck as the most popular .45 ACP police service pistols in the US, the 1911 still being a regional oddity and a SWAT gun rather than a rank and file duty sidearm. That year, visiting the Glock plant in Smyrna, I saw an early sample of the Glock 21, the large-frame G21 made originally as a 16-shot 10mm, re-conceptualized as a 14-shot .45.
Within a very few years, the Glock 21 had become America’s most popular police .45. It was light for its size, soft-kicking for its caliber and actually more accurate than most of the smaller-caliber Glocks, perhaps because of its 8-sided rather than 6-sided polygon rifling. Once some early magazine problems were sorted out, it quickly proved itself reliable. “Keep it simple, stupid” was the dominant philosophy in police handgun training, and this Glock .45 had no de-cocking levers or safety catches.
And, of course, it had 14 rounds, literally twice the capacity of the World Wars-era 1911 .45. Two spare 13-round magazines on the duty belt sent the cop onto the street with 40 .45-caliber cartridges. What wasn’t to like?
In the more than a score of years since, the G21 has become the standard service pistol for lawmen from the Anchorage (AK) Police, to the San Bernardino County (CA) Sheriff’s Department, to LAPD’s elite Special Investigations Section, to the Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Department, and countless points in between.
By Massad Ayoob
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