Standard Issue Pros And Cons

In favor of standard issue, more of the same gun can lower price with volume. The agency’s armorers only need to be certified to work on one platform. This was one reason cited by the FBI in their recent policy change, soon to be completed if it hasn’t been already, of disallowing grandfathered traditional DA autos, .40s and .45s. The plan is to consolidate on one gun for everyone, a 9mm Gen5 GLOCK. Inventories of magazines, ammo, holsters and spare parts are all greatly simplified.

One would think a single standard platform would make things easier for instructors, too, but that’s only partially true. Yes, the instructor is spared having to say the decocking lever works this way on one pistol and differently on another, but the fact is with the prevalence of striker-fired guns today, most everyone can get by with a reasonably standard manual of arms.

The flip side is more cops flunk qualification because the gun doesn’t fit their hand than because they get confused about where the controls are. Shooting a poorly fitting gun is like driving a car whose seat has been adjusted for someone with different size arms, body and legs than you. You may get to where you can drive it acceptably, but you’ll never be able to reach your full potential in operating it.

One unheralded reason for the success of the modern polymer-frame, striker-fired duty pistol is interchangeable grip and backstrap panels, allowing greater hand size adaptability. This is also a significant factor in the meteoric rise in LE adoptions of the SIG P320, with its advanced grip modularity.