Welcome to the second edition of the Police Guns Of The World series, where we’ll take stock of what law enforcement agencies are issuing to their officers. Just as a recap, I set some parameters to narrow the field to the top federal, national, or state agencies of each country, which should still give us roughly 193 results. I’m also narrowing the focus at present to police-issued pistols, but I’ve already seen some pretty unusual rifles and submachine guns that we’ll explore at a later time.
Police Guns Of The World: South America – Part 2
In this installment, we’ll finish our look at police guns currently being issued in South America. As promised in PART 1, there’s also an interesting and potentially dangerous practice going on that I’ve observed from two separate countries that we’ll explore at the end of this article.
BERSA THUNDER 9
The Bersa Thunder 9 pistol is produced in Argentina, and the Federal Police of Argentina display their support for the local industry by carrying the 9mm double-action/single-action, semi-auto pistol. The Bersa Thunder 9 was developed in the early 1990s and features an ambidextrous slide stop and safety, which doubles as the decocker, so no “cocked and locked” carry with this model. The magazines have a 17 round capacity. The South American, Bersa Thunder 9 pistol was available in the United States from Eagle Imports, however, at the time of this writing, it appears that their website went dark and their social media pages haven’t been updated for a few years.
Bersa @ TFB
ARGENTINA (POLICIA FEDERAL ARGENTINA)
The Walther PPQ (or perhaps a discontinued Walther P99) entry for use in law enforcement in South America is based on a single photo, and a bit of elementary deduction. It would seem that the Guyana Police Force issues very few pistols as I scoured their social media for a long time with nary a pistol to be seen. When I did find a photo of a holstered pistol, it was from a distance or the photo quality was too low. The image below is the only discernible photo I could find, the pistol’s grip very much resembles that of the Walther PPQ, which is quite distinct. According to Wikipedia, the Guyana Defense Force issues the Walther PPK as its standard sidearm, so it’s not a complete stretch to think the police force would issue something from the same manufacturer. I found many more photos of Guyana police officers carrying a rifle, such as M16’s, AKM’s and HK G3’s, which also align with what the Defense Force uses according to Wikipedia.
Walther @ TFB
GUYANA (GUYANA POLICE FORCE)
SIG Sauer’s P320 is currently represented by one country in South America, Bolivia. Of the photographic evidence I’ve found, it appears to be at least one of several different guns being issued to the Bolivian National Police Corps. Whether or not they are in a transition period between one make and model, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the SIG P320 in law enforcement holsters due to its modular capability to configure into different sized frames, topped by various barrel lengths for different roles within the agency.
SIG P320 @ TFB
BOLIVIA (CUERPO de POLICIA NACIONAL BOLIVIANA)
USING A DUTY PISTOL AS A HAT RACK in South America?
While researching the topic of Police Guns of the World, I noticed officers from two different Latin American countries that hung their uniform ball cap on their holstered duty weapon. In my 18 years of law enforcement, I’m glad to say this is the first time I’ve seen this, but I definitely filed it under the “things that make you go ‘hmm’” category. One possibility is the fact that firearms are a taboo subject for the public at large in South America, so it’s possible the officers were trying to minimize the existence of guns for a publicity photo. Another possibility is that some officers actually use their duty pistol as a “convenient” place to hang their hats. What do you think?
What do you think about the pistols issued to federal police agencies in South America, either from PART 1 or PART 2? Were you surprised by any on the list? If you have photos from your travels featuring the guns you saw in police holsters and you’d like to share in the remaining continental Police Guns Of The World series, feel free to email me.
Police Guns Of The World: South America – Part 1