Last of Australia police upgrade to semi-auto pistols


When I was in Australia some years ago I was surprised by the number of revolvers I saw. SMH.com.au reports that the Victoria police, the last to carry revolvers, have upgraded from .38 Special S&W Model 10 to the semi-automatic S&W M&P pistol in .40 S&W …

It is the first change of guns in Victoria in 34 years, involving a switch from six-shot revolvers to semi-automatic pistols with magazines of 15 rounds.

[ Many thanks to Nick for emailing me the link. ]

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Oswald Bastable

    Exactly WHAT is wrong with a S&W revolver?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Oswald, nothing i’m sure. The .40 S&W has its advantages.

    • Ft. Defiance

      Not a darn thing. I would have no problem being issued a quality revolver so long as the ammo is first rate

  • James

    I live in Victoria and I don’t know why they’d need to upgrade to be honest, the police here rarely ever are involved in any sort of firefight, they occasionally shoot someone but it’s usually someone with a knife or such, I can’t recall the last actual shoot-out.

  • Todd

    @Oswald: Perhaps they want to make sure their police are not caught out there like the police in India were in the event of a terror attack. I realize they should also issue them AR’s too but after all, this is Australia, the land of Oz, where they believe they can legislate away gun crime.

  • Bill

    I was in Singapore last year and the police were also carrying revolvers.

  • Jim

    More accurately, 15 rounds and rapid reloads has advantages over 6 rounds with slow reloads.

  • barry mackenzie

    I live in Oz and these are way too much gun for the problem at hand. This isnt the states with handguns readily available. guncrime is very very low.

    OTOH the victorian police are renowned for firing first then shouting ‘stop or ill shoot’. the upgrade was driven by the police union, to get its political support to the labor government before the last election.

  • jdun1911

    The Miami shoot out was finished with a revolver and shotgun.

    The problem with most cops in the USA is they are very poorly trained but way better than other countries like Australia. At one point in time the NYCPD has less than 10% hit ratio at seven yards or less. In other words less than one in ten bullet shot hit their target at very close range.

    Most cops not all only go to the range once a year to qualify. For them a handgun is another item to hump at work.

    Changing to a semi-auto pistol will add to the complexities in a police society that is well known for not accepting people that know how to shoot.

    • Ft. Defiance

      Most US. departments fire quarterly and Officers are free to train on their own time. Phoenix P.D. (Arizona) ran a free range day in the past.

  • Geekwithagun

    Doesn’t every country which disarms its citizens dramatically increase the arms issued to its enforcers?

    • charles222

      Oh yes. Because a slight technological upgrade once every three decades is clearly totalitarian.

  • Daverino

    It is about time.

  • ki

    There was shootout a while back involving Victorian Police in which some officers ran out of ammo or something (I think they were first responders). They’re keeping up with criminals carrying glocks.

  • subase

    By doing they just increased the accuarcy of police by 60%. 15 bullets fired instead of 6.

  • subase

    In that video the guy had a .22 pistol (although he did have a sawn off shotgun in the car)

  • Ozzy

    @jdun1911

    Australia isn’t some 3rd world country with horrendously undertrained police. Besides the new pistols come with training, they aren’t just issued with the assumption officers will know how to operate them correctly.

  • jdun1911

    Here the thing Ozzy, from what I read on Australia Newspaper website and what is posted by Australians, the PD over there have a track record of not hiring people that are highly train in firearms. This isn’t about if Australia is a 3rd world country are not. This is about hiring people that have good knowledge of firearms and it something that Australia doesn’t do.

    Like I posted the vast majority of police officers in the USA doesn’t go to range often. Most only go once a year to be qualify. If the USA has problems with training their police officers what do you think of other countries that have much stricter gun laws?

    Training is great but continue training is the problem. All the training in the world is wasted without continue practice what was learned in the Police Academy. That’s while so many police officers really suck at shooting, firearms safety, malfunction drills, etc.

  • MeAgain

    My wife has a friend that married an Australian cop. They are great people and come to the US to visit every few years. I was told by the Aussie cop that they only get 18 rounds of .38 Special per year. This covers practice and qualification. Considering that they don’t have much of a gun culture I hope they spend the necessary money to fund the training needed for a switch from wheelguns to semi autos.

  • lik

    Guide to the significance to S&W – Victorian Police force is larger than the LAPD.

    S&W has reportedly bought-back the .38 revolvers for sale presumably on the US surplus market.

  • John N

    Ozzy: So you say.. but how many American cops regularly shoot themselves in entirely avoidable firearms handling incidents? There is no way in hell that any Australian government agency will teach their workers to shoot to the ‘barely qualifying every three years’ standard that the ‘victims’ of those incidents are trained to.

    The only realistic Aussie cop show for todays world is ‘Sea Patrol’.. shoot an RPG at a frigate manned by 21 Navy personnel, receive a three round burst of .223 peagun fire into the engine room.. if you’re unlucky.

  • subase

    There are pretty much no gun ranges for anything approaching realism in pistol gunfight training in Australia. And get this, airsoft is highly illegal. So you can’t even practice with airsoft. Heard of a group of Australian police going to Argentina to get some decent pistol training.

  • Lindsay

    Excellent, just what Victoria Police needs to defuse its trigger-happy reputation!