Though it has not yet been announced, it appears Tampa Police Department may be the latest law enforcement agency to move to the Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. An insider to the deal said the contract is for “about 1,000 pistols.”
The police handgun market is, and probably always will be, a hot battleground for firearms manufacturers. Sales of dozens or hundreds of firearms to an agency is always good for the bottom line. Perhaps even more important to the manufacturer, citizens will frequently purchase the firearms they see their police officers carrying.
The strong presence of Glock in the United States stems, in part, because of the agencies that began carrying the guns. As people began seeing more cops carrying the Glock, it legitimized that firearm in their minds. Recognizing that strong power, Glock actively courted departments, offering very favorable deals to agencies. Glock has reaped the rewards of those investments, becoming one of the most popular handguns for self defense in the United States today.
Now, however, an old player in the police market is making a huge push to reclaim their former dominant position. In recent years, Smith and Wesson has been marketing their M&P line of pistols to law enforcement agencies around the world. S&W has experienced a great deal of success, managing to maintain older contracts and, more importantly, bring in new agencies that have been issuing firearms from other manufacturers.
Tampa PD did not return phone calls, and a representative of Smith and Wesson declined to comment at this time about any possible deals.
The Tampa deal would not be the largest agency S&W has swayed to the M&P, rather they would be just another in a line of agencies that have adopted their sidearms. Detroit PD, Milwaukee PD and Atlanta PD are just a few of the agencies that have adopted the M&P as the official sidearm of their agency.
Glock is still in the driver’s seat, but it would appear Smith and Wesson is going to give them a run for their money.
****** UPDATE ******
Not ten minutes after I posted this article, I had a reader e-mail me the minutes from the Tampa PBA meeting on Jan 21, 2009. The switch to the M&P 40 was discussed in the open meeting with projected delivery dates of the new pistols in 2009. So, it would appear Tampa is getting a new pistol and new caliber, as they formerly carried the 9mm.
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