Ontario Police Pick Glock 17M as Pistol to Start Service in 2018

The Ontario Provincial Police, Canada’s second-biggest police agency, picked the Glock 17M pistol in 9 mm to replace the SIG Sauer P229, becoming the country’s first major department to adopt the new handgun of the FBI.

The OPP will issue the firearm to recruits starting in January, and all 6,200 officers will be trained and equipped next year, said Acting Staff Sergeant Peter Leon. It has used the P229 pistol for 24 years.

The choice of gun and ammunition is crucial for the rare times when police use them to protect themselves or others. Statistics suggest that most officers won’t unholster their duty weapon during their entire career, let alone point it at someone or shoot them.

‘Very Important Decision’

A large agency’s or military’s pick of a new firearm needs to consider purchase, maintenance, training and other costs, and can influence acquisitions by other agencies and individuals.

“This obviously is a very important decision,” Leon said today by telephone from the OPP’s head office in Orillia, about 150 km north of Toronto. “Our next-generation firearm will be made by Glock.”

The criteria desired in the new firearm were set by uniformed officers and special units of the OPP with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, with input from an agency of “a similar size and geography” as the OPP, Leon said. He declined to identify the agency. Quebec police also use Glocks.

Bestselling Handgun

“We had our subject-matter experts develop specifications,” Leon said. He didn’t have details on the ammo to be used.

The M version of the Glock 17, the bestselling handgun in history, was picked by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation last June.

If the OPP’s guns use Glock’s standard trigger, officers will need to master a shorter, lighter squeeze than the long, heavy one of the P229.

Cops Buy Glocks

Austria-based Glock GmbH supplies pistols to about 80 percent of the police departments in Canada, including special units of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as the Quebec and Toronto police.

The RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces also are due to renew their general-issue sidearms. The national police’s Smith & Wesson pistols date from the 1990s, and some of the army’s Browning Hi Power pistols were made during World War II.

Glock’s U.S. unit said June 12 that the company had won the OPP contract, without specifying the model. Delivery of the guns will be handled by Ottawa-based Rampart International Corp., Glock said at the time.

Glock Training, ‘Block Training’

Rampart distributes Glocks to law-enforcement agencies in Canada, while European Arms Distributor (1982) Ltd. of Vancouver and AmChar Wholesale Inc. of Rochester, New York, sell to retail stores.

Each OPP officer will get their Glock training during their annual four days of so-called “block training” in the use of force and self-defence with the handgun, C8 rifle (an AR-15), shotgun, taser and pepper spray, among other subjects, Leon said today.

He began carrying the SIG Sauer P229 in 1997 when he joined the OPP from the Toronto police, which issued revolvers.

“The SIG Sauer has been a very integral piece of our equipment,” Leon said. “It’s just at the end of its lifespan.”

Canada’s Biggest Police Agencies
Agencies with more than 1,000 officers as of 15 May 2016. Source: Statistics Canada, Police Resources in Canada, 2016.

Agency Officers
RCMP 17,979
Ontario 6,097
Quebec 5,476
Toronto 5,366
Montreal 4,583
Calgary 2,172
Peel Regional (Ontario) 1,967
Edmonton 1,739
York Region (Ontario) 1,598
Winnipeg 1,416
Vancouver 1,292
Ottawa 1,239

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