Practical Pistol Enhancements for the Law Enforcement Landscape

Gunslinger Research with Auscan Tactical

We had the opportunity to talk pistol enhancements with AusCan Tactical. From stippling to RMRs and slide cuts it’s all here and tailored to military and law enforcement! Check out, to get yourself some of the modifications featured!

auscant2The sidearm is ubiquitous with the image of a Police Officer worldwide. With criminals increasingly showing violent and extreme behaviors the sidearm is arguably more important than ever before. This said, upon the review of many Police Forces equipment and procurement choices duty pistols are rarely if ever enhanced to improve shooting performance in high-stress situations. In fact, contrary to increasing risk, some agencies may modify duty pistols in such a way that shooting performance is actually impeded.

Before, discussing the available enhancements for duty carry it is first necessary to understand that duty pistol enhancements are not competition enhancements. While the competition skills of speed and accuracy absolutely transfer to gun fighting, gun fighting is ultimately about the manipulation of the firearm while engaging in the act of combat. This differentiation is key as in combat the opponent will shoot back, will change the environment to their advantage, and will ultimately seek to kill you.  Put simply: gunfighting is not at its core just about accuracy, it is about effective shot placement while under considerable physical and psychological stress up to and including significant injuries such as blood loss or amputation.

Red dot optics and other sight enhancements have been a mainstay of competitive shooters for many years. With competition pistols featuring a wide array of optic rail retrofits, it is no surprise that Glock would release the Glock MOS slides, and after-market enhancement companies would offer various slide cuts and rear sight replacements to offer red dot options to their customers.

Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of pistol mounted optics is its ability to remedy presbyopia. As we age, some of us will experience a diminished ability to see things up close, this condition is called presbyopia. Considering that when shooting a pistol, you must be able to focus on the sights, presbyopia can be a serious problem especially with many patrol officers serving well into their forties. Red dot and reflex optics make it easier for older shooters by generating a single point of aim. No matter your age, reflex, and red dot optics provide fast, accurate target acquisition which allows the operator to shoot quickly with both eyes open. If the red dot malfunctioned or the battery goes flat, the iron sights are co-witnessed to the red dot so that you are still on target, in short, the same fundamentals as rifle optics still apply with many of the same benefits.

Mitch James, of AusCan Tactical, shared his views on the reflex optic on pistols and his experience working with law enforcement in Canada:

 The addition of reflex optic to a pistol is something that we strongly support and encourage among the law enforcement community. The majority of police forces only shoot once a year and thus are not really comfortable or confident in drawing their pistol in an accuracy dependent situation. The reflex optic helps address the issue of accuracy and getting on target fast. As first responding officers are the ones firing or returning fire on a suspect most of the time, it is crucial that they have the confidence to take the shot, knowing it will most likely hit the mark and not an innocent bystander.

When it comes to iron sights there are two options available: fiber and tritium. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that produces beta rays. These beta rays from the tritium hit phosphors to create the glow you see. This means that in darkness and low light, it has a visual presence to aid in target acquisition to ensure you are hitting your mark. Conversely, fiber optics sights capture ambient light and focus it into a single point. This means that generally speaking, fiber optic sights should be considered a “day sight.” However, with the near-universal adoption of the weapon mounted light, fiber sights are seeing increased use as a day/night sight. While tritium is largely universal for most users, fiber in conjunction with your illumination system may provide a preferred sight picture for some in low light conditions.  You can check out our article on Tactical Illumination Sources for more information.

auscant1Stippling has been all the rage.  With “polymer surgeons” everywhere turning Glocks and other polymer framed pistols into tactical works of art. Despite the obvious aesthetic appeal stippling is not about cosmetics, it is designed to enhance ergonomics by increasing the control of the firearm by providing maximum grip regardless of the hands being dry, wet, slippery or wearing gloves.  Similarly, undercuts provide comfort and index points while also providing a slightly higher grip relative to the bore. This aids in recoil management and reduces muzzle flip.

On the support hand side of the frame, a textured thumb ridge can aid in further mitigating recoil. On the dominant side of the frame, an index point will provide a reference point to enhance trigger finger safety.

Slide milling can provide extra porting and compensation, further reducing recoil and muzzle flip. However, for duty pistol enhancements porting is not desirable. The venting of hot gas from the barrel can burn the operator and interferes with many pistol combative techniques where parts of the operator (hands, arms etc) are riding on or above the slide. Conversely, however, front cocking serrations provide an additional textured surface choice when manipulating the slide. This gives the shooter positive traction even with wet or sweaty hands to perform a fast press check before and after firing. The user may grip the slide by the front serrations with the support hand and move it to the rear until a clear view of the chamber is possible in order to verify that a round is correctly chambered.

First and foremost, all agencies need to understand that modifying a factory firearm will almost always void the warranty so it is recommended to only modify your firearm with approval from your agency or department and have the work carried out by your armorer or other business specializing in these modifications. Procurement and other administrative bodies may need to be consulted to verify that there is no breach of contract if purchased firearms are modified from their factory condition

Many of these modifications are used by competitive shooters as well as special forces around the world, due to the increased accuracy that enhanced ergonomics and manipulation can provide. Prices for professionals such as law enforcement will generally vary and be much cheaper than advertised retail prices. It’s recommended to contact your agency or department suppliers and find out if they carry the products you require.

Auscan Tactical


Auscan Tactical are purveyors of Canadian made high-performance parts, targets & tactical gear for civilians, law enforcement & military personnel. You can find them online at and on Facebook and Instagram!

Categories: Shooting Performance

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