Having been fortunate enough to be in law enforcement long enough to remember the initial “heyday” of the police rifle, I have seen a number of different systems used. Often this is dependent upon the area of the country, but contrary to popular belief, the AR platform is not the only one used. It is by far the most common, but that was certainly not always the case. While attending a hostage rescue school years ago in Virginia, a sergeant on an East Coast team indicated they preferred the
Mini-14 rifle. One of our more rural departments here actually deployed lever action rifles, as they were less “military looking.” That very perception has spawned a number of rifles recently that use AR-15 magazines and the 5.56mm cartridge, but do not share that “black rifle” look. Many of our rural agencies still deploy the M14 rifles they acquire as government surplus. Although cost is certainly an issue, caliber is also a consideration. For those of us who work in truly urban environments the 5.56mm is generally adequate. Even so, many prefer the increased power of the 6.8 SPC, a crowd I fall firmly into.
Those agencies that may have much longer ranges prefer the 7.62x51mm M14 rifles or similar. The 7.62mm round has been a proven combat round in many forms over the years and is still a preference for many that go into harm’s way. One of the .30 calibers out there that has seen some interest over the years has been the 7.62x39mm, often referred to as the “AK round” or “.30 caliber short.” Many who have either used or been up against this round have attested to its effectiveness, especially in urban combat.