Police up arsenal


South Africa’s police have ordered another 4000 pistols for its new recruits, taking orders in the last four years for the police to some 35 000. An additional 6000 handguns have been delivered to the military and the prison service.

The latest order for Beretta Px4F “Storm” 9mm pistols was placed on Republic Arms (Pty) Ltd of Jeppestown by way of the state arms agency, Armscor, on December 10. The cost of the weapons, to be imported from Italy is R15 811 200.

The police have been engaged in a massive recruiting drive in recent years and currently musters some 188 000. Current plans for the national police to be increased to some 210 000. Nearly all police officers are issued with a service pistol.

The latest batch will be delivered to the police by the end of March.

The pistil will compliment the Vektor Z88 pistols of which Denel manufactured 120 000 in the years up to 1996. The Z88 was a clone of the Beretta 92F. It is understood the Z88 has served the police well but that law enforcers are now having trouble maintaining the weapon as spares are no longer available.

The purchases over the last four years have now breached the US$10 million ceiling, triggering both national and defence industrial participation (NIP & DIP) obligations for Beretta. The company reportedly has DIP obligations of US$6 million and US$3 million in NIP.

The police reportedly chose the Px4 composite pistol because its polymer body is lighter than the Z88’s metal frame and because the weapons is fitted with Picatinny rails that can take a variety of accessories as standard. Accessories include laser sighting aids as well as flashlights.

The wikipedia notes the Px4 was first produced in 2004. It notes the semi-automatic uses the same short-recoil, rotating barrel lock as the Beretta 8000 Models as well as “exactly the same operating system as the M9/92/96 series, while being completely different in design from either.”