American policing has evolved dramatically in recent years, especially as it relates to tools, tactics, and technology. Of particular note is tactical pistol usage by patrol officers. The debate over the most effective weapons for police use is nothing new, for the discussion of how officers should be armed has been going on for decades, and is expected to continue as new weaponry is developed. One subtle, but dramatic, historical shift in police weaponry involved the movement from shoulder weapons to the belt carried revolver. This is not to suggest that early peace officers did not carry handguns, just that prior to the urban population shift, their preferred duty weapons were often rifles or shotguns. An examination of early peace officer photographs and post incident critiques clearly reveals that shoulder weapons were the norm, rather than the exception, and for good reason. The handgun, an essential part of a police officer's personal equipment, is invaluable in dealing with a life-threatening confrontational situation. However, a law enforcement officer's own handgun can also be, and sometimes becomes, the very means by which an officer is assaulted.