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Author Topic: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective  (Read 2056 times)

Raptor

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Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
« on: February 20, 2017, 12:10:09 AM »
I figure it's been a while since we've had a thread like this, and what kind of gun forum would we be if we didn't have an "Arm Yourself/Your Troops" Thread every once in a while?

So here's the scenario. It's the mid 1970s. You are an officer in a police department, and you have just been promoted to Detective. And you've scored high enough on the Detectives Exam (and have performed well enough on the street) that you have been assigned to a "plainclothes tactical" unit similar to the NYPD Stakeout Squad or the LAPD's Special Investigative Section. You and your new squadmates conduct surveillance on suspected criminals and/or predicted crime locations and, when necessary, apprehend the criminals.

Unfortunately, this is inner-city America in the mid 70s The War on Drugs is raging. Drug dealers are using increasingly violent measures to protect their turf, "bump off" rivals, and silence witnesses. As if drugs weren't bad enough, your city is a hotbed of left-wing "revolutionary" activity. Bombings, kidnappings, and outright assassinations seem to be occurring with increasing activity, and there is at least one major heist per month. Worse still, drug dealers and revolutionaries alike are acquiring serious firepower. The days of punks with cheap small-bore revolvers and automatics, and maybe a sawed-off double-barrel are gone, at least for you. The people you'll be pursuing are more likely to be armed with M1 Carbines, M76 submachine guns, AR-18s, or even the new Mini-14s.

Fortunately, your department has always had a rather "liberal" policy when it comes to sidearms. Your department issues each new recruit with a brand-new 4" Smith & Wesson Model 15, and maintains a large number of 2" Model 10s for plainclothes officers. And the department has finally caught up with the times (i.e. caved into the police union) and finally retired the old 158-grain lead round-nose .38 Special load (aka "the widowmaker") in favor of the new 158-grain +P lead semiwadcutter hollowpoint Winchester recently introduced for the FBI and the Chicago PD. However, once an officer completes their probationary period, they are allowed (and in certain units, like yours, encouraged) to privately purchase an "auxiliary Sidearm" for duty use. And since it's the mid 1970s  and the lawyers haven't completely taken over yet, the only requirements your department has for an Auxiliary Sidearm is that the officer must furnish their duty gear for the sidearm, they may only carry factory ammunition in the sidearm, which they must purchase out-of-pocket (unless it's a .38 Special, in which case they must use department-issued ammuntion), and they must be able to attain a passing qualification score when using the weapon. So basically, if you can qualify with it, then you can carry it. Doesn't matter if it's a revolver or semi-auto. So long as you can shoot it enough to pass your department's (rather easy) qualifications standard and find a holster and ammo for it, you're good to go

The department also allows and encourages officers to carry a backup piece immediately upon graduating the academy. These are not issued and must be privately purchased, but again, if you can qualify with it, then you can carry it, and you have to use department-issue ammo if it's a .38.

So.. what do you choose? Do you keep your issue sidearm and carry something like a Chief's Special or Walther PPK on your ankle? Do you use your issue .38 as a backup while you carry a big-bore revolver or an automatic in a shoulder holster? Or do you discard your issue sidearms altogether?

By the way, this topic was inspired by the entry I'm working on (or at least trying to work on. Stupid late-night classes and tons of homework.) for Baen Books Fantasy Short Story Award. I've already got the loadouts for my two detectives pretty much figured out, as well as what I would probably carry myself, but I'll post those later on. Right now I'm interested in what y'all would choose.
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    ksuguy

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 12:28:35 AM »
    A Browning High Power would probably be the best choice if you were going for a semi-auto with higher capacity.  The downside is that it was more difficult to find quality 9mm ammunition back then.  Other semi-auto options would be a 1911 or the smaller Walthers.  The CZ75 existed in 1976,  but you didn't really start to see them outside of the Iron Curtain until the 1990's.

    For big bore revolvers,  hard to beat a S&W Model 29.   Of course any story featuring that will just be dismissed as ripping off Dirty Harry.  Unless maybe you could incorporate that into the character,  maybe your new rookie detective recently saw the movie and decided to pick his gun based on that.

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 01:24:54 AM »
    I'm thinking in that situation I'd take up the offer of the 2" Model 10 in the round butt configuration from the department and all the 158 grain +P .38 Specials they would furnish.  If they offered the option of the stainless model 64 I'd take one of those.  Said revolver could operate as a duty weapon for a plainclothes officer or an off duty weapon in a pinch.

     In a high threat situation like a stakeout or a raid I would be carrying a Colt Commander in .45 ACP loaded with Super Vel 185 grain Speer hollowpoints and a couple of spare magazines full of the same.  It would have to be worked on a bit to get it to feed everything smoothly and reliably but it would definitely be my choice.   At that time I might have opted for a shoulder holster for it. 

    Super Vel was forced out of business in the mid 1970's but more than one police department adopted their stuff as duty ammo.  Lee Jurras and J.D. Jones pretty much set the stage for all of the modern handgun ammo that came later from the major manufacturers. 

    As a back up gun ( or a New York reload ) I'd probably carry a S&W Model 60 in an ankle holster and feed it the same ammo as the K frame.

    You don't mention any long guns as department issue.   :hmm   If I were on a high threat detail I would certainly want the option of using a rifle or a shotgun as my primary weapon should the whole thing go sideways.  Any thoughts about that? 


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    Roper1911

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 07:44:55 AM »
    Colt government 1911 with cast lead truncated cone ammo, or super vels.
    Throw in a Winchester 1897 and an M1 carbine.
    Or maybe one of those newfangled colt M16's if things are hot enough.
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 08:24:25 AM »
    H&K P9 in .45ACP. All the stopping power of the M1911A1 but without the hammer to get snagged while drawing it from a holster concealed under a snazzy 70's suit.
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    coelacanth

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 12:18:05 PM »
    Colt government 1911 with cast lead truncated cone ammo, or super vels.
    Throw in a Winchester 1897 and an M1 carbine.
    Or maybe one of those newfangled colt M16's if things are hot enough.
    Actually, I think Hornady used to load a 230 grain truncated cone FMJ in that time frame.   :hmm   Shortly thereafter CCI/Speer began loading their 200 grain jacketed hollowpoint ( aka "the flying ashtray" ).   I'd go for either of the long guns you mentioned or even a Remington 870 riot gun.

    H&K P9 in .45ACP. All the stopping power of the M1911A1 but without the hammer to get snagged while drawing it from a holster concealed under a snazzy 70's suit.
    I dunno about that.  Those things were huge and they had that goofy European style magazine release at the butt of the pistol.   :doh  They also had a front sight that looked like a shark fin - talk about something getting snagged on the draw and that definitely comes to mind.  ::)

    One of the reasons I chose the Commander is because of the ring style hammer - much less prone to snagging on the draw and all the rest of the controls right where God intended them to be.   :cool
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 12:19:09 PM »
    While I love the model 15, I think I'd opt for a commander sized 1911. I wouldn't want a 9mm due to the bullet technology back then (so sadly, no Browning high power for me). I also would want a model 36 on the ankle as a BUG.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 12:25:50 PM »
    Ok...I have been watching The Blacklist and seeing Ray Reddington take out bad guys with his classic Hi-Power.  So I will go BHP too...But I would probably track down a Truncated Cone load for it.  That is what Germany originally used in the Luger and there is some evidence that it is more effective than the round nose ball design.

    Not sure if super vel had any good 9mm HP offerings, but that would have been a good choice too.
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 12:29:45 PM »
    I'm thinking in that situation I'd take up the offer of the 2" Model 10 in the round butt configuration from the department and all the 158 grain +P .38 Specials they would furnish.  If they offered the option of the stainless model 64 I'd take one of those.  Said revolver could operate as a duty weapon for a plainclothes officer or an off duty weapon in a pinch.

     In a high threat situation like a stakeout or a raid I would be carrying a Colt Commander in .45 ACP loaded with Super Vel 185 grain Speer hollowpoints and a couple of spare magazines full of the same.  It would have to be worked on a bit to get it to feed everything smoothly and reliably but it would definitely be my choice.   At that time I might have opted for a shoulder holster for it. 

    Super Vel was forced out of business in the mid 1970's but more than one police department adopted their stuff as duty ammo.  Lee Jurras and J.D. Jones pretty much set the stage for all of the modern handgun ammo that came later from the major manufacturers. 

    As a back up gun ( or a New York reload ) I'd probably carry a S&W Model 60 in an ankle holster and feed it the same ammo as the K frame.

    You don't mention any long guns as department issue.   :hmm   If I were on a high threat detail I would certainly want the option of using a rifle or a shotgun as my primary weapon should the whole thing go sideways.  Any thoughts about that?

    I was a kid in the 70s, but did they even have the Colt "Commander" back then?  I was consuming rags like "G&A" and "Handguns" at the time.  I don't remember even hearing about that model until some time in the mid 80s.
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    coelacanth

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 12:38:07 PM »
    The alloy framed Colt Commander was introduced commercially in 1950 and the all steel Combat Commander was introduced in 1970.   :coffee
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
                          Robert A. Heinlein ,   Friday

    freeman1685

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 12:44:41 PM »
    The alloy framed Colt Commander was introduced commercially in 1950 and the all steel Combat Commander was introduced in 1970.   :coffee

    I did not know that.  :shrug
    ArizonaStupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education or by legislation.  Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid.  But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.  RAH

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 04:24:15 PM »
    Primary would be a Smith 27 3.5" with the new 125 grain Remington load (~1400 fps). I really don't want to have to shoot them twice.
    BUG would be a Smith 49 on the ankle. I'd use the department's load and worry about the wear and tear later.
    Ithaca model 37 (pre-disconnector) for my riot gun.
    M1 Carbine or Colt Commando in the trunk for those days when you fully expect the fecal matter to hit the rotary air impeller.

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 04:50:00 PM »
    All weapons would be privately owned, so I could do what I liked to them.

    Primary strong-side carry is a custom 3" S&W Model 19.  Custom, because this one is on a Square Butt frame.  Training and duty load is 158gr factory (weak) magnums, and the adjustable sight is dialed in for those at 50 yards, though the department issue .38s can work in a pinch.  Finished in a bright nickel.

    Weak side backup is a M&P snub - the fore runner of the department's standard Detective sidearm.  The main difference is the thumbnail front sight, and about thirty years.  This weapon shows its age, though it has been reasonably well cared for.  The finish is mostly gone, with only a gray patina and some freckling remaining.

    Both weapons have been worked over by the S&W custom shop, (or whatever it was called back then) and both wear factory stock panels with Tyler T Grips.

    For armed raids, a Remington 870 police model with a shortened stock, or if things really look grim and the minorities are rioting, an Armalite AR-18.
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    Buckeye Redneck

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 06:35:49 PM »
    Full size 1911 primary,  one of those 2 inch 10's for backup, and an Uzi in the trunk for things going rodeo.
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #14 on: February 20, 2017, 06:49:21 PM »
    Interesting set of facts.  After 4 years in the USAF Security Police (4 inch S&W Model 15s and CARs).  I took my honorable discharge from Uncle Sam in '77 and was immediately recruited by Harris County Sheriff's in Houston.  Except for your first two years, Harris County had a fairly liberal weapons policy under Sheriff Johnny Klinginfelter (common spelling).  In the academy, and throughout the next two years you had to carry a revolver in .38 or above that you could qualify with.  And while many of my academy classmates went out and bought S&W model 29s (in both four and six) you then had to fit that piece in a covered  (widow-maker) holster made of that black shiny faux leather stuff that I forget the name of right at the moment.  The entire rig was huge.  I went with a 6"
    Python in blue steel  for my everyday carry and loaded with Remington 125 grain semi-jacked HPs..  And yes the night shoots were very fun, however it really drove home the fact that there was no follow-up shot possible.  When I was in plainclothes I threw that Python in a Safariland shoulder holster.  The SO allowed for a second gun which for me had to be a 1911.  I had a nickel (anniversary model) Browning HP, but there simply was not a tactical load that was worth a damn back then.  The 9 had screaming velocity (remember the joke; dispatch Ive been in a shooting, I need an ambulance at First and Main, Second and Main, Third and Main .  .  .)  but nothing that would stay in a bad guy's body.  124 grain Silver Tips came out and we all ran out and bought them, but there was always a question about wether they would hold together if you sent them through a barricade.  It was too much of a guessing game and the stakes too high to be wrong.  I went with a Colt Commander (customized by Arnie Swenson??? In Southern Calif. ) loaded with the 200 grain CCI "flying ashtray."   That became my BUG and my off duty piece.  I also had a Gerber stiletto in a plastic sheath tied under my arm to one of my vest straps.  Those were bad old days when Heroin and Qualudes were ruling the street and Angel Dust was just about to go big time.  I kept a Remington 870 in the car loaded with a slug followed by #4 buck and so on.  In the trunk was a 20 inch barrel Winchester 30-30 loaded with 150 grain soft point.  Some guys carried the mini 14 - but reliability was always an issue.  That old 30-30 always went bang and had the psychological effect of having to work the lever.  I survived two shootings in Houston, and another when I worked in Henderson, NV.  So I was either lucky or made good choices.  I'm retired now.  I still carry everyday.  Either a Wilson 1911 with Federal HTC or my Browning HP with 147 Gold Dot.  Thanks for the memories, stay safe. 


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    coelacanth

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #15 on: February 20, 2017, 07:10:46 PM »
    Good stuff.  Welcome to the site and thanks for sharing.   :thumbup1
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
                          Robert A. Heinlein ,   Friday

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #16 on: February 20, 2017, 08:47:41 PM »
    I was a kid in the 70s, but did they even have the Colt "Commander" back then?  I was consuming rags like "G&A" and "Handguns" at the time.  I don't remember even hearing about that model until some time in the mid 80s.
    I own a 1978(?) colt combat commander. they were around.
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    Raptor

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #17 on: February 20, 2017, 10:44:29 PM »
    I'm kind of relieved nobody's picked mine yet.

    Having been raised by parents who grew up in the Depression and then wartime and post-war rationing, I'm rather practical in my choices (or at least I like to think I am).

    Smith & Wesson's Combat Magnum is the hot thing on the force right now, especially the new stainless steel Model 66. But while I like the concept of a .38-size revolver shooting high-powered ammunition, I'm not sold on the execution. I just don't trust a design that was originally intended for a low-pressure black powder cartridge to hold up to shooting a steady diet of full-power Magnum ammunition, especially not the new "magic" high-velocity 125-grain loads everybody's been raving about. And from what I've seen of both the newly-issued .38s and from browsing the local gunshops on my days off, Bangor Punta is really letting S&W's manufacturing and quality control standards slip hard.

    So instead of the Combat Magnum, I've gone ahead and purchased Ruger's new Securuty-Six. It may be less expensive than the Combat Magnum, but everything I've read indicates that it's a much stronger design. Mine is a basic four-inch model, blued finish (I'm honestly not sure they were available in stainless steel at this point), with my only "splurge" being the Combat/Target grips I ordered from the factory. I feed it good old-fashioned 158-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoints and carry it in one of John Bianchi's out-the-front shoulder holsters, with two speedloaders in pouches on (well, above) my belt and a third in the right front pocket of my pants.

    My backup gun, or my "drop-it gun" as I've come to call it, is a Smith & Wesson Model 49 Bodyguard. Yes, Bangor Punta, but I had the squad's resident gunsmith (we'll meet him later) give it a thorough looking-over. He decided that it met his (extremely high) standards, so I feel confident trusting it with my life.  I went with the steel frame because, again, I don't trust aluminum to hold up long-term shooting the department's new hot-loaded issue ammunition. I fitted the gun with a Tyler's T-Grip Adapter and carry it on my right hip in another of John Bianchi's rigs, this one a belt slide holster with a retention strap that loops behind the rear of the trigger guard. I call it my "drop-it gun" because if I'm surprised by a bad guy and can't draw my Ruger without getting shot, stabbed, or whatever, I can quick-draw the Bodygyard, empty it into the bad guy, then drop it and draw my Ruger to deal with any other threats.

    For high-risk stakeouts and/or takedowns, I prefer an M1 Carbine over the shotgun. Chalk that up to a shoulder injury I suffered when horsing around as a kid that never healed properly. My fault for toughing it out rather than telling (and incurring the wrath of) my parents. But that's neither here nor there. Our squad's resident gunsmith (we'll meet him later) has modified the squad's carbines to reliably feed 110-grain softpoints and to function with 30-round "banana" magazines.

    I typically run my Carbine with two of the 30-round magazines (each downloaded to 25 rounds) clipped together in a military-surplus T3-A1 "Jungle Clip" magazine holder, and a pair of 15-round magazines in a double pouch mounted to the buttstock. I know going in that there's going to be a lot of shooting, I'll carry one or two additional 30-round magazines (also downloaded to 25 rounds) in pouches on my left hip.

    And on a related note: I can't believe y'all! This thread is absolutely WORTHLESS without pics!





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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #18 on: February 20, 2017, 11:34:12 PM »
    A pair of 1911's, in a shoulder rig.  Thompson SMG in the trunk of my Chevelle SS.   And a Winchester Shotgun to go along with it.
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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #19 on: February 21, 2017, 01:17:23 AM »
    I'll take the issued Model 10 for back up, a full sized 1911, and an M2 Carbine I found in the armory. If there's a dusty BAR on the back shelfs it's mine!  :drool
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    coyotesfan97

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #20 on: February 21, 2017, 01:18:03 AM »
    Double tap!
    ArizonaThe bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.  Thucydides 471BC

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #21 on: February 21, 2017, 12:17:05 PM »

    And on a related note: I can't believe y'all! This thread is absolutely WORTHLESS without pics!

    I know...  I actually did look for some before I posted, but after finding none that I liked for the handguns, I didn't bother for the rest. :shrug
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    Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #22 on: February 21, 2017, 01:17:11 PM »
    How about these?

    Magnaport combat mini


    Winchester model 12 riot gun


    Then in 1977 our detective busts an arms dealer and two guns "fall out of the truck".

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #23 on: February 21, 2017, 08:19:12 PM »
    For a side arm I would go with a 1911. It is what I go with now so I don't see any reason to have not carried one in the 70s. I would consider a hi power if capacity was a concern but as others have pointed out the quality of 9mm back then makes me want to stick with the tried and true 45acp that a 1911 offers.

    If capacity is that big of a concern then it would be time to bring a long gun if given the option. What to go with back in the 70s is a good question. I don't know what realistically was available back then. So guns that come to mind are the good old trench gun particularly the winchester 97. M1 carbine would be another. I have even heard of tales of thompsons being in the old police arsenals. I find that option really appealing for some reason, though I don't know how common they would have been and for how long. The sterling is another one I like but unlikely to be available in the US at the time. The M-14 and L1A1 are choices I like and the guns were out there but, I doubt they would have been available especially the L1A1 at least in the states. For that mater I don't know that those two would make good urban police guns.
    Doobie Doobie Doo...

    ksuguy

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    Re: Arm Yourself: 70s Detective
    « Reply #24 on: February 21, 2017, 08:59:47 PM »
    The M-14 and L1A1 are choices I like and the guns were out there but, I doubt they would have been available especially the L1A1 at least in the states. For that mater I don't know that those two would make good urban police guns.

    The M-14 was available,  if somewhat pricey.    Browning also imported Belgian produced FAL's starting in the 1960's.  You might have had trouble finding an inch pattern gun though. 
    Kansas

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