Many pistol design solutions have been created over the years, there is no way available to describe them all briefly. However, the difference between the guns used by the military or uniformed services now and their prerequisites are so great, that here we can easily witness the road that the pistol had to go through. The contemporary designs are somewhat directly derived from the WWI and WWII solutions.
Ergonomics and operation of the trigger mechanism are among the most important parts of the pistol design. This class of a weapon is often treated as a measure of “last resort”. Currently many of the modern pistols are made out of steel alloys, however, most of the new models feature a skeleton made out of plastics (fibre-glass reinforced polymer for instance). In this variant, the handgrip may be replaceable, contrary to the steel counterparts, which makes it possible to tailor the ergonomics to the shooter.
In most cases the pistols utilize recoil operation principle. The guns may fire from both open and closed bolt (greater accuracy in the latter case). The chamber may be made out of polymer, same applies to the magazines, in case of which transparent polymer is used, making it easier to control the number of rounds left.
Pistols come with a classic SA/DA (Single Action/Duble Action) trigger mechanism - the hammer is cocked before each shot or with the hammer being manually cocked before the first shot or cocked by pulling the trigger. There is also an option of selecting a classic safety or a safety that locks the hammer.
Special Operations Forces and Security units utilize pistols without a hammer that have been popularized by the Glock company. No manual safety exists in guns as such, they only feature automatic safety mechanisms (trigger safety, firing pin lock and design preventing the primer from going off before the lock is in forward position).
A number of pistols operated now use the 9×19 mm Parabellum rounds, but less common calibres, such as .357 SIG, .40 S&W or .45 ACP are also quite common. Entirely new solutions, such as the FN Five-seveN are also used (using the 5.7×28 mm round with properties reminiscent of a rifle rounds, which allows for a greater penetration).
NATO requires the successor of the 9×19 mm round to penetrate 1.6 mm titanium armour plate of 20 layers of Kevlar (Collaborative Research Into Small Arms Technology - CRISAT) at distances of up to 150 metres.
6.5×25 mm CBJ round is one of the interesting novelties in this domain, with a Tungsten core, and with a size of the current 9 mm round. This round may be used in 9×19 mm guns, on condition that the barrel and magazines are replaced. Conversion is quick and can be easily reversed.
Lifecycle of the contemporary guns is shaped at the level of 35-50 thousand shots (for the barrel and main elements of the gun) and 20-30 thousand shots fore the smaller components.
As mentioned above, the Polish Police utilize the 9 mm P-99 guns manufactured at the FB Radom Sp. z o.o. facility (on the basis of a license provided by Carl Walther GmbH). Around 80 thousand examples of this gun remain in service, which constitutes 80% of the pistols operated at the moment. Furthermore, the Police also has the Glock 17 pistols included in its inventory.
Recently the Police also acquired 965 REX Zero 1 CP guns developed by the AREX d.o.o. company located in the Slovenian town of Śentjernej. The company is also known for manufacturing electronics and spare parts for firearms (such as barrels for the FN Herstal company). Guns destined for the Polish user are co-produced within the framework of a collaboration agreement signed with the Katowice-based Works 11 company.
New Gun for the Polish Police
REX Zero 1 has been premiered for the first time during the IWA event in 2014. Its operational principle and shape are analogous to the SIG Sauer P226 or CZ99, however, the gun is of entirely new and original design. The gun is made out of chrome steel (slide, barrel and internal components) and T7075 aircraft aluminium (skeleton). Grip has been made out of composite. Meanwhile, magazines have been made out of steel and plastics (bottom part of the magazine).
The barrel is a monoblock cold forged chrome-moly steel piece. The exit may feature an external threading for mounting a suppressor or a muzzle device. Underneath, a recoil spring rod is placed. Iron sights feature white Tritium dots making it easier to aim at night. Some models also feature an optics mount.
REX Zero 1 is a short-recoil operated gun, with the barrel being vertically locked by a properly shaped chamber. The design is conventional, with external hammer, automatic firing pin lock and DA/SA trigger mechanism. The trigger resistance is defined as 2.5 kg (SA) and 6 kg (DA). Safety and reliability are ensured by ambidextrous and ergonomic control elements (magazine release and safety), and safe hammer release on the left side.
Furthermore, the gun features “hot chamber” indicator and safety switch making it possible to secure the gun with the round in the chamber and with the hammer in the rear or forward position.
Integrated Picatinny rail makes it possible to mount extra equipment in the front of the gun (laser optic or tactical flashlight).
The lock stops in the rear position once the last round is fired, and then it is released with the use of a lever mounted on the left side of the gun.
The pistol comes in three versions: Standard (length: 190 mm, height: 160 mm), Tactical (length: 205 mm and height: 720 mm) and compact (length: 180 mm and height: 130 mm). The barrel lengths in case of the corresponding models are as follows: 108, 125 and 98 mm, and the gun, together with the magazine, weighs, correspondingly: 923, 951 and 858 grams. The double-stack Standard magazines house 17, 18 or 20 rounds. Tactical variant uses 20-round magazines, while Compact pistol uses magazines housing 15 or 18 rounds.
The gun usually comes in black, olive or desert colors. The package usually includes two magazines, four replaceable optics mounts and user kit. REX Zero 1 is offered on the Polish market by Works 11 that also assembles the gun domestically. Thanks to the collaboration agreement with AREX, the Katowice-based company plans to manufacture the guns completely, instead of solely assembling the pistols. The guns offered come in variants meeting the requirements of both the military, as well as the uniformed services or civilian, individual users.