“Big Boomers”—Handguns With Rifle Power Capable of Penetrating Body Armor—Are Growing Threat to Lives of Law Enforcement Officers, According to New VPC Study

For Release: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drug Traffickers Are Already Using These “Vest-Busters” to Kill Police in Mexico

Washington, DC—Powerful new handguns called “big boomers” by the gun industry are a growing threat to the nation’s law enforcement officers, a new 36-page study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) reveals. (See http://vpc.org/studies/bigboomers.pdf for a copy of the study, see http://vpc.org/studies/boomerskeyfindings.pdf for a summary presenting the key findings of the study.) Body armor used by police has been able to stop handgun rounds and saved thousands of lives over the last three decades, the study states, but standard body armor cannot stop rifle rounds. “Big Boomers”—Rifle Power Designed Into Handguns warns that the gun industry is aggressively marketing a growing number of new handguns designed to fire bullets with rifle power. The rounds these guns fire can penetrate all but the most resistant body armor (such as that used in raids by many SWAT teams).

“The gun industry has once again proven that it is willing to put profits over health, safety, and even national security,” VPC Senior Policy Analyst Tom Diaz, the study’s author, states. “The firearms industry is congratulating itself that ‘big boomers’ are ‘good for business,’ even while these guns are ending up in the hands of felons and drug dealers in the United States. One need look no further than Mexico—where these guns are smuggled in by drug traffickers and used to kill police—to understand the growing threat these weapons represent to U.S. law enforcement and security forces.”

The study traces the proliferation of various “big boomers” and the gun industry’s increased marketing of vest-buster handguns following the 2003 introduction of the first vest buster: the Model 500 S&W Magnum from Smith & Wesson.

Adds Diaz, “Marketing deadly firearms such as these is yet another reckless spasm of an industry that finds its markets shrinking and is willing to do anything to try to pump them up.”





About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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