The Boston Police Department says a new type of high-powered handgun on the streets fires rounds police say can pierce many kinds of bulletproof vests worn by officers, reports the Boston Globe. The department issued a safety alert to officers after two men were shot with the gun. The alert warned that the FN Five-Seven handgun fires the bullets at such a velocity that they ”will punch through your vest.” ”These aren’t recreational weapons,” Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole said. ”This is an example of a gun designed to kill people.”
The gun, manufactured by FN Herstal, was first sold in the U.S. in early 2004. It began appearing in U.S. cities in late 2004, said Gene Voegtlin of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The gun is about the same size as the .40-caliber Glock handgun Boston police use. It is sold to the public. The bullets sold to the military and law enforcement have a steel-hardened tip, making them able to penetrate thicker body armor. Company officials said that the sale of this type of ammunition is tightly regulated. The bullets available to the public do not have an armor-piercing tip and are designed to fragment on impact, making them less powerful.