The Weapons of the Bandidos Biker Gang

A trio of national leaders of the Bandidos motorcycle gang have been arrested on federal racketeering and drug charges related to a war the group waged against the rival Cossacks club, according to federal authorities. That war erupted publicly during the now-infamous shootout between members, and police, in Waco in November 2013. (This indictment does not involve that case.) Among the interesting details in the indictment are inventories of weapons police say the Bandidos were carrying, including the below.

Glock 27

Professional gunslingers appreciate Glock pistols. The .40 caliber Glock 27, as the company’s website notes, “is popular with police, both on and off duty.”  The attributes that appeal to police also make it attractive to bikers.  Subcompact pistols are often caled “pocket pistols” because of their easily concealable size. The Glock 27 is  small, light and portable, yet packs a wallop with its high caliber. The downside of that punch is the recoil, which diminishes accuracy. There are two ways to handle that — lots of training or adopting a strategy of fighting at close ranges.

Canick 55 TP9

Police in Texas caught a biker with one of these pistols in a holster decorated with a “1%er” sticker, one of the many codes that the club uses to describe itself. (The indictment says that it means the Bandidos see themselves as part of the small majority of Harley riders who are actual outlaws.) The Canick 55 is a copy the Walther P99. This is one of James Bond’s preferred guns, at least in the movies. The Walther PKK, the most famous Bond weapon that was used in the movies starring Sean Connery to Timothy Dalton, was replaced by the TP9 in Tomorrow Never Dies, circa 1997, and remained in Bond’s hand through Casino Royale.

Anyway, the Canick 55 is sort of a Turkish knockoff of the Walther P99. It’s a well-regarded bargain that is ideal for concealment — the pistol
is full-sized but only sports a 4-inch barrel. This is a weapon that police appreciate for its reliability. “TP9 is the solid choice for law
enforcement agencies or any shooter who wants a gun in full size that delivers performance in the harshest conditions,” the Canick 55 website says. Texas road dust, presumably, qualifies.

Hi Point C9

Let’s say you’re a discerning biker looking for an ideal self-protection weapon. Chances are, you’ll be drawn to a 9mm pistol. There are more of these caliber weapons available than any other pistol, including by police and military users. They have less recoil and are more accurate than larger caliber pistols, yet they still have enough punch to put down a human target. Ammunition is cheaper and easier to find, facilitating practice and making extended clips easier to fill. With all the choices of 9mm pistols, choosing Hi Point is sort of telling. They are not known for their safety when carried locked and loaded, since the pistol lacks a firing block safety mechanism. It’s also a cheap gun, one favored by conceal-carry permit holders for its $150 price tag as much as its small size.

Jimenez Arms .22

Police say they found this .22 cal handgun exactly where you might expect — in the pocket of a biker vest. Its small size, 2-inch barrel make it an appealing piece for those who value stealth. “This pistol is an excellent balance of looks, accuracy, comfort and price,” the company website says. That might be true, but it’s also a bit of a novice’s pistol. Not only does the gun kick very little, it has an indicator that tells anyone nearby that it’s cocked. Jimenez Arms, located in Nevada, was born from the ashes of Bryco, one of the worst-regarded pistol-makers in the United States. The company uses the same molds as its predecessor. Reviews have been generally positive, considering this bad lineage, but the hallmark of this weapon is its cheapness. Oops, I mean affordability.

Mossberg 12 Gauge Shotgun

Mossberg shotguns are the most common in the world. They’re good for hunting, home protection, skeet shooting and, seemingly, organized crime. A guy name Carl Benson designed this weapon in the early 1960s, and the basics still apply.  They are made to endure tough environments, which is one reason hunters and the U.S. military buy them in such high numbers. The indictment doesn’t provide a make or model, but it did mention that the shotgun had a wood stock. That makes it less compact than a shotgun with a pistol grip, and far from ideal for M.C. rivalries.   

.38 Snubnose Revolver

Bandidos vice president John Portillo allegedly packed this pistol while driving through Abilene on a hunt for Cossacks in September 2015.  The model is not provided in the court documents, but that name is enough. Old school revolvers — first designed in the 19th century — made a comeback in the 1990s after being pushed to the brink by semi-automatic pistols. They are inherently more reliable and compact, and have decades of use by undercover cops in the 1970s and 1980s. The compact size is valued by narcs and bikers, but that short barrel length also means erratic aim and lower muzzle velocity. That lower bullet speed makes the way the bullets penetrate and cause damage to targets — what gun experts call terminal performance — vary widely.

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Joe Pappalardo is the former editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Joe Pappalardo