The Gun That Never Went On Duty: AMT's On Duty Pistol

.40 S&W chambered AMT On Duty.

Arcadia Machine & Tool was a company made famous by the hit 1980s sci-fi action/horror film, Terminator.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Cyberdyne Systems T-800 “buying” an AMT Hardballer 1911.

AMT was founded in 1977 in Irwindale, California and making their claim to fame by developing a number of guns in stainless steel like the movie-famous Hardballer above. Other than the Hardballer, AMT made a number of guns.

But by the late 80s, AMT knew that their little pocket pistols and hand cannons wouldn’t keep them out of the poor house.

The law enforcement market was ripe for conquest and AMT saw a chance to get in. They did so with the On Duty Pistol a double stack DA/SA and DAO 9mm and .40 S&W chambered duty size handgun.

Original Sales Photo by famed gun photographer, Ichiro Nagata.

They pushed it on gun rag covers and in ads.

January 1992 issue of GUNS Magazine, reviewing AMT’s On Duty pistol.

Alas, the gun was a flop.

Made from 1991 to 1994, the On Duty was plagued with problems. Small production numbers, lack of quality control, and a high price for a handgun that was competing against brands like GLOCK, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Heckler & Koch, and others.

The gun was an interesting design and it could have been a viable contender…if it had been made by someone else. It had a lot of features that were popular back in the early 1990s.

It was advertised as eventually being released in .45 ACP, but due to setbacks, that never happened.

AMT’s original sales flyer for the On Duty pistol.

In the end, the gun never went anywhere and when AMT finally closed their doors, the design died with the company. No one else bought it and brought it back into production.

The AMT On Duty joins guns like the Browning BDM and FN HP-DA as other interesting entries in the high stakes early 1990s LE Duty Gun market, when beat cops as a whole were switching from six-shot wheel guns to higher capacity Wonder Nines and barrier penetrating .40 cals.

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