Police in the northern Mexican border city of Tijuana have had their guns returned, three weeks after they were all ordered to hand them in.
Police resorted to catapults after their weapons were confiscated
Mexican federal authorities confiscated the guns to check whether any had been used in drug crimes.
Some officers refused to go on patrol without their weapons, while others carried plastic catapults and marbles to protect themselves.
An official said it was not clear if any officers would face drugs charges.
The authorities' move was part of efforts to crack down on drug traffickers and suspected police collaboration.
The operation is part of tough measures introduced by new Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
The government has sent more than 3,000 soldiers and federal police to the Tijuana area to help fight drug trafficking and gang violence.
They confiscated the local force's weapons during investigations into allegations that some local officers had been involved in drug smuggling.
But Tijuana Public Safety Secretary Luis Javier Algorri said the move had endangered the city's police and residents.
He said Tijuana police arrested half the number of people in January compared to the same month last year, while five officers were injured after attackers took advantage of them being unarmed.
Gang violence left more than 300 dead in Tijuana last year.
The city, across the border from San Diego in California, is a major entry point for drugs into the United States.