The Egyptian Interior Ministry confirmed at the weekend it will purchase 100,000 handguns for police.
The announcement ended five days of strikes by thousands of rank-and-file officers.
It is likely to provoke a new wave of criticism by rights groups and activists who accuse police of using excessive force against unarmed protesters and carrying out the same brutal tactics of the former regime.
Allegations of police torture persist and around 70 people have been killed in protests in the past three weeks.
Rights groups allege that police are still operating with impunity.
The decision to issue arms comes just weeks after black-clad riot police appeared for the first time in armour to protect them from rocks and firebombs which conceals much of their faces.
Police have also demanded better salaries and working conditions.
The Interior Ministry has agreed to study raising pensions and increase housing, hospitals and medical clinics for policemen.