Mass spectrometry, an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of ionized atoms or molecules, dates back more than 100 years, and has both qualitative and quantitative uses for determining chemical and structural information. Quantitative proteomic mass spectrometry on biological samples focuses on identifying the proteins present in the samples, and establishing the relative abundances of those proteins. Such protein inventories create the opportunity to discover novel biomarkers and disease targets. We have previously introduced a normalized, label-free method for quantification of protein abundances under a shotgun proteomics platform (Griffin et al., 2010). The introduction of this method for quantifying and comparing protein levels leads naturally to the issue of modeling protein abundances in individual samples. We here report that protein abundance levels from two recent proteomics experiments conducted by the authors can be adequately represented by Sichel distributions. Mathematically, Sichel distributions are mixtures of Poisson distributions with a rather complex mixing distribution, and have been previously and successfully applied to linguistics and species abundance data. The Sichel model can provide a direct measure of the heterogeneity of protein abundances, and can reveal protein abundance differences that simpler models fail to show.