A few questions about LEO sidearms.


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LynnMassGuy
November 26, 2005, 11:35 AM
A few things...

What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry?

When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?

Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?

Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics?

Did they use 10mm?

If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm?

Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP?

Why the trend towards DAO?

Can LEO carry whatever they want?

Agency specific answers welcome.(edit)


Regards
John

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Blueduck
November 26, 2005, 11:46 AM
Sorry but the answer to all your questions are pretty much "It depends what agency your talking about".

Virtually every agency from smallest Sheriffs Dept to the Largest city PD has thier own rules and regualtions, and they all changed to thier own pace over many years.

Speaking very genereally, the 38 Speacial was the most common police cartrige in revolvers (a lot of times carried in 357 Magnum guns), followed by the 357 magnum, a few places authorized or issued large bore revolvers, a few even used the 41 Magnum. A few areas (often smaller departments) allowed/allow officers to carry virutally anything they wanted to.

The big move to Semi-Auto's started in the Early 80's. Illinoise seemed to be the trend setter. I know of no major Derpartments that still issue a revolver, but several still allow the old guard to carry them.

Interesting subjects all, but you might want to break them down to a specific agency your wondering about.

isp2605
November 26, 2005, 12:05 PM
Every agency is different. There is no set standard in the US.
For my agency:

"What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry?"
.38

"When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?"
1968. S&W 39.

"Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?"
Several reasons. Just a couple. Looking for something that carried a few more rds. Easier to carry off duty for everyone without buying a 2nd gun.

"Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics?"
Yes.

"Did they use 10mm?"
No. 10mm is authorized for off duty/back up carry only.

"If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm?"
Transitioned to .40 in 1999-2000.

"Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP?"
I know of none of our people carrying a .38 Super. Several, myself included sometimes, carry .45 off duty.
A few agencies near me issue .45 for duty or authorize .45 for duty personal purchase.

"Why the trend towards DAO?"
Ease of training.

"Can LEO carry whatever they want?"
In uniform it has to be Glock 22 or Glock 23 if senior command. Plain clothes same Glock 22 or 23. Exceptions can be granted by the District or Zone Commander for plain clothes. Anything other than Glock 22/23 for on duty or off duty has to be .380 or larger, 5 shot, and loaded with HP ammo.

JMusic
November 26, 2005, 12:48 PM
I worked on a SO during some of this transition which was mid 70's to mid 80's for most departments. There was no issue sidearm when I was there only criteria was 38 or larger. I used 38 special, 357 mag, and when moving into plain clothes I purchased a BHP in 9mm. (More for number of rounds than any thing else). I saw anything from 38 special carried to 45 acp. The Ohio state patrol used .357 mag during this time. No agency that I partnered with issued semi auto's but many people carried them. Back then there was not the choices you have now. Police schools at the time used 38 specials, mostly model 10's or 13's. Just a side note: long arms in our department consisted of Remington model 700BDL in 30/06 for sniper rifle, M16's, M1 carbines, and my favorite Thompson Sub Machine gun in 45 acp. Heavy weapon but a joy to shoot.

The FBI had a nasty shootout in Florida back in early to mid 80's. Most were using 9mm 147grn loads. They lost several of their agents in this clash and the investigation showed the BG had taken several hits and were still able to function. Hence the 10 mm came the preferred weapon. This was too powerful recoil wise to train at their acadamy and a shortened version was devised the 40 S&W. This proved to be a very good caliber and many departments joined the band wagon. Hope this helps.
Jim

isp2605
November 26, 2005, 01:13 PM
"The FBI had a nasty shootout in Florida back in early to mid 80's. Most were using 9mm 147grn loads. "

Miami, April 1986. The loads being carried were 9mm 115 gr Silvertip and in .38 the 158 gr LSWCHP+P.

yorec
November 26, 2005, 01:48 PM
Ok - for the local departments I have a clue as to the answers on:
What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry? SO - .357 mag
Municipal - .357

When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics? SO - early 80s
Municipal - sometime a few years before then

Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics? - Both - Boom in town - needed more firepower (capacity)

Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics? No to both

Did they use 10mm? No to both

If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm? So - No, have always used .45 acp
Municipal - Switched because firearms instructors believed it offered a better power to capacity ratio, also originally carried .45 acp when switched from revolvers

Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP? None I know of, but why not?

Why the trend towards DAO? Simple - more revolver like in that no safetys to muck things up. DAO Trigger is sufficient.

Can LEO carry whatever they want? No to either of agencies above. Another nearby small department answer is yes... :D

Gunpacker
November 26, 2005, 02:04 PM
10mm was not suitable because of the much heavier recoil. Only person authorized to carry 10mm was Sonny Crockett. Bren Ten. :)

Ala Dan
November 26, 2005, 08:25 PM
Pretty much what other poster's have said. One thing, my old department
NEVER approved 10 m/m weapons; but allowed the carry of .40 S&W's~!:D

loumarch
November 27, 2005, 12:56 AM
My department switched from .357 revolvers to .40 autos in 1988. We use Smith & Wesson exclusively because there are no mechanical safeties to confuse the officers that don't shoot alot. We carry Cor-Bon ammo and we are issued 150 rounds per month of ball ammo for practice.

solareclipse
November 27, 2005, 09:38 PM
Like already mentioned it varies but most are not allowed personal sidearms due to ballistics in the case they have to fire them.

isp2605
November 27, 2005, 09:45 PM
Like already mentioned it varies but most are not allowed personal sidearms due to ballistics in the case they have to fire them.

:confused: Pardon? And you know this how?
A lot of agencies do not issue and require personal purchase firearms.

Jim K
November 27, 2005, 10:01 PM
What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry?

For most of the 20th century, the vast majority of police carried revolvers chambered for .38 Special. .357 Magnum was not commonly used by city police because of the PR problem, something the .357 equivalent .38 Special +P+ was designed to overcome. A few individual officers carried other guns, but they were very much the exception; some western officers may still carry Colt single actions, for all I know.

When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?

The Illinois Highway Patrol was the first to go to semi-autos (the S&W Model 39) in the mid-70's.

Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?

One factor was firepower, but a major incentive was that the Federal LEAA would provide 9mm military ammo at no cost.

Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics?

Yes.

Did they use 10mm?

No. Almost no PDs used 10mm, although the FBI did for a while.

If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm?

The .40 S&W was developed to provide adequate power in platforms designed for 9mm, an important factor in gun design and cost, plus better controlability for smaller officers, including women.

Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP?

I know of no department in the U.S. issuing either. Some departments restrict off duty carry to the service pistol or at least the service caliber for ammunition interchangeability in an emergency.

Why the trend towards DAO?

"Point and pull" is the simplest instruction there is. Few police are "gun nuts" who spend any more time on the range than they have to, so the simpler the gun is to use the better. That is the reason for the popularity of the Glock with police; operationally, it is not much different from the double action revolver.

Can LEO carry whatever they want?

On duty, most departments restrict carry to the issue weapon or an approved weapon, for both practical and legal reasons. If an officer is down and another needs to use his gun, it would not be a good idea for the gun to be some odd-wad that no one else knows how to operate. As to off duty carry, it depends on department policy, but see above response about some restrictions.

Jim

isp2605
November 27, 2005, 10:25 PM
Jim Keenan wrote:

"The Illinois Highway Patrol was the first to go to semi-autos (the S&W Model 39) in the mid-70's."

First, it's the Illinois State Police, not highway patrol.
Second, the ISP went 100% to the Model 39 in 1968.



"One factor was firepower, but a major incentive was that the Federal LEAA would provide 9mm military ammo at no cost."

LEAA was abolished in 1982. LEAA provided training but not toys.

33-805
November 27, 2005, 11:22 PM
I have carried the following for work since way back when, in more than one different uniform: 38 Spl, 9mm, 357 Mag, 41 Mag, and currently, 45 acp and 40 S&W, in pretty much that order. I have always been fortunate to work for places that didn't mind what I carried as long as I could qualify with it and it was a "major caliber".

Ala Dan
November 28, 2005, 12:27 AM
As a side note, IMHO I think duty weapons for LEO's ought to be left to the judgement of the individual officer's; with limited requirements.

Example, for duty by sworn uniform personel revolvers and/or semi auto's
should not have weapons with a barrel length of less than 4", and must be of .38 or 9m/m caliber and above. Standard service calibers between
.38 and 9m/m, up to and including the .45 LC. .454 Casulls, .460 S&W's,
.480 Rugers, .500 S&W's and the like should not be permitted.:D

Beachcomber
November 28, 2005, 02:14 AM
Hello LynnMassGuy,

In response to your questions:

What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry?
.38/.357 Smith & Wesson Model 65.

When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?
I think Lynn switched to Glock 17's (9mm) in the early to mid-ninties.

Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics?
To increase the individual officers firepower, to enable some officers to shoot more accurately and to gain the ability to repair weapons in-house rather than having to ship them out for costly repairs and/or maintenance.

Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics?
Yes. The wonder-nine rage was sweeping the nation.

Did they use 10mm?
No.

If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm?
I think it was due to the .40 caliber being the more controllable of the two calibers. (It may have also had something to do with the idea that the FBI was looking at the .40 S&W after having just recently transitioned to the 10mm? I don't know for certain.)

Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP?
Not on duty in Lynn.

Why the trend towards DAO?
Lessens the chances of an accidental discharge under stress or while drawing & reholstering... and it also reduces civil liability by reducing the chances of the above happening.

Can LEO carry whatever they want?
In Lynn they have to carry what is issued. (Glock 22)

These answers are only my opinions... so take them for what they're worth. :rolleyes:

entropy
November 28, 2005, 03:18 PM
Hope this helps. BTw, I was not an LEO, my Dad was.

This is Saint Paul, Mn PD specific
What caliber(s) revolvers did they carry? .38/.357

When did LEO switch from revolvers to semi-automatics? about 1984, IRRC.

Why did they switch from revolvers to semi-automatics? "Because the criminals had them out gunned."

Did they originally go with 9mm when they switched to Semi-automatics? Yes. Glock 17's (19's for females and undercover.)

Did they use 10mm? No, but many wanted to.

If so, why now 40S&W instead of 10mm? 10mm was considered to uncontrollable, both recoil and penetration.

Any LEO use .38 super or .45ACP? not SPPD.

Why the trend towards DAO? Glock Safety Action. Ironically, ND's increased. :uhoh:

Can LEO carry whatever they want? No

Agency specific answers welcome.(edit) Again, this is SPPD only.

Chrontius
November 28, 2005, 03:24 PM
As a side note, IMHO I think duty weapons for LEO's ought to be left to the judgement of the individual officer's; with limited requirements.

Example, for duty by sworn uniform personel revolvers and/or semi auto's
should not have weapons with a barrel length of less than 4", and must be of .38 or 9m/m caliber and above. Standard service calibers between
.38 and 9m/m, up to and including the .45 LC. .454 Casulls, .460 S&W's,
.480 Rugers, .500 S&W's and the like should not be permitted.:D
What about Serbus? :evil:

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