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Old October 23, 2014, 10:07 PM   #1
Cooldill
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LEO use of revolvers in 2014

Hey gang!

As we all know, the "golden years" of the police wheelgun are behind us. However, I've still heard stories of some LEO officers/organizations that still use revolvers to some capacity. I hear they are still somewhat popular for undercover backup gun use like the S&W J-frames and the Ruger LCRs. I have also heard a smattering of full-size service guns are still in use. Recent developments like the S&W TRR8 make me wonder if those specialty revolver are being used by there intended LEO market in the real world, among more conventional/classic designs.

This article is concerning the current state of revolver use in the United States of America by Law Enforcement and Military agencies. Do you know any LEOs who still carry a revolver? Any organizations like prison guards still using them in your area? Do you know any cops who use them for backup? Does your local PD authorize them for use? Can cops still qualify with them and carry them?

I'm especially interested in responses from actual LEOs here on THR. I think this thread could serve as a nice little "time capsule" as it were to take a "snapshot in time" to see how many revolvers are still out there fighting crime. I know wheelguns are still plenty popular in civillian hands, I own and use them almost exclusively for defensive purposes (legally of course), but I am just very much curious to see if any "boys (and girls!) in blue" still count on the revolver in there day to day operations protecting and serving.

Thanks so much guys for your time, and have a great day!

PS: I'd also love to hear of current LEO revolver usage in other countries than the USA as well. Thanks!
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Old October 23, 2014, 10:12 PM   #2
HC_Jack
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Here in Chicago the cops buy their own guns from an approved list, or so I understand, so you see a wide variety. Now and then I'll see an old timer packing a wheel gun.
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Old October 23, 2014, 10:15 PM   #3
eam3clm@att.net
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I carry a S&W642 for a back up gun.
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Old Yesterday, 12:38 AM   #4
rcmodel
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Not a LEO.
But, I watch a lot of COPS on TV.

Seems there are still a lot of revolvers in use.

One I watched not long ago was in Dallas/Ft Worth TX, and there were for sure a LOT of S&W revolvers in cops holsters.

My understanding is, they were 'grandfathered in' when they switched to auto's years ago.

If you had been on the force long enough, and can do qualifications with it, you can carry it until you retire.


Then too, if you took every cop you meet by the feet and shook him upside down for a while????

You would truly be amazed at how many back-up J-Frame wheel-guns fell out of several odd places!

rc
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Old Yesterday, 01:25 AM   #5
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I'm not an LEO either but I do work for the county PD. I don't know any LEOs that carry a revolver as their primary weapon but I know many, if not most of them, carry revolvers as a BUG. The LCR is the most common one I see.
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Old Yesterday, 02:52 AM   #6
Cooldill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmodel View Post
Not a LEO.
But, I watch a lot of COPS on TV.

Seems there are still a lot of revolvers in use.

One I watched not long ago was in Dallas/Ft Worth TX, and there were for sure a LOT of S&W revolvers in cops holsters.

My understanding is, they were 'grandfathered in' when they switched to auto's years ago.

If you had been on the force long enough, and can do qualifications with it, you can carry it until you retire.


Then too, if you took every cop you meet by the feet and shook him upside down for a while????

You would truly be amazed at how many back-up J-Frame wheel-guns fell out of several odd places!

rc
I've seen a lot of revolvers on "COPS" as well, but keep in mind that show has been on since 1989. Are you sure it wasn't a re-run?
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Old Yesterday, 03:45 AM   #7
Lucky Derby
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The last time I saw a LEO with a revolver in his holster was about 7 years ago in San Antonio TX.
Still a lot of LEOs carrying J frames & LCRs as back up guns based on what I saw them buying when I worked in a LGS.
Not exactly the same thing but a lot of armed security still using wheelguns out their, either by choice or company policy.
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Old Yesterday, 04:07 AM   #8
Dr.Rob
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Denver allows j-frames as a 'back up gun', I knew a uniformed officer that carried one.

As a primary? I haven't seen a wheelgun on a uniformed city cop in a long long time, occasionally a rural sheriff's deputy or reservist will have one.
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Old Yesterday, 04:51 AM   #9
czhen
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Not Leo but, at my hospital a bunch of jail officers bring custody with wheel guns, 5906's, 92fs and glocks.
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Old Yesterday, 05:24 AM   #10
RustyShackelford
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Wheel guns & real guns.....

A "well known" gun writer & sworn LE officer put out a gun press article about 4-5 years ago saying of the NYPD's 34,000 or so sworn officers/detectives about 8,000 still had revolvers on the job.
The writer & other sources have noted that the # will slowly decline as those cops retire or leave.
I can't recall seeing any sworn LE officers or even licensed armed security officers wearing DA revolvers in my metro area.
The state licensing authority allowed carry of 9x19mm(9mm Luger) sidearms for security guards about 10 years ago. They recently changed the statues to & now permit .40S&W and the .45acp calibers too.
When I lived in western PA(Pittsburgh) in the 1990s, it was not uncommon to see uniformed security officers wearing N frame .44magnums or .45LCs in duty gear. A few armed guards I saw used .38s or .357magnums too but many liked the larger .44s.
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Old Yesterday, 06:04 AM   #11
GRIZ22
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HSI under DHS still allows J frames for backup and off duty.

My agency used the NYPD range at Rodman's Neck and I worked with NYPD on a regular basis for over 20 years until I retired in 2005. After NYPD authorized semi-autos they grandfathered in anyone still wanting to use a revolver in 1994. If you stopped carrying your revolver you couldnt start again. Anyone starting after that date had to carry a semi-auto on the job. When I retired in 2005 there were only about 2000 revolvers being carried (authorized anyway) in NYPD. That number is from the instructors at Rodman's Neck. I expect that number to drop drastically as most of those guys that started in 94 will be retiring soon.

The most popular duty weapon among NYPD is the Glock 19. Keep in mind most cops in NYPD are not gun enthusiasts. A G19 is good as a duty weapon and not too big for off duty. A lot of agencies have found the compact 9mms ideal for one gun doing it all.
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Old Yesterday, 10:11 AM   #12
MedWheeler
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The Unified Police of Salt Lake City recently re-authorized .38 snub revolvers for BU carry, and the number of officers carrying a second gun increased dramatically. That was evidently the agency's intent.

Many other agencies permit such carry, but few (including the UPSLC) allow them for primary sidearm duty.

Many rural agencies do, however, especially those who utilize reserve deputies or officers who purchase their own sidearms.

Here in Florida, DOC officers (corrections) still carry .38 revolvers. We frequently get them in our hospital system (I'm former LE, but now in EMS.) with prisoners. A lot of times, they have one gun for two or three officers. The gun and holster is typically handed off to whichever officer is assuming control of that prisoner at that time. Kind of ridiculous; I've seen left-handed officers handed a gun in a right-handed holster at times (and I've never seen spare ammo handed off, unless I just missed it.)

This is going to be an interesting thread. I've often thought that, if I ended up a rural sheriff somewhere, I'd likely end up carrying one, too, such as my dad's old Service Six. I did indeed carry a wheelgun the first three years I was in LE. I wonder how bad off LEOs today would really be if they carried them, and trained with them, the way we did back then. I'm guessing not much.
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Old Yesterday, 11:09 AM   #13
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My BUGs and off-duty are an LCR and M-36.
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM   #14
MCgunner
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IMHO, most small town cops should carry revolvers. There are lots of Barney Fife 9 bucks an hour small town cops running around with Glock .40s that can't hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn. I've seen 'em in action at the range. These are the ones that run the Glock leg ND incidences up, too. Ill trained, poorly practiced individuals don't need to be turned loose on the public with a Glock IMHO. I know personally of a spray and pray incident by a reserve in the small town I used to live in. This incident got a friend of mine who was chief forcibly retired. The reserve shot the good guy who was no where NEAR in the line of fire, just sort of emptied his Glock into the room. The BG was hit, survived, the "good guy" passed on. That reserve, IMHO, would have been much better off with a Model 10. But, heck, ol' Grover was about to retire, anyway and the "good guy" was a pimp. Nothing really lost, I guess.
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Old Yesterday, 12:01 PM   #15
KenW.
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Quote:
IMHO, most small town cops should carry revolvers. There are lots of Barney Fife 9 bucks an hour small town cops running around with Glock .40s that can't hit the broad side of a barn from inside the barn. I've seen 'em in action at the range. These are the ones that run the Glock leg ND incidences up, too. Ill trained, poorly practiced individuals don't need to be turned loose on the public with a Glock IMHO. I know personally of a spray and pray incident by a reserve in the small town I used to live in. This incident got a friend of mine who was chief forcibly retired. The reserve shot the good guy who was no where NEAR in the line of fire, just sort of emptied his Glock into the room. The BG was hit, survived, the "good guy" passed on. That reserve, IMHO, would have been much better off with a Model 10. But, heck, ol' Grover was about to retire, anyway and the "good guy" was a pimp. Nothing really lost, I guess.
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Old Yesterday, 12:14 PM   #16
Double_J
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It has been about 10 years since I have seen a revolver in a cops holster around my home town. That officer was a reserve officer and was due for retirement in 2 years. I have heard of a few officers still using smith and Wesson j frame revolvers as backup guns, and a few are using the lcr as a backup gun. I see armored car drivers still using smith and Wesson revolvers every once in a while, but most have gone to glocks.
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Old Yesterday, 01:12 PM   #17
19-3Ben
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I haven't seen a revolver in an LEO holster here in CT in eons. But like several others here, I have seen them in NYPD holsters when i go down to visit NYC. a cop explained to me that she was grandfathered in since she started carrying the revolver before they mandated the switch to semi-auto.
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Old Yesterday, 02:13 PM   #18
MIL-DOT
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I believe I've gotten to where I like my wheelguns better than semi-autos, but if I were a cop, especially these days, ain't no friggin' way I'd tote a wheelgun (as a primary) over a modern semi-auto.
But, as a civilian in largely freindly, semi-rural, low-risk environments, my ECDC is a humble little S&W 642, and has been for several years.
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Old Yesterday, 03:18 PM   #19
sgt127
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I've carried a S&W 642 since 1990 or so. It replaced the Model 60 I had before that.

Either in a pocket or on my ankle every day I have put on a uniform (which is almost every day) and occasionally as an off duty gun when I'm just running around near the house. I've gone through 4-5 duty guns in those 30 years.

That 642 may be the only gun I've ever owned that may wear out from the outside in.

I often carry a 3" 65 off duty.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #20
parham11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooldill View Post
Hey gang!

As we all know, the "golden years" of the police wheelgun are behind us. However, I've still heard stories of some LEO officers/organizations that still use revolvers to some capacity. I hear they are still somewhat popular for undercover backup gun use like the S&W J-frames and the Ruger LCRs. I have also heard a smattering of full-size service guns are still in use. Recent developments like the S&W TRR8 make me wonder if those specialty revolver are being used by there intended LEO market in the real world, among more conventional/classic designs.

This article is concerning the current state of revolver use in the United States of America by Law Enforcement and Military agencies. Do you know any LEOs who still carry a revolver? Any organizations like prison guards still using them in your area? Do you know any cops who use them for backup? Does your local PD authorize them for use? Can cops still qualify with them and carry them?

I'm especially interested in responses from actual LEOs here on THR. I think this thread could serve as a nice little "time capsule" as it were to take a "snapshot in time" to see how many revolvers are still out there fighting crime. I know wheelguns are still plenty popular in civillian hands, I own and use them almost exclusively for defensive purposes (legally of course), but I am just very much curious to see if any "boys (and girls!) in blue" still count on the revolver in there day to day operations protecting and serving.

Thanks so much guys for your time, and have a great day!

PS: I'd also love to hear of current LEO revolver usage in other countries than the USA as well. Thanks!
former LEO now work part time as armored car guard, carry ruger service six just like the good old days. if it aint broke dont fix it!
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Old Yesterday, 03:40 PM   #21
parham11
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carried service six on duty in sc in early 80 s. friend of mine said they carried them for base security in air force bout the same time
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Old Yesterday, 06:18 PM   #22
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Kansas Department of Corrections were using S&W Model 10's when I retired in 2008. SORT officers were issued Ruger 9mm's. Everyone qualified with shotgun and Mini-14. Considering budget and training constraints I imagine revolvers are still standard issue for Tower, Mobile Patrol and Control Center posts.
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Old Yesterday, 09:16 PM   #23
Agsalaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIL-DOT View Post
I believe I've gotten to where I like my wheelguns better than semi-autos, but if I were a cop, especially these days, ain't no friggin' way I'd tote a wheelgun (as a primary) over a modern semi-auto.
But, as a civilian in largely freindly, semi-rural, low-risk environments, my ECDC is a humble little S&W 642, and has been for several years.
Right there with you.



To add to the OP, and this isn't much, but I saw a LEO carrying a revolver last year but for the life of me I can't remember where I was. I may have been in San Antonio. Also he wasn't that old. I am 37 and I thought he was probably around my age. I was kind of surprised.
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Old Yesterday, 09:17 PM   #24
golden
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Fewer and fewer revolvers in the future

I work for a U.S. Federal law enforcement agency and WE ALL CARRY THE SAME GUN. A .40 S&W semi-auto. No exceptions! The gun and caliber were chosen from the top down and even though everyone qualifies, some just barely qualify.

Now to make matters worse, we are reducing our qualification hours to JUST 8 HOURS PER YEAR! I do not expect things to improve as bureaucracies do not believe that they are capable of making mistakes and a lack of training will not have any negative effect as any bureaucrat will deny it was a mistake to begin with.

If this sort of mentality spreads and it probably will, then revolvers will all but disappear as they will not be winning the big government contracts and that is what drives a large part of the handgun business.

Jim
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Old Yesterday, 09:27 PM   #25
Agsalaska
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Also on a side not and not adding much to the OP, but I still remember a local cop in Ft Worth that would sit on our street in the early 80s keeping a watchful eye on the elementary school as it let out every day. We all knew him and liked him. He had the old school belt that had individual notches for extra bullets. He always kept one aluminum cased bullet in it and had us convinced it was a silver bullet. Nice guy.
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