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LEO Equipment; Lowest Bidder.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TheFederalistWeasel, Mar 22, 2005.

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  1. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    I am going thru a very interesting class at present put on by the US Secret Service; it’s a defensive/offensive driving class for law enforcement.

    It’s put on for any qualified LEA by the USSS and they bring everything to you, in the form of classrooms on wheels and huge motion simulators inside of semi-tractor trailer trucks, it’s pretty darn cool!

    Anyway…

    Back to the topic at hand

    As with most all cops we eventually turned to war stories and whatnot, which evolved to all that was wrong in the world today to guns….

    Over lunch with one of the USSS instructors we talked firearms, he is also Master Firearms Instructor for the USSS and trains their Protective Service Agents gun fighting skills.

    He sat on two of the three review boards, where they choose their last issue handgun, the SIG 229 in. 357SIG.

    We discussed the current trend in LE as far as issue weapons go and he even took it a step further for us, weaving into our little lunchtime discussion some of his words he teaches in his administrations classes to new Supervisors, Chiefs and Sheriffs when asked.

    He brought up the topic of the well founded idea that what drives LEA’s to buy certain items is not quality, reputation or pedigree but price, plain and simple.

    Why so many departments including federal agencies went to the Glock.

    Also, not only does Glock have the cheapest price but also they have the absolute fastest delivery time for any major contract supplier for any of the major gun makers.

    These two reasons alone swayed the FBI into the Glock because SIG could not deliver the amount of pistols needed in the time frame Glock could.

    He also relived the days when Glock first came onto the scene, their timing was picture perfect according to him, they arrived at a time when the Hi-capacity demand in LE was growing, gaining momentum and the options were few and pricey.

    When the FBI penned the Glock contract, they ordered in the thousands and Glock basically sold them at around $195.00 each, this included 3 mags and a case.

    According to him Glock has around $100.00 in each pistol out the door.

    SIG and even Beretta could not even come close to that price, at nearly $375.00 for the SIG and $325.00 for the Beretta.

    In one of the smartest marketing moves to date, Glock extended this price to many local and state LEA’s if they too would sign on to the Glock bandwagon, which many did, basing their decision to buy on the “testing†the feds had done.

    BTW, the Glock failed nearly every safety test the USSS put it in and the Glock failed a number of the tests the US Marshals Service and the US Customs Service demonstrated.

    The USMS and USCS were bound by budget constraints so the Glock won out shortly after the FBI began carrying it widespread. But the USSS had a mission that allowed them to demand more from a gun and Congress agreed allowing them to buy the SIG.

    The current trend in Local and State LE is to migrate to the lowest bidder and up until the creation of Homeland Security the same was true for the Feds.

    Now in this post 9/11 world with the federal cash flowing freely and budgets busting at the seems we see that those agencies which once had to shop cheap and bought Glocks are now opting for the higher dollar SIG’s and HK’s.

    HLSD is forking out around an average of $350.00 each for the SIG’s and HK’s.

    The department I work for issues the Glock 22 and when we told him that most here do not like it he said he was not surprised, that he has heard that a lot in the past. He said that many cops who are exposed to the Glock end up disliking the gun.

    Many Federal Agents he spoke of especially the FBI and USMS, which mandate the type of gun new field agents, are issued, and are vocal about their dislike of the gun. Many wish for what he said, they describe as a higher quality gun such as a SIG or HK.

    In the end it’s about price and nothing more, which drives so many LEO’s to carry the Glock.

    Glock practically gives them to us and on top of that will take all of our confiscated weapons in as trade, as well as any duty guns we want to trade in too.

    Many departments are now running scared about anything which might be a liability these days also run to the Glock because so many people followed the Feds off the cliff and now they can point to the fact that many LE including FEDS carry it, so it must be a good gun!

    So far courts have bought this argument at least in the civil cases involving LEO shootings where the gun was questioned.

    When Dodge introduced the Enforcer package for the Intrepid as a police car, it sold like hot cakes because it could be had for around $11,000 compared to the Ford CV which will set you back a cool $23,000.

    I drown a Dodge Intrepid EP for a PD near Atlanta for a year and I can attest they are crap, not even in the same league as the Ford CV.

    Asked the Chief once why he bought them, his answer was simple they were cheap and he could buy two for every one CV.

    Funny, he gave me the same answer when I asked him why he went with the Glock over the SIG 229 when they traded up from the old Smith 5906 9mm.

    Radio equipment at one point use to be that way, Motorola made a killing off refurbished radios and I cannot remember ever being issued a new radio ever in my LE career, now having worked for 4 departments.

    That is changing, a forced change due to the 800mHz systems now becoming mandatory nationwide by 2008 to 2010.

    Department like mine are moving away from leather duty gear in favor of nylon gear, they say it’s because of weight and longevity but when you really get down to it it’s price, the average set of leather will cost about $500.00 per officer when the same set in nylon will cost $300.00.

    In the end it’s all about price not quality and that goes for our handguns to our duty gear.


    :(
     
  2. bytor94

    bytor94 Member

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    :eek: I forsee Austrian Kool-aid drinkers slamming you soon.

    Must make it to the bunker! (huff huff choke huff) :)
     
  3. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

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    Well I hope for realistic debate here on all the issues I touched on not just the gun, maybe even some input from my fellow LEO’s.

    What I have encountered I can break down this way, 50% of the cops I’ve worked with have the attitude that they carry whatever the department issues, it’s just a gun, a necessary piece of equipment. Just like a radio or the flashlight they grab everytime they exit the car at night.

    They would carry the Glock, Smith, SIG or a Ruger if it was issued to them, they have no opinion and would probably not even own a gun if they were not in LE.

    Sad but so true

    Next you have about 25% who absolutely detest the Glock, I fit into that category and we would, if we could get approval carry our own guns.

    The rest either like or love the gun.
     
  4. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    The only thing in your post that realy suprised me was that glocks cost the company about $100 OTD (I thought it would be less).

    I've seen several different variations of Murphys Rules of combat, but all of them have "remember, your gear was made by the lowest bidder" or some variation of it in there somewhere.
     
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    I have heard a number of 'complaints' that Glock all but gives their guns away.

    My department switched from Smith & Wesson 5906s to Glock .40s after I retired. Most of the deputies raved about the Glocks, but I suspect they were more enamored of getting .40 caliber than they were of the qualities of the Glock.

    I have a good friend, a retired Air Force colonel who tried all of my pistols, then the Glock and decided to go with the Glock in seeking his California CCW permit. I have fired Glocks, and can shoot well with them, but don't particularly care for the trigger which I think is 'spongy'.

    I personally think everyone would be a lot happier if departments let their officers decide what they want to carry and just give them a weapons allowance to go buy it. After five years of service it becomes their weapon. After ten years of service the officer gets another weapons allowance to buy another weapon. He is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of his weapon(s).

    If the officer decides he doesn't like his weapon, he can trade it off and get something else. If it has been less than five years since he received his weapons allowance, his new weapon is the property of the department until the five year mark is passed.

    Giving the officer a new weapons allowance every ten years would about match the current self-abuse effort most departments go through when they decide they need a new gun.

    To keep the management wonks happy, the department still buys the ammunition.
     
  6. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

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    My department jumped on the Glock bandwagon when the rep came by. Every gun-rag hack in the world at the time was proclaiming the Glock 22 in .40 to be the penultimate 'cop gun', and most of them had nothing but pity for the poor doomed souls who chose to carry a 'lesser' sidearm.

    Of course the officer overseeing what we laughingly refer to as a 'training department' went into trembling bliss at the dog-and-pony show. He went to the Sheriff singing hosannas, the County Treasurer saw the cost-benefit, and the Sheriff signed a contract with Glock.

    And everything was Good ... for about a year. Then the Sheriff noticed that the best shots in the department weren't carrying Glocks.

    The reason for this was simple: those officers were the best shots in the department not because of their equipment, but because they practiced. A lot. Hundreds of rounds in a weekend.

    On a deputy sheriff's salary, the only way to fund this sort of practice is through extensive use of [Glock Voice of Doom] Reloaded. Ammunition.[/Glock Voice of Doom]

    Now, I'm here to tell you, while the mention of 'Glock' and 'reloads' in the same sentence will create a crawdad effect in the most ardent of Glock supporters, it will flat chuck Gaston and Company into Ye Famous Egyptian River.

    If you want a pistol that will go 'bang' when you pull the trigger, has a simple manual-of-arms/learning curve, you don't plan on shooting anything but factory ammo through it, and can be dirt cheap, then the Glock is your pistol.

    This, of course, pretty much fits the average bill of the average cop and average government bean-counter.

    I've got to practice with my sidearm. I get nervous when I don't, and I can't afford to buy 200 rounds of CCI Gold Dot every other weekend, so I'll stick with my HK.

    LawDog
     
  7. Bear Gulch

    Bear Gulch Member

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    But then they'd complain about having to supply different calibers, inability to cross level ammo (as though that ever happens), etc. Most agencies also consider the "image" ofthe arm in question. Our county commision was up in arms when we requested ARs years ago. They had no problem switching to mini 14s as these had a better image as they aren't (combat arms)!
     
  8. 22rimfire

    22rimfire Member

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    I'm somewhat speechless.

    "BTW, the Glock failed nearly every safety test the USSS put it in and the Glock failed a number of the tests the US Marshals Service and the US Customs Service demonstrated."

    I'd really like to see a copy of these "supposed" tests. But suspect that if they are real they were done in the late mid to late 80's when Glock first arrived on the US shores.

    Speaking from personal experience as a former municipal LE officer, Deputy Sheriff, and now a Fed. I can say with 100% certainty that Glock is one of the best and safest handguns on the market. Caveat - if you can keep your finger off the trigger when not intending to shoot ;-)

    This is not a slight against Sig, HK, or any other top manufacturer. They all are good guns as well. Its just that Glock is not inferior in any way. Glock may be the lowest price in LE guns but that in no way means they are the lowest in quality.

    M.
     
  9. moby clarke

    moby clarke Member

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    So Fed, what is the point? Are there firearms other than Glock? Yes. Just because Glocks cost less does that mean they are inferior? No. I have fired thousands of rounds through my Glocks and have had fewer problems per round than my HK USPc with less rounds through it. So what does that mean?

    I am sure this guy told a great story, but without more it is just a story.
     
  10. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Glock is well known for low balling the price and making it up in magazine and maintenance contracts.

    You don't think large departments work on their own guns anymore do you?
    Maintenance contracts and spare parts are where the money is at, just ask the car makers.

    It's good business, Glock isn't doing anything wrong, they just understand the business.
     
  11. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    TFW - it is a sad fact that in most large organizations, whether LE or even let's say, the construction industry - price is almost always the driving factor.

    Time and time again I rue this - knowing that it does not - usually - allow for the gaining of the best tool for the job. Some folks I reckon (up top!) just work on the principle that ''a gun - is a gun - is a gun'' and as long as it ''holds enough bullets''! ... it'll ''do''.

    Sad to say - this rarely answers or fulfills requirements. My parameters would be based on ''worthiness'' and not just price. That means, reliability, accuracy, user friendliness, safety - a long list. I would want my officers to have the best - so as to not only safeguard their own safety but also - maximize the safety to the public at large. Again - this IMO requires good tools.

    I am not Glock bashing - but certainly if in LE would favor my SIG - or one of its derivatives. I also agree with your comments re practice - whether Glock or any other platform, practice is essential and yet - all too often I think marginalized in many departments.

    Best of all (to me) is the option for individuals to be able to choose their personal platform - based on what they handle well. A luxury tho I guess in most cases. Of course too - as I see it - many of these ''buying decisions'' are in the end out of a PD's hands - it is - often at least - the accountants that make such decisions!! Lot they know!

    On a flippant note - keep up the good work with the socks - I hear you made a good ''bust'' and large scale retrieval recently - mostly short ''Bobby Sox'' but - still - more of those nasty socks off the street!! :p :D
     
  12. orangeninja

    orangeninja Member

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    "maybe even some input from my fellow LEO’s"

    Well, I am in Federal Law Enforcement and my Chief bought us all brand new Sigs about 5 years ago. I was given a NIB Sig 229 in .40S&W.

    I guess we are ahead of the curve because most of the branch agencies use Glocks, which the Chiefs boast about and the individual officers grumble about.

    Long live Sig.

    Though S&W and Beretta are nice too. We were -(TTHHHISSS CLLLLOOOSSSEE)- to being issued S&W. I think the 4003 model.
     
  13. Morgan

    Morgan Member

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    We've got some 1400 sworn, and we get to choose our own sidearm.

    Thank you, Firearms Training Bureau!
     
  14. Group9

    Group9 Member

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    But, that doesn't really explain why most federal agencies have bought Glocks and Sigs, and even other brands at one time or another.

    I have another theory, that after hearing his story, makes even more sense. When the person who decides what a particular federal agency will carry likes Glocks, they buy Glocks, when the person who decides likes Sigs, then they buy Sigs, etc. This has been my experience with fifteen years in a federal agency that generally seems to issue one brand for two or three years and then switches to another.
     
  15. kikilee

    kikilee Member

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    I worked as a buyer for the Largest Railroad in the US for the last 30 years. I can tell you flat out that price and price alone drove all the major (and minor) purchasing decisions. This company had such tunnel vision when it came to price that even if you proved that life cycle cost of a higher price item made it work out cheaper in the long run they STILL went with the lower initial cost item just to satisfy the "bean Counters". While it made my job easier (just put out a bid and rubber stamp the lowest price) it was costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. They made money in spite of themselves. Simply amazing.
     
  16. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    What exactly makes them inferior to other choices other than not being able to shoot reloads? And why can't they shoot reloads as long as their SAAMI spec and use jacketed bullets?

    I don't own a Glock, don't plan to own a Glock, and have maybe 60rounds through Glock firearms in my entire life. They seem like quality guns, but I haven't used them enough to know for certain.

    Chris
     
  17. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I'd be really interested in knowing more about these "safety tests" that Glocks failed.

    I'd prefer to carry a 9mm Glock to any Sig simply because the "pointability" of the Sig - in my hands - is terrible. Ditto for S&W autos.

    But I don't worship at the Altar of Gaston - there are three things in particular I'm not fond of:

    1. Some Glocks - particularly 1st Generation models - are very prone to "limp wrist syndrome" and are prone to malfunction if not held firmly. I see this when I let a lady shoot my G17 . . . but even with a limp "two-finger" grip, it doesn't happen with my G26.

    2. The standard sights are OK for quick acquisition at close range, but the big white dot on the front sight and the big white outline on the rear make it hard for me to sight with precision beyond 25 yards or so.

    3. Factory trigger is lousy. And police triggers (the NY or NY+) take a bad trigger and make it worse.
     
  18. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    My department allows us to carry what we want - for now. We're restricted to 9mm, 40, and 45. I am authorized to carry both my Sig 220 and 245.

    But in the past year the department has begun issuing the Glock 21 to new officers. We are now up to eleven officers carrying the 21. We're asking for nine more officers in this year's budget and if ,or when, we hire all those folks they will also be carrying the G21.

    Those of us who have been around for awhile will continue to carry what we have until the department can afford to equip everyone with Glocks. I have no intention of changing until it's mandated. I have shot all three Glock 45's and they're okay. I don't hate them, but I don't want to carry them until I have no choice. Most of the other departments in the area have gone to issuing the Glock 21. Last time I checked the Idaho State Police will issue it's troopers either the G21 or the G22. It's up to the indivdual trooper.
     
  19. cgv69

    cgv69 Member

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    Here’s my thoughts (for what they are worth)

    I agree that nobody, LEO or other wise, should base (either completely or primarily) their decision on which firearms to use to protect their life with on cost.

    My only problem with what you wrote is, it comes across like you are trying to claim or infer that Glocks are cheaply made (quality wise) weapons that nobody would buy if they weren’t so cheap (cost wise).

    I guess it’s somewhat a matter of opinion but I believe a large majority of people who hate Glocks do so because they can not get past the polymer frame. If you do not like polymer fine but IMO you cannot call a Glock a low quality firearm because of that. Glocks have been around for ~20 years now and all report seem to indicated that their frames are holding up just as well as any steel or aluminum frame.

    The trigger and\or grip angle seems to be the other two main complaints. Everybody is different and everybody has his or her own preferences. Some people will shoot some guns better than others. Some will prefer DAO, Some prefer DA\SA’s or some prefer something else. IMO, there is no firearm that you could hand to 100 or more people and find that all 100 people love it and shoot it well.

    IMHO, a high quality firearm is one that that works 100% right out of the box with no tweaking and continues to do so for many, many years and 1000’s upon 1000’s of rounds. This firearm should be capable of a level of accuracy equal to it’s designed task and if it’s a defensive gun, it should be able to withstand a large amounts of abuse or neglect.

    IMO, Glocks are high quality firearms. I shoot them well and trust them to go bang every time I want and never when I doubt (assuming I do my part). If you do not like Glocks or can not shoot them well fine, then buy something else. If you are an LEO and have no choice then I’m sorry for you but I have no control over that but just because you do not like them or can not shoot one well does not make it a bad gun or design.
     
  20. GRB

    GRB member

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    Federalist Weasel,

    It is nothing new that the government, especially the federal government makes purchase decisions based mostly on price. The info you got from the SS Agent about that certainly is no great revelation to anyone in government service. The government has been that way since its inception and will remain that way for its foreseeable future.

    I am curious to know if you can get more info on the testing of the Glock by each of the federal agencies you mentioned, or if the SS Agent can steer us in the right direction to find that info ourselves. I am extremely curious to discover exactly what testing was done and what testing was failed by the Glock; especially with regards to what were the safety tests that the Glock pistols failed when tested by the USSS, the USCS and the US Marshals.

    Thanks,
    Glenn B
     
  21. GRB

    GRB member

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    CGV69,

    Then certainly you do not mean the Glock. The Glock Model 19 utilized by the now defunct US Customs was not what you described as far as I can tell.

    There have been, as far as I have been notified or am aware by first hand knowledge, numerous modifications/repairs made to the issued pistols within US Customs to include: several changes in the design of the magazine that required each an every agent (I cannot speak to the inspectional side of Customs on this issue) who has had a Glock since they were first issued getting newly issued mags 3 or 4 times (I am pretty sure that mag followers now require to be number 4 and are so marked by Glock), internal problems with the pistols that required field or armorer modification, a small plastic internal part that breaks or cracks with some consistency, saftety concerns that required replacement or modification of the trigger group or associated parts, now yearly disassembly the firing pin/striker assembly and cleaning of the housng for that assembly because a design feature allowed for build up of brass in that area that can cause the pistol to malfumction as I have been informed after only hundreds of rounds, separation of metal parts from the polymer frame, replacement of the slide stop/release lever because it was considered too small to be relaiably operated under combat conditions, and, I vaguely recall something about metal parts cracking.

    Furthermore, I believe the rate of accidental discharges (mostly among inspectional personnel as was reported to me) rose significantly after the Glocks were issued. This was apparently partly due to the fact that in order to clear the weapon for disassembly (or even to make it safe - as per Glock) you have to squeeze the trigger. Just that fact alone, that the trigger needed to be squeezed in order to make it safe and disassemble the pistol, put up the red flags in my mind before Customs ever bought one of them. It goes against all the training we have had, over the many years I have been in service, and over the 14 or so years that I was a FI, concerning when the finger belongs on the trigger.

    Also the fact that you can also bend the frame as you reassemble the pistol, causing the slide to not go on correctly is another detraction. Under the stress of combat it is possible that you could make the pistol inoperable. Sure it is not likely that the slide will be off of the gun in combat, but a combat situation could arise when you are cleaning a weapon thereby requiring quick reassembly under great stress. I would much rather have one that went on right no matter how much I stress the frame. I discovered, for myself, this potentially fatal attribute of the Glock while reassembling a Glock at home, not under any particular stress and, I did not realize I had pushed down a bit instead of back when I put the slide onto the pistol. I could not figure why it was not going into battery at first and was pretty shocked to see what had happened. Most LEOs would not have a clue how to correct this situation and would either bring the gun to the Range Master or armorer, or would screw it up trying themselves to fix it.

    Sure they shoot ok, and are fairly decent as compared to other high end pistols and Glock seems to be up on notifying the service when something goes wrong or when a replacement needs to be made but; based on my almost 26 years as an LEO and about 13 or 14 of them also as an FI, my personal opinion is they are not the first choice for an LEO duty handgun and if price is not really an issue they should not be issued because in my personal opinion there are better designed pistols out there (my opinion does not necessarily reflect that of any fedral agency). Sadly, as I see it, within certain parameters money talks so the Glocks were purchased. Thank goodness there are some parameters that require testing and that money is not the only concern because, if it were we would be carrying one shot wonders. The wonder would be how it even shot once...

    All the best,
    Glenn B
     
  22. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    One reason for having department manadated weapons is legal lability. If officer A carriers a .45 and officer B carries a .38 there is now a hole to pick in the departments policy if they go to trial.

    If officer A is the shooter, then the lawyer will want to know why he's carrying such an overpowered weapon, isn't it overkill? Officer B carries a weapon with a smaller bullter, etc. and he's armed just fine according to the department. Isn't it obvious ladies and gentleman of the jury that officer A is a violent animal intent on murdering us all?!

    If officer B is the shooter (and assuming that a .38 is the lightest round used by the department), the lawyer can attack the departments use of force policy. If officer B can shoot and kill/stop/maim/scare my client with a .38 why do the rest of the officers carry bigger guns? The department ladies and gentleman is nothing other then a good 'ole boys club dedicated to live target shooting, and it's just pure luck that the accused happened to have the smallest gun instead of a hand cannon like the rest of them.

    At least if the whole department is carrying the same round there is less of a problem with going for individual officers weapon choices. Even then a good lawyer will start talking muzzle energy etc. if one officer carries a Glock 22 and the other a USP 40. Now your going to have to put up a matching expert and the pray the jury can understand ballistics.

    -Jenrick
     
  23. GRB

    GRB member

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    This maybe a reason that some deaprtments use to restrict firearms calibers for their officers but, it is a weak one. Many LEAs have a firearms policy allowing offiocers to carry differnt caliber firearms while on and off duty and the issue does not get much credence in any court. Heck if what you say was what effected the decision about which calibers to allow, then no department would allow 12 gauge shotguns, .223s or .308s, nor would they alow any thng larger than a 9mm because so many other agencies find that good enough. My current agency allows multiple calibers, and has just allowed personally owned weapons to be carried while on duty if they fit certain parameters. It was a good hypothesis but it is, in general, just not really so in the real world.

    Best regards,
    Glenn B
     
  24. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

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    Glenn,

    In 1991, the DEA tested several handguns for issue, among them the Glock 19 in 9mm, protocol number DEA-91-R-0023.

    Under the abuse testing section of that protocol, was the so-called "DEA Frisbee Test". It was discovered that the several Glock 19's cracked during htis test, resulting in the slide coming loose from the rear rails and rendering the pistols unsafe to fire. This resulted in Glock being removed from testing at that time.

    Suffolk County PD in New York, Amarillo PD in Texas, and Portland PD in Oregon all had safety issues with their Glocks, but I'm not sure of the exact details.

    LawDog
     
  25. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Member

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    Central Ohio
    TFW, you're singing a song I know so well. About everything in my office that I did not buy personally was purchased by the powers that be because of the price. Including the wonderful computer this is being typed on. Unless we can demonstrate the inferiority of a given product, we're getting the lowest price version. Sometimes, it's not a big deal. Other times, it is a hassel (like pagers instead of cell phones for general issue), but workable. Other times... Our fax machine is a piece of garbage, but was the cheapest one. AARRGGHH!

    As for firearms, when I started in 94, the firearms of the four major agencies were : Sig 220, Smith 6906, Beretta 96, whatever you wanted off of the approved list. Now, the same four agencies issue: Glock 22, Glock 22/23, Sig 226 (in .40), Goock 22/23. I was on the selection committee (legal advice) for two of these agencies, and I can say without a doubt that price was the primary concern with the brass in both agencies.

    Say what you will about the Glock (I have a Model 19 and enjoy it), but making decisions based on price is dangerous.
     
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