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Levers For the Cops

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mauserguy, Nov 9, 2008.

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  1. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Member

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    I recently read an article that a police agency was buying AR rifles and accessories for several thousand dollars. The guns were to be placed the the trunks of patrol cars. Wouldn't a five hundred dollar lever rifle, perhaps a Marlin 1894, work just as well for the cops, cost a lot less, and be more durable? Why don't cops use levers?
    Mauserguy
     
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    Speaking as a genuine enthusiast of lever-guns (having used them in 3-gun shoots where everyone else was shooting an AR15), let me say why I would still rather have an AR for patrol:

    Capacity and reloading. A skilled lever operator can ALMOST keep up for maybe 9 rounds with an AR, but then it's all over.

    Options for add-ons. Putting a variety of suitable optics, lights, etc. onto an AR is much more readily accomplished than a lever-gun. And in a patrol rifle, I consider a light a necessity and a low- or zero- magnification optic a desideratum.

    One-handed manipulation. Yes, it can be done with a lever; but it's slow and tough.

    Range. Depending on projectile shape and caliber, the lever gun's practical range is always some mere fraction of an AR's.

    If I had to use a lever-gun on patrol, I'd be okay with it. But my agency says it's got to be an AR, and I'm okay with that, 'cause there I think there are advantages to the platform, as stated.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I think you would be amazed if you knew how many .44 Mag & 30-30 lever-guns ride in the trunks of cop cars west of the Mississippi!

    I know a Kansas HP officer who carried his own Marlin .44 Mag Guide-Gun, stuffed with Buffalo Bore ammo on duty.
    He said he was very comfortable knowing what it would do to a car in the event he needed it to.
     
  4. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    What target can you pick up quicker with iron sights than you can with a red dot, especially at low light or nighttime? If you can't put something like an aperture sight or illuminated optic on it, that alone would be enough to dissuade me.

    For me, after that it's a caliber consideration rather than platform.
     
  5. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I think some cops do get Remington 7615 pump rifles, also.

    I can't help thinking that the AR has a "coolness factor" to it, though -- not that I would mind having a high-capacity semiauto on patrol, of course. However, I wonder whether the average patrol officer wouldn't be better served by a larger caliber firearm, as rcmodel describes.

    A story was posted here a while back about a buffalo ranch that had a corral break. The local cops were dispatched and tried to stop the huge, pissed-off animals with their .223 carbines, with predictable results.

    The differences between peace officer needs for firearms and military needs seem pretty significant, to me. A cop doesn't have to carry 300 rounds on his person while walking for miles on foot, for example. The police generally are operating in areas populated with civilians, so they'd be less likely to want to "hose down" their adversaries, as opposed to one-shot stops. Rural cops, while they don't have to worry as much about bystanders, might encounter large animals on calls. Therefore, a larger caliber than .223 might make sense for police use.

    The AR platform works fine. Hell, I like it in .22LR. But I wonder if cops wouldn't be better served by an AR in at least 6.8, 7.62x39, or somesuch. An AR-10 could work, but I think the size and weight penalty take it out of the running.
     
  6. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    When it comes to a shootout, you need to be able to put a lot of ammo on target very quickly. As said before, the lever gun would do this just as well as an AR for the first 9 or 10 rounds, then be hopelessly outpaced. The AR can be fitted with an adjustable stock, and today's Law Enforcement world has women in it that need a smaller firearm. Recoil is also lower, which can make the difference for smaller officers as well. Parts are easier to standardize and replace. And, as is necessary for any government agency, the purchase of an AR allows for the waste of thousands of dollars per weapon for accessories that may not be needed for a patrol rifle. Ain't that grand?
     
  7. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Okay, I'm an old guy, but...

    I'm still not convinced every event involving a law enforcement officer - or non LEO for that matter - in a self-defense setting requires sixty or seventy shots fired.

    I suppose one can make a case for a convoy of biker hoodlums raiding someplace, but that is not the sort of thing I read about in the news much. Yes, I do read about LEO "A" who, while in a shootout with villain "B", fires thirty or forty rounds of ammunition. This equates to thirty or forty misses, by the way.

    Here are the real questions at hand:

    How many evil doers should one reasonably expect?

    What is one's skill level in placing hits on said evil doers?


    No amount of ammunition expenditure is going to replace the ability to shoot. No matter what the bureaucrats say. If one cannot hit, nothing is suitable.
     
  8. ShootinDave

    ShootinDave Member

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    PD's choose them for the same reason the military does, they are better combat weapons all around.

    Everything else is training, which is a different issue.
     
  9. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Very good point. I've always wondered how cops end up missing so often. That or they go overkill... I remember hearing some stories about officers here in the Midwest (Kansas City and Des Moines come to mind) where the cops don't miss at all. In fact, they hit the suspect around thirty or forty times, WITH THE SERVICE PISTOL. Usually, it's an officer and a partner that have been threatened. Missing seems to be a big problem for policemen on the west coast though... sheesh... the West Hollywood shootout... you're telling me that through that entire time, not ONE officer could draw a bead on that guy's head and take him out that way?
     
  10. Dookie

    Dookie Member

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    It's super easy to point, aim, and shoot at a person who is shooting at you. Lets see you do it. Most police officers are not combat hardened SEALS, they are a college grad with basic training, maybe.
    Ever hear of cover fire? Many times the point of shooting is not to hit a person but to cover for another person to get into position. If the BG can't move because of lots of lead around him it gives the police the ability to move closer. Can't do THAT with a lever action.
    Lever action, slower cycle time, lower capacity, less accurate, more complicated internals, yep, perfect service rifle over the AR.
     
  11. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    I'd agree with you Dookie, but it's not the case that all of the officers were being shot at all at once.
     
  12. indoorsoccerfrea

    indoorsoccerfrea Member

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    you cant always tell who is getting shot at, its kinda hard to spot lead moving through the air at however many thousand fps it may be traveling...
     
  13. woof

    woof Member

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    I agree with Archie - you can't miss fast enough to win a gunfight.
     
  14. Frog48

    Frog48 Member

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    If that. Less than 20% of state/local LEO's have a college degree.
     
  15. deercop

    deercop Member

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    How much value would you place on the intimidation factor? Face it, a M4 has a lot more intimidation value than a 30-30.

    There's a lot to recommend being able to resolve a situation w/o a shot being fired.
     
  16. black_powder_Rob

    black_powder_Rob Member

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    try shooting at someone who is firing a full auto rifles at you and tell me how well you can draw a bead on ones head. Keep in mind that the bank robbers were also shooting at anything that moved.
     
  17. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Personal Experience

    Back in the 80s I worked for a rural county Sheriff's Office that did not furnish weapons to its officers. Because we furnished our own - we had a lot of freedom in what we chose. The only requirement we had was to qualify on an approved course prior to carrying a given firearm. My service revolver was a .357 S&W and I kept a lever action .357 in my patrol car. At the time, I could not afford an AR and wanted something compatible with my revolver.
     
  18. MikePGS

    MikePGS Member

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    There are far too many instances of LEO's unloading dozens of rounds on a suspect and only scoring a few hits. The infamous L.A. bank robbery lasted as long as it did because no one could hit them in the head (not that I could, but certainly its possible with the appropriate level of training). Even the Miami Shootout that lead to the creation of the 10mm and ultimately to the .40 S&W was finished by a LEO shooting a.... .38 special. He just happened to be able to place his shot where it counted.
     
  19. M203Sniper

    M203Sniper member

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    Well I think this sums it up nicely;

    [​IMG]
     
  20. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    I think PRM makes a good point -- it seems to me that the patrol carbine exists partly to generate a psychological impact, making bad guys feel outgunned and making the public feel like The Powers That Be Have The Emergency Under Control (TM).

    A military looking rifle sends both those messages better than something that looks suspiciously like granpappy's deer rifle.

    But also, we live in a world where the bad guy in a scenario where an LEO might deploy and fire a patrol carbine may be armed with their own AR-15, AK, or whatever. I'd prefer parity or better, in a fighting rifle in a scenario like that. I suppose that's also a pyschological issue, in this case concerning the guys who're expected to go in harm's way.

    A better question might be what does the lever gun do that the pump shotgun LEOs are likely also carrying doesn't? If I'm not mistaken, the shotgun gets pulled out of the cop car much more frequently than the M4gery or whatever.
     
  21. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    Wow! I though KHP was allowd only what they were issued, which IIRC is Ruger's Ranch Rifle .223
     
  22. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    Why would a cop pick a lever action over an AR-15(That's proven itself to be reliable)? Sure, he might be able to get his job done with a lever action, but if it's life or death, don't you want every possibly advantage you can get?

    That's a matter of training. A lever action does not automatically make it's user a better shooter.(Unless the cops learn to spray and pray while training with their AR-15s, but that too can be trained out of them).
     
  23. Crazy Fingers

    Crazy Fingers member

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    Considering that your life is at stake, would you really want to use a lever action rifle over an AR?

    If I were ever unfortunate enough to end up in a gunfight, I would hope my opponent had been brainwashed by enough cowboy action shoots and western movies to choose the lever action.
     
  24. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    I understand it's not easy. At no point did I say it was easy. But let's look at the numbers here.

    According to the Wikipedia article on the incident, 300 law enforcement officers responded to the TAC alert issued. Over 600 rounds were fired at Emil Matasareanu and Larry Phillips, Jr, during the conflict. The two men themselves fired around 1,000 rounds at police. While I understand mentioning that I got these figures from Wikipedia cheapens my argument, all of them have an in line citation with a source. 19 officers received the LAPD's Medal of Valor for their actions during the shootout.

    Now, knowing this, we can assume that at least 19 officers were directly engaged with the gunmen during the firefight, which lasted 44 minutes. The incident occurred in a suburban part of Los Angeles, and like most of LA, this area was made up of a grid of streets. The bank faced a parking lot, separated by a boulevard. Behind the parking lot was a professional building.

    I understand that the officers were equipped with Beretta 92 model pistols and 12 gauge shotguns. It might have been a long shot, but if you could have hidden at least some of those 19 officers in that professional building and spread them throughout the building, you would have made it much harder for the two robbers to pick out their targets, and would have made a much less stressed shot for the officers. The distance would have also made the shot harder for the suspects, whom were more of the spray and pray discipline.

    Another thing to consider is that the bank was flanked by two parking lots, both of which are relatively wide. Another place to make a surprise, somewhat timed shot on the suspects. Drive a police car (with its sirens off... at this point in the shooting, it would be obvious that you don't want to draw attention to yourself as being a LEO) on angle with the building across the lot, pull your pistol out, fire. A shotgun might have a certain level of effectiveness here as well, because the energy exerted through the body armor might cause blunt force trauma.

    There were definitely enough officers involved to have taken the men out earlier than they did, even with the weapons provided.

    Overall, at least in hindsight, the main problem was poor tactics. I probably couldn't have done better myself, but who's to say better training and aim wouldn't help?

    As a final note, I find it incredibly ironic that the LAPD went to a local gun store to get a hold of weapons capable of penetrating the body armor of the men. Really ironic. If the SWAT team hadn't arrived in time, the patrol officers would have had to borrow guns from the very people they were regulating.

    Back to subject, I suppose...
     
  25. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Perhaps a cop car trunk should contain an AR carbine, as simple as possible, and a scoped .308.

    An AR carbine does not replace a rifle intended for long-range shots, nor does a heavy .308 bolt gun replace a CQB carbine.

    A lever gun? I could see carrying one with big bullets (.45-70, .44 Buffalo Bore, etc.) in a rural area where a cop might be called to an animal attack. Otherwise, I'm not sure where it would fit in a peace officer's hierarchy of needs.
     
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