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Posted: 1/16/2021 10:28:07 PM EST
Well, here is the second installment, the backup/off duty guns.

Way back in the day when I started, the then current Chief was RABIDLY anti-gun. NO ONE was permitted to carry a backup gun ("That there is a throwdown piece, donchaknow?"). No way, now how. If you were caught with anything other than your duty sidearm (or the shotgun if necessary), it was immediate termination. When asked, he told us numerous times, that if he had his way, we wouldn't even be carrying a duty sidearm. He was absolutely obsessed with Canada and Great Britain and thought that we would be perfectly fine if we didn't carry any guns at all, like the cops in Great Britain. The only thing that stopped him from trying it was the Police union threatening work stoppages and many, many grievances if he did. Liability issues, he was also obsessed with them. The only people who were allowed to carry off duty were the full timers, and then only within our City limits. This was back in the days before LEOSA, so how you carried was controlled by Dept policy, and ours SUCKED. Not long after I started, I was given permission to carry off duty (the only part timer allowed to do so, but only in town) because I worked at my parent's hardware store downtown and they would let me go help out, if I was needed. It took several years (and, truthfully, the passage of LEOSA) before we were openly permitted to carry off duty outside of town.

The story about how we were finally allowed to carry backup guns is interesting and almost turned out badly. One of our guys. who luckily for him was carrying an issued S&W 5906, got sent to the local laundromat for a report of a guy trying to break into the coin boxes. He arrived, with backup, and proceeded to get into a knock down, drag out fight with the perp. The backup cop was likewise fighting with the perp's unreported accomplice. During the fight, the perp got the cop's gun. Luckily, the cop managed to dump the mag in his 5906 before loosing it. When more backup got there, they found the perp standing over the cop, who was on the ground, trying repeatedly to pull the trigger, which wouldn't work because the mag safety worked as designed. The original backup Officer had her perp cuffed and proned out and was standfing there, frozen, with her gun aimed at the first perp, but not shooting. After the call, the cop had words with the Chief, the Chief refused to listen, so the cop called the Union, who basically threatened the Chief with lawsuits, work stoppages and many, many grievances. The Chief gave in and permitted backups, as long as we qualified with them and the serial numbers were recorded so we couldn't use them as throwdown guns.

Here they are, in no particular order unless otherwise noted.

First gun was my P226.

Again, not my pic

My first duty gun when I started. At the time, it was, literally, all I had, so I carried it off duty when I got approval, probably late 1991. Big and bulky, but then again it is a duty type gun. It printed badly under a shirt and I had several of the customers at the hardware store comment on how it printed. They knew I was a cop, so no real problem, but not good anyway. This may be where I got my aversion to having a gun print when carried IWB.

Next up was an AMT .380 Backup.

Not my pic, random off the Interwebs

I cannot say it enough. This thing was a raging piece of shit. I honestly can't remember how the salesman at the local fun shop talked me into it except it was cheap. At the time, it was also one of the very few options for a very small gun. Unfortunately, for a while, it was also all I had. SAO didn't matter since I never really qualified with it, but I also rarely carried it (hey, I was young and dumb and really didn't comprehend the concept of liability). In order to field strip, you had to drive out a roll pin. That freed the breech block to be knocked out the top of the slide. Removing the breech block involved holding the slide open a little and hitting the bottom of the breech block with something to drive it out the top of the slide. The slide then came off kinda like a Walther PP or PPK- pull it back, lift the rear of the slide to clear the frame rails, then let it go off over the fixed barrel. The trigger was horrible. Every surface except the slide flats was VERY ROUGHLY sandblasted, including the back side of the trigger bar and the frame where the trigger bar ran. That means that you were trying to drag two heavily sandblasted surfaces over each other. The tiny sights were cast into the top of the slide. It was VERY unreliable with anything except FMJ, and even with FMJ, it still wasn't that reliable. I carried it a few times because I was young and dumb and it was all I had that was smaller than my P226. The minute I had something better, it went away FAST.

Sig P230 in stainless

Not my pic

Having learned my lesson on the AMT, I bought a P230 in stainless. VERY NICE gun. Shot very well, very accurate and very reliable, even with JHPs. Unfortunately, it was also kinda big, especially for a .380. For the younger guys who weren't around at the time, up till the later 1990's, all you really had for carry guns were full sized, duty-style guns, then guns like the P230, kinda big for what they were but still smaller than the duty guns. I carried this till I got pissed at Sig over their response to problems with my P226.

H&K P7M8

Not my pic

I bought this when a batch of surplus W German police guns came in during the mid 1990's. Even used, it wasn't cheap at all. Mags, even at the time, were also not cheap. IIRC, I paid $50.00 or so for a few used but good condition mags. Like the P230, VERY accurate. Reliability was great, for about 150 rds or so, then the slide started hanging up to the rear a few times per mag and got worse the more I shot it. A bump to the back of the slide closed it, but it still counts as a malfunction. A good cleaning, including thoroughly cleaning out the gas tube below the barrel and the gas piston attached to the slide, returned good reliability for another 150 rds or so. My thought at the time was that the gas tube may be scratched or scored and powder fouling was building up, making the gas piston hang up in the tube. After several range sessions, I decided that the manual of arms was too different from what I was used to and I sold it for quite a bit more than I paid for it because the imported police guns had dried up by then.

Taurus M85

Not my pic

I know, it's a Taurus. When I bought it, I was broke but needed something. I bought it used from another Officer. I put rubber grips of some type on it instead of the wood ones. Mine always worked and was accurate and reliable. I have no idea how many rds it had through it when I bought it. I really didn't put that many through it, but I did shoot it a bit. Never an issue at all. When I had something better, I sold it to another broke newbie cop.

S&W 6909

Not my pic

After my brief but favorable experience with the issued 5906, I bought a 6906. Overall, a pretty good gun. MUCH lighter than the 5906 because of the smaller size and aluminum frame, but still a little large overall. Shot pretty well and was reliable, with one issue. This is the only gun I have ever had issues with the magazine springs. I bought it, loaded it up and carried it for about 6 months. Went to shoot it and got several FTFeeds on the last few rds in the mag, with all mags. The mag springs had worn to the point that the mags didn't want to feed the last 2-3 rds in the mags. This happened with ALL my mags. Called S&W, they sent out new mag springs. I swapped them out and they were good for 6 more months, then it happened all over again. I ordered replacement Wolff springs and the issue went away for good. I don't know if S&W got a bad batch of springs or what happened. I carried this till a friend, who was going to Police Academy and needed a gun, decided that she really liked the 6906 and bought it from me. She carried it for a while, decided she didn't like LE and quit. Incidentally, she was the original backup cop noted above, who froze when she should have shot the perp with the cop's gun. While freezing is bad, at least she was big enough to own up to it, admit that maybe LE wasn't right for her and get out before someone got really hurt.

S&W 4516

Not my pic

Talk about a boat anchor! HEAVY little gun! Having said that, it shot VERY well, was VERY accurate and never a malfunction. I did carry this one quite a bit and, for some reason, I LOVED this gun. In fact, I bought a Safariland duty holster for it in case something happened to my Glock 21 duty gun. This is one of those guns that I regret getting rid of.

S&W .380 Sigma

not my pic

In an attempt to find something smaller and lighter than the 6906, I went to the local shop when they were having "S&W Days". This shop, The Shooting Gallery in Boardman, OH, also had an indoor range. When the S&W rep found out I was a cop and was interested, he let me shoot one. In all actuality, it shot reasonably well. I ordered one and waited for it to come in. When it did, I then found out that field stripping involved driving out the roll pin at the back of the frame, removing the stamped steel piece that was the rear frame rails, then lifting the slide off like a Walther PP or PPK. The slide was made out of Zamak and painted or powder coated black. The sights were cast into the slide and were small and not very good. The paint came off VERY easy, leaving the matte finished Zamak showing.

Releasing the magazine involved pushing in on the circles on both sides of the grip. They were actually extensions of the base plate and snapped into catches in the grip. They were powered by "springs" stamped out of the mag body, then bent outward. Unfortunately, they weren't tempered or heat treated and bent in short order and didn't power the mag catches anymore. Needless to say, mag changes were awkward and slow.

In it's defense, it was small and reasonably thin and hid pretty well. Mine, anyway, was reliable and accurate (well, as accurate as you could be with the shitty sights). It actually felt pretty good in my hand. Not long after, however, info came out that they were only intended to have a service life of about 2000 rds, and rarely even lasted that long anyway. When combined with the awkward field strip procedure and crappy mag changes, I moved on.

Glock 26

Not my pic, not my gun, although I still have mine

When Glock first introduced the G26, a local PD bought a bunch of them from Glock. They had several left over after everyone that wanted one had bought one, so they offered them to Officers from local Depts and I bought this gun. Serial number is BUZxxx, so pretty early. For the time it was introduced, it was a very good carry gun. Small (although thick), reliable as the day is long and at least pretty accurate. I carried it for quite a few years and many thousands of rounds and never had an issue with it. When my wife and I got married, she loved it, so she stole it from me. It still resides in her nightstand, ready for use. This is especially comforting now, since I am working steady midnight shifts.

S&W M649

Not my pic, not my gun, although mine is this exact model

When my wife stole my G26, she told me I could replace it. I had always loved snubby revolvers, so I bought a S&W M649. Mine was the very first .357 model, I can't remember the "dash" number. It did not have the hated internal lock but did have MIM internals. I put a set of Uncle Mikes Boot Grips on it to make the grip as small as possible so it concealed better. The PD forbade .357 ammo, so it was carried with .38+P. With the steel frame, it was a pussycat to shoot, even with .38+P. It was also very accurate, as those who take the time to learn how to shoot snubbies can attest. Since it had MIM internals, I couldn't go wild, but I did GENTLY stone the internals to remove rough edges and put in a slightly reduced power mainspring. The trigger was WONDERFUL! Unfortunately, I have large hands, and the grips were a little too small for me. I couldn't find any grips that I liked that fit my hands well and were still small, so I bought the below gun.

On a side note, this is also the gun where I found out that stainLESS isn't stainFREE. I worked a full day outside during the summer while carrying the M649 and sweated on it like a pig. I wiped it down but didn't take the grips off. A couple of weeks later, I took the grips off to pull the side plate to blow out the lint and found the frame under the grips was rusted and pitted. I cleaned off the rust and learned a valuable lesson. It cleaned up OK, aside from a few pits under the grips.

Ruger SP101

Not my pic, pic is from Ruger

When I bought this gun (brand new, mind you) and took it apart for the first time, I was appalled. It was the most filthy, disgusting gun I have ever seen. It was full of dirt, metal chips, grease and grime. It looked like Ruger was saving money by not having trash service and dumping the floor sweepings into the guns to get rid of them. After I got it cleaned up, the trigger wasn't bad, but not great, either. I completely detail stripped it and stoned the burrs off of all the stamped internals, and there were LOTS of burrs. I also GENTLY stoned the engagement surfaces on the trigger, hammer and the rest of the internals. The result was a WONDERFUL trigger. The trigger was even smoother than the above M649, although it was still heavier because I left the factory springs in it. The hammer spur caught on my shirt a couple of times when drawing, so I bobbed it off. The SA function still worked, but the spur was gone, so it was effectively DAO. The slightly larger grips than the M649fit my hand very well.

I would probably have happily carried this revolver for quite some time, except events caught up to me. The PD suffered budget cuts and manpower was one of the things cut. We went to 1 Officer on duty (for a city of about 5000 people) at any one time and were mandated to come out if called to help while off duty. The thought of running towards a man with a gun with only a 5 shot revolver didn't thrill me at all. I was pretty good with speed loaders, but it is still a fumble prone process. I confiscated my G26 back from my wife till I found something different. While I liked the G26, it is still the same thickness as a larger 9mm Glock and I found that it sometimes printed when wearing just a t-shirt during the summer. Not to mention, the wife wanted "her" G26 back.

About that time. S&W introduced the Shield. A friend bought one and let me try it. It was love at first shot. Thin, slim, adequate capacity, decent trigger, pretty accurate. I went out looking, but they were VERY hard to come by because they sold out as fast as S&W could make them. I lucked out and found one at a local shop. I paid full price (and then some), but it was worth it.

S&W 9mm Shield

Not my pic, not my gun, but mine is identical, down to the thumb safety

For me, as close to perfection as I am likely to find. Thin, compact, light, good trigger, reasonable capacity, accurate and reliable. It conceals like a dream, even under a light t-shirt. The butt is JUST long enough for me to get all 3 fingers on with the flush 7 rd magazine, and absolutely no more. I have been carrying this gun off duty for quite a few years now and, I have to say, I think this is the one. i REALLY like it and shoot well with it. The only problem with it is that it is still a little large to fit in the pocket inside my external body armor carrier, which is where I carry my backup gun, which leads to the below.

Ruger LCP

Pic from Lasermax website

Several years ago, my mother decided that she wanted her CCW. My father had LOTS of health issues and she ended up in some sketchy parts of Youngstown at different doctor's offices, so I agreed that was probably a good idea. She has pretty severe arthritis in her hands, so I suggested that we go to a local shop and try out some different guns. She agreed and off we went.

When we got there, she pretty much completely ignored me and listened to the counter dweeb, who told her that she is a woman and needs a tiny gun (never a good idea for a newbie). She ended up with the LCP. Hey, it's little and cute and it has a laser, it's great! This was all well and good, till she got home and tried to rack the slide. Because of her arthritis, she couldn't physically grip the slide tight enough to pull it back enough to chamber a cartridge. It wasn't an issue of technique, she couldn't physically grip the slide because of her arthritis. I took some of my guns over and she ended up with the above S&W M649. Although reloading is slow for her, she can manage the trigger reasonably well. She couldn't operate the slide on any of my autos at all, so at least she had something. She gave me the LCP because she couldn't use it. Although it was a crappy trade for me, I made it because she is my mother.

Overall, not a bad little gun. VERY small and hides pretty much anywhere. I took the Lasermax laser off before I did anything. The trigger was pretty good. Long, but reasonably light, especially if you are used to DAO revolvers. It was also very smooth. I never had a single malfunction with it, even with JHP ammo with large hollow point cavities. it would sometimes hang up when hand chambering JHPs, but never when actually shooting. Even then, a bump to the back of the slide sent it home. While the sights are small and not too good, the gun was accurate when you could line them up. The only real problem is that I have large hands and the LCP is too small for my hands. If I grip it quickly, I would usually grip it badly and, when I draw, it isn't seated properly in my hand. I lived with it for a while, till I found the below.

Glock 42

Not my pic

I have to say, when the G42 came out, I was one of those that jumped on the bandwagon and crapped on it. Too big for what it is, capacity too small, too expensive. That changed the first time I got to hold one, though. It all came together and I bought one. Yes, it is bigger than the LCP, but for me, that's great. The LCP is too small for me, the G42 fits me well. I also didn't believe the hype at the first Glock Armorer's recertification class I took after they were introduced. The instructor said that he and the other instructors were shooting clay pigeons at 100 yds with the G42 and hitting regularly. Not every time, but regularly. After actually shooting it, I believe it. This little gun is ACCURATE, more accurate that I can shoot it or than it has a right to be. The trigger is also good for a Glock. It is a little heavier than normal, but is more crisp as well. Recoil is VERY mild and the sights barely move when fired. It is thin and small enough for pocket carry, as long as you pay attention to the pockets of your pants when buying. It is at the upper end of what I would consider a pocket gun, and may not fit all pockets, but it can be done, and I sometimes do pocket carry mine. I carry mine as backup in a pocket inside my external body armor carrier when on duty and use it off duty if I need more discrete carry than my Shield, which sometimes happens, but not often.

Well, although I had to write a novel, there it is. A BUNCH of guns over the years, but i think I finally got there. I'm perfectly happy with what I now have, although I would like something a little smaller than my G42 for backup. I have even considered going back to a snubbie revolver, but they don't pocket carry as well as a nice, small, flat auto. if I find something, all well and good, If not, I'm happy with the G42. Enjoy.
Link Posted: 1/16/2021 10:59:27 PM EST
The Shooting Gallery Boardman Ohio, that caught my attention. Spent some cash there way back when and we qualified their one year.
Link Posted: 1/16/2021 11:18:48 PM EST
Did we work at the same agency?


18Z50
Link Posted: 1/16/2021 11:25:10 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Triangle-66:
The Shooting Gallery Boardman Ohio, that caught my attention. Spent some cash there way back when and we qualified their one year.
View Quote


I dropped a LOT of coin there back in the day. I was on a first name basis with Ed, one of the salesmen.

Like I said in my duty gun thread, not long after I got married, my wife got pregnant, almost miscarried twice, got labelled high risk and taken off work and put on strict bedrest for 5 months or so. We were relying on both incomes, so we ran into money issues really quick. This was at the height of the Assault Weapons Ban. One of the ideas I had was to sell my pre-ban Colt HBAR Sporter and buy a LE Only AR to replace it, then use the leftover money to keep us afloat.. Since LE only guns had a very limited market, you could buy a 16" carbine for about $500.00, give or take. The catch was that you needed a letter on Department letterhead to buy it, saying that you were going to use it for LE purposes. While we still had the anti-gun Chief, one of the Sergeants would sign any letter anyone put in front of him.

I went to the Shooting Gallery to see what they would give me for it. Keep in mind, this is at the height of the AWB. They had an identical Colt on the wall when I went in, price was $2500.00. The owner (I can't remember his name, taller, thin guy with gray hair) told me they would only give me $250.00 for it. Keep in mind, I had spent THOUSANDS of dollars there by this time and was in the shop almost weekly. When I questioned $250.00 and pointed out an identical gun on the wall for $2500.00, he freaked out on me. I tried telling him that I didn't expect $2500.00, that I knew that he had to make a profit, but $250.00 was an insult. He started yelling and cussing, told me that it was some special edition or something and was worth $2500, while mine was worth $250.00. I walked out and never went back. I drove past some time later and the building was now something else, I think it was Window World. I was disappointed because at the time, they were the best shop in the area for "black rifles" and other mil-style guns.
Link Posted: 1/16/2021 11:51:46 PM EST
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Originally Posted By 18B30:
Did we work at the same agency?


18Z50
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When we told guys from other Depts how it was, they were uniformly amazed and shocked. We were overjoyed when that Chief retired, although he got immediately hired as our city manager. Money suddenly dried up for everyone and we suspect that he was embezzling, although no one would ever come in and investigate. He was a lazy, corrupt bastard and it was a great day when the city council finally got fed up and fired his ass.

A short story about his corruption. Not long after I got initially hired as a part timer, I was working and he came into the Patrol Office and told me to sign a paper. It was a form for the State of Ohio, saying that I had worked an 8 hour traffic shift as part of a grant. I had not worked it. I told him that I hadn't worked it and wouldn't sign it. He told me to either sign it or I would be fired, on the spot. I was a young, dumb, gung-ho rookie and signed it to keep my job, but I made sure to make a copy of the paper. I tried going to our County Prosecutor Office, they didn't want to hear anything about it. One of our Dispatchers, who was also a part time Officer and had been around for years, pulled me aside and gave me some advice. She told me, flat out, that I needed to keep my mouth shut and let it go. I was told that if I tried doing anything more about it, my body would end up being found on one of our few rural roads, with a bullet in my head. I was specifically told that it would be conspicuously within our City limits, so he could control the investigation, and it would be ruled either suicide or accidental, to shut me up. I was told that "appropriate authorities" were looking into it and, if anything could be done, it would be. Nothing ever happened, because neither the County authorities, nor the State authorities, really wanted to get involved in any municipal politics, as long as no bodily harm or death was involved. It sucks, but that was the way it was back in the day. Not only was corruption tolerated, it was expected, as long as the corruption didn't intrude on anything major. We had a HUGE Mafia presence in this area (not far south of Youngstown) and they ruled the local politics. I was overjoyed when the State started investigating local politics a few years later and started busting the Mafia and local politicians that worked with them. Nowadays, if you even take free food from a restaurant that wants to give it to you and someone complains, an investigation is started and it is not unheard of for you to get into deep shit. How things change.
Link Posted: 1/17/2021 1:24:56 AM EST
I enjoyed reading your posts about all of the different guns.  
I still have my AMT Backup 380 that I bought at a gun show in the ‘80s.  I agree with your review especially the disassembly part.  I hate having to drive that pin out!  I actually shot it a few weeks ago for the first time in over thirty years.  My daughter shot it and her remark was that she does not like the trigger.
Link Posted: 1/17/2021 8:58:13 AM EST
Great Read.

I too love the S&W Shield, as being the "Right Size" for a 9mm carry gun and for the slim thin profile.  I usually carry with the 7+1 round mag in place with the 8+1 as the reload.

Still not a fan of the hinged trigger that S&W adopted as their signature difference (to avoid the Glock Legal Bitch Slap over copying them in the Sigma days), but hey no one is perfect.

Thanks for sharing!  

BIGGER_HAMMER
Link Posted: 1/17/2021 1:13:45 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Bigger_Hammer:
Great Read.

I too love the S&W Shield, as being the "Right Size" for a 9mm carry gun and for the slim thin profile.  I usually carry with the 7+1 round mag in place with the 8+1 as the reload.

Still not a fan of the hinged trigger that S&W adopted as their signature difference (to avoid the Glock Legal Bitch Slap over copying them in the Sigma days), but hey no one is perfect.

Thanks for sharing!  

BIGGER_HAMMER
View Quote


While I realize that trigger shape is one of those subjective things, I don't get the hate for the hinged triggers on the S&W poly framed guns. Myself, I kinda like them and the way they feel on my finger. Not a big deal. if you don't like it, you don't like it and that's OK.

On the subject of the Sigma, they are a curious study. When they first came out, i LOVED the way they felt in my hand. I honestly don't think I ever felt a gun grip that felt better to me. It felt like it was made just for my hand. Unfortunately, the trigger was horrible. HEAVY, gritty and nasty, so I never bought one, thankfully. The local Sheriff's Department issued them for several years because they got a good deal on them. The Deputies HATED them and they had TONS of problems with them. I was told that they had to bring several spare pistols to qualifications and training because, inevitably, one or more would break while shooting and the Deputy would have to be issued another. I don't know how true this was, but this is what they told us, anyway.

We had a part timer many years ago that carried one of the updated Sigmas in .40. He wasn't really a gun guy but was perfectly happy with the Sigma, since that was all he knew. He actually shot it well and it was accurate enough and was reliable. I tried it one day and, while the trigger was still heavy, it wasn't really bad. It was reasonably smooth and not too long. For a bargain gun, which is what S&W was marketing them as by that time, it wasn't a horrible option. Unfortunately, by that time, the Sigma name was ruined with gun people and beyond redemption.
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 12:56:46 AM EST
@bub75

If you worked in Eastern Mahoning County over the last 30 years you probably know my father.
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 2:24:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2021 2:28:59 PM EST by Bigger_Hammer]
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Originally Posted By bub75:


While I realize that trigger shape is one of those subjective things, I don't get the hate for the hinged triggers on the S&W poly framed guns. Myself, I kinda like them and the way they feel on my finger. Not a big deal. if you don't like it, you don't like it and that's OK.

On the subject of the Sigma, they are a curious study. When they first came out, i LOVED the way they felt in my hand. I honestly don't think I ever felt a gun grip that felt better to me. It felt like it was made just for my hand. Unfortunately, the trigger was horrible. HEAVY, gritty and nasty, so I never bought one, thankfully. The local Sheriff's Department issued them for several years because they got a good deal on them. The Deputies HATED them and they had TONS of problems with them. I was told that they had to bring several spare pistols to qualifications and training because, inevitably, one or more would break while shooting and the Deputy would have to be issued another. I don't know how true this was, but this is what they told us, anyway.

We had a part timer many years ago that carried one of the updated Sigmas in .40. He wasn't really a gun guy but was perfectly happy with the Sigma, since that was all he knew. He actually shot it well and it was accurate enough and was reliable. I tried it one day and, while the trigger was still heavy, it wasn't really bad. It was reasonably smooth and not too long. For a bargain gun, which is what S&W was marketing them as by that time, it wasn't a horrible option. Unfortunately, by that time, the Sigma name was ruined with gun people and beyond redemption.
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Originally Posted By bub75:
Originally Posted By Bigger_Hammer:
Great Read.

I too love the S&W Shield, as being the "Right Size" for a 9mm carry gun and for the slim thin profile.  I usually carry with the 7+1 round mag in place with the 8+1 as the reload.

Still not a fan of the hinged trigger that S&W adopted as their signature difference (to avoid the Glock Legal Bitch Slap over copying them in the Sigma days), but hey no one is perfect.

Thanks for sharing!  

BIGGER_HAMMER


While I realize that trigger shape is one of those subjective things, I don't get the hate for the hinged triggers on the S&W poly framed guns. Myself, I kinda like them and the way they feel on my finger. Not a big deal. if you don't like it, you don't like it and that's OK.

On the subject of the Sigma, they are a curious study. When they first came out, i LOVED the way they felt in my hand. I honestly don't think I ever felt a gun grip that felt better to me. It felt like it was made just for my hand. Unfortunately, the trigger was horrible. HEAVY, gritty and nasty, so I never bought one, thankfully. The local Sheriff's Department issued them for several years because they got a good deal on them. The Deputies HATED them and they had TONS of problems with them. I was told that they had to bring several spare pistols to qualifications and training because, inevitably, one or more would break while shooting and the Deputy would have to be issued another. I don't know how true this was, but this is what they told us, anyway.

We had a part timer many years ago that carried one of the updated Sigmas in .40. He wasn't really a gun guy but was perfectly happy with the Sigma, since that was all he knew. He actually shot it well and it was accurate enough and was reliable. I tried it one day and, while the trigger was still heavy, it wasn't really bad. It was reasonably smooth and not too long. For a bargain gun, which is what S&W was marketing them as by that time, it wasn't a horrible option. Unfortunately, by that time, the Sigma name was ruined with gun people and beyond redemption.



Hahahahaaaaa. ..

I owned a Sigma 40F back when it was "cutting edge".

I LOVED the natural point of aim & feel of the grip too.  I love the S&W M&P for the same reason.  Glock grip angles never felt right for me.

The SIGMA trigger was FAR from the light crisp 1911 or the single action stages on a 3rd Gen S&W.

But if you knew how to shoot a double action revolver, it was actually not bad.  Which is what S&W was trying to duplicate.  Not so light & crisp an A.D. might happen, especially  in a High Stress situation.

Mine ran 100% without issues, problems or jams.
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 8:27:47 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Bigger_Hammer:
Great Read.

I too love the S&W Shield, as being the "Right Size" for a 9mm carry gun and for the slim thin profile.  I usually carry with the 7+1 round mag in place with the 8+1 as the reload.

Still not a fan of the hinged trigger that S&W adopted as their signature difference (to avoid the Glock Legal Bitch Slap over copying them in the Sigma days), but hey no one is perfect.

Thanks for sharing!  

BIGGER_HAMMER
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The Hyve trigger is like magic in a Shield, and cheap too
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 9:42:55 AM EST
Just read this thread and the other one about your duty guns. Great write ups, enjoyed reading them
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 6:59:42 PM EST
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Originally Posted By GSAR426:
@bub75

If you worked in Eastern Mahoning County over the last 30 years you probably know my father.
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Nope, a little further south in Columbiana County.
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 7:06:26 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Bigger_Hammer:



Hahahahaaaaa. ..

I owned a Sigma 40F back when it was "cutting edge".

I LOVED the natural point of aim & feel of the grip too.  I love the S&W M&P for the same reason.  Glock grip angles never felt right for me.

The SIGMA trigger was FAR frommthe light crisp 1911 or the single action stages on a 3rd Gen S&W.

But if you knew how to shoot a double action revolver, it was actually not bad.  Which is what S&W was trying to duplicate.  Not so light & crisp an A.D. might happen, especially  in a High Stress situation.

Mine ran 100% without issues, problems or jams.
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Yeah, they were trying to get Depts to switch from revolvers to autos and were trying to duplicate the DA revolver trigger. However, the triggers in the few early ones I tried were so crunchy and full of grit that I just didn't want to deal with them. The trigger on the one that the guy who worked for us had, wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. By that time, there were other guns that worked better and didn't have the Sigma's stigma, which is one reason they went away. The later ones were decent guns, just not great guns, and were too late to save the model.
Link Posted: 1/18/2021 7:32:49 PM EST
OP, you have truly bought some shitty, awful guns. I don't want to insult you, but holy shit, why in the world did you not have a gun guy help you along the way?

AMT? Sigma? Taurus? That's like picking up women at Weight Watchers or some shit.  
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 3:17:49 PM EST
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Originally Posted By BobCole:
OP, you have truly bought some shitty, awful guns. I don't want to insult you, (and then you promptly do exactly that anyway )but holy shit, why in the world did you not have a gun guy help you along the way?

AMT? Sigma? Taurus? That's like picking up women at Weight Watchers or some shit.  
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Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.

Nice
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 3:35:25 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Y-T71:


Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.

Nice
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Originally Posted By Y-T71:
Originally Posted By BobCole:
OP, you have truly bought some shitty, awful guns. I don't want to insult you, (and then you promptly do exactly that anyway )but holy shit, why in the world did you not have a gun guy help you along the way?

AMT? Sigma? Taurus? That's like picking up women at Weight Watchers or some shit.  


Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.

Nice


Holy balls that was brutal..... We have all bought some shitty stuff at one time or another just part of the game.  I have a big box of holsters, parts, and all kinds of misc shit I wasted money on over the years.  I use it to lend to people when they say hey I want to buy this or that.  I promptly respond I have that I will give it to you or you can have it for $X if you like it.  95% of the stuff I have gotten back and I use it to save other people money.  Live and learn.... but do not shit on people for making mistakes all of us have made.
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 3:45:17 PM EST
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Originally Posted By EdgecrusherXES:


Holy balls that was brutal..... We have all bought some shitty stuff at one time or another just part of the game.  I have a big box of holsters, parts, and all kinds of misc shit I wasted money on over the years.  I use it to lend to people when they say hey I want to buy this or that.  I promptly respond I have that I will give it to you or you can have it for $X if you like it.  95% of the stuff I have gotten back and I use it to save other people money.  Live and learn.... but do not shit on people for making mistakes all of us have made.
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Originally Posted By EdgecrusherXES:
Originally Posted By Y-T71:
Originally Posted By BobCole:
OP, you have truly bought some shitty, awful guns. I don't want to insult you, (and then you promptly do exactly that anyway )but holy shit, why in the world did you not have a gun guy help you along the way?

AMT? Sigma? Taurus? That's like picking up women at Weight Watchers or some shit.  


Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.

Nice


Holy balls that was brutal..... We have all bought some shitty stuff at one time or another just part of the game.  I have a big box of holsters, parts, and all kinds of misc shit I wasted money on over the years.  I use it to lend to people when they say hey I want to buy this or that.  I promptly respond I have that I will give it to you or you can have it for $X if you like it.  95% of the stuff I have gotten back and I use it to save other people money.  Live and learn.... but do not shit on people for making mistakes all of us have made.


Exactly.

I am seeing quite a few very nice pieces in that list.

Especially when you consider that small town officers are not typically paid that well to begin with and the OP mentioned personal issues in his life that limited him financially for a period of time I'd say he did pretty well!


Link Posted: 1/19/2021 4:41:33 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Y-T71:

Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.
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Not at all. Merely pointing out the obvious.

For the record, I too have bought my share of shitty guns. Nor did I have a "gun guy" to give me advice, which is how I ended up with shitty guns.
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 4:46:13 PM EST
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Originally Posted By EdgecrusherXES:

Holy balls that was brutal..... but do not shit on people for making mistakes all of us have made.
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I neither "shit on" him nor was brutal. By OP's own admission, many were pieces of shit. I was "brutal" by agreeing with him? Whatever there, Sparky.  

My mistakes were just as bad, however it was LONG before internet days where we could read reviews & ask questions.

Some of you guys are either wrapped way too tight or are in the snowflake generation. Clearly none of you ever held the flashlight for your dad when you were kids.
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 4:50:22 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Y-T71:

Exactly.

I am seeing quite a few very nice pieces in that list.

Especially when you consider that small town officers are not typically paid that well to begin with and the OP mentioned personal issues in his life that limited him financially for a period of time I'd say he did pretty well!
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There were indeed some nice S&W's in there. As for limited finances, I would bet I would win on myself making the least amount of $$ in here. I buy 90%+ of my guns used in order to save $$$. I use lay-a-way on almost all of my purchases as well. I also work two jobs in order to afford the luxury of buying used guns. None of which is anyone's business but my own but I'm writing this just to prove a point. You want to be poor? Come live with me.  
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 8:20:55 PM EST
Another good post OP.  

I ended up with the same daily carry selection of Shield 9 or G42.
Link Posted: 1/19/2021 8:48:45 PM EST
I went through a ton of off duty guns as well. I bought the wife a Glock 42. I ended up stealing it and it’s my almost perfect off duty gun now.
Link Posted: 1/20/2021 2:15:45 PM EST
Great post.

Nice to see appreciation for the Smith 4516.  Loved mine....sadly, long gone.
Link Posted: 1/20/2021 2:22:40 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/20/2021 2:42:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2021 2:42:38 PM EST by Jack19]
Weird double post
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 12:22:21 PM EST
Awesome post.  It is fascinating to hear about such experiences.

Much like you, I've settled on the 9MM shield as my primary carry piece.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 4:08:54 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Y-T71:


Wow, way to take a big shit in this thread.

Nice
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Thanks for the backup! Good to see you still around.
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 4:17:37 PM EST
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Originally Posted By BobCole:
OP, you have truly bought some shitty, awful guns. I don't want to insult you, but holy shit, why in the world did you not have a gun guy help you along the way?

AMT? Sigma? Taurus? That's like picking up women at Weight Watchers or some shit.  
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Keep in mind, most of the truly bad decisions were before the Internet was really a thing, or at least before I really had access to it. As I said in my Duty Guns thread, all I really had for research was gun rags like Guns and Ammo. At the time, I didn't realize passages like "Good enough accuracy for duty carry" really meant "Shitty accuracy but we're afraid that (insert manufacturer's name) will not send us anymore free guns, so we'll be nice". In the gun rags, ALL guns are the best, newest and brightest.

As for not having a gun guy help out, it's really easy. There were no gun guys on the PD and I didn't know any. None of my family were into guns, so I literally had nowhere to go for advice. I was on my own, reading G&A. Nowadays, I AM the gun guy at the PD and quite often advise my guys about potential purchases. Most listen, some don't. Most end up with decent, quality guns. They may not like the individual gun they purchase after shooting it, but at least it is a good quality, reliable gun and they didn't waste their money on junk. I just wish I had that kind of advice when I was young.
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 4:28:45 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Jack19:
Great post.

Nice to see appreciation for the Smith 4516.  Loved mine....sadly, long gone.
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Honestly, I can't explain why I loved the 4516 the way that I did. It was HEAVY, had limited capacity (although the same capacity as a 1911 or my current Shield), had a DA/SA trigger with slide mounted safety when, by that time, I was carrying a Glock 21 on duty that had none of those, and even then, the mags weren't cheap or as readily available as, say, Glock mags. However, I absolutely LOVED that gun and it is one of those that I truly regret getting rid of.

Several years ago, when my wife and I finally got to the financial point that I could afford to start buying recreational guns again, I tried looking for another 4516. By that time, they had been discontinued by S&W for quite some time and prices were quite a bit more than I wanted to pay. Not to mention, mags are pretty scarce and quite expensive themselves. I couldn't justify the purchase when I would only take it out a time or two per year, if that, and would likely never actually carry it. Sucks, but it is what it is.
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 4:54:47 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Aimless:
Man you bought some real stinkers *I was surprised it took so long to get to a glock or j frame.

*before anyone starts I bought mostly decent guns back then and didn't buy stinkers until more recently
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Yep, I did buy some real shit. Chalk it up to a learning experience.

The G26 was bought when they were first introduced. As for the J Frame, well, what can I say? I started out on semi autos and, at that time, revolvers were considered to be for those genetic throwback cavemen that refused to step into modern times. Keep in mind, this was during those wild, turbulent times when LE was going whole hog on replacing revolvers with new, modern Wondernine autos. IIRC, Aimless, you were around in LE in those days, unless I'm remembering someone else. It took quite some time before I finally accepted that revolvers could, in fact, still be a valid choice. What can I say, I was young and dumb.
Link Posted: 1/21/2021 8:10:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/21/2021 8:16:19 PM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 1/23/2021 8:12:11 PM EST
Thank you for posting.
Link Posted: 1/24/2021 11:22:03 AM EST
Wow, thanks for pecking all that out, and for the excellent grammar and spelling!

The only place I was getting lost was "carry" - when you mention how the guns carry I'm not sure if you mean as a duty backup weapon or off-duty concealed carry.

Great read!
Link Posted: 1/24/2021 1:46:40 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Mainsail:
Wow, thanks for pecking all that out, and for the excellent grammar and spelling!

The only place I was getting lost was "carry" - when you mention how the guns carry I'm not sure if you mean as a duty backup weapon or off-duty concealed carry.

Great read!
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Thanks for the kind words. Although I often carried many of these guns for both backup and off duty, when I mention carrying them, it is mostly referring to off duty. The vast majority of my career, backup had been carried in or on my body armor and, as a result, comfort really doesn't factor into that aspect of it. Armor isn't really comfortable, anyway, so a little more discomfort isn't that big of a deal.
Link Posted: 2/4/2021 4:02:26 AM EST
From a younger cop to an older one, thanks for posting this. I bought a G23 after I turned 21, which I kept for about a year at which point I had gotten hired and my department gave us duty ammo in 9 for our off duty carry guns. I swapped the G23 for a P320C, which I still own and love, though I’ve put a Wilson Carry grip on it now. About the same time I picked up a shield for warm weather carry, which I also really liked. I found myself only wanting to carry the shield, but also not satisfied with the capacity, so this fall I sold the Shield and picked up a P365. I love that thing and it is now my carry gun 365. Never have carried a backup on duty.
Link Posted: 2/4/2021 8:40:01 AM EST
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Originally Posted By bluedog82:
From a younger cop to an older one, thanks for posting this. I bought a G23 after I turned 21, which I kept for about a year at which point I had gotten hired and my department gave us duty ammo in 9 for our off duty carry guns. I swapped the G23 for a P320C, which I still own and love, though I’ve put a Wilson Carry grip on it now. About the same time I picked up a shield for warm weather carry, which I also really liked. I found myself only wanting to carry the shield, but also not satisfied with the capacity, so this fall I sold the Shield and picked up a P365. I love that thing and it is now my carry gun 365. Never have carried a backup on duty.
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I'm highly intrigued by the P365. Almost exactly the same size as my Shield, but 10+1 or 12+1. Two things stop me. The first is the fact that, like all Sigs, mags are expensive. I like to have at least 8 mags for every gun I have, and would rather have 10+. I just can't justify the cost of Sig mags when my Shield works just fine and I shoot it very well. After some of the crap listed above that I bought, I also like to shoot an example of a gun before I buy one, if possible, and no one I know owns a P365 for me to try out before buying.

The second is my raging hatred for Sig as a company and how my one and only experience with their customer service went. Briefly, I started out my career in LE with a W German P226. After several thousand rounds, I was having massive rust issues because of the crappy finish (which I found out later was a fairly common problem), and was having many, many malfunctions. I called Sig and the CS rep I spoke to blamed me for doing something to THEIR gun. The rep said that their guns just don't do what I was complaining of, told me that I had done something to it and absolutely refused to do anything about it. Since then, I have flatly refused to have anything to do with anything Sig.

You don't have to answer if you don't want to, but I'm curious. You say that you don't carry a backup gun. Is this by choice or by Dept policy? There are still a few Depts that won't allow them. If it is your choice, I would strongly urge you to find one you like and RELIGIOUSLY carry it, but  in the end, it is completely up to you.
Link Posted: 2/4/2021 9:11:01 AM EST
Awesome article!
Like you, I was young and poor when I started in law enforcement.  Our choices were p226, beretta 92, or S&W 59xx series. Or revolvers. I used a sw 5904 for several years on and off duty, and loved it. Well, I really wanted a p226, but they were too expensive. Then glock took over and it was g17 or g19. Then the caliber wars so 9mm was out in favor of .40 or .45. My last duty weapon was a g21 SF. Good luck hiding that...

Now I carry a steyr m9a2, or a springfield trp 10mm. But thats personal carry. I no longer do Leo work.
Anyway, thanks for the stories.  They brought back memories...
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