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Posted: 5/11/2002 5:57:05 PM EDT

    Our agency is currently in the process of evaluating our duty sidearm.  We are currently issued S&W 4053's DAO in .40 S&W.  Overall, the vast majority of the sworn staff is unhappy with this gun.  It also is no longer available and this will be posing a problem soon.  
    Due to budget constraints we were in the process of submitting a plan to permit personally owned weapons.  As a matter of fact, the draft copy was sent out the the entire division for comment.
    Late last week we (the firearms committee) were informed that suddenly money was found and weapons had to be ordered that specific day.  Of course the administration did not consult with our line staff at all, but rather contacted the state police who were more then happy to recommend the SIG P228 9mm they are beginning to issue.  
     After the order was made, we were consulted and told the order can be modified, but only among 4 brands (Colt, SIG, Glock, and Ruger).  The members of our firearm committee are not eager to give up the .40S&Ws.  We are pretty much convinced that we would like to have the order changed to P229's in .40.  
    Our major concern is that this really isn't any way to consider such a major purchase for about 400 sworn staff.  There also hasn't been any thought or planning put into transition training or any of the multitude of issue this would bring up.  
    Many of us are also still interested in the Personally owned weapon idea.  Does anyone have any thoughts?  Any prior experience in weapon transitions?  Especially experiences in moving AWAY from DAO.  We are still waiting to hear if our preference to change the order back to .40 in the P229's will be considered.  
    Any thoughts you guys have would be greatly appreciated!

Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:25:25 PM EDT
Hmmmmmmmmm.  I see politics and power control is a universal thing among police departments and not just for the one I work for.  I would hazard a guess that the budget line item for weapon purchases was going to be ending that day so they had to get the money used or lose it.  That may be why all of a sudden you can change the order after it was supposedly placed.  If that is the case, then maybe the caliber wont be that big of a problem.  If budgeting is a concern, let them know the massive cost of replacing your ammunition with a whole new caliber, and show them figures.  I have found that the written word carries much more weight with administrators.
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:35:01 PM EDT
Our Department went away from personally-owned weapons to the SIG P229 in .40. Many of us hated to give up our .45s or other weapons, but it did get rid of some the POS junk weapons some of our guys picked. I was particularly upset, and wrote a several page long memo to my chain of command about how I felt (it did get me a bunch of spare magazines and a different holster, but otherwise did nothing).The SIG P229 has had no problems. Rough training has bent a few decockers, and some springs go out here and there, but it is a reliable, durable, fairly accurate weapons system. I have at least 4,000 rounds through mine, and I have not had a malfunction.

Since that time, I have gone to a plain cothes assignment, and policy has been modified to let officers carry personally-owned weapons in plain clothes (along the same line of thought as personally-owned back-up weapons). Despite the fact that I have several other handguns at home that I could carry, I still carry the issue SIG. It is a good weapon.

One other argument for issued weapons (which I know is not what you are looking for)is that the Department can use Simunitions conversions for training without having to stock many different kits, different magazines or worry about officers who have weapons that cannot be converted.
Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:44:38 PM EDT

    Its good to hear the endorsement of the 229.  If I were to be restricted to a DA auto, the SIG's would definitely be at the top of the list.  Our agency has never done and probably has no plans to do any simunition training.  The little exposure I had with simunition in the FBI's LETS course was enough to convince me it is too useful for our agency to ever consider!! LOL  
    Since we are 100% plain clothes, perhaps that will work in our favor regarding the POW situation.  Keep the comments coming.

Link Posted: 5/11/2002 7:45:17 PM EDT
Wow!  An agency going from .40 S&W to 9MM.  (Next your bosses will decide to transition back to wheelguns!!)

On top of that, they’re not giving any thought to transitioning from a DAO to a DA/SA handgun!

Sounds like your firearms committee sees a train wreck coming.

If you can manage the switch to the P229 in .40 S&W, you should be in good shape as far as the weapon and round are concerned.  The P229 is a fine weapon.

Unfortunately, a major issue with the P229 is training officers to remember to decock the thing.   Many agencies covered the decocking issue when first transitioning to semi’s from revolvers or during initial handgun training for new recruits.  It’s an issue that really has to be pounded into students’ heads even then.

I can’t imagine your agency letting you do the two or three days of training that you really need to do solely to get your folks “programmed” to automatically decock their pistols.  But if you don’t, you're going to see your officers walking around on the range during qualifications with cocked pistols in their holsters (been there, done that).

However, maybe you could sell the idea of putting on some sort of a comprehensive two or three day officer safety training program which would include the decocking issue.

I’m pretty certain that the P229 can be acquired with a DAO mechanism.  However, I’ve evaluated DAO P228’s and really disliked them.  

Specifically, for me at least, after firing a round the weak trigger return spring doesn’t push forward hard enough against my trigger finger to get it in place to fire the next round.  I found I had to deliberately move my finger forward before again pulling the trigger.  

Also the Sig is a full DAO.  It’s not partially cocked like the S&W – it requires a long, heavy trigger pull each time a round is fired.

If you can’t get the training, the Glock (in .40 S&W) would be a good way to go.  It probably is closest to the S&W DAO.  My only complaint about the Glock is that the trigger must be pulled to field strip it.  Some instructors argue that is just a training issue, but however you describe it, agencies with Glocks seem to have a lot of rounds flying about in their cleaning rooms!

I haven’t a clue what Colt you’re supposed to be looking at.  Ruger semi’s do work, that’s about all that can be said for them.

If the bosses won’t buy off on the needed training, my absolute first choice would be the Walther P99 “quick action” in .40 S&W.  It is also a DAO with a short trigger pull.  But unlike the Glock, it is not necessary to pull the trigger to disassemble it.  An hour or two of training and your folks would be good to go.

If the Walther is unsellable, maybe the Smith and Wesson version of it might be worth arguing for, though I don’t know if S&W offers the “quick action” version.  Also, I strongly suspect S&W will somehow screw up the design.

Don’t know if any of this is helpful.  Wish you luck.  I’m sure you and the firearms committee know who’s going to be blamed if this doesn’t work out.  Try to get things documented!  
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 7:55:22 AM EDT
Wanting to go to a new gun?  No problem!  Get with your current dealer and ask him to send you samples of each type of firearm which you wish to test.  This should be no problem if they want to make the sale.  Upon receiving the samples of firearms you wish to test, Select a hand full of experienced gun addicts from your department and go to the range with plenty of ammo(make sure you throw in some left handers,big guys,small guys and some female officers if you have them.  Run them through the mill and make a reasonable and sound judgement on the next firearm to be purchased.  That way you have a body of experienced individuals making the decision and not just one SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess)
PS> Stick with the .40
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 4:51:45 PM EDT

    Well 199, our primary goal being the gun guys was to get away from the DAO.  You're right, we have thought about the decock issue and just like you predicted, we're almost sure we're never gonna get 2 or 3 days of range time to get everyone properly trained.  At this point we have a grand total of one certified range instructor (hopefully two if I pass in July).  Until now we used the range staff of another agency.  We have had such awful complaints about the DAO smith's and their trigger pull that we pretty much have to go to the DA/SA mode.  Nobody seems to be too gung ho about the Glocks, myself included, and our state police recently had a MAJOR problem with the S&W 99/Walther.  I believe they all came in and were all shipped back due to function issues.
    With regard to the Colt and Ruger, these as well as Glock and SIG are the only brands our supplier is contracted to sell.  That's the reason we're limited, as we've been told we're limited to this supplier.
    VWPD, we would love to do exactly as you propose and conduct some real testing with the line staff, but problem is, we're not being given the chance.  
    Keep the thought coming.

Link Posted: 5/12/2002 4:55:22 PM EDT
I am very suprised to see Ruger listed but not Beretta,I rather carry the Beretta 8000 or 92 than any ruger IMHO.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 8:38:48 PM EDT

I see you're from Pa and contacted the State Police?  If you contacted the PA State Police, we’ve been carrying Beretta 96D, Brigadiers for years now.  We’ve never carried the Sig on duty.
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 8:44:13 PM EDT
whatever happened to the bidding process? or is that just for the federal folks? seemed like someone picked sigs and everybody went, "[b]Yeah, sigs! oorah![/b]"
Link Posted: 5/12/2002 8:51:07 PM EDT
If you're Dept is 400+ officers I'd recommend going with the Glock .40 series.  The majority of LE both Federal and Local have gone this route for good reason.

Pros for the Glock:

1.) Durability/Reliability

2.) Price (Usually $350-385 ea LE with 3 Mags)

3.) Used by something like 70%+ of all LEO/Military(World-Wide).So there are tons of available options on duty gear and accesories. Also ther are a ton of established policy manuals and write-ups available form FLETC.

4.) Available in 3 sizes for Duty-Uniformed(22/23), Duty Plain Clothes(23/27), Off Duty/Back up(23/27, and UC(27).

5.) Magazine interchangability.

6.) Maintenance and parts are cheap.

If you want to reduce training time go with the 8lbs trigger pull. It will give a pull similiar to what you had on your S&W 4053 Series.

FYI--If you go with the Sig 229, they offer a shorter trigger for officers with small hands(Female/shorter Males). Sigs are nice pistols but they don't work for everyone. The higher bore axis makes perceived recoil seem greater.

As a side note there is nothing wrong with going back to the 9mm. With the Newer 124/127 JHPs they are equal to the .40 with less recoil.Important if your department is like most and the officers are not regular shooters.Cost of 9mm is also about 2/3 of the better .40's

Link Posted: 5/13/2002 9:16:50 AM EDT
hipowr:  Since your folks want to go with a DA/SA semi anyway, the P229 would be an excellent choice.  

I had heard that the NJSP had a problem with the S&W/Walther P99’s, but maybe it was the PA State Police instead.  I’m convinced that if S&W took up making something as simple as a tent peg, they’d still find some way of screwing it up!!

As Colt-653 mentions, the P229 does have a high bore axis, which will give you a bit of muzzle flip.  However, it shouldn’t be much different from the S&W’s you’re carrying now.

As Colt-653 also mentions, Sig has a “short” trigger that can be helpful for shooters with small hands.  However, it’s not for everyone.  Some shooters find that when pulling back on the short trigger, their trigger finger tends to hit the rear of the triggerguard before the trigger is far enough back to fire the weapon.

Also, the short trigger seems to slightly change the angle the trigger is being pulled, making the triggerpull feel a tad heavier (to me, at least).  Fortunately, the short trigger is easy to drop in and remove from the pistol, so experimentation is no problem.  

If you have not already done so, you might want to make sure the guns you order have the proper sights for the round you will be carrying.  Sig has quite a few different heights available for both the front and rear sights (to include nitesights).  

If you don’t specify, Sig will send you a standard sight setup.  Granted, this is less of an issue with a .40 S&W than a 9MM, which has such a wide range of bullet weights available.

If you decide to get the Sig, be sure and get a Sig sightpusher or two.  It makes adjusting and replacing sights a snap.  They’re about $80 each.  

Also immediately get yourself some replacements parts for the magazine release.  When swapping the mag release for lefties, you’ll occasionally lose or damage some of those parts.  Grip screws also have a habit of getting lost.

Try to get yourself into the Sig Armorer’s School.  See: [url]www.sigarms.com/academy/index.asp[/url]
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 9:35:15 AM EDT

That was NJSP.  We've (PSP) never had the SW/Walther.  We went right from the Ruger Security Six to the Beretta, and have been with the Beretta ever since.

Link Posted: 5/13/2002 1:45:19 PM EDT

    Well, as several of you figured out, I'm referring to a NJ agency.  I just happen to live in PA and work in NJ.  Works out MUCH better for me :>...  
     There have been some who have suggested the Glock, both here and in our agency.  I personally, as well as the majority of our committee just happen to not be big Glock fans.  Several of us have Glocks off duty as that is one of the currently permitted off duty guns.  None of us a overwhelmingly struck by the Glocks.  I'm not saying it is a bad gun, I'm just saying it doesn't strike us as am improvement over our current S&W's.  
     With regard to the bidding process, we are a state agency.  Apparently, the supplier in question has a state contract to provide the brands I've listed before.  To our agency, this is just a purchase on an existing state contract (if I understand the situation correctly).  
     Colt-653, as officers, our goal isn't to reduce training time.  We would like as much as we can get.  I am more concerned with what we can get out of them.  I am hoping that we will be able to get some instructors out to SIG both for armorers and for assistance with transition (if we go that way)as 199 suggested.  This will likely (hopefully) provide us with some ammo to use against the administration to assure we get enough time.
     I appreciate all the input so far, and plan to keep looking in to see what else you guys come up with.  I've been impressed with the input so far, and have suggested to some other members of our committee to come over and take a look at your ideas.  
     Also, I'll be sure to keep everyone posted what ever comes out of this whole situation.  Several of us are hoping to go with the SIGs and still manage to get a personally owned weapons policy in place too.  We still have to see which way the political winds are blowing in that regard.

Link Posted: 5/13/2002 4:52:51 PM EDT

I wasn't saying you should cut training time, simply saying that the 8lbs trigger pull on the Glock is similar as far as muscle memory goes in regards to the S&W 4053. I know how it often is at the PD. We never seemed to have enough time for training.

A key problem you may run into transitioning from a DAO(S&W) to a DA/SA  are AD's.  We had several officers who came from another Department to ours who experienced AD's/ND's.

At the time(1995) we issued the Sig 226/228 9mm, they were used to using the S&W 5946 and would forget to decock before holstering.
Also a common accident was dropping the mag on the Sig and thinking it was safe because the  S&W's had the magazine safety.   Just before I left LE to return to civilian life my Department transitioned over to the Glock 22/23( 80%+ of our 60 man department all ready carried it.) We did however alllow officers to purchase and carry approved pistols.

It's too bad your agency will not let you allow personal arms. The one gun for everyone often doesn't work.  

Needless to say if go with the Sig 229, at least you're getting one of the best pistols available.

Good Luck
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 2:16:15 PM EDT

    Colt-653, I couldn't agree more regarding the one gun for all problem.  That is our major point in continuing to try for the personally owned weapon list also.  
     The way I see it, as well as several others, I don't believe we'll have any larger a problem with ND's with the SIG then we would with the Glock.  Besides the decocker issue, as you pointed out, the magazine safety issue is probably just as important.  Especially since many of our officers really believe that dropping the mag makes the gun safe (as opposed to not relying on any safety).  
     Any more thoughts on the personally owned weapons policy?  Particularly from those who have been successful in getting one approved.  Especially in NJ.

Link Posted: 5/14/2002 2:56:37 PM EDT

Colt-653 really brings up a good point regarding magazine safeties.

You might want to consider a quick drill I used to do during transition training to make the point:

I started everyone on the firing line with a loaded and holstered semi.  I gave them a command to remove the magazine from the pistol (while leaving the pistol holstered) and put the magazine in their pocket.  I then gave them a command to draw the weapon, point it at the target, and pull the trigger to see what happens.

This makes the point pretty clearly.  Document that you did this.

(I’m assuming all your holsters allow the magazine to be removed with the pistol holstered.  There are a few holsters out there that cover the magazine release, making this difficult or impossible.)

For years, I argued for a personally owned firearms policy where I worked.  I failed totally.  I certainly can’t give you any advice in this area!  Sorry.
Link Posted: 5/14/2002 3:09:04 PM EDT

    That's a great drill!  I will certainly use it!  Thanks 199!

Link Posted: 5/16/2002 5:58:19 PM EDT
Our dept switched to the 226 40 cal. We piggy backed on the State Police purchase. DOn't know if this is possible for PA. Also the dealer may give you a good deal if you have a lot of preban mags ( i'm not familiar with your gun). Also the Dpet is now looking at the 239 for plainclothes/Det. assignments. Training was negligible, because we carried the 228/6 in 9mm prior to the switch.
Link Posted: 6/4/2002 2:41:37 PM EDT

    Well, I got a little lax guys with updates.  I've been caught up in the expected political firestorm surrounding the whole issue of new guns.  I figured I'd update folks a bit and see if it spawns any more comment.
     Contrary to everything I posted before, were told a couple of weeks ago to test more then just SIG and Glock.  We were given the go ahead to test HK and S&W also.  Of course being completely ignorant of how to conduct a selection process, they sent different groups to test each different brand.  
     The result of that testing was that consensus seemed to be that HK was going to offer the most bang for the buck with the USP 40.  With regards to the training and support they offered, the desirability of the product to those who shot it, and the infinite variety of setups available (especially for lefties), we were pretty much sold on Variant 1's and the LH equivalents.
    Now for the issues we are facing.  First is compact versus full size.  The shooters universally favored the full size (all plainclothes officers).  They felt the extra rounds and reduced recoil were worth the size.  The officers in the field upon hearing this said they don't want a gun that big.  
    The second issue is that we share training resources with another agency.  That agency has expressed a lack of interest in helping us transition away from DAO.  I believe we have our management convinced to drop DAO but the political realities of this will be up to them to resolve.  
     The latest as of today is we are going to have one group of shooters, myself included, test the HK versus the Glock and hopefully make a decision.  The Glock thing came up as a wildcard, and i'm not even sure how it got in the running as we always believed it was a race between HK and Sig, but we were content to let them have it that way as we believe the HK will come out ahead.  
    I'd love to hear from some HK departments out there, as well as from anyone with any helpful input.  Many of us still believe we will be criticized no matter how it goes, but I guess we're doing our best.  The good news is we are finally being consulted.  The bad news is that politics seem to be throwing wrenches in the works at every step.  
     Thanks for all the info!

Link Posted: 6/13/2002 4:21:30 PM EDT

     Well, latest update guys.  We shot the Glock and HK today.  The HK beat the Glock basically on every count with 100% of the shooters.  We tested both the DA/SA Variant 1 and the new LEM model.  I was actually really impressed with the 5lb LEM almost to the point I would recommed it, but I still like the DA/SA better.  Looks like we're going to recommend the HK Compact .40 in Var 1 followed by the LEM if they refuse to go away from DAO.  I'd still like to hear from some HK agencies out there, but nobody has piped up yet.  If i'm boring you guys, feel free to let the thread die.  

Link Posted: 6/13/2002 5:18:55 PM EDT
Nope not boring us yet [:d]

I cannot say I am from an HK dept, but they are authorized and I carry them. I found the USP 45 compact variant 1 to be my favorite and it shoots the best out of any handgun I have tried extensively so far, (that is most except the hi-power series.) All variants of USPs are apprived duty carry for us, except if you choose to take a "issue" Glock currently the 22 or 23 in 40SW. I am hooked on the USP so I choose to qual and carry the USP C and F, depending on situation. About 40% of the guys who have a choice carry HKs, mostly 40s. SOme are just not that into it and don;t want to pony up the $$ and take the GLock for free. The glock aims to high naturally for me, and I don't like the safe action. I actually prefer SA/DA.

A few of the HK guys switched to Para Ordiance LDAs (no SA only allowed) and I must say they have a beautiful trigger, and I could get used to them. The double stacks have a weak magazine and I see all sorts of failures on the range. The single stack guys bought nice aftermarket mags and don't have any problems. I think the finish is also a little subpar. One of the best triggers ever though.

The LEM trigger is a little wierd for me, a lot of slack initially and I am too used to DA/SA. Some dept's may prefer the LEM due to simplicity though.

There is plenty of gear out there for HKs, if your dept is willing to spend the $$ I wouldn't hesitiate to recommend the HKs.

After your T&E at the range I am sure you will agree!
Link Posted: 6/14/2002 5:17:52 PM EDT

    LE, its good to hear the vote of confidence.  As you properly assumed, the H&K acquitted itself quite well in the T&E.  I suspect the agency will go with the LEM due to its inability to accept change, but it will be with my protest (as little as that means... LOL).  I did find the LEM a little weird for the first shot, but subsequent shots weren't bad as I staged the trigger during recoil and it was pretty much like a SA auto at that point.  Either way, things are looking up alot from the current S&W DAO's!

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