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Ga. Police Upgrade to .40-Caliber Sidearms to Counter Criminals

Ga. Police Upgrade to .40-Caliber Sidearms to Counter Criminals

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via YellowBrix

January 26, 2010

DeKALB, Ga. — Gangs and drug traffickers have ditched their pistols for assault rifles and other military-style firearms, leaving police outgunned.

To beef up its arsenal, the DeKalb County Police Department is trading in its 9 mm handguns for .40-caliber weapons, which are more effective.

Last week, the County Commission approved the purchase of 1,200 Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handguns to replace the force’s Berettas.

“A common weapon on the streets is a .40 caliber,” acting DeKalb police Chief William O’Brien said. “We’re a little behind the times with the 9 mm.”

Most officers in the metro area and across the nation carry .40-caliber handguns. Some, like DeKalb, give officers the option to carry higher-powered weapons as long as they are trained.

Check out PoliceLink’s extensive handgun reviews.

For O’Brien, the problem was twofold: The department’s 9 mm Berettas were more than 20 years old and no longer manufactured.

“We couldn’t replace them,” he said.

Officers on the streets also found their 9 mm guns could not compete with those in the hands of criminals armed with .40-caliber handguns and assault rifles.

“We got some pretty heinous weapons,” DeKalb District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming said. “We’re seeing AK-47s, street sweepers, military-style weapons. It’s not just your mom’s pistol any more.”

Last year, the county tested weapons from four manufacturers who submitted bids.

“We brought all of the weapons to the range,” O’Brien said. “Officers could go shoot each one and fill out a survey. This model was chosen by the majority of officers.”

Commissioner Lee May said he was pleased the decision was made by officers, not the administration.

“They chose what’s best for them,” he said. “It’s about the officers being safe.”

The $207,475 contract will pay for 1,200 guns, holsters and magazines to outfit the department.

Atlanta police officers also carry .40-caliber Smith & Wesson guns. The department is considering arming its force with assault rifles but is still doing research on the benefits of the weapons, said Officer Otis Redmond, a police spokesman.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    great choice

  • Oc16_001_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The change is a good move for now. I did not think any departments still used the 9mm. The bigger the better, I always say. Also important, can you hit something when you shoot at it? Regular practice at shooting is very very important. It could save your life someday. Try it.

  • Warrior_knight_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Go big or stay home! The truly bad guys are stopped only one way and bigger is better. Went through a tactical course. Some shooting 9mm had trouble knocking the steel re-sets down, took 2 or more shots. My 40 took one. Hit'em hard and hit'em often.

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad to hear that the officers got to have a say in the process. Glad to hear that they are moving up to a stronger caliber.

  • Dscn1017_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I like the Glock. It's been our dept. side arm for about 10 years. I have 3 personal Glocks in 9mm, .40, and .45. Like them all. the .45 is the only full size Glock and it's very nice to shoot. The Compact .40 is a kicker compared to the 9mm and doesn't seem to shoot nearly as accurately with about 600 rounds through it. The 9mm shoots like a .22. Depends on the person is my point. I shoot a H K .45 USP (2001, variant 3) when shooting competition and love the thing. The accuracy and recoil are super.

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I agree with the others comments on the .45 caliber. I always thought my state was behind the times.

  • Blue_line_decal_max50


    over 4 years ago


    iHenry, probably, it's a liability issue with the department having to have oficers shoot their own training course with the weapon. If they didn't have them qual on the state or department course a lawsuit would definitely be filed if the officer ever had to use the weapon. And, of course military style training would probably be a bit different than police style firearms training.

  • Dcp_0435_max50


    over 4 years ago


    40 hours of training to carry the AR-15... I wonder if prior service infantry still have to take that training? The military training is much more intense and much longer than the 40 hours of civilian training. :)

  • 014_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Cocked and Locked .45 and training, how can you go wrong??? OK I do like my .357 Sig...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    S&W? I won't be too critical because we carried S&W for nearly 15 yrs and I had no problem with it. I really liked the magazine disconnect. Over the last year we transitioned to the Glock 9mm with the option to purchase our own Glock .40 or .45 to carry if we wish. Every department has their own "self proclaimed ballistics expert" in the range who makes these decisions. So now the .40 is the present day "best option?" I wonder if our armorers feel like they made the wrong choice now.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Replacing 20 yr old sidearms makes sense, and it seems the department is getting a good deal. 40 S&W is a upgrade if for no other reason than bullet selection, fortys have a proven track record. The part about criminals out gunning them is either misinformation if not disinformation.

  • Annual_line_inspection_035_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Handgun is a reactionary defensive weapon, if you know there is a gunfight....bring a rifle. 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP the wound channel and energy difference are not substantial enough to ignore the number one factor...shot placement. Spend more time and money training less emphasis should be placed on equipment. The most dangerous gun in the world should be the one in your hand regardless of calibre.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    The ar15 is a great weapon and when an acog or eotech is added it is a awesome weapon

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Why didn't they go to the 45 acp instead of the 40 cal.

  • 800px-gadsden_flag


    over 4 years ago


    This article is full of so much misinformation, it's pathetic. First:

    "The department’s 9 mm Berettas were more than 20 years old and no longer manufactured."

    WHAT?!? Where the heck did they come up with that one???

    Next, they talk about all of the military "assault rifles" and "street sweepers" the officers are encountering, but then they only point to one case where the "assault rifle" encountered was one stolen from a police patrol car, and one other. IN PHILADELPHIA. Politicians, the media, and unfortunately many times cops as well, distort the real danger of firearms in society and use it to scare the public into supporting gun control legislation that simply doesn't work.

    On a positive note, I am glad to see that the agency decided to enter the 21st century and upgrade to a better caliber round.

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