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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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  • 026_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good news. Got to be able to deal with the bad guys. I believe assault rifles are a good idea too.

  • Gas_mask_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad to see they are stepping up

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad to see the Dekalb County PD will be going to the .40 caliber. Big thumbs up to letting the officers make the decision. As for going to the .45 real tough to get ammo for .45 and the price is through the roof.

  • Ganster_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I agree with those who have already put it up here... should have gone with the .45. Still at least it is going in the right direction!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    We have always carried shotguns and just within past 5 years been able to purchase .223 to carry. The 40 is definitely needed. As far as .45 u gotta take into account price of rounds. We have upwards of 700 + officers.

  • D_c_8_27_nov_07_041_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad to see they are moving in the right direction.

  • 6a048005e48370f2_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Should have went with the Smith and Wesson 500 .50 cal. LOL

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Need a 40 or higher to not be outgunned.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Thumbs up. Good idea.
    A Beretta 92FS will have 15 rounds Standard Mag.
    With the .40 there is still the benefit of a fairly high capacity magazine. For example the Standard Glock .40 Mag will hold 13 rounds.
    It could prove better for them to trade a couple 2 rounds capacity for a bigger round... Remember, there is a compromise between caliber and capacity: The higer the caliber, the less capacity...
    Would be nice to have .50 with a 30 rounds Mag...? LOL
    Your Duty Belt may just become a little bulky... LOL...

  • 1979_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Better idea is to give then .45's. The big slow .45 is a round that will put a suspect down. Even if the suspect is wearing a vest it is going to hit him hard enough that it might put him down anyway.

  • 12235_sq90_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Wow about time, but why not 45 cal or 45 gap ?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    That's great they are moving away from 9mm but like JayaR1st said, why not go all the way and go to .45 cal. I have an XD in .45 cal and love it. Also if the department is seeing more assault type weapons on the street, do they or are they going to carry AR's as well. A pistol will never be enough against a AK-47 and the such.

  • Lion_cub__masai_mara__kenya_max50


    over 4 years ago


    so... is there some way i can get on that deal? i mean a S&W .40 for $173 and change is a heck of a deal.

    and that's with holster and mags...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    It's good to hear that they are getting a higher caliber weapons, but why not go the distance and get 45's? The Springfield XD in 45 holds 13 plus 1 round.

    Also, they mention being behind the times; if they are only just now considering assault rifles then they are definitely behind the times. I work for a dept. of 38 sworn in a 3 square mile community and even we have shot guns, less lethal and assault rifles in all of the cars.

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