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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’s SWAT team, which is armed with MP5 9 mm submachine guns, is usually called out any time officers encounter suspects with high-caliber weapons.

Patrol officers, however, have the option of increasing their firepower.

DeKalb allows an officer to purchase his or her own AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle similar to an M16. The officer can carry it on duty only after passing a specific 40-hour training class and qualifying at the county’s range, O’Brien said.

Firearms experts say most law-enforcement agencies across the nation are moving toward the .40 caliber because it can stop a threat more effectively.

“This bullet is slower than the 9 mm but is bigger and has more impact,” DeKalb Deputy Chief Diane Loos said.

Bullets expand like an umbrella when they strike tissue. Because the new bullets are larger - the 9 mm is about a third of an inch in diameter, and the .40-caliber is slightly wider - they go deeper and cause a larger wound, according to John Finor, first vice president of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners.

“The .40 will have a much larger projectile,” Finor said. “Your chances of stopping an aggressive action or someone who is a threat is much greater.”

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Finor, who retired from Philadelphia police after 32 years, serves as the firearms examiner for the Montgomery County, Pa., district attorney, testing bullets for about 50 police agencies. Finor said many law-enforcement agencies across the nation began looking at increasing firepower in the late 1990s after Los Angeles police officers were outgunned during a bank robbery and shootout.

“For firepower, we’re seeing lots of patrol officers starting to carry AR-15s and other patrol rifles because of the threat of coming in contact with the assault rifle,” Finor said. “When you see major cities allowing officers to carry patrol rifles, that speaks volumes about the crime situation.”

O’Brien said his officers routinely come in contact with assault rifles and other “serious” weapons.

In September, DeKalb officers arrested a man who had slipped out of handcuffs and stolen a Duluth police cruiser. When apprehended, he was carrying an AR-15 that he had stolen from the Duluth officer, police said.

“The criminal element has more powerful weapons. We want equal firepower. It’s just a sign of the time,” said Larry Johnson, the DeKalb County Commission’s presiding officer. “If it protects one officer, it’s a worthy investment.”

In 2009, 47 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in the United States - a 24 percent increase from the previous year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.

In April, three Pittsburgh officers were killed and two wounded after a man armed with an AK-47 opened fire during a standoff.

A month earlier, three officers died in Oakland, Calif., when a suspect opened fire with an assault rifle.

“We’ve been lucky that we haven’t had any casualties, but we want to be prepared,” O’Brien said.

  • 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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