14 March 2009

That's a cute little paper weight....but...

From the Cop side: When I started out as a cop about 30 years ago, we were issued revolvers for our duty weapon. Even though they were .357 Magnums (Smith & Wesson Model 66 stainless steel), we were issued .38 special rounds. Now at the time, everyone thought the ammo, which was .38 +P+ was supposed to be really good stuff, some of us knew better.
I was a “gun guy” so I read a lot about the guns and ammo we used. I also did a lot of my own experiments with the ammo by shooting it into things to see how well it did. It was not really very good. So, how did law enforcement agencies all over the US get sucked into buying this crap by the case? The manufactures told them it was the best.

The problem then, as it is now, most of the Admin Pukes (APs) who decide what ammo to buy really have little background in firearms. They are usually not gun people. The smart APs now leave it to the range masters to pick the best ammo. (We have some really good stuff nowdays!)
But, it wasn’t just the ammo that was lacking. Our duty guns only held 6 rounds. In the stress of a critical situation that 6 rounds would go really fast. Then to reload, you had to push the cylinder release, tilt the pistol backwards and hit the ejection rod to knock out the empty cases. Now, you’re half way to reloading.
Then you had to reach into your spare ammo pouch. There were a few ways to put fresh ammo in the cylinder. You could take loose rounds and drop them into the holes. You could take a rubber “speed strip” and load 2 at a time. Or, you could take a “speed loader” and drop in 6 at a time. Then close the cylinder and start shooting again.
Sounds like a long time doesn’t it when you compare that to reloading a semi auto pistol now. Some of us could actually reload our revolvers in just a few seconds---during training. I never had to reload one under real stress of being shot at—but those I know who did said a real gun fight was a lot different than at the range. Some said they had 10 thumbs under stress.

Every now and then I see some AP who’s daily duty is riding a desk and moving paper (or now computer files) around in an effort to look like they are doing something. I saw one the other day wearing an ancient S&W Model 36. I had one of these one time. The only reason I ever bought one was because at the time we could only carry revolvers on or off duty. The Model 66 duty weapon was too big to pack off duty, so I bought the 5 shot Model 36. It was “cute.”

Now in 2009 we have lots of choices in what we may use on or off duty. Some departments limit by brand name and caliber. But, in about the same size and weight as that ancient Model 36, 38 special, I can carry a 10 shot .45 auto. Or, a 14 shot .380 auto. Heck, I could still slip my 1911 .45 full size auto into my waist band and still be better off than that little 5 shot paper weight.
Some people say size doesn’t matter. It does when it comes to a handgun you may have to use to defend yourself with. Sometimes just the sight of a big ass .45 will make some puke think really hard about whether or not he’s going to “make your day.”
(I’ve actually had a few pukes look at my .45 and say that they didn’t want to mess with someone carrying a .45. I’ll use that fear factor and go with it any day.)

In the 1980’s, a bunch of us range masters had to work really hard to get some of the police chiefs and sheriffs to let us start carrying semi autos. The old complaints were: “Oh, they jam too much. Oh, we’ve used revolvers as long as I’ve been a cop, so they must be good.” “ You’ll never carry an auto as long as I’m the boss.” “Revolvers work fine, why spend the money on a new gun?”
They were stuck in their ways. Some of them old bosses were really assholes about it. A few times we’d set up a range training event and have a revolver vs auto. The auto won every time. As the autos got better, the “jamming” problems went away. And we discovered a lot of the problems were user error. The officers didn’t clean the auto right, or didn’t lube it. I’ve seen some really dumbass cops with guns at the ranges.

Some range screw ups: Loading 9mm rounds into a .40 cal. Loading .40 cal rounds into a .45. Taking duty weapons apart at home and not putting together correctly. I mean taking out tools and removing parts that are not supposed to be removed---then showing up at the range and wondering why the pistol won’t fire. I’ve seen duty guns and ammo show up with ammo that was green with corrosion. Pistols that wouldn’t open without hitting with a mallet due to rust.
These were all guns that the cop or deputy carried on duty in their holsters.
By the time I retire, we should have ray guns or something.


J said...

I'd like to have a few "experiments with ammo" on a certain smoke detector at my house...I think they installed that particular one as a torture device.

I'm hoping to get to shoot a Springfield XD tomorrow at the range. Should be fun. I saw you had it on your favorite list...

Be safe out there copper...glad they're letting you defend yourself with more than a paperweight these days.

Anonymous said...

A Sig or Glock .45 doesn't take up much room on the hip and feels better than the old snub nose in the "feel safe" department.

Sergeant Grumpy said...

"D" I've got a story for you - when I was in the box, one of the "team" guys who was too kool for school shot himself in, no through, the hand trying to disassemble his Glock. The fucker racked the chambered round out and pulled the trigger (you have to disassemble the Glock, but you know that) with his hand over the f'in muzzle. Here's the catch, he never dropped the magazine. And this was a long-tabber - couple hundred dollars of training down the drain.