There’s a Police Force that Still Issues REVOLVERS?

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, here’s another example of the cluelessness of the media when it comes to firearms, and the double-standard between the honorable law-enforcement community and we mere peons.

And, of course, the obligatory reference to evil “assault weapons.”

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports on the police force’s desire to upgrade from revolvers to semi-autos. Let us fisk:

Police may switch to semi-autos

Rank and file police officers could soon holster identical firearms if the police chief gets his way. He’s developing a standardized gun policy to better protect officers with concern for not risking public safety, he said.

Remember that point.

“We must provide officers with the tools to combat the crooks who are better armed than we are,” said Police Chief Pete Alvarez. Alvarez’s officer survey indicates semi-automatic weapons are the gun of choice.

A cost of approximately $500 to $700 per gun for officers will be paid for using drug seizure money allotted for the police department, the chief said. Police officers are initially issued revolvers and now pay for their own semi-automatic weapons.

That’s a pretty sucky policy, I’ll grant. But here comes the evil “assault weapon” bit:

Police ability to protect and defend the public wanes when they’re caught in the open and run out of firepower while facing a bullet-spitting SKS assault rifle wielded by a gang member, Alvarez said.

It’s a semi-automatic rifle that fires more accurately from long-range.

“The SKS is a common weapon in Corpus Christi, and police are definitely outgunned,” said John Hornsby, 36, Corpus Christi police ballistics’ identification supervisor. “But I’m not a fan of the ‘one-size-gun-fits-all’ mindset.”

(*Sigh*)

First, the SKS is NOT an “assault rifle,” even by the (admittedly loose) Federal definition. It has a fixed magazine, no pistol grip, and only holds ten rounds.

It is a semi-automatic rifle, but then, so is the Ruger Mini-14 – a weapon excluded from the AWB that does take a detachable magazine. They both “spit bullets.”

Aren’t all firearms “bullet-spitting?”

And what, exactly, does “fires more accurately from long-range” mean? More accurately than what? What constitutes “long range”? The switch to semi-auto pistols is supposed to make the police equal to SKS-toting gangsters? Um, the SKS is a rifle. A pistol is what you use to fight your way to your rifle.

I’m supposed to believe the author of this is a Texan? Must be a Yankee transplant.

Gun uniformity is a law enforcement agency trend recently adopted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, FBI, Parks and Wildlife wardens and others, Alvarez said.

Because they are often in rural areas and might be chasing vehicles, the Nueces County Sheriff’s Department often uses weapons designed for more long-range use. The DPS already uses a semi-automatic weapon.

As a long-range handgunner myself, I call “BULLSHIT!” Revolvers are by far more suitable to long-range shooting than semi-autos, second only to single-shot specialty pistols. Semi-autos are better at “bullet-spitting,” though. (Remember that “public safety” quote, now.)

Benefits of standardizing

The benefits outweigh the concerns, Alvarez said. A standardized weapon policy would:

Enhance officer safety

Save costs by not duplicating training

Better protect the public

The Corpus Christi Police Department provides cadets with either a .357-caliber Magnum or .38-caliber revolver that holds six bullets and trains them with this type of gun. But about 80 percent of the 437 officers have received secondary training to carry semi-automatic weapons that have cartridges holding 16 rounds. The department has nine models and calibers approved for use, police officials said.

Uh, right. Well, he didn’t call them “clips” at least. Anyway, the cops have the choice of carrying a six-shot revolver, or a sixteen shot pistol. I know what choice I’d take. I’d much rather spit sixteen rounds between reloads.

When officers choose to shelve the department-issued revolver and purchase, out of their own pockets, a semi-automatic weapon, they have to complete a 10-hour automatic weapon transitional course before they’re allowed to use it in service. If the department adopts a standardized firearm policy, only the initial 40-hour academy weapons training would be required.

“This standardized firearm policy would save the department about $350 per officer by eliminating secondary training,” said Cmdr. Bryan Smith, in charge of police training. It will also reduce the ammunition inventory kept in stock at the firing range, he said.

“The benefit is creating one method of training with one trigger-pull that every officer would be expected to master,” Smith said. Guns come with different trigger pressures and grips.

Now there’s a newsflash.

Most buy own semi-autos

Most Corpus Christi police officers have chosen to buy their own semi-automatic weapons in the past 20 years, but opinions regarding the use of revolvers and semi-automatic guns are as varied as the types of weapons being used.

Assistant Chief Ken Bung has been reviewing responses from officers regarding a change to standardized weapons and says that most officers seem to prefer a .40-caliber semi-automatic weapon.

“We want a weapon that the biggest majority of our officers can shoot effectively,” Bung said. Of 58 responses to the chief’s survey, some of which represent several officers’ opinions, more than half favor a standardized weapon, Bung said. Twelve respondents thought more than one weapon should be authorized, and almost all wanted a semi-automatic weapon, he said.

The department is also reviewing research material from other police agencies, and Bung said they should make an educated decision “fairly soon.”

Surviving with revolvers

Some officers have survived tense situations with the standard-issue six-shooter.

“One officer was shot a few years ago before he cleared leather with his weapon,” said Cmdr. Jesse Garcia, the uniform police supervisor. “He emptied his .357 returning fire and had the barrel in the guy’s stomach when it finally clicked empty.”

But last November Officer Phillip Bintliff, 34, ran out of ammunition in a shootout in the 4000 block of Schanen Boulevard when a suspect shot him in the abdomen, Garcia said.

In the same shootout, officer Jose Smith, 28, was shot in the forehead and dropped his weapon, a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that holds 16 rounds, and the suspect retrieved it to shoot police officer Israel Carrasco, 32, in the shoulder and leg, Garcia said.

“Hands down, the semi-automatic is the way to go,” Garcia said. “But it’d be like the department buying one size rain coat for everyone.”

Err, perhaps a poor analogy Commander. That way you end up with some officers enveloped in their raincoats, and some with their limbs sticking out in the rain.

It’s more important that the officer be able to shoot what he or she carries, as New Mexico State Trooper Lt. Don Day recently demonstrated when he used his single-action revolver – loaded with only five rounds – to stop a bank robber.

Some semi-automatic weapons have been known to jam.

“It depends on the quality of the gun,” Garcia said. “Any automatic has the possibility of a jam, but proper caretaking minimizes it, and officers are trained to clear jamming.”

Well, yes and no. If you’re wounded and “limp-wristing” the reliability of semi-auto pistols is definitely less than that of revolvers. Revolvers can fail, though it’s rare, and they’re far less sensitive to ammo quality, but when a revolver fails, it’s usually a major failure, not a “tap, rack, bang” semi-auto jam.

Calls for variety of weapons

Other high-ranking police officials voiced concerns.

“We don’t buy one size pair of pants,” said Capt. Mike McKinney, communications supervisor. “I don’t think we can buy one handgun and everyone be able to shoot it competently.”

Apparently Captain McKinney isn’t fond of the single-size issue raincoat.

McKinney thinks the department should have gun manufacturers provide a variety of guns for extensive testing.

“We need different size officers, with different skill levels, men and women, to shoot several hundred rounds from each firearm,” McKinney said. “That’s the only way to compare a cross-section and decide what’s best for the department as a whole.”

There’s a variety of ammunition to choose from for use with semi-automatic weapons, and it is an important consideration for public safety, Alvarez said.

Some agencies have different requirements.

“FBI agents use ammunition that penetrates and exits the suspect,” McKinney said. “Their thought is that the suspect will bleed out and drop sooner with two wounds.”

For local police, the ammunition of choice for semi-automatic weapons is a 124-grain hollow-point bullet made by Federal called Hydra-Shok, McKinney said.

Hollow point bullets take in fluid and tissue while tearing through a body, which causes the slug to expand and slow down, Hornsby said. Depending on the angle of the shot, distance and how it hits, the slug often doesn’t exit the body, he said.

Alvarez said the nature of the hollow points lessens the possibility that a bullet could exit an intended target and strike another person.

“We need to select ammunition with enough knock-down power to get the job done,” Alvarez said. “But not powerful enough to continue trajectory to others.”

“We’ve got to change with the times,” Alvarez said. “Criminals are better equipped and we shouldn’t be left behind.”

OK, now remember the bit about public safety? Check the graphic that came with the story:

Yet New Jersey makes civilian peon possession of hollowpoint ammo illegal, calling them “cop-killer” bullets, although the NYPD uses the 124 grain 9mm Hydrashok. But this article explains that hollowpoint ammo is safer for the public – that’s why the police use them.

I love the ignorance and logical inconsistencies the anti-gun crowd constantly exhibits.

It would be more entertaining if they weren’t so dangerous.

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