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Philly Police Authorized Firepower Upgrade

By Wyatt Earp | December 7, 2008

<i>Commisioner Ramsey learning where the magazine goes. Heh.</i>

Commisioner Ramsey learning where the magazine goes. Heh.

It’s about God-damned time!

Philadelphia police officers will be permitted to carry larger-caliber handguns next year, part of a wide-ranging effort that Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey is making to upgrade the department’s weaponry to match adversaries carrying bigger guns.

Ramsey announced yesterday that officers will have the option to replace their 9mm pistols with more powerful .40- and .45-caliber semiautomatic handguns. The sidearms are produced by Austrian gunmaker Glock.

Cut to Wyatt doing “The Happy Dance.”

Though two of four Philadelphia officers killed in the line of duty this year were shot by fugitives carrying powerful guns – one fired an assault rifle – Ramsey was careful not to characterize the decision to upgrade as an escalation.

“We don’t want to get into an arms race, and that’s not what we’re trying to do,” Ramsey said. “We’re simply trying to make sure that officers have the type of equipment they feel they need to be effective on the street.”

And we should have upgraded years ago, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the politically-correct, bleeding hearts at Police Headquarters didn’t see it that way. Five officers killed in 13 months will change an opinion rather quickly.

Officers will have to pay for the new guns out of their own pockets – even with a discount, a new Glock .45 costs close to $500. The firearms must conform to the department’s specifications, and the officers will need to be trained and certified to use them before they can carry them.

I will gladly pay the $500+ for the upgrade, and I’m not even in patrol anymore! I want the added power. I’m like Tim Allen . . . without the felony record.

The larger-caliber handguns fire heavier and slower bullets, which experts say are more likely to stop an adversary than smaller rounds. The department uses hollow-point bullets that are designed to expand on impact, reducing the chance of bullets passing through a target and striking bystanders.

“If we can fire one shot from a .40 or a .45 and stop the individual, vs. shooting three or four shots with a 9mm, we would prefer shooting one time only to neutralize the individual,” said Capt. Mark Fisher, the department’s firearms instructor.

Earlier this year, there was a police shooting in my division. The thug was shot in the head with a 9mm round, and when rescue pulled up to him, he was talking on his cell phone! Sadly, this is what happens with 9mm rounds. We might as well throw the bullets at the bad guys.

Ramsey said he was also considering acquiring AR-15 semiautomatic rifles – a civilian version of the military M-16 – and training regular patrol officers to use them “should a major incident occur.” (H/TThe Philadelphia Inquirer)

Ooh, can I sign up for that now??? Wyatt want gunny!

You know, I take a lot of pot shots at Commissioner Ramsey. I think his taking credit for the decreasing homicide count in laughable – as if anyone can really take credit for that. But to be honest, this decision it top-notch. Thank you, sir! It’s nice to see some forward thinking from HQ for a change.

<i>Mmm . . . .45 Caliber Glock 21!</i>

Mmm . . . .45 Caliber Glock 21!

UPDATE: A few commenters asked about the city-issued ammunition. This is allegedly what the city will be giving us – from one of our armorers: “Federal 165 grain Tactical HST 40 cal. or Federal 230-grain Tactical HST 45 cal.”

Topics: Gun Pr0n | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Philly Police Authorized Firepower Upgrade”

  1. Snowflakes in Hell » Blog Archive » Philadelphia Police Abandoning Europellet Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    [...] like the Philadelphia Police are getting rid of the 9mm Glocks and going with .40 or .45 caliber Glocks.  The Pennsylvania State Police recently adopted the .45GAP line of Glocks.  Ramsey must be [...]

  2. Sebastian Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    I’m looking at acquiring a .30 for concealed carry. Doesn’t have quite the capacity of the 19, but the .45 ACP is a battle tested man stopper. I figure if Obama is going to limit me to ten rounds, I might as well have 10 rounds that count :)

  3. Old NFO Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Got mine :-) fun shooter too!

  4. Sean Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Wyatt – you all SHOULD be able to get the Glocks for less than that on LEO pricing – should run you about 375 without nightsights, 490 with – not much of a help but it’s some – if you run into issues let me know & I will send some representatives your way…

  5. Rides A Pale Horse Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Glock’s a nice piece but………
    hard to beat a Colt.

  6. Glenn M. Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 6:43 am

    The bigger the pill the quicker the ………………….

  7. RT Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    About freakin’ time.

  8. Earl Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Well, I always hope the police never have to fire their weapons but since I haven’t loved the 9mm since the Armed Forces picked it up for foolish reasons, I just hope this means the military will get back to killing rounds, instead of ones that get stuck in one’s teeth (war story from Iraq). If I have enough sense to take the forty-fives to serious shooting, good to know the Philadelphia police will, too.

  9. Jeffro Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    The caliber begins with “4,” which is a good thing.

  10. Mario Mirarchi Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Kimber .45s seem to be getting a lot of good press. Do you think the chief was influenced by Mumbai? Ramsey is a good guy. He used to go to my church in DC. He can go overboard with being a publicity hound, but he did a lot to improve the DC Police.

  11. rightwingprof Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I carry a .45 Glock. I wasn’t carrying in Philly when we met. I figured people would freak out and I’d get arrested, or something.

  12. MUD Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    When I first went to the 9mm, I too was sceptical as I had been using a .45 all my military career. Never did hit a damn thing with the .45 but it was noisy and scared the hell out of rabbits. I took my 9mm right out of the box and qualitied expert the first time I shot it. I can shoot three bullets into a person while the .45 shooter is trying to get his gun aimed back in my direction. In the right hands all guns can kill, but not all shooters can shoot the big stuff accurately. If bigger is better, why do most professional hit men carry a .22 and tap a couple of times to the head? Dofferent storkes for different strokes. Do we need nuclear Handgrenades? MUD

  13. Bill Waites Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    MOST professional hit men? And you know this why?

    Gimmee a break, hit men in movies don’t count, and the guys doing it on the street are doing it while the victim is immobilized. But from what I can find in a quick web search, most “Hits” are carried out using whatever the thug happens to be carrying. I couldn’t find a single case in a quick search where a .22 was used.

    Let me put it another way…A guy is holding a gun on YOU, which do you want it to be, a .45 or a .22? I know which I would choose!!

  14. johnnyreb Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Congratulations, hopefully the defensive rifles won’t take as long to arrive …

  15. TexasFred Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I have carried a .45 for years, and unlike some folks not in LE or Military situations, I had to use it on occasion.

    Back in the day I carried a Colt Mark IV Series 70 with 230gr ball and it never let me down, it DID let 2 different *bad guys* down a bit, 6 feet down actually, I just hope they load you guys up with some DECENT ammo, 230gr Golden sabers or Hydra Shoks… As heavy as the old BALL ammo and it does a great expansion.

    I also hope you never have to use it on another human being, but if you do you can count on them going down!

    Glock isn’t MY choice but hey, it’ll work, just keep it clean and load good ammo…

  16. TexasFred Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    And I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but I still carry a .45…

    Springfield XD-45 Tactical, and that bullshit MUD was splashing is just that, bullshit with MUD mixed in…

  17. Wyatt Earp Says:
    December 7th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Sebastian – Good point. I want to get the .45, because a few people have claimed the .40 from Glock had some “issues.” And really, if there is a choice, why not go with the larger caliber?

    Old NFO – I would shoot the poo out of it at our pistol range, just to become proficient. I shoot well with the Glock 17. I’d like to keep my qualifying scores up.

    Sean – I will. Thanks!

    RAPH – We don’t have a choice. My father-in-law has a Colt .45 – the gun, not the malt liquor – and he swears by it.

    Glenn – I’m not saying it out loud! Bad karma!

    RT – Agreed. These 9mm rounds bounce off hair with gel in it.

    Earl – Again, it’s a great investment. I’ll gladly buy one out of my own pocket.

    Jeffro – A “5″ would be better, but some of our female officers are so dainty . . . :)

    Mario – I think that had a little to do with it, but the five LOD deaths in the past year probably was the deciding factor.

    Prof – Not by me. I was there for the cheesesteaks!

    MUD – Philly does. We’re the target of choice, and the criminals have larger rounds than we do.

    Johnny – I like the AR-15 idea, and I wish we had shotguns, too. Can’t be too careful.

    Texas Fred – Here is the ammo the city will be issuing: “Federal 165 grain Tatical HST 40 cal. or Federat 230-grain Tatical HST 45 cal.” That’s from one of our armorers.

  18. Jon Brooks Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    As Skeeter Skelton once said: “The more your self defense round approximates a slow moving coffee can filled with concrete..the better”.

    RIP Skeet.

    Now for an entirely different slant, officers should also remember that the bad guys body armour may be a little more effective against a .40 cal or above and hitting the head in a fire fight is a “lucky shot”. But a better choice
    for those that can shoot well. Hydro Static shock rounds may offset this a bit. Me..Im a shotgunner first..finish em off with the .45 after:) LOL

  19. sig94 Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    My PD went to the .45 back in 1990. Where I work now the investigators are transitioning to the .45 GAP which I think is a complete waste of time and money.

    I had a VHS tape I borrowed from our Personnel Div. that was an Army study documenting how the .45 outperformed the 9mm by shooting into ballistic gelatin blocks — and pigs. It was produced during the mid 80′s, so I have no idea why the Army went to the 9mm sidearm. This played an important role on moving us to the .45 instead of the 9mm.

    I think the facility that produced it was the Army Wound Center (?) and I believe it was in MD. I googled it but couldn’t find any reference.

    Like a fool I didn’t make a copy of the tape.

    One of the issues the documentary addressed was “knock down” or “stopping power. ” There is no such thing.

    Everyone reacts differently to the shock of having 147 or 230 gm of copper lined lead entering their body at over 1000 fps. Your individual response will vary because your nervous system will dictate how your body reacts.

    Some react like they were hit with a cinder block, most don’t.

    The issue for lethality is bloodletting. The faster you exsanguinate, the better the round. And IMHO the .45 is one exsanguinating son of a bitch.

    Many agencies went to the 9mm based on this study: Evan P. Marshall and Edwin J. Sanow, Handgun Stopping Power: The Definitive Study, (Paladin Press, 1992)

    When I retired I was the CO of the Planning Division and I had a lot of interest in this subject as well as recommendations for body armor replacement after so many years of constant use.

    Here are some interesting links for comparison:

  20. Philly Officer Shoots Knife-Wielding Man | Support Your Local Gunfighter Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    [...] in critical condition, but this wouldn’t be the case if these officers applied for their .45-caliber Glock 21s. In this day and age, there is no reason for an officer to be carrying a 9mm [...]