By Wyatt Earp | December 7, 2008
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/T – The 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.
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.”