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Mo. Officers Lobby Chief for More Firepower

July 22, 2013  | 

Logo courtesy of St. Louis POA.
Logo courtesy of St. Louis POA.
The St. Louis police union has told the chief their officers would like .40-caliber handguns to match the firepower of criminals they encounter in the streets to replace the 9mm duty pistols they've carried for a decade.

The St. Louis Metro Police Department set aside $1.4 million to purchase new duty pistols for the agency's 1,300 sworn officers, after Beretta told the department it will discontinue the 9mm handgun issued to officers, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis police officers carry a double-action-only version of the Beretta 92 semi-automatic pistol.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association is also lobbying Chief Sam Dotson to authorize patrol rifles. More than 85 percent of the 95 officers who responded to an association survey in May said they would participate in a program allowing them to carry personally owned AR-type rifles on patrol. It would cost the department about $210,000 to issue 100 AR-15s to officers, according to the association.

"A personally owned patrol rifle program moves our department in line with patrol response strategies that are shared by departments, large and small, across the nation," according to an association report. "It will boost the morale of our officers and will demonstrate the commitment of administration to the idea that the safety of our citizens and officers comes first and foremost."

Comments (22)

Displaying 1 - 22 of 22

Troy @ 7/22/2013 3:49 PM

$2100 per AR15? Someone is making a HUGE profit off the department!

Dan S. @ 7/22/2013 4:07 PM

They may want to consider just upgrading to a more effective 9mm round instead of going to a .40. Advancements in the 9 have made it perform as well as a .40, especially with a heavier grain (147 gr) with a bonded hollowpoint.

Chad H @ 7/22/2013 4:28 PM

Decent accessories and quality carbines easily add up to a total if $2100. Cheap DPMS or other lesser quality guns are known to have higher rates of failure and problems. Not something to see how cheap you can get when lives depend on it. The 9mm, 40 and 45 all are equal for performance if you understand how you make the body stop working.

Boston @ 7/22/2013 4:54 PM

Match the criminals? No you want superior fire power like a nice flat shooting .45 caliber. Shoot a Sig P220 and then a Sig P226. No way a 9 mm will do the job on a guy on drugs. Plus you don't have time to pick the perfect area of a person's body. The 9mm is the choice of the US Military because ammo is or was cheap.

[email protected] @ 7/22/2013 5:00 PM

I'm all for arming them with Sig P220s or at least the P226. The bad guys went to .45s & .50s awhile back. We do want to stop them, right? Blues, Stay Safe.

Doug M. @ 7/22/2013 5:34 PM

Clownshoes. Any reasoned examination of the information available (see the writings of Doctor Roberts, for example) shows no difference in terminal performance between 9/40/45acp. All pistol rounds suck compared to rifles, anyway. I can see changing pistols; DA/SA are abominations and the DAO of this nature can't be much better.
Speaking of rifles - I can't imagine that it costs more than 1500 or so for a bulk purchase of good quality (Colt/BCM/other top tier maker) with sling, Aimpoint Red dot, and a good flashlight. Something fishy there.

Chad H @ 7/22/2013 5:34 PM

Boston, you need to study terminal ballistics more. The two ways a threat stops physiologically are CNS or lowering blood pressure. It truly does not matter if the bullet is .355, .400 or. 452 with modern HP design. Check Doc Gary Roberts research.

david a @ 7/22/2013 6:20 PM

9, 40 or 45 it is all the same. Proper ammo and shot placement win fights. Going to a rifle is a good idea, but changing calibers won't make any difference.

Chad H @ 7/22/2013 9:09 PM

Part of the $2100 may also be ammunition to do the training to carry/use the carbines in a course. Without seeing the cost breakdown they used its hard to tell.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/22/2013 10:34 PM

Rifle good idea. Best caliber pistol 45 look no further.

plato's playdough @ 7/23/2013 3:43 AM - this is the original article. Interesting to note the content. A comment is found therein, to relate that their 9mm should do the job IF the officer HITS the hostile attacker. BUT their issued pistol is a Beretta 92 DAO. Beretta will cease its manufacture. SLPD has lots of 9mm cartridges on-hand, having used Beretta's for 20 yrs. So the choice is to retain a 9mm platform, or migrate to a .40 platform. **Does any LEO currently operating a 9mm platform care to comment ? ** The article contains this text... "the union should propose ways to reduce the need for officer-involved shootings rather than simply ask for bigger guns."

Bob @ VA @ 7/23/2013 5:06 AM

Hit placement on the target is the #1 decider of effectiveness regardless of caliber. That said, returning fire while receiving incoming isn't like standing at the range. CNS hits rule. Bleeding out/drop in blood pressure falls a distant second and requires severed arteries or significant damage to internal organs. A larger bullet causes a larger permanent wound cavity and thus has a greater chance of encountering the necessary internal structures than a smaller bullet. A 9mm may expand under the right conditions, but a good .45ACP doesn't shrink. We seem to have to periodically relearn the lessons of the Moro Insurrection (1899-1913) and the Thompson-LaGarde tests of 1904.

Mike @ 7/23/2013 6:18 AM

Of course it matters, 9, 40 or 45. But the most important decision should be left up to the individual officer so that they might carry the pistol that they feel most comfortable and effective with.

That's why since I have retired, I carry an EAA Witness ($370 out the door thank you) with 15+1 of Speer 180 grain Gold Dots @ 1350fps. And now because of policy change at my old department, I could actually carry it on duty, if I were not retired.

PD @ 7/23/2013 7:01 AM

After careful consideration, I switched from a HK 45 to the S&W M&P 9mm. Although I shoot good with the 45 I shoot much better with the 9mm and have 5 extra rounds per magazine. Shot placement is most important. Stopping power can be found in the modern hollow-point. There is no winning the 45 vs 9mm debate - everyone wants a bigger gun. But the facts are the facts - it's more important to hit your target and more important to have extra rounds to hit your target. It's a personal preference - shoot what you do best.

Chuck @ 7/23/2013 7:02 AM

Ed Sanow and Evan Marshall have published several books on "Stopping Power". They use real-life shootings for their database, and discard outliers. If you look at the data they have published, the smaller, faster bullets seem to win out in most calibers. I think it is pretty telling that Sanow, who is a reserve deputy, carries a Glock 22 with Remington Golden Sabre 165gr bonded.

Yes, a .45 does leave a bigger permanent wound channel, assuming the bullets in 9mm or .40 don't expand. However, it is much harder to get a big, slow moving bullet to expand than it is to get a light, fast moving bullet to expand. With the new bonded bullets, we don't have to worry as much about the bullets breaking up, but even if they do, each of those fragments is a secondary wound channel.

Pentration through glass and other barriers is still acceptable with most of these loads. They travel fast enough to penetrate deep into the body, but not so fast that they exit it on torso shots.

In most cases, the muzzle energy of these slower, lighter rounds is higher than the slower, heavier rounds, which translates into a larger temporary wound channel and greater chance of affecting multiple organs.

But, all things considered, you have to be able to hit what you are shooting at, and hit it in a vital location.

uslawman1983 @ 7/23/2013 8:01 AM

My agency gives every deputy the option for a dept issue Glock 21 or 22. That seems to have worked well since its inception nearly 10 years ago. Those and 9mm, .357 Sig, .380, .38's and .357 mags are acceptable as well for back-up / off-duty use. I carry the G21 on duty, and a G23 or a S&W Shield 40 for off-duty. I own a G19 but that's pretty much regulated to just plinking duty with my son.

PSB @ 7/23/2013 8:08 AM

Interesting discussion...

I'm curious if they believe that .40 cal is going to give them a substantial increase in "stopping power," or if they're just playing the odds. Realistically, the increase in energy from 9 mm to .40 cal is pretty small.

I personally hate the Beretta 92, and think that there are a ton of handguns out there better... the Springfield XD and Glock are what I'm most familiar with. There is a legitimate "re-training" issue that they are going to have, in adopting a new weapon. .40 cal, IMO, is much harder to get multiple shots off than 9mm or .45 cal, so hopefully they test out various models AND calibers.

I think that they should integrate patrol rifles sooner than later, but take their time in adopting a new sidearm...

m41 @ 7/23/2013 8:43 PM

It is absurd to spend 2100.00 on a AR15/M16. We recently purchased new monolithic 10.3" barrel select fire colts for 1100.00 per. Added Aimpoint Pro's for 399.00 But any rifle is better than no rifle.

Leland Teschendorf @ 7/24/2013 7:34 AM

We recently replaced our 9mm's and issued S&W MP40 pistols to our patrol deputies. They are a dependable and accurate sidearm, cost competitive and MADE IN AMERICA. I have not had a single negative comment from the staff and they shuold be considered when making a change.

walkintrails @ 7/24/2013 4:19 PM

I would rather that every department let their officers carry what they're comfortable with as long as it is a reliable, generally accepted pistol. A "one gun fits all" policy doesn't take into consideration that some officers shoot better with a 9, or an officer may feel better with something bigger as long as he/she can shoot to acceptable performance standards. The old 9mm +p+ rounds had a better track record on the street than they did in gelatin tests, and modern ammo is much more.effective in all calibers than it was 20 years ago when the guys were compiling their one shy stop testing. If a guy or gal feels better with something larger, let them have it as long as they can handle it. And patrol carbines need to be the norm and not an exception.

Billy @ 7/24/2013 10:20 PM

Several years ago my agency switched from the GLOCK 17 9mm to the HK P2000 (DAO) in .40 S&W. Then we went from a 124 gr. JHP bullet to a specially made 135 gr. JHP, which are fairly similar ballistically. As an agency firearms instructor I've noted that the poorer shooters did better with the GLOCK as the safe-action trigger seemed to work better for those officers with smaller hands. We also went from 17+1 rounds to 12+1 rounds, so all things considered, did we really UP our firepower going to the .40?

Firecop @ 7/29/2013 12:07 PM

Going to a 40 may actually make the situation worse. Many agencies are switching from 40s to 9s due to accuracy problems on the range during qualification. As many have already said, it's not the caliber, it's the placement. Stay safe.

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