POSTED: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 6:49pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 2:24pm
When peace officers have an official change in firearms, there’s always a bit of controversy.
And suddenly every gun owner is a critic.
But the latest move by the Department of Public Safety is getting generally good reviews.
Ah for the old days, when life was simple and Texas DPS officers carried the good old Smith & Wesson Military and Police revolver.
But times change.
And Texas law enforcement is changing as well. The new official sidearm will be this Smith & Wesson Military & Police.
But really, 9-millimeter?
“For what police officers are doing, the M&P will probably be better suited to the job,” says Robert Quates of Lock & Load.
In 1985, the United States Army, for example, committed what many saw as heresy.
It’s official sidearm through two world wars and numerous other conflicts, the .45 caliber Colt 1911 automatic pistol was replaced by the Beretta M9 in 9-millimeter.
An easier gun to shoot and carrying more rounds in its magazine, it appealed to the Army but not to purists.
Now, the ubiquitous 9-millimeter will become the official caliber of the Texas Department of Public Safety, only this time fired from the latest Smith & Wesson Military & Police model.
They are giving up a heavier round, the so-called .357 Sig for the lighter recoil and capacity of the newer pistol.
The M&P carries 17 rounds in a magazine versus 15 for the Sig Sauer. It is also 10 ounces lighter and is easier to control while shooting.
The tradeoff for many is the power of the .357 round. That was the original worry about the Army’s switch to 9 mm.
But the M9 has served well, and the Smith is more versatile.
“As I said, you have people come in, smaller people with smaller grips, and it accomodates them. You have a smaller grips,” says Quates. “They are interchangeable, they’re small. You also have medium and large, so it will fit your bigger guys, your bigger people that have a lot bigger hands. So you don’t have to change the gun you just change the grip. And every pistol comes with 3 grips.”