By Vic Ryckaert
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will spend about $150,000 next year to replace aging handguns for about 1,200 of its officers.
The department is replacing the .40-caliber Glock 22 handguns with newer models of the same weapon.
"With the age and the number of rounds fired through them, they begin to have problems," said Capt. Robert Holt, commander of the department's training academy. "We want to make sure the weapons our officers carry are dependable and they can count on them when they need them."
The new guns are essentially the same weapon the department has used for more than a decade, though they will feature some modern upgrades, including a bracket that allows a flashlight to be mounted under the barrel.
Most of the department's guns were issued 12 to 14 years ago and are showing signs of wear and tear, Holt said. The magazine springs are loosening, and the illuminated night sights are beginning to fade.
Loose springs could cause the gun to jam. The fading glow-in-the-dark sights could make the weapon impossible to aim in low-light situations.
By sticking with the same manufacturer, the department gets to trade in its current handgun arsenal. The older weapons likely will be refurbished and resold.
With the trade-ins, each new gun will cost taxpayers about $140 -- about what the department would spend to replace the sights and magazines.
Police guns tend to get a lot of use. Officers practice with their firearms at least twice a year, firing hundreds of rounds at targets during qualification and training exercises. Members of some special units, including of the department's SWAT team, tend to fire even more rounds through their weapons.
Smith & Wesson, Colt and other manufacturers make quality .40-caliber guns, but Lt. Jeff Duhamell, a former supervisor of firearms training and a member of the SWAT unit, said officers are happy with the Glock.
"They've been very proficient," Duhamell said. "It's a reliable, dependable and durable weapon."
About two-thirds of the department's officers will be issued the new firearms, Holt said.
The officers will be given a chance to purchase their current weapons for personal use at a cost of about $200, Holt said.
Purchased new, the Glock 22 retails at about $460.
Copyright 2007 The Indianapolis Star
Indianapolis officers getting new Glocks in 2008