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August 27, 2003
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LAPD commission gives officers more stopping power, chooses Glock

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - The Board of Police Commissioners today gave Los Angeles police officers the option to arm themselves with lighter weight, easier-to-shoot Glock pistols.

"Quite frankly, it''s just a much better weapon" than the standard-issue Beretta 9 mm, Chief William Bratton told the five-member civilian panel that establishes policy for the Los Angeles Police Department.

While Glocks are used by some specialized LAPD units, Bratton asked that the futuristic plastic-and-metal weapon be made available to all officers.

Using an annual $850 equipment stipend, officers can buy the $500 Glock that is chambered for 9 mm, .40- and .45-caliber ammunition.

About 70 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide use Glocks, including the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Bratton, no fan of the Beretta sidearm that gave him blisters during his Academy training in Los Angeles, was head of the New York Police Department when it switched to Glocks in the 1990s.

Glocks provide greater stopping power than Berettas and are lighter than .45-caliber handguns, the LAPD''s alternate sidearm.

Its other advantages include less recoil, larger magazine capacity, more uniform trigger press, simpler construction and a more ergonomic design, allowing officers with smaller hands to easily handle the gun, according to an LAPD report to the commission.

"It''s an outstanding weapons system," said Commissioner Alan J. Skobin, a reserve Los Angeles County sheriff''s deputy.

But while the pistols are easier to use, bullets fired from Glocks are harder to identify in officer-involved shooting investigations. Only 10 percent of the bullets from a Glock can be traced back to the gun from which they were fired.

Some law enforcement agencies use a modified barrel to try to mark the bullets. LAPD brass has not required officers to buy those barrels, however, saying the system is untested.

Officers who want to use the Glocks must take a two-day training course.

First introduced in 1983 by Austrian Gaston Glock, the pistols were used by the Austrian military and quickly became popular.

Glock Inc. USA''s headquarters are in Smyrna, Ga.

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