Possible Officer Safety Issue Related to Glock Model 21 Handguns
PoliceOne has been monitoring recent developments related to incidents at the Portland, Ore. Police Bureau in which their handguns exploded during training. In early March, Portland Police experienced what they referred to as "catastrophic failures" of their .45 caliber Glock Model 21 pistols and are now in process of switching to Glock 9 mm pistols.
Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth, in a Mar. 12 Oregonian news story, described two incidents in which a Glock Model 21 pistol "basically exploded in (the officer's) hand."
He cited a possible design problem and he referenced similar incidents at agencies in Florida and in Texas. "In each case, the bullet failed to feed into the weapon's barrel, and the primer ignited, causing an explosion that blew out the magazine seated into the weapon."
Glock, in a press release dated March 24, stood by their Model 21 pistols, citing the hangun's 12-year history of meeting the highest of industry standards; and also cited its rigorous testing. The hanguns are used by thousands of military and law enforcement agencies throughout the world. In the release Glock explains that they were never given the opportunity to examine the pistols and ammunition.
"The Portland Police Department has only provided us with pictures of the damaged firearms. A review of these pictures appears to indicate a classic over-pressured ammunition problem," the press release said.
PoliceOne notes that the description of the incident resembles the experiences of several officers, including that of a PoliceOne member -- a firearms instructor at the Department of Criminal Justice Training Center -- in which lower-grade training ammunition was cited as the cause of a firearm's failure. In addition, it is always good practice to wear protective eyewear when training with firearms.
PoliceOne encourages officers to stay informed on this issue and to review the below information. We will continue to keep you up to date on new developments.