Home News NYPD officers reluctantly saying goodbye to their revolvers

NYPD officers reluctantly saying goodbye to their revolvers

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Over six months since the news broke that the NYPD would no longer be authorizing the carry of revolvers among their more hardened veterans, many of New York’s finest are still resistant to give up the wheelgun.

While considered by many to be an antiquated relic of days gone by, the .38-calibre police revolver still remains in worn leather holsters across the NYPD, albeit in the hands of near-retirement-aged officers who entered the force in a different era.

Previously protected through grandfathering, many NYPD lawmen -such as 54-year-old Lieutenant James Darcy- are finding themselves qualifying with magazine-fed semi-automatic pistols chambered in 9mm.

It feels sad,” he told the New York Times on Wednesday as he qualified alongside his fellow wheelgun holdouts with a new Sig Sauer P226 DAO. “I really love my gun. I really never thought I would leave the job without it by my side.”

Considered out-of-style since the early 1990s (when the criminal element began to out-gun the police), the revolver made way for semi-automatic pistols such as Glock 17s Smith & Wesson 5946s and Sig Sauer P226s, all infamously equipped with the ridiculously-heavy “New York Trigger,” hampering police accuracy with a pull weight of about 12 pounds with each shot (to put this into perspective, the average police-issue Glock 17 has a trigger weight of 5.5 pounds or so, and a comparable DA/SA P226 has a 10 lb “first pull” double action trigger pull with a 4.5 single-action pull after the first shot).

Last year, NYPD officers still carrying revolvers were told they had to switch to an auto-loader by summer of 2018.

“After this class, the days of seeing a police officer out there carrying a swivel holster or a .38 holster with a .38 in there are basically nonexistent,” Inspector Richard G. DiBlasio, the commanding officer of the Firearms and Tactics Section, said on Wednesday. “It’s tradition and some people don’t want to let go of it, but tactics is always number one.”

At the time the mandate was issued last year, only 160 active officers still carried revolvers.

At one time, semi-automatic firearms had “quirks” in their development, leading to myths concerning susceptibility to jamming and harsher recoil. However, with advances in technology, training and maintenance methods (the latter two disciplines being ironically poor within the NYPD), the semi-auto ultimately won the western world in terms of being the choice police sidearm, giving officers extra capacity, speed in reloading and, in many cases, better firepower.

Still, some wheelgun advocates are destined to die hard, such as 26-year NYPD veteran Officer Mary Lawrence, who carried a revolver until they told her to stop.

“I’m proud of this uniform that I’m wearing and I’m proud of my gun that I carry because it’s been reliable to me,” she said. “I didn’t think that I needed extra firepower at all.”

According to the New York Times, high-profile incidents have led many revolver purists to question the five-to-six-shot capacity revolver’s relevance in a modern threat environment.

While some are sad to see the revolver go, one thing remains certain for NYPD officers- the magazine capacity may be greater, but those triggers aren’t going to get any lighter.


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