Police in Buffalo, New York are seething after the department issued them a sub-par .40 caliber carbine of mediocre quality over the AR15s their police union requested.
In light of aging equipment and the threat of “active shooter” and terror attacks, the Buffalo Police Department planned to buy 115 rifles to be assigned to specific vehicles, such as those belonging to supervisors. In addition, 450 plate carriers (described as “active shooter vests”) will be added as well, with one going in every patrol car.
Despite the urgings of the Police Benevolent Association chapter to upgrade each Buffalo officer to an AR15 rifle chambered in 5.56mm, Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda reportedly questioned the need for every officer to have a so-called “high-powered rifle” while on routine patrol, questioning the rifle’s suitability in urban areas.
In response, Derenda agreed to purchase a lot of Just Right Carbines (JRC), erroneously (and hilariously) referred to as the “Glock Magazine Quadrail Rifle” by The Buffalo News.
The JRC -which hails from the state of New York- is a direct-blowback operated rifle chambered in .40 S&W and fed using Glock magazines, which allows BPD officers to use the same magazines as they currently use for their service pistols.
However, while the JRC offers BPD a way to save money and magazine interchangeability, the rifle in question is a virtually unknown one in law enforcement, more suitably designed for backyard plinking than heavy-duty police use. In addition, the faulty .40 S&W round (a caliber gradually being replaced in law enforcement agencies across the nation by the 9mm, which through technological advancements has improved in ballistics over the past few decades) is by its very nature an failing caliber, known for accuracy issues, failure to expand reliably creating a greater risk for over-penetration and ricochets than the 9mm or even the 5.56mm cartridge.
Worst of all, the range difference between the .40 S&W and the 5.56mm puts officers at a great disadvantage when paired against threats fielding rifles with rifle-caliber ammunition.
Caliber and carbine issues aside, the matter of fielding the subpar rifles with only a handful of officers is concerning by itself. According to BPD leadership, the carbines -which would be fielded as backup by supervisors- are only meant to hold the line until SWAT arrives, themselves armed with 5.56mm AR15s.
Essentially, the JRC carbines will be backup until backup arrives.
“If there’s an active shooter call, everyone shows up. There will be multiple supervisors,” BPD Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo said. According to the Lieutenant, the JRCs in .40 S&W give police “a lot more accuracy at a distance, while still maintaining control of rounds to the best of our ability.”
PBA President Kevin Kennedy isn’t so convinced that fielding only a limited number of .40 caliber carbines is the best idea.
“It’s going to be the patrol officer without this [JRC] set up,” Kennedy said. “The hope is the lieutenant or supervisor quickly responds and backs him or her up.”
Despite his concerns, Kennedy notes that arming the officers with something is a step in the right direction.
The rifles and plate carriers will be purchased using a $282,611 grant from the State Department of Criminal Justice Services, which also gave $189,079 to the Erie County Sheriff’s Department (who is spending the a portion of the money on AR15 rifles for every patrol car) and four other local agencies.
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