PORT ANGELES — The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to trade in its aging Glock 22 .40 caliber pistols as it transitions to using Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 9mm pistols.
In switching to 9mm the department is joining a trend in which law enforcement agencies are trading in their .40 caliber pistols for 9mm handguns.
The 9mm rounds cause less recoil when they are fired and magazines can hold more rounds, meaning deputies should be able to increase accuracy, said Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King.
“Really 9mm and .40 are so identical in their bullet characteristics, in the end it’s what do we value more,” King said. “It comes down to opinion, but I believe accuracy is pretty darn important.”
A handful of people at the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office use their own firearms, but the majority use department-issued pistols, he said.
The transition comes as the department is looking at replacing its aging Glock 22 pistols.
The Glocks the deputies are using now are about 13 years old and they have noticed issues at the firing range in which the guns would jam, fail to completely eject a round or fail to effectively load the rounds from the magazines, King said.
Because of these issues, the department began comparing the costs of reconditioning the handguns to the cost of replacing them with new ones.
Reconditioning the guns would have cost about $150 each, he said.
Initially the plan was to trade in the guns to Glock in exchange for the current generation of the Glock 22, but that trade-in program has since ended, he said. That would have cost about $200 per gun.
He said that without that program it would cost the department about $30,000 to replace all of its Glocks.
Instead, the department struck a deal with Smith & Wesson to trade in its current guns in exchange for the 9mm pistols.
The trade-in value of the Glocks is $15,420 and the county would end up paying $13,079 for the new guns, meaning the county is getting about a 55 percent discount on the new firearms.
“The downfall of that though is we have to reholster,” he said. “With the transition now comes the added cost of adding new holsters.”
Smith and Wesson is offering half off on the new holsters, meaning it would cost an additional $6,121 to outfit deputies with new holsters.
For the deal to move forward the county must first declare all of the guns deputies are currently using as surplus.
The Board of County Commissioners will consider taking action on this following a public hearing at 10:30 a.m. June 26 in the commissioner’s meeting room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.
King said the department is preparing the paperwork in anticipation of approval from the county commissioners.
King said the department needs to make the deal as soon as possible. He fears that because of the number of agencies switching to 9mm, the deal could go away.
“This is something we needed to jump on right now,” he said.
King said that with the new guns would come an additional savings in ammunition as well. The 9mm rounds cost 3 cents to 4 cents less per round than .40 caliber ammunition, he said.
“That’s pretty significant when you’re firing as many rounds as we do to stay proficient each year,” he said. “Really, we’re getting quite the bargain.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].