As I posted a couple months ago, I’m in the market for a pistol with the following requirements:

  • Comes from a reputable manufacturer
  • 4″ barrel or greater
  • 9mm, .357 Sig (just added to the approved list), .40 S&W, and .45 ACP
  • Double Action Only (Sig’s DAK and H&K’s LEM are okay, but frowned upon)

So, as I spent my time mindlessly searching Al Gore’s World Wide Tubes for the perfect pistol earlier today, I had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity.

I thought to myself, “Self, this sucks!”. I gave up and decided to call a few cop friends to see if I would help me lament over my decision. However, right quick, they shut me up and made me realize how nice I actually have it.

You see, generally, cops are mandated to carry a certain kind/make of pistol, which is what they are issued by their governing body (like city, county, state). Yes, there are circumstances where a department may allow an officer to carry a pistol they own (i.e. 1911 platform pistol), but for the most part, departments don’t allow it.

This means if your department issues Sig P229s in 9mm and your used to .45 Glocks, your shit out of luck. And most of the time, this is determined by the department’s firearms instructor, the chief (or sheriff), and maybe a representative from the local government (like a city councilman). So, as I discovered with this Academy, if the firearms instructor is a fanboy for a certain gun maker (such as Glock), you bet your going to shoot pistols from that gun maker. If you get a new firearms instructor, and they prefer H&K, you bet your going to shoot H&K as soon as the instructor can make it happen.

Now, some departments are nice and will have a selection you can choose from. For instance, my local police department offers the following Glock Models: 17, 19, and 23. Others, like the Sheriff’s Department from a neighboring county, offers their Deputies a choice of Glock 22, Sig P226R in .40, or Sig P229 in 9mm.

So, while I have a nice selection now, in 7 months time, I may be forced to shoot a particular model pistol and have no say in it whatsoever.

I know what some of you may be thinking, “Well Jay, if you trained on a particular pistol/caliber during the Academy, shouldn’t you be able to shoot that pistol/caliber for your duty weapon wherever you end up?” Sadly, that’s not the case. As I said above, I could train on one kind of pistol and caliber for the Academy, but be forced to shoot whatever they give me when I get hired. Besides, the requirements for a pistol differ between the Academys. So you may have one that says DAO and another that says DA/SA or DAO. You may have one that allows .45, but another that won’t allow .45. The list is endless. I’ve read where some are even manufacturer specific, like Glock only or H&K only.

Yes, it may be as wild as, I train on a 9mm Glock for the Academy then have to shoot a DA/SA .45 Sig P220 for the department. Me personally, that’s not a big deal. I’ve shot all manner of calibers and all the different manual of arms out there. But what that really does a disservice to, are the Cadets who don’t have any kind of firearms experience. Their firearms experience may be limited to Academy and that’s it. Imagine being a new shooter, going from a 9mm Glock to a DA/SA P220.

And I believe I settled on a pistol for the Academy. I’m going to get a Sig Sauer P220 DAK. It’s .45, I love Sigs and want to own one, and once I’m out of the Academy, I can send it to Sig and pay them to convert it from DAK to DA/SA. Sure, .45 ammo is expensive compared to .40 and 9mm, but if I can accurately shoot the .45 time and time again, it’ll make shooting the lesser calibers (.40 and 9mm) a lot easier.


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