Ammo shortage leading Senoia PD to change guns

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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The Senoia Police Department will be trading in its .40-caliber pistols and moving to the slightly smaller 9 mm round, because of ongoing problems obtaining enough .40-caliber ammunition.


Editor's note: Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens wanted to clarify that the problems obtaining enough .40-caliber rounds are related to the federal government purchasing large quantities of the ammunition for federal law enforcement agencies, not to increased use by the U.S. military. 

Because of ongoing difficulties getting enough ammunition for their .40-caliber service weapons, the Senoia Police Department will be trading them in for new 9mm pistols.

The Senoia City Council approved the trade-in and purchase of the new Glocks at Monday’s city council meeting.

“Over the past year we have had serious … difficulties finding .40-caliber ammunition,” said Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens. “We have been experiencing anything from six to eight months lead time” on getting their full order of both practice ammunition and “duty” ammo.

“It’s not obtainable by any department, not just ours,” Edens told the council.

Councilman Jeff Fisher, said that the shortage of 40-caliber bullets is caused by the U.S. military’s switch to the round.

“They are providing it to the military first… everybody else is second,” Fisher said.

Edens said he has done a lot of research, and there has been extensive testing done with the 9mm round. “It is performing as well as, if not better than, a .40-cal,” he said. It’s also up to 20 percent cheaper and “it is readily available, which is just very important to us.”

There are other advantages, as well. The .40-caliber magazine holds 15 rounds, while the 9mm holds 17. The 9mm bullets aren’t that much smaller than the .40-caliber, but there is less recoil with the 9mm, making it more user friendly. Plus, “we want to build a firearms program that concentrates on precision and accuracy with the shots, as opposed to just having a big chunk of lead,” Edens said.

The newer generation Glocks have a changeable back strap piece that can be customized for the size of the user’s hand.

Edens added that one of his officers, Lt. Jason Ercole, attended Glock’s Armorer School in the fall and can now do maintenance and repairs on the weapons.

The SPD will be trading in 14 used .40-caliber pistols and getting 16 new 9mm pistols. Glock will pay $300 for each trade-in, for a total cost of $2,434 for the new guns.

The new guns were not in the budget, and Edens had requested that the money budgeted for one new in-car radio be swapped for the new guns. Councilman Fisher said he’d like to see the radio issue be reviewed later in the year “to see if this radio could actually be purchased with the current budget.

“We don’t want to lose it. We have two safety issues,” Fisher said, and one doesn't supersede the other.

Edens said after the meeting that he is trying to equip his patrol vehicles, over time, with new in-car radios. With the switch to the 700 mHz radio system, all officers have portable radios. And they work fine inside the city, but not as well outside. The in-car radios are much more powerful. Edens said officers were able to contact Coweta County dispatch while they were at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, using the in-car radios.



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