Columbus, GA, Police Department officers have been carrying .45 ACP-chambered Smith & Wesson pistols for more than 25 years, according to the city’s Ledger-Enquirer, but by fall—if things go as planned—duty guns will be changed to 9 mms from the same legendary maker, and it may not cost taxpayers a dime.
The Georgia law enforcement agency’s decision to retire its current .45 ACP Smith & Wesson M&P pistols and adopt 9 mm versions will certainly resurrect a debate over 9 mm vs. .45 ACP, but buried under the news is a fact every law-abiding citizen can agree on—the change may not cost taxpayers a dime.
“We are going to stay with the M&P military police,” Major Stan Swiney said. “It’s the same pistol, only of a different caliber.”
The department needs to replace its aging fleet of pistols, according to Swiney, and their testing indicated a change to 9 mm would improve recoil control without sacrificing performance.
The announcement raised some eyebrows, and not due to the bore’s slimmer waistline. Some residents wondered why the department didn’t select Heckler & Koch, which has a manufacturing facility in the city due to expand this year.
The newspaper’s follow-up story explains there are 400,000 reasons—each one a single dollar—for the decision. “Once the recommendation was made to go with S&W, the department negotiated with the company and worked out a deal where the city got a one-for-one exchange for the new guns at no cost to the city," the article said. "S&W also agreed to buy all of the leather needed for the switch-over...”
City officials estimate cost of new handguns, without any sort of credit, would be $300,000. Leather and gear could drain another $100,000 from the budget. As added bonuses, accessories already owned by the department are compatible with the new gun, and officers are also familiar with the gun’s manual of arms and performance.