U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)-The NYPD has decided to say a final goodbye to the .38 Caliber Revolver.
In 1993 the New York Police Department switched from the trusty six-shooter to the semi-automatic 9mm. There was a fierce debate about the change between Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
Kelley wanted to keep the revolvers fearing the higher capacity handguns would be a danger to bystanders. Eventually, Mayor David Dinkins, who initially supported Kelley, overruled the Police Commissioner and he ordered the NYPD issue all new officers and 9mm semi-automatics such as a Glock 19, a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic 9mm, or a Sig Saur. Officers that were carrying the revolvers could trade them in or keep the six-shooter as their duty weapon.
Another concern among police in the early 90s was the misconception about semi-automatic pistols constantly jamming. Technology alleviated the matter of the semi-automatic gun’s performance, and they have been proven reliable over the years.
Also, the original concerns over the pistols being a danger to bystanders because of the higher capacity were also proven false by the data. Fewer rounds are fired by police using the semi-automatic handguns than the six shot revolvers according to NYPD internal records.
For their part, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, wanted the change from revolvers to the higher capacity 9mm because they believed criminals outgunned the patrol officers. The group offered up the example of 22-year-old Officer Scott Gadell.
In 1986 police rookie Scott Gadell was chasing a suspect in a shooting in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway. The chase ended in a gun battle. Gadell had a six-shot revolver. Gadell fired all six bullets and didn’t have time to reload his gun. The 29-year-old suspect fired 13 shots in return with the 13th hitting the officer in the head. Officer Gadell was pronounced dead.
Currently, 27 to150 NYPD officers still carry revolvers depending on the source consulted, but they have now been ordered to turn them in by August 31st of this year. Talking to several officers, they believe it is time to for a full switch. They also think that the officers that do carry the revolvers do so out of tradition more than a fear of a malfunction.
Talking to former NYPD officer, Nick Dinatale, who retired from the NYPD in the 80s, agreed it is probably time to change guns, but also sees a reason why the officers that carry the revolvers might be resistant to exchanging them for a semi-automatic pistol.
“It is a tradition to the officers, I think,” Dinatale told me. “On all the classic police shows you see the cops carrying Smith & Wesson revolvers. At the same time, this is real life and officers are probably safer with the higher capacity guns.”
Dinatale, who now lives in Virginia, carried a six-shot revolver with a 4-inch barrel as his sidearm. He also opted to carry a second snub-nose revolver as a backup gun. While showing me the firearms, he told me that many officers used to carry a backup gun due to revolvers only holding six-shots and the time they took to reload.
The NYPD must retrain all officers who still carry the time-honored revolver to use a semi-automatic pistol.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.