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Old September 27, 2015, 01:57 PM   #1
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LEO use of revolvers in 2015

Hey gang! I actually posted this topic around the same time last year with "2014" in the title, now that it's nearing the end of 2015 I'd like to post it again to get the current status of LEO revolver use in 2015. Thanks!

As we all know, the "golden years" of the police wheelgun are behind us. However, I've still heard stories of some LEO officers/organizations that still use revolvers to some capacity. I hear they are still somewhat popular for undercover backup gun use like the S&W J-frames and the Ruger LCRs. I have also heard a smattering of full-size service guns are still in use. Recent developments like the S&W TRR8 make me wonder if those specialty revolver are being used by there intended LEO market in the real world, among more conventional/classic designs.

This article is concerning the current state of revolver use in the United States of America by Law Enforcement and Military agencies. Do you know any LEOs who still carry a revolver? Any organizations like prison guards still using them in your area? Do you know any cops who use them for backup? Does your local PD authorize them for use? Can cops still qualify with them and carry them?

I'm especially interested in responses from actual LEOs here on The Firing Line. I think this thread could serve as a nice little "time capsule" as it were to take a "snapshot in time" to see how many revolvers are still out there fighting crime. I know wheelguns are still plenty popular in civillian hands, I own and use them almost exclusively for defensive purposes (legally of course), but I am just very much curious to see if any "boys (and girls!) in blue" still count on the revolver in there day to day operations protecting and serving.

Thanks so much guys for your time, and have a great day!
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Old September 27, 2015, 02:07 PM   #2
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A recent gun store just got police trade in 686s and GP100s.

These belonged to a Department of Corrections that just switched to Glock. They wouldn't disclose the name of the agency, but they were just pulled from service.
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Old September 27, 2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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Just about every day for the last 25 years as a BUG in uniform. Does that count?
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Old September 27, 2015, 03:05 PM   #4
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Last edited by Carmady; September 27, 2015 at 03:31 PM.
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Old September 27, 2015, 03:17 PM   #5
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I am with the U.S. Dept. of the Army Civilian Police and when on duty must carry the issued pistol. When off duty and away from the facility I am considered the same as anyone else but do carry one of several revolvers. The revolvers I choose are a 6" Colt Python, 4" Colt Python, 4" S&W model 10-8, 4" S&W model 28-2, 3" S&W model 65-3, 4" S&W model 686-1, and during warm weather and just for the fun of it a 5 1/2" Ruger Vaquero in 44 Magnum. I carry these concealed on my personal concealed carry permit and open without a permit. All the local departments around my neck of the woods carry semi-auto pistols on duty and a few allow their officers to carry a revolver off duty as long as they qualify with it.
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Old September 27, 2015, 05:48 PM   #6
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I would think carrying 6 guns at the same time would be very awkward and heavy too. WOW
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Old September 27, 2015, 07:47 PM   #7
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While getting my morning coffee the other day I noticed a man in uniform wearing a revolver. Turned out he was a security guard, not a cop. He was wearing a S&W 686. He said that is what his company issued, revolvers not semi-autos.
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Old September 27, 2015, 08:09 PM   #8
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"I would think carrying 6 guns at the same time would be very awkward and heavy too. WOW"

SmokinTom . . actually that's not such an unusual thing . . I know a guy who carries a wide assortment at one time . . . last count was 8 or 9 . . his theory is that if needed, he starts with the largest one and will work his way down to the smallest . . . only his are all take the same cartridge so he won't get confused in all the excitement . . .

Ahem! Anyway . . . back to the question . . I don't know of any LE Agency in my area that still allows revolvers. When you think about it . . most of the young kids today that are LE are of the generation that started out with semis . . . BUG might be a different matter that would depend on department policy. Most of the younger LE that I know are carrying semis as BUG. In fact . . the last one that I remember was the Chief of a local small dept. who was the father of a high school friend of mine. He retired about 1978 or so - he carried a 4" Smith Model 10 on duty and a 3" Smith Model 36 J frame when off duty.
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Old September 27, 2015, 08:27 PM   #9
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I don't know of any agency that issues a revolver in my area. I and several of my fellow officers in my department carry one as a back-up/off duty weapon. In my case it's a 642.
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Old September 27, 2015, 08:28 PM   #10
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My brother in law is on CHP in northern CA and he was looking at my LCR 357 a few months ago and said LOTS of guys on CHP carry the LCR 357 as their BUG. He said the theory is it is nice to have the extra punch of the 357 mag in a BUG if you need it, even if there are less shots.
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Old September 27, 2015, 08:31 PM   #11
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6" for off duty?
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Old September 27, 2015, 09:51 PM   #12
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I am LEO in a Chicago suburb. I have seen a CPD officer at O'hare sporting what looked like a K frame, but not sure exactly. I see several Cook County Deputies who work court security sporting full size revolvers for their duty weapons. My department still authorizes .357 mag for duty, no one carries one, but we can. Several guys carry j frames for backup and off duty.
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Old September 28, 2015, 07:55 AM   #13
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Chief Deputy in a neighboring county back to carrying a 6" nickel Python. Chief of Police in a small community north of me carries a 6" Taurus, 7 shot version.

On occasion for court I'll sport a 4" Python and my department still issues a model 66 if a new deputy can't provide their own firearm. Those folks then borrow my speedloaders and pouches until they can buy their own. I've also got a 642 for the pocket.
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Old September 28, 2015, 11:47 AM   #14
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Interesting how things change over a few decades. In the mid-1970s I worked on various traffic study crews that surveyed Arizona highways. We always had a Highway Patrolman assigned to the crew for traffic control, etc. and back then everyone on the crew had a revolver, except me - I had a Colt Government Model 45ACP. Most of the guys didn't think much of semiauto back then but one patrolman really liked my 1911 and wished he could carry one. I think he had a S&W Model 27 .357 Magnum which weighed about the same as a 1911. He and I liked the advantages of quick reloads but the rest of the guys didn't trust semiauto reliability.

Today a crew of state employees wouldn't be allowed to have personal firearms in the truck and the officer probably would have a Glock! But a Model 27 still is a handgun to be reckoned with!
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Old September 28, 2015, 12:25 PM   #15
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"Officers [NYPD] who purchased revolvers prior to the transition to semi-automatic pistols on January 1, 1994, are "grandfathered" and if so can choose to continue to carry a revolver as a duty weapon."

Chief Deputy in a neighboring county back to carrying a 6" nickel Python.
That is awesome.
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Old September 28, 2015, 12:37 PM   #16
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The Georgia Department of Corrections currently uses both Smith and Wesson Model 64s and Ruger GP-100s.

Also, a deputy from my County carries a Model 13. He's also the only deputy to have ever been in a line of duty shooting. As an aside, he was also my very first Platoon Sergeant back when I was a 17 year old PFC.

Also, I know of at least police officer in Idaho who carries a j-frame as his back up gun.
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Old September 28, 2015, 02:30 PM   #17
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I'm that one Idaho officer who carries a 5 shot J frame as his backup. Hi there SPEMack 618. It is I. Don't be a stranger. Say hi over on imfdb.
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Old September 29, 2015, 02:37 PM   #18
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I have buddy who is Philadelphia highway patrol , I think a prerequisite for highway is 6'3 and 250lbs ... LOL He is known to carry a SP101 in .357 as a backup . When you big as a ox the guns seem smaller .

Last edited by Greguw; September 30, 2015 at 05:33 AM.
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Old October 1, 2015, 06:13 PM   #19
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I know a few here in Idaho that have a j-frame as a backup. I dont know any that have a revolver as a primary
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 25 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
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Old October 2, 2015, 01:20 PM   #20
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I carry a Smith and Wesson model 360 J frame 357 as a back up daily, and have carried a 5 shot as a backup for the 23 years I have been at this. Whether on or off duty, if I have pants on, I am carrying it. I started with a 4" 686 as a duty piece and never felt under-gunned. Then came the transition to the semi auto. Ahhhhhh......the days of yesteryear were simpler times.
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Old Yesterday, 08:39 PM   #21
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Our local department has two auxiliaries (part time, semi retired) who still carry nickled Model 19s. The deputy chief carries a model 36 around the station. Rumor has it that it's even loaded sometimes, lol.
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