State police agencies are often bellwethers in law enforcement. When they adopt new equipment, it’s exposed to all other cops in their state, county and municipal alike. That’s why a state patrol adoption is something gunmakers covet: it tends to sell a lot more guns. They’re so eager for that to happen they’ll sometimes make sweetheart deals, such as trading old guns for new straight across the board.
There has been great change in this sector in the last 30 years. In 1980, virtually every trooper in the nation was carrying a .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver. By 1990, the last of them were switching to autos, mostly 9mm, with a few holdouts such as South Carolina still wearing sixguns. By the year 2000, except for snubby backup guns, revolvers had been relegated to the Troopers’ museum, as it were, and the 9mm was being swapped for powerful pistols.
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