30 Years Of Change

Experts | Cop Talk |

Except for communications/electronics, little has changed so radically in the way of law enforcement gear as the weaponry. As a fledgling cop in the early 1970s, it wasn’t unusual to have other officers look at the cocked and locked Colt .45 Auto in my duty holster and mutter, “He’s a radical! He’s a maverick!” I lived long enough to see the reversal of the paradigm. Today, the rare old harness bull still carrying a six-shooter to work is seen as … quaint. A year or two ago, a young SWAT cop training on my range spotted the Ruger .357 Magnum on my hip and asked, “Where’s the powder horn?” The same year, I was on a police training panel, and the uniformed chief on my right caught sight of the K-frame S&W in my holster. He raised a quizzical eyebrow and asked, “Going retro?” Sigh …

Back then, such major departments as NYPD, LAPD and Detroit PD refused to issue or even allow hollow points. “Dum-dum” bullets were a hot button issue, and in a word-association test would connect to “police brutality.” It took a long time for reason to prevail, but it’s doubtful you’ll find a domestic law enforcement agency today not issuing some sort of expanding bullets for duty carry.

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