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Sheriff’s office changes weaponry

Members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office will soon be getting new weapons, a re-stocking that occurs about twice each decade.

“We have them ordered, but we haven’t received them yet,” said Sheriff Larry Mincks. “We expect them within a couple of months.”

Around 70 Smith & Wesson 9 mm handguns were ordered, which are replacing the currently used Smith & Wesson .40 caliber guns.

“About every five or six years, we replace them due to the amount of rounds that go through them during practice sessions,” Mincks said.

He added that the handguns currently in use will be traded in to the Smith and Wesson wholesale dealer where the new guns were purchased.

The cost of the new guns is $40,300, minus the trade in value for each of the old guns. Mincks was not sure of what the trade in value was going to be.

Everyone who is certified and commissioned by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy will be receive a new gun.

Major Brian Schuck of the sheriff’s office said the 9mm weapons offer a higher capacity magazine that will help the sheriff’s office compete with the criminals.

“The more you see across the county, the police are being outgunned,” he said. “Sadly, we’re encountering individuals with high capacity firearms, a lot of which are higher capacity firing magazines than we have.”

He also said criminals seem to be carrying more ammunition than the police.

“These guns are one way to try to counter that,” he said. “Also, in a lot of studies that you see, the federal and local agencies are going back to 9mm firearms because of the capabilities of them. A lot more agencies are starting to carry the 9mm over the .40 calibers.”

He said technology changes all the time, and so do firearms.

“We feel that right now, the firearms we ordered are the best out on the market that we can supply our deputies with,” he said. “Sadly, in the event that you need to use your sidearm, we want to make sure all of our deputies have a reliable firearm.”

To make sure the firearms are reliable, the sheriff’s office has in-house armorers who examine the weapons.

The armorers take in the years of service the weapons have been in service, as well as the conditions of the weapons to determine when they should be replaced.

“They also do a lot of study on what types of firearms we should be replacing them with,” Schuck explained. “We send them to specialty training to be armorers. Every company that sells firearms has their own training that you would send your people to to show you how to strip down, examine and replace parts on your weapons.”

According to White Sound Defense, a Felton, Pa., a company that produces specialty tactical gear, wear on a firearm is detrimental to reliability. If a gun is used long enough it will eventually fail as a result of wear. The failure may be a broken spring, a cracked firing pin or a cracked frame.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

• The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is receiving new weapons.

• They are replacing Smith and Wesson .40 caliber with S&W 9mm.

• Approximately 70 have been ordered.

• The cost is $40,300, minus the trade-in value for the current weapons.

Source: Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

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