The Phenix City Police Department has selected a Columbus company to provide officers with new .40-caliber, semi-automatic pistols to replace its aging Glocks.
Phenix City Council approved spending $15,975 last month to buy 107 pistols from Heckler & Koch of Columbus to replace the Glocks the departments has used for more than 10 years.
Police Chief Ray Smith said the decision came after officers fired demonstration pistols and all had better scores with the weapon.
“We felt they are comfortable, easy to carry and they aren’t any heavier than the Glock,” the chief said Thursday. “We think it’s going to be a smooth transition.”
The total cost of the pistols is $46,010 but officials expect to get a credit for $30,035 when the used guns are returned. That will leave a balance of $15,975.
After more than 10 years with the Glock pistol, Smith said the guns were reaching a point where they would require new springs and upgrades.
“It’s cost-effective to convert to the Heckler & Koch instead of going with Glock,” he said. “Heckler & Koch has one feature that we like better, and that is you don’t have to pull the trigger to disassemble the gun.”
The chief noted the current pistols used by officers have experienced some accidental discharges across the country while being disassembled.
“We felt it was safer to get a gun that doesn’t require you to pull the trigger to disassemble,” Smith said.
Glocks are used in about 60 to 65 percent of police departments across the country. Smith said it doesn’t make sense to have to pull the trigger to disassemble the weapon.
“You only have to make one mistake and not check the weapon right and you are going to have an accidental discharge,” the chief said.
The pistol, built in Columbus, comes apart without having to pull the trigger.
“In my mind, it’s safer,” Smith said. “Even if you forgot that step, you are not going to pull the trigger to take it apart.”
Going with the Columbus company allows the department to have access to the gun-maker to take care of the weapons if needed. Guns will need springs and other maintenance from time to time.
Smith said the guns are already in production and should be available by the end of September.
“By the end of September, we should be fully converted to Heckler & Koch,” he said.