HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut state police are trading in their 16-year-old pistols for new, higher-caliber handguns, with criminals footing the $280,000 bill.
Troopers are replacing their .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistols with 1,250 .45-caliber Sig Sauer guns made at the company’s plant in Exeter, N.H. Many state police recruits were scheduled to begin training with the new weapons on Wednesday.
The entire cost of the pistols is being paid for with money and other assets seized during federal and state investigations of drug dealers and other criminals, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.
Sig Sauer, Beretta and Smith & Wesson submitted proposals earlier this year to supply state police with new guns. Nearly 30 shooters from state police, local police and other agencies tested guns from the three companies over two days at the state police shooting range in Simsbury, and the highest score went to the Sig Sauer .45-caliber.
“The weapon itself has a little more stopping power I’m told,” Vance said, when asked about the decision to move to a higher caliber. “It is a better firing weapon, according to our experts.”
State police replace their pistols every 12 to 14 years, Vance said. The last time troopers got new guns was in 1996, when they upgraded to the Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols from Beretta 9 mm guns. Authorities said at the time that a higher caliber was needed because the 9 mm guns failed to knock down suspects on the first several shots in a couple of confrontations.
Troopers say the .45-calibers have even more stopping power than the .40-calibers.
State police are buying the 1,250 new guns at $554 apiece, as well as 1,200 new holsters at $75 apiece and 1,200 pouches to hold bullet magazines at $24 apiece, according to the contract with Sig Sauer. The company is buying back nearly 1,460 .40-caliber pistols from state police at $364 apiece, offsetting the cost.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)