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Training Academy Tests and Evaluates Duty Weapons

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Lt. Col. Duarte takes aim.
Lt. Col. Ernesto Duarte takes aim.

On July 1, 2009, sworn members from the field accompanied academy staff personnel in the testing and evaluation of duty weapons. The field representation included both male and female members, most ranks, and a multi-cultural- and racial representation. Executive Director Electra Bustle, Colonel John Czernis, and Lt. Col. Ernesto Duarte also took some time out of their busy schedules to participate in the process.

Field is set up with various testing areas

Trooper Melissa “Mo” Oman, our statewide firearms coordinator, was most instrumental and largely responsible for arranging this testing. Due to the fact that our current duty weapon is no longer being manufactured, it was imperative to begin a search for a replacement handgun. Four different manufacturers participated in this process. Glock, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, and Sig Sauer all gave classroom presentations on their products. At the conclusion of the classroom presentations, each manufacturer set up on the range, side-by-side, and allowed our personnel to test and evaluate their products. Each manufacturer offered multiple models and calibers for testing. Safariland was also present and demonstrated its latest lines of ALS holsters and options for leather gear. The testing and evaluation also included ballistics tests of various available duty rounds. The focus of the day was narrowed to performance of the weapons in both .40 and .45 caliber.

One tester taking aim.

Testers taking aim.

Each evaluator was asked to rate the weapon that was being tested in a variety of categories. These categories included areas such as accuracy, recoil, sighting systems and ease of operation. The initial test results will be evaluated, and the options will be narrowed prior to conducting additional testing and evaluation. As the process moves forward, we will concentrate on specific weapons and holster systems to be evaluated as we work toward a recommendation for a transition into a new duty weapon.

Thanks go out to all those who participated in this initial testing and evaluation, as well as to the vendors and manufacturers that agreed to participate, side-by-side, with their competitors. The focus of the group will continue to be to recommend the best available service weapon, ammunition, and holster system to the uniformed members of the Florida Highway Patrol.


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