Sioux Falls Switches From 22s to 17s

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The largest city in South Dakota is making a big switch. Long a user of the .40-caliber Glock Model 22, they are downsizing to the Model 17 in 9mm. While still a Glock, the reasons for the change may be a harbinger of things to come.

The Sioux Falls 40 Club

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In Sioux Falls, South Dakota (pop 153,000), a city on the fringe of the huge shale oil boom, police have their hands full. For the past 17 years, the 230-officer Sioux Falls Police Department had been well equipped with Gen II Glock Model 22 safe action handguns. These guns, in 40S&W have for years been seen as the cutting edge of law enforcement handguns. In fact, the G22 is often billed (by Glock) as the most popular handgun with peace agencies in the US. In fact, 43 of the 61 large departments in South Dakota all use a .40-caliber pistol for patrol work.

The thing is, have you tried to buy 40S&W ammo in quantity lately? Looking around on gunbot, Federal Law Enforcement 180-grain HSTs run $599 a case of a 1000. For comparison, Federal LE 9x19mm Luger in 147-grain Hi-Shoks is $450/1000.

While this doesn't seem like a huge difference, when you do the math its staggering. For Sioux Falls, a 230-officer department, each officer typically would qualify quarterly in a fifty round course of fire. This is 46,000 rounds of ammo in a year. Most departments qualify with the same ammunition that they carry on duty for liability reasons, so this would mean 46 cases of hollow points just for their thin blue line of the SFPD to stay current. For that much 40S&W, the price would be $27,600, plus shipping. For the same amount of 9-milly, $20,700. That's a good bit of scratch when every penny is counted. It's the taxpayers' dollars after all. That extra $6900 could buy 14 new ballistic vests, five breathalyzers, or duty gear and weapons for a half dozen reserve officers.

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(9mm compared to 40 cal S&W)

This could be one of the reasons that Sioux Falls just switched to the 9mm Glock 17 after a nearly two decade-long love affair with the 40.

The New Deal

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(The 2nd Generation Glock 22 was at the top of its game in 1996)

To replace their aging G22's, SFPD is embarking on a program in conjunction with Glock and the Federal government to trade in their shot-out guns for new ones. In the deal, Glock will buy back the agencies old .40's for $250 a pop and sell the SFPD 250 new Glock Gen 4 Model 17s at $409. The difference in price will be made up in grant money from the Feds, leaving the city with a zero balance. The neat thing is that many holsters and magazine pouches that will fit the Model 22, will also fit the Model 17, so new webgear will not be a pressing need. Further, the guns use the same weapon manipulation and nomenclature, which means transition between the two guns, is minimal.

Sioux Falls Switches From 22s to 17s - christophereger - gen-4-model-17-125.jpg

(But the Gen 4 Glock 17 is a more updated design)

"The change is prompted by an in-house study that showed pistols are more accurate and can carry two more bullets than the Glocks, Police Chief Doug Barthel told the Argus Leader newspaper."

Many improvements

Sioux Falls 17-year old Model 22s are 2nd gen guns. These blocky monsters have been surpassed by the newer Model 4 weapons, which add a larger mag release, which is also able to move to the left side of the grip for southpaws. These guns also have the dual recoil spring assembly, a more aggressive grip, and interchangeable rear grip panels.

The Gen 4 Model 17 has recently been adopted by the British Army and the Philippines National Police as their standard pistol.

So it looks like Sioux Falls has some illustrious company.

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January 10, 2014  •  02:10 PM
What a biased cheerleader article. While most departments qualify yearly with duty ammo, which is a good thing. What is the problem with using equivalent ballistic practice ammo for training like FMJ? Would save money and provide equivalent level recoil as the duty ammo? "Blocky Monsters", as compared to a Gen 4? Come on, you got to be kidding right? What is the new duty ammo? I didn't see what was to be the new round, only a comparison round to the price of a .40S&W round. Shot out guns? I don't believe it and even if they were, I'm sure that Glock would refurbish them.
January 11, 2014  •  02:52 PM

Biased? If I WAS being biased I would have written "Sioux Falls Ditches the .40 for the Puny 9 instead of upgrading to the Proven .45ACP" as I personally would rather carry a .45 and by EDC is often(but not always)a Glock 36.

Most departments qualify at least semi-annually if not quarterly. Many further qual with duty ammo as a requirement and practice with ballistically cloned loads (for instance CCI Lawman blue box FMJ and CCI Gold Dot JHP)for liability reasons. I dont say this as conjecture but speaking from experience as 'my day job' is as a firearms instructor in the LE community.

When you buy pallets of rounds a year, even a dollar a box savings adds up, and every department is always short of cash.

Lots of agencies are looking at going retro back to 9milly since modern JHPs in this caliber are increasingly effective. Heck even the FBI is talking about going back to it .

Just ask Sioux Falls...
January 11, 2014  •  08:41 PM
I agree with you that going to a 45 would be a good thing. I am familiar with the practices of law enforcement agencies, as I too was a firearms instructor for my agency. You are right in that savings of a little add up to a lot, when you buy a lot of ammo. That is why I brought up using duty ammo to qualify with AT LEAST annually and using ammo that has the same level of ballistics for training / practice. That would save a lot of money, as compared to agencies using only duty ammo for everything. When agencies talk about going back to a 9 from a 40, the comment that I repeatedly see is the cost of the 40 ammo verse the cost of 9mm ammo, as well as the availability of the 40. I do not see dissatisfaction with either the 40 caliber round or the platform used. I stand by my comment on "Blocky Monsters" and "Shot Out" guns, as well as not seeing the 9mm ammo selected for duty use. Did Sioux Falls have some other problem with their guns or ammunition necessitating a change?
January 12, 2014  •  04:44 PM
On the blocky comment, you have to admit that any Gen4, with its interchangeable palm swells and improved RTF is better than any Gen2 in the same model ergonomically speaking..
January 12, 2014  •  09:51 PM
FWIW, I'll give you an, "OK" on that one. Some people like the earlier Gen guns and some like the Gen 4s. I just don't think it is worth a "Blocky Monster" difference comparison. But that is an apples and oranges thing I guess.