The largest municipal police agency in the United States, the New York City Police Department, is also one of the largest users of Glocks in the world. They have 34,450 armed and uniformed officers, their own flag, and a $3.6-billion dollar budget. They also use mostly Glock handguns so we decided to look at their firepower, their training, and a year's worth of use of these guns.
Moving to the Glock
Back in the early 1990s, the NYPD was all-revolver, all-the time. Theodore Roosevelt, then the Police Commissioner, ordered the 4-inch, .32-caliber Colt revolver to be the standard sidearm for the department and training with the wheelguns began on Dec. 30, 1895. As late as 1993, more than 30,000 of Gotham's officers still carried Colt, Ruger or Smith and Wesson revolvers.
In 1986 some 200 1st generation Glock 17s were bought by the city for experimental use. By 1994, the 2nd Generation Glock 19 was being offered to new recruits at the academy. Although some officers still carry revolvers, its believed that nearly 25,000 of the NYPD's thin blue line (72%) carry Glock Model 19s as standard.
Until 1999 the department filled their Glocks with a specially requested low power 115-grain FMJ -P round from Winchester. Since then they have moved to the 124-grain +P Speer GDHP, which required the department's Glocks to be refitted after a number of Stage 3 malfunctions with the old guns and the new load .
When the Glocks were adopted in 1994, Glock had designed a heavier 8-pound trigger for New York State Police and offered it to the NYPD. This "NY1" trigger was a good bit heavier than the standard 5-pounder that came with the G19. In theory, this heavier trigger pull was to help transition officers over from the older double-action revolvers and prevent a 'hair trigger'. This morphed into the 12-pound NY2 trigger soon adopted by the NYPD to help prevent negligent discharges by amped-up officers.
Here you see from left to right the regular coil trigger spring, the NY1, and the NY2. If you ever have a really crappy trigger pull on your Glock and open it up to see an orange spring, you have a New York trigger!
These super heavy triggers have been blamed in accuracy issues and are almost universally despised by everyone except the NYPD brass. They may have contributed to poor shooting in multiple incidents. Midway sells them for $1.99 but we have no idea why anyone other than a NYPD officer would ever order one.
Take your pick
For years incoming officers had to buy their own pistols. Currently new officers going through the police academy in NYC have an option of three different guns, provided by the city. They can pick the SIG P226, the S&W 5906, or the Glock 19. The Glock 26 is authorized for a backup weapon but has to be purchased with the officer's own funds.
In other choices if you don't want to buy your own G26 you can get a Smith & Wesson 3914 DAO, S&W 3953TSW, S&W Model 640 (.38 revolver), or the SIG P239 DAO. Sadly, no matter which model you go with, they all have to be DAO with a 12-pound pull.
According to the NY Post, "In 2010, the NYPD spent $656,599 on 1,337 weapons for new recruits, with $283,292 to Smith & Wesson, $215,280 to Glock, and $157,927 to Sig Sauer." As a comparison in pistol prices, nearly half of that figure was for Glock series 9mm pistols.
For nearly a century, the NYPD trained and qualified at their 54-acre firing range at Rodman's Neck in the Bronx until it was moved to a new 40-acre range in Queens. Each year officers expend more than 10.5 million rounds in training, practice, and qualification. New officers get 104-hours of initial firearms training and once on the force have to qualify twice a year. The department offers free training time once a month at the range but it's not mandatory. The qualification course requires shooting at 7/15/25 yards with a passing score of 78%.
The famous "Thug" B-60 target was invented by the NYPD in 1960 and is a cartoon of NYPD Sergeant Fred V. Worell, an instructor at the range. The target was standard until 2008 when new targets were adopted that are shaded differently and are easier to determine how a shooter scored.
How do they do?
In recent years, the NYPD has gained a "hit ratio" of about 34%, which means they missed the person they were aiming at with only two out of three shots. While this sounds horrible, it is actually good compared to the LAPD hit rate for the same period of 29%. It is a further improvement from past years. According to a RAND survey in 2007, the average hit rate for NYPD Officers involved in a gunfight between 1998 and 2006 was 18%.
The New York Times has the stats from a police department report detailing all of the shootings in 2012 involving NYPD officers:
Overall, it is a lot of food for thought for Glock owners. Now you know how the other half lives.
- People hit by NYPD gunfire: 30
- People killed by NYPD gunfire: 16
- People shot by the NYPD accidentally (bystanders or accidental discharge): 14
- Total rounds fired by NYPD: 331
- Total rounds fired during one well-known incident in Washington Heights: 84
- Officers shot: 13
- Officers killed in shootings: 0
- Officers who killed themselves with NYPD guns: 8
- Dogs shot by NYPD: 24
- Officers disciplined for violating deadly force guidelines: 1