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
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.
(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
(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.
(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."
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.