A rural county sheriff in North Alabama has in the past few weeks both ordered his certified deputies to carry a concealed handgun at all times while off duty-- and is taking steps to buy a truckload of Glock 43s to enable them to do so.

The County

DeKalb County, near the nexus of Northeastern Alabama where the Yellowhammer state meets Tennessee and Georgia, is named after Bavarian-born Revolutionary War hero Major General Baron Johann de Kalb, of whom no less a person that George Washington called a, "...generous stranger, who come from a distant land to fight our battles and to water with his blood the tree of liberty."

With its population of some 71,000, so far this century the county has suffered a rare earthquake as well as a crippling series of major tornadoes.

Rural areas of the county are protected by the men and women of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department a professional department led by Sheriff Jimmy Harris. Last month Harris made a statement in the days after a domestic terror attack that left three Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor dead in nearby Chattanooga, with stirring words.

"The world is in a state of disarray and the United States is going down fast," Harris said in a statement. "We are losing everything that our Founding fathers based this Country on. Until last week almost all the bad terrorist or mass shootings were somewhere else and now they are in our backyard. Chattanooga TN is only about 35 minutes away from the DeKalb County line."

With that, he ordered his certified deputies to carry 24/7, so they could be ready to respond to an active shooter event when off duty and out among the population.

He also encouraged county residents to do the same.

"As a Christian I ask you to put your faith in God, and as a life time NRA member it is time you learn to protect yourself by learning the proper and safe ways to handle a weapon."

And then the Sheriff went looking for a good concealed carry piece for his deputies.

The guns


Sheriff Jimmy Harris looks over one of the agency's new G43s. Photo from DeKalb County Sheriff's office via WHNT

"After receiving several bids on the handguns we decided to go with the Glock 43," said Harris in a statement this week. "We ordered 55 of the Glock 43's that came in last week. The reason for purchase of these handguns is because the deputies are required to purchase their own on duty weapons. These guns will remain the property of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and all deputies receiving a gun will have to go through an APOST certification designed for backup weapons. We are in the process at this time ordering ammo to go with the guns."

Price for the buy, which included ammo, spare mags and holsters, was estimated at $25,000.

The G43

On Friday March 20, 2015 Glock debuted their new Model 43 slimline subcompact 9mm. This 6.26-inch overall handgun tips the scales at a hair under 18-ounces with an unloaded magazine that brings a 6+1 capacity to the table. Most importantly, however, it is just 1.02 inches wide at its widest spot, which promises to carry well when compared to larger pistols.

While its not the smallest 9mm pistol on the market (as Triangle Tactical points out, the LC9 and CM9 are shorter in profile and the XDS is a tad slimmer) Glock has long relied on its utter reliability in action as proven by its wide adoption in military and LE circles.

I shot one shortly after their debut at the 144th NRA Show in Nashville during a media event, and was impressed with its handling abilities, although I must confess; I like my G36 better as I am a .45ACP guy. But of course, for a wide range of officers to include males and females, the 9mm G43 makes more sense and the ammo is cheaper.

Moreover, the bottom line is: 55 of them are now floating around DeKalb County prepared to shed a little blood on the tree of liberty if needed.