Florida has long been known as the Sunshine State for its beaches and welcoming climate. Measuring 65,755 square miles, the state is policed by some 67 county agencies and 319 local agencies. Joel Hodges is GLOCK’s law enforcement sales representative for close to 400 agencies in the state. According to Hodges, over 90 percent of Florida agencies issue GLOCKs. What is impressive is that eight of those agencies have over 1,000 officers. This includes the Florida Highway Patrol, Miami-Dade Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
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So why is GLOCK so popular with Florida cops? Frankly, it is for the same reasons that make the GLOCK popular with law enforcement and military units around the world: simplicity, durability and reliability.
Durability is the key to any law enforcement duty weapon. These guns get rained on, go swimming, roll in the dirt and generally get knocked about. I have witnessed many GLOCK demonstrations where the pistols were thrown downrange, dropped from the top of a ladder and run over by a patrol car with no lasting effects. There are no external safeties or hammers to break and no cylinders to knock out of alignment or plug.
“Should you travel to the Sunshine State, rest easy knowing that you are being protected by some of the best pistols in the world.”
GLOCK’s reliability is legendary. The GLOCK’s closed system helps prevent dirt, sand and debris from fouling the action. When combined with the simplicity of the firing system and the polymer frame, the GLOCK is one of the most durable pistols ever built. There are stories of GLOCK 17s with well over 100,000 rounds through them that have experienced little or no maintenance or stoppages, except for recommended parts replacement. Many agencies have attempted to test the G17 for failure, only to run out of ammo and energy long before any problems were encountered.
All of these characteristics, along with a simple manual of arms and easy maintenance, have made GLOCKs Florida’s first choice in law enforcement duty pistols. GLOCK’s finish and design make its pistols ideal for marine operations where gear is subjected daily to saltwater spray.
GLOCK’s Joel Hodges reported that the .40 is the most popular caliber, followed by the 9×19 and the .45 AUTO. As most shooters know, the .40 is a high-pressure cartridge, which translates into more muzzle blast and a sharper recoil impulse.
The G22 is currently the pistol most Florida cops carry. The G22 is a full-sized pistol chambered in .40. The new G22 Gen4 features a dual recoil spring assembly that softens the recoil of the .40 and lengthens the service life to 5,000 rounds. The modular backstrap provides four different grip options that can be configured by the owner. These additions greatly improve the shootability of the new Gen4 models. Several agencies, including the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, are transitioning to the new G22 Gen4 models. Palm Beach is trading its original G22s for the new G22 Gen4, while Orange County is transitioning from the G22 in .40 to the G21 Gen4 in .45 AUTO.
One interesting note is that the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the Winter Park Police Department have selected the GLOCK 35 as the standard-issue sidearm for every officer. The G35 is a Practical/Tactical long-slide version of the G22 with a 5.31-inch barrel. The longer barrel and slide also make the G35 a favorite for many tactical teams.
Two of the more interesting GLOCK pistols are the G37 and G38 models in .45 G.A.P. The .45 G.A.P. is the result of a collaboration between GLOCK and ATK/Speer, and it puts a 0.45-inch-diameter round into the same frame as a .40 or 9×19 pistol. This is accomplished by shortening the overall length of the cartridge to fit in the smaller frame. Ballistically, the .45 G.A.P. uses a 185- or 200-grain projectile that, when combined with specifically designed propellants, has proven to be an effective round. Since 2010, the Florida Highway Patrol has issued the G37. According to Hodges, the FHP has had three consecutive academies where all of the recruits passed the firearms qualifications.
Always On Duty
Florida has long been known as a progressive state with regard to its law enforcement community. Even in 2014, there are agencies that will allow an officer to carry a personally owned firearm as a duty weapon. The Tampa Police Department does not issue GLOCKs but, as a result of complaints about the issued weapon, allows its officers to purchase and carry a GLOCK. According to Hodges, up to half of Tampa’s 1,000-plus officers have elected to purchase and carry a GLOCK. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is another large agency that allows its officers to carry a personally owned GLOCK.
GLOCK also has the backup category well covered with the G26 and G27 in 9×19 and .40, respectively. Both are only 6.4 inches in overall length and weigh just over 21 ounces unloaded. The G26 magazine holds ten rounds of 9×19, while the G27 magazine holds nine rounds of .40. Both the G26 and G27 will accept full-sized, full-capacity magazines from the G17 and G22, respectively. This magazine and caliber compatibility provides officers with another advantage should things turn ugly. GLOCK also offers other subcompact pistols, including the G30 in .45 AUTO, the G33 in .357 and the G39 in .45 G.A.P.
GLOCK’s proven track record has made its pistols the first choice for Florida agencies. Several agencies that had GLOCKs and then transitioned to other manufacturers have since returned to GLOCKs. The additions of the GLOCK 41 Gen4 in .45 AUTO and the GLOCK 42 in .380 AUTO to the line will only strengthen GLOCK’s relationship with the LE community. Should you travel to the Sunshine State, rest easy knowing that you are being protected by some of the best pistols in the world.
For more information, please visit US.Glock.com.
This article was published in the GLOCK AUTOPISTOLS 2015 magazine. To see the rest of the issue, please visit Personaldefenseworld.com/publications/glock-autopistols/glock-autopistols-2015.