Ammo choices for SWAT and specialized units

Ammo choices for SWAT and specialized units

This is a discussion on Ammo choices for SWAT and specialized units within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was wondering if any current or former SWAT could speak about their ammo choices here and why. Many use the 1911 and not in ...

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Thread: Ammo choices for SWAT and specialized units

  1. #1
    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    Ammo choices for SWAT and specialized units

    I was wondering if any current or former SWAT could speak about their ammo choices here and why. Many use the 1911 and not in 9mm. Why the lean in many cases towards .45? I'm my state, the state police SWAT pistols are .45 (with the exception of the 9mm Glock 18).

    This isn't meant to encourage a caliber war. SEALs chose the Sig in 9mm for a reason. I would just like to hear about any anecdotal or test driven reasons for the calibers used. I often ask myself why an agency will default with 9mm or .40 but then their SWAT universally uses another caliber. Thanks.
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
    CCW: Glock 19 Gen 3 (9mm) w/ Crossbreed Supertuck IWB holster
    Magtech Hollow-points


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I have always thought that local and state Govts just went with the lowest bid. "Uncle sugar" does most of the time--but--when it comes down to our special ops guys I believe they get to make the choice as to what weapons they want to carry into the fight. A lot of them are now packing 1911's in .45 ACP.
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  3. #3
    Member Array Spalt's Avatar
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    Since I am not SWAT, I will not offer an opinion on the ammo. I have known officers and agents of various special teams and they tend to be very "gunny" and gravitate towards non-standard issue. I would make the case that the entire department should use one caliber in one sidearm and the ammo should be suitable for the Swat subguns too.

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    Senior Member Array Bigsteve113's Avatar
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    I am ex SWAT. I still command our team, just too old, fat, and high ranking to be an operator any more. We use the same side arms our patrol does, GLOCK 22 loaded with the same 165 gr HST as all our deputies do. Our Colt 9mm Sub guns use Federal 9mm 115 grain HP because they feed well in them and have less over penetration than FMJ. .308 Rem 700 snipers and M14's Federal 168 Match. 870's 12 ga buck and slugs no real preference. 223's 55 gr FMJ, 62 gr penetrator, depending on assignment.

    Many teams go with the 1911 because it shoots so well in trained hands. Fast, accurate, single action trigger.
    Secret Spuk, Aceoky and USM1976 like this.
    “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

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    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    I'm not a swat member.... My department didnt even have a swat team.
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    Member Array ugh762x39's Avatar
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    What? No flies?...../:)
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    Distinguished Member Array onacoma's Avatar
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    In most cases the pistol is their secondary firearm! Like a pocket pistol backup! The team I'm familiar with carry 45 for close in work should their primary go down and they need a backup!! The primary is a M4 carbine or an MP-5 with a muffler!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    Distinguished Member Array David Armstrong's Avatar
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    There is as much variation among SWAT teams as to the best caliber for the handgun as there is about the best handgun itself. Sometimes (probably more often than we would like to admit) it is a prestige thing..."I'm SWAT and so I can carry this...you're not so you can't". Other times it is based on a specialized need. I know of one team that carries .357 Mag still because they feel that in the close confines of they work it has the greatest potential to put the BG down the fastest. Personally I agree with Spalt, SWAT handguns should be the same as the rest of the agency.
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  9. #9
    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    In my agency everyone has the same pistol, SWAT or not. Glock 21 SF except for some guys needing more discreet stuff.


    Gotta say though I'm not sure it's that feasible for MP5s w .45 auto.
    Secret Spuk likes this.
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
    CCW: Glock 19 Gen 3 (9mm) w/ Crossbreed Supertuck IWB holster
    Magtech Hollow-points

  10. #10
    Member Array 9mm Lassiter's Avatar
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    One more thought. I don't hear about a lot of specialized units using 9mm, although SEALs do stand out in that regard. I believe they use the P226 in 9mm. Although I wonder sometimes if it's so they can take ammo off their enemies if they need some.
    On duty: Glock 21 SF (.45) w/ Safariland Cobra Tactical holster & Remington Hallow-points
    CCW: Glock 19 Gen 3 (9mm) w/ Crossbreed Supertuck IWB holster
    Magtech Hollow-points

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I hear you Secret we carried everything we thought we would ever need because back in the day who knew when we might get back up, it was very slim out there.
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    In my old department I had a choice of .38 spl, 9MM. Those who never trained with revolvers were limited to 9mm. I was trained and tasked to do dynamic entries. My opinion is... It really dont matter that much what gun you have, or what caliber. We use what we got.

    My personal opinion is the ideal handgun for entries is a revolver (or two). In a long gun I prefer a shotgun. This is my opinions based on the place I worked, mostly dense apartment environment.

    This stacking up and walking in like ducks in a row is new to me, each man pointing a gun at the man in front or in SUL pointing at the floor.

    As a patrol officer... when things go sideways you deal with it right then and there. Back-up can be three minutes away, and those three minutes feel like a hour, Or thirty minutes away and those thirty minutes feel like a whole day. when your in the soup. You survive with what you got. It would be nice to have a rifle, a .45, a .357 or a shotgun. Things happen real fast... you go with what you got.
    Bigsteve113 and Bad Bob like this.

  13. #13
    Member Array jbourneidentity's Avatar
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    Former SWAT guy; now full-time LE trainer. Spent nearly a decade on our team. We are a large agency by Arkansas standards (150 officers). Team consisted of 20+ members. Our duty handgun is Glock 22C in .40 for the entry and sniper guys. Shield operators at the front of the stack use Glock 35's. Our duty load is the .40 Remington Golden Saber Bonded 165-grain. The reason for the Remington load is because Golden Saber ammo is produced in our state and is very easy to get; however, and this is NOT a slam against Remington, but their quality control has dropped off somewhat and my agency is considering a switch to Federal HST or Speer Gold Dot, also in 165-grain .40. Our agency has always had excellent ammunition, regardless of caliber. Until 2002, we were a 9mm agency. The duty load was Federal Hydra Shok 124-grain +P+. I thought it was an exceptional load; however, during the late 90's, the 9mm did not inspire the confidence it does now, and officers' were slow to warm up to the caliber. We had a shooting where a plain-clothes drug task force officer shot through the back of a car at a felon who was trying to back over him. The 9mm +P+ Hydra Shok went through the back glass and into the head-rest behind the suspect's head, where it stopped. It was perceived as a failure of the 9mm caliber and Hydra Shok, though I think the rush to judgment was premature. The wheels were set in motion and the change to .40 happened quickly. Morale immediately improved and the Glocks have proven ultra-reliable. Several line of duty shooting with the .40 have ended with quick suspect incapacitation. In fact, a fellow officer friend of mine in another nearby city was using the same gun and ammo combo when he had to shoot a knife-wielding suspect at close range. He told me that his single shot to the chest resulted in an instant stop and the man never took another breath.

    The Arkansas State Police carry the Glock 21SF (uniform) and Glock 30S (plain clothes) in .45 Auto. Ironically, the ASP choice of .45 Auto stemmed from a bad experience with early Sig Sauer P229's chambered in .40 (broken firing pins) and a shooting in eastern Arkansas with the .40 Golden Saber 165-grain which resulted in ineffective hits to the suspect's vital areas. After this gunfight, the ASP lost confidence in the gun and caliber and moved on to the .45 Auto. Their duty load is the Remington 230-grain Golden Saber. Using the Glock 21SF and Golden Saber combination, the ASP has had superb success in recent gunfights.

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