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RangerCharlie
11 December 2004, 07:11
Coast Guard Boarding Teams To Get More Powerful Pistols


By ROBERT A. HAMILTON
Day Staff Writer, Navy/Defense/Electric Boat
Published on 12/10/2004

The Coast Guard is trading in the 9 mm sidearms it has used for 18 years in favor of a more powerful pistol, the Sig Sauer .40-caliber automatic.

Lt. j.g. John Strasburg of the Office of Cutter Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., said the service has started to take delivery on the first of 12,000 handguns to be purchased under a $4.2 million contract. Field units will start to get them next September.

“It's going to take a while to get all the weapons out to the fleet,” Strasburg said. “The transition plans are still in development in terms of who's going to get them first. The target date of September 2005 is only when we're going to start the transition. It may take a year after that to get it out to the entire Coast Guard.”

Eventually personnel authorized to carry sidearms at Station New London and the Coast Guard Academy will have the guns.

He said 22 Coast Guard marksmen helped to evaluate 46 models of handguns from six major vendors, firing 15,000 rounds during three weeks of tests in Altoona, Pa., and Fort Benning, Ga. The guns were each rated on 53 characteristics, and the shooters kept detailed logs about the rounds they fired.

“It was a very extensive evaluation,” Strasburg said. “It's all they did for three weeks.”

The testers were looking for a gun with a low-profile hammer so it would not catch on life vests at sea, and they wanted a particular type of rail that would allow the service to mount lights for a laser sight or illumination on top of the gun.

He said this is the first time the service has adopted a handgun other than the one used by the Department of Defense, which still uses the 9 mm.

The acquisition program coincides with the acquisition of new guns by the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of the Coast Guard. The department is outfitting its offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center with Sig Sauer and Heckler & Koch handguns in 9 mm as well as .357- and .40-caliber.

At the time it was put into use, the 9 mm was hailed for its large magazine — 17 rounds — and long-range accuracy. It replaced the .45-caliber automatic, which was heavy and had limited accuracy, but had enormous stopping power.

One Coast Guard officer said the Sig Sauer .40 makes more sense for boarding teams and other law enforcement functions because its heavier round provides greater stopping power, and when it is used it will probably be at close range and in a situation where the Sig Sauer's 12 rounds will be more than sufficient.

Strasburg said another problem is that the 9 mm pistols are aging. They were designed to fire up to 5,000 rounds, but Coast Guard guns fire an average of 500 rounds per year, mostly in training, so the average 9 mm in service now has fired almost twice that number of rounds.

“The Berettas have gone long beyond their service life,” Strasburg said. “We're getting a lot of frame failures, and there are other unreliability issues.”

The .40-caliber Sig Sauer emerged from the tests as the top choice of the testers, he said.

“The .45 has the stopping power, the 9 mm has the penetrating power, so this gives us something in between,” Strasburg said.

The gun that the Coast Guard has selected is a variation of the popular Sig Sauer P229 known as the P229R-DAK.

This will also be the first time that the Coast Guard will provide its forces with three different types of ammunition, which can be tailored to a particular mission. The types will be:

•Jacketed ball ammunition, the only type that is in use now, which is designed to pass cleanly through a target. This will be the only ammunition authorized for use in joint operations with the Department of Defense.

•Hollow point, a type of bullet designed to mushroom on impact, causing a more devastating wound.

•Frangible or “soft” rounds, made of ceramic or metal powder that are designed to break apart into dust when they hit something hard, to prevent ricochets during close-quarters combat.

“The reactions so far have been phenomenal,” Strasburg said. “We have a lot of experienced shooters in the office, people with a lot of trigger time, and they all say it fires great.”

SGTROCK
11 December 2004, 12:16
I really like Sigs handguns. The 229 is a good choice for them,but .40 might get pretty expensive for them as far as ammo goes.I really dont know how much they will get to shoot them though.

Rock

SOTB
11 December 2004, 13:45
Originally posted by RangerCharlie Lt. j.g. John Strasburg of the Office of Cutter Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., said the service has started to take delivery on the first of 12,000 handguns to be purchased under a $4.2 million contract.Imagine if they had instead spent that money on bullets and trigger time? We still haven't figured out where to put our focus, after all of these years of learning and study of the topic of pistol shooting.
Originally posted by RangerCharlie He said 22 Coast Guard marksmen helped to evaluate 46 models of handguns from six major vendors, firing 15,000 rounds during three weeks of tests in Altoona, Pa., and Fort Benning, Ga. The guns were each rated on 53 characteristics, and the shooters kept detailed logs about the rounds they fired.

“It was a very extensive evaluation,” Strasburg said. “It's all they did for three weeks.”A real quick math exercise gives me the idea that they roughly shot 681 rounds per dude. And 326 rounds per gun model. And they were able to come away with a decision of how well the gun performs? How durable it is? How tired the shooter becomes with "X" model? Etc.? I dunno about that.
Originally posted by RangerCharlie One Coast Guard officer said the Sig Sauer .40 makes more sense for boarding teams and other law enforcement functions because its heavier round provides greater stopping power, and when it is used it will probably be at close range and in a situation where the Sig Sauer's 12 rounds will be more than sufficient.IF the shooter can hit the target, and IF the target was hit in something important.
Originally posted by RangerCharlie
Strasburg said another problem is that the 9 mm pistols are aging. They were designed to fire up to 5,000 rounds, but Coast Guard guns fire an average of 500 rounds per year, mostly in training, so the average 9 mm in service now has fired almost twice that number of rounds.

“The Berettas have gone long beyond their service life,” Strasburg said. “We're getting a lot of frame failures, and there are other unreliability issues.”
The tests for guns are only looking for a lifespan of 5000 rounds? Are there barrel changes figured into the equation? I talk crap about the Berrettas as well, but are the frames really showing that much of a problem?
Originally posted by RangerCharlie
The .40-caliber Sig Sauer emerged from the tests as the top choice of the testers, he said.

“The .45 has the stopping power, the 9 mm has the penetrating power, so this gives us something in between,” Strasburg said.Sigh.
Originally posted by RangerCharlie
“We have a lot of experienced shooters in the office, people with a lot of trigger time....” I hope so....

TurnSteel
11 December 2004, 18:35
SIG+Saltwater/salty air= a great gun that will have surface rust everytime you get back off the water.

Pistols that rely heavily on composite materials should be a no-brainer for certain units. I can't understand why the decision makers can't figure this one out.

I could go on a six hour boat ride in rough seas, swim over a sandy beach, patrol inland, and four days later, still in a wet holster, a glock would be 100%. Can't say that for a SIG. Great gun for most units/agencies, but not for personnel who will be exposed to the elements on a regular basis.

Also, I like the choice of .40, but agree with SOTB on the 'extensiveness' of the evaluation, and obviously much of the rationale used in the final selection.

Tell them to enjoy the finish on their slides while it's there, and to get used to the smell of lots of CLP.

TS

SOTB
11 December 2004, 18:54
Originally posted by TurnSteel
SIG+Saltwater/salty air= a great gun that will have surface rust everytime you get back off the water.

Pistols that rely heavily on composite materials should be a no-brainer for certain units. I can't understand why the decision makers can't figure this one out.

Tell them to enjoy the finish on their slides while it's there, and to get used to the smell of lots of CLP.GOOD points as well....

Legion Of Boom
16 December 2004, 19:02
Didnt Sig make 226 for NSW ?