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  #1  
Old 12-31-2009, 11:45 AM
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3rd Gen Neal 3rd Gen Neal is offline
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Default .357 Mag LEO use

I know that the semi-auto is king now and has been for a while, but back when the wheel gun was mostly what was carried by LEO (mod 27, 28, 19, 66 etc..) were they commonly loaded with magnums? I'm just curious. I know the FBI used +p .38's and from what I have read most police agencys only allow +p .38's for off duty J-framers these days. I can see why in todays lawsuit happy world magnums are frowned upon but I would hate to think that all of the .357's that were on patrol back in the day were loaded with .38's. If I were on patrol back when car doors were actually metal I would want to carry magnums. Thanks, I am just wondering about this.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:16 PM
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I carried Supervels and armor piercing.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:13 PM
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The FBI could carry Magnums (145 grain Silvertips) as reloads and in the gun with permission of the ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge).

I'm buying a couple of 586-2s from a local tribal police department. The Chief says all they ever shot out of them were full bore 125 grain Magnums. I know the local Sheriff's Office also issued Federal 125 grain magnums for their deputies. Maybe its a western thing.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:18 PM
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After a certain amount of PC farting around (.38 Spl. 158 gr. RNL, 110 gr. +P+, 110 gr .357) in the 70s and 80s my agency standardized on 125 gr. .357 JHPs for quite a long time.

In those days management occupied itself with relatively minor, if annoying, issues. With Obama and Napolitano, everything is now a cluster.
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:36 PM
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When we were finally issued .357 magnums, we were issued Model 66's and 125 grain JHP's.
I never carried mine as I felt the light 357s had inadequate penetration capabilities on cars as noted.

I continued to carry my 41 Magnum with 210 grn JSP. They worked very well on anything that arose.

I left the Patrol not long after they were issued.
I was told that they only used those guns for a short period, as they shot them loose in no time.

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Old 12-31-2009, 03:48 PM
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My department gave officers a choice of the Remington .38 Special +P 158gr LSWCHP or the Remington 125gr SJHP magnum. Officers who wanted to carry the magnum had to qualify at least once a year with them, while officers who carried the .38 Special could use the mild target loads each qualification.

The range officer at the time said that the officers who chose the magnum usually went down around 10% in their scores, so the poorer shooters usually stayed with the .38, rather than chance getting in trouble for failing to qualify.
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:18 PM
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Hi:
Agencies I was employed by that allowed .357s:
1. S&W Model 28 4" or 6" - Rem 158 gr. mag JSP
2. Colt Python 6" - Rem 158 gr. 38 spl plus p LSW-HP
3. S&W Model 19 - Win 145 gr. 357 Silvertip
4. S&W Model 28 4" - Rem 158 gr. JHP

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Old 12-31-2009, 04:21 PM
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in the revolver era we were only issued 38 ammo...we carried model 10's,ruger security six and i also carried a model15 and trooper....all with 38's
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:28 PM
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I posted this reply in another thread, and I think it's applicable here:

I started as a LEO in 1977; at the first department, we had to buy our own guns and carry the department issue ammo. Guns had to be Colt, S&W, or Browning, in 9mm, .38 Special or .357 Magnum. All issue ammo was Remington; 115 grain SJHP for 9mm, 125 grain SJHP in .38 Special. Most of the guys carried a K-frame revolver, either a 19/66, two guys carried Colts, and the 9mm carriers were exclusively S&W Model 59s.
At the next department, we were issued S&W Model 15s and carry ammo was WW 158 grain LSWCHP+P (Chicago load). After probation, you could carry any 6 shot revolver you wanted, after approval by Range Officer, as long as it would chamber the issue round and had a 4 inch barrel. Investigators could carry 2 inch J frames. The majority of the department stayed with K-frames, either the issue M15 or a 19/66, a couple of us, me included, carried Pythons, and one guy carried a Dan Wesson.
Both of these departments were in suburban Chicago (Lake County), and to the best of my recollection, no department carried magnum ammunition. I can't remember anyone I worked with, and there were plenty of us young "gun nuts" who worked together, feeling undergunned with the Chicago load. Many of us wanted to carry autoloaders, like the Illinois State Police (Model 39s), and would have been perfectly satisfied with the Model 59 (I carried one as an off-duty gun from my first department) and the ISP load (WW 115 grain +P+), but the Range Officer was an old school NRA revolver champion, and it wasn't until he retired and a new chief came in that the search for a new gun started, and resulted in adoption of the Sig 220 in .45ACP, after I had left.
I don't think it was political correctness or public relations that kept us from carrying magnum ammo. It was simply that the Chicago load worked; it was effective, it was easy to control, and it could be chambered in just about any type of handgun that could be used for police work. Why try to fix something that wasn't broke?
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:53 PM
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In the mid-70s and early 80s some of us were still carrying revolvers. I wore the rig below on and off for about 10 years or longer.



We didn't have all the 'stuff' hangin' around our belly like these young guys do now...No chem sprays, no tasers, no hand held radios, no cell phones, well you get the idea.

I carried the little airweight in my left pant pocket or jacket pocket topped off with a handloaded hollow based wadcutter seated up-side down and Super-Vel 125 JHPs or a handloaded 125gr. JHP
over a case full of 2400 in the .357. The first Sheriff I worked with was a ol' gunman and knew about good handloads and such things. Now days if'n you tried to used a good stout handload some lawyer would file a suit for you just having 'em in your patrol unit...

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Old 12-31-2009, 05:21 PM
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With the Sheriff's department back in 1979, our reserve coordinator, advised we carry Federal 125 JHP as our duty round. Reserve officer's were not allowed to carry off duty back then but with a wink and a nod, we were to have one ready if needed.

Transferred to the police department in 1984.

Continued to carry Federal Hydroshok 125 grain JHP until 1989 when our new chief decreed we would carry the 158 grain all lead hollow point 38 special +P load.

I choose to upgrade to the 45 ACP rather than carry the 38.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:27 PM
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I believe the idea that .357 magnum revolvers were issued but .38 Special ammo only allowed is an 'urban legend'. It was not true in my case, and in another thread over on the ammo section a couple months ago I asked if any LEO from that era could say they had to load down to .38 Special. None said they had to, but several said they had magnum revolvers with magnum carry rounds. There may have been a small sampling of agencies requiring .38 carry in .357 mag revolvers, but it was certainly not the rule of the day as some on the internet would have you believe. I'm curious as to how this misinformation got started.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:29 PM
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My Dad was a member of the Sheriff's Mounted Posse (the only reserve unit of the Sheriff's Department at the time) in the 1960's and early 1970's. He carried a 4" Python with 158 grain semi-jacket soft points and/or hollow points, as well as having a box of 158 grain armor piercing ammo for "special situations." That department required a Colt or S&W revolver in .38 Spl or .357 Magnum (everybody, full-time or reserve, had to buy their own weapons), barrel length 3.5" to 5", and allowed "full-house" magnum loads. In fact, most of the deputies carried a .357 loaded with full magnums. Everybody was also required to carry at least 6 .38 Special rounds in addition to their standard ammo loads, even if carrying a .357 Mag, so that they could help out another deputy who may be carrying a .38, should he run out of ammo during a confrontation.

BTW, I often carry my 4" Python in Dad's old Bucheimer Federal Man holster - still a great rig.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:47 PM
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I am a Reseve officer in the Sheriffs Dept and my duty gun is a 686.

My issued ammo is 38 SP+P 125 GR Gold Dot
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:05 PM
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Standard issue in the 80's for Indianapolis PD, Marion Cty Sherriff (Indy burbs) and Indiana State Police was first a 4" M66 and later a 4" M686.
Standard loads were Federal 357B 125 gr SJHP. A lot wish that it was still the issue round. Bug's usually had the FBI load Rem/Fed/Win 158 gr. LSWCHP +P.
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:44 AM
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Default I still carry.....

I still carry a wheel gun
I carry a 27-2 and I use Federal 125 gr JHP
My Bug is a 642 and it uses 125 gr JHP +P Federal
I have to qualify twice a year with my duty ammo
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:00 AM
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In my earlier LEO days before my dept allowed the 45ACP, the Remington 357 Mag 158gr semi jacketed hollow point (we called them "rose pedals) was supplied by the dept, and I carried a S&W mod 19-1 4 inch.
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:15 AM
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In the early 1980's, I worked for a Sheriff's Department that would only authorize .357's. We qualified with .38 special 158 SWC but they issued us .357 magnum 125 grain JHP's. Most of the rest of my career I have carried .45 ACP's and .40 S & W's on and off duty while working for City PD's.
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:32 AM
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"I believe the idea that .357 magnum revolvers were issued but .38 Special ammo only allowed is an 'urban legend'. It was not true in my case, and in another thread over on the ammo section a couple months ago I asked if any LEO from that era could say they had to load down to .38 Special."

I worked for a sheriff's department and a municipal police department. Both allowed .357 loads. IIRC, Birmingham AL PD only allowed non-magnum loadings, even if one bought their own .357 revolver. The issue gun was a M10 heavy barrel.
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:55 AM
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My first department (1986), a city in south Palm Beach County, FL issued Ruger Police Service Sixes in .357 but mandated .38+P ammo only. Later they went to 9mm Model 669's with Silvertips. My second department(1989), a suburb of Orlando, issued 4" Model 66's with .357 125 gr JHP ammo. They went to magnums after a perp took 6 .38's to his chest and ran about 100 yards before collapsing and dying. Wanted a faster stop. They later went to SIG P226's with 115 gr. JHPs. Current agency issued a Model 4046, then went to Glock 35's in .40 180 gr. JHP.
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:40 PM
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I started in law enforcement in 1995 and carried a 4 inch S&W 586, we had the choice of using .38 +P's or 158 grain .357 magnum JHP's. 90% of our deputies carried the magnum rounds.

Department transitioned to Beretta 92's in 1996, but we had the option of staying with our revolvers, which I did. In 1999 we traded in the Beretta's for H&K USP in .45 ACP, a gun I absolutely hated as a duty weapon and it was not popular with most of the deputies. After two months with my new USP I turned it in and pulled my 586 that I had bought from the department.

In 2000 I was allowed to participate in a trial with some sample Glocks in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. After some early reservations over the whole plastic, black, ugly thing, I fell in love with the .40's, the G22 and G23. I've been happily carrying a Glock 23 for ten years for uniformed carry and am convinced it ranks high as one of the best combat handguns available today. I do occasionally carry a 3 inch S&W 65 when in plain clothes, always with 158 grain magnum Hydra-shoks.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:54 PM
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We still have one deputy that carries a 4" 66 with smooth wood Hogues, two speedloaders in a Safariland Split-Six, and 12 rounds in loops. I'll ask him the next time I see him about the ammo. They're .357 SJHPs, but I don't know if they're 125 or 158 grain. We have to supply our own rigs, pistols, and ammo, so we have a pretty good degree of latitude in what we can buy.
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:04 PM
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As a Reserve Officer we were allowed to carry if qualified 9mm, 357/38 or 45. [1982-1987] I carried a 28 then a 19. Most had a Kframe, 1 guy had a Browning 9mm and a few 1911's were found. Ammo was 125 gr jacketed 357 or 38. If you didn't have a 357 you bought your own duty ammo. 9mm was 115 gr, 45 was 230 AIRC.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:03 PM
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I started law enforcement in 1975. We started out qualifying with 148 grain 38 wadcutters and carrying Remington 125 grain 357s for duty. When I became a firearms instructor I required quarterly quals with the duty round. A few officers could not handle the 357 in our Model 66s so we had them use the 158 grain ljhp "FBI" load. We alternated between Remington and Federal ammo as it was low bid. I later converted the department to the 686 which helped a bit with the recoil of the 125 grain 357 round. Around 1984 our chief authorized individual officer purchase of autos for duty use and all but a few officers gave up their revolvers for autos.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:55 PM
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I started in LEO work as a pilot of a patrol fixed wing airplane. Because the standard duty belt interfered with some of my controls I was authorized to use a shoulder holster. I carried a Model 66-2 under my left arm. No one thought to dictate to me what I used as ammo, so I carried Super Vel .357 Mag. I did four years of flying and no one ever questioned me. :-) Of course I was never in a shooting during that time although I was shot at by a meth lab guy during a desert raid. He didn't hit the airplane and I didn't know that I had been shot at. I couldn't even testify at his trial. .......... Big Cholla
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:12 PM
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The department I worked at part-time in the early to mid nineties carried 4" 686's with 145 gr. Winchester Silvertip Magnum ammo. We qualified and practiced with 158 gr. .38 Special +P. The only two shootings with that round were both leg shots (long story - but both were intentional leg shots). Marksmanship/ overpenetration with the magnum rounds was not a problem.
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:29 PM
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Back in the 80s, I knew some Special Agents in BATF. They carried S&W 66 revolvers with 2 1/2 inch barrels. They were not allowed to use .357 Magnum cartridges, and were given .38 Special ammunition that was headstamped 38 SPL +P+. It was supposed to be too hot to use in .38 Special revolvers. If I remember correctly, it had 110 grain jacketed hollow points. One of the Agents used the ammunition in an Airweight J-frame, and it caused the top strap to stretch.
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:44 PM
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Keith44,

That is a carbon copy of what I carried/wore including the sap.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiab View Post
I believe the idea that .357 magnum revolvers were issued but .38 Special ammo only allowed is an 'urban legend'. It was not true in my case, and in another thread over on the ammo section a couple months ago I asked if any LEO from that era could say they had to load down to .38 Special. None said they had to, but several said they had magnum revolvers with magnum carry rounds. There may have been a small sampling of agencies requiring .38 carry in .357 mag revolvers, but it was certainly not the rule of the day as some on the internet would have you believe. I'm curious as to how this misinformation got started.
Urban legend? Not in New Orleans and it's suburbs it wasn't.

Agency I worked for through the 70's and 80's specified Smith or Colt, 4" or 6" for patrol work (K or N frame) with 2.5" either brand for plainclothes/Detective use. J frames were pretty standard as BUG's, either in ankle rigs or back or jacket pockets. I also "snuck" in a NAA mini in .22 mag in a custom sewn (by my wife) "pocket hoster" of the uniform shirt. This was the standard for most of the surrounding parishes (counties to you English based folk ). NOPD also allowed Ruger firearms as a choice as well. My duty weapons were Smith 66's, had three, one in 2.5", one in 4", and one in 6". Carried a Model 60 on the ankle too. As well as the "sneaker" listed above.

Loadings were .38 ONLY but you could carry .38 jhp in +p and/or +p+ loadings. Most common was a 125 grain JHP. In those days, you got caught with .357 on your case stamp, you were screwed. And they inspected for that as well.

What we really did was use either +p or +p+ stamped brass, a 125 grain JHP, and loaded them up to magnum levels.

Anytime there was "shots fired" calls you could tell who was carrying "regulation" ammo and who was truly packing blasters by the sound. Back then, the thought of having someone dissect a police shooting to determine powder content, reload vs factory, etc was well...nonexistant.

Thank goodness for lawyers huh? NOOOOOOT! :0

Not raggin on ya, but for lots of jurisdictions it was not myth. Admin types didn't want the PR issue of "magnum" involved in shootings. Plain and simple.

Just an FYI from an "old nod" here.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Gen Neal View Post
I know that the semi-auto is king now and has been for a while, but back when the wheel gun was mostly what was carried by LEO (mod 27, 28, 19, 66 etc..) were they commonly loaded with magnums? I'm just curious. I know the FBI used +p .38's and from what I have read most police agencys only allow +p .38's for off duty J-framers these days. I can see why in todays lawsuit happy world magnums are frowned upon but I would hate to think that all of the .357's that were on patrol back in the day were loaded with .38's. If I were on patrol back when car doors were actually metal I would want to carry magnums. Thanks, I am just wondering about this.
I carried a model 65 with Winchester or Remington 125 jhp .357's in the 80's and early 90's with NC DOC PERT Team ( Prison Emergency Response Team's ): we had to qualify with the ammo and use HK speed loaders to carry same.
Regular issue was .125 gr .38 +p
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:09 AM
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Palmetto Sharpshooter Palmetto Sharpshooter is offline
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I started in 1980. My first PD only allowed nickel or stainless .357 Magnums. We carried Speer, Remington or Winchester .357s.

I transferred to second PD which only allowed folks after a certain hire date to carry a city-issued Model 10 using .38 Spl.+p hollow-points. Later they allowed any .357/.38 Colt or S&W 4" but could only load .38 Spl.+p hollow-points. Officers hired before that date could carry almost anything, .41 Magnums, .44 Spl., .44 Magnum, .45 Colt in revolvers, and 9mm and .45 ACP in double-action pistols. Later we adopted Beretta 92fs as our "standard issue." Most people of my seniority carried the Beretta. I still carried revolvers into the mid-nineties. It was always strange to me that the .41 and .44 Magnums were authorized but never the .357 Magnum. Our firearms policy was based on a Kentucky study but I can't recall exactly where it came from.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:45 AM
edw794 edw794 is offline
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my department didn't mess around with .38's in a .357 gun. our issued gun was the 4" model 66 loaded with remington 125 gr. sjhp ammo. we even used that round to qualify with. big blast!!

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357 magnum, 44 magnum, 586, 669, 686, beretta, colt, detective, glock, model 10, model 19, model 28, model 60, model 66, p226, remington, ruger, safariland, sig arms, silvertips, winchester

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