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All the Sheriff wants for Christmas is…a whole lot of firepower

December 7, 2009 - 11:07 pm

Christmas comes every five years for the San Diego County Sheriff’s office and today’s the day it plants its bottom on Santa’s fluffy, red lap (in the form of the Board of Supervisors) and presents its Christmas list.

In blander terms, the sheriff is asking the board to approve an agenda item titled, “sole source procurement  of standard law enforcement equiptment and supplies.” These are five-year contracts for police gear. X-mas list sounds better.

It would be a lot less complicated if the County maintained a weapons factory run by elven immigrants—but they don’t, no matter what bedtime stories of sugar-plum enterprise funds your parents may have spun. No, the county orders the weapons systems from private suppliers. (They might employ elves; their tiny fingers are good for filling bullet casings.)

And, of course, there’s a price tag:

Body armor….. $300,000 per year

Weapons…… $400,000 per year

Ammunition….. $350,000 per year

Holsters and other gear…..$250,000 per year

Badges and wallets…$60,000 per year

Total….$1.36 million

Here’s some of the highlights from the procurement list:

Body Armor

Manufacturer: Point Blank Solutions/Protective Apparel Corporation of America

The sheriff is asking for several models of body armor based on “threat levels.” Some are fully bullet proof, others just protect against stab wounds. The Perform XP model to the right is advertised as the “ultimate fusion of lightweight protection and peak performance.”  One user commented that his vest doubles as a back brace “for those times when I have to wait a day to see the chiropractor.” It comes in eight different colors.

.40-Caliber Glocks

Manufacturer: Glock

The Sheriff’s asking for the Model G22 and G27, aka, the “baby glock” and parts. Typically, the G27 are worn in ankle holsters, while the G22 is a full-sized piece. The department has been using the automatic pistol since 1990 and are the only weapons issued to deputies.

The reviewer at the Firing Fun blog reports that, with the G27, he “had trouble staying on target” and that he had to re-grip after every shot. “There was just no way for me to keep my hand firmly in place and not wiggle my fingers between trigger pulls.” Meanwhile, the Christian Gun Owner blog gave the G22 top marks: “Whether you buy it and shoot it just like it comes or decide to customize it to your liking, you can’t go wrong with a GLOCK 22.”

The G22 and the G27 start at retail at about $500, but can cost as high as $1,500 if you want a silencer. The sheriff would be getting them for $450 a piece.  The department will also need about $7,000 per year in parts and repair.

12-Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun

Manufacturer: Remington

The Sheriff is asking for 14″ and 18″ black polymer shotgun with a rifle-sight barrel and a three-point carry strap. Hailed as the “most popular shotgun in firearms history,” the Remington 870 is a favorite of the LAPD.

“Great weapon, reliable and a great deterrent! Good all around boom stick!” comments officer Ed O’Shea, who has also called for Sheriff Joe Arpaio to be hired as LAPD’s chief.

A sheriff’s department favorite for 48 years, this is the only shotgun used in training at the San Diego Regional Training Center. The guns  cost about $400 each and the department is budgeting for about $3,500 per year in parts and repairs.

Carbine Rifle

Manufacturer: Colt/Smith & Wesson

The sheriff is requesting the Ar 15/M4 Law enforcement model.

According to the sheriff’s office, these bad boys are used in rural areas, contract cities and special enforcement details. This model in particular has been wielded by deputies for 33 years.

“They’re somewhat of a fashion statement in the world of AR’s, but they are also eminently practical,” one reviewer explained. “Maneuverable and handy, but still accurate and hard-hitting – the M4 is equally well suited to the needs of Special Forces personnel and armed citizens!”

The rifles cost about $850 and the sheriff wants $2,000 annually for parts and repairs.

“Less Lethal” Shotgun

Manufacturer: Remington

The Model 870, less lethal shotgun fires a little beanbag. The sheriff’s office started using this particular weapon in 1999. It costs about $800.

“I’ve seen these guns unintentionally take quite a bit of a beating and keep right on ticking, just like a Timex,” one user wrote.  Firearms aficionados uniformly love the ku-chick sound.

Pepperball Launcher

Manufacturer: Pepperball Technologies

The Pro Carbine and SA 200, both semi-automatic, are exactly like paintball guns, but they’re designed to balls filled with an evil oleo resin capsicum powder. You can also load them with porcelain balls to break glass. The sheriff’s office started using ’em in 2000. And, as a feel-good bonus, the manufacturer’s a local company.

The launcher, however, gets mixed reviews.

“A real crowd pleaser,” one user joked.  Another wrote, “Fun fun fun….and effective! Boy do they hurt though. I got lit up on my thighs and legs and there were huge bruises for more than a week. I love showing off my battle scars though lol.”

But critics complain that the gun loses pressure quickly, doesn’t fire as many rounds as advertised and doesn’t have great aim. “The crowds go wild for this one. Unfortunately over time they have become accustomed to it and run just by the rattle of the hopper,” one user wrote A few years ago, a student died after being shot in the eye with this less-lethal device after a Red Sox game.

They cost about $800 a piece.


Manufacturer: Taser International

50,000 volts. What else do you need to say? The county already has a contract in place through 2013, but the sheriff would like that extended at a cost of $167,000.

With all that going for me, I still had trouble staying on target. I found that I had to re-grip the pistol after every shot. There was just no way for me to keep my hand firmly in place and not wiggle my fingers between trigger pulls. The recoil of the .40 S&W didn’t help.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. mr. mike permalink
    December 8, 2009 - 9:03 pm 9:03 pm

    Most of this crap is standard SWAT issue*, except for the .40-cal. Glocks. I realize that they arm themselves this way because of that LA bank robbery a decade ago where LAPD officers crarrying pistols had to shoot it out with criminals carrying AK-47s, but really when was the last time the Sheriff’s office had to fight it out “Heat”-style out in the county?
    * To see how this equipment is used in a video simulation, check out ; Noah Antweiler has been playing through the game “SWAT 4” and all of these weapons are used in it.

  2. December 9, 2009 - 9:58 am 9:58 am

    I figured as much, but it’s kinda interesting to see it all laid out.

    • mr. mike permalink
      December 9, 2009 - 9:36 pm 9:36 pm

      All of these weapons are the tip of the iceberg; the Pentagon has been selling rural Sheriff’s offices and police departments demilitarized tanks and stripped-down helicopters to bolster their SWAT units and other paramilitary forces. As a result, these rural PDs and SOs send the SWAT guys to do things they used to send a regular cop or deputy to do (like serving warrants or investigating reports.) SWAT officers are not trained to do these tasks (they act more like frontline Military Police), so innocent people have been killed when the paramilitaries blow open front doors and storm houses or apartments. As for the SD Sheriffs, each of their cruisers carries an M4 rifle in the trunk and a shotgun on a rack in the cabin, along with a tazer and a Glock pistol on the deputy’s belt. They are armed to the teeth, which is why I try to avoid them.

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