A Georgia police force is switching to 9mm pistols. The Senoia Police Department says they are forced to make the switch due to the fact that they can’t find .40 S&W ammunition… because of the U.S. military’s switch to that caliber:

Because of ongoing difficulties getting enough ammunition for their .40-caliber service weapons, the Senoia Police Department will be trading them in for new 9mm pistols.

The Senoia City Council approved the trade-in and purchase of the new Glocks at Monday’s city council meeting.

“Over the past year we have had serious … difficulties finding .40-caliber ammunition,” said Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens. “We have been experiencing anything from six to eight months lead time” on getting their full order of both practice ammunition and “duty” ammo.

“It’s not obtainable by any department, not just ours,” Edens told the council.

Edens, and Councilman Jeff Fisher, said that the shortage of 40-caliber bullets is caused by the U.S. Military’s switch to the round.

“They are providing it to the military first… everybody else is second,” Fisher said.

The U.S. military has never widely issued a .40 S&W pistol, so I’m assuming that Chief Edens and Councilman Fisher stopped at the narcotics evidence locker before doing their interview with the Times-Herald.

I’m also assuming they have never heard of  newfangled technology called “the Internet.” One can find .40 S&W ammunition all day long, in bulk, at LuckyGunner, AmmoSeek, AmmoToGo, BulkAmmo, and a host of other sites.

I can understand wanting to switch to 9mm for cost savings, but since the military used 9mm M9s and .45ACP 1911 variants, their reasoning is… creative.

Update: The Senoia PD responds via email.

I am the Firearms Instructor for the Senoia Police Department. A few months ago one of our officers experienced a malfunction during qualification with his Glock 22. Glock was kind enough to have a rep stop by and repair it for us.

It was then that we learned that the majority of our inventory was nearly ten years. The rep suggested that we refurbish or replace the inventory. Cost to refurbish was approximately $140 per firearm. Or the cost to replace was $409 with a $300 credit with each firearm traded in, thereby each new firearm would only cost $109.

Another local department had made the switch to the 9mm years ago. When I asked one of their instructors why?  He told me that one reason was because the ammo was cheaper and at that time was easier to get. After Glock came by, I had informed the Chief of what they had said. I also informed him that I was waiting up to 8 months for .40 cal ammo and had heard that 9mm ammo would be easier to get. The Chief left it up to me to decide what course of action we would take. After doing some research and speaking with several other Firearms Instructors about switching, those who made the switch told me that there was a noticeable improvement among their problem shooters. The 9mm had less recoil and less intimidation among weaker shooters thus allowing them to shoot more accurately.

Prior to my employment with the Senoia Police Department, I worked for an agency that also switched from .40 to 9mm. I experienced better qualification scores and tighter shot grouping. I wanted our officers to have more confidence in their shooting ability and in our line or work accuracy is what counts.

And the ammo is cheaper. You see, we do not buy ammo from Wal Mart, we purchase our ammo from distributors approved by the State of Georgia. Because of contracts made with the state and these distributors, we are able to purchase ammo at a considerably reduced cost. I also found that the type of duty round we would use with the 9mm had performed just as well as the .40 cal duty round we use in ballistic testing. So I decided that we would make the switch to the 9mm for the reasons mentioned above. In my presentation to the Chief, I am the one who told him that 9mm ammo would be easier to get based on the conversation I had years ago as mentioned above. Currently we are waiting 6-8 months for delivery of .40 cal ammo.

I had never order 9mm and did not know until after the approval was made for the switch that 9mm ammo was going to be just as hard to get in bulk as we buy it. After the approval was made, I put an order in for 9mm and learned from our distributor that the wait time was the same 6-8 months. I was told that the wait is simply attributed to high demand from both the civilian market and government. If anyone is to blame for the misinformation that was posted in the article it rests solely with me for I am the one who provided it to the Chief. I apologize for the misinformation and hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

Thank you.

Lt. Jason Ercole
Training Officer
Senoia Police Department