Buffalo (NY) Police feel outgunned by violent criminals in their city, and thanks to decisions apparently made by a gaggle of lawyers and a craven police commissioner instead of actual firearms training experts, they’ll continue to be outgunned.
Buffalo police brass have been publicly squabbling for the past year with the Police Benevolent Association over additional firepower.
The union wants each patrol officer equipped with a higher-velocity AR-15 rifle – or a comparable weapon – in addition to their handguns.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda had said the department would study the request. But he has also questioned the need for every officer to have a high-powered rifle while on routine patrol. He also questions whether the AR-15 – which has enough firepower to penetrate standard police vests and has been used in some high-profile mass shootings – is appropriate for urban areas.
Derenda decided against the AR-15.
But he did agree to purchase semiautomatic Glock Magazine Quadrail rifles that use the same 40-caliber ammunition as the Glock handguns officers now use. The rifles provide greater long-range accuracy than the handguns, police officials said.
It’s too expensive to put a Quadrail rifle in all police vehicles, but all officers will be trained to use them, and cars equipped with rifles would respond when the weapons are needed, said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, chief of staff for the Buffalo Police Department. He recently met with city lawmakers to discuss the equipment purchases.
What the Buffalo News cluelessly calls a “Quadrail rifle” is actually a blowback pistol-caliber carbine made in New York. Just Right Carbines boasts about having “more than 28,000 firearms in the field,” but how many of those were adopted by large law enforcement agencies?
Buffalo will apparently be the first. Look, JRC may be a great company, but they’re pushing a niche product that in my opinion doesn’t meet the needs of a large police force in a northern climate.
Let’s look at all the ways Derenda is failing his officers:
- BPD is opting to use a proprietary firearm with unknown reliability, from a single boutique manufacturer, with no other support if the company goes out of business. Logistically, that’s just stupid.
- BPD is pushing a virtually unknown firearm without a substantiated track record in field conditions. He’s taking a huge gamble on a relatively new and unproven product.
- BPD is pushing a pistol caliber carbine in a failing caliber with a documented track record of JHP bullets failing to expend after hitting heavy/thick winter clothing that is normal in that city. Officers will likely have to fire more bullets to have the same effect on target, increasing the likelihood of errant rounds going downrange either around or through the target.
- .40 S&W JHPs that fail to expand are potentially a greater risk for over-penetration and ricochets than 5.56 rounds that fragment in human targets and against hard surfaces.
- Pistol-caliber bullets will fail against body armor increasingly worn by criminals (North Hollywood Shootout being a prime example). No, they will not necessarily knock down a suspect as they have claimed.
- The 5.56 round used by AR-15 excels in close quarters combat in urban areas, which is why it has been accepted as the de facto national standard for law enforcement.
- 5.56 bullets transfer more energy to targets, stopping fights faster, with fewer shots fired to cause the same terminal effect.
- Pistol-caliber carbines fire in a high-arcing trajectory when compared to rifle bullets, meaning that point-of-aim/point-of-impact is going to be very different as distance increases, increasing the likelihood that officers will not hit where they aim.
- .40 S&W was never designed as a intermediate-range cartridge, greatly limiting the practical range/effect on target of these carbines.
These carbines have just three qualities of any value to the Buffalo Police.
- They’re dirt cheap, about one-third the cost of a decent AR-15.
- They use standard Glock pistol magazines.
- They’re dirt cheap.
In the end, I’d argue that Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda knows next to nothing about firearms, that he felt pressured to buy a “long gun” by the union, and he’s trying to get out of the pressure as cheap as he can. He is apparently attempting to con his officers into accepting an underpowered, unproven firearm that is much cheaper than providing them with the well-supported, open-source, highly configurable LEO-standard AR-15 in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO adopted as patrol rifles in just about every major local, state, and federal law enforcement agency.
The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association should continue fighting Derenda and the city council for a proven, standardized weapon system such as AR-15 patrol rifles. While I’m sure that Just Right Carbines are nice, they’re relatively new, unknown and underpowered for the role they fill., You don’t gamble with the lives of your citizens or you officers by fielding unproven boutique systems when a much better option with a long track record of success is right in front of you.
BPD officers deserve the law enforcement standard AR-15 patrol rifle, and neither the Police Benevolent Association nor the residents of Buffalo should accept Derenda’s decision to put sub-standard long guns on patrol when a much better option exists.