dan-derenda

Buffalo (NY) Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda is continuing to take withering fire from law enforcement officers and firearm experts for his decision to force a virtually-unknown pistol-caliber carbine upon his officers, and in inadequate numbers even then.

Police in Buffalo, New York are seething after the department issued them a sub-par .40 caliber carbine of mediocre quality over the AR15s their police union requested.

In light of aging equipment and the threat of “active shooter” and terror attacks, the Buffalo Police Department planned to buy 115 rifles to be assigned to specific vehicles, such as those belonging to supervisors. In addition, 450 plate carriers (described as “active shooter vests”) will be added as well, with one going in every patrol car.

Despite the urgings of the Police Benevolent Association chapter to upgrade each Buffalo officer to an AR15 rifle chambered in 5.56mm, Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda reportedly questioned the need for every officer to have a so-called “high-powered rifle” while on routine patrol, questioning the rifle’s suitability in urban areas.

In response, Derenda agreed to purchase a lot of Just Right Carbines (JRC), erroneously (and hilariously) referred to as the “Glock Magazine Quadrail Rifle” by The Buffalo News.

The JRC -which hails from the state of New York- is a direct-blowback operated rifle chambered in .40 S&W and fed using Glock magazines, which allows BPD officers to use the same magazines as they currently use for their service pistols.

However, while the JRC offers BPD a way to save money and magazine interchangeability, the rifle in question is a virtually unknown one in law enforcement, more suitably designed for backyard plinking than heavy-duty police use. In addition, the faulty .40 S&W round (a caliber gradually being replaced in law enforcement agencies across the nation by the 9mm, which through technological advancements has improved in ballistics over the past few decades) is by its very nature an failing caliber, known for accuracy issues, failure to expand reliably creating a greater risk for over-penetration and ricochets than the 9mm or even the 5.56mm cartridge.

Worst of all, the range difference between the .40 S&W and the 5.56mm puts officers at a great disadvantage when paired against threats fielding rifles with rifle-caliber ammunition.

Caliber and carbine issues aside, the matter of fielding the subpar rifles with only a handful of officers is concerning by itself. According to BPD leadership, the carbines -which would be fielded as backup by supervisors- are only meant to hold the line until SWAT arrives, themselves armed with 5.56mm AR15s.

Essentially, the JRC carbines will be backup until backup arrives.

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Just Right Carbines has shipped less than 29,000 units in the history of the company according to their web site, and the blowback-operated proprietary design has not been rigorously vetted in either a military or law enforcement context. Buffalo will only be the third department to issue the weapons in the entire nation, and will not be issuing them in sufficient numbers to be of use to patrol officers.

Frankly, I’d be outraged if I were an officer or taxpayer in Buffalo, and I’d be on the edge of open revolt. AR-15 patrol rifles chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO are the de facto standard for law enforcement nationwide on the local, state, and federal level. Much more densely populated cities employ them in patrol vehicles, and if either Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda and his firearms training officers (FTOs) had actually done their research—or had simply read the research done by other agencies explaining their decision to employ AR-15s—then the stupidity of employing an untested and propriety pistol-caliber carbine would have been readily apparent.

If the Buffalo City Council gives a damn about giving their officers adequate equipment and cares about protecting the citizens of their city, they need to bring in outside experts to review Derenda’s decision and perhaps his employment.

This decision is completely indefensible.