Atlanta PD Transitions to Glock Pistols

G22 Gen4

In a move that I expected to take place more than 20 years ago, the Atlanta Police Department is transitioning from Smith & Wesson pistols to Glock handguns.  Patrol officers and other cops will begin carrying the Gen4 version of the model 22, while the SWAT team will carry the Gen4 version of the model 21.

Smith & Wesson had the Atlanta Police Department as a customer since the 1940′s, and the agency had transitioned to the M&P pistols about five years ago.

Having worked as a police officer in the metro-Atlanta area, I saw first hand how aggressively the Glock company pursued law enforcement contracts in the 1990′s.  Extremely lucrative deals were offered including a one-for-one swap for existing duty pistols for brand new Glock pistols.  Many departments jumped on the offers to replace worn out pistols or to transition from the 9mm to the .40 S&W cartridge with little or no out of pocket expenses.

Atlanta PD, however, did not swap to Glock pistols.  I never understood the department’s reluctance to switch to the handguns, especially after seeing the condition of their third generation S&W pistols.

While I believe the M&P is an excellent pistol, having the pistol manufacturer’s US headquarters in your backyard is likely to help ensure good service.

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Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Samuel Suggs

    you probobly should have led with the fact that their switching from S&W M&P’s to G22 gen 4′s. you should have been more clear about the fact that glock is headquartred in maryland and that this is why you exspected this to happen sooner than it did

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    I would like to know if details have been published, as well as cost to the taxpayer. Geoff Who is a curious fellow. (Posting as guest because Disqus does not function)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      From past sales I’m guessing, and that’s all it is, I’ll say about $250 each if that much.

  • floppyscience

    So they switched from old 3rd gen S&Ws to Glocks? That makes more sense. I thought at first they switched from the M&P to Glocks. That would certainly be new.

    • schizuki

      “the agency had transitioned to the M&P pistols about five years ago.”

      Sure looks like they went from M&P’s to Glocks to me. After only five years? How much wear can a cop put on a pistol in five years?

      • http://www.bluesheepdog.com/ Richard

        Sorry if the writing wasn’t clear. APD issued the 3rd gen S&W pistols from the 80′s to mid 00′s. At that point they went to the M&P. Now they are moving to the Glock.

        • floppyscience

          Thanks for the clarification. This is the first time I’ve seen a department go from M&P to Glock.

          • http://comcast.net frank

            in southfield michigan, the southfield pd went to the smith and wesson MP in 357 sig, but later went to the glock in 357 sig because the 357 sig tore the M&P guns up.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    Hey are the local bookies taking bets on the first AD and the damage done? Geoff Who prefers S&W to Glock and a nice solid safety lever for police.

    • Aaron E

      The M&P does not have a safety lever, and Glock has been in LE for 25+ years with very few AD. The M&P is a very nice pistol, but I think having Glock “next door” has some real advantages.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Aaron you can order the M&P with a thumb safety

        • Aaron E

          Ahh! I’ve become too accustomed to my Glock to want to go back to a lever. Again, the M&P is a great pistol, I think the move has political reasoning behind it.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            It very well could be. It wouldn’t be the first time!

        • Atlemt

          APDs M&Ps don’t have a manual saftey

      • Thesilent

        APD’s M&P also have the mag disconnect in them

  • Cuban Pete

    ….the last sentence nailed it. Having Glock USA’s HQ in Smyrna, GA (instead of that Springfield, MA, dump) is one hell of a political statement by the Atlanta PD. Buy local, buy gun-friendly.
    No brainer.

    • Patrick

      Being from MA I have always wondered why all of these companies have stayed

      • Reluctant Masshole

        Amen. From a fellow citizen trapped behind the iron curtain, the only guess I have is that they received one hell of a tax break package.

  • Marc

    Another case of pointless special snowflake pistols for SWAT.

    • Jeff

      Agreed. It would make more sense to just issue the G22 to SWAT. But it’s not about cartridge performance; it’s about status.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        It’s also about penetration through glass etc.

      • Blaine

        The way I see it, chances are a SWAT team will be more apt to see CQB action. That means a round designed for high BC against physical bodies is more important. Since the .40 is faster and has more penetration, it is more apt to travel through walls and endanger another officer, while a .45 has less barrier penetration and has more of an immediate physical impact on the human body. Although the physical impact can be argued and is negligible unless proper shot placement is obtained.

      • holland

        If it was solely about status they would have gotten 1911′s, seems to me they like the .45 round. 9mm is better but only if you ‘rapid fire’, SWAT in contrast perhaps believe they will only go for single shot headshots, and in that case a bigger bullet is better.

        • anon

          Any SWAT officer who really believes that he’ll be doing single shot headshots after a pistol transition needs get fired for confusing real life with 90′s action movies.

  • Tony

    Please have someone proofread your articles before publishing. This was difficult to read.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Just the one point about which time period the guns were used. I understood it without any problem.
      When I know they are coming up I do proofread them.

  • Lance

    They swapped over S&W’s M&P because Glock is cheaper and has more channels to LE both are good pistols.

  • Marc

    Glocks are better pistols than M&P’s…

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Please don’t be that guy.

    • james

      I agree. On the M&P’s the slide stop breaks and the magazine spring gets weak and the slide stops locking back when empty. The mags stay loaded 24/7 mind you, but I never experienced that happen with the smith 4003 or 5903 mags.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    My local SWAT and police are transitioning from 40 to 9 which imo considering their requirements and shooters involved is a fantastic decision. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it, and figured correctly that they must be in the minority.

    If Atlanta is transitioning handguns, that’s also the time to transition to a 9 or 45. It’s not flame bait, it’s just becoming obvious that less and less people besides the ones that need to are shooting 40 anymore. Despite plenty of evidence and benefits, it’s a tough sell to get a police dept to go to a smaller cartridge.

    • http://www.bluesheepdog.com/ Richard

      I like the 9mm myself, and with good ammo would have no problems carrying it on duty.

      If I recall correctly, Atlanta PD was a 9mm agency until the switch to the M&P. I believe the department went to the .40 S&W at that time.

    • spencer60

      They should follow GA State Police and go 357 SIG in the Glocks, that would really confuse everyone!

      • Thesilentguest

        GSP issues .45 GAP

  • Jeff

    Glock has been courting APD ever since they moved to Smyrna. I read a written proposal in the mid-90s that would have basically paid the department to switch over. Glock offered an exorbitant price to buy the S&W pistols from APD, and then replace them with heavily discounted Glocks. The reason APD never accepted was because Bill Campbell (then-Mayor of Atlanta) wanted to align himself with the forces filing suit against the gun industry. At the time, S&W’s British owners were complicit in the sell-out. So S&W was “good” while Glock wickedly supported civilian ownership of handguns. Officers within APD clamored for better guns, but they were forced to use inferior products because of political wrangling.

  • MannyF

    So where can I find these “used” M&P trade-ins?

    • Dustysa4

      GT Distributors…they have locations in GA and TX.

    • james

      These used guns are going to be beat to hell.

  • Casey Taylor

    About damn time. Every SO in the metro area issues Glock, as well as most (if not all) of the suburban departments. Glock is a huge presence in the area, and service to their local customers is second to none. I’m so glad APD finally woke up on this.

  • warriorway3080

    I always here about agencies switching to Glocks but I ask myself what about Sigs? in my humble experience and observation Sigs are top of the line! I understand they are a bit pricy but I can tell you that its well worth it. I carry the Sig P226 equinox in the 40 and if I had to choose one pistol to travel to an alien planet that would be the one! There is a reason why the Navy seals use them!

  • Jim

    The APDs M&Ps are not worn out. They are very nice pistols. Atlanta is also not the only department carrying the M&P. I believe Dekalb county is also carrying them as well.