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Coast Guard Law Enforcement Adopts New Pistol
U.S. Coast Guard | May 04, 2006
Juneau, AK. - As a group of law enforcement students gather for training at the Lemon Creek shooting facility, Petty Officer Joseph Baxter, a small arms instructor for Coast Guard Station Juneau, asks his assistants if the line is ready. A formation of four young men and women shift their footing and prepare to draw their pistols. All the other small arms instructors verify that their assigned shooters are prepared and following all safety protocol before giving the go ahead signal to Baxter.

A whistle blows and the young students draw their new service pistols and begin firing steadily timed and aimed shots at paper targets about 30 feet away. At the sound of a second whistle blast the service members holster their weapons and eagerly await the scores.

Their expressions are a mixture of confidence and disappointment as they wait to see if they have achieved this step of law enforcement qualification or if they will need additional training. Chief Petty Officer Brian S. Green, Supervisor of Pacific Area Armory, approaches each shooter, coaching and giving advice to perfect his or her technique.

Green is tasked with traveling to every cutter and unit in Southeast Alaska in order to conduct training on the Sig Sauer® P229R DAKTM .40 caliber pistol, which is replacing the 9mm Berretta® as the Coast Guard's standard law enforcement pistol. "It is a lot of traveling but it's only until the local unit small arms instructors are familiar with the new pistol," said Green.

"The goal in our transition training is to successfully train and qualify everyone. At Station Juneau, almost everyone has to carry a weapon and be law enforcement qualified," said Chief Petty Officer David Fox, the Seventeenth District's Senior Small Arms Instructor.

Fox stated that while a larger caliber pistol, the 40 caliber Sig® should not be any more difficult than other weapons to qualify on. Most of the principal parts of the weapon are similar to the Beretta® we have used. The major difference is the double action only feature. From an instructional stand point this is a bonus. He explained that the student has to make a long deliberate pull on the trigger to allow the weapon to operate. In Fox's opinion, the attention to the double action only feature increases the awareness of the student to remain on target and make a good trigger squeeze resulting in increased accuracy.

Fox, an obvious supporter of the new pistol, said that another change is the decision to allow the use of a more effective round. The hollow point, he said,  "is an improvement over the ball round, which was the issued ammunition for the 9mm Berretta®."                          

"These factors alone will increase the officer's safety by giving them increased confidence in the event of an engagement.  The boarding officer will, with their training, stand a better chance of maintaining control of any situation," said Fox.  Confidence in your training and confidence in your equipment are foundations for success. From my 20 years of experience as an instructor, I think the change was a good decision."

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Copyright 2013 U.S. Coast Guard. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Military.com.