Ask any good, seasoned
patrol officer the importance of maintaining your everyday equipment
and you might get a response like "Do cars need gas to run? Or,
does a marathon runner need shoes to run in?" Having clean, up-to-date
equipment such as a charged Taser or a full can of OC spray is important,
but not nearly as important as maintaining your duty weapon. You
don't have to be an expert firearms instructor, a Tactical Commander
or even be a gun crazy cop to know how to maintain a clean duty
weapon. Ask any field training officer if he stresses the importance
of a clean, functional weapon to his or her rookies, and I bet you
will be hard pressed to find one that does not.
Basic skills should have
been taught to you in the academy on weapons upkeep as well as upkeep
of your everyday duty gear. A veteran officer knows that maintaining
perhaps the most important piece of equipment that you may have
to rely on to save your life or the life of someone else doesn't
take an expert, only consistency and responsibility.
Every officer should
know the workings of his/her duty weapon, and know how to properly
field strip and re-assemble their weapon after a proper cleaning.
I love the hobby of collecting handguns. I am not a firearms expert,
but I can tell you from years and years on the street, that choosing
a duty weapon and sticking to that same make and model will benefit
you in a life threatening situation. I know my duty weapon, a Sig
Sauer P220, .45 caliber handgun better than I know any other gun
that I own. I know the exact feel of each and every trigger pull,
the way the gun feels when I decock it, and when the slide falls
with a round in the chamber.
Having the proper cleaning
supplies is a must, and I recommend a separate cleaning kit specifically
for your duty weapon, where everything in the kit is designed to
clean your best friend. Solvent, gun oil, even some WD-40, frame
brushes and bore brushes and a good cleaning cloth will keep your
trusted partner operational for years. And, if you have been on
the street for awhile, or have spent many a round through your barrel,
have an expert do a routine inspection on your weapon every few
months. A new recoil spring that may cost you $50 bucks is a small
investment when the time may come for it not to fail you.
Most law enforcement
agencies are full of officer's that are experts in firearms. If
you are like me, not one of them, seek out their expertise on firearms
maintenance. Then, with that nice, perfectly cleaned and operational
best friend of yours, get your butt to the firing range so that
you can return the favor to your weapon, by being just as reliable
to the gun as the gun will be to you.
Stay safe, serve proud,
and go home at the end of the day.
Andrew G. Hawkes http://www.highwaydruginterdiction.com
Andrew G. Hawkes is an 18 year veteran police officer and a police
writer. You can visit his website at http://www.highwaydruginterdiction.com
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