The Connecticut SWAT Challenge (CSC) 2012, started by SWAT operators eight years ago in musty, GI issue tents, now features an unrivalled venue spread out over several ranges and green fields of West Hartford. The CSC is comprised of a three day vendor exposition, this year with over 125 different companies, as well as the tough competition. The competitive events, sponsored in part by GLOCK, focused on making the twenty-seven teams of sworn officers and deputies better operators by use of head-to-head tactical events based on real-world situations organized and officiated by a highly experienced SWAT-qualified cadre. The competitors returning home from the CSC take with them increased knowledge, enhanced capability and a positive attitude for SWAT that was best said by West Hartford Chief Tracey Gove who challenged all the operators to “take ownership of your craft.”
Tough Terrain for GLOCKS
Connecticut is taken from the Mohegan word quonehtacut for “place of (or upon) the long river” in reference to the Connecticut river that bisects the state. It is the 4th most densely populated of the 50 United States and although prosperous, several of Connecticut’s cities rank among the country’s poorest and most dangerous, making the job of Connecticut law enforcement one of the toughest in the nation. As a result most on Connecticut law enforcement agencies, including the hosting West Hartford Police Department, relies on GLOCKS to protect their officers, citizens and tourists that visit the area.
Each team was challenged with multiple events including individual shooting events as well as team events. The team events included stages for their sniper/spotter, multiple gun team competitions where competitors used their rifles, carbines, shotguns and GLOCKS, as well as the grueling 5.2 mile, 38 stage obstacle course. Every event is designed to test each operator physically, mentally and motivationally with exhaustive and even tedious scenarios designed to force each officer well outside their comfort zone. The competitor’s stamina, marksmanship, communication as well as stress response and unit cohesion are tested with limited ammunition, physical exertion, while wearing full gear (including gas masks on several stages) all with the clock ticking.
As a result some operators’ equipment and weapons, also put to the test during the shooting events, were found to be lacking. During the competition I saw helmets become a hindrance when wearers went prone, eyepro fog up as the day warmed, electronic sights die and weapons fail to function properly. One commonly carried SWAT item that did not jam, fail to function or hinder any operators was the firearm that equips over two thirds of all American law enforcement officers, was the GLOCK pistol carried my most of the competitors.
Why does so many of the competitors credit their successes both in the competition and on the beat to their chosen pistol; their GLOCKS? The Director of the CSC and West Hartford SWAT Commander, Lt. Jeremy Clark, stated that he prefers GLOCKS because “of their ease of use; in tactical situations you revert back to your training which is very simple – you draw and pull the trigger. They are “GLOCK solid.” I mean they are the best, the most reliable handgun regardless of the cost. I’ve been firing GLOCKS for sixteen years and I never have had one fail on me!” About the multiple safeties that each GLOCK has engineered into each model, Lt. Clark stressed “you never have to worry, it is a safe pistol that will send a bullet only when the trigger is pulled.”
Other team members and competitors expressed their positive experiences and opinions about their GLOCKS. Most of the praise centered on the GLOCK’s unrivaled durability and simplicity with no safeties to sweep, hammers to cock or slides to manipulate to bring their sidearm to bear. The officers were consistent with the theme that with their GLOCK gives them confidence that they would have immediate protection when needed because their GLOCKs always work as designed. West Hartford SWAT Team Leader Sgt. Chris Chappell summed it up best. He said “law enforcement needs are different than competitive shooters and even the military. A law enforcement officer wants a weapon, like a GLOCK, that when you pull it out in defense of a life, maybe your own, and pull the trigger it goes off every time. In addition the GLOCK is durable so it can take routine use and not fail when you need it, even if you don’t clean it all the time!”