A lot of what law enforcement does is reactionary in response to what criminals do. The best law enforcement agencies, like the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) in Florida, ensure that their deputies will not come in second place in a confrontation with a bad guy. The VCSO does that by thinking ahead and providing its deputies with the best gear and training possible. Every VCSO deputy is equipped with a shotgun, a patrol rifle and the powerful .40-caliber GLOCK 35, a pistol that is also the choice of many competitive shooters for its speed, reliability and accuracy.
Daytona & Beyond
Volusia County is bordered on the east by Daytona Beach, one of the most recognizable beaches along the East Coast. The county’s 1,432 square miles—about the size of Rhode Island—has urban, rural, woodland, swamp and beachfront environs, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
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The VCSO is dedicated to protecting residents and their property with approximately 463 sworn positions, 460 civilian employees and 213 volunteers to provide a wide range of patrol and criminal investigation services. A full range of crime prevention and public safety programs have also been integrated into the VCSO’s five district offices to make these services more accessible to its citizens. The sheriff’s office also operates a variety of specialized units, including narcotics, intelligence, juvenile investigations, K9, marine units and homeland security, while operating a fully capable SWAT team and providing law enforcement services at the Daytona Beach International Airport.
The VCSO SWAT team is comprised of 30 deputies, each trained or cross-trained in one or more specialties, including entries, breaching, gas delivery, countersniping and leadership.
The infamous 1986 Miami shootout, which involved eight FBI agents and two serial bank robbers, caused a paradigm shift in law enforcement that resulted in the FBI searching for a cartridge more powerful than the .38 Special in use at the time. That led to the 10mm AUTO and eventually the .40, which has become a standard for law enforcement all over the country.
The VCSO was one of the first agencies to recognize that the powerful .40 cartridge could better protect its deputies against current and future threats, and soon realized that there is no better .40-caliber pistol than a GLOCK. After some extensive testing, the VCSO chose the G35 as the issued sidearm thanks to its longer sight radius, match-grade trigger, GLOCK SAFE ACTION and 15+1 capacity. Now, after years of use, the G35 has proven that, along with excellent training, frequent practice and superb support, it is perfect for protecting VCSO deputies as well as Volusia County’s half-million residents and visitors.
The .40-caliber GLOCK 35 is the preferred platform for many winning professional shooters because of its inherent precision and fast-targeting capabilities, and this also makes it a superb tactical sidearm. The G35’s longer barrel and slide puts more weight forward, providing less muzzle flip, while offering a longer sight radius for precise targeting and fast follow-up shots. In essence, every VCSO deputy is issued a competition-grade pistol with a great trigger, legendary accuracy and typical match-winning GLOCK reliability.
Even though the G35 is a unique pistol, it shares the same features built into every GLOCK. The G35 has a durable, reinforced polymer frame that is indifferent to harsh conditions, lubricants and wear from years of use. The finish on every GLOCK slide is the result of a proprietary process that goes deep into the steel to provide a durable and rust-resistant coating that increases the pistol’s longevity.
Like all GLOCK pistols, the G35 has GLOCK’s three internal safeties—a trigger safety, a drop safety and a firing pin safety—which comprise the famous GLOCK SAFE ACTION. The SAFE ACTION makes any GLOCK capable of discharging only when the trigger is depressed. For many years, people have tried unsuccessfully to make GLOCK pistols discharge by striking them in every conceivable way—even dropping one off a 10-story building—but the SAFE ACTION successfully prevented primer ignition in every case.
The Right Choice
What makes the GLOCK 35 a superb duty weapon for Florida’s hot and humid conditions? The commander of the VCSO SWAT team, Paul Adkins, said he likes the comparative lightness of the G35. He said, “Our first .40 pistols we called ‘boat anchors’ because they were very, very heavy compared to the GLOCK.”
He continued, “Besides being light, I really love the GLOCK because it is simple, it has great ergonomics and it is just easy to shoot. The best and most important thing for me is that my GLOCK has given me zero issues and has never failed me.”
Another SWAT operator, VCSO Deputy Anthony Zimmerer, who is also a K9 handler with his service dog, Koda, said, “My GLOCK is great. I really like that it’s simple, it does not have a thousand parts that can break or get lost, it’s easy to understand and it’s spot-on accurate.”
Lonnie Feaster, another deputy who is also on the SWAT entry team, said, “The GLOCK’s reliability, along with its simplicity and light weight, makes it the best pistol I have used.”
Jeffery Wiles, who has been a sworn deputy for 21 years, has seen the rise of GLOCK pistols in law enforcement. When asked about why he thinks GLOCKs have been so successful, Wiles said, “The thing about the GLOCK platform is that it is very easy to maintain and is ‘cop-proof.’ They rarely break, they’re easy to work on and they’re very accurate. When we went to the GLOCK 35, our departmental pistol scores improved drastically.”
He smiled and summed up the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s attitude toward its GLOCK pistols: “They always work when needed—clean, wet or dirty—and hit where you aim. We have found that if you can’t shoot a GLOCK, you can’t shoot anything. They just can’t be beat.”
Volusia County’s Glock Armorers
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has several GLOCK-trained and certified armorers, some of which are volunteers who are periodically recertified to ensure that they can fully service the GLOCK pistols carried by VCSO deputies.
Randy Post is the VCSO’s senior range master and chief armorer. He said, “I like working on GLOCKs because of the simplicity of the gun and its ease of maintenance so that the deputies themselves can take care of them.
“We have over 460 G35 and 75 G27 pistols in service, and every year the pistols are turned in, completely disassembled, refurbished, cleaned, test-fired and returned to the deputies. Since 2000, we’ve saved the parts we’ve replaced, and in those 15 years, all those parts fit in a 6-by-6-by-4-inch box!”
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Steve Harrell is a VCSO volunteer armorer who is also in charge of firearms training for recruits at Daytona State College. Each recruit gets over 760 hours of training, including pistol training with the GLOCK 17. Harrell noted, “I have been teaching with GLOCKs since they first came out, and they’re just easy to work on. We shoot the 40 GLOCK 17 pistols we use to train recruits between 5,000 and 6,000 rounds per year per gun, and there is nothing to repair. They work perfectly even though they are constantly used. We got spare parts years ago and still have most of them in storage because I never need to use them. We really have not had a problem needing tech services, but whenever we call GLOCK we get an immediate response and next-day delivery of whatever we need.”
For more information, please visit US.Glock.com.
This article was published in the GLOCK AUTOPISTOLS 2016 magazine. To see the rest of the issue, please visit Personaldefenseworld.com.