September 26, 2011
After three officers died, a sergeant sold the idea to the chief.
ST. PETERSBURG – Semiautomatic rifles are in the hands of everyone these days, from law-abiding citizens to criminals.
But St. Petersburg has a plan to put even more high-powered rifles in the hands of its police: The city will loan money to officers so they can buy their own.
“You don’t want to be in a situation where someone is shooting at you with a rifle,” said Sgt. Tim Brockman, “and you’re sitting there with a handgun.”
The rifle most commonly used by law enforcement is the AR-15 carbine, a civilian variant of the military’s M4 rifle.
But the weapons are so expensive – they cost up to $1,000 each and need to be modified for the individual user – that many departments give them only to special units, like SWAT teams.
That’s why Tampa Bay’s police agencies have long allowed patrol officers to buy their own.
The problem, according to patrol Sgt. Chris Emmert, was that not every officer could afford the expense of buying and equipping such a weapon. He’s spent $2,500 on his own rifle.
“The younger or newer officers on the low end of the pay scale didn’t have the financial means,” Emmert said, “especially when trying to support their families.”
He said officers long ago came up with a way to make them affordable: interest-free loans. Then, after three officers were killed by gunfire early this year, he pitched the idea to Police Chief Chuck Harmon.
A survey of the rank-and-file found “overwhelming” support, according to police spokesman Bill Proffitt. The deaths of Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Officer David Crawford also factored into the chief’s decision.
“I think after what happened on Jan. 24 and Feb. 21,” Proffitt said, “there was renewed interest in having a program like that.”
Starting Oct. 6, the city will give officers who signed up an interest-free loan of $1,150. Then it will deduct $45 from their weekly paychecks.
Brockman, the department’s training supervisor, said officers will be allowed to use the carbines only in “high-risk” situations: facing an active shooter, a barricaded suspect, setting up a perimeter, pulling over a dangerous suspect. Officers must also train annually with the weapons.
“If the officers aren’t properly trained,” Brockman said, “then you’ve created a bigger problem for yourself.”
The ultimate goal, according to Emmert, is to have more firepower than your adversary: “If we have two officers responding to a man with a gun call, the hope is that at least one of them has a rifle.
“We don’t want to bring a handgun to a handgun situation. We want to bring a rifle.”
The rifles have better range and more accuracy than a handgun, according to Emmert, a firearms instructor.
The nation’s police agencies learned in 1997 that they can’t always wait for SWAT. That’s when two heavily armed bank robbers outgunned dozens of Los Angeles officers armed with only revolvers, pistols and shotguns.
In the years since, the rifles have become standard issue. When St. Petersburg finally let street officers use their own rifles in 2004, it was one of the last Tampa Bay agencies to do so.
The move was spurred in part by a 2003 St. Petersburg incident: suspects armed with SKS rifles killed a bystander in a drive-by shooting, then fired at pursuing officers.
More recently, high-powered rifles were blamed for one of the city’s worst tragedies. Police said an 8-year-old girl was killed in 2009 when her house was raked by AR-15 rifles.
The St. Petersburg Police Department is poised to undergo even more tactical changes today, proposals that were also spurred by the recent officer casualties.
The City Council will consider whether to spend $511,000 in forfeiture money to buy gun lights, new bullet-resistant vests, thermal imagers and, a first for the city, its own armored vehicle.
St. Petersburg’s police force is catching up with a growing, but not universally accepted, trend across the country.
“There’s been a blend of military and law enforcement philosophy that frightens some people,” said Roy Bedard, a Tallahassee police consultant.
“But I don’t think the public is worried about law enforcement officers. I think they’re worried about the threats law enforcement seems to be facing.”
Colt AR-15 A3 carbine
Caliber: 5.56mm (.223)
Magazine: 30 rounds (two magazine limit for officers)
Range: 1,968.5 feet
Muzzle velocity: 3,200 feet per second
Barrel length: 16.1 inches
Weight: 7 pounds (without magazine)
Full length: 35 inches (stock extended)
Collapsed length: 32 inches (stock retracted)
September 8, 2011
The Vigilum is being offered with features that include a rail system, five-pound match trigger, adjustable low profile night sights, 30LPI front strap checkering, optional blended magazine well, G10 grips, beavertail safety, match barrel, bushing and link, lowered and flared ejection port, according to the company.
The pistol is offered in the standard 1911 chambered .45 ACP, as well as .40 S&W and 9mm. The guns will be produced at the company’s Tampa, Fla., facility.
June 29, 2011
So we’ve been back from the show a couple of weeks now, and were off to a great start. First off our mascot in training, the adorable 10week old english bulldog pup Bala is in the office with us everyday. Desiree our administrative operations head has designated her new office as Bala’s room, she has acquired a pink bed and toys for her to show her girly side. She is a great pup and we love having her around the office.
We have been very fortunate since our return and have caught the eye of Carducci Tactical and have been written about in his well respected blog. It was a pleasure to have met Danny at the show.
We have published several press releases in the past week and have our Venator battle rifle currently featured in the online publication”Tactical Life” by Harris publications.
We have released our Venator and will be updating our website shortly to include pricing.
We are currently finishing up pricing for some new packages and models we are to be offering.
Stay tuned as it will only keep getting better.
June 22, 2011
We are proud to announce that we have partnered with Osprey Defense Systems to offer the outstanding piston systems they have developed. These are the finest on the market in our opinion and will be offered as options on all of our Paladin rifles. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements later in the week.
June 18, 2011
Lots of things going on behind the scenes at “The Bunker”. We are currently working on several new projects and collaborations that will continue to move our products forward in the gun world. So keep watching for us here as we get ready to start revealing the newest announcements starting next week.
For instance, we will be going public with our pricing lists, and making one major announcement relative to new options offered with our weapons….enough revealed for now…have to keep the secret keepers happy….
June 15, 2011
Back in the office from the trip to Atlanta, we were as busy as can be today, so much to do and orders to fill and ship out. We thank everyone who visited us at our booth and appreciated all of the nice comments about our products. We thank those that purchased our shirts, hats and patches and coins and are excited that our shirts will be worn on the streets of both Moscow and Paris, I guess that takes us international.
Now that we are back, we are getting to work on our SBR rifles that will be available on July 1st. We also have a few other announcements, So keep checking back as we introduce more exciting products in the coming few weeks.
June 12, 2011
Today was the long day for the Tactical Gear Expo. We had up to 8 people at a time in our 10×10 booth. We sold a lot of our t-shirts a few hats and a couple of coins. … and oh yeah we had orders for 4 rifles!! Having a great time and making lots of great contacts and have many leads to follow up on. We have become friends with the folks at TIE (Tactical Innovation Engineering) who make some seriously tough kydek holsters for knives and tactical lights. We had a great dinner and now are resting up in our room as we have an early start again tomorrow morning.
A side note on outstanding professional customer service. I (Chris) have had CRKT knives for some years now and my newest special operations model has had an issue with the secondary lock not going into place on a very random basis. I took my knife to the folks at the CRKT booth and informed them of the problem. They looked at my knife and even though it only occured twice in front of one of the folks and not with the technician that looked at it. With no hard proof of any problem, they asked if I had any sentimental attachment to my knife, and as I had none, they simply replaced my knife with a brand new one. This is not the first time I have had contact with the folks at CRKT and each time, the