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In 1994, the NYPD issued 2nd Generation Glock 19s and Sig Sauers to its members, so you’d think by then all of New York’s Finest would’ve retired their service revolvers. Apparently, there were 29 remaining active duty officers who still carried .38 revolvers. As reported in November 30 last year, the NYPD issued an internal memo for all their precincts, decommissioning their service revolvers along with their paraphernalia, such as holsters, belts and speed loaders. This latest announcement from America’s largest police force makes it official. In a departmental memo, the NYPD put on notice revolver-carrying officers that they must make the transition to a semi-automatic service pistol before September 2018.

Some of the 29 officers could well be turning over their Ruger Service Six revolvers in .38 Special. First issued to the class of ’79, this service firearm is way overdue for replacement (

A group of revolver-carrying officers during their “familiarization” training day. Notice the well-worn duty belts and holsters, and what appear to be Ruger Service Six revolvers (

Given the history of the NYPD’s issued firearms, it’s possible that the soon-to-be retired revolvers will consist mostly of the Ruger Police Service Six in .38 Special, maybe with the odd S&W Model 10 or Colt Official Police. Regardless of the model, some revolver-carrying officers remain proud of them, such as NYPD’s Housing Bureau officer Lt. James Darcy who had this to say: “Whenever they see the gun, they realize that I got a lot of time on patrol… I’ve done a lot of things and they give me great respect for it.” Meanwhile, another officer, Paul Sulzbach speaks of his piece with great sentimentality: “You become attached to it. It’s been by my side for 26 years.”

Officer Paul Sulzbach on his beat, still brandishing his service revolver. He, like the other NYPD officers who still use revolvers, feels sentimental about the firearm they’ve been carrying for decades (

Sentimentality aside, the 29 officers will be the last batch of NYPD members to benefit from switching to the standard semi-autos; from a tactical standpoint, NYPD Firearms and Tactics Section Inspector Richard DiBlasio explains: “A 9-millimeter has a capacity to access of (sic) 15 rounds in the magazine. A revolver has six. If you get into a situation where you’re exchanging gunfire, you exchange six rounds you now have to reload, and it takes that (sic) time.”

Officer Sulzbach opted for the SIG Sauer. Here we see him on the mandatory 3-day familiarization course with his new service pistol (

DiBlasio went on to explain that the revolver-carrying officers will have to go through a 3-day familiarization course. It’s here where they’ll be reacquainted the fundamentals of shooting, but with their newly-issued semi-autos. “It’s a difficult transition when you’re used to many, many years, in some cases decades of using a revolver, and some of the instructors we have are the best instructors in the world”, said DiBlasio. Each of the 29 officers will get to choose their new duty pistols from the following: the Glock 17 or 19 (both gen 4) and the SIG Sauer P226 in Double-Action Only. All three models will come standard with the hefty 12-lb trigger pull.

Although the revolvers will be decommissioned, the officers will be allowed to use them as an off-duty firearm, if they don’t already have one.