Cramerton is a small town located in Gaston County, North Carolina, a 25-minute drive from Charlotte. It is an all-American town, where kids roller-skate on the sidewalks, nightly movies play on the town green (bring your own lawn chairs and blankets) and Bible verses are displayed on Main Street marquees. The town is named after Stuart Warren Cramer, who owned a cotton-spinning mill located along the banks of the South Fork of the Catawba River. In an attempt to regulate factory temperature and humidity, and remove lint from the air (a persistent problem in textile mills), Cramer, a mill designer of genius, patented the “Cramer System of Air Conditioning,” from which the modern-day term “air conditioning” is derived.
“Discussion of the new guns centered on the Gen4’s dual recoil spring, reversible magazine catch and interchangeable backstraps, which allow the user to widen or narrow the grip to fit his or her personal hand size.”
In a town renowned for history-making engineering, it’s fitting that its police, the Cramerton Police Department and the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), have adopted the latest development in firearms technology, the GLOCK 22 Gen4. Although a small police department, the Cramerton PD understands the threats both criminal and terroristic posed to the communities of Cramerton and nearby McAdenville (also known as “Christmastown U.S.A.” for its extensive holiday lighting displays.) Working under the guidance of their chief, Greg Ratchford, all Cramerton sworn officers are trained in special operations tactics, which are reinforced by frequent range instruction from in-house and guest instructors. Chief Ratchford demands the best of his officers, and to be at their best, they need the best equipment. To that end, the department has opted to issue to its troopers the best possible sidearm, the .40-caliber Glock 22 Gen4.
Cramerton’s captain of operations, leader of the Cramerton SORT, firearms instructor and certified GLOCK armorer Rodney Robinson conducted the Glock 22’s rollout. Stressing the need to obtain a positive and consistent grip, Rodney showed how easy it was to remove and replace the different-sized backstraps included with every Gen4. He made sure that everyone understood the importance not only of attaining a firm, comfortable grip, but also the necessity of obtaining an optimal length of pull, which ensures that the shooter will correctly index their trigger finger, eliminating the exertion of side forces on the trigger, which degrade accuracy.
Because Cramerton’s officers used GLOCK Gen3s prior to the department’s switch, their transition to the new Gen4 was easy. I had the privilege of being on the range when the first set of Glock 22 Gen4s were distributed to the eager officers. Immediately upon receiving them, they took aim downrange and, with minimal instruction, shot excellent qualification scores. Discussion of the new guns centered on the Gen4’s dual recoil spring, reversible magazine catch and interchangeable backstraps, which allow the user to widen or narrow the grip to fit his or her personal hand size.
What hasn’t changed from the third generation to the fourth is GLOCK’s SAFE ACTION safety system, which utilizes three separate safeties to ensure that no GLOCK pistol will discharge unless its trigger is depressed. The first is the trigger safety, which a small lever contained in the trigger that activates the trigger bar when depressed. The second safety is the firing-pin safety, a hardened-steel pin that blocks the firing-pin channel until the trigger is activated. The third is the drop safety, which is released when the trigger is pulled back. The trigger, firing pin and drop safeties allow for safe loaded carry; and with no external safety to manipulate, a GLOCK can be brought immediately and easily into action. Armed with a GLOCK, an officer faced with an immediate threat can focus strictly on the situation at hand, and not on preparing his or her sidearm.
Captain Brad Adams, who has been with Cramerton PD since 2001, is a firearms instructor, certified GLOCK armorer and leader of the SORT. He really appreciates the GLOCK’s design. “I found that with less pieces and parts, there is less that can go wrong!” Adams said. “I like GLOCKs because they are reliable, light and simple, and with the Gen4, it has interchangeable backstraps and has the ability to accommodate both left- and right-handed shooters, so it fits more people than other sidearms that are heavier and more complex.” Sergeant Aaron Black, who has been with Cramerton PD for eight years, likes the Gen4’s grip. “I’ve got small hands, so the choice of sizes and the extended tang really helps me shoot well,” he said. Sergeant Black also lauded the gun’s dual recoil spring: “The pistol doesn’t seem to recoil as much, and it goes back on target quicker, which I like a lot.” Officer Todd Eric Proper, who in his free time competes in GLOCK’s Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF), noted that GLOCKs “are very reliable.”
“I’ve never had an issue with any GLOCK pistol that I shoot in matches or use on duty,” Proper said. “I have seven and intend to buy more!” In the course of her 19 years as a law enforcement officer, Belinda Robinson has had to unholster her pistol a number of times to protect herself and others, so she fully appreciates the advantages of a GLOCK. “I love it!” Robinson said. “I have small hands, so I use the short frame grip without either backstrap, and it fits me perfectly.” Robinson went on to say, “I do like the simplicity of the GLOCK…I can take it apart and put it back together in no time at all, and it is always ready to go whenever I need it.” Asked if she likes the Glock 22’s more-powerful .40 cartridge, Robinson said, “I am really comfortable with the .40. In fact, it is the only round I practice and compete [in GSSF] with because the .40 is what I carry to save my life, so it is the round that I want to practice and compete with!”
As part of their introduction to the pistol, and to discover which grip size fit each officer best, Cramerton’s officers undertook a series of range drills as well as the state’s qualification course of fire. I watched drill after drill, done standing, kneeling and prone, and hundreds of rounds were expended with nary a single misfeed, jam or failure. The officers arranged informal competitions, and as they got more and more comfortable with the new pistol, each tried to best the other. But how was the new Glock 22 Gen4 received? Neatly summing up the department’s opinion, an officer, as he walked downrange to view his target, exclaimed in a matter-of-fact manner, to no person in particular, “I like the new GLOCK.” His brother officers reflected for a moment, gazed at the results of their last shooting drill and then nodded in agreement. “Yup,” another finally said. “You can’t beat a GLOCK!”
For more information on the GLOCK 22 Gen4 .40 Pistol, visit: http://us.glock.com/
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