Columbia police get bang for their buck with new locally made guns

Top Columbia officials held a news conference to unveil new weapons for the police department.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) -- It was Christmas in August for Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott and his officers.

The department showcased their new 9 mm handguns Wednesday. It comes from FN Manufacturing, which is based in Columbia and has worked with the military in the past.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said there are three main benefits.

"Not only are we providing our officers with a world class firearm, but we are doing it better and cheaper than before; and supporting a local business in the process."

The new pistols cost about $400. The current 45 caliber guns cost approximately $600. The department currently has 225 handguns; and another 225 are on the way. Every officer is expected to have one by February; according to Scott.

"You can't imagine the savings to our city taxpayers with this upgrade. It is almost a 40% to 60% savings that we were able to do."

So what makes the new 9 mm a better weapon than the old 45 caliber? Scott said it has a better grip on the handle, it is more accurate, and it holds 18 rounds instead of nine. Scott believes all of those factors can mean the difference between life and death.

"I don't want to wake up and have to answer why an officer ran out of rounds? And why did a suspect have a weapon that had more firepower and more round capacity than my officers?

Officers say there is also less recoil shooting the 9 mm as opposed to the 45 caliber. FN Manufacturing Vice President of Human Resources Ralph Young said it is a great way for his company to give back to the community.

"We are thrilled for the opportunity to support the city of Columbia and the police department; and to be working with Chief Scott and his folks."

A partnership both sides believe will keep residents even safer.