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Several City of Columbia, S.C. police officers are complaining about their new firearms – while the gun deal brokered by mayor Steve Benjamin’s office that obtained the new weapons is also being questioned.

Last month, City of Columbia police officers switched from .45 caliber Sig Sauer handguns to 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistols produced by FN Manufacturing – which has a facility located in an unincorporated region of Richland County.

One law enforcement source called the FN guns “unproven and cheap,” and FITS has spoken with several City of Columbia police officers who say they don’t trust the new weapons.  City officials reject those contentions, arguing that the new locally manufactured pistols are “easier to use, more accurate and carry more bullets.”  They also tout the fact that the deal struck by Benjamin “helps the local economy.”

So … which firearm is really better?  That depends on who you ask …

“People have written books about how the 9mm is better or worse than the 10mm, which is better 0r worse than the .45 which is better or worse than the .357 and so on,” one law enforcement source tells FITS.  “At the end of the day, it’s about getting a projectile into a target area consistently but not all the way through the target and into something behind it.”

To that end, city police officers have used the .45 Sig Sauer handguns for the last fifteen years.  Officers are currently in training on the new 9mm handguns, which include features like single action/ double action triggers and external safeties.

Frankly we prefer the 9mm because it’s easier to operate than a revolver (point, pull trigger, gun goes “bang”), but that’s just us.  When it comes to law enforcement personnel, we believe cops should be permitted to use whatever weapon they are most comfortable with – and at this point it’s clear that many City of Columbia cops are simply not comfortable with the FN 9mm.

Anyway, the debate over these guns has been further complicated by reports that Benjamin and FN Manufacturing are currently in negotiations regarding the city’s annexation of its Richland County property – which if accurate would provide the city with a new stream of tax revenue.  In the past city officials have used interstates and other roads to extend the “contiguous” boundaries of the city limits – not unlike the “gerrymandering” of political boundaries.

Stay tuned for more on this story … we’re just beginning to investigate.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Mayor Benjamin’s office says there is “no truth” to the rumor that FN is being annexed by the City of Columbia.