The rifle has returned to front line duty in law enforcement agencies across the nation, and is now standard gear — fully integrated into training programs and deployed on every shift. Officers armed with patrol rifles have successfully defended themselves and citizens during violent attacks and brought a stop to offenders’ deadly crimes.
Over many years of instructing patrol rifle classes, the predominate rifle is the AR-15/M-16-type system. It is rare we see officers armed with anything else. The handling qualities, available accessories and easy adaptability to officers of all sizes make this firearm first in consideration.
For those starting a patrol rifle program or seeking to add rifles where money is tight, original Colt M-16A1 rifles are available though the U.S. Military Surplus LESO 10-33 program at well under $100. Compared to new manufactured rifles and carbines in the $800-plus range, it is a true bargain.
In the early years of the 10-33 program, only a limited number of rifles could be acquired per agency. Today, an agency can order the same number of rifles as sworn officers. Contact your state LESO 10-33 property coordinator or find information on the Web at www.drms.dla.mil/rtd03.
What should you look for?
The 9 key elements of a comprehensive patrol rifle training and deployment program include the selection of the approved firearm, caliber, ammunition type, costs, training and policy. Here’s a brief look at selecting the right weapon type. A number of long guns can meet the patrol rifle function, but factors in selection include:
1. Adjustable stock option to allow officers of all sizes to attain a proper shoulder mount and cheek weld
2. Length to fit in an overhead or interior mounted rack
3. Ambidextrous safety/selector for left- and right-handed officers
4. Integral mounting rail system to allow the use of red dot or magnified optics
5. Iron sight system to back up optics
6. Attachment points for tactical sling and light
7. Readily available placement parts and armorer classes
8. Availability of subcaliber .22 or pistol caliber training conversion units to be used if range access is limited to pistol caliber back stops
9. Previous experience and familiarity with the rifle type