Police Worried About New Vest-Penetrating Gun

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Fri Jan 14 13:54:32 PST 2005



Police Worried About New Vest-Penetrating Gun

NEW YORK -- There is a nationwide alert to members of law enforcement
regarding a new kind of handgun which can render a bulletproof vest
useless, as first reported by NewsChannel 4's Scott Weinberger.

New Gun Frightens Police
Scott Weinberger

 The most shocking fact may be that the gun -- known as the "five-seven" --
is being marketed to the public, and it's completely legal

It was a very difficult decision for members of law enforcement to go
public about the new weapon, but officers fear that once word of the weapon
begins to circulate in the wrong circles, they will be in great danger.
They agreed to speak to NewsChannel 4, hoping the public will understand
what they call the most devastating weapon they face.

The weapon is light, easily concealable and can fire 20 rounds in seconds
without reloading.

"This would be devastating," said Chief Robert Troy, of the Jersey City
Police Department.

Troy said he learned about the high-powered pistol from a bulletin issued
by Florida Department of Law Enforcement to all of its agents. Troy
believes faced with this new weapon, his officers would be at a total

"Dealing with a gun like this -- it's a whole new ballgame," Troy said.

Troy is not the only member of law enforcement to voice concern. As
NewsChannel 4 began to contact several more departments in the Tri-State
Area, it turned out that officers in Trumball, Conn., had seized one of
these handguns during a recent arrest.

"Certainly, handguns are a danger to any police officer on any day, but one
that specifically advertised by the company to be capable of defeating a
ballistic vest is certainly the utmost concern to us," said Glenn Byrnes,
of the Trumball Police Department.

However, the company said that bullet is not sold to the public. Instead,
gun buyers can purchase what the company calls a training or civilian
bullet -- the type loaded into the gun confiscated by Trumball police.

At a distance of 21 feet, Trumball police Sgt. Lenny Scinto fired the
five-seven with the ammo sold legally to the public into a standard police
vest. All three penetrated the vest.

The bullets even went through the back panel of the vest, penetrating both

In a similar test, an officer fired a .45-caliber round into the same vest.
While the shot clearly knocked it down, it didn't penetrate the vest, and
an officer would likely have survived the assault.

"The velocity of this round makes it a more penetrating round -- that's
what had me concerned," Scinto said.

FN Herstal told NewsChannel 4 that they dispute the test, stating, "Most
law enforcement agencies don't have the ability to properly test a
ballistic vest."

When NewsChannel 4 asked how this could have happened, the spokesperson
said: "We [the company] are not experts in ballistic armor."

Back in Trumball, Scinto said his officers would have to rethink how to
protect the public and protect themselves.

"This is going to add a whole new dimension to training and tactics. With
the penetration of these rounds, you're going to have to find something
considerably heavier than we normally use for cover and concealment to stop
this round," Scinto said.

In Jersey City, Troy said he will appeal to lawmakers, hoping they will
step in before any of his officers are confronted with the five-seven.

"This does not belong in the civilian population. The only thing that comes
out of this is profits for the company and dead police officers," Troy
said. "I would like the federal government to ban these rounds to the
civilian public."

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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