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DPS troopers will soon have the option to switch duty weapons

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Amarillo, TX - After the start of the new year, Department of Public Safety Troopers will have the opportunity to switch their Duty Weapons in an effort to better protect themselves and those they serve.

Soon DPS Troopers will be able to voluntarily switch from the currently used 357 Sig to a 9 MM Smith and Wesson.

The 9 MM Smith and Wesson will provide DPS Troopers with more rounds while out in the field.

"With the higher capacity, I think that's a benefit because a lot of times our guys are out there by themselves and if something does go bad, this gives them the added firepower they need," Trooper Chris Ray with the Department of Public Safety said.

"The biggest factor is going to be in the bullets that are used," Burnie Stokes who owns Panhandle Gunslingers said.

When DPS switches from the 357 Sig to the 9 MM Smith and Wesson they will be going from one type of bullet to another.

"The 9 MM is the same diameter as the 357 Sig, however it is not as fast as a 357 Sig," Stokes said.

But, the DPS says having more rounds will make their job safer.

"We'll just have a few more rounds at our disposal, plus the weapon will fit our hand better," Ray said.

The 9 MM comes with various grip options so each Trooper can select the one which best fits their hand.

"So people with different hands, different sizes, it's going to fit them better," said Ray.

DPS says another reason for the change is availability.

"The Sig is in such great demand right now, it's basically made for law enforcement and military, so it's really hard to come by, whereas the 9 MM a lot of agencies besides just police, civilian agencies have that so it's more accessible," Ray explained.

But that may not be the case with every agency using them.

"Guns are going to be harder to come by that's just the supply and demand factor," Stokes said.

Either way Troopers say the most important thing is to make sure they have the best weapon for the job.

"We want to make sure we have the best equipment out there to protect us," said Ray.

The new weapons will be issued to the new recruit class in January and then handed out to other Troopers as they come in.

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