Ferguson, Missouri (TFC) – The news is flooded with reports that Ferguson police have found shell casings from a handgun on the scene. The casings are not necessarily evidence that a handgun was used to make a 125-yard shot at night.
Reports indicate that the weapon used to shoot the two Ferguson police officers was chambered in .40 S&W. This immediately led to the assumption that the shot came from a handgun. While the media may be excused for not readily knowing the facts of this specific cartridge, the police cannot be. The media cannot be excused for not fact-checking law enforcement’s information.
The fact remains that scoring those hits from a .40 handgun at 125 yards is almost impossible, especially at night. Maybe the shooting was a complete fluke, but it seems highly unlikely at this juncture. The complete disappearing act of the shooter also lends to the belief that this was not just some average citizen.
The .40 S&W round is typically a handgun round, however there are dozens of rifles chambered in the caliber. The rifles typically range in price from $300 to $800. Certainly, they are inexpensive enough to be used in an attack and disposed of afterwards. However, there’s another reason the cops aren’t really openly entertaining the idea that it was a .40 rifle. The .40 rifles are marketed almost exclusively to law enforcement.
The rifles came into being as a method of allowing an officer extra accuracy without the officer having to carrying extra magazines or a different type of ammunition. Officers that carry a .40 Beretta handgun will often purchase (or be issued) a .40 Beretta rifle. The magazines are interchangeable. To demonstrate the true effective range of the .40, the reader should note that Beretta’s .40 rifle has two flip up sighting mechanisms. One is for 50 yards, and one is for 100 yards. Even with the extra accuracy of the rifle-length barrel, the manufacturer doesn’t even provide sights for the range of the shot officers are claiming came from a much less accurate handgun.
Like everything else with Ferguson PD, the investigation was botched from the beginning. The department has already ruled out the possibility of it being one of their own that pulled the trigger, even though what little evidence there is points in that direction. Though inquiries have been made, at the time of writing no official federal source has been willing to confirm or deny whether either officer shot cooperated against his fellow officers during the recent probe.