Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DHS Purchases 450 Million Hollow Point Rounds. And Some Bulletproof Checkpoint Booths. And Riot Gear.

And then they classified the purchase. I suppose opaque black markers would be a good business to be in right about now. The contract for the bullets has already been let, to defense contractor ATK, so you can't sell them those. Hollow-point ammunition is allegedly never used for training, and its use in actual combat is said to be a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

You have choices in reading about the now-"secret" purchase, ranging from the just-a-wee-bit-paranoid to the almost-reasonable and everything in between. If you read several articles, you'll find that DHS is also purchasing bulletproof checkpoint booths with Stop-Go lights on them. That contract has also been let to a company called Shelters Direct; in fact, it is really public knowledge mainly because Shelters Direct announced it on their web site. (Sorry; no link from here.)

Oh, and did I mention the DHS has put out an "urgent" request for riot gear, supposedly in anticipation of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions?

All these articles are dated March through August of this year, so whatever it's for, it's coming right up. Good: I hate that kind of mystery.

I don't even know how paranoid we should be about all of this. For me, it basically comes down to one question:

What kind of agency is DHS?

It isn't military, but it acquires military gear and military expendables. It isn't border security like ICE (Correction: Bryan reminds us in comments that ICE is part of DHS, as is Border Patrol), but it acquires bulletproof checkpoint booths. (Does anyone else remember the Berlin Wall?) It may be law enforcement, but then what is the role of the FBI? It may be intelligence (OK, OK, stop laughing), but then what is the role of the CIA, etc. (insert names of a dozen shadowy agencies here)?

The very name of the agency is all too reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I know; saying that violates Godwin's Law, but tell me it isn't true. Heimatssicherheitabteilung... is that not a name to inspire fear in American citizens? You tell me!


  1. DHS has multiple law enforcement agencies within it, including ICE, the Border Patrol, etc.

    If you are using autoloaders, like Glocks, you have to use jacketed or semi-jacketed ammo for them to feed properly.

    Federal law enforcement is very splintered, with specific agencies only enforcing a specific subset of Federal law. The FBI does not investigate all violations of Federal law, only some of them, and they are the most generalized agency.

    They classified the ammo order because they are morons. They think that 'terrorists' are monitoring everything and will gain some advantage by knowing how much ammo they have. They couldn't explain what the advantage might be if their lives depended on it, but it might exist. Like I said - morons.

    All you need to know is that DHS was dreamed up by Joe LIEberman, and it shows.

    I used to fire 100 rounds per month staying accurate when I had to carry a weapon. I fired another 100 rounds every year in qualification, so that's 1300 rounds for one person every year to keep them trustworthy with a weapon.

    I'm willing to bet that most of that ammo will never be fired, and will end up as surplus. The largest portion will probably be used in their basic training courses for the different agencies.

    Someone got their knickers in a twist over NOAA ordering ammo, unaware that it was for their Marine Fisheries game wardens. Like I said, a lot of small law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing a limited subset of Federal law.

  2. Thanks, Bryan. I did not know the agencies were consolidated like that. I should have known that; I've read it before... but things vanish as the brain ages.

    Are hollow point rounds indeed prohibited in combat to countries that bother to abide by the Geneva Conventions? That statement was on one of the nutsier sites, and I am hoping you will know and save me some digging. Thanks.

    I do hope I am no longer around (a round?) when those rounds end up on the surplus market: what an opportunity for the true crazies!

  3. The military is not supposed to use the semi-jacketed stuff according to the Geneva Convention, nor tear gas, but the police do.

    It is better for the military to wound people than kill them. Wounded soldiers tie up other soldiers to take care of them and have a greater impact on than the dead. Fully-jacketed ammo also keeps the weapon cleaner and feeds easier than unjacketed or semi-jacketed ammo, so it would be used regardless to reduce jamming.

    In general the police need a killing weapon because they are normally out-numbered in a confrontation and need to stop the threat. You are trained to shoot for the 'center-mass' to kill your opponent.

    The police also rarely fire the number of rounds that the military does in an engagement, and tend to aim more than the military. Few people are actually shot in wars anymore - they die from shrapnel or disease.

    While law enforcement is running around buying automatic weapons [a $250/year/weapon Federal tax even for police agencies], the military has gone to 3-round burst mode from fully-automatic. Full-auto is a waste of ammo if you aren't facing a mass attack. They would be better off with shotguns and deer rifles [plus some people who can hit what they aim at].

    Ammo has a shelf life, which is why we always qualified with our service ammo, to ensure it wasn't more than 6 months old. We used a semi-jacketed round that 'splashed' instead of ricocheting because of the amount of concrete in our jurisdiction. DHS is buying a lot of ammo that is probably cheaper in bulk, but isn't going to be the best choice for all of their different units. That's the problem of working for a bureaucracy - bean-counters make buying decisions.



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