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This SWAT team was an early adopter of the Staccato P. Here’s why.

Adopting a duty weapon new to law enforcement was a risk that paid off


Sponsored by Staccato

By Michael Knetzger, Ph.D., for Police1 BrandFocus

In the last three decades, law enforcement equipment and methods have evolved in ways that have made officers, communities and the people they serve safer. Among the many changes have been the transition from revolvers to semi-automatic weapons.

After much testing, Riverside County Sheriff's Office in California became one of the first agencies to choose the Staccato 2011 handgun for its SWAT team.
After much testing, Riverside County Sheriff's Office in California became one of the first agencies to choose the Staccato 2011 handgun for its SWAT team. (Staccato)

One of the newer brands in that market, Staccato, has already garnered the trust of more than 325 law enforcement agencies since its debut in 2019.

The Riverside County, California, Sheriff’s Department SWAT team was one of the first law enforcement agencies to adopt Staccato pistols when it first entered the law enforcement market. After months of rigorous testing, Sgt. Ethan Kaas concluded that the Staccato 2011 handgun is a reliable, accurate, durable and dependable firearm to effectively protect lives in Riverside County.

The most high-risk incidents, such as hostage situations, barricaded subjects, or serving warrants upon dangerous people in dangerous places, are frequently resolved by SWAT teams. SWAT operators are expected to be proficient with all their equipment and to be accurate shooters. Any weapon that improves accuracy, is reliable and easy to use, and simple to fix, is worth adding to the SWAT operator’s tools. Enter the Staccato P, a 2011 pistol. The 2011 platform is an evolution of the 1911 platform handgun specially made for the rigors of law enforcement.

An elite team with an elite weapon

The Riverside County SWAT team is comprised of 32 operators who handle high-risk incidents across 7,303 square miles and a population of 2.45 million. In 2018, SWAT operators were consistently experiencing issues, such as malfunctions and parts failures, with the 1911 single-action pistols they were issued. Many operators began carrying personally owned pistols, from 1911 style to striker fired.  Previous policy prohibited operators from carrying different models until Sgt. Kaas assisted with the expansion of SWAT teams’ approved list of weapons to include Staccato.

Sgt. Kaas contacted Staccato and requested demo pistols. The firearms company sent a representative to Riverside County and left behind two pistols, a 9mm and .45 caliber, for testing. Riverside County SWAT operators put the Staccato pistols through diligent testing. Twenty-two thousand 9mm rounds and eight thousand .45 caliber rounds were fired through the weapons. The pistols were exposed to dirt, debris and sand. To say the weapons merely passed field testing is an understatement. Elite shooters reported reduced recoil and quicker time on target. Malfunctions were rare. Shooter accuracy and confidence improved.

Although malfunctions were rare, Sgt. Kaas’ team occasionally experienced magazine or slide lock back problems with early (circa 2018) pistols and mags. After reporting these concerns to Staccato, newly redesigned magazines and slide stops were provided to Riverside free of charge. Staccato’s magazines have continually evolved since then and are currently in their third generation with improved consistency and reliability.

Today, nearly 85% of the SWAT operators at Riverside have chosen to personally purchase and carry the Staccato P (9MM) on duty. Operators have the choice to carry other single-action or striker fired pistols, but the Staccato P is the preferred choice among these elite shooters. This weapon, according to Sgt. Kaas, is in the 95th percentile of all weapons on the market.

Improved operator performance

According to Sgt. Kaas, operators have experienced increased shooting accuracy with the Staccato P.

No doubt, Sgt. Kaas’ team is comprised of expert shooters who master their skills on the range daily. In addition to operator skill, Sgt. Kaas also attributes improved shooting performance to the Staccato P recoil springs, which minimize recoil and help keep the weapon on target. A plastic or polymer grip attached to the steel frame also mitigates recoil.

Trigger pull also affects weapon accuracy. “Awesome” and “fantastic” were the words used by Sgt. Kaas to describe the Staccato P trigger pull. With a 4 to 4.5 pound trigger, Sgt. Kaas has experienced a consistent straight-back trigger pull, which minimizes barrel whip and improves accuracy.   

Staccato’s Armory School

As part of Staccato’s law enforcement department program, Staccato brought their “Level-1” armory school to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.  Staccato’s lead warranty gunsmith Ricky Shanline taught SWAT team armorers to mount attachments, such as a red dot optic or tactical lights.

An essential and simple maintenance skill – field stripping the pistol – was covered in the armorer’s school. Field stripping the Staccato P is identical to 1911 pistols. “Our guys generally detail strip them every thousand to two thousand rounds,” said Sgt. Kaas. “It is very simple, very easy, and the maintenance has not been an issue whatsoever.” Field adjustments are also easy, such as increasing extractor tension, which is another of many skills taught by Staccato’s armorer instructors.  

SWAT armorers also learned how to make necessary repairs, which are uncommon but not unexpected when thousands of rounds are put through the weapon each year. When recoil springs or, in one instance, a broken firing pin stop needed replacement, Staccato shipped the parts at no cost and the parts were replaced at the Sheriff’s Office.

It is evident that Staccato is committed to developing an elite weapon for elite operators and providing the users with knowledge, skills and abilities to help maintain peak performance.

A trusted partner and great customer service

Sgt. Kaas spoke to the great customer service and partnership that was developed with Staccato, using phrases like “Great to work with,” “resolved issues quickly,” and “quick response.” Staccato also prides itself in building relationships with the agencies they serve. These relationships have created “the utmost trust in the guns and their ability to service them and keep us up and running,” said Sgt. Kaas. In the hands of protectors, “these guns are just as reliable and much easier to shoot that any other current offering I have tested,” he added.

Staccato is here to stay and has become a trusted duty proven firearm for those who protect and serve throughout the United States. Staccato’s innovation, creativity and customer service further enhance the dependability and reliability of their pistols.    

Visit Staccato for more information.

Read next: How an Alaska police department increased shooting accuracy by changing its duty weapons

About the author

Sgt. (Dr.) Michael Knetzger is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, currently a sergeant with the Green Bay (WI) Police Department. Dr. Knetzger is also a unified tactical trainer, subject matter expert and expert witness, law enforcement consultant, published author of six books and a freelance writer.

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