Meanwhile, Marietta Police Department is getting ready to upgrade its Glock pistols, trading in old pistols for new ones throughout the department.
Officer David Baldwin, public information officer with the Marietta Police Department, said all of the nearly 135 officers in the department will soon get new Glock Generation 4, .40-caliber pistols. They will trade in their existing 9-year-old Generation 3 Glocks, he said, which Glock will buy back.
He could not give the cost of the transaction Tuesday, but said the old Glocks will retain 80 percent of their value at trade-in. The guns will be paid for with seized drug money, Baldwin said.
The Atlanta PD has ordered and started receiving 2,300 Glock 22 Generation 4 pistols, representing a complete changeover for the department and a nice jolt in sales for Glock.
The company declined to give the dollar amount of the Atlanta police contract, which is based on a discounted rate for law enforcement, said Cameron Purcell, company spokeswoman.
She would only say that the contract was "significant."
The fourth-generation Glock pistols sell to the public at retail for between $599 and $734, Purcell said.
The Austrian-based gun manufacturer has its U.S. headquarters at 6000 Highlands Pkwy. in Smyrna, where it employs more than 400 people in corporate offices and manufacturing.
Purcell said all of the 2,300 guns being sold to Atlanta PD were assembled at the Smyrna plant.
Most popular gun among cops
Glock has long been the most popular pistol among U.S. law enforcement agencies. About 65 percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. use Glock pistols, according to the company.
In Cobb County, just about all law officers use Glock, including those at Cobb Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, Smyrna, Acworth and Marietta police departments.
"We like them because they're extremely reliable, easy to work on and maintain, and they're incredibly accurate," Baldwin said. "It's just the simplicity of use. There's not a lot of buttons and switches and not many moving parts so it's not difficult to maintain."
Baldwin is one of the officers who maintains the firearms at Marietta Police Department, keeping them in good working order.
"They're by far the easiest pistol to break down and work on," he said.
Baldwin said the Glock buy-back program also works to the advantage of police agencies.
"That cuts way back on cost," he said. "We try to do the trade-ins all at once. If you're going to change anything with a weapons platform in your department we prefer to do it all at once. We'll spend two weeks and get everybody trained on the new pistols."
"They are probably some of the most reliable and durable guns, and that is why law enforcement uses them."
Smith & Wesson's
loss is Glock's gain
Atlanta PD is transitioning away from Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson, with whom it has had a 70-year relationship dating back to the 1940s. The decision to break that relationship came after a full year of extensive testing, said Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.
"We believe Glock offers a trusted, superior firearm for our officers," Turner said. "They are industry leaders, and with headquarters here in Cobb County, we're expecting superb customer service."
Most of the Glocks purchased by police agencies are 40-caliber weapons, and that includes most of the weapons ordered by Atlanta PD, except for those going to the department's SWAT unit, which uses .45-caliber Glock pistols.
The department-wide transition to Glock from Smith & Wesson has already begun and will continue through April 2014.
In a survey of law enforcement agencies in Cobb County, it appears most favor Glock.
Atlanta PD's switch to Glock pistols had been "long-anticipated" and is a significant win for Glock.
"We are excited to equip our local agency with Glock pistols, and anticipate a growing relationship in the future," said Josh Dorsey, Glock vice president.