From the Tampa Bay Times:

Pinellas sheriff yanks 309 rifles over ‘serious manufacturing’ issues
The final straw came when one of the weapons made by Odessa-based Adams Arms failed to fire.

The issues with the Adams Arms rifles began almost immediately.

The first batch of AR-15s ordered from the Odessa-based manufacturer by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office had some trigger problems, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. Then, in later batches, a few rifles switched on their own from semi-automatic to fully automatic fire.

That is very, very bad.

The sheriff warned the company: Give us a refund or inspect every rifle and put it in writing that they’re functional.

Then came the final straw. A deputy went to shoot one of the rifles at the range and when she pulled the trigger, nothing happened.

That is worse.

Deputies traced the defect to the manufacturer. The sheriff had seen enough.

He took 309 Adams Arms rifles out of service last month, ordered replacements from a different manufacturer, and meantime reshuffled the remaining rifles.

Gualtieri is seeking a refund of just over $300,000 from the company.

That’s going to hit someone right in the Christmas bonus.

Another Tampa Bay area agency, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, also has Adams Arms rifles.

A spokesman said Friday that the office hadn’t found any issues with its weapons but was still reviewing the problems that Pinellas flagged.

I bet they will double and triple-check everything.

The progression of problems the Pinellas sheriff experienced raises questions about how the office decided to go with the boutique manufacturer in the first place.

The Adams Arms purchases didn’t go through a competitive bid process, the standard practice in government for purchases over a designated threshold where an agency solicits proposals from potential vendors and ranks them against each other.

This is why bids and competitions are important, they weed out problems like this.  Also, something smells fishy…

Competitive bidding isn’t required by law for sheriffs, independent constitutional officers in Florida who are subject to rules different from those governing local governments.


Still, experts say competitive bidding is still considered best practice for keeping the process transparent.

I agree.

Instead, Gualtieri relied on a memo from a training deputy that cited internet research.

Everything you read on the internet is true.” – President A. Lincoln, April 13, 1865

Pinellas started buying rifles in or around 2006, Gualtieri said, originally from Rock River Arms, an Illinois-based manufacturer founded in 1993.

In February 2014, then-Deputy Matthew Seymour wrote a memo recommending Adams Arms. Seymour said the Adams Arms rifle was almost identical to the Rock River gun but featured an operating system that made it “a cleaner, cooler and more reliable running weapon.”

The original gas impingement system has served the military in almost every climate on earth, under a wide variety of conditions for over 50 years.  The AR-15 was not designed to run a piston, and there are issues that piston systems cause in that platform.  Only a few companies have developed really successful piston systems, the rest are novelties.

No law enforcement officer or civilian will ever be in the kind of firefight that gives any advantage to a piston system, and unless you are going to drop huge money on an HK or LWRC piston, it’s not a system I’d trust.

He compared Adams Arms to nine other brands, including giants such as Bushmaster and Ruger. In his comparison, he cited the manufacturer’s websites, online gun forums and Wikipedia.

“The idea to switch from Rock River to Adams Arms was pushed from the bottom up,” Gualtieri said.

So rather than test fire, they just used gun forums and Wikipedia.

Sounds like a fanboi got this department to buy a bunch of his favorite rifles.  Makes me wonder if he has a buddy that works over there.

Gualtieri signed off on the purchase in April 2014. The first order was for 18 rifles at a cost of about $881 each.

Also included in the Pinellas deputy’s memo was a recommendation from a Pasco corporal, who said the agency was happy with the customer service at Adams Arms and found that the guns “operate flawlessly.”

Pasco County Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Doll emphasized that the recommendation was from deputy to deputy and not an official recommendation by the Sheriff’s Office.

The Pasco agency didn’t go through a competitive bid process, either.

Why does the word “kickback” suddenly appear in my mind?

So two Sheriff’s departments bought guns based on internet reviews and a couple of deputies saying they loved the guns and did no trial testing.  Now at least one department has major safety and reliability issues and has been burned on $300,000 of taxpayer money.

This whole thing is a disaster.

There are a lot of AR-15 makers out there, it has become a cottage industry.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is not every maker builds to the same quality and reliability.

Before you bet your life on something, make sure it’s good.

Also, this is another good reason for concealed carry.  Even if the police respond quickly, there is no guarantee that their equipment will function flawlessly.

Just think about what happens if an officer responds to an active shooter and his gun goes *click.*  Who is going to save you now?

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By J. Kb

4 thoughts on “Don’t bet your life on Wikipedia and Reddit reviews – also, another reason why CCW is important”
  1. I’m glad you posted that Lincoln quote, I have a signed original of that I would be happy to sell you

  2. It could be that the deputy had an Adams Arms AR that he liked, and he was extrapolating from a sample of one. Or it could be more sinister.
    Federal LE agencies are required to go through a competitive bidding process, and a testing process for weapons and ammunition that is probably too time-consuming and expensive for local agencies, especially the smaller ones, to emulate. And while there have been allegations of favoritism (maybe true, maybe not; I don’t know), the winning gun and ammo always works. If favoritism caused Glock to win out over Sig, or vice versa, it really doesn’t matter to the guy or gal in the street, because either one will work. That’s why a lot of smaller agencies buy the “FBI gun,” or the “DHS gun.” After all, you paid for the testing, so why not take advantage of it?

  3. The direct gas impingement system has a couple flaws that also did cost some lives early on – and still cause trouble.
    BUT that is mostly dependent on the ammunition and maintenance.
    Neither of the flaws would play a role in a law enforcement situation.
    Having worked withe nearly every “assault rifle” fielded by various NATO-states I can assure that it does not matter what system the gun uses in the moment you are firing the gun – there may be some minor variations in the felt recoil but all the differences are long term and easily mitigated by the right ammunition and proper maintenance.

    That should not be a factor for LEOs. But look whos talking… our bavarian police decided to get some SCAR L rifles with 300mm barrel. *sigh* Some Call Of Duty kiddo managed to get into procurements.

  4. I get that not every law enforcement organization has the resources to devote to comprehensive testing of equipment. However, there are reports available from other agencies that do have the resources. M-16 platform rifles have been around for decades, I’m sure a local law enforcement organization has access to extensive data on what works and what doesn’t. Just go for competitive bids from reputable manufactures that others have found reliable. Yeah, this smacks of corruption more than just mere incompetence.

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