702 – Firearms Control, Qualifications, and Training
This policy establishes guidelines for employees regarding Firearms Control, Qualifications, and Firearms Training Requirements.
A. In accordance with Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) rules, each Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) deputy shall demonstrate proficiency in the use of any kind of firearm that will be carried by him or her on or off duty before he or she is allowed to carry the firearm. Additionally, at least on an annual basis, each deputy shall be required to demonstrate that he or she meets the HCSO standards for firearm proficiency with all firearms carried by him or her for law enforcement purposes. A certified firearms instructor will monitor all firearms qualifications and proficiency training. [CALEA Standards 4.3.1, 4.3.2 & 4.3.5 c & f]
B. No prohibited weapon (as defined by Texas Penal Code, Section 46.05) may be carried on or off duty without prior authorization by the deputy’s bureau commander and unless the deputy is in full compliance with state and federal law regarding such weapon. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
C. Deputies are admonished to use utmost caution when carrying, using, or storing weapons, both on and off duty, to ensure no person is accidentally injured. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
1. Each deputy is responsible for the safe storage and security of his or her weapon at all times, whether on or off-duty.
2. Each deputy will ensure that his or her weapon is stored in an area not openly accessible to protect its unauthorized use or theft.
3. Upon the discovery of a weapon being lost, stolen, or missing, the deputy will immediately report the incident to his or her immediate supervisor.
D. All weapons carried by any deputy, on or off duty, shall be clean, safe, and functional at all times. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
1. Any supervisor may inspect the weapons carried by a deputy under his or her command to ensure compliance with this rule.
2. If any deputy finds that his or her firearm has sustained damaged or has malfunctioned, he or she shall contact a HCSO Academy firearm’s instructor for assistance.
3. The deputy will not be able to carry the weapon until it has been repaired and/or any deficiencies or discrepancies have been corrected, and the firearm has been re-inspected and approved by a HCSO Academy firearm’s instructor.
E. No weapon carried by any deputy shall be modified to the extent that the weapon’s safety or reliability is compromised. Due to the hazards of accidental discharge, trigger shoes are not permitted. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
III. Authorized Firearms – Type, Caliber, and Ammunition
A. Revolvers (for on-duty, uniformed deputies)
1. See attachment A for authorized revolvers and cartridges to be carried by HCSO deputies.
2. Additional provisions:
a. Revolvers must be capable of double-action fire,
b. Barrel length must be at least 3.5” and not more than 6.5,”
c. Cylinders must have a minimum of six-round cartridge capacity, and
d. Safety devices shall not be deactivated nor shall any modification be performed that will adversely affect the safety or reliability of the firearm. Due to the hazards of accidental discharge, trigger shoes are not allowed.
B. Semi-Automatics (for on-duty, uniformed deputies)
1. See attachment A for authorized semi-automatic handguns and cartridges to be carried by HCSO deputies.
2. Additional provisions:
a. With the exception of magazine disconnectors, safety devices shall not be deactivated nor shall any modification be performed that will adversely affect the safety or reliability of the firearm. Due to the hazards of accidental discharge, trigger shoes are not allowed.
b. Barrel length (including attachments such as compensators) must be at least 3.5” and not more than 6”.
3. Red Dot Sights:
Deputies are required to successfully complete an HCSO approved red dot certification course prior to carrying a red dot sight on duty. Maintenance (batteries, anti-fog application) up-keep and functioning of the red dot system shall be the responsibility of the deputy.
a. Semi-automatic pistols are required to have a back-up iron sight sighting system in addition to red dot sights.
b. The pistol accepting the red dot sight must be machined from the factory or machined by a different company of equal or greater quality for the red dot sight.
c. The brand of red dot will be the operating deputies option.
Exception: Non-expanding full metal jacket ammunition may be utilized for range practice.
D. Weapons Authorized for Off-Duty and Plainclothes Deputies
Because an off-duty or plainclothes deputy must conceal his or her firearm from view, the following guidelines apply: [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 d]
See attachment A for authorized semi-automatic, revolvers, and cartridges to be carried by HCSO deputies.
a. Barrel length may be a minimum of 1.7” and a maximum of 6.5”.
b. Five-shot revolvers may be carried.
2. Semi-automatic pistols:
a. Acceptable calibers: .380 ACP.
b. Barrel length may be a minimum of 2.5” and a maximum of 6”.
c. With the exception of magazine disconnectors, safety devices shall not be deactivated nor shall any modification be performed that will adversely affect the safety or reliability of the firearm. Due to the hazards of accidental discharge, trigger shoes are not allowed.
[CALEA Standard 4.3.5 d]
1. The duty shotgun shall be a 12-gauge pump or semi-automatic.
2. Minimum barrel and overall lengths must conform to the provisions of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 (i.e., barrel length must be at least 18” with a minimum overall length of 26”). Barrel length shall not exceed 22”.
3. No shotgun with an exposed hammer shall be utilized.
4. The patrol shotgun must be equipped with a sling.
5. The patrol shotgun must be secured in a manner to keep it immobile during an automobile crash, to prevent theft, and to prevent an accidental discharge.
6. See Attachment B for authorized shotguns to be carried on or off duty.
7. Red Dot Sights
All law enforcement personnel are NOT required to complete a HCSO Academy approved red dot certification course for shotguns prior to receiving authorization to carry a red dot sight on duty.
a. No backup sights will be required for the shotgun platform.
b. Maintenance (batteries, anti-fog application), upkeep, and functioning of the red dot sight shall be the responsibility of the operating Deputy.
c. The brand of the red dot sight will be the operating Deputies option.
F. Precision Rifles
[CALEA Standard 4.3.5 d]
Any rifle with a frame-mounted optical sighting device greater than five power that is carried by the individual officer in an official capacity. [TCOLE Rules, Section 211.1 (50)]
2. Rules governing precision rifles:
a. Due to the precision rifle’s extreme range (often up to three miles) and penetration, precision rifles will not be carried unless specifically authorized by the deputy’s bureau commander in writing for a specific duty assignment.
b. Minimum barrel and overall lengths must conform to the provisions of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 (i.e., barrel length must be at least 16” with a minimum overall length of 26”). Barrel length shall not exceed 22”. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
c. Ammunition: Non-expanding full metal jacket or armor-piercing projectiles may be utilized, but only when, in the opinion of the scene supervisor, the tactical situation requires the use of such ammunition. Otherwise, soft-pointed or hollow-point projectiles will be used. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1]
3. See Attachment B for authorized precision rifles to be carried by HCSO deputies.
G. Patrol Rifles
1. Definition: Any magazine-fed repeating rifle with iron or open sights or with a frame-mounted optical enhancing sighting device, five power or less, that is carried by the individual officer in an official capacity. [TCOLE Rules, Section 211.1 (45)] [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 d]
2. Authorized personnel: Only those personnel with duty assignments that may require them to act as law enforcement first responders may be authorized to carry a rifle after all requirements in this section have been met except as stated in Section II (G)(3)(b) below.
a. The deputy must successfully complete the HCSO Academy-approved patrol rifle certification course prior to receiving authorization to carry a patrol rifle on duty.
i. This provision may be waived, in writing, by an assistant chief for personnel in his or her command.
ii. This waiver shall be maintained in the deputy’s respective bureau files, and a copy shall be forwarded to the Academy firearms instructors.
b. The deputy must successfully demonstrate proficiency with the patrol rifle during annual qualifications.
4. Authorized rifle brands and equipment:
Any AR-15-patterned rifle or carbine chambered in 5.56mm NATO or .223 Remington that is “Mil Spec.” Barrel length shall be between fourteen and one-half (14.5) and twenty (20) inches.
NOTE: For purposes of this policy, “Mil Spec” means materially conforming to or exceeding the United States Military specification for M-16 rifles (except for semi-automatic fire only) as determined by the HCSO Academy Firearms Range staff.
a. The rifle must pass a mechanical and functionality test by a HCSO firearms instructor assigned to the HCSO Academy.
b. All rifles shall have a trigger pull weight of 4.5 pounds or higher as measured by the ability to lift a 4.5-pound weight while suspended from the center of the trigger with the weapon held vertically, as per NRA / CMP protocols.
5. Deputies previously approved, authorized, and currently qualified to carry certain rifles on or before July 26, 2016, may continue to do so under this policy.
6. The deputy wishing to carry a rifle must complete the patrol rifle course with the rifle to be carried on duty.
NOTE: For purposes of this policy, “new rifle” includes any rifle modified so as to possibly alter its accuracy or reliability and includes replacement of sights, fire control parts, barrels, and bolt carrier groups.
7. The patrol rifle must meet all requirements for compliance with Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46. All patrol rifles must adhere to all applicable state and federal firearm laws. Exceptions to the authorized rifle list must be approved by the Sheriff, or his or her designee, and only for those specialized units referred to in Section II (G)(3)(b). [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 d]
a. The only caliber approved is the 5.56×45mm NATO (.223 Remington).
b. The ammunition configuration must be either soft-point or hollow-point bullets.
c. The magazines’ rated carrying capacity must be 40 rounds or fewer.
d. The patrol rifle barrel length must be a minimum of fourteen and one-half (14.5) inches and not exceed 20 inches.
e. The patrol rifle must be equipped with a rifle sling.
f. The patrol rifle may be equipped with a light illuminating device (small flashlight).
8. Prohibited patrol rifle equipment:
a. Any magnified optical device (scope) exceeding 5X power.
b. Any device that restricts or prevents the use of “iron” sights.
The training curriculum will be established by the HCSO Academy staff and shall meet or exceed minimum TCOLE requirements.
10. Patrol rifle proficiency and qualification:
a. Deputies must qualify annually per the HCSO Academy schedule.
b. A deputy enrolled in the patrol rifle course will be allowed to shoot the qualification course twice in an attempt to obtain a qualifying score.
If a qualifying score is not obtained after the second attempt, the deputy will be dropped from the course and must enroll into and pass a subsequent patrol rifle course.
c. A deputy attempting annual qualification will be allowed to shoot the qualification course twice in an attempt to obtain a qualifying score.
i. The first attempt shall be made without “re-zeroing” the rifle from its condition upon arrival at the range facility.
ii. If the deputy fails to shoot a qualifying score after the second attempt, he or she will be assigned to a remedial class to be conducted by the HCSO firearms instructors.
iii. At the completion of the remedial session, the deputy will be allowed two attempts to shoot a qualifying score.
iv. If the deputy fails to shoot a qualifying score after the second attempt, his or her authorization to carry a patrol rifle will be revoked, and he or she must enroll in a patrol rifle course.
d. All equipment on the patrol rifle must be within policy at the time of qualification.
e. Once the deputy has qualified with the patrol rifle, no changes may be made that would affect its shooting accuracy.
11. Patrol rifle utilization and security:
a. The authorized patrol rifle will only be deployed when deadly force is justified in accordance with HCSO policy and under the following circumstances:
i. Under an order from a supervisor,
ii. When an armed confrontation is imminent, or
iii. When the facts and circumstances taken into consideration with the training and experience of the deputy indicate that the patrol rifle is the appropriate weapon of choice.
b. A patrol rifle must be safely secured while:
i. Off duty: If a car share partner is not authorized to carry a patrol rifle, the patrol rifle must be removed from the patrol or investigative vehicle when off duty.
ii. On duty: In the patrol or investigative vehicle, the patrol rifle must be transported with a magazine in place and the chamber empty. The rifle must be secured in a manner to keep it immobile during an automobile crash, to prevent theft, and to prevent an accidental discharge.
12. Supervisory responsibilities:
a. Authority to revoke authorization to carry a patrol rifle:
Any supervisor shall temporarily revoke the privilege to carry a patrol rifle in the following circumstances:
i. Unsafe handling of the patrol rifle,
ii. Inappropriate display of the patrol rifle,
iii. Accidental discharge of the patrol rifle without injuries,
iv. Dirty or unclean patrol rifle,
v. An operationally unsound patrol rifle, or
vi. Situations where a lack of good judgment was displayed.
b. The deputy’s bureau commander may permanently revoke authorized patrol rifle privileges in the following circumstances:
i. Any accidental discharge,
ii. Any situation where the weapon was deployed and the circumstances indicated the deployment was unwarranted, or
iii. Any reckless display or mishandling of the patrol rifle.
c. Required documentation and actions:
Upon temporarily revoking the privilege of carrying a patrol rifle, the supervisor shall:
i. Immediately notify the deputy,
ii. Order the deputy to unload the patrol rifle immediately and place it in the trunk of his or her duty vehicle until he or she is off-duty,
iii. Order the deputy that, upon going off-duty, the patrol rifle will be removed from his or her duty vehicle and will remain in an off-duty status until the deputy is otherwise notified in writing, and
iv. Reduce all facts to writing and forward them to the bureau commander via the chain of command. Each supervisor in the chain of command will make a recommendation of actions to be taken. A deputy may appeal in writing to the bureau commander.
The bureau commander may render a decision based solely upon available documentation or grant a hearing of the deputy’s appeal. The bureau commander’s decision is final. All disciplinary actions that result from violations of this section will follow normal disciplinary procedures.
13. Patrol rifle inspection:
All patrol rifles will be inspected quarterly (January / April / July / October) by a district or division patrol rifle inspector designated by the bureau commander. Each inspection will note the date, time, name of the inspector, and outcome of the inspection. The HCSO Patrol Rifle Inspection form shall be used in all patrol rifle inspections and will be maintained at the district or division level.
The designated firearms inspectors will:
a. Inspect patrol rifles for cleanliness,
b. Inspect patrol rifles for proper mechanical operation,
c. Ensure the patrol rifle has not been altered and is within policy (sling, optical sights, ammunition, etc.), and
d. Take immediate action for violations of the patrol rifle policy up to, and including, temporary revocation of the privilege to carry the patrol rifle on duty.
14. Obtaining authorization to carry patrol rifle:
In order to obtain permission to carry a patrol rifle on duty, a deputy must:
a. Meet all of the requirements in this policy, including having the patrol rifle and all required patrol rifle equipment,
b. Obtain and pass the necessary training requirements and qualifications for carrying a patrol rifle on duty, and
c. Complete and forward the appropriate application form and receive confirmed authorization to carry the patrol rifle from the bureau commander.
H. Automatic Firearms
The use of automatic firearms is restricted to specific duty assignments (i.e. Special Weapons and Tactics Team), and only as may be required by the situation. No deputy shall carry or use any automatic firearm without prior authorization from the Sheriff or his or her designee.
IV. Range Ammunition / Weapons Storage
A. Ammunition and weaponry are stored apart from one another in separate buildings located on the HCSO Academy grounds, unless being utilized for class instruction and temporarily stored in the Range Building Ammo Bunker. [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 g]
B. Authorized access to weaponry and ammunition is strictly limited to the assigned HCSO Academy:
1. Range Personnel,
2. Captain and
C. No other agency personnel shall have access to stored ammunition and weaponry.
V. Qualification Procedures
All personnel who are newly employed by the HCSO and currently hold a TCOLE peace officer license must qualify with their firearm before being commissioned as a deputy sheriff. [CALEA Standard 4.3.3]
A. Range Rules
1. All firearms should be treated as if they are loaded at all times. [CAELA Standard 4.3.5 a & b]
2. Never point a weapon at anything that is not the intended target.
3. Never bring a loaded firearm to the range.
4. Visitors or spectators are not allowed on the range or in range parking areas. This includes family members who are not deputies.
5. For personnel safety, all deputies shall wear eye and ear protection while on the firing range. [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 e]
6. Deputies are allowed to un-holster, load, and fire only on command.
7. All un-holstered firearms must be pointed downrange (toward the targets).
8. All firing will cease instantly at the “cease fire” command.
9. Deputies are not allowed to go downrange until told to do so by range officers.
10. Ammunition or equipment provided for use at the range shall not be removed from the range.
11. Only range safety personnel shall be attired in RED apparel on the range.
B. Clothing and Equipment
1. Deputies shall wear the same holster for qualification as for their normal duty assignment.
2. Eye and ear protection shall be worn while on the firing range. [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 e]
3. Range officers, for ready visibility, shall be the only personnel allowed to wear RED apparel on the range.
2. Each deputy will complete a qualification record form setting forth the description, serial number, range score (pass or fail), and date of qualification for each firearm used by him or her for law enforcement purposes.
D. Location and Administration
All qualification sessions shall be conducted by the training staff of the HCSO Academy at the Academy range or at a designated location by the Academy staff. [CALEA Standard 4.3.3]
E. Inspection of Weapons
Prior to qualification, range officers will inspect all firearms to determine their condition and compliance with HCSO policy. Range officers have the authority to prohibit the use of any firearm on the range. If a firearm is not permitted to be used on the range, the deputy’s bureau commander shall be notified in writing of the circumstances, including a description of the firearm and pertinent information relating to it. The deputy shall not carry the firearm until any deficiencies or discrepancies are corrected and the firearm has been re-inspected and approved by the range officers. [CALEA Standard 4.3.1 c]
F. Annual Qualification Required
1. Firearm qualification schedule:
All sworn personnel who are licensed as peace officers by TCOLE and commissioned as peace officers by the HCSO shall demonstrate firearm proficiency annually through the HCSO firearms qualification program. Qualification shall be required for each firearm the deputy carries for law enforcement purposes. The qualification schedule is based on the deputy’s birth month, and an annual schedule will be published on the HCSO Intranet. [CALEA Standard 4.3.3]
Employees on Transitional duty, not actively carrying a Harris County Sheriff’s Office Badge and Identification, are not required to qualify until released to return to full duty. Employees actively carrying a Harris County Sheriff’s Office Badge and Identification must qualify annually as set for in this policy.
Employees on Worker’s Comp shall qualify prior to returning to full duty. (refer to HCSO Department Policy #215 – Return to Duty After Extended Absence).
All personnel who are licensed as peace officers by TCOLE and commissioned as HCSO deputies are required to qualify in accordance with the qualification schedule. A deputy who qualifies with a primary weapon prior to his or her designated qualification session is considered “qualified” for that particular weapon for that calendar year. The deputy is therefore exempt from mandatory attendance at the scheduled session.
2. Failure to attend qualification session:
a. The academy staff shall notify the bureau commander of any deputy who fails to attend a scheduled qualification session. Excused absences shall be made up by attendance at the make-up qualification session.
b. A deputy who fails to qualify within a 12-month period is in violation of TCOLE Rules Section 218.9, “Continuing Firearms Proficiency Requirements,” and may be subject to a suspension or revocation of his or her TCOLE license resulting in forfeiture of his or her status as a peace officer. [CALEA Standard 16.1.6]
3. Firearms Proficiency Unit
a. The mission of the Firearms Proficiency Unit (F.P.U.) is to provide practical firearms training to enhance the marksmanship abilities of an HCSO deputy. Training provided will consist of, but is not limited to classroom lecture, dry-fire, and live-fire training
b. The primary focus of the F.P.U. will be to train marginal and remedial shooters.
i. A marginal shooter is identified as deputy who fails two attempts, but passes the third attempt to qualify.
ii. A remedial shooter is identified as a deputy who fails to pass the annual handgun qualification with a minimum of 70%.
c. The F.P.U. will host directed practice sessions to provide opportunities for HCSO deputies to maintain their marksmanship proficiency with handgun, shotgun, and patrol rifle.
d. The F.P.U. will complete daily documentation for each deputy mandated to attend remedial training.
4. Minimum score and failure to qualify:
a. All personnel who are licensed as peace officers by TCOLE and commissioned as HCSO deputies are required to qualify annually and achieve a minimum score of 70% on the HCSO qualification courses (uniform handgun, non-uniform handgun).
b. Any deputy who fails to qualify with his or her primary service firearm during the qualification session shall be given written notice by the HCSO Academy staff to report to the academy F.P.U. for remedial training.
c. The deputy shall sign a written acknowledgment form stating the deputy shall not perform any law enforcement functions, carry a firearm in any law enforcement capacity, and is prohibited temporarily from working any extra-employment. This form will be forwarded to the deputy’s bureau commander.
d. A deputy who has failed to qualify with a secondary or back-up handgun, shotgun, rifle, or automatic firearm shall not be subject to mandated remedial status. However, the deputy may not carry such firearm until qualification requirements have been met with that firearm.
G. Courses of Fire
1. Revised practical handgun qualification course:
a. All sworn personnel must successfully meet the minimum requirements of the revised practical handgun qualification course on an annual basis.
b. The course shall be developed and implemented by the firearms proficiency control officer. [CLAEA Standard 4.3.5 c]
c. The course shall be fired entirely double-action (revolvers).
2. Shotgun qualification course:
a. No deputy is allowed to carry a shotgun on or off duty for law enforcement purposes unless he or she is currently qualified with a shotgun in compliance with TCOLE rules.
b. The shotgun qualification course shall be developed and implemented by the firearms proficiency control officer in compliance with TCOLE rules.
c. Shotgun qualification shall be scheduled on an annual basis in conjunction with handgun qualification.
3. Patrol rifle and precision rifle qualification courses:
a. No deputy is allowed to carry a patrol rifle or precision rifle on or off duty for law enforcement purposes unless he or she is currently qualified with a patrol rifle or precision rifle in compliance with TCOLE rules and has received authorization from his or her bureau commander.
b. The patrol rifle and precision rifle qualification courses shall be developed and implemented by the firearms proficiency control officer in compliance with TCOLE rules.
c. Patrol rifle and precision rifle qualification shall be scheduled on an as-needed basis.
4. Automatic firearm qualification course:
a. No deputy is allowed to carry an automatic firearm on duty for law enforcement purposes unless he or she is currently qualified with an automatic firearm in compliance with TCOLE rules and has received authorization from his or her bureau commander.
b. The automatic firearm qualification course shall be developed and implemented by the firearms proficiency control officer in compliance with TCOLE rules.
c. Automatic firearm qualification shall be scheduled on an as-needed basis.
H. Remedial Firearm Session
1. During an initial annual qualification session, a deputy will be allowed no more than three (3) attempts to qualify provided the attempts occur on the same day. Ammunition for all three attempts will be provided by the agency. Leaving the range without achieving a score of at least 70% places the deputy in remedial status. Failure to score 70% or greater on a final daily qualification attempt with the handgun or violating a safety rule shall be treated as follows: [CALEA Standard 4.3.3 c]
a. The deputy will be required to attend and successfully complete a remedial firearm training course session conducted by the HCSO Firearms Proficiency Unit the same week of failure to qualify.
b. Ammunition for a remedial session will be provided by the HCSO.
2. The remedial firearm training course will consist of a classroom phase followed by a range phase.
3. During the remedial training course, any deputy required to attend will be allowed additional training working with the F.P.U. as necessary to afford a reasonable opportunity to qualify.
4. If the deputy passes the qualification on any day of the extended remedial program, the deputy will report back to his or her assignment.
5. If the deputy is successful in completing the remedial course, the F.P.U. shall immediately notify the deputy’s division commander.
6. If the deputy fails to qualify at the conclusion of the remedial training course, the F.P.U. shall forward a detailed training report through the chain of command.
7. Upon review of the F.P.U. training report to Sheriff or designated command may determine the deputy’s inability to qualify is prima facie evidence the deputy is a safety risk to the public or themselves. Due to the inherent dangerous and proficiency requirements of carrying a firearm, the deputy will be reassigned to a position where a firearm is not required (e.g. detention officer).
Application to return to deputy status will be in accordance with current HCSO employment policies.
I. Marginal Shooter Course
1. A marginal shooter is defined as a deputy who takes 3 attempts to qualify.
2. Deputies identified as marginal shooters, are deemed to be in-need of training, but will maintain full powers as a Texas peace officer, and regular duty assignment.
3. Once the deputy is identified as a marginal shooter the deputy will be mandated to take a 4-hour pistol training course within 60 days of the date of their qualification.
4. The firearms training course mandated for marginal shooting will be scheduled and provided by HCSO Firearms Proficiency Unit.
J. Use of Range by Approved Firearms Instructors
Deputies who have successfully completed the firearms instructor course taught by the HCSO Academy, which shall include emergency medical response training for firearms instructors, or a course deemed to be equivalent by the Director of Training, may use the Academy range for practice if: [CALEA Standard 4.3.5 f]
1. The dates and times of practice sessions are coordinated with the firearms proficiency control officer,
2. All range rules are enforced,
3. All safety procedures are followed, and
4. The range is left in a good state of repair.
VI. Miscellaneous Provisions
A. Reserve Deputies
All provisions of this policy apply to reserve deputies except that all applicable records shall be maintained by the Firearms Training Unit. [CALEA Standard 16.1.6]
B. Retired Deputies
1. To obtain a firearms proficiency certificate as a retired peace officer in accordance with the Texas Occupations Code, Section 1701.357, “Weapons Proficiency for Certain Retired Peace Officers [et al.],” the following eligibility requirements must be met. The retiree must:
a. Have retired from the HCSO,
b. Have been a commissioned officer for at least ten (10) years and have not had his or her license revoked or suspended for any period during his or her term as a commissioned officer,
c. Have no psychological or physical disability that would interfere with the proper handling of a handgun, and
d. Demonstrate firearms proficiency as prescribed by the HCSO firearms proficiency control officer.
2. The retired officer must sign a sworn statement and obtain approval from the Sheriff prior to demonstration of weapon proficiency.
3. Upon approval, the Academy will contact the retiree to arrange the date and time for the retiree to demonstrate weapon proficiency. The retiree will provide the ammunition.
4. Upon successful demonstration of weapon proficiency, the Academy will issue a certificate. The Human Resources Division will issue the retiree a photo identification card which shall include years of service.
5. The proficiency certificate will expire on the second anniversary of the date of issue.
6. The HCSO Academy shall maintain the records and files associated with the retired officer’s proficiency.
C. Handgun License Requirements
Texas Government Code Sections 411.199, “Honorably Retired Peace Officers,” 411.1991, “Peace Officers,” and 411.1992, “Former Reserve Law Enforcement Officers,” allow current, reserve, and retired peace officers to apply for a license to carry a handgun.
1. Current sworn personnel shall go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website:
a. Complete all information requested online
b. Download the “Consent For Use Of Fingerprint Card On File License To Carry A Handgun (For Active Texas Peace Officers)” form provided, fill it out completely, and mail it to:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Handgun Licensing Program, MSC 0245
PO Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0245
2. Retired sworn personnel may request a handgun license letter through the Human Resources Division.
a. Fingerprints shall be submitted electronically. Applicants are directed to the following Texas Department of Public Safety website for further information:
b. A signed “Affidavit for Retired Peace Officer” form is required from the Sheriff or any current member of the command staff at the assistant chief position or higher.
c. Retired personnel will direct the handgun license request letter to the Human Resources Division for processing.
i. Human Resources will then forward the application and affidavit to the appropriate command staff representative for signature.
ii. The signed application and affidavit will be returned to Human Resources.
iii. Human Resources shall contact the retiree and inform him or her the application and affidavit are ready for retrieval.
D. Firearms That Meet All Authorized Criteria Except for Brand Marking
Intended to be included among authorized brands are:
1. A firearm actually manufactured by an approved manufacturer even though the firearm may be marked only with the name of an importer or distributor not listed above. Example: A Sig-Sauer Model P-220 marked only as “Hawes Firearms Co.”
2. A firearm made under a license agreement with a manufacturer listed above but marked with the name of a manufacturer not listed above. Example: A Walther PPK marked only as “Manhurin.”
This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:
July 27, 2016
November 22, 2016
May 1, 2018
March 18, 2019
August 28, 2020
July 21, 2021
Only the following brands of firearms are authorized to be carried by HCSO Deputies
Revolvers (for on-duty, Uniformed deputies/Off-duty and Plain Clothe deputies)
Smith & Wesson
Only revolvers chambered for the following cartridges may be carried while on duty.
.357 S&W Magnum .38 S&W Special 9mm Luger (Parabellum)
.41 S&W Magnum .44 S&W Special .44 Remington Magnum
.45 ACP (or Auto Rim) .45 (Long) Colt
Semi-Automatic Firearms (for on-duty, uniformed deputies/Off-duty and Plain Clothe deputies)
Beretta Browning Colt Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ)
FN Glock Heckler & Koch Kimber
Para Ordinance Ruger Sig-Sauer Smith & Wesson
Springfield Armory STI/Staccato Walther
Only semi-automatic pistols chambered for the following cartridges may be carried while on duty.
.38 Colt Super Automatic (or .38 ACP)
.40 S&W Auto
9mm Luger (Parabellum)
AUTHORIZED SHOTGUNS & PRECISION RIFLES
Only the following brands of shotguns are authorized to be carried on or off duty.
Only the following brands of precision rifles are authorized to be carried on or off duty.
FN (Fabrique Nationale)
Knights Armament Company
Lone Star Armory
Patrol Rifle Authorization Form
The Patrol Rifle Authorization Form must completed per Policy #702 – Firearms Control, Qualifications, and Training as part of the requirements for carrying a patrol rifle.
Retiree Affidavit for Firearms
The Retiree Affidavit for Firearms must be completed by retirees who wish to continue carrying a firearm in accordance with the Texas Occupations Code and Policy #702.