It has been 15 years since the World Trade Center attacks happened yet the memories of people who witnessed the horrific tragedy are still fresh like it was just yesterday. Many documentaries and investigation reports were already passed down to the public as to what really happened that day especially the events that occurred inside the hijacked planes that flew straight into the towers. The terrorists who executed the plans were prepared and ready to stage a simple play that if executed well will bring success to their murderous intent. The funny thing is, the hijackers didn’t actually have the right tools to dominate the passengers in fact, they just used fake bomb assemblages and box cutters to carry out their plans yet they pulled it off. Their main weapon in those instance though is as powerful as the real bombs and that is instilling fear and terror. By simply striking fear into the passengers and crew, they were able to maneuver the plane’s flight path directly to oblivion.
All of the investigation reports that were publicized enumerated all points of failure in the security measures that were implemented that day. However, if everyone takes a second look at it, everything could have been averted and prevented if there was just a single firearm carried by an able person in those flights.
There are already a lot of movies that depict plane hijacking and almost all of these movies are lucky since among the passengers there is always a Federal Air Marshal who is on board. These special law enforcement agents are usually the thespians of the stories and are able to save the plane at the end of the day. Unfortunately, in the real world, not all flights have a secret Air Marshal that can protect everyone onboard. The truth is, it has been a challenge to the agency to hire enough marshals to cover all commercial and high-threat flights that takes off day in, day out.
Having to know this, worried pilots and crew members had appealed to the authorities to grant them permission to conceal a firearm which they can use for emergency situations wherein hijackers wants to take over the plane and use it for more heinous plans. In this way, attacks like what happened during 9/11 could have been stopped by the pilot and crew members themselves or may persuaded the hijackers to re-consider their motives.
This realistic request gained enough supporters that the US Congress introduced a new program to realize the effort in arming pilots and crew members of commercial flights. The name of this program is the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO). Following its implementation, a total of 44 undisclosed plane crew members were sent to training in Glynco, Georgia. To many pilots, FFDO program is a first real step in ensuring the protection of plane cockpits and the passengers that the plane carries. Now, all commercial planes are equip to defend itself from terror and hijacking attacks and loss of innocent lives may never be experienced anymore.
The FFDO program certifies a trained crewmember or pilots to get authorization from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to “use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence or air piracy attempting to gain control of an aircraft.” A rigid training is needed for a crewmember to be a FFDO. The complete training includes mindsetting, knowledge on firearms, defensive tactics, legal, and effective use of force. Aside from the rigid training, applicants also undergo strict medical screening and background check to ensure that the person who will be authorized to carry a firearm in planes will not be the one who will hijack the plane himself.
Since there is just a little law enforcement power given to FFDOs, these people may not make arrests or do things like a police would do. Their main function is to carry the consented firearm and apply lethal force when necessary. Since the job of FFDO entails overriding a lot of security protocols of airlines and airports, their identities and involvement in the program are kept on 100% secrecy, much like the Federal Air Marshals.
The program specifically teaches selected crew on how to properly use a firearm and guidelines on the specific types that can be used. In the end, FFDOs are actually given the privilege to choose their own handguns to carry.
There are a lot of handguns’ make and model that FFDOs can choose from however, Glocks 4th Gen are usually preferred. Glocks are preferred mainly because cockpits are usually are tight and small. This type of handgun is easy to conceal and use in tight spaces. It is also consistent and user-friendly especially when there is constant movement involved like riding a plane.
Below are the type of Glocks that were preferably selected by FFDOs during their deployment.
Glock 19 Gen4
The Glock 19 Gen4, in 9×19, has a revolutionary design that makes it so famous as a service firearm for both private and public agencies. The handgun has a modular backstrap that aids in adjusting grip suited for the shooter of owner. The surface of the frame employs the scientifically-designed, real-world-tested, Gen4 rough textured technology. It also has a dual spring recoil system in its assemblage that prolongs the life of the pistol. The Glock 19 magazine is reversible which allows faster reloading and accommodates both left handed and right handed shooters. This 4th gen Glock still has its rail for attachments.
Glock 26 Gen4
The Glock 26 G4 9mm Bodyguard also known as the “mini Glock” is similar in size and weight to the small frame .38 snubnose revolver. The G26 is packed with 11 rounds of 9mm cartridge that is the combined capacity of a 6-shot Detective Special and a 5-shot Chiefs Special. G26 has a better recoil, better accuracy and a faster rate of fire compared to other similar sized handguns. Like all Gen 4 glock series, the backstrap is modular which adjusts itself to accommodate small to large frame hands. Also, just like the G19, The Glock 26 magazine is reversible which allows faster reloading and accommodates both left handed and right handed shooters.
Glock 23 Gen4
As of today, most police and military personnel prefers Glock 23 handgun as their service firearm, chambered in .40 Smith and Wesson, because of its reliability and robustness of its revolutionary design that proved to be effective in different situations. Still considered as a compact and perfect for concealment gun, G23 packs a 13-round magazine, enough firepower to be a reliable service firearm.
The most sellable feature of a Glock handgun, especially in the Gen 4 series is being a user-friendly pistol. Standard design features include a reversible magazine which can be easily accessible by both right and left-handed shooters and the modular backstrap that is perfect for all grip sizes. Suprisingly, even with .40 S&W cartridge, G23 is still smooth on the recoil due to the dual spring system assemblage.
People who participates shooting competitions usually register and use a G23 handgun because of its high customization feature. This is also a perfect handgun for people who wants to have one to protect their homes and properties since it can easily be hidden in any parts of the house.
Glock 27 Gen4
Glock 27 or G27 is commonly called as the “thinking person’s secret gun”. For the last 20 years, G27 is the most preferred side arm for defensive and law enforcement use a sit provides some best 9mm power but less recoil compared to the heavier .45 caliber pistols. This handgun has 10 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge and is slightly larger than a .38 pistol.
Glock 43 Gen4
With its subcompact, slimline design, Glock’s G43 Pistol is a smart choice for all shooters, regardless of hand size. Ultraconcealable size makes it a great choice for self-defense. Grip features a built-in beaver-tail design, allowing shooters to acquire a high, tight grip. Aggressive grip texture promotes easy operation. Large magazine catch allows for easy removal of six-round magazine. Trigger reach and pistol grip are familiar and dimensionally equivalent to the larger 9×19 pistols in Glock’s lineup.
There are also other sidearms or handguns that are requested by some FFDOs especially those who have military background. For them, they are more adept in using the .45 caliber handguns since it is the standard sidearm issued by the military. However, if given an alternate Glock choice, they usually choose Glock 30 which is pretty much pack the same power that of a .45 and still can be easily concealed.
The dream is that there should be no another 9/11 incident that should happen in the future. Arming a plane crew member and trained to be a FFDO may be the solution at hand in order to ensure that dream. There maybe some groups that are against to this effort, but they too recognize that threats in air travel are still present. These threats should be mitigated and countered to ultimately save lives in the process.