close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

A Few Thoughts on Back-Up and Off Duty Guns

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by G27Chief, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. G27Chief

    G27Chief Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Gawjaw
    This is part of an article I am writing for a LE magazine. I felt like sharing this with you folks for your input and feelings.


    I will start by saying that the age old argument to carry off duty or back up carry is not the topic of this article. I have a very strong opinion on both of those topics and one does not have to be a statistician or an alarmist to see the reason. Basically all you have to do is read the news, odmp.org, and have the basic instinct of self and family preservation to do so.

    Back –up Gun Considerations

    I own a nice little collection of Glock’s, and carry mine more than any other pistol. Keeping in mind I had pocket carried a J frame daily, and I mean everywhere, everyday for over 20 years until I chose the sub compact Glock. I mention this to say if a snub nosed .38 works for you, there is no need to change; I still carry mine on occasion. I keep myself well tuned with the little Glock’s, and trust my skills in close range combat and reload. I keep a pair of magazines in the pocket of each door of the unit, in addition to the two on my duty belt.

    I look at the wear on my little 442 sometimes, the sharp edges are finish worn, the muzzle shows holster wear, but it is not a show piece. It was never regulated to a primary duty weapon in my profession, but my old stainless 60 did a few decades ago it has been deployed a few times from a paddle holster, in defense of myself and did its job well. The Glock 27 however has been a primary when regulated to admin or teaching, and never felt under gunned with it. I fire it each year on our primary course instead of the back-up course, and my scores are within 2 to 3 points of my primary weapon. I am aware there are some that cannot fire the sub-compacts as well as their bigger counter parts; to them I say practice, practice, practice.

    I own two styles of pocket holsters for my Glock 27 and 36; however I rarely if ever go with the glock in the pocket. The weight of the glock, coupled with mass makes it uncomfortable, and noticeable in 99% of the clothes I wear. I have however carried the Glock in my pocket when I felt the need for it, and sometimes it has found its way in the big patch pocket on the rear of jeans encased in a pocket holster. I have found the ankle holster to be useful, as well as vest holsters and belly band systems. I usually prefer a position where the BUG can be deployed with either hand, yet as secure as it can be from a gun grab.

    For some the policy guru’s at their agency has limited their choices of weapons and methods of carry, I disdain this concept. No one weapon or mode of carry will fit every officer. Those who have such policies will largely find their officers leaving the back-up in the console or trunk. I have eaten enough biscuits and gravy that I qualify as a big guy, and various methods may work better for me than those of you welter weights out there. A BUG is just a little insurance, which has time and time again proved to be the very thing that saved an officers hide.


    Off Duty Carry

    Let me first say I agree that the off-duty gun should be on the same basic platform as the issued weapon. For example DAO, and no external safety for those of us that carry one of the Glock family of pistols. When the stuff hits the fan you do not need to be fumbling with safeties and remembering a combination of things to make it go bang. That said my normal off duty weapon is either the Glock 36 or the Glock 27 and on occasion a Glock 23. The C-TAC, M-TAC or the excellent Andrews Custom Leather McDaniel rig are my normal choices. I advocate the off duty gun being as close to where the duty weapon is worn as practicable. Now some may disagree, if you do not believe me just get a bunch of cops in a room, making sure they are unarmed first and try this drill. Catching them off guard yell some warning about a gun, or pop a balloon and watch where all the hands go as they go for cover. I have seen this first hand, and every one of them went for strong side carry, to grasp their weapon. This has probably happened to you in some setting, and you are nodding in agreement.

    The fact is when you become aware that you are going to carry a concealable firearm, you will largely find the experience and opinions of others to be of great use to you. However you have to experiment and try different things that couples speed with comfort and concealment. The same holster that works great for your buddy at the local agency, may feel like a bull horn prodding your neither regions. We who have taken the carrying and concealing a weapon seriously have a drawer, or in my case a few of those large storage bins full of discarded holsters. They either flop when you walk, poke your in the ribs or worse, or has the speed of ribbon cane syrup in the Klondike. Remember clothing choices when planning for a trip out. Tight fitting muscle shirts for you gym hounds will not conceal a weapon. For some, the policy guru at their agency has limited their choices of weapons and methods of carry, I disdain this concept. No one weapon or mode of carry will fit all the social events you may attend. Those who have such policies will largely find their officers not bothering with an off-duty weapon or even circumventing policy to protect themselves and families.

    There is ever present argument of firepower; well if I need that much firepower then I would want my AR and a few 30 rounder’s out of the unit. Fact is still and has been for those of us facing it in the real world, the pistol can prove to be an effective weapon to have when the bullets are flying. You must be skilled and possess the ability to come on target and place your shots. It is not a tool commonly used for suppressive firepower. I see the compromise of mouse guns, it beats the hell out if one out in the truck. I have a little a P3AT and find it useful when my wardrobe is extremely limited, or I just feel like dropping in an off duty BUG. Surprisingly the little gun will reach scores that surpass the 80% required on our BUG/off duty course. A caveat however, the course is largely fired from the 7 and 3 yard lines. Those of us that have them have them practice from 15 and 25 yards out as well. I stoke mine up with the Winchester SXT offered in .380, and I am not alone feeling comfy with this round and platform. For those of you who follow the “would rather have a .45 out in the car rule” always get the same response from me with the question; “tell me how it works out when you need it, if you still can?” This opinion makes about as much since as air brakes on a turtle. The very best gun to have is the one in your hand when you need it. Additionally, believe it or not somebody may decide to pull a few entering auto’s and relieve you of that “.45 in the car”. It will be very difficult for a thug to get my BUG or off duty unless I am supine and unconscious.

    Now for what it is worth, take that little pistol/revolver that you are comfortable with carrying and put it in some quality hide on it and tote it with the confidence "you" have created by range practice and safety drills. Be sure to practice with a safe and unloaded weapon that you have checked multiple times to ensure it is in fact empty and safe. Drill with your holster and make presentations, muscle memory is paramount to honing good skills. I think 30 rounds a month is a good rule of practice time. 15 or so from your primary in duty leather, and 15 give or take a few with the bug and off duty if they differ.

    The LEOSA gave us full-timers and retirees liberal privileges to be armed in all 50 states. Some areas have local legislation that has restricted the LEOSA, which took us years to pass. Check the laws of the locales of your trip before you find yourself on the wrong side of a badge.

    In closing I would like to repeat an age old sentiment; “it is better to have it and not need it is to need it and not have it.”

    Stay safe out there!
     
  2. blueiron

    blueiron

    Messages:
    11,150
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    LEOSA is not superseded by local, county, or state legislation.
     

  3. G27Chief

    G27Chief Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Gawjaw
    We have all heard of the incidents where there have been problems for some under the LEOSA. Some were caused by ignorance of the specifications in the bill, and or the entire act. My intention was to make mention of certian restrictions that could cause issues, not saying Federal law was superseded by local legislation.

    Local laws often have restrictive provisions and even prohibit, certain things. Often after passing such ordinances there are subject to litigation if it is enforced. Hence case law is born.

    I apologize for any confusing my statement caused, and will consider editing it to alleviate any further confusion.
     
  4. BlackPaladin

    BlackPaladin

    Messages:
    2,291
    Likes Received:
    60
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    Location:
    Somewhere out there
    Good writeup! I stopped carrying a J frame after I realized that 5 shots might not be enough, and speed loaders w 5 more rounds are bulky. In moved the Kahr 9mm, with thin single stack mags, I have not looked back yet.
     
  5. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    20,144
    Likes Received:
    4,909
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    After flirting with all kinds of "off duty" guns I finally settled on just carrying my on duty gun off duty.

    I also carried a BUG off duty, just like I did on duty.

    Absolutely, it is one of the things i always taught my guys, When the SHTF is a bad time to remember where you are carrying your gun today, carrying on the same side in a position similar as practical as your duty carry is natural and instinctive if you have to draw off duty.
     
  6. MeefZah

    MeefZah Cover is Code 3

    Messages:
    4,235
    Likes Received:
    799
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Lost Coast, Cali
    Not trying to be tool-like, but you have major grammatical and syntax errors. No big deal on a web post, but you will want to proof that before you submit it to a magazine.
     
  7. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Messages:
    3,843
    Likes Received:
    874
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    NW Burbs
    Just OC and you won't have to worry about it! :supergrin:

    I must admit that I've fallen off the "carry everywhere, all the time" bandwagon in recent years. If I do carry, more than likely its a 642 J frame or my LCP. If I'm going into the city I might put my G23 on, but I never end up carrying spare ammo.

    One of the firearms instructors in the academy advocated basically carrying everything you would have on your duty belt when you are off duty. That works for him, and I'm glad, but I just can't bring myself to lug around a full size weapon, 2 reloads, cuffs, spray, flashlight and knife. I'm not saying he's wrong, just that I view my situation differently than he does his.

    I definitely need to get back into the habit of carrying everywhere, but I already know I'm not willing to put up with all that weight and/or discomfort.

    As for on duty, admin has come down saying NO BUGs shall be carried. Hasn't entirely stopped me, but I do think its a foolish policy. Oh well...
     
  8. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    Messages:
    38,472
    Likes Received:
    118
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    What kind of cock-a-maney department doesn't allow BUGs in this day and age?

    I carry everywhere and I always have a reload. If for nothing else other than having it after an incident. You might not need it for the primary engagement but it's comforting to be able to top it off until it is definitely over.

    Always, BUG and off-duty. Not doing so leaves you at the mercy of others and I don't live like that.
     
  9. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    Messages:
    18,143
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas, near the bison.
    A lot of federal agencies or departments are that way. And, for more limiting agencies like mine, (because of security reasons), only if you are the guy not handling the inmate.

    I carry a weapon that is authorized as an on duty weapon by many departments, a Glock 17. The shooting of it is a little bit different from what I am issued, but not so much that I get lost with my duty weapon. The on duty weapon for where I am at is a Ruger p89 semi auto pistol, which is DAO, no decocker, no safety, bi directional magazine release.

    Why do I carry that large of a weapon off duty? I want enough fire power in terms of quantity of ammunition to hold off or escape from a gang initiated event. In my experience, gangs don't always rely on the one gang banger, but may have several targeting the one whom they know to be the CO, LEO, any other target whom they believe may be packing heat.

    Then, there are the occasional ones who make it out to the streets whom are intending to do us all harm, because their sentence is ended and now they have a chance to pay back for all of the "bad stuff that happened to them while in prison." In fact, I have one like that making the streets occasionally. One in fact several years ago tried to make his way back our direction in order to do harm to a CO.

    So, to summarize: I want the largest thing I can comfortably carry, along with at least one back up magazine, with both of those filled up with good ammunition, and perhaps a nice sharp knife.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  10. G27Chief

    G27Chief Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    1,751
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Gawjaw

    Thanks I failed to metion it is with the grammer police as we speak being editied accordingly.
     
  11. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    Messages:
    18,143
    Likes Received:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas, near the bison.
    Well, it never hurts to have someone else look your work. I do it routinely whenever I write memos or incident reports.
     
  12. A6Gator

    A6Gator

    Messages:
    4,846
    Likes Received:
    1,628
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Location:
    formerly Barack's Plantation
    Might be a small point, but, if you carry your duty gun off duty, in the event you stitch up a BG, off duty, it obviates the training issue with that weapon. Same w/duty ammo(assuming you're not required to carry ball...:supergrin:).
     
  13. dp509

    dp509 2009 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

    Messages:
    869
    Likes Received:
    40
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Alabama
    I carry either a Glock 19, off duty (in a serpa paddle) , with a paddle combo magazine pouch & handcuff case (Safariland)
    http://www.blackhawk.com//CatalogImages/18-1146-IMG1_L.jpeg
    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/images/catalog/573_l.jpg

    Or, a Kahr CW9 in a Safariland 518 Paddle, with a Safariland paddle double magazine pouch.
    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/images/catalog/572_l.jpg
    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/images/catalog/518_l.jpg

    Or, a S & W 442 in a pocket holster. Duty Back up gun :supergrin: in a Galco ankle holster.

    Second off duty gun (ie back up) is a Kel Tec p3at. Never failed me :wavey:
     
  14. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

    Messages:
    18,518
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    Land of Flora, Fauna & Merriweather
    My duty gun is a G19. It is carried in plain cloths and off-duty. When I worked uniform, my backup gun was the G26, carried in the appendix position, and was covered either with the uniform shirt draped over it (summer) or the duty jacket (rest of year). Although, I would prefer to be allowed a second G19 as a back-up (which unfortunately was not practical as that extra 1/2" barrel dug into my leg when sitting).
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  15. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Messages:
    3,843
    Likes Received:
    874
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    NW Burbs
    Answered your own question...

    Our admin is basically politicians, and people around here don't like seeing us carrying a PRIMARY weapon, let alone a backup. Heck, they won't authorize ASPs or tazers, so basically I have 3 stops on the force continuum: I can spray you, I can beat you, or I can shoot you. Seems like quite a leap, huh? Now, there are times when I carry my LCP with me anyway, but seeing as its verbotten, those times aren't as numerous as they should be.

    I just do the best with what I'm given, within the parameters of the policies the admin has laid forth. That's all anyone can do.
     
  16. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

    Messages:
    20,144
    Likes Received:
    4,909
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    it's incredible in this day and age that there are agencies that still do not allow BUGs.
     
  17. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

    Messages:
    38,472
    Likes Received:
    118
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Let me clarify... what kind of cock-a-maney POLICE department with uniformed patrol officers pushing radio cars in a non-correctional setting out in the public does not allow BUGs?
     
  18. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Alabama
    On duty: Sig 226 40 S&W in a galco Miami Vice shoulder rig and a Springer full sized 1911 in a serpa paddle, strong side, both covered neatly in either a light sleeveless vest or a sleeved light jacket. Same off duty, sometimes only one weapon though, with a reload or two,a leatherman and a lockback of some type, and a small flashlight.(The vests with extra pockets make for carrying a LOTS of gear. Add some multi pocketed 5.11 BDU pants and your good to go with all the stuff you can carry! Better than a bat-belt.
     
  19. Skyline44512

    Skyline44512

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Location:
    Bowling Green, OH
    I carry a S&W M&P 340 as a backup in an ankle holster, and carry it in a pocket holster off duty. Also have a Ruger LCP with an IWB for when I'm jogging or kayaking (the idea of losing a $750 firearm in the water bothers me more than the $329 LCP). I carry extra .357 mag usually, but I've been thinking about switching to a G30 recently...carrying it with no extra mag would have the same capacity as my j-frame with a speedloader. I'm wavering.
     
  20. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Messages:
    8,798
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Location:
    Circling the wagons.
    I like the article, Jay...but a couple of things:

    1) There are some minor spelling, grammar, and usage issues that I'm sure you will take care of going forward.

    2) The word "full time" does not appear anywhere in LEOSA/HR218/18USC926B. Part time and reserve officers ARE covered so long as they meet the criteria (arrest powers, authorized to carry, not under discipline, etc, etc)