Carrying Off-Duty?

April 21, 2017

Carrying Off-Duty?

While we don't carry at the hospital, I was both armed and Taser licensed while I was with the company before this. All supervisors were licensed to be armed.  I tested with both the M&P 9mm and Glock 19.  I carry often and as such, have a vested interest in keeping up to date with tips and concealed carry information.  From the information that I have researched and my experience I figured I would bring together some of the best tips.

Find The Right Option

There are plenty of options out there.  Today you can get just about any kind of handgun you want or need.  Finding the option that is right for you is important.  And it isn’t about style.  You need to find the gun that fits you right, that you know how to use, and you feel confident in.  This may mean going to a rental range and trying out a variety of different firearms.

Duty Weapon or Personal Weapon

One of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you want to carry your duty weapon.  You have spent hours upon hours utilizing your duty weapon in training.  Why not carry it?  For many officers, it might be the right option.  This is especially true when your department requires that you carry a firearm off duty.

You might choose a personal weapon when you are more familiar with it.  Many officers own firearms before they are employed by a police department and as such tend to be more familiar with their own firearms.  

How To Carry It

There are a handful of different ways to carry firearms.  While some of them are great options, there are some options I would recommend and many other people would agree.

Outside The Waistband/On Belt

A holster that sits on the outside of your waistband on your belt is often a go-to option.  Most of my holsters are like this.  You can clip them to your belt or slide them on for a secure grip. They also have the option to get retention methods to help prevent your firearm from being taken.

Inside The Waistband

This is also a popular method of carrying, concealing your firearm inside your waistband makes it easy to cover with your shirt.  For people with a little more weight, this can be sometimes uncomfortable.  I carry my M&P 9mm in my waistband sometimes.  IWB for short offers more concealment but less retention.

Inside Your Pocket

When I first started to learn about firearms I had always been told not to carry a gun in my pocket.  However, pocket holsters have taken on a big popularity recently.  I don’t advise them and wouldn’t use them.  They are hard to get out of your pocket and the chance for an accident are high.

Fanny Pack

A fanny pack is another option for your firearm.  They may not be stylish but they conceal firearms pretty darn well.  The one downside is that you need to remember to never leave your fanny pack unattended.  You don’t want anyone getting the chance to take your firearm.

Other Options

Several other options exist for carrying your firearm.  Here are a few:

  • Ankle
  • Chest
  • Shoulder
  • Purse
  • Backpack

Prepare Yourself

Using your firearm on duty is different that using your firearm off duty.  If you carry your firearm you have to be prepared to use it and the follow-up.  As a security officer, I might have a few tips that might help you.

If you aren’t in your own jurisdiction or you don’t know every officer in your department you need to be prepared to identify yourself to responding officers.  Reholster your weapon or clear it and set it on the ground.  Even though you are the good guy, be prepared for the responders to be unaware of that at first.

Educate your family.  Should a situation arise where you need to defend yourself or others, they should know what to do.  Teach them to find cover, not to intervene, and that what you say is what needs to happen.

Know how to get legal help if you need it.  There are plenty of insurance and legal companies that specialize in helping those who need to use their weapons in self-defense.

It is important to consider your decision heavily whether or not you want to carry off work.  That is, if it isn’t required.  Do you want to have the option to protect your family should something come up?  You also need to consider whether you are ready to go through the legal issues that may arise.  I think it is worth being able to defend myself and my family.

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