In the new training textbook, Street Survival II, published by Calibre Press, co-authors Chuck Remsberg, Lt. Dan Marcou and Lt. Jim Glennon share some important off-duty carry considerations for both active and retired officers. Here’s what they have to say:
If you carry off duty, there are some critical realities to keep in mind. In most cases:
– You don’t have a radio.
– You don’t have immediate backup.
– You’re not wearing a ballistic vest.
– You don’t have a duty to act.
– You don’t have a duty to carry unless your policy dictates.
– You likely don’t have liability protection if you’re retired or even if you carry a permit issued by your department. Your off-duty coverage can likely be described as limited at best, depending on where you work.
This is not to say that a highly trained officer should not carry off-duty or after retirement. There are some tactical considerations, however, that you should bear in mind.
Here are some suggestions:
– Train live-fire with your off-duty weapon regularly.
– Regularly practice your draw with a red training gun replica of your off-duty weapon off-range and with your weapon and holster on-range.
– Obtain and practice with a secure but concealed holster. Retention is as much an issue off-duty as on.
– Carry spare ammo.
– For the benefit of witnesses and responding officers, carry a means to ID yourself. Practice shouting out verbal identifications as you draw: “Police officer!” or “Retired police officer!”
– Practice making a call while giving your own description for responding officers.
– Consider preparing a go-bag for an active assailant situation which includes extra ammo, vest, police raid jacket, handcuffs, tac light and first aid equipment like bandages and tourniquets.
– Always keep your weapon concealed. The biggest tactical advantage you have will be sacrificed if you wear “I’m a cop” clothes and allow your weapon to be easily spotted. That tactical advantage is to be able to surprise and flank a suspect.
– Clean your weapon regularly.
When choosing your off-duty weapon, consider carrying a smaller version of your on-duty weapon. For example, if you carry a Glock 17, consider a Glock 26 for your off-duty carry. They function similarly and your magazines will fit and function in both.
And a word of advice: Getting involved off-duty should only be a last resort…when lives are in the balance. In other cases of minor enforcement, calling 911 and being a great witness is the best option.