Sort of off duty, Part Two

In the previous installment of “Sort of off duty” (March 2011), I discussed the growing trend of violence against officers and the minute chance that an off-duty officer may have to quickly transition his duty status. This article is about doing a...


By the way, the first “Sort of off duty” article began with the premise that an officer must quickly transition to a different duty status. If this is likely, the answer is the duty caliber and the duty ammo. Can one do that and still carry a gun in the pocket? Let’s look at the list:

Para-Ordnance:

PDA (PXT LDA Single Stack Carry Safe). This is a 6+1, 24-ounce 45 ACP with Para-Ordnance LDA trigger. It needs a large pocket, but it makes large holes accurately. It is quite a comfortable handgun and has a safety system suitable for the pocket — rather large pockets, however.

Kimber & SIG:

I haven’t shot the Solo yet, but I have fired dozens of Kimbers. This one is a 17-ounce, 9mm. The SIG P290: 20.5 ounces, 6 rounds of 9mm.

Rohrbaugh R9S:

This is a 13.5-ounce, 5.2-inch overall length 9mm that holds 6 rounds. For a while there, the existence of this gun was only a rumor. Most people who handle it think it’s some kind of joke, unless they are familiar with its quality and accuracy. If it’s within your budget, this is the gun.

Kel-Tec:

Everyone knows I’m a big fan of Kel-Tec CNC guns, simply because they are engineered in a no-nonsense way. I have put several hundred rounds through one. The Kel-Tec PF 9 holds 7 rounds and weighs 12.7 ounces. If the Rohrbaugh is a little pricey, this is an outstanding alternative. If your attire is only swim trunks, try the P3AT, which is a .380 auto that weighs 8.3 ounces.

North American Arms:

When I don’t carry my S&W Model 38, I have my NAA Guardian in .380. Fortunately, Cor-Bon has improved the odds with the .380 by making an 80-grain bullet that can go 1,050 fps. It does right about 1,000 fps in my Guardian. At this time, 1,000 or so for this weight of bullet is about as good as it gets. Most of us in the gun business consider the .380 ACP marginal for self defense, but my tests with DPX bullets suggest that the .380 may have some utility. Yes, I can make a consistent hostage shot.

My guns usually have one quality in common: they all have Crimson Trace Laser Sight Grips. I have experimented with Crimson Trace products enough to know that they improve the odds of winning dramatically. If one remembers that a gunfight includes the concept of “fight,” not just “shoot,” Crimson Trace Laser Sight Grips make sense.

I can re-holster my gun one-handed

Waistband holsters of any type should have some sort of reinforcement to hold them open enough to reholster. If a person has been behind the badge long enough, they have had to holster the gun and go to grappling mode at one time or another. This contingency should be considered. The holster choice should keep the gun in, as long as the user wants it to stay in. It should also cover the entire trigger guard and trigger.

The best leather and man-made material holsters are moulded to the gun. A good holster will stay open enough to nose the gun in without having to look at it or fuss, except to re-clear the clothing. We have a local maker, Desbiens Gun Leather, that does custom moulding leather.

We train with holsters. When we wear the duty gear, we practice with the non-shooting hand. If your gun won’t holster backwards, it’s the wrong holster. If the gun goes in the holster backwards but won’t come out, it is definitely the wrong holster. There have been user reports about this phenomenon with the ones that have locking mechanisms — pay attention to these reports.

I can fight with my gun holstered

Imagine this scenario: The off-duty officer sees his teammate on a rural traffic stop and backs him up. He does the usual officer safety thing, identifying himself without interrupting the vigilance of the primary officer. The stop goes badly but the use of handguns is not appropriate. It would be socially inappropriate to arm the suspect at this time as it may create bad feelings between the two officers present. The off-duty guy should have a secure method of carry. When I evaluate a holster, I stand on my head. If the gun stays in, I continue testing.

I carry enough rounds to fight my way to cover

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