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...

There can never be a predictable number of bullets to carry, but it’s well known that magazines are usually the weakest link in the reliability of a firearm. If an off-duty officer doesn’t have at least a magazine or a speedloader to refill the gun, he can put himself out of the fight. For a revolver, I like two speedloaders. For a mid- or high-capacity auto, a magazine or two is appropriate. This is where tactical clothing comes in handy. Khaki or coyote pants and a loose fitting shirt can sometimes be a “giveaway” but I live in an area where everyone wears this stuff.

TRU-SPEC’s 24-7 Series line is a collection of casual clothing items that are also appropriate for covert operations. The pants have magazine-shaped pockets and one set of pockets has retention areas designed for magazines.

Meanwhile, the Woolrich Men’s Elite Long-Sleeve Oxford CCW Shirt has hidden magazine pockets that easily concealed two of my Glock 22 magazines, while the yoke of the shirt prevented it from sagging in front. The front part of the pockets are constructed like normal. But the pockets do have magnet hidden button closures which close automatically after drawing. This has to be seen to be believed. If I want to carry my Glock and 45 rounds, I wear my Woolrich.

If there is any likelihood that an officer will be called into action right from the street, his or her casual wear boot should have several capabilities. There are plenty of resident deputies and rural officers who can attest to their 3 a.m. pages.

I would pick something that is mid height, made of leather and waterproof, which means Gore-Tex or go home. My first pick is the Danner Combat Hiker for casual wear. I used the same Danner boot for 20 years in the military, resoling as necessary. I can stand all day on the range doing shooting drills and crank out a few quick miles in the wilderness in the same boot. Besides the waterproof protection, it is stable enough to prevent a turned ankle and proven to have excellent toe and midfoot protection on steep descents. I select the method of carry that is least likely to force my hand, considering my wardrobe and environment.

One busy afternoon two of my deputy friends went to our local bank and a “traditional,” not takeover, robbery took place. All of the customers were ordered to lie on the bank floor. Exactly as we teach it, they were good witnesses rather than bad heros. Now think about it: If you were ordered to the ground, would your gun butt stick out?

I’m not a great advocate of waist packs and gun packs in general, but they do have an advantage here. Elite Survival makes a couple of utility pouch products that look less like gun pouches and may allow a more effective gun. Wearing a waist pack and workout wear works simply because it doesn’t look out of place. They take longer to draw, and therefore the wearer must practice drills that preposition hands on the grip.

My method of carry allows for a consistent presentation in a timely manner. I regularly have those telltale white earphones in my ears. I rarely listen to music. It is my hands-free device to make a call. Hands-free means I am prepared to communicate, while shooting, fighting or driving. I can clear clothing easily, fight or shoot as needed.

I can win because I practice

We already talked about being able to make the hostage shot. I use a modified Bill Drill (named after THE Bill Wilson) to practice my carry method. A Bill Drill is six shots at 10 yards as quickly as a person can make A-zone hits to generate speed without sacrificing accuracy.

I modify this drill: 6 shots, a reload and 6 shots at a target at a different distance as quickly as possible. The idea is to build tempo and still have A-zone hits.

If your skills are not up to standard, if your equipment is the lowest bidder, if your system doesn’t allow hostage shots and Bill Drills, don’t carry. Your method of carry is a system. Look at the sum of your components and adhere to the system. Otherwise, don’t do it.

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