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Son entering law enforcement, off duty weapon

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Department policy will dictate action, caliber, manufacturer, and ammunition that can be used.  In NJ you must qualify with your off duty weapon the same as you would with your duty weapon.  

 

Have your son get the policy, and read it very carefully to make sure you don't spend a wad of cash on something he can't carry.  When you have the information on what he can and can't carry, go with him to Lawmans Supply or Atlantic Tactical.  They both stock pistols that are on state contract pricing, and extend that offer to LEO's.

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My dept lets us qualify with .380, 9mm, .40s&w, and .45acp. Most guys in my dept off duty carry a sub compact size glock IE g26, g27. Recently, the springfield xds 45 has gotten popular, but with the recall most guys sent theirs back and didnt have it in time for qualifying. Personally, i carry a g30s and with jacket season coming, my g21 will see more carrying time

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Department policy will dictate action, caliber, manufacturer, and ammunition that can be used. In NJ you must qualify with your off duty weapon the same as you would with your duty weapon.

 

Have your son get the policy, and read it very carefully to make sure you don't spend a wad of cash on something he can't carry. When you have the information on what he can and can't carry, go with him to Lawmans Supply or Atlantic Tactical. They both stock pistols that are on state contract pricing, and extend that offer to LEO's.

^^^^ This.

 

Another consideration is to purchase an approved pistol with the same manual of arms as the issued weapon, or as close to it as possible. I am issued a Glock 22. I carry a Glock 35 or 23 off duty and use a Glock 27 as a BUG. (I also have a Kahr PM9 and a Ruger LCP that I will occasionally carry as a BUG. While different guns then the Glock, the manual of arms is the same and they are only shot to qualify. I do all of my training with the Glocks)

 

If he is carrying a Glock on duty by Department mandate, am HK with a safety/decocker may not be the best bet - different trigger, diffent grip, different recoil characteristics, different height over bore, different manual of arms, different sights, different magazine release, etc... He will know have to think about which gun is in has hands while he operates it instead of concentrating on the problem at hand - shooting.

 

Most modern duty guns have a more compact version that feels the same in the hand, has the same trigger, same sight options, etc... This allows for more familiarity and keeps the shooter on the path to unconscious competence instead of having to try to switch gear between guns.

 

Keep in mind the saying " Beware the man with one gun, he probably knows how to use it" applies heavily here.

 

And yes, there are plenty of people who carry a significantly different gun on and off duty and run both guns very well. These are the same people that put A LOT of time training both systems. It can be done it hast a lot of time, money, and commitment.

 

I stll always how much better they would be if they spent twice as much time shooting only one gun though...

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Light, hammer-less revolver. I held one the other day and I swear my cell phone almost weighed almost the same (the gun was unloaded though). Something like a Ruger LCR or Smith and Wesson J-Frame.

 

Congratulations and good luck to your son.

Keep in mind Airweights and similar guns are harder to shoot as well as a steel frame. A lot of people don't want to spend the time or effort to learn how to shoot a DA revolver well and a small one makes it harder.

 

All those guns that are so light "you don't even know its there" means if you lose it you won't know its gone. I can tell you more than one story about someone who lost theie uber light gun because they didn't know it fell out of their holster.

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Revolvers are probably the easiest gun to shoot. I'm sure single actions are available. I understand what you are saying about the light weight issue.....never really occured to me that a carry/concealable gun could be "too" light weight.

 

If I were the young man becoming an officer I would probably first find out what that department's rules are and then ask some of the officers there what they recommend.

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Again the most important thing is to get on the job, find out what the regulations are, talk to the dept. rangemaster, and talk to the folks you work with.

 

Don't waste your money on guns you are not allowed to qualify with.

 

Don't buy a gun only slightly smaller and lighter than your duty gun. It will be left at home 95% of the time.

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There are guns that are easy to carry and there are guns that are easy to shoot. They are not always the same.

 

I shot one of scandium S&W revolvers at the factory about 8 years ago. Nice gun, didn't weigh anything - I remember thinking the 5 rounds of .357 weighed more than the gun. It was incredibly difficult to shoot quickly and only carries 5 rounds. I would have to dedicate a lot of time to become as effective with that gun as my semiauto that I already have to train and be proficient with. I then shot the standard (non-air weight version) and it was much more controllable and easier to shoot.

 

Are you buying a gun just to carry around or to shoot well enough to save you life? Comfortable vs comforting.

 

Don't buy a gun only slightly smaller and lighter than your duty gun. It will be left at home 95% of the time.

I disagree with this statement 100%.

 

Your decision on what gun to carry should be based on what you shoot well, not size or weight. If you had a crystal ball and it said that today you were getting into an unavoidable gunfight while carrying only a pistol which of your handguns would you pick to carry that day? Your little .380, your J Frame? Or your full size gun? Answer that question honestly and that's the gun you should always carry.

 

I have pulled 1911s, N frame sized revolvers, full size Rugers and a Sig 220 off bad guys. If they can carry the concealed regularly with no issues so can the good guys - if they dedicate themselves to it.

 

I regularly carry a Glock 35 with WML off duty. It is larger than my issued duty gun but I shoot it the best out of all of my pistols.

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I have pulled 1911s, N frame sized revolvers, full size Rugers and a Sig 220 off bad guys. If they can carry the concealed regularly with no issues so can the good guys - if they dedicate themselves to it.

 

 

 

Please, please, please tell me you've complimented and/or had some random conversation with someone about a gun you pulled off of them.

 

"Hey man, you still suck, but nice Model 29/1911/whatever you have here"

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consider the Glock G26 or G27 (9mm or 40cal) compact platform.

As long as the Dept OK's these, the compact Glocks carry very well in either an inside waistband holster (IWB) or conventional belt holster.

 

I find the Crossbreed Supertuck IWB, and the DeSantis leather belt holsters really work well.

 

They are light weight, accurate, dependable, and there are a wide range of accessories available for Glocks.

Price wise, the Glocks are mid-stream $$ as compared to many other comparable pistols.

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My department restricts what we can carry off duty, and what holster we can carry it in. Previously we were only allowed to carry a g27, but people stopped carrying off duty due to it's size. Its smaller than a g23 obviously, but its just as thick, and prints easily through clothing. Last year a number of us pushed for, and got approval to carry a ruger lcp. Those who have purchased them, carry them much more often, as an lcp in a pocket holster is pretty much undetectable

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You guys are carrying a .380 LCP as a primary carry off duty? On purpose?

 

What ammo are you using?

 

If your guys are having problems printing with a G23 or G27 then they aren't trying hard enough. I am 5'6" and 180 and can hide a G22/35 with no problem in shorts and a t shirt comfortably. Just sayin'

 

I carry the Shield in .40 off duty, my only regret is not getting the 9 shot that 3 months later my groups were almost half the size at 15 yards

I have found that to be the case with sub-compact sized guns as well. The .40 is snappy in guns that can't fit your pinky on the grip.

 

9mm seems to be the way to go with that size pistol.

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My Dept. uses a Glock 22 as a duty weapon.  I went through a bunch of off duty guns before I found the one I have had for nearly 10 years (correct me if it has been around that long!)

 

I use a Kahr P9 with a compensated barrel.  Duty ammo is Speer Gold dot 9mm  124 grn +P.  I love the combination.  I'm a skinny guy and this gun is comfortable to carry.  Everyone else uses the mini Glocks.  A great gun, but they don't carry it.  Might as well throw stones!!

 

NOW...qualifications.   Many departments do not require Ofc.'s with mini Glocks to qualify each time.  I totally DISAGREE.  It is very similar to the full size, but it is NOT full size, plus holster is completely different.  I used to complain until I realized I get to shoot TWICE as much as they do, which equals better shooting!   :)

 

My Kahr shoots awesome!  I enjoy shooting it during qualifications and feel very well armed when out.  Don't forget to ALWAYS carry extra magazines!!!!!  I read a sad story of an officer who had a 5 shot .38 against a full size Glock.  He hit the bad guy multiple times before he ran out of ammo, then took multiple rounds himself.  The bad guy walked up (less damaging hits) and shot him in the head as he begged for his life and prayed his wife who was in the store they were just outside of would not walk out and find his body.  

 

That will NOT be me!! 

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My Dept. uses a Glock 22 as a duty weapon.  I went through a bunch of off duty guns before I found the one I have had for nearly 10 years (correct me if it has been around that long!)

 

I use a Kahr P9 with a compensated barrel.  Duty ammo is Speer Gold dot 9mm  124 grn +P.  I love the combination.  I'm a skinny guy and this gun is comfortable to carry.  Everyone else uses the mini Glocks.  A great gun, but they don't carry it.  Might as well throw stones!!

 

NOW...qualifications.   Many departments do not require Ofc.'s with mini Glocks to qualify each time.  I totally DISAGREE.  It is very similar to the full size, but it is NOT full size, plus holster is completely different.  I used to complain until I realized I get to shoot TWICE as much as they do, which equals better shooting!   :)

We issue G22s as well. I make my people qualify with every gun they want to carry, even if it is a personally owned G22. Most of my guys don't carry as well. It has nothing to do with the gun/comfort and everything to do with mindset. As we hire new guys and I am able to influence them "from the start" of their careers I am seeing more and more of them starting to carry all the time. With the right mindset, a little thought in holster and belt selection, and a slight adjustment to their wardrobe, my young guys are finding it is an easy commitment to make.

 

My Kahr shoots awesome!  I enjoy shooting it during qualifications and feel very well armed when out.  Don't forget to ALWAYS carry extra magazines!!!!!

I have a Kahr PM9 that I occasionally carry as a BUG (instead of my G27) and rarely as a primary gun if the situation limits me to that gun for certain reasons. I like it as it shoots well, the 9mm works better in that size gun than the .40, the trigger is different than the Glock but it is smooth and not so different to be distracting, and being a striker fired pistol the manual of arms and administrative functions are identical as well as the location of all the controls. It fills a role that a single stack 9mm Glock would fill if they would ever make one. I always carry it with two 7 round reloads if primary and one 7 round reload if carrying it as a BUG.

 

 I read a sad story of an officer who had a 5 shot .38 against a full size Glock.  He hit the bad guy multiple times before he ran out of ammo, then took multiple rounds himself.  The bad guy walked up (less damaging hits) and shot him in the head as he begged for his life and prayed his wife who was in the store they were just outside of would not walk out and find his body.  

 

That will NOT be me!!

 

Amen brother!

 

I heard another debrief of an off duty Cop in the midwest carrying a J frame with no reload. He got involved in an unavoidable incident with multiple assailants. He gave the bad guys all five bees. He got all hits and put a couple of them down. The others killed him.

 

Off-duty cop in SLC Utah at the Trolley Square mall finishing an early Valentines Dinner on Feb. 12 2007 stalled an active shooter with his 1911 long enough for responding Cops to arrive and handle it. He reported in his AAR that his biggest concern was his lack of a reload.

 

I know that you can "what if" any scenario and that I can come up with a million instances where a G35/23 with 15/13 on board and a reload may not be enough to get the job done, but I see it as worlds better than a 5 shot revolver.

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H.E.

 

  I always practice head shots from the 15 yard line in/out.  Combat shooting, smooth, quick draw (and accurate).  I try to aim small in order to maximize my best attribute when off duty:  SURPRISE.  

 

When in uniform they always know who we are, off duty gives a little edge with surprise, but you give up your body armor/extra mags.  I always worried about the 9mm stopping power, but I believe it is better than a .380 and easier to control/carry than a .40.  I like the ammo configuration I'm using now, little bit heavier and faster with good expansion.   I figure that with surprise and well placed shots I will have a better chance.  

 

One of the very big concepts about carrying off duty for the "new to law enforcement" guys is he HAD BETTER aware of that firearm and interacting with on duty police.  NOTHING worse than a friendly fire shooting.  Carry the ID and assume they won't see it, don't be STUPID when moving around with your firearm when backup arrives. 

 

One more thought.  Know when to be a good witness if intervention is absolutely not required.....Four armed men, not actively shooting, armed with rifles/shotguns/full sized handguns apparently willing to leave with the money/cash might not be the best situation to intervene.  Preservation of life, not money.  

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My buddy carries XDm compact 9

I carry M&P 9c

 

our department doesn't clearly state what we can and can't carry so most of us carry at least the same caliber that we qual with.  I don't care for our actual duty weapon but nothing says we have to carry that off duty. 

 

But as everyone has already stated, department rules FIRST!

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You guys are carrying a .380 LCP as a primary carry off duty? On purpose?

 

What ammo are you using?

 

If your guys are having problems printing with a G23 or G27 then they aren't trying hard enough. I am 5'6" and 180 and can hide a G22/35 with no problem in shorts and a t shirt comfortably. Just sayin'

 

 

Yup.

90gr Speer LE GDHP

Part of our old requirement was that we were only allowed to carry the glocks using Safariland ALS holsters off duty.  Not exactly easy to hide. And a lot of my department aren't "gun guys", including the brass. If its not easy to hide, they're not going to carry. Upper echelon is very resistant to any changes, and it's kind of amazing we got what we did.

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Yup.

90gr Speer LE GDHP

Part of our old requirement was that we were only allowed to carry the glocks using Safariland ALS holsters off duty.  Not exactly easy to hide. And a lot of my department aren't "gun guys", including the brass. If its not easy to hide, they're not going to carry. Upper echelon is very resistant to any changes, and it's kind of amazing we got what we did.

 

 

.380.......ugghhh....   I don't know if it is an urban legend but I heard of .380 getting caught in heavy leather or multiple layers of winter clothing........PLUS...they have that steep feeder ramp which has a tendency to be ammo finicky and jams....

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If you are serious about carrying a .380, especially in a gun with that small of a barrel, look into carrying a 95gr FMJ over the GDHP.

The .380 is notorious for its anemic penetration. The GDHP will not improve the terminal ballistics. While expansion is good in duty caliber loadings, a slightly larger shallow wound that does not reach anything vital, as you will find from .380 hollow point, while gruesome, is not the show stopper you are looking for.

 

Dr. Gary Roberts:

10/23/12

 

If you are an LE officer, carry a BUG!!!

 

Many small, easily concealed semi-automatic pistols which are recommended for law enforcement backup or concealed carry use fire .380 ACP or smaller bullets. While these small caliber handgun bullets can produce fatal wounds,they are less likely to produce the rapid incapacitation necessary in law enforcement or self-defense situations.

 

Handguns chambered in .380 ACP are small, compact, and generally easy to carry. Unfortunately, testing has shown that they offer inadequate performance for self-defense and for law enforcement use whether on duty as a back-up weapon or for off duty carry. The terminal performance of .380 ACP JHP's is often erratic, with inadequate penetration and inconsistent expansion being common problems, while .380 ACP FMJ's offer adequate penetration, but no expansion. All of the .380 ACP JHP loads we have tested, including CorBon, Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, and Winchester exhibited inconsistent, unacceptable terminal performance for law enforcement back-up and off duty self-defense use due to inadequate penetration or inadequate expansion. Stick with FMJ for .380 ACP or better yet, don't use it at all. The use of .380 ACP and smaller caliber weapons is really not recommended for LE use and many savvy agencies prohibit them.

 

While both the .380 ACP and .38 sp can obviously be lethal; the .38 sp is more likely to incapacitate an attacker when used in a BUG role.

 

BUG--Infrequently used, but when needed, it must be 100% reliable because of the extreme emergency situation the user is dealing with. Generally secreted in pockets, ankle holsters, body armor holsters, etc... Often covered in lint, grime, and gunk. By their very nature, usually applied to the opponent in an up close and personal encounter, many times involving contact shots. A small .38 sp revolver is more reliable in these situations than a small .380 ACP pistol, especially with contact shots or if fired from a pocket.

 

--------------------------------------------------

 

There have been many reports in the scientific literature, by Dr. Fackler and others, recommending the 158 gr +P LSWCHP as offering adequate performance. Please put this in context for the time that these papers were written in the late 1980's and early 1990's--no denim testing was being performed at that time, no robust expanding JHP's, like the Barnes XPB, Federal Tactical & HST, Speer Gold Dot, or Win Ranger Talon existed. In the proper historical perspective, the 158 gr +P LSWCHP fired out 3-4" barrel revolvers was one of the best rounds available--and it is still a viable choice, as long as you understand its characteristics.

 

While oversimplified, bare gelatin gives information about best case performance, while 4 layer denim provides data on worst case performance--in reality, the actual performance may be somewhere in between. The four layer denim test is NOT designed to simulate any type of clothing--it is simply an engineering test to assess the ability of a projectile to resist plugging and robustly expand. FWIW, one of the senior engineers at a very respected handgun ammunition manufacturer recently commented that bullets that do well in 4 layer denim testing have invariably worked well in actual officer involved shooting incidents.

 

With few exceptions, the vast majority of .38 Sp JHP's fail to expand when fired from 2" barrels in the 4 layer denim test. Many of the lighter JHP's demonstrate overexpansion and insufficient penetration in bare gel testing. Also, the harsher recoil of the +P loads in lightweight J-frames tends to minimize practice efforts and decrease accuracy for many officers. The 158 gr +P LSWCHP offers adequate penetration, however in a 2" revolver the 158gr +P LSWCHP does not reliably expand. If it fails to expand, it will produce less wound trauma than a WC. Target wadcutters offer good penetration, cut tissue efficiently, and have relatively mild recoil. With wadcutters harder alloys and sharper leading edges are the way to go. Wadcutters perform exactly the same in both bare and 4 layer denim covered gel when fired from a 2" J-frame.

 

When faced with too little penetration, as is common with lightweight .38 Sp JHP loads or too much penetration like with the wadcutters, then go with penetration. Agencies around here have used the Winchester 148 gr standard pressure lead target wadcutter (X38SMRP), as well as the Federal (GM38A) version--both work. A sharper edged wadcutter would even be better... Dr. Fackler has written in Fackler ML: "The Full Wadcutter--An Extremely Effective Bullet Design", Wound Ballistics Review. 4(2):6-7, Fall 1999)

 

 

"As a surgeon by profession, I am impressed by bullets with a cutting action (eg. Winchester Talon and Remington Golden Saber). Cutting is many times more efficient at disrupting tissue than the crushing mechanism by which ordinary bullets produce the hole through which they penetrate. The secret to the increased efficiency of the full wadcutter bullet is the cutting action of its sharp circumferential leading edge. Actually, cutting is simply very localized crush; by decreasing the area over which a given force is spread, we can greatly increase the magnitude to the amount of force delivered per unit are--which is a fancy way of saying that sharp knives cut a lot better than dull ones. As a result, the calculation of forces on tissue during penetration underestimate the true effectiveness of the wadcutter bullet relative to other shapes."

Currently, the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP, Winchester 130 gr bonded +P JHP (RA38B), and Barnes 110 gr XPB all copper JHP (for ex. in the Corbon DPX loading) offer the most reliable expansion we have seen from a .38 sp 2” BUG; Hornady 110 gr standard pressure and +P Critical Defense loads also offer good performance out of 2" barrel revolvers.

 

Any of the Airweight J-frames are fine for BUG use. The steel J-frames are a bit too heavy for comfortable all day wear on the ankle, body armor, or in a pocket. My current J-frames are 342's and previously in my career I have used the 37, 38, 649, and 642. I like the 342 w/Lasergrips very much. Shooting is not too bad with standard pressure wadcutters and the 110 gr DPX, but not so comfortable with the Speer 135 gr JHP +P Gold Dots. Before the advent of the 110 gr Corbon DPX load, I used to carry standard pressure wadcutters in my J-frames with Gold Dot 135 gr +P JHP's in speed strips for re-loads, as the flat front wadcutters were hard to reload with under stress. There is no reason to go with .357 mag in a J-frame, as the significantly larger muzzle blast and flash, and harsher recoil of the .357 Magnum does not result in substantially improved terminal performance compared to the more controllable .38 Special bullets when fired from 2” barrels.

 

For years, J-frames were considered "arm's reach" weapons, that is until CTC Lasergrips were added. With the mild recoil of target wadcutters, officers are actually practicing with their BUG's; when combined with Lasergrips, qualification scores with J-frames have dramatically increased. Now 5 shots rapid-fire in a 6" circle at 25 yds is not uncommon--kind of mind blowing watching officers who could not hit the target at 25 yds with a J-frame suddenly qualify with all shots in the black…

 

2" J-frames are great BUG's and marginally acceptable low threat carry guns because they are lightweight, reliable, and offer acceptable terminal performance at close range--downsides are difficulty in shooting well at longer ranges because of sight design and sight radius limitations, along with reduced capacity coupled with slower reloading. Nonetheless, with the addition of CTC Laser Grips and an enclosed or shrouded hammer, the 2" J-frame models without key locks (I personally will NEVER own firearm with an integral lock) may be the best BUG's and most reliable pocket handguns available.

 

Another great BUG option if it can be comfortably carried, is a compact 3-3.5" barrel 9 mm pistol like the G26, S&W M&P9c, Walther PPS, HK P2000SK, Kahr PM9, S&W Shield, Sig P239, or S&W 3913, as these offer superior terminal performance compared to either .380 ACP or .38 Sp handguns. A subcompact BUG (like the G26) is particularly nice if it can use the same magazines as the primary full size pistol (like a G17/19).

 

As always, don't get too wrapped in the nuances of ammunition terminal performance. Spend your time and money on developing a warrior mindset, training, practice, and more training.

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You guys are carrying a .380 LCP as a primary carry off duty? On purpose?

 

What ammo are you using?

 

If your guys are having problems printing with a G23 or G27 then they aren't trying hard enough. I am 5'6" and 180 and can hide a G22/35 with no problem in shorts and a t shirt comfortably. Just sayin'

 

I have found that to be the case with sub-compact sized guns as well. The .40 is snappy in guns that can't fit your pinky on the grip.

 

9mm seems to be the way to go with that size pistol.

It's the one nice thing about my department is the plethora of manufacturers and calibers we can carry in as well as our choices of rig to carry it in

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It's the one nice thing about my department is the plethora of manufacturers and calibers we can carry in as well as our choices of rig to carry it in

My place is the same. I am the range master, what I say goes. I approve all off duty guns and all holsters/carry methods. We don't have an approved list per se, just what I OK in writing and is then endorsed by the Chief.

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