Fueled by media hype, mass murders have led more of our guys and gals in blue to carry something more substantial than a vestigial micro-caliber while off-duty. They’re aware it was reported it took over 50 shots from multiple officers to take down the mad dog killer at the Dayton bar. They’re aware there might be a need for a precision head shot through a narrow lane of innocent bystanders. They are, in short, rediscovering Jeff Cooper’s dictum of Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas — accuracy, power and speed. All three elements tend to be enhanced by more powerful weapons.
Ace instructor Clint Smith commented famously: “A pistol is supposed to be comforting, not concealable.” Note, however, Clint never said the two had to be mutually exclusive. After a week of wearing an 18- to 20-lb. duty belt and sweaty body armor, no off-duty cop can be blamed for wanting to be comfortable on a hot weekend off. However, police academies and in-service instructors have little enough time to teach what a cop needs to know on the job, leaving little time to budget for off-duty carry advice.
First, consider carrying the duty pistol itself when on your own time instead of the department’s. It’s the one you’re probably most trained and documentably qualified with, and unless the bosses force you to carry a gun you absolutely hate, it may well be the one with which an officer is most competent. Today we have lighter duty weapons, and the best-ever holsters to comfortably, discreetly conceal them.