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What Police Should Know About Off-Duty Carry

June 22, 2017
By Vel Tye

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Do you carry your weapon off-duty? Provisions in the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act allow for most off-duty officers to carry a concealed weapon, but there are a few things to consider before and when you do.

What Are Your Department’s Regulations?

Every law enforcement department (local, municipal, county, state, etc.) has its own policy regarding off-duty carry. Some departments require off-duty officers to be armed at all times while others dictate specific permits required for their officers to carry. Almost every department has guidelines and best-practices for safety equipment and gear, on-duty or off, so study those carefully beforehand.

Which Gun Should You Carry?

For many officers, the choice to carry off-duty means deciding whether or not to pack their duty gun. Pros include familiarity and legal-defensibility; cons include size and convenience. If you decide to carry a smaller gun off-duty, always remember that different guns shoot and feel differently. A smaller-caliber weapon may necessitate a smaller mag pouch, or even a separate holster. Consider additional equipment requirements when making the decision to carry a separate, “personal” weapon.

Where Will You Carry Your Holster?

In the field, all police officers tend to carry their weapons in a department-issued belt holster. Off-duty, you get to decide where your weapon feels the most comfortable. Options include on the belt (in a holster), in a waist pack, under the shirt, in an ankle holster, or even in your pocket. Where you decide to carry your weapon will dictate the size and material holster you choose and whether or not you need to purchase a safety pack.

What Makes Up Your Self-Defense System?

The purpose of carrying off-duty isn’t just to protect yourself, it’s to protect those around you. A gun is not a self-defense system in-and-of-itself, so you need to consider what additional gear you should carry alongside your gun when on personal time. Common off-duty tactical gear includes spare ammunition, police ID, cuffs or zip-ties, and sometimes a flashlight. Many officers who find themselves in dangerous areas off-duty choose to purchase personal hugger tactical vests to make soft armor comfortable for all-day wear.


Vel Tye is an American-owned company specializing in the construction of police-grade tactical gear. We work with officers all over the U.S. to develop convenient, durable solutions to everyday tactical issues.

Do you need help outfitting your off-duty self-defense system? Contact our team of specialists today.

Topics: Law Enforcement, Safety