Off-Duty/ Backup Gun Thoughts

Experts | Cop Talk |

There are 168 hours in a week, and even if over time takes you more than 40 hours at work, you still spend more time off-duty than on. Your off-duty gun may also be your backup when on the job, and is often the one closest to you if an intruder awakens you from sleep. We literally spend more time with those guns than the one in the duty holster, unless they are one and the same.

It makes sense to do more than qualify with them when required, just as it makes sense to do the same with the primary service handgun. Think practice time, training time and even competition time.


When we had revolvers, transferability of operation skills was important. Your typical cop had a 4″ K- or L-frame as a holster gun and most likely a 2″ J-frame serving double duty as an ankle gun on the job, and a carry gun on their own time. That paradigm has morphed somewhat.

At this time, NYPD allows its officers to choose from three approved 16-shot 9mm service pistols: the Glock 19, the DAO version of the SIG P226 and the also DAO S&W Model 5946. The approved list for off-duty, plainclothes or backup use includes compact or subcompact versions of each. Your duty gun is a different breed of polymer police pistol? Springfield Armory’s XD and XD(m) series both include subcompact versions, and the Smith & Wesson M&P comes in compact form too. Want longer-barrel versions for match use? Check out the Glock 34 and 35, the XD Tactical and the S&W M&P 9L and Pro models.

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