10 Commandments of off-duty carry
By Heath Jepson
PoliceOne Member
In  April 1989, I was a junior in college and had returned home to my  parents’ house for the second part of my spring break. I had spent the  first part working in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area as a security  officer. I had a valid CCW permit and always took my duty and off-duty  weapons with me upon returning home.
My parents had a livestock and  dog breeding operation near the Minnesota/Iowa border, and they had been  the victims of several brazen burglaries

Practical plainclothes and off-duty carry
Unfortunately,  the closest thing to off-duty carry training many officers get is  qualifying with their off-duty piece once or twice per year.
The  first night I was home, my younger brothers and I were having supper  when we were disturbed by the sound of our dogs barking loudly.
I  armed myself with my off-duty weapon (a Colt 1911 .45 ACP) and a spare  magazine, grabbed a flashlight, and went to investigate.
Even though I knew about the burglaries, I walked out the door expecting to find an animal messing with our dogs.

What  I found was a pair of men, one of whom was armed with a shotgun.We  exchanged fire at a range of about 30 yards and they ran off into the  night.  I was uninjured and the burglars never showed up at any of the  area hospitals, so we can assume that I either missed or they  self-treated.  Ever since this incident, I have been a big proponent of  off-duty/concealed carry.  Here are some of the points that I came away  from this incident with.  I call them my “10 Commandments of off-duty  carry.”

1.) Buy and carry a quality off-duty handgun
2.) Have night sights on your off-duty handgun
3.) Carry spare ammunition off-duty
4.) A flashlight should be part of your off-duty rig
5.) Carry a handgun of sufficient caliber
6.) Thin is in when it comes to concealed handguns
7.) Match the carry rig to your attire and body type
8.) Train diligently with your off-duty weapon
9.) Maintain a vigilant off-duty mindset
10.) Have a gun in the first place!

Being  armed off-duty is an important choice, and it is not one to be taken  lightly. Weigh your options when it comes to equipment and training.  Being armed off-duty is a choice that should be discussed with spouses,  significant others, and even children. This will help to ensure that you  have an off-duty family plan for any hostile encounter that you may  face.

I hope that you decide to carry off-duty — in my opinion,  not enough officers do. All too often we hear about off-duty officers  getting hurt or worse, and I believe that in many of these cases being  armed might have made a difference.

Please stay safe and vigilant, my brothers and sisters.