In the comments to my last P1 Member tip the subject of conversation became primarily about the off-duty carry of a handgun.
So, I thought I would put in my two cents worth here.
I carry every day, on duty and off. There are several different opinions on this subject, the only one of which I totally disagree with is the officer who NEVER carries a weapon while off duty — because they feel that they would be perceived as paranoid, they feel as though that act is “extreme,” and so on.
My feelings on the subject are the following:
1.) It would REALLY STINK to need one and not have one;
2.) They pay us (not near enough) to carry the necessary tools (a "Duty-belt" that for the average patrol Officer weighs in at above 15 lbs.) to possibly protect someone that we do not even know. So why in the world would you not carry a handgun to protect yourself and the people that you hold dear (spouse, children, etc.)?
3.) Carrying a weapon is much more likely to mean that you are (and keep you) mentally prepared!
Hopefully, at least one of the above reasons are enough to persuade you to carry a handgun while off duty. At a minimum, I hope to encourage you to be mentally and physically prepared, because there is more than enough violent crime occurring to justify it.