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Emerald City Writer's Conference


October 18-20, 2013; Bellevue, WA

A Basic Guide to Weapons

Chat with a Cop

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Question - How many weapons do you carry?

Question:  In the class you were carrying nine weapons and a clip. On a normal day of say, wire tapping, what would be the realistic number of weapons you'd carry?

The previous question refers to a workshop I presented at the Emerald City Writer’s Conference.  October 1-3, 2010, Bellevue WA.
Great Question:  During the class, for demonstration sake, I showed I could easily conceal nine weapons and a loaded magazine on my person.  When I was working the number of weapons I carried depended on what I was doing at the time.  For office work, ('wire tapping' was overseen and monitored in a room in the office) I rarely carried or rather wore more than my issued primary weapon--a Glock 23 40cal semi-automatic with an extra magazine--and my favorite knife.

If I planned to hit the field I might add to that by carrying a backup weapon and extra ammo magazines attached to my belt and/or shoved in my pockets.
Oh. I forgot. I also usually carried a set of handcuffs in one of my back pants pockets.  Which means clothes shopping with me was always an experience.  Most women’s fashions don’t have many pockets.

And. I.  Needed.  Pockets.

I carried most of my gear there, in my pockets.  A lot of my female counterparts felt fine carrying their work stuff in specially prepared purses for women in law enforcement.  (Those handbags had special holsters sewn to the bag to make retrieval of the weapon and other gear quick and easy.)  

After a fight I had in court while wearing a dress and carrying a purse, my days of not wearing my gear off duty or in civilian clothing were done.  Which kinda sucked because that meant my dress wearing days were over.  Well they were until I found a fabulous thigh holster.  But, seriously, in an emergency who wants to raise their dress to pull their weapon?  IMHO no coolness there.

So when I shop for pants I have to look hard for stylish pants that had good standard pockets.  I am finding today’s women’s pants even more frustrating.  I had a hard time finding women's pants with rear pockets and who's bright idea was it to give women short half-deep rear pockets?  I can barely fit my knife in one of those, let alone a full magazine.
But, I digress. 

To get back to the question.  I wore and took whatever my gut and the job at hand allowed for.  Was I going Under Cover (U/C)?  Was I simply going into the field to do interviews?  Surveillance?  Where was I working?  In the desert?  By the ocean?  It was easy to conceal more weapons in cooler climates than warmer ones.  However, working in Palm Springs, CA, a place only slightly less hot than hell, I wore shorts with my U/C weapon holstered at my side along with a spare ammo mag and knife.

Everything was well concealed.  Most people never knew I was armed.  If you were not watching and looking for specifics, you'd never notice the subtle bulges.  By always wearing the same weapons while working plain clothes - regular duty, U/C, or off-duty  - I was very comfortable and familiar with what I could do and how to react.

I would often wear new holsters and gear in and around the office to get used to the fit and how the item affected my gait, movement or comfort. You have to trust me, in the middle of an emergency is not the time to find out your holster won't remain on your belt when you go to pull your weapon.

No, that didn't happen to me.  If we weren't  holding bad guys at gunpoint I would have laughed my arse off at my teammate pointing his weapon at the crooks with the holster still attached.  Bet you never saw that on 'Cops'.  Needless to say I was a strong advocate of practice, practice practice . . . before you implement.

I did laugh my butt off once we had the scene secure.  So did everyone else . . . once I told them (it was expected, just one of those cop things).
Wearing weapons while in uniform was a whole different situation.  I wore a lot on my belt (I called my gun belt a Batgirl utility belt) and I had a few things concealed on my person.  But that is something for another blog.    

Normally, I would not carry nine weapons concealed on my person at one time.  My average was four to five . . . Unless I was going into an extremely hot zone.  You know, like the in-laws.      


  1. The in-laws can be such a scary place!

    I was impressed with your ease at wearing so many weapons. Along with the fact we couldn't tell you even had one, much less nine weapons on your person.

    Makes you wonder about that person heading towards you--the one who seems so easy going and likable. The fact she or he could be concealing such an arsenal is quite eye-opening.


  2. Amazing blog, Margaret! Now we get to benefit from your experience and the exciting life you've led. More entries, please!

  3. You are too funny . . . and this is really useful information. My husband was a cop for fifteen years, but that was in Italy and at least a hundred and fifty years ago. Not much useful information there. Ann

  4. I'm impressed with the ability to hide nine weapons on yourself and your confidence with them. Thanks for the great, funny and informative post.

  5. Margaret -

    Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation at ECWC. It was very eye-opening and helpful. Your passion for the job was obvious.

    Question - I am writing about a woman who is deep undercover (DOD or ATF), working as a chemist with a suspected WMD manufacture. How do I arm her - or do I arm her? She is working in a clean room at least part of the time so I don't know that she can carry while on the job.

  6. Pamela, I hadn't thought of my weapon concealment demonstration as a safety demonstration as well.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. Cori, thanks. I am in the process of meeting several deadlines all at once. My life as usual. But I will getting to the next question ASAIC.

  8. Ann are you kidding me. I love hearing war stories from back when and from a different country. I consider that great fodder for an over active imagination.

    Not to mention I am always fascinated with how they solved crimes, without all of our technology.

  9. Georgie Lee, thank-you. I enjoyed presenting. I had a wonderful audience who kept the discussion lively and fun.

  10. Laurel, I am waiting for more information on clean rooms. I'm one one of those people who believe where there is motivation anything can be accomplished.

    I will post a complete response on the answer.