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Personal/duty weapon liability

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  • Personal/duty weapon liability

    My company will finally be putting me through firearms certification very soon. I've been told I have the option of certifying with the company-issued S&W 9mm or my own personal weapon.

    I've heard different things regarding the liability issue of carrying a personal weapon on duty. In my case, the company is giving me the option of certifying with and carrying my personal weapon as my duty weapon in lieu of using a company-owned gun. Good idea? If they're letting me use my own weapon, it seems that liability would be transferred to them if I ever used it while on duty, but IANAL. FYI: This is in Washington.

    Edit: Also, should I choose to carry my personal weapon, any thoughts on what calibers I should consider/avoid due to any legal issues, or is it all the same as long as I can certify with it?
    Last edited by Just_Some_Guy; 10-29-2007, 02:52 AM.

  • #2
    Just remember you have to lease your gun to the company, so that's a whole other headache.

    RCW 18.170.050

    (2) All firearms carried by armed private security guards in the performance of their duties must be owned or leased by the employer and, if required by law, must be registered with the proper government agency.


    • #3
      Normally I'd carry the gun issued to me... why break my stuff when I can break their stuff?

      In Washington, you're fine with just about any reasonable caliber. I reccommend .40 or .45, 9mm if you absolutely have to..................
      "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
      "The Curve" 1998


      • #4
        Some thoughts about this topic


        Congrats on going to firearms training. Hopefully it's there just for getting extra money, and you never have to use it, but it is nice to know you have it if needed.

        I go with the thought that you use the company gun for the following reasons:

        1) Its their money on the line if it gets damaged, lost, or stolen;

        2) If you do ever use it on the job the police will probably take it, and hold it, as evidence, possibly for a long time;

        3) Hopefully your company will also provide all the gear (holster, magazine holder, ammo, ect) you need for the gun. (Note: if your company does provide ammo, what ever brand and type of ammo they provide, you should use to train with at the range, and only use for carrying in the gun. This is mostly for liability purposes, and mostly in case you miss what your shooting at (on the job) and hit an innocent bystander.)

        4) if your company does not provide the gear or ammo, I would still use their gun, and use (on the job) the same ammo you train with, for the same reasons as listed above.


        • #5
          It is hoped the company, whatever the name, has a written legal opinion not the word of some bean counter.
          If the company's handgun does not work and you're injured or killed, it will considered your fault because in a moment of panic, you could not operate your issued weapon. A classic case of our old friend, "plausible denyability."
          As for using your own firearm, make sure the WRITTEN legal opinion exists, written by an attorney and not some company weenie who got a wild hair.
          Enjoy the day,


          • #6
            Think of it this way. You should always have a "duty" gun and your personal gun be seprate.

            God forbid if you ever have to use your duty weapon to dispatch the neighborhood ner-do-well you won't have a duty weapon for awhile. It will become evidence and be locked away. Same with your personal gun. So do you want to be out of the money or would you rather the company foot the bill?

            As for ammo. You really can't go wrong with a .40 S&W. It is the common ground between the 9mm and the .45 ACP.
            "You gotta look like Rico Suave, Think like Einstein and, only if that fails...fight like Tyson." -Dougo83's FTO

            Me- "Should we call the police?" My FTO- "Justin, here, we are the police. Go get em."

            Originally posted by Black Caesar
            some people just need killin!!!!! (Or Tasing, or pepper spraying or whatever).


            • #7
              Thanks for the input. I suppose I'll stick with the company-issued Smith & Wesson 9mm. I asked if I could cert for both (always nice to have a backup gun that I can legally carry on duty) but apparently there's only enough time for one


              • #8
                There are going to be advantages and disadvantages no matter which weapon you decide to carry.

                1. Advantages to carrying your own weapon: Most likely you have practiced with it, are comfortable with it, and you are familiar with its safety features.

                2. Disadvantages to carrying your weapon: In case SHTF and you have to use it, you are going to have your weapon taken, even if eventually it is found that the shooting is justified.

                3. Advantages to carrying a company weapon: In case SHTF and you do have to use the weapon, your weapon is not the one that gets taken and processed for evidence.

                4. Disadvantages to carrying a company weapon: Unless the company weapon is the same as one you already own, you are going to have to practice until you are comfortable with it and its safety features. Unlike personal weapons, which you have the option of not buying if you're not comfortable with them, no such choice exists with company issued weapons; what you're given is what you have to carry.


                • #9
                  Considering that its no longer your weapon under RCW, you are required by law to lease it to the security firm, I would carry their company weapon.

                  Why are you going to give them your weapon, without reimbursement, after signing a lease which is probably on their terms?
                  Some Kind of Commando Leader

                  "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


                  • #10
                    My opinion is that if you are more comfortable and better skilled at using

                    your personal firearm, then you might want to consider carrying it on duty.

                    My justification behind this opinion is that if you ever had to use your firearm,

                    that means that your life and limb was in jeapardy. You would then ask

                    yourself "Was my firearm worth my life?", "Even if I never see that firearm

                    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
                    - Thomas Jefferson

                    “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
                    — Vince Lombardi

                    "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                    IX. Strive to attain professional competence.


                    • #11
                      As others have said, the whole "leasing" option here in WA is a pain in the butt. But if your company has it set up well, it can work. Out of curiosity, what model of S&W do they issue? Some are good, some are not, so that would play into the decision as well if I were in your shoes.

                      Incidentally, my company does not issue weapons, they strictly go with the lease option. Liabilities aside, it's fine with me as it means I don't have to worry about learning a different weapon.
                      Corbier's Commandos - "Stickin it to the ninjas!"
                      Originally posted by ValleyOne
                      BANG, next thing you know Bob's your Uncle and this Sgt is seemingly out on his a$$.
                      Shoulda called in sick.
                      Be safe!


                      • #12
                        I would stick with using the company issued firearm - even if it was not your preferred weapon as if you say had yours which could be a custom fit with special grips, it could be argued that you modified beyond factory specs. Peronsally when I worked as a subcontractor, I supplied my own which was a either a Glock or M9 (aka 92F) and I would be the envy of many others who had clapped out .38 or CZ's. I came equipped for the job as part of my contract which is all legal but I had my 92F checked by 2 armourers to attest it was not not modified with 30 round clips, etc (being serious here).
                        "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


                        • #13
                          An update: I was allowed to qualify with both the company weapon and service weapon. I for the life of me could not shoot the company gun (a S&W 9mm) for jack (my first 12 rounds completely missed the target at 25 yards!), but easily breezed through my .40 (I did end up passing with the 9mm though).

                          I'll be carrying both on duty with the company gun as the backup until I become proficient with it (and swap it with my personal as primary).


                          • #14
                            JSG - that is a smart move - use the one you know best so that if it hits the fan that you know HOW to use your primary weapon first. It takes practice to become proficient with ANY tool or weapon and even if I have had to handle a new firearm (dumb move on a high risk job) I always ask the armourer to allow me time to familiarise myself with the safety, any quirky issues and the need to get used to the grip - the Sig and CZ are the rarest for me to carry as most go for the blameless Glock.
                            "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


                            • #15
                              JSG congrats on the qualification!!! Make sure your company allows a BUG. You'd be amazed at how many companies don't, and why I don't know. Mine will let me carry my own gun w/o hesitation, but won't allow a BUG. I opted for a glock 19 which I've owned for years, and love love love. The company would supply a worn out S&W .38, which didn't thrill me at all. My next question for you are they going to supply body armor? Mine didn't and I had to buy my own $$$$ . An S&W 642 in the pocket with a few speed strips is guite comfortable (but I don't carry one when working) .