Updated LE Inventory List

Things have changed since 2004 (last time I wrote about this) and I thought it might be appropriate to revisit the topic.


Way back in 2004 I wrote two articles about warrior "inventories". One was what the police should have on their person or available to them. Certainly things have changed since 2004 and I thought it might be appropriate to revisit the topic.

What's in YOUR wallet? and Never leave home without it. Both are recognizable advertisement slogans from different credit card companies. The idea is for you to feel like they are indispensable and you should never be without them. A very smart uncle of mine once told me, Never leave the house without a knife, a gun and a lighter. When I asked why he told me that if I had those items I could hunt food, clean food and cook food. We all have different reasons for why we carry what we carry, but this week we're going to look at a few items that should be considered mandatory on a cop's gunbelt. Next week we'll expand that to what gets changed / added for the typical soldier.

For the sake of this article I'm going to focus on police officers' equipment ON duty. I know a few cops who are so motivated that they carry all the same stuff off-duty (and they're big enough to efficiently conceal it all). For the items that I feel are mandatory both on and off-duty, I'll say so. Otherwise, the items listed are items I feel mandatory on duty. Note from the outset that this is merely the educated opinion of a man who was a law enforcement officer for 24 years and has been a trainer for 21.

First and most obvious item is a firearm. A great many agencies issue you a specific handgun and that is what you are stuck with. Some other (more progressive or less financially well-off) agencies provide guidelines and let you carry the handgun of your choice that meets those guidelines. Either way, no one will argue, when you go to work the street as a cop, you'd better have a handgun. What kind? That's a very personal choice. For a hundred years (or more) people have argued what is the best caliber for a handgun; what's the most accurate; how many rounds do you need? My last agency (thankfully) was one of those progressive agencies. It issued Beretta 92F handguns (military equivalent is M9) but allowed officers to carry other handguns if they met the guidelines.

Those guidelines were:

  • must carry ten or more rounds of ammunition.
  • Must be double-action or equipped with a decocking lever / safety if single-action or SA capable (Glock's safe-action qualifies)
  • Must be in one of the following calibers:
    • .45ACP
    • 10mm
    • .40S&W
    • .357Sig
    • 9mm
    • .45GAP
  • Must have a passive firing pin block
  • Must have night sights

Those requirements are not hard to meet. There was a caveat in the General Orders that allowed carrying "other approved sidearms if performing duties of a special or unique nature". That allowed undercover / plainclothes officers to carry smaller weapons that might not meet that criteria, and it allowed our (planned) SWAT team to carry government model .45ACP pistols if that's what was chosen for them. Suffice to say, if you're a law enforcement professional going to work, make sure you have a properly maintained handgun that you are currently qualified with (had to throw that part in there).

Now you have to have something to carry that handgun IN, and my preference in on-duty holsters is the BLACKHAWK SERPA Duty Holster. Whether you're a street officer or a SWAT cop, the SERPA will work for you. The only challenge I face with the SERPA is that BLACKHAWK doesn't make one to carry my 1911 cocked-n-locked - YET. For that I depend on the off-duty SERPA holsters from BlackHawk.

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