Had a similar instance OCONUS. I carried my M9 in the same condition I (would) carry a DA/SA pistol here in the US: safety off, chamber loaded, hammer down. Had several voice their issue with that, but guidance by the base commander was to carry in the best way to defend against imminent attack, which the threat was constant of where we were. My solution cost about 25 cents. I used a black Sharpie marker to blacken the "red is dead" dots on the safety. So unless someone was looking closely at my sidearm, they wouldn't have noticed the safety was off. Had one non-gun person actually say that the safety was backwards because he couldn't see the red dot, and it must be on safe. I have many credentials that speak for themselves when it comes to my knowledge of firearms. I am no expert and don't claim to be. But when our opposition thinks you can get a fully auto weapon at a dollar store, it doesn't take much to be educated on a subject.