Hand crossbow as off-hand weapon

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Can the hand crossbow be used as an off-hand weapon, for example to allow a melee basic attack with, let's say, a longsword one turn and a ranged attack with the hand crossbow the next turn? We are playing D&D Essentials, if that makes a difference.
This works if the weapon in your off-hand has the "off-hand" (O) weapon property.

It won't work specifically with the hand crossbow, since it doesn't have the off-hand property, but it will work with other weapons in your off-hand (ex. dagger, handaxe, throwing hammer).
It could work if you had a feat or feature that stated you treat the hand crossbow as an off hand weapon such as with ruthless killer or two fisted shooter.
FWIW There is a Feat called Two-Fisted Shooter that allows a Rogue or multiclassed Rogue to specifically treat the hand crossbow as an off-hand weapon.

Its from Martial Power. 
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