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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this fits in General or Tactics, but it seemed a bit more Tactics oriented.

Let's talk back up guns(BUGs).

What is the reality of a situation involving the need for a backup piece?
Why do you carry a BUG?
When do you carry a BUG?
Is your BUG a smaller version of your primary or a different gun altogether?
Do you commonly carry a small caliber(I.E. .380 or less) BUG?

The reasons I ask are simple, for the sake of education. I often wonder about the reality of carrying a BUG. Oft times we find that a gunfight is over before a magazine has been emptied from a weapon. So what is the point of the BUG? Is it for a malfunctioned weapon or do you carry it in case you run your main carry piece dry?

I would think a BUG might be reasonable if you were an LEO on duty, where the potential to have your gun taken away is high. Although, we could argue the same for a CCW holder. The better choice might be to train more heavily in gun retention tactics?

Although another option might be a BUG that you carry on your weak side that way you have a firearm available to either hand in the event your become incapacitated on either side. This reason makes more sense to me, but now I have to ask. Do many people carry their BUGs on their weak sides for primary weak side draw, or do they carry for a strong side draw?

Like a spare reload I think a BUG has a purpose, I'm interested in what everyone's thoughts are on the subject.

Thanks,

-Rob
 

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Rob,
You listed many of the reasons one actually carries a backup. Retention, accessibility (wounded hand, etc.) alternate to a re-load, malfunction, are all reasons. Also, there is the possibility of arming an associate if need be. There are many reasons.

I don't carry a back-up now, but have in the past. I carried back-ups for basically one of two reasons then. I was providing close protection to someone with viable "risks". Primarily, it allowed me to arm the client if the need arose.
The other times I was in a "high risk environment" myself. Having more than one gun gave me a little added edge. There is nothng like having a .32 or .380 in an ankle holster when you need it.
 

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My thoughts on why a BUG might be appropriate, more or less in order of importance:

1. The primary gun becomes unusable. I think this is the main REASON, that can have many causes: broken part, mother-of-all-jams, lose it somehow (e.g. drop it, jarred out of holster, or worst of all it was ripped out of your hand/holster by your opponent), or can't use/access main gun because your hand is tied up (wounded, holding B.G. by the throat, whatever), or some other unforeseen circumstance that renders the main armament INOP. Doesn't matter how many extra magazines you have if the main gun is unusable.

2. You are faster pulling the BUG than reloading your main gun.

3. Arming somebody else cuz you need more help. I'd have to think on this just a bit before arming just anyone, but I'spose it could take place.

I would prefer that the the BUG be a smaller version of my primary, but aside from a Glock/Glock combo, that seems tough to do (I could go Kahr/Kahr, I guess). Right now I carry a .357 snub as main, so my J-frame makes sense as my BUG. Haven't seen any miniature Browning HPs, tho.

I am trying hard to stay with the same caliber/ammo for both my shooting irons and my wife's, so I have held off getting the Kel-Tecs in .380 or .32 -- but that may change, they are so handy looking. The P-11 is 9mm, but I understand it is larger, about the size of the Kahr. Haven't found one in the gun stores to touch and feel yet.

Also, seems that a BUG doesn't necessarily have to be a smaller gun, altho that probably helps in terms of finding places to stash it and avoiding having to stagger around under the weight of two bigger guns.

For Kel-Tec or other small auto-loader fans, you may wish to consider this interesting approach - small holster suspended under your shirt from a strap around the neck. Go to this site

http://www.comp-tac.com/

and click on the "Centerline" holster.

Thems my two pennies.

elb
 

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Random;
Sounds like tactics to me.

This is one of those areas where one has to work out his own salvation...too many variables that depend on your individual situation (typical dress, environment, etc). So if folks don't do what I do, that does not mean their method will not work for them.

I differentiate between a "Back Up Gun" (BUG) and a "Hideout" though there can certainly be some overlap of function here.

I used to carry a hideout when I worked uniform because of the Ambush/gun grab issue. Later as I began to train more people and as I got more and more feedback from actual fights, I began to understand that a high % of people lose the ability to use their primary beause it or their firing hand has been shot; people tend to focus on guns in a gunfight!

At the same time was was no longer working much uniform duty (in fact I was semi-retired) so adopting a second serious sidearm was easy for me.

I sort of bounce back and forth between the same type of weapon (and caliber) as my primary and another type/caliber altogether. There are valid rationalities for both systems.

Today for instance, I am carrying two 1911s and a hideout. With good holsters that is no problem concealment wise and with a good belt it does not weigh me down too much.

Other days I carry a 1911 as a primary and a Glock 23 as a BUG. I have also been known to carry a S&W 1917 cut down to 3.75" or a S&W M-58 cut down and converted to .44 mag.

I should probably be a bit more consistent but I do work with all of these and am fairly comfortable drawing and shooting with either hand with them.

Onward,
Jim
 

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This topic reminds me of a funny circumstance from my youth.

Way back in the day (I was in high school - I think we still used those clay tablets back then ;)), I met an officer with the Louisville PD in a gun shop. Really a nice guy, we later became good friends.

At the time the PD policy was that you had to carry a revolver in .38 Spl caliber. Unlike today, it did not say anything else and it idid not specify the ammo but then there simply were not the plethora of types of today.

I asked this gent how he got by with carrying a 1911 in a Bianchi duty holster. He replied by pulling a chief special out of his left pants pocket and said : "This is my duty .38, the 1911 is my 'backup'." :)))))

Can't get away with things like that today...to many lawyers :-/

On the other hand, I make the rules for our agency so just about anything works! ;)

Jim
 
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To be perfectly honest with you, I think that the number one advantage of the Backup/Hideout gun comes in the form of surprise.

The average thug, in my mind, would likely only have one gun (probably of a small caliber) that he barely managed to steal from his grandma's chest-of-drawers.
Also, In all likelihood, he targeted you on the assumption that you didn't have a weapon at all. You probably made him wet himself when you proved him wrong. Pulling a second one after some lucky break makes him think he's disarmed you will probably make him crap himself, too. Figuratively speaking, it's very difficult to shoot straight when you've got that much of your own waste rolling around in your drawers.
 
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I have the option, or ability I suppose, to carry two 1911 pattern pistols at once. I could also use my J-frame as a BUG - however for normal carry, I don't. I've trained to be able to get my main piece unholstered with my off hand if need be in a variety of positions (to include having that side pinned down) Each person's 'reality' is different for every given scenario, but for everyday carry I don't feel the need for a BUG. There are enough what if's to justify it, but in the end it's all a gamble - the same what if's could be used to dictate me wearing my combat gear around everywhere I go, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon either!

Anthony

ps Jim, did you get my e-mail?
 
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I carried one all the time while in uniform but don't carry one very often when out. A BUG comes in handy in case of main weapon malfunction, loss of main weapon during a fight, more rounds when main weapon runs dry, and the list could go on. I know of several guys whose BUG's saved the day for them. One died in the line of duty but was able to take the bad guy with him with a shot from his BUG. I always carried a 5 shot .38 and if anything, it was always comforting to know that you had that little extra edge of protection.
 

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I carry one.
I carry a 5" 1911 as my "main" gun, and a Kahr PM9 Covert as a BUG. I may change to carrying my HK P7M8 as a BUG.

Why do I carry one?

1- Main gun fails. I know it's probably better to go straight to gun #2 than to do a tap-rack that may or may not fix it, but I will tap-rack first anyway. If that fails, then it's on to the BUG.

2- To loan to my wife. Probably the best, and definately the most used reason. My wife doesn't usually carry. But she has carried, and can shoot. If, for example, we are traveling by interstate and stop at night for a bathroom break, she appreciates that I can hand her my "spare".

3- Can't access main gun with strong hand. Can happen. Strong side arm might be busy, or injured, or distracting bad guy. Might be laying on that arm when knocked down.

4- Might be easier to engage from my other side (I carry my BUG on my weak side).
 
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As a CCW holder I don't carry a BUG, if I was LE however, I most certainly would. I would most likely carry on my ankle or in my pocket. And I'd probably choose one of the following; S&W Airweight, Kahr PM9, Kel Tec P32, Glock 27. I wouldn't have extended pinky rest magazines, it defeats the purpose of having a small concealed gun.
 

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hkpete-
I don't understand.
You say don't carry a backup because you're a CCW holder?
Excuse me for being nosy, but is that because your state doesn't allow it? Or just because you don't want to because you're CCW?
 
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As a CCW holder, I usually carry a HP, strongside hip. I don't carry a smaller backup gun to my HP, say on my ankle or in my pocket. That's just because I choose not to, even though it's legal in Ohio to carry as many guns as you can conceal. Just personal choice :)
 
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