Thinking about Back-Up Guns

This is a discussion on Thinking about Back-Up Guns within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I wrote the following in chunks, as I thought about it. I carry a Kimber Ultra Carry .45ACP in a strong-side IWB. I've been trying ...

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Thread: Thinking about Back-Up Guns

  1. #1
    Member Array badgerw's Avatar
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    Thinking about Back-Up Guns

    I wrote the following in chunks, as I thought about it.

    I carry a Kimber Ultra Carry .45ACP in a strong-side IWB. I've been trying for some time now to figure out a BUG.

    I have a Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380ACP I bought a few months ago as a BUG.

    My original plan was to carry it in a SmartCarry for back-up. If I cinch my belt tight enough to hold my primary close and secure, then I can't draw from the SmartCarry.

    I've looked at several alternatives to the SmartCarry. Can't say that any of them give me confidence.

    So here's my questions:

    1. Should I stay with the Mustang? If so, where/how should I carry it?

    2. Should I switch to a J-frame Smith? If so, where/how should I carry it?

    3. Should I choose a different BUG entirely? If so, which one? Where/how should I carry it?

    I've tried the Mustang in appendix carry. It's comfortable and accessable. If I settle on that, I'll probably buy a Tucker "Cover-up" holster. Of course, then I'll have to move my spare .45 magazine to a different spot. Currently I carry it at 1 o'clock in a Leatherman Wave sheath mounted horizontally on my belt.

    If I go to 11 o'clock, then I have to decide between crossdraw (butt to the right) versus appendix-left. I find appendix-left more comfortable than crossdraw. To make crossdraw comfortable, the Mustang needs to be at about 9:30. My "dunlap" that's developed over the past few years gets in the way of my draw.

    If I go to appendix-left, then I'll need to put an ambidexterous safety on the Mustang.

    Ankle carry might work. Having a second gun away from the body centerline could have some distinct advantages.

    As I've thought about this, maybe I need TWO guns besides my Kimber.

    One could be a J-frame carried left-appendix. That would be for use if my right side is disabled or occupied. It would also be handy for passing to my wife or as a New York reload.

    The Mustang could go in an ankle rig. Or vice versa.

    Here's what I've concluded so far:

    1. I've come up with five criteria for choosing a BUG. I've ranked them in order of importance to me.

    a. Reliability. If it doesn't go BANG! when I pull the trigger...

    b. Stopping power. More is better. Although bullet design has improved tremendously over the years, big sharp bullets moving fast are generally more effective than small slow blunt bullets. See more below.

    c. Proprietary to the user. That's something I first read about from Mas Ayoob. If I'm at the point of using my BUG, I may well be in a H2H struggle. If I lose the gun, the BG may pick it up and try to shoot me with it. If he can't figure out the controls, I may have time to do something besides get shot.

    d. Practical accuracy. How well can I hit what I'm shooting at? Shot placement is important, more so if I'm shooting a smaller caliber.

    e. Concealability. My Colt Mustang has about the same footprint as a S&W J-frame, but it is flatter.

    The above criteria are weighted as follows (YMMV one hell of a lot):

    3 - Reliability

    2 - Stopping power

    2 - Proprietary to the user

    1 - Practical accuracy

    1 - Concealability

    If I compare my Mustang to a S&W 642, here's who wins:

    Reliability - 642

    Stopping power - 642

    Proprietary to the user - Mustang

    Practical accuracy - Mustang

    Concealability - Mustang

    If the winner gets 2 points and the loser gets 1, then the 642 totals 14 points and the Mustang 13.

    Is that enough to make me retire the Mustang and get a 642? I don't know yet. If I drop "stopping power" as a criterion, then the Mustang wins. I'm not sure how much difference exists between a .380ACP and a .38 Special.

    I'd appreciate y'all commenting on my analysis.

    Bill

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    definitely not....
    they both have there place in the conceal-carry world.
    My taurus 85 rides in my front pocket in the summer, on my motorcycle and car.
    Winter time comes....Iffen I don't ride. I'm dressing up for work. I'll use my mustang in a back pocket holster.
    They are primarily used as my only carry, but they both can still work as I listed as a BUG
    Last edited by artz; June 12th, 2006 at 02:33 PM.
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

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    Member Array Garg's Avatar
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    S&W 642 in weak side pocket holster.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    p3at weak hand front pocket, and when a 3rd seems called for i put a kahr pm9 on weakside ankle . primairy carry is normaly iwb at 3 to 5 strongside depending on holster used
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Senior Member Array torrejon224's Avatar
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    Ain't nothing wrong with the .380 as a backup, I carry a P3at for b/u when I'm not carrying my Colt Combat Cobra. I keep it stoked with PowerBall and carry it in a pocket holster. Although It's not great for situations requiring shots of over 15-20 feet, I feel it's a great backup. It's light and effective and thats what counts

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    Since you asked for comments regarding your analysis, I will share my thoughts.

    Let me begin by saying I am not completely sold on the average citizen's need for a BUG. Having experimented with it on a couple of occasions, I found it to create more problems than it solved, a situation that I believe you are experiencing to some extent. However, I recognize that this is a personal choice so I will restrict my comments to your analysis.

    I appreciate your approach of selecting specific criteria and weighting each criteria. My only comment regarding your analysis would be that "Proprietary to the user" is a good criteria for your primary weapon but probably largely irrelevant for a back-up. I would eliminate that as a consideration which by my math makes it: S&W 642--13/Mustang--11.

    Were I in your situation I would opt for the 642 in an ankle holster. This would allow better access to a gun when seated or driving. The revolver would be more tolerant of all the grit a gun is exposed to on your ankle.

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    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    642 ankle, Mustang pocket holster.

    I like three better than two.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

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    Bill, I don't know if you might want to consider this as another criteria or not: Capacity and ease of reload. The Colt carries 6+1 and the reload is simply drop one mag and load another. The 642 carries 5 and the reload requires a speed loader. The space required for carrying the reload must also be considered.

    You might ask if you would need more than 5 rounds. If you begin to evaluate that you must evaluate if you really need a BUG and you get into whether you need a gun at all. I think that we all hope we never need one, but my background includes being an Eagle Scout. I learned at 11 years old: "Be Prepared." Do I need a Sig P239 in 9mm 8+1 with a second mag and a Kel-Tec P32 7+1 with a second mag? Possibly not, but I am going to carry them anyway. I also may never need a $1 million liability rider, but I have carried one for about 20 years and plan to either keep on carrying it or increase it. In my 58 plus years I have seen too many things happen that I or others were not prepared for, so if I can afford to be prepared for some of those unforeseen circumstances I will.

    It is obvious that you are thinking along the same kind of lines I do and I commend you for your forward thinking and your desire to be as well equiped as possible.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Member Array kansas_shooter's Avatar
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    This subject has been much debate between myself and others.

    I would ask the following questions to you:

    1. How often do you see yourself in a shooting situation ??

    2. What makes you think you really need a BUG ?? Do you not trust your primary ?? If you think you may drop your primary, I would focus on training to hold on to it or to shoot better. You have enough stopping power and enough initial rounds (7+1 ??) to defend an attack and if you carry an extra mag, you may have enough for other perps.

    I understand the need to think that we may need a BUG. I am with BLACKHAWK6, I don't think we need a BUG as CCW holders. We should be hitting the range enough and have extra training courses to insure that what we aim at, we are going to kill it.

    I also understand the thinking of, What if (insert situation here) ?? would make us think of needing a BUG, but again we need to think of how could we overcome that type of situation without a BUG. By thinking about it now, we are planning for the future and when the time comes that we are in that situation, we will have already mentally trained for it, even though we may not get some physical practice. It's better to have some idea, than no idea, especially in the heat of the moment.

    As for physical practice I would recommend some type of self defense classes. I am not saying that we are weak or could not handle ourselves in most situations. Self defense classes teach us how to break choke holds, remove/defend weapons of the perp, and help with strength and agility and to think fast on the feet with the heart pumping 100mph, among many other tactical advantages it provides.

    I know stuff happens in the heat of battle. I am not saying it will not happen. But I would think, if it is a prolonged fight, then there was something wrong at the begining. Perp got to close or perp got the element of suprise on you.

    Do you really need a BUG, or do you just want another weapon ??

    Either is great !!
    One shot. One kill.

    Primary Carry - Taurus PT-111 Mil Pro 9mm DAO with 12 + 1 in the pipe. Holstered in a Brigade OWB M2.

    Secondary Weapon - Taurus PT1911 5" 45acp SA with 8+1. Holstered in a Kydex paddle.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Two of the reasons I personaly carry a bug have been overlooked here , While i somewhat see the point of some of the posters here ( its unlikely we would hit anything that a primairy + reload (s) wouldnt handle , there are other reasons for me to bug up .

    1. I farm and ranch and will normaly load 1 pistol with ball to shoot vermin and plink with while maintaining anti a$$hat rounds in the bug .

    2. The wife and the daughter dont allways carry while with me since they know I allways do , In this situation a bug handed to one of them makes for the " bring your family and friends " portion of gunfight rules .

    The wife is also former LE , and the daughter has been trained up to LE standards ( i am a former firearms instructor ) Just some " gist for the mill " in the discussion YMMV
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  12. #11
    New Member Array Al Shear's Avatar
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    I tend to think each person has "situational dependency".
    Some drive or work in areas or in lines of work as civilians that imo require a BUG. I do, for that matter a back-up edged weapon as well.

    My primary weapon will at times switch roles and become the BUG. If the situation has warranted my condition to elevate to say orange, but not present a weapon yet or need to get physical, my hand is in my pocket on S&W442. No one is the wiser, no one knows but the weapon is ready to be presented IMMEDIATELY!! My primary and BUG have switched roles in this type of situation.

    I also do not get hung up on the latest greatest ammo craze. After 35 years I have learned its shot placement. Give me a reliable accurate gun first and second. To me, any good decent factory HP ammo thats accurate and reliable in my gun and runs 2k rounds failure free is great.

    Getting back to your "situation dependency". If you live in an area thats relativley safe then no, you may not need a BUG. In a large inner city with gangs and crime, maybe yes. Work in an industry like jewelry that gets targeted by roving gangs of thieves-yes you do. There is no one answer to fit everyone. For some you don't need a BUG, for others you do. You have to decide for yourself. But I'll say this, I'd rather have it than not.

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    Member Array Garg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs
    2. The wife and the daughter dont allways carry while with me since they know I allways do , In this situation a bug handed to one of them makes for the " bring your family and friends " portion of gunfight rules .

    The wife is also former LE , and the daughter has been trained up to LE standards ( i am a former firearms instructor ) Just some " gist for the mill " in the discussion YMMV
    That has got to be the best reason for a BUG (or 2) that I have ever heard.
    You've got yourself a great situation there.

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    As long as Mr. Murphy is around, I'll carry a BUG.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

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    erh
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    badgerw - "Think Seecamp LWS380." (Strong hand; front pocket carry...) if you have trouble as most do w/ the price/ availability issue(S), then I'd probably try out an inexpensive and "variably" dependable K-T P3AT (2nd. Gen.) If you go w/ the "later;" for sure do a "Fluff & Buff" then put a couple, to a few hundred standard pressure HP's through it to loosen it up and check it's reliability. Lastly, yes I also like "J" frames; can't really go wrong there.., but find them to be a bit "Bulky" for most BUG situations & comfort wise. Incidentally, I live in the "Lovely, and always SAFE" (LOL!) City of Savannah, GA. & always carry; but normally only (1) at a time... If I need a "Back Up", I figure I just didn't "Back Up" quickly enough to get the Hell out'ta a really bad place/ situation..! (IMHO..!)
    Eric Howland
    Savannah, GA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Shear
    Getting back to your "situation dependency". If you live in an area thats relativley safe then no, you may not need a BUG. In a large inner city with gangs and crime, maybe yes. Work in an industry like jewelry that gets targeted by roving gangs of thieves-yes you do. There is no one answer to fit everyone. For some you don't need a BUG, for others you do. You have to decide for yourself. But I'll say this, I'd rather have it than not.
    You don't have to be in a large inner city. Our little town of 4,000 had two shootings last week. Not the usual week, but not unique either. One person was shot with the shooter exiting a convenience store immediately before the chief of police. Stupid can't be fixed. The other shooting resulted in one death and two injuries. The shooter stuck a 12 ga. into the window of a SUV and pulled the trigger. He was arrested at the hospital emergency room where he had taken his sister who was one of the occupants of the SUV.

    An interesting side note is that we also had a county commissioner try to run down a photographer at the polls last Tuesday. The photographer heard someone shout and got almost out of the way. His knee is still swollen. The good thing about it is that he has photos of everything. The commissioner of course says he did not hit anyone. The photos also show the police chief and several sheriff's deputies watching. The chief will readily testify. I have heard that he deputies have said they did not see anything. If they testify that way we will have some new deputies since the photos show them looking in the direction of the incident.

    The funny thing about this incident is that the photographer could have shot and killed the commissioner and gone free. Alabama's castle law went into effect 6/1 this happened 6/6. The photographer was in fear for his life. If he had not jumped out of the way the commissioner's vehicle would have hit him with the driver's side headlight at about the center line of his body. That would have caused the front tire to go over him from crotch to head. Ouch! Not likely to come out of that one alive.

    Small town violence and small town/small county politics. If anyone ever asks why I carry, I can show them last week's newspaper.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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