Back-Up Gun?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Kleanbore, Jul 18, 2021.

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  1. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I like to watch old western TV re-runs.

    In the show the other day, the gunman in black who lived in a fancy San Francisco hotel strapped on his rig with the chess piece on it and rode out of town to see a client and hand out his business cards. Upon arrival, he was disarmed and held at gunpoint. He surreptitiously drew his .41 rimfire Remington derringer from behind his belt buckle and gunned down the man holding the shotgun. Moments later he used it again, instantly drawing it and blowing down a man holding a Colt Model P in his hand--at some distance, I'll add.

    The bounty hunter who carried the mare's leg also carried a replica four barrel Sharps rim-fire derringer. He too was fast (just slow enough for the viewing audience to see the action) and accurate, and his hits were deadly effective.

    All fiction, of course.

    I do not carry a back-up gun, but I know people who do.

    If I did, it would have to be quick to present, capable of rapid controlled fire, useable one-handed, and reasonably, but not too, powerful. No rim-fires, no single action guns carried hammer down, no two-barrel guns and no featherweight guns of 9mm or bigger caliber with tiny grips.

    Jim Cirillo of the Stake-out Unit carried three back-up guns. Two were chambered for the .38 Special, and the PPk was chambered in 7.65mm. But I'm not a .32 ACP man.

    I haven't handled one yet, but I have been thinking that the new Ruger LCP Max might serve well for backup.

    I'd have to do some thinking about ammunition choice.

    It would sure beat a a single action, two shot .41 rim-fire--or the tree barrel .32 RF Marston that a friend's great-grandfather once carried.
     
  2. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    Paladin - Have Gun, Will Travel. A custom SAA and the Remington. You may remember Tightrope with Mike Connor. He was undercover and had a snubby in a SOB for backup.

    The best 4 barrel Sharps was Yancy Derringer, who had one in each sleeve, one on each side of his vest and one in his hat. I loved that show but now was disappointed to find out that the actor (Jock Mahoney) was Sally Fields step-father and abused her.

    I rarely carry a BUG. If I do, it's a SW 432 (a light weight 32 HR Mag J frame).
     
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  3. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I carry a 2nd option (AKA backup)
    Carried in weak hand front pocket and affords options of putting hand on gun without revealing I'm carrying and quick access with weak hand.
    Glock 32 AIWB + 2nd option Kahr PM9 in weak hand front pocket - even in a "good area" advantages are advantages regardless of where I'm at.

    In before someone posts they don't live in a war zone, Mogadishu or "bad area" - neither do I.
     
  4. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    From my perspective, when choosing a backup gun, the first issue to identify is purpose. Meaning, under what circumstances can one speculate the BUG would come into play?

    • Failure of primary gun to function.
    • Having the primary taken.
    • Strong side draw prohibited by object, positioning, or injury.
    • Damage to strong side arm resulting in a lose of control of primary gun.
    In two of those four, the weak hand will have to do the work. Therefore the BUG must fit certain specific criteria:

    • Must be carried such that it can be accessed by the weak hand (though not necessarily weak hand only).
    • Must be controllable for weak hand only shooting (factoring in recoil control and accuracy).
    • Must have essential controls compatible with weak hand only shooting (such as a safety).
    • Should have enough capacity to grant a reasonable likelihood of success at stopping the threat.
    Now if we play by the "it's not the odds, it's the stakes" rule; and that by extension of that, your minimum strong-side load-out should be appropriate for all potential scenarios; and that you may end up using that BUG as your primary in only your weak hand, to defend yourself from the same worst case scenario you have considered for your primary carry; a BUG should be equal to your minimum strong side load-out. In terms of accessibility, shootability, capacity, and per shot effectiveness, all whilst shooting with only your weak hand. And your level of competency should also be equal with your weak hand to your dominant hand.

    Seems a bit impractical. So now you have to decide where to compromise. However, in the instance that you had to rely on a BUG in your weak hand only, would that reduce the threat level to the point that a 5 shot snub nosed revolver was now adequate for self defense, where it's not appropriate for strong side carry and shooting with two hands? I don't think so.
     
  5. memtb

    memtb Member

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    I rarely carry a back-up, though each vehicle has a back-up! My back-up is generally a cool weather firearm....ankle holsters are a bit obvious when wearing shorts! :rofl: memtb
     
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  6. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Due to me nearly always carrying a pocket gun*, an LCP Max would become a primary gun for me.

    A back up gun in my case would be something thinner and smaller, such as my old NAA Guardian or a KelTec P32.

    *Work clothes reasons. Retirement will be the day I physically can't turn a wrench anymore.
     
  7. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    For 15 years my backup has been the Rohrbaugh R9. It fits the OP’s criteria.

    If I use one as my primary, then a second one is used as a backup as well.


    B299D4B3-B9C4-4B33-85D9-D52EEA00AFA0.png
     
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  8. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    How would what I do reduce my threat level?
     
  9. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I carried a S&W 442 and a Remington RM380. Sometimes the RM380 rode an ankle holster and the 442 was in my pocket in a pocket holster. Sometimes the 442 rode in a Bianchi OWB holster and I carried the RM380 in my pocket. Sometimes, on my motorcycle, both guns were in the left and right pockets of my jacket. I also carried the 442 in a jacket chest pocket and the RM380 on my ankle or in my pants pocket.
    I also carried a couple of speed loaders for the 442 and an extra mag for the RM380.
    A lot depended on the weather as well. On really hot days I might not carry a backup but I would have it nearby, like in a saddlebag or in my truck console.

    95FBCFD5-9CF2-4FA9-9A7C-CC01D5D09098.jpeg

    I no longer own the RM380. I sold it along with my Remington R51. The guy buying the R51 insisted on the RM380 going along with the R51 in the deal. The RM380 never failed me and was totally reliable. Well over 1000 rounds fired and never a malfunction with any .380 ammo I tried in the gun.
     
  10. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    By not being able use your dominant hand? You wouldn't. So you'd be at a disadvantage.

    Therefore, what gun can you carry that would mitigate that disadvantage? I'd assume for most people it would need to be larger and heavier than their primary, for the purposes of recoil mitigation and lack of equal skill shooting with the weak hand. And chambered for the same cartridge so as not to compromise on terminal effectiveness, with at least the same capacity if not greater. Don't you think?
     
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  11. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry. Missed your point.


    But--by the time the second gun comes out, I would expect combat accuracy to be more loosely defined.

    With a lighter gun, I would want a lighter-recoiling cartridge.

    Not for me--I'll take that compromise

    The reduction in terminal effectiveness in a .380 would manifest itself primarily in less barrier penetration and in less likelihood of success in the event of an outstretched gun arm and/or having to shoot across the torso obliquely. Once we are in backup mode, I'm willing to accept those.

    Yes.
     
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  12. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    The best backup usage of a snubby came in a movie with Robert Loggia. He was seduced by a beautiful vampire. Her thing was killing bad guys. As she laid on top of him and started to bite, he retrieved a snubby from an ankle holster and shot her off him. She fled and he became a vampire, that she had to kill.
     
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  13. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Why would you expect that?

    Is a lighter gun a good idea though? Then you have to compromise down on the power of the cartridge to maintain effective levels of accuracy.

    I'm not sure there's necessarily evidence that .380 is as terminally effective as 9mm (when excluding barrier penetration, as you say). And there's also still clothing to account for. If you have imperial evidence that .380 is up to the task, fair enough.

    I think if you're assuming that should you need a BUG, the fight will be close so accuracy will be less important, you also have to consider that terminal effectiveness is now more important rather than less, because the distance of the threat is reduced. Less space might mean less time to stop the fight before you are incapacitated. Right?
     
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  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Distance.

    Preference. Comfort.

    Yes.

    I am indeed.

    I do not believe in "knockdown power", but in hat is hit, inside the body. The .380 is a compromise in therms of penetration, but not in rapidity of controlled fire in a comparable gun.

    Less space most certainly will mean less time.

    Think in terms of the target area moving at 180 inches per second. Rapidity of fire will be critical.

    Will a .380 with premium ammunition suffice? It won't meet FBI protocols with steel, wallboard, and auto glass barrier tests. Will it penetrate clothing and the flesh of an attacker facing the defender?

    Many reviewers seem to think it may well so do. It remains to be seen.

    For all-day carry for me, a backup gun must be light and small. That rules out the 9x19 for me.
     
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  15. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Sounds like you've thought through the ramifications of all your compromises. If you're confident that you are being objective, and happy with your conclusion, I say go for it.
     
  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I have not yet seen the gun.

    And I am always open to new information.
     
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  17. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Just .02 but having a gun accessible to either hand would add options, options are good.
     
  18. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    In my case, the reason for two guns, is mostly for the accessibility options. (Member mavracer just mentioned “options,” and I say Amen.) I seem to be “hard-wired” to use my right hand to reach for my right hip area. The scientific term is “myelination.” This was reinforced, with countless repetitions, during 33+ years of big-city police patrol. My right hand is no longer my stronger hand, however, as it has not aged well. I no longer fully trust my right hand to provide a consistent, firm, stable platform for auto-loader functioning. Fortunately, I was born with a “smarter” left hand, meaning I write lefty, and do many other finely-detailed tasks lefty, so am functionally ambidextrous with most handguns. So, it makes plenty of sense, for me, in my situation, to carry a revolver on my right side, and another weapon, of whatever type, positioned for lefty access.

    My multiple weapons, of course, cover the “back-up” part, too, as well as the “NY Reload” role. Value added. Life is good. :)

    Edited to add: I would sometimes tell folks that my left hand was my smarter hand, and my right hand my stronger hand, or, that I was left-handed, but right-armed. I write lefty, and throw righty. Of course, now that age, wear, and tear are catching up with me, my left shoulder, arm, and hand are now stronger, and more fit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
  19. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    EDC CZ P-10C. BUG, when carried, (rarely), CZ P-10S, takes P-10C mags, exact same operating system, and I can reliably hit a man sized target weak hand only at 20 yards under optimum conditions. The little thing shoots like it's a much bigger gun - someone forgot to tell it that it's a nominal "subcompact". I have rigs that allow weak hand access as well. Now actually carrying a BUG is pretty rare, but I have done it - during summer months in Arizona carrying one sidearm concealed can be problematic - TWO can be a real chore. ;)
     
  20. murf

    murf Member

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    i run the lehigh defense 68 grain bullet in my lcp II because the bullet is barrier blind and passes the fbi penetration protocol. underwood makes it: https://www.underwoodammo.com/380-acp-p-65-grain-xtreme-defender.html

    murf
     
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  21. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    I've carried two Kel-Tec pistols together for ten years now. The PF9 rides on a hip, and the P32 in a pocket. The latter often becomes the gun I keep a hand near while pumping gas and the like.

    I posted my initial range impression on the MAX in the Autoloaders forum. It's a strong contender for BU duty, but the slim little KT is so easy to keep carrying. When traveling to and from my no-carry job site, the P32 has been my only gun (and is carried with its ten-round magazine in place) and the MAX will likely replace it in that role, since the pockets of my duty uniform BDUs are roomier.
     
  22. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    Given the reasons why a person may feel inclined to carry a back-up, I think you could add to the necessities that a back-up should be capable of being manipulated with either hand, one handed. Not just the safety, but being able to reload/clear a malfunction also.
     
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  23. murf

    murf Member

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    there is a reason the weak hand is called "weak". you make a lot of good points in your post, but, understand, the weak hand will always be inferior to the strong hand until, with practice, it becomes the strong hand. until then, for reasons you have listed, the bug should be a weak hand gun, imo.

    nice post,

    murf
     
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  24. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Thanks. And I absolutely agree that the weak hand is inferior to the dominant one, and probably always will be. It will also certainly be inferior to shooting two-handed (regardless of which hand operated the trigger). I was partly playing devil's advocate, and partly looking at ideal bear minimum. Of course we're not going to reach those ideal performance levels weak-handed, but I think it's important to consider them before we begin our series of compromises.
     
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  25. murf

    murf Member

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    me too. just trying to get people to get good with their weak hand.

    murf
     
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