Tuesday, December 05, 2023

When You Need a Backup Gun.

Most cops of my acquaintance are pretty religious devotees of carrying a backup gun. An IMPD officer who I've known for years and have trained with in the past is alive today because he carries a backup gun and has trained to proficiency in its deployment and use.

For the average normie private citizen CCW toter? I mean, if you can carry one and train with it, great. It's probably best practice, I guess.

Personally I haven't habitually carried a BUG since... whenever I stopped wearing "shoot me first" vests with any degree of regularity, so probably back in 2007 or 2008.


There's one circumstance where I do carry a second gun pretty religiously, but I don't know that you could rightly call it a backup gun in those cases, and that's when I'm out and about in the dead of a Hoosier winter. I'm not tough enough to roam around in sub-freezing weather with my coat unzipped, and that makes accessing a blaster carried at the waistline, whether inside or outside the waistband, strong-side or appendix, a little hard to get at in a hurry.

Greg Ellifritz wrote about this recently:
"A friend once asked me for some winter coat carry advice. He normally carried a 9mm Glock 19 inside the waistband. Living in Minnesota, he found access to his Glock to be rather difficult when the gun was covered up by his heavy winter coat. My friend wanted to supplement his Glock with a smaller pistol carried in his outside coat pocket for quicker access in cold temperatures. Which pistol would be the best choice?

That’s a good question. Before I moved to Texas, I braved Ohio’s winters regularly carrying a revolver in an outside coat pocket. When the snow accumulated enough to cover up my ankle gun if I stepped in a snow drift, I carried my police backup gun in my outer coat pocket.
Go and read Greg's piece.

I largely agree with his take, although I'm not as concerned with being able to fire the gun from inside the coat pocket. What I am concerned with, however, is being able to access the firearm while seated, especially in my car with the seatbelt fastened. While that's not actually as hard to do under an unbuttoned overshirt in summer as some people seem to think it is because they've never tried nor practiced it, it is in fact well-nigh impossible under a zipped up winter coat.

For that reason I select winter coats with a specific kind of upper chest pockets, the kind with vertical zippered openings along the centerline.

The photo above has the revolver hiked up and hanging out of the pocket just so you can see it, but normally you can't. It works without any shuffling of the garment when sitting on the driver's side (in the picture I'm in the passenger seat of Shootin' Buddy's Tacoma). Best of all, it can be accessed easily with the strong side hand, somewhat akin to a tanker-type holster, but it can also be drawn cavalry-style with the support hand if necessary. It's no coincidence that this is where the BUG pocket is on a 5.11-type vest.

That's the same Smith & Wesson 432PD with CTC LaserGrips in a cheapo Uncle Mike's pocket holster to keep it correctly oriented in the pocket that I've used for this job nearly twenty years. There are more rugged holsters out there, but I think this is only my second or third, and it's about due for replacement. If you wanna be all Vimes' Boots about it, there might be a sixty dollar leather holster that'll go twenty years without replacement, or you can buy a fifteen buck nylon one every seven years.

The downside to this in the winter is that you can't use the coat check unless you have a way of discreetly slipping the holstered blaster out of your pocket and into a purse or bag or whatever, so you gotta be that goober who drags your coat with you everywhere.