Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Backup" Explained

In my last post, I stated that the Ruger LCP serves as backup.  I don't think I made it clear as to what "backup" really meant.

A lot of people hear the word backup, and they may immediately think about something or someone kept in reserve, waiting around for the off chance that the primary thing or person is not able to perform the task as needed.  This definition of backup is correct and incorrect at the same time.

If you are the backup crew, say, for a shuttle launch, you don't actually get to fly in the space shuttle with the primary crew.  You're backup.  That means that, for all intents and purposes, you're staying on the ground unless something bad happens to someone and they can't make the flight themselves.

For the purposes of my LCP, backup doesn't mean it stays in the safe while I'm out with my primary carry weapon.  Backup in this regard means that the LCP is along for the ride, carried elsewhere on my person.  The intent of the "backup gun" or BUG, is to be there at the ready in the unlikely event that my primary carry weapon fails or runs out of ammo.

Yeah, I know, you should only carry a gun that you feel will deliver 100% of the time, and has a proven track record, yadda yadda yadda...

My primary carry weapon, the Ruger SR9c, has a proven track record.  In fact, I now have over 1,000 rounds downrange without a failure of any kind.  I get all my shots on target, and do it fast.  Being as the gun has not failed, is accurate enough for defensive use, and has behaved predictably for the entire time I've owned it, I'm 100% confident that it will do its job if called upon.  However...

Guns, like anything else mechanical, are engineered and built from parts made by men and machines that were made by men.  If there is one thing I've learned in this life, it's that mechanical devices, no matter how reliable they are (or appear to be), may fail at the worst possible time.  I'm not saying they will, but I have been called out to enough emergency generator calls to know that even the best equipment can fail at any time. 

Now, provided there is a 1 in a million chance my gun could fail, and I could be so unfortunate that my gun goes for that chance, I want to have something else on hand to ensure that my 1 time isn't my last time.  The BUG puts the odds back into my favor.  Is there a chance my primary gun could fail at the worst possible moment?  It's really really small, but it is still there.  Is there a chance that two guns fail at the same time?  Well, the chance is still there, but it is a lot smaller.  It is so small, in fact, that it is almost not possible.  

"Well, if you're worried about your gun failing, then get a revolver!"

True, revolvers are amazing works of art, and they have a reputation of being utterly reliable.  There is a small chance, however, that even a revolver can fail.  Even if I carried a revolver, I'd still opt for a backup gun.

The LCP, shown, above, rides in my favorite BUG holster - ThePocketHolster.  When riding as a BUG, the LCP doesn't reside in the primary position.  No, that's where the primary gun goes!  The BUG rides anywhere I can find space for it.  I've adapted my wardrobe that allows most BUG carry to be in a light jacket's Napoleon style security chest pocket, zippered of course.  This affords easy access to the weapon, and it doesn't raise my concealed carry profile at all.  My weak side is still available for the primary's spare magazine, and another inner chest pocket carries the BUG's spare magazine.  

Oh yeah, that's right.  I'll have to devote an entry to the benefits of carrying extra ammo, but just a quick side note here: I carry a spare magazine full of ammo because even though my guns have magazines and ammo in them already, it's beneficial to not only have extra ammo available, but to have a backup magazine.  Should your primary magazine decide to pop out and fall to the ground, become damaged, jam, or otherwise not work, you have a backup to rely on.  That way, you have double redundancy, and that's a good feeling no matter what.

I'll also touch on magazine disconnects in guns too.  Let's just say, I'm not a fan of them.


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